Talk:Jung Chang/Archive 1

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Slim's edit

Hi, Slim. Good work so far. In answer to your questions:

1. Jung Chang's father was successful at regional level, in as far as he went high up the Party structure but didn't become a national leader. He became governor of Yibin - no 2 in the province. Later he was appointed Deputy Director & then Director of Public Affairs in Sichuan province.

2. As far as I can remember only Jung's father criticised Mao directly. Actually it would be more accurate to say he criticised Mao's policies - he didn't say "I think Mao is bad for China". Her mother merely tried to rein in the destructive elements of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution by protecting others from what was going on. But trying to oppose the policies at all was enough for her to be targetted.

3. The humiliation. Having public denunciations, wearing mocking signs, being made to kneel on grit for hours at a time, that sort of thing. I was trying to think of a better way of saying tortured or abused. I can't remember the details over prison sentances. I'll have to check that. I do remember her mother was taken away to re-education camps. John Smith's 29 June 2005 21:38 (UTC)

As John Smith's, Flowerofchivalry, and 211.30.211.93 are in a dispute about alleged POV editing, vandalism, and reverting, I've done a copy edit of this article to show the tone in which articles should be written, rather than trying to explain. I've also written out how references sections and citations are handled, and how book titles are presented (there are a number of styles you can choose from: see Wikipedia:Cite sources).
The key is to stick to material that has been published by reputable publications. See Wikipedia:No original research. We don't write that she's an historian if she isn't, and we don't say celebrated, which is a weasel word (see Wikipedia:Neutral point of view), but do say in the intro why you are writing about her, which is that she's the author of Wild Swans which "became the biggest grossing non-fiction paperback in publishing history, selling over 10 million copies worldwide, except in China, where it is banned." And then link to your souce, and add that source to your references section, where you write out the full citation. Just keep doing that: let the facts speak for themselves and link to a source for those facts. If it's a contentious edit like Chang thinking the Red Guard were vicious bullies, that must go in quotation marks, and the source cited after it in brackets e.g. (Chang 1991) if it's Wild Swans. Also, for the record, I have no continuing interest in editing this article or any of the others that are the subject of this dispute, because we're not allowed to take admin action regarding articles we're editing. I did this copy edit qua admin in an effort to deal with the accusations that have been flying back and forth. I hope it helps. SlimVirgin (talk) June 29, 2005 22:06 (UTC)

On some of those other points:

1. I want to know who the left-wing critics are. If 211+ can show us some info and give us names then no probs. But if he/she refuses to, then perhaps that little bit should be removed.

If you ask for a source for an edit from another editor, and no source is forthcoming within a reasonable period (day or two), then you can certainly remove it. SlimVirgin (talk) June 29, 2005 22:48 (UTC)

2. I'll try and find the time to explain barefoot doctors, etc. I'll also try and get ages sorted out - it'll take a while, hope you don't mind.

Try not to use terms readers won't understand. Remember that you're writing for people who may know nothing about the subject. SlimVirgin (talk) June 29, 2005 22:48 (UTC)

3. The bit about life in London was all in the introduction of the latest edition of Wild Swans. I'll add that in now.

Just make sure you link to the source. If it's offline, write (Smith 2005) for books, and include a full citation in References, and if it's a newspaper, write (New York Times, June 29, 2005), and then go to References and add headline, byline, NY Times, and date. SlimVirgin (talk) June 29, 2005 22:48 (UTC)

4. I don't have any info on the Philip Short section because it was on the stub. If 211+ could get something on that it would help.

5. So far the only sources on Chang and Halliday's research methods have been in the newspaper articles. Perhaps some British historians will write articles themselves soon, but so far they've only be indirectly mentioned in the broadsheets - no names yet. John Smith's 29 June 2005 22:40 (UTC)

Again, link or cite whatever source you have. SlimVirgin (talk) June 29, 2005 22:48 (UTC)
I really hope that was ok - I can't do anymore rather than start quoting lengthy sections that will break copywrite. John Smith's 29 June 2005 23:09 (UTC)

Left wing historians

Ok, I'm quite sure that SOME people have criticised Wild Swans. However, for the sake of fairness, can someone please come up with some names and sources where they criticised it. Otherwise I'll feel it necessary to remove these mysterious critics. John Smith's 1 July 2005 18:47 (UTC)

I have simply changed it, so that it essentially says "some authors praise her, others criticise her". But I would still like some names please, otherwise it'll have to go eventually. John Smith's 2 July 2005 13:43 (UTC)

Lao Wai

You pretended to edit 203.206.53.13's post, but you actually re-edited the article in a way that you have done before. Can you explain why you did that - someone might think you did it deliberately to distract them from your changes. John Smith's 11:06, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

Actually I pretended to do no such thing. I was entirely open about what I did and why. Anyone can think what they like. This article should not be reproducing what I take to be a publisher's puff piece verging on a vanity article and it contains minor inaccuracies and misleading information. I deleted some irrelevancies, corrected a few things and stated clearly why I did so. Lao Wai 11:59, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
Look, for the last time, WHO IS SAYING THIS?? WHO ARE THESE MYSTERIOUS HISTORIANS?? Post names and WHAT THEY SAID, please. John Smith's 18:06, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
Well for the first time. You have never asked me before. Saying what? That she is not a BBC but a British citizen of Chinese origin? Well that is fairly obvious. That half this article, which is, I assume, something written by a publisher, is mawkish sentimental garbage? Well that too is fairly obvious. That it contains a lot of stuff that is neither relevant nor all that interesting and is taken from her talks (if not something she wrote herself)? Who is arguing with that? If you're objecting to the footnote claim it is also self evident to anyone who knows enough Chinese history. Her publishers appear to be keeping the book away from real historians at the moment - look who is reviewing it. Lao Wai 18:52, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I confused you with the other chap who had been editing without sources. About her nationality. Well it didn't say that she was born in Britain. It says in the main article that she was born in China so I believed that was sufficient. How about British (Chinese-born)?
Well unless you're accusing me of being a publisher, I suggest you retract your rather petty comment. If you want to suck all the fun and joy out of wiki, then fine. But I don't see how a few light-hearted comments can't make this interesting to read. Equally, if Mao is mentioned in a sentance you do not have to mention him again - anyone with a basic grasp of English knows that. Equally it was important to the university of York that she came to visit. Why is that irrelevant?
Her publishers are keeping the book away from real historians? What, have they got Tony Blair to ban all REAL historians from reading it? Utter nonsense - find me a prominent historian who is so poor they can't buy it for £15 from amazon. State the names of the critics with what they said, or stop being petty. Users have been knocked for doing the same to Iris Chang, so why can you make unsourced comments about JC? John Smith's 19:16, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
It didn't say she was born in Britain but it was confusing nonetheless. The newer version is clearer. I am hardly sucking all the life and fun out of Wiki, but there is a minimum level of professionalism that ought to be observed. I thought the use of "he" instead of "Mao" was a little confusing considering it comes right after her Father is hurt during the CR. It does not matter what is important to York. Put it on their webpage if you like. It is irrelevant to the issue at hand which is Dr Chang. You ask about a claim and I'll source it. Look at her footnotes. It is obvious what is wrong with them. Take the example of Mao's alleged selling of opium - and this is one of the better examples from your point of view. Look at Chen Yongfa's book chapter and tell me you think that is properly footnoted. If you want I can find you real historians who will complain about it. But it is self-evident to anyone who has read widely enough in the field. I have put up a version recently. Explain to me what is wrong with it and perhaps we can come to a sensible compromise. Lao Wai 19:23, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
Well I've already re-edited it. So if you could say what's wrong with the new edit, then we'll go from there. The reason I have been reverting that I went through an edit war with some guy and Slim re-did the WHOLE article. If you were an editor, I might see your point - it's not my fault if I side with the views of the administration.
I had a quick look at her footnotes on opium. You're going to have to be more specific. I am very busy right now and don't have the time. You know what's wrong, so please give me some page numbers and critical points. Yes, historians who criticise it would be nice, as I would honestly like to read what they said. Cheers, John Smith's 19:29, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
I am unmoved by the fact you have dealt with someone else on this subject. I am not them. It is wrong of you to simply assume your version is best without reading mine or thinking about it - which is what I assume you mean by admitting pre-judgement. The administration has views on my edit? I doubt it but I am sure they will very soon. It continues to contain far too much mawkish sentimentality. The knight without shining armor ought to go. The York reference appears better but I'd still get rid of it. The fact that her parents were high ranking cadres is important to understanding her book. The fact that all such cadres suffered in the CR, whatever she may say, is important and should be mentioned. The fact that she was married before is interesting and should not be glossed over. The problems with the book remain. How many times does she refer to Dr Chen's work in that passage on opium? How many of her quotes and sources are, in fact, identical to quotes and sources in Dr Chen's book? To the best of my knowledge she has never claimed to have gone to Taiwan to do research - is it a total coincidence that they are so similar? And finally her husband may be able to do research on Soviet sources but has he? The article should not imply he has unless, of course, he has. Lao Wai 19:39, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

I was actually re-writing my last point. What I meant to say was that if it was so bad, why didn't Slim change it? Of course the administration aren't all against you. Ok, the bit about Halliday is fine. No probs. Let's do that when we sort the bits apart from the book out. Define "high ranking". I said her father did well at regional level. If you just say "high-ranking", someone might think they were big-wigs. "Currently" sounded weird. Like she might leave him anytime? I don't know much about her first husband, so perhaps you could find something out about that. We should give him a name, say how long they were married, etc. What's wrong with saying students at her university came out to see her? If it was any university, I would agree completely. If you want to edit it, perhaps we could say that she tours Britain and Europe regularly, visiting her old blaa, blaa, blaa. I'm open to discussion about the book. However you're going to have to give me some references. I'm sorry, but I don't have the time right now to dig into this until you give me some page numbers and what the problem is. I'm not saying that the book is great, I'm just asking that you get some sources, with links to what they said. But more importantly there is no proper wiki article on the book. I suggest that if you want to talk about the book in detail, we get together with users like secfan and write the book's article up fully. Then we could talk about it on the discussion page. We shouldn't discuss the book on here, when we could do it more fully elsewhere. It's a waste of time. Well, if you want to be pedantic how do we know ANY historian visits the archives they say they do? When was the last time a historian/author posted documentation showing they had been to the places they did to do their research? John Smith's 19:53, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

I wish you would stop re-editing your comments. I have no idea why Ms Virgin did what she did. Is she a China specialist? I don't think they are against me. I just think that when you break the 3RR rule this dispute is going to become more serious. Region is high ranking and anyway Chang makes it clear in her book what they were. They were bigwigs. Currently sounds fine to me. I will let the York reference pass if you like - it is just not relevant. Why put it in at all? Actually I think I have given you references - I have given a clear example of what is wrong with her footnotes. If you can't be bothered to look the references I give you up that is not my fault. This article discusses the book and so should do so properly - it should not be reduced to a vanity page that serves merely to give Dr Chang free publicity. That is not what Wikipedia is for. You make the book discuss more neutral and I will let it go. The Independent on Sunday gave a good review of her book. I notice there is no link to that one. I do not expect documentation - any competant historian has a pretty good idea just by looking at a book how much work has gone into it. Can you find an example of any original material in the book taken from the Soviet archives - think carefully before you answer as they are not generous with their footnotes. Lao Wai 20:12, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

Ok, right some of those edits were great. I think criticism of the book is valid, but if you want to be detailed, let's get the book's article up first. Is that a better idea, than debating the book on her page?

My points are:

1. Can we talk about her encounter with the pub one way or another? It doesn't have to be cutsey-wutsey. Isn't there some confusion with pub and pole-dancing joint (or whatever) in Chinese? Perhaps you could actually post it down here and we could write the encounter in some way.

2. Ok, the bit about her parents seems fine. Can we have that comma?

3. "Chang says" could be better. How about "Chang wrote that...."?

4. As I asked, can you tell me something about who her first husband was and how long she was married to him? It would be much better if we said "JC married x in xxxx, but divorced him after x months/years. At present she is married to...." If you don't know about her first husband, I suggest "At present....."

5. Did Mao just not like academic education? I only ask this, because she didn't seem to get any real training as a doctor or electrician at all.

6. Why is it odd that the CCP didn't stop her doing any research? Surely the CCP shouldn't bar people from doing research just because they don't agree with them. I thought it was getting more open. Also, "interesting" is a matter of opinion. The CCP has banned her book anyway, so whether they let her research or not wouldn't matter to them, surely. They can't see into the future - how did they know she was going to write such a scathing book? Did the other criticial non-Chinese historians say the CCP frustrated their efforts? If there is a clear pattern of them slowing down the work of writers who don't follow the official line, then great. If not then why is it relevant. You know, the CCP let's her travel to China whenever she wants - she was going to be on the BBC's Question Time edition from Shanghai. Also no one here, including myself, has ever suggested the CCP is "working against her" - bar the ban on her books. So it's not unusual for them to let her do something.

7. Can I put in something about her touring in with the visit to York and leave it at that?

8. I'll do a few edits now, if that's ok. I'll leave the bit about York and the pub out for now, ok? But I'd still like to see a response on points 1, 4, 6 & 7. Cheers, John Smith's 20:39, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

FWIW, the bit about the pub seems bizarre to me. I'm sure that she has lots of funny stories about cultural confusion to tell, but I think we only need ones which are relevant to her work. Mark1 02:59, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
I'll have to go with the bizarreness of the pub story. Does it add anything to the article at all? To our understanding of her? I think not but I could be persuaded. I can go with the "At present" wrt her present husband. I am not sure that there is any point dragging the poor guy in. I know people who were at SOAS with her and I think Halliday may be her third husband. I can ask. The policy on education during the CR is diifficult. Technically the Universities were not closed as a general rule. Mao had a complex theory on education, mainly from a class point of view. So exams were out and students had to recommended by their workplaces. Chang, as the daughter of disgraced cadres, would have had problems getting in. Also the teaching had to be practical not theoretical. So to say the schools were closed, as they were but only for a short time, is a simplification that amounts to a distortion. You don't think it is odd that someone who wrote a book still banned in the CCP was allowed to go to China and interview people? That they gave her a visa? That they did not stop her? They did not threaten her interviewees? Under what possible set of conditions could this book have been written but with the at least passive support of the Chinese government? Of course they care what is published about them and about Mao in the West. Of course they know this book will leak back into China. And of course they know it will be scathing. So why does the CCP let her visit China all the time? There is something going on here which is both important and relevant. They don't just slow people down, they throw them in jail and charge them with spying. Look at Harry Wu. But not Dr Chang. Now maybe she has friends in high places. Maybe people in high places knew her father and so are protecting her. Or maybe the CCP wants this book written for some purpose that escapes me just yet. But there is something unusual here by anyone's measure. Lao Wai 10:00, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Ok, I just thought that the pub story was a good example of how her generation of Chinese had their understanding of Europe distorted. Like when she was a child and she was told by her nurse to eat up, because of all the starving children in Britain. So just as she was wrong about the pub, a lot of what she had learnt about Britain in China had been wrong as well.
Well if you don't want to actually drag the guy into the frame, why bother talking about Chang's previous marriages? Let's just leave it out. I thought of a better way to write that bit anyway.
But does the CCP do this to everyone? As I said before, I thought the CCP was changing. If I mentioned this to a Chinese person they would say, "So what? It just goes to show the CCP isn't as bad as you Westerners say and that China is getting better." Unless you can find out why she's being made a special case of, if she is at all, it should be moved and re-worded. I'll have a bash now. John Smith's 11:24, 12 July 2005 (UTC)


Then you like the story because it says something about China and the Chinese? Fine if it does into an article on China and the Chinese. It is of course unsourced except for her chats she gives to spruke her book which is another thing. Her marriage is important to her, the subject of the article. Her previous husband(s) are not that relevant but the fact of prior marriage is. One is about her, the other about him. Well obviously the CCP does not do it to everyone. Not Dr Chang for instance. Why? If you mentioned it to a Chinese person they may be more likely to assume there is more to the story than meets the eye. The natural assumption would be that Chang has guanxi - friends in high places. And Chinese people would then tend to assume the Party wants the book written. And probably give you a few reasons why. It is important to the book that she got this massive amount of co-operation from very high Party figures. The why is less important. And after all if the book is going to be puffed up as important, ground-breaking, yada yada yada (which incidentally it is not), there needs to be some sort of balance provided. Finally unless there is evidence that Halliday did read the Soviet sources we should not say that he did. Lao Wai 10:02, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
Ok, let's put the pub story aside for now. If someone else wants to put it in, perhaps we can talk about this again. However, if you feel that it should be put somewhere else, then perhaps you could do me a small favour and try to find something on wiki about Chinese and/or culture shocks. If there is no such place for it, then surely it should be included in the one place there might be a place for it in wiki - this article about her. I'd do it myself, but I wouldn't want you to think I'd only made a cursory glance.
Your wording of the CCP's non harrassment of JC is fine. We can leave it there because it sounds quite neutral.
To say that Mao is simplistic is not NPOV - it comes across as too opinionated. We've already got Shorty's points down at the bottom about Chang's portrail of Mao being one-dimensional. And there's nothing in the intro coming from her supporters anymore.
About Halliday. Look, no offence, but as I said there is rarely any easily accessible evidence to support any historian's claims about going to X. So unless you go through every biography of a writer and put words like "supposedly" in, I think you could cut him a bit of slack. Chang might be controversial to some people, but I have never heard any direct criticism (not saying there isn't any) of Halliday from the academic community as a whole. I won't say he DID go, but the current wording just sounds weird. I hope you don't mind the edit.
I'll have a think about mentioning the fact she has toured many places and York in 2005 at some point in the next week or so. John Smith's 20:59, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
OK I'm happier without the pub story. I certainly don't think it ought to go anywhere. It is actually NPOV because of course it is and more to the point Chang conceeds as much. It is phrased oddly in the article but Short accuses her of over-simplification and she says she has done so because Mao was, of course, simply an evil man. The article doesn't quite phrase it like that but it is more or less what she says. And certainly if her book is anything it is consistently, irrationally, one-dimensional. Mao was a right bastard but he was a more complex bastard than Chang claims. How else did he persuade so many to go along with him for so long? I'll let Halliday off the hook if you like although the book is noticable by its lack of original Russian material as far as I can see. They interviewed a few people. I'll have a think about the rest of the article and see if there is a better way. Lao Wai 14:41, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Ok I have a few points. First of all the thing about Wild Swans just being about how upper class Chinese supported the powerful regardless of their views is too vague. If you're referring to her family, then surely that's wrong because their lives were wrecked because they didn't go along with the flow. If you're referring to those Chinese who did support the Cultural Revolution, perhaps it could be worded more clearly. Can you please clarify what you mean?
Next, where did she imply she had attacked her parents verbally/physically? Could you please give a page reference - I can't remember that.
Finally, when have Chang and Halliday supported Mao and Maoism? Wild Swans doesn't. So it isn't a break with what she wrote before. What has Halliday written that says he's ok? Can you be more specific please? John Smith's 16:55, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
It isn't too vague from my point of view. Her family is a prime example of the way that many Chinese intellectuals have jumped on whatever bandwagon has passed by and done well. Chang claims her father got into trouble for criticising Mao but in fact Mao attacked all high Party cadres. Without exception. Nor is there any evidence her Father did anything but side with the powerful Party hierarchy (as expected) - certainly nothing to suggest he attacked Mao for his policies apart from what Chang says. That makes her a good filial daughter. Nothing else. I mean, specifically, her background is of a family of opportunists who have adapted to the shifts in power very successfully. Like many many Chinese people in similar situations. It is almost characteristic of Chinese culture and especially late Imperial politics. She is vague throughout the book what she did to her parents. I assume by not mentioning it she did it. If she did otherwise she would have said so. She does say that her father forgave her. She gets that in. Forgave her for what if not that? It is a break with what she has said in the past in many ways and it is a break with much of WS. Halliday is published on the Korean War. Back when he was a leftist. The book certainly contradicts his previous works. If your going to argue this I can find references without too much trouble. Lao Wai 21:05, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
Erm, you seem rather bitter. Perhaps you should calm down a bit. Are you saying her father jumped on an "anti-Mao" bandwagon? Because I have not been made away that there was one back then. Surely he was not so stupid as to think he could make the comments he did and get away with it? A "family of opportunists"? How? As I said, defying Mao was the worse thing they could have done. Why didn't they just go along with it? They would have been much better off. This isn't a place for personal grievances or grudges. If you want to write such things, start a blog.
Right, so you're saying that because she didn't say she didn't attack her parents then she did it? That's completely illogical. Although people will sometimes ommit dark things about their past, an abscence of information does not mean the opposite. If you were writing your biography would you go through it saying "I didn't do this"? Or are you implying that most Chinese children attacked their families during the Cultural Revolution if they fell under suspicion? I'm sure some did, but I would not automatically suspect someone of doing that. Now the comment about forgiveness is interesting. However I need a page reference to check the context. But we should not be speculating on wiki.
What Chang said in Wild Swans was a description of how she respected Mao as a child. But by the end she couldn't cry over his death. Even by that point her feelings for him had changed. Wild Swans did not show she liked Mao or Maoism in the 1990s. I would like some references (also date of publication) on the Halliday book including some quotations - it would be useful. But people are entitled to change their views. Many people were ardent left-wingers when they were students and young. Look at people like Charles Clarke and Gordon Brown. I'm not saying such information isn't valid, but I would like to see that he really did have strong pro-Mao views and not just when he was a radical student. John Smith's 21:29, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
I have just had a look at some of your other contributions, and your prevailing theme on the torture articles is that if there is no conclusive evidence for something then that doesn't mean it was true. So why is it ok to make a supposition that Jung Chang attacked her parents but not that a Chinese torture box existed? John Smith's 21:50, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
One last thing. Could you give me some page references for those Red Guard quotes? I had difficulty finding them, and I thought we should footnote our quotations to make the article look more professional. John Smith's 22:40, 29 July 2005 (UTC)
Ah, found them - it's ok. I realised spiked were using the old edition for some reason. So I just counted back the necessary number of pages. Obviously previous requests for info/comment still stand. John Smith's 22:55, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Right, all you had to do was say you got them from the spiked article. Having read her father's quote it is hardly conclusive that he was talking about her - there is no evidence to suggest that. She was a Red Guard and technically she was rebelling against his generation. Unless you're saying she's lying about the fact she didn't join in with the physical punishment of other Chinese, why would she just do it to her father/parents?

As I said, Chang has not actually written anything saying "I love Mao". Her views expressed in Wild Swans were describing her views as a child. They certainly had changed to one of ambiguity by the time she came to Britain. I'm going to accept what spiked said about Halliday even though I can't get the book. I've edited a few other bits, such as removing the unnecessary bits about how she wasn't forced into being a Red Guard. It's a lot neater to say she chose to join and it reduces all the quotes.

I also changed the bibliography. I presume there's nothing wrong with that, as it's how historians sort their references. John Smith's 23:49, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Ludicrously unlikely stories

Mao was married three times. She counts four, including Mao's father's attempt at an arranged marriage. If there is no sex and no agreement, it could not possibly count as a marriage.

She denies the role of the Red Army in chewing up the Japanese lines of communication during their invasion of China. It's hard to find another history of China that thinks that. The USA noted their effectiveness compaired to Nationalist inefficiency.

She claims that Mao won the Chinese Civil War because of Soviet help. Historians dispute even if the Soviets wanted Mao to win.

She blaims Mao for accepting Outer Mongolia as independence, though it had established a modern state on purely Mongolian territory. She also blaims Mao for asserting that Tibet was part of China, which is unambiguously the case under International Law, and which the Dalai Lama accepted. 'Blaim Mao' is her only coherent rule.

Her claims of tens of millions of dead in the famine years is based on compairing the death rate in the worst years of Mao's rule to the best. If you compaire the average death-rate under Mao with the average death rate under the Nationalists, this suggests more than 100 million less deaths than if the old system had contiued.

Regarding the Sino-Indian War, she talks as if Mao willfully ignored an agreed colonial boundry. You can find in this Wikipedia that the McMahon Line had been rejected by all Chinese governments. The immediate cause of the war was Indian anger at the Chinese building a road across the Aski Chin, land they claimed as part of Kashmir. It was anyway next to Pakistani Kashmir, and Pakistan readily agreed to the Chinese definition of the border.

She's the grandchild of a warlord and the great-grandchild of a police chief serving a corrupt government. And it seems she's gone back to her roots. Gwydion M. Williams

Yeah we know she's full of it. Admittedly, though, a marriage is a marriage is a marriage even without any agreement or sex. Mao's first wife was just lucky her parents didn't marry her to a dead man. No sex there either but at the time it was a legally binding marriage. Besides who cares? Four marriages is not much these days - certainly not for the West. If I count right she is not far off it herself. I think we all agree the Anti-Jap War claims are rubbish. But the Soviets clearly gave the CCP help and while it has been denied by pro-CCP historians in the West in the past it is clearly true. I think your figures for the GMD's death rate is silly - you are comparing periods of Civil War and invasion to years of Maoist peace. Compare Taiwan with the Mainland over the same period. And there is no denying the deaths of the Great Leap Forward. Lao Wai 19:32, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

If she's unreliable where you can check her, how can you take the rest seriously? Gwydion M. Williams172.188.114.239 14:43, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

"A marriage is a marriage is a marriage even without any agreement or sex." Is that Chinese traditional law? It's definitely not the world norm. Gwydion M. Williams--172.215.185.56 20:48, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

It probably was the world norm at one time or other. The Abrahamic religions have a strong interest in sex and so usually demand consumation. Without it you can get a divorce or an annulment without too much trouble. But the Chinese were not so concerned about sex. Nor were they that concerned about consent. You could indeed marry without sex. Eunuchs married in Late Imperial times. There was no legal grounds for divorce if your husband was impotent or even homosexual. And when I say a dead man I literally mean it. In Late Imperial times girls were expected to go through marriages once they were engaged even if their finance had died. They might be married to a wooden dummy as a stand-in. Marriage was of course not about the couple only nor about sex, so why not? I don't take her seriously. You might have noticed that if you read a little bit more of this page. In fact I think she has done the virtually impossible and written worse book than Wild Swans. Lao Wai 20:55, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Mao's achievement

Under the pro-Western Kuomintang, China’s net economic growth was zero. (The World Economy: Historical Statistics). Starting from a very low base, Mao more than tripled China’s economy during his period of rule. He did this while also uprooting ancient systems of oppression and asserting China’s status as a Great Power.

No one else has trippled an economy in 25 years without cooperation from a wider global economy. The USA wanted West Germany and Japan to succeed, because they wanted successes to set against the strenght of the Soviet Bloc in those days. (Isn't it remarkable how United Germany and Japan both ran into economic troubles just when the USA didn't need them.)

Deng got a very good deal from the USA, precisely because the USA knew that Maoism had worked and that China could always go back to it. According to the Tiananmen Papers, Deng was quite ready to do this if the West had 'got tough' in 1989. Given the way that Russia suffered a shrinking economy and a rising death rate after capitulating to Western values, history seems to have justified him.

The issue just now is whether China accepts Western advice or goes its own way, with more state spending to correct inequalities. Suggesting that China under Mao was a disaster area is a move in that game, an argument for capitulation, the sort of 'Open Legs' policy that has hugely damaged other developing countries.

Gwydion M. Williams

You repeated this so do you mind if I delete one of them? It is not true that the growth rate of China under the GMD was zero. Nor did Mao start from a very low base - he inherited a large industrial base from the Nationalists and the Japanese. The fact is for most rural Chinese their living standards in 1981 were about the same as it was in 1951. I am not even sure you can claim much for urban Chinese. Pretty much all Mao did was keep pace with population growth and occasionally screw the economy up on a grand scale. But he did assert China's power as a Great Power. Built the Bomb. He merely replaced a relatively popular system of traditional "oppression" (nowhere did Mao dare attack landlords until he took power) with a brand new system of state-run semi-slavery. The Chinese population is clear on which it preferred. No one else has tried without co-operation from the global economy although Stalin did better than that. How did the US manage to help Japan and Germany along if their wealth isn't based on something? Why does China need anyone's help? Deng got a good deal because the Americans wanted China to balance the Soviet Union. Maoism failed. Even Hua Guofeng recognised that. There are a lot of problems with Russia, but I doubt Western values is one of them. Anyway the majority of this is garbage. Who cares? What relevance does it have? Why complain to us? And please sign your posts. Lao Wai 19:32, 19 July 2005 (UTC)


People who claim Mao failed never cite any specific figures or source. They just pick on particular things that went wrong. I was a little surprised to find zero net growth in China 1900-1949, but it is what a reliable and respected source says. You can have modern areas growing in an economy and still no net growth. Gwydion M. Williams


By sign I meant end your comments with four tildas ("~"). I can cite all the figures you like as proof Mao failed. Of course it is a little hard when so many are secret and the Party still throws people in jail for publishing them overseas. What respected source says? Not the Cambridge History of China. Volume 13, Part 2, pp. 155 says during the Nanjing decade growth wasn't too bad. From 1931 to 1936 industry grew by 6.7 percent a year. Electric power output doubled, increasing by 9.4 percent a year. Cotton cloth went up by 16.5 percent, bank deposits by 15.9 percent. These aren't bad figures for a country ripped apart by Civil War and the Great Depression. There is a famous article by John K Chang entitled "Industrial Development of Mainland China, 1912-1949" in the Journal of Economic History, (1967), 27:1:73-81. I haven't read it but why don't you look it up and see what it says? Lao Wai 09:45, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
I have had disputes with Lao Wai in the past, but he/she is spot on to say that Mao had little or no economic success. The CCP's growth was mainly carried out by people like Deng and Liu Shaoqi. In any case, what growth happened under the GLF was useless. What's the point of making more steel if it's scrap and useless for building? No, Mao's economic policies kept China back - or why else has the CCP scrapped Maoist thought and adopted capitalism?
The Nationalists did not rule China from 1900-1945. During the period there were in charge, they did make significant gains as LW said. But the Japanese invasion upset most of that.
In any case, this is not the place to discuss Mao, as the article here is mostly on Jung Chang herself. John Smith's 12:02, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

70 million and all that

Juan Chang claims 70 million avoidable deaths under Mao. I've read the entire book and failed to find where she gets this figure from. It seems to appear out of thin air.

She claims 38 million 'died of starvation', based on increased death rates in 1958 to 1961.

a) These figures were published under Deng, and thus may be biased against Mao

b) Raised death rates are very different from deaths from starvation. Death rates went up in Russia under Yeltsin, though no one starved

c) The worst year was 1960, followed by 1961. This was after the Great Leap had ended and after Mao had had his powers diminished.

d) She asserts that there were no natural disasters at all. She does not mention the widespread view that the weather was very bad indeed and might have produced even more deaths under the pre-Communist system. (See Three Years of Natural Disasters in this encyclopedia). She has room in her gigantic book for detailed weather statistics, if these would support her case.

e) The death-rate figures she uses also show a very big drop in the average death rate during Mao's years. This too is ignored.

Gwydion M. Williams172.188.114.239 14:39, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Mao has always been celebrated by the CCP. Thus I doubt that the figures released in Deng's era are biased - it's more about increased transparency. John Smith's 18:34, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
It's more about Jung Chang's psychological stability and her attempt to pass off ficiton as fact. --Sumple (Talk) 06:56, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Sources

Could whoever wrote the paragraph about criticism of Mao and Chang's response to this criticism please cite your sources.

Gwydion M. Williams's private and personal view

Details of where Chang & Halliday are seriously wrong. [1] --GwydionM 18:39, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for showing us this. However, I do not believe it is terribly good, as I have many points to fault you on.
First you show little respect for historical academia by not using footnotes or having a bibliography, which is essential in this area. Plus of those sources you used (apart from when quoting from the book), some were hardly reliable. No one uses something like the Encyclopedia Britannica, unless they're doing a school project. I did not see a single quotation from a credible historian to back up any of your claims.
Second you wander off-topic by commenting on "Anglo-settlers" and "Anglo culture". I'm sorry, but that is highly unprofessional, as it has nothing to do with Chang and Halliday's discussion of Mao. It also portrays your deep bias.
Third you don't seem to believe in proof-reading.
All-in-all a badly structured, badly argued, badly referenced and badly thought-out work. Cheerio John Smith's 19:50, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Only your own views are impartial? Everyone else is biased? Credible historians are those in tune with the current consensus?

You pay no attention to solid evidence that the book is wrong.

--GwydionM 18:10, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Where did I say any of that? You're reverting to point 2 in my criticism - diverting the topic by talking about irrelevant or untrue things.
On a separate note, I did not mean to infere that it was wrong to mention Snow or Wilson. More that you make a lot of assertions on things other than Luding and the Long March without anyone backing them up. The book is about Mao generally. And there are other people that have done a far, far better job of criticising it than you have. John Smith's 18:17, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Mao (the book)

This page is about the author. Lengthy discussions about her books should be made on the BOOK article. The Mao (book) bit here is long enough already. Thanks John Smith's 12:08, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Then the bit to go ought to be the authors' comments. Nor are these comments, as it happens, about the book but about the authors and their competence. I do not mind the fact that you seem to dedicate your time to turning this into a puff piece, but this is not your article, you should not act alone and in a high handed manner, and this seems to me to be perfectly reasonable inclusion. I think it ought to go back in. Lao Wai 12:13, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
I do not dedicate my time to do that, you spiteful individual. I'm simply trying to stop the whole thing becoming one long spiel about the book. Nathan's article is already mentioned. There is nothing wrong with the extra content - just put it where it should be in the book's article. John Smith's 12:17, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
Just to prove you wrong, I have decided to edit the book page myself.John Smith's 12:30, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
I am sorry to hear you think I am spiteful. Out of curiousity, is there one negative comment about Jung Chang, Halliday or the book that you have not tried to remove at one time or other? I don't think the Mao bit was long enough. I don't think that the comment that someone else put in was unreasonable. You did, as it happens, act in a high handed manner. Now this article should not give unreflective, unbalanced praise for a book which is, by all reasonable definitions, crude and incompetent. Nathan was being perfectly reasonable in my opinion. Please do look at the book page. Tell me you have not gone through it and taken out every single negative comment? Lao Wai 16:20, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
If you're not being spiteful why do you seek to attack me by saying I'm out to censor everything? If you had actually helped to build this page up from the start, rather than jump in every time you find a negative comment about the book, then you would know that there was criticism in the article right from the start. Yes, there are many negative comments that I have not tried to delete. There is very little praise of the book, if any on that page. The comments made by the wikipedians should be removed by your own logic. You said that we can't comment on the book ourselves, so why were you doing just that (and why can they criticise it)? Certainly the comments about the Communists during the war are only controversial if you believe the CCP propaganda movies. The important bits (Luding Bridge and the numbers issue) are still there. Though the bit about the Sino-Indian War would be fine if you could find something that said none of the Chinese factions had accepted the line.
I don't mind some of the edits that you make, it's that you consistently feel the need to change things back even if it means scrapping a new format for the article. The Nathan review was a good one, so why did you have to delete the bits I inserted? Certainly one could mention that historians usually complain about sources. But, as I said, making your own comments is, by your own logic and wiki's policy, not acceptable.
About the school. You changed someone else's comments because they disagreed with what you said. You were acting in a high-handed manner there. Please provide a page reference for that from Wild Swans, as that's the only source we have on that. I remember her talking about the school but not that it was just reserved for officials' children. If you can't then I will remove the comment, as it is unverified. John Smith's 17:48, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Mostly OT...

Jung Chang was on BBC World Have Your Say (aka Talking Point) where they were talking about China [2]. I don't know whether this detail should be mentioned. But I'd have to say, I only caught brief glimpses of it but from what I saw, it should be of interest to those who are interested to know more about her and how she thinks Nil Einne 15:09, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Well that was an interesting show. If you could find something that she said as being useful for this or a related page, you could include it. Otherwise I would get a direct link for the show and put it in as a reference, external link, etc. John Smith's 22:02, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Chinese name

There's one thing I don't get. Why is she called Jung Chang? I know she's bitter at the regime at all, but I mean, it sounds weird to have the surname last. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 04:18, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Lots of ethnic Chinese who live in Western countries put their surnames last... Myself included. Otherwise people would start calling you by your surname! --Sumple (Talk) 04:24, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Oh? I did too, but that's because I used a Western first name. But whenever I used my Chinese name I put my surname first. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 07:09, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
It's a personal choice at fitting in better in her "new" home. It has nothing to do with her feelings towards the CCP. When I introduce myself Japanese people I always say my surname first - it isn't because I hate the British government. John Smith's 09:52, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

That reminds me, there's one thing I don't get. Why is she called Jung Chang? Not Jung Halliday? To "fit in her new home" she should change her family name, right? -- Миборовский 04:39, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, Mib, in modern, forward-thinking countries like the UK, surprisingly enough it is deemed acceptable for women to keep their own names when they marry........ John Smith's 09:11, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
John, I guess what Miborovsky is asking is why Jung Chang did not follow local custom and changed her surname. In contrast to Japan, keeping your maiden name is the norm in China.--Niohe 22:58, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
Err, what's Japan got to do with anything? John Smith's 08:58, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, you mentioned Japanese naming conventions a bit earlier, so I felt that was a natural contrast to make.--Niohe 12:21, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, I don't know, maybe America is Hicksville compared to UK, but the vast majority of women here DO change their names after marriage. -- Миборовский 19:12, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the point is that it's a choice, rather than something you simply "have" to do. John Smith's 00:20, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
And putting your family name after your personal name is also a choice... why this choice and not that choice? -- Миборовский 03:29, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Well I don't have access to that information (nor the interest to look for it), so you'll have to find your own answers. John Smith's 14:37, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

"English" vs. "outside of Asia"

Note that the edit to say that little information about 20th-century China was available in English is neutral on all other regions and languages aside from English. It does not say how much information was available in other languages and in other regions. The edit to "English" only limits the scope of the sentence given that we really don't know exactly how much information was available "outside Asia". I believe using "English" would be more accurate. It is true that information may not have been available in Spanish, Arabic, etc etc, or a lot of other languages. But how about French and Russian? The edit to say "English" does not refute any of that because it makes no statement regarding those languages and regions that speak those languages. --- Hong Qi Gong 18:44, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

I have changed the sentence to reflect the global dearth of popular literature. How about that? John Smith's 19:13, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
It is a little vague, but I don't want to edit war. So unless other editors prefer the "English" edit also, I'll leave it as is for now. --- Hong Qi Gong 19:16, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm not a big fan of Jung Chang, but I don't think it is correct to attribute the popularity of her book to ignorance of China in the "West" whatever we would like to call it. When I grew up in the seventies and the eighties there was a bunch of books about China I could read in my native language, some of it were translations from English. Many of these books painted Mao's China in an extremely favorable light. What was new Jung Chang's book was that she presented a personal story which was incredibly hostile not only to Mao, but the whole revolution.--Niohe 13:49, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
I just changed the paragraph on celebrity to a more neutral tone. I hope it won't displease anyone. I don't think her celebrity can be explained by ignorance or that we need to explain her celebrity either. She just happened to capture a moment when these kinds of books were marketable. --Niohe 14:33, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
A lack of accessible literature isn't ignorance. Nor am I aware of similarly accessible literature on China at the time. Just because a book was translated from English doesn't mean it was widely available - English printings may have stopped. John Smith's 15:23, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
I can give you a number of examples: Edgar Snow, Han Suyin, Simon Leys, Roderick MacFarquhar, Sven Lindqvist and Jan Myrdal. Several of these works were translated into several European languages and had several print runs. Do you want more examples? There was no lack of information on China to the reading public in 1992, whether it be popular literature or more academic. What was new was her way of writing and her personal touch. That sells.--Niohe 17:11, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
I know that there was English-language literature available. I never said there wasn't. What I am talking about are books which were in the public eye, easily purchased. As I said, books fall out of publication. They don't get re-printed, etc. A lot of the books you mentioned were from the 60s or 70s - 20-30 years before Wild Swans. Also none of those books had the kind of scope of Wild Swans either - they focused on specific matters.
Maybe there is a better way to phrase it, but at the moment I get so many people making reversions that it's impossible to change anything. So maybe we should talk things over here and try to see if there is a way to phrase it to suit both our interpretations of what the situation was at the time of publication. John Smith's 17:21, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
I can assure that there was a lot of readily accessible information out there. I don't know how many books Jonathan Spence had sold by the time Jung Chang published her first book. He has written several best-sellers on both general and specific Chinese themes and Jung Chang wasn't even the first to write a autobiography of the CR, Nien Cheng wrote a highly acclaimed memoir on the CR five years before Jung Chang. So it's just wrong to say that there was a lack of popular literature on China in 1992, either in English or any other Western European language. Frankly speaking, I don't know why jung Chang hit it off the way she did. An educated guess would be the backlash against China after the June 4.--Niohe 17:40, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean, "you don't know why jung Chang hit it off the way she did"? Earlier on you said "What was new was her way of writing and her personal touch. That sells." The current version implies that the book was successful in spite of there being lots of books.
Now, as I asked you on your talk page, can you agree to finding a version between the two of us that is acceptable? Yes or no - please be direct. John Smith's 17:45, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Much of Jonathan Spence's body of work is actually on historic China rather than modern China (although he certainly has written plenty on modern China as well). The difference with Jung's work that made it stand out, in my opinion, is because it wasn't an academic work, and because of the negative light that she painted of the CCP (not entirely undeserving, of course), especially of what she wrote about the Cultural Revolution. Something I must point out though, is that much like Iris Chang's Rape of Nanking, much of what Jung wrote basically made the information available to westerners. Most Chinese people were already aware of what both Iris Chang and Jung Chang wrote. --- Hong Qi Gong 17:48, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm a little hesitant about that paragraph as well, saying that information on China was not widely available. Even if it was government propaganda, it doesn't mean information was not available. A lot of people think Jung's work is very biased. Should we therefore summarily discount her books?

At any rate, if we are to keep the paragraph to state that information was not available, I must point out once again that saying information was not available in English is much more accurate than saying so "outside Asia" or "globally", etc etc. Again, using the "English" edit is neutral on all other languages and all non-English speaking regions. That edit does not conflict with the possibility that information on China was not available in certain other languages, because it makes no statement about any other languages. It just limits the scope of the sentence to English-language literature. --- Hong Qi Gong 17:17, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Hong, will you be satisfied if I agree something with Niohe, or are you going to start reverting again if you can't get your way? Can you just trust someone else to agree upon an acceptable version with me? Because you have done nothing but revert so far - you didn't even bother trying a slightly different idea. John Smith's 17:21, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Again, reverting means undoing someone else's edits, even if you change the wording differently everytime you do so. That means you've also done a lot of reverting yourself, more than I have, in fact. So I would appreciate it if you stop the revert-warring. I would also appreciate it if you do not leave messages on my Talk page asking me how I enjoyed my first block[3]. I've already asked you on more than one occasion to please remain civil. Comments like that just place doubts on your editing in good faith. --- Hong Qi Gong 17:39, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Now, regarding how the paragraph/sentences should read - I'm actually quite satisfied with User:Niohe's current edit. I've always maintained that plenty of literature was available in certain languages outside of Asia, like probably French and Russian, even if they weren't available in certain other languages. --- Hong Qi Gong 17:39, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
That isn't what I said. I said if I could find a solution between him and myself - i.e. implying a different edit - would you agree to abide by it? John Smith's 17:45, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
If I actually agree with said "solution", then of course. However, I may not agree with it. I do, however, agree with User:Niohe's current edit, and would prefer it the section to stay this way, unless something even better is conjured. --- Hong Qi Gong 17:52, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Of course - I'm not saying you have to "lump it" in regards to what we might decide upon. But will you please not get involved in editing between the two of us until we have actually agreed with each other. If you were to revert an edit because you didn't like it, it will make it more difficult to reach an understanding between him and myself first. Is that ok? John Smith's 18:04, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean "editing between the two of you"? Do you plan on editing before you come to an agreement with him? If so, why would you do that? You don't come to an understanding by editing back and forth. You come to an understanding by discussion here in the Talk page. So the answer to your question is a resolute no. If I see a version of the article I think is inaccurate, I will exercise my privilege as a WP editor to edit the article. But let me remind you, this agreement or understanding of how the paragraph should read is not a decision to be reached only between you and Niohe. I may disagree with what the two of you can agree on, in the same way that you seem to disagree with what both Niohe and I can agree on, which is the current version. --- Hong Qi Gong 18:18, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, Hong, you're going to have to make some sort of comprimise, otherwise there will be a never-ending edit war between us. John Smith's 18:38, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Same to you on the compromise. But disagreements do not necessarily mean an edit war. Any editor can disagree with an edit without reverting the edit in question. --- Hong Qi Gong 18:49, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Hey, to be fair you've reverted every time you didn't like an edit recently - you haven't come here first and said "I don't like it, let's talk it over". If you're willing to use the talk page first in the future that would be a nice change. John Smith's 18:52, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. And this section was started specifically to talk about the edit in question here. --- Hong Qi Gong 18:55, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Challenge to 'Mib'

1)Mib, tell me your pathetic excuse for cursing Chang. I wonder aloud if you would hold contempt for her if she whitewashed Mao's story like the CCP would want her to.

It seems like lots of people think the fact her family suffered under Mao meant she embellished her story or painted Mao as a devil.

IMO, your criticism is a joke. Find me a Chinese family that hasn't been impacted by Communism. Of course, statistically and in reality, many exist, but I would say if you try to find a Chinese from the Mainland that hasn't been affected one way or another by the CCP, you are seriously delusional. All of my friends who grew up in Communist countries have relatives or friends who were taken away or abused by the government, and the facts speak for themself on China.

2)Mib, again tell me something. You are the genius around here. Tell us something that validates the abominable CCP.

How about this? Give me some proof that Mao did anything good. IMO, a monkey could have ruled China more efficiently. Marxisaloser 06:58, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Good that Mao did - Gender equality, an end to exploitation by the land-owning class, etc. Believe it or not, he actually did a lot of good pre-1949. But I won't argue that he was an egomanical tyrant after the CCP took over the country. However, I do have friends whose family breezed through some of the harder times of the Mao-era. One of my friends for example, both his parents were "sent down" to work in rural areas, and they actually loved it, and that was how the two met and eventually got married. - Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 16:24, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Mao wasn't that nice a guy. The grandparents of one of my best friends were locked up for over a decade because they fell foul of Mao's goons during the Cultural Revolution. But this isn't even the place to discuss Mao - it's about an author. If you want "answers" you'll have to ask your questions on the appropriate talk pages. John Smith's 16:53, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
First of all, I would like to thank John Smith's for giving me this opportunity to answer some of User:Marxisaloser's queries. (Cool user name BTW, I agree completely.)
  1. Mib, tell me your pathetic excuse for cursing Chang. - I have several reasons, none of them pathetic. Ergo, I cannot answer this question of yours. My apologies.
  2. I wonder aloud if you would hold contempt for her if she whitewashed Mao's story like the CCP would want her to. - Yes. There is no fundamental difference between blackwashing and whitewashing. However, my gripe with her is not directly related to this book. Besides, the current generation of CPC leadership is the ones who suffered under Mao. Why would they want to whitewash Mao?
  3. IMO, your criticism is a joke. - I'm not laughing. Would you care to elucidate which one in particular tickled your funny bone? I must be a great humorist, and I don't even know it.
  4. Find me a Chinese family that hasn't been impacted by Communism. - I'm glad you brought that up. Take mine for example. My paternal grandfather was an entrepreneur who owned an entire district of downtown Ningbo and lost it all in 1949. Then he worked as a clerk in a construction material factory. Recently his little plot of farmland was "acquired" by the city government and he gave the money from that sale equally to each of his 5 grandchildren, which came down to approximately USD$625 (USD$2,222 PPP adjusted) for each one of us. Are you are qualified to lecture me on how evil communism is? Fortunately, though, my grandfather has 2 multimillionaire sons and is now living comfortably in his bungalow with high speed internet, satellite TV and VoIP phones.
  5. All of my friends who grew up in Communist countries have relatives or friends who were taken away or abused by the government, and the facts speak for themself on China. - Sorry, I grew up in a "communist country" and I don't know anyone who was. Must be the omnipresent secret police who sneaks in at night to arrest dissenters and eat babies.
  6. Mib, again tell me something. You are the genius around here. - Thank you for your compliments. You can give me a barnstar for being a genius. I would appreciate it.
  7. Tell us something that validates the abominable CCP. - I assume you must be referring to the Capitalist Party of China? The name alone should be enough to validate it, unless you are a communist. Are you a communist? You must be a communist. Whoever disagrees with me is a communist. Even Jung Chang says so.
  8. How about this? Give me some proof that Mao did anything good. - I can, but I it would be anathema to my political beliefs to do so.
  9. IMO, a monkey could have ruled China more efficiently. - Humans are monkeys, at least according to you godless treehugging hippiecommie liberals.
-- Миборовский 00:40, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Another option

I do want to point out one obvious option here - if we can't agree on the degree of availability of literature about modern China pre-1992, we can simply take that comment out and only stick to mentioning the fact that her work became an international best-seller. Honestly, at this point, without some credible sources to discuss the issue, it's close to editors' speculation and original research to discuss the reason her work became international best-sellers. --- Hong Qi Gong 19:13, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm willing to accept that there was other literature available - that has been pointed out. However the issue is how that information should be used with the fact her book was far more successful than they had been. I have a good idea, I just need to find some time in my schedule to get it written down. To be honest, I'm not sure how it can be rejected at least in terms of what it is saying, even if it's tweaked.
But, sure, if we can't agree over it, let's just cut out the bit about other literature and say (to paraphrase) "it was popular because of the personal style......" John Smith's 19:36, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
I think it would be a lot easier for all editors to agree on something like that if we can find some credible sources to back it up. Right now, it reads like nothing but editors' opinions, especially with the usage of the word "widely". Granted, a lot of editors are knowledgeable about the subject, but having credible sources is always better, hands down. --- Hong Qi Gong 20:37, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
All I can say is that I'm old enough to remember when the book came out, and at the time, it was just seen as another one of those CR memoirs. I had already visited China then, and read quite a chunk (and some junk) on China. I didn't even bother to read it until ten years after it came out and it didn't change my understanding of the CR at all. We don't need to speculate why the book became so popular and I hope you can leave the paragraph as it stands now.--Niohe 22:35, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
No, I believe it needs to be improved. Now are you really telling me that you refuse to have any edit to it at all? Wouldn't you at least like to see what I could suggest first? John Smith's 22:38, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
By all means, go ahead and suggest something if you think it can be improved. It is not a big deal for me.--Niohe 22:54, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Right, I just wanted to ensure that you might accept another change. You'll have to forgive me if I don't do it tonight - I'll try something tomorrow. John Smith's 23:00, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Ok, how about the following? It combines the availability of other works with the book's unique story.

The publication of Jung Chang's first book Wild Swans soon made her a celebrity. At the time of printing, there were various titles about 20th century China available in the United Kingdom. However, Chang's unique style, using a personal description of the life of three generations of Chinese women to highlight the many changes that the country went through, proved to be highly successful. Large numbers of sales were generated, and the book's popularity led to it being sold around the world and translated into several languages.

John Smith's 17:54, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Is there a credible source to back up that her "unique style" made the book successful? Also, there were books available outside the UK, I don't think we should limit it to the UK. We can try to work in an explanation for why her book was successful, but it might be better to just not comment on the availability of information about 20th century China before 1992. I think the original intent was to try to explain the success of her book with the view that not much information about China was available. But it's been brought up that the availability point is questionable, and at this point, it doesn't so much serve to explain her book's success anymore. In other words, I'm not sure that there's such a need to comment on the availability of information on China. - Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 18:55, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
How about if we just remove the second sentence then? Obviously you'd remove the "however" too. John Smith's 20:00, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
That would be preferable to me. - Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 21:51, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Well if no one's going to object, I'll put the new edit in for now and see how it goes. John Smith's 20:56, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Looks good. - Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 21:06, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Much better, good job! --Niohe 22:02, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm glad we reached a mutually satisfactory outcome :) John Smith's 06:00, 12 September 2006 (UTC)