This book is sub-titled ‘The first impartial account by an insider, still living in China, of the background to events in Tiananmen Square.’ It is in fact a political thesis – and really not a new one – outlining the long struggle between hardliners and ‘reformers’ in the Chinese Communist Party.
The author and translator use pseudonyms because of ‘the great personal danger he or she faces as a result of having written this book’ but Duckworth, a most reputable publisher, guarantees the author’s credentials. Nevertheless one comes to such documents, especially from China, with caution. In 1911 a marvellous book, China under the Empress Dowager, was published telling of policies and intrigues at the time of the Boxer Rising. Years later it transpired that the diary of a high court official on which much of it was based was almost certainly forged by one of the authors, that wonderful old expatriate linguist, sinologue and fraud Edmund Backhouse.