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Jan Wong

19 November 2007 | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

I am Planta: On the Line. This is THECOMMENTARY.CA.

Jan Wong was born and raised in Montreal. In 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution in China, she was one of only two westerners permitted to enrol at Beijing University. A fellow student, Yin, approaches Wong and asks for help in getting to the United States. Wong, then an avowed Maoist, immediately reports Yin to the school’s authorities. She confessed this in her previously bestselling 1996 book Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now. And though she returned to China in 1999 to research and write a second book, as well as make a documentary-Jan Wong’s China-her conscience still weighed heavily on her. In her latest book, Beijing Confidential: A Tale of Comrades Lost and Found, she revisits her experiences in China as a student, and sets out to find Yin. Recounting a recent trip she and her family took to China with the explicit goal of finding the friend she squealed on those many years ago, the book provides a fascinating glimpse of a dogged and resourceful reporter seeking to make amends, as well as a view on Beijing as it makes the move out of communism into the throes of capitalism. Often humorous, Beijing Confidential is rich in detail and is also instructive. Jan Wong is a reporter for the Globe and Mail in Toronto, where she lives with her family. Her last book, Lunch with Jan Wong was a collection of her very interesting and much talked about columns. This book, published by Doubleday retails for $34.95. I am pleased to welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Jan Wong. Good morning, Ms. Wong.