Bullets and Opium

Real-Life Stories of China After the Tiananmen Square Massacre

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About The Book

A “memorable series of portraits of the working class people who defended Tiananmen Square” (The New York Review of Books) during the protests from the award-winning poet, dissident, and “one of the most original and remarkable Chinese writers of our time” (Philip Gourevitch).

Much has been written about the Tiananmen Square protests, but very little exists in the words of those who were actually there.

For over seven years, Liao Yiwu—a master of contemporary Chinese literature, imprisoned and persecuted as a counter-revolutionary until he fled the country in 2011—secretly interviewed survivors of the devastating 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Tortured, imprisoned, and forced into silence and the margins of Chinese society for thirty years, their harrowing and unforgettable stories are now finally revealed in this “indispensable historical document” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

About The Author

Elisabeth Bernstein

Liao Yiwu is a writer, musician, and poet from Sichaun, China. He is the author of The Corpse Walker, God Is Red, and For a Song and a Hundred Songs, a memoir of the four years he spent in prison after the Tiananmen Square Massacre. His work has been published in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. He has received numerous awards, including the prestigious 2012 Peace Prize awarded by the German Book Trade and the Disturbing the Peace Award given by the Václav Havel Library Foundation. Liao escaped from China in July 2011 and currently lives in Berlin, Germany.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria/One Signal Publishers (March 3, 2020)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982126650

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Raves and Reviews

“A series of harrowing, unforgettable tales...Had [Liao Yiwu] not fled the country in 2011, they may never have emerged. An indispensable historical document.”
 

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Moving… a memorable series of portraits of the working-class people who defended Tiananmen Square." 

– New York Review of Books

“Liao shows that it was working-class Beijingers who made the supreme sacrifice” 

– The New York Times

“Liao Yiwu’s searing account of what happened in Beijing on June 4, 1989, and its lasting impact, doggedly collected from witnesses, demands attention.”

– South China Morning Post

“This captivating work is essential for readers interested in China’s recent history.”

– Library Journal (starred)

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