CHAOS UNDER HEAVEN by Gordon Thomas

CHAOS UNDER HEAVEN

The Shocking Story Behind China's Search for Democracy

KIRKUS REVIEW

 More B-movie journalism from the prolific Thomas (Journey into Madness, Desire and Denial, etc.), who turns a potentially important story on the Chinese democracy movement into serial melodrama. Thomas's thesis in his ``Tiananmen Trump'' opening chapter is that, early in 1991, the US cut a deal with China agreeing not to condemn that nation's rough treatment (what Thomas calls, with typical exaggeration, its ``Final Solution'') of student leaders arrested after Tiananmen in exchange for China's support of the nearly unanimous UN resolution calling for a potential allied invasion of Iraq. This buttresses Thomas's larger story of how the US willfully refused to aid the student democratic movement in China by: ignoring its own carefully gathered intelligence information on Chinese troops as they prepared to enter Tiananmen; allowing Deng Xiao Ping's discrediting of soft-liners like Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, which foreshadowed the massacre; catering to US business investors in China by tacitly refusing to intervene before or during the student rebellion in order to maintain stable relations with Chinese leaders. Thomas also singles out Bush, Brent Scowcroft, and Henry Kissinger (now a lobbyist for US corporations in China) as betrayers of the student cause. But the author's credibility punctured is by his acknowledgements that his ``Tiananmen Trump'' scenario is re-created completely from previously published accounts and that he interviewed virtually no high-ranking officials in either America or China, and by his soap-opera style, as he switches from White House meetings to domestic quarrels between Chinese nationals. Unconvincing infotainment. (Sixteen pages of photographsnot seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 1-55972-059-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991




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