A number of books about China and Southeast Asia that might be of interest to Plaid Bag readers have come across my desk lately for review. While only one of these books dealt with diaspora issues explicitly, all contribute something to the larger discussion.
In this harrowing memoir, poet Liao details his years of imprisonment for his involvement in the 1989 Chinese student movement. I found it very useful for fleshing out my understanding of the movement, the crackdown on which accelerated the brain drain of intellectuals from China to the West. Like many Chinese who were involved in the movement, Liao is currently living in exile in Germany, though he did not leave China until 2011. Interference from state authorities in China made it impossible for him to continue his work there. As the first line of the preface states, “I have written this book three times, thanks to the relentless obstruction of the Chinese security police.” (xix).