cover image Evening Chats in Beijing =

Evening Chats in Beijing =

Perry Link, E. Perry Link. W. W. Norton & Company, $24.95 (321pp) ISBN 978-0-393-03052-5

``Americans,'' a Chinese scholar friend of the author observed, ``can never, never appreciate the `worrying mentality' '' of the Chinese. Nevertheless, Link, a professor of Chinese literature at Princeton, eloquently imparts the deeply felt concerns he heard from students and colleagues during his 1988-1989 stint as director of the National Academy of Science Office on Scholarly Exchange in Beijing. With grace and warmth, he recounts complaints of nepotism, corruption, deprivation, bribery and oppression leading to the Tiananmen Square massacre--confirming what has already been told in the recent spate of reports from dissidents. His temperate, objective account demonstrates the acute sense of responsibility Chinese intellectuals have traditionally assumed for their country. A fellow American at one of the meetings Link attended drew parallels between the complaints of the Chinese and those of U.S. citizens about their own goverment. Link points out the profound differences between a society in which individuals have freedom to criticize and one in which they don't. (Aug.)