Black Hands of Beijing: Lives of Defiance in China's Democracy
NONFICTION BOOK REVIEW
Title: Black Hands of Beijing: Lives of Defiance in China's Democracy
Movement; by George Black and Robin Munro; Wiley; 399 pages;
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
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
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
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
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
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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