The Great Wall of Confinement: The Chinese Prison Camp through Contemporary Fiction and Reportage

Philip F. Williams

Published by University of California Press, 2004
ISBN 10: 0520244028 / ISBN 13: 9780520244023
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Synopsis: China is the only major world power to have entered the twenty-first century with a thriving prison camp network—a frightening, mostly hidden realm known since 1951 as the laogai system. This book, the most comprehensive study of China's prison camps to date, draws from a wide range of primary sources, including many compelling literary documents, to illuminate life inside China's prison camps. Focusing mainly on the second half of the twentieth century, Philip F. Williams and Yenna Wu outline the evolution of the laogai system, construct a vivid picture of prisoners' lives from arrest and interrogation to release, and provide a troubling new perspective on the human rights issues plaguing China.

From the Inside Flap: "China is so big and so diverse that, as in the proverbial blind man touching an elephant, contemporary descriptions that vary dramatically can all be true. Few visitors to glittering Shanghai of Shenzhen, for example, will get any impression of the gaping gray maw of the government's prison camp system that Philip Williams and Yenna Wu, basing themselves on a vast range of Chinese sources, illuminate in erudite detail. The authors look at every facet of the camps, place them within China's historical tradition, and compare them with modern analogues. Throughout, literary and autobiographical sources give the 'feel' for the deadening world of the camps."—Perry Link, author of The Uses of Literature: Life in the Socialist Chinese Literary System

"The Great Wall of Confinement deals with issues ranging from the legal grounding—or the lack of any—of the Chinese concentration camp system, to its technical implementation, its discursive manifestation, and its physical as well as psychological impact. A book like this is long overdue. With this work, Williams and Wu have made an important contribution to the fields of Chinese legal and literary studies."—David Der-wei Wang, author of The Monster That Is History

"The Great Wall of Confinement is an excellent book. It synthesizes an already significant corpus of writings on Chinese prisons and labor camps, marshals an array of literary sources as essential historical source materials, and compares the literature of Chinese incarceration with its Soviet and European counterparts. The value of this important study stems equally from its tone—a rare combination of a level-headed quality with a very fine sensitivity to the human tragedy recounted in this literature."—Jean-Luc Domenach, author of Où va la Chine? (Where does China Go?)

"The Great Wall of Confinement has attempted to lift part of the veil on China's long lasting tragedy: the use of imprisonment, torture, forced labor against its citizens, whether criminals, feeble minded or simply political opponents. The angle is new; the question is to find out how Chinese have written on this subject, whether in fiction or reportage, the way they went about telling their stories, how much they said, or withheld. Through Philip Willams and Yenna Wu's thought-provoking analysis of such writings, of the cultural origins of forced labor and imprisonment in imperial and Communist China, one comes closer to this sinister reality, which remains to this day one of the best kept secrets of our planet."—Marie Holzman, President of the Association Solidarité Chine

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Title: The Great Wall of Confinement: The Chinese ...
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description University of California Press, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. China is the only major world power to have entered the twenty-first century with a thriving prison camp network - a frightening, mostly hidden realm known since 1951 as the laogai system. This book, the most comprehensive study of China s prison camps to date, draws from a wide range of primary sources, including many compelling literary documents, to illuminate life inside China s prison camps. Focusing mainly on the second half of the twentieth century, Philip F. Williams and Yenna Wu outline the evolution of the laogai system, construct a vivid picture of prisoners lives from arrest and interrogation to release, and provide a troubling new perspective on the human rights issues plaguing China. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780520244023

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Book Description University of California Press, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. China is the only major world power to have entered the twenty-first century with a thriving prison camp network - a frightening, mostly hidden realm known since 1951 as the laogai system. This book, the most comprehensive study of China s prison camps to date, draws from a wide range of primary sources, including many compelling literary documents, to illuminate life inside China s prison camps. Focusing mainly on the second half of the twentieth century, Philip F. Williams and Yenna Wu outline the evolution of the laogai system, construct a vivid picture of prisoners lives from arrest and interrogation to release, and provide a troubling new perspective on the human rights issues plaguing China. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780520244023

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