• The People's Republic of Amnesia

  • Tiananmen Revisited
  • By: Louisa Lim
  • Narrated by: Louisa Lim
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On June 4, 1989, People's Liberation Army soldiers opened fire on unarmed civilians in Beijing, killing untold hundreds of people. A quarter-century later, this defining event remains buried in China's modern history, successfully expunged from collective memory.

In The People's Republic of Amnesia, NPR correspondent Louisa Lim charts how the events of June 4 changed China, and how China changed the events of June 4 by rewriting its own history. Lim reveals new details about those fateful days, including how one of the country's most senior politicians lost a family member to an army bullet, as well as the inside story of the young soldiers sent to clear Tiananmen Square. She also introduces us to individuals whose lives were transformed by the events of Tiananmen Square, such as a founder of the Tiananmen Mothers, whose son was shot by martial law troops; and one of the most important government officials in the country, who post-Tiananmen became one of its most prominent dissidents. And she examines how June 4 shaped China's national identity, fostering a generation of young nationalists, who know little and care less about 1989. For the first time, Lim uncovers the details of a brutal crackdown in a second Chinese city that until now has been a near-perfect case study in the state's ability to rewrite history, excising the most painful episodes. By tracking down eyewitnesses, discovering US diplomatic cables, and combing through official Chinese records, Lim offers the first account of a story that has remained untold for a quarter of a century.

The People's Republic of Amnesia is an original, powerfully gripping, and ultimately unforgettable audiobook about a national tragedy and an unhealed wound.

©2014 Louisa Lim (P)2014 Audible Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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great book and recording

You could hear the passion for the topic in Ms. Lim's writing and delivery. An important story to be recounted and remembered.

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  • DM
  • 08-28-22

Simply essential

Lies written in ink can never disguise facts written in blood.

This book is ostensibly about the killing of citizens by the Communist Party in Tiananmen Square, Beijing in 1989 (as well as elsewhere in China), but that is really only a starting point for a much broader exploration of modern China - and the astonishing effect created by a political system that, by using fear as a tool, closely controls what people learn, say, think and remember.

For anyone unfamiliar with how the world's largest economy is run, this provides a blood-chilling, eye-opening insight. As a work of journalism, it is brave and important. For if these people had not passed on their memories for the public record, they would be lost in time.

“The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible,” wrote Salman Rushdie. There is no real accountability in modern China. There are no real laws. There is only the Party. It is a land of security cameras, checkpoint guards and police.

"Does what happened in Tiananmen Square a quarter of a century ago still matter?" muses Louisa Lim, the author (and narrator) of this brilliant and essential work. On a personal level, it matters to the people she spoke to, many of whom saw loved ones butchered and their murders swept out of history. But it matters to everyone. It is a lesson in the toxic inhumanity of unchallenged, unchecked power.

What can be done? Read this book. Value facts, truth and the sometimes messy and confrontational nature of democracy. Remember the past, and hope for better things to come.

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  • Jake Harrison
  • 01-02-20

Exposing the world's most dangerous regime

A story of a violent authoritarian regime - the Chinese Communist Party - that needed to be told.

Thank you Louisa Lim. You are doing great work. Hopefully one day we will see a safe and free China.

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  • Peregrine Quartermaine
  • 09-13-19

Stranger than any fiction

Often I am wary of books narrated by their authors. In this case, I don’t think anyone could have narrated it any better. Louisa Lim puts her soul into this reading, and leaves you feeling that you’ve actually lived through the experiences she describes. That’s partly because she spend years tracking down and interviewing those who witnessed or lost family members in the Tiananmen massacre, some of whom have never dared to speak to anyone about it before, and partly because she herself witnessed at first hand the well honed techniques developed since Tiananmen by a paranoid totalitarian dictatorship to suppress public unrest before anyone has time to organise it. She presents a truly honest and unflinching picture of the dystopian nightmare which modern China is rapidly becoming. A truly unforgettable but very necessary book, which captures for posterity the truth about crimes which the Chinese government is very successfully in the process of erasing from the collective consciousness of an entire nation.

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  • without recourse
  • 08-02-19

Great, thought provoking and insightful

well worth a read.

Good comprehensive yet accessible account of those events that are hard to forget...for some