Peh Shing Huei's provocative book captures his harrowing, humbling and sometimes hilarious experiences in China when he was China bureau chief for The Straits Times. As he documents the rise of China, he also uncovers the problems beneath its sinews. Peh visits the bustling factories of Guangdong wrestling labour woes; strays into the line of fire during the bloody ethnic riots in Urumqi; journeys to the forgotten museum of the Cultural Revolution on a remote mountain top. When the Party Ends chronicles vivid accounts of questionable processes against the voiceless and the powerless. Peh gives voice to their battles with the Chinese Communist Party and errant companies over rights and resources. He shakes off officials so as to meet an environmentalist who was tortured for wanting to save a river from pollution. He speaks to a man who was jailed simply for posting an intemperate tweet. He interviews an ageing former Red Guard undertaker who still cries when he recalls the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution. These and other vignettes are counterposed against Peh's riveting narrative of the "palace intrigues" of the powerful communist leaders in the lead-up to the epochal leadership change in late 2012. It culminates in the dramatic downfall of princeling Bo Xilai - the latest in China's complex political machinations. When the Party Ends is an absorbing and remarkable work of journalism, offering a fascinating insight into a changing China, one where the status quo is being reinvented with each passing day.
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