Almost 20 years since the Tiananmen Square uprising, Jan Wong publishes her memoir which tells us both about contemporary china as well as about the China of 30 years ago. In 1972 Jan became one of only two Westerners admitted to Beijing University at the height of the Cultural Revolution.
One day, a student, Yin Luoyi, sought Jan’s assistance in getting to the United States. Wong – then a starry-eyed Maoist from Montreal was that most dangerous combination in the young, ignorant, innocent and idealistic – reported Yin to the authorities. Yin promptly disappeared without trace…
Thirty-three years later, and with the guilt of her actions weighing heavily on her shoulders, Jan returns to Beijing in search for the person who haunts her conscience. Chinese Whispers is the real life detective story of Jan’s search in which she does, eventually, come face to face with the friend she wronged all those years ago.
Jan Wong is a third-generation Chinese Canadian, born and raised in Montreal. She was the much-acclaimed Beijing correspondent for the Toronto Globe and Mail from 1988 to 1994. Her first book, Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now, was named one of Time magazine’s top ten books of 1996 and remains banned in China. She has just published her memoir Chinese Whispers: Searching for Forgiveness in Beijing
Isabel Hilton is a London based international journalist and broadcaster. She has an MA (hons) in Chinese from Edinburgh University and, after two years postgraduate work in Edinburgh, studied in China for two years, first at the Beijing Foreign Language and Culture University and then at Fudan University in Shanghai.