World-famous dissident Wu (Bitter Winds, 1994) gives a powerful expos‚ of China's use of slave labor to produce export...


TROUBLEMAKER: One Man's Crusade Against China's Cruelty

World-famous dissident Wu (Bitter Winds, 1994) gives a powerful expos‚ of China's use of slave labor to produce export goods, as he describes his undercover visits to his homeland, including his detention last summer and its impact on Hillary Clinton's attendance at the United Nations Women's Conference in Beijing. In 1992, Wu, living in the United States, established the Laogai Research Foundation in order to expose China's sale of forced labor products on the international market. (Laogai is the Chinese gulag, where Wu himself spent 19 years in forced labor camps.) In this new book his focus is on his highly dangerous trips back to China since 1991. He visited his old prison, Beijing No. 1 Laogai Camp, which is now known as a shrimp farm but is otherwise unchanged, and he and his wife, Ching Lee, managed to film the notorious Wangzhuang Coal Mine, where Wu had undergone ""reform through labor"" and nearly lost his life. Wu pretended to be an American businessman and obtained admissions that products were made by prisoners. On another visit, he entered a hospital and was told how expensive transplant operations for foreigners made use of organs taken from prisoners after--and even before--execution. The final part of Wu's narrative details his arrest and trial last year. Due to pressure from Congress and his American citizenship, he was relatively well treated and released after two months. Neither the White House nor Hillary Clinton come out too well in this affair, and Wu believes that Nixon's famous China visit played into Mao's hands. He argues that dropping China's most favored nation status is the only way to change conditions inside the country; meanwhile, we are fooling ourselves by equating capitalism in China with democracy. Wu's moving and heroic story is essential reading for anyone concerned with the human rights struggle and its implications for public policy.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996


Page Count: 256

Publisher: Times

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996