Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Look at China Based on a True Story

Fred Hiatt. Nine Days. New York,N.Y.: Delacorte Press, 2013.

This fiction novel presents Chen Jie-min, an activist for democracy within China who disappears. It is based upon the  real story of Wang Bingzhang who started a democracy organization in China after learning about democracy and civil liberties as a graduate student in North America. He was kidnapped in Vietnam where he had gone to meet with labor activists. The kidnappers returned him to China where he was accused of plotting to bomb a Chinese Embassy. He was given a life imprisonment sentence. His daughter, Ti-Anna Wong, hopes that his work helped plant seeds for democracy to eventually grow within China.

The novel involves two teen agers who leave for China without telling their parents in hopes they may somehow help. They learn about people in China fearful of speaking out against their government, being bugged by authorities, and they witness human trafficking. Their adventures are definitely unique for most American teens. They learn insightful lessons about China and about themselves.


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