Recent Books: Asia and Pacific: F: Hu Feng's Prison Years/Shattered Families, Broken Dreams: Little-Known Episodes from the History of the Persecution of Chinese Revolutionaries in Stalin's Gulag

By Nathan, Andrew J. | Foreign Affairs, May/June 2013 | Go to article overview

Recent Books: Asia and Pacific: F: Hu Feng's Prison Years/Shattered Families, Broken Dreams: Little-Known Episodes from the History of the Persecution of Chinese Revolutionaries in Stalin's Gulag


Nathan, Andrew J., Foreign Affairs


F: Hu Feng's Prison Years

BY MEI ZHI. TRANSLATED BY GREGOR BENTON. Verso, 2013, 332 pp. $26.95. Shattered Families, Broken Dreams:

Little-Known Episodes From the History of the Persecution of Chinese Revolutionaries in Stalin's Gulag

BY SIN-LIN. TRANSLATED BY STEVEN I. LEVINE. MerwinAsia, 2012, 475 pp. $75.00 (paper, $35.00).

If anyone needs a reminder of the inscrutability and mercilessness of the Stalin and Mao regimes, these books can help. Hu Feng was a distinguished Marxist literary critic whom Mao made a prime target of a major campaign to intimidate independent thinkers in the early years of the Chinese communist regime. Hu spent 24 years in various forms of imprisonment. For much of the time, he was accompanied by his wife, Mei Zhi-an unusual privilege probably attributable to Hu's age and fragile health. In her memoir, she recounts their experiences. Hu was constantly pressured to "reform his worldview" to match the new political campaigns Mao launched. As the couple's situation became more and more hopeless, Hu stopped insisting on his innocence and lost his sanity. He outlived Mao but passed away a few years after his release from prison, at the age of 82. …

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Recent Books: Asia and Pacific: F: Hu Feng's Prison Years/Shattered Families, Broken Dreams: Little-Known Episodes from the History of the Persecution of Chinese Revolutionaries in Stalin's Gulag
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