Real Life China 1978-1983, by Richard Thwaites

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Richard Thwaites worked for five years in China, based in Beijing as the resident correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

This highly praised book portrays a wide range of individual Chinese people - their personal ambitions and hopes; their work and home lives; how they saw China and the world around them, during the period when China was just emerging from the "Ten Years of Chaos" created by Maoism and the so-called "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution".

The author is himself a Mandarin-speaker, and could record first hand accounts in the genuine voices of those who had experienced ordinary life in extraordinary times.

Real Life China 1978-1983 is a valuable resource for students and general readers curious about the origins of modern China's political and cultural development, and the attitudes and strategies Chinese citizens have used, to cope with a threatening world and to make the most of their opportunities.

The focus on individuals provides the general reader with rare insights into the complexity that lies beneath China's often monolithic image.

Orginally published in 1985, this book is now available in full text in choice of three formats from the links on this page:

  • For online reading, in web-page format
  • For e-book readers (epub format, 400Kb download)
  • In full print quality, fully paginated with all original illustrations and photographs by the author (pdf format, 16Mb download)
Copyright is retained by the author.


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