Black Hands of Beijing: Lives of Defiance in China's Democracy Movement

NONFICTION BOOK REVIEW

440 words 

Title: Black Hands of Beijing: Lives of Defiance in China's Democracy
Movement; by George Black and Robin Munro; Wiley; 399 pages; 
$32.50; hardcover. 

Reviewer: A. T. Connellan, "This book is guaranteed to upset your 
sleep pattern, and  is required reading for anyone ready to accept 
assumptions about the "New China" as a trading partner."     

Author's Tiananmen analysis guaranteed to jolt readers                         
                     
Trading partners, from ball-point pens and radios, to cars, 
watches, and television sets, Canadians have become Japan-wise 
over the years. We're comfortable with Koreans. We buy their 
automobiles, TV's, and computers. They keep the Japanese 
honest, and the Americans on their toes, but China is a whole new 
ball game. 
Mainland China, potentially our largest trading partner in 
this shrinking globe, is just a spit in the wind away. This 
fact has created a spate of Sino-Pacific Rim Study programs, 
instant experts, and extraordinary examples of spin-doctoring. 
June '89, the savage butchery in Tiananmen Square, and 
surrounding streets brought Beijing to the front of our 
consciousness like no other China event in recent times. 
 Visually slapped awake by the televised diary of the 
Laobaixing [ordinary people of Beijing] demand for democracy, 
and the vivid portrayal of a life where there are none of the 
human rights we blithely take for granted. 
The books have been flowing ever since. One of the best, 
Quelling The People [reviewed here for you March 21st] was 
Timothy Brooks' carefully crafted, hour by hour chronicle of 
the violence inflicted on the people of Beijing by their 
government. 
In Black Hands of Beijing, authors Black and Munro take a 
broader brush to the subject. Carefully researched, it has a 
comprehensive index, detailed notes, and biographies of the 
major players. 
This volume is divided into 3 Books; Reformers, Tiananmen, 
and Scapegoats. The first relates the history of the three men
identified by the government as the major conspirators or 
Black Hands [Heishou], Chen Ziming, Wang Juntao, and Han 
Dongfang. 
Book 2 is the chronology of events in the 100 acre 
Tiananmen Square and its environs by the major players in the 
drama. Their action and government reaction in its attempt to 
halt the spread of "The Polish disease", Solidarity. 
In the final book, the gripping and disturbing account of 
the pursuit and punishment of the Black Hands, and in the 
telling, an unsettling disclosure of a "verdict first, trial 
second" justice system. 
Compellingly chronicled is the callous use of brutality and 
torture, and the scheduling of executions at the notorious 
Banbuqiao Prison to coincide with the demand for organ 
transplants at Beijing hospitals. "...doctors stood by in a 
closed van nearby to remove the organs immediately after 
execution". 
This book is guaranteed to upset your sleep pattern, and 
is required reading for anyone ready to accept assumptions 
about the "New China" as a trading partner. We have no right 
to tell another nation how to function, but we do have the 
responsibility to decide whether to buy, sell, or trade.  


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