Sunday, October 01, 2006

Re-reading Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China

(Updated Edition) Lucia, my Chilean Australian friend who visited Kuala Lumpur not too long ago, has carelessly left behind a book - which she brought along for leisurely reading - in my house. It is the latest reprint of American journalist Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China. Snow was the first Westerner who broke through the Kuomingtang military and propaganda blockages, met and interviewed Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.

In 1936 when the very brave and upright Snow (left), who refused to blindly believe in the one-sided anti-communist propaganda churned out by the very corrupt Kuomintang regime in Nanjing, visited the Northwest region of China, Mao, Zhou and their comrades were still encircled 'bandits'. After re-reading the first few chapters, I still find the book worthy of serious and deep reflection.

One of my reflections is that, although China is now recognised as a emerging world power to be compared with the United States and other developed countries, the more meaningful Ground Zero to measure its political, economic and social progress is 1936 - the year Snow visited the Great Northwest - when the Old China outside the Red Zone was a mentally confused feudal and semi-colonial 'Sick Man of East Asia' that muddled along in a world dominated by Great Powers without any sense of self-worth, purpose and direction, as fictionalised in Lu Xun's The True Story of Ah Q.

Another reflection of mine is that younger generations of friends in China must never forget the trials, tribulations, contributions and sacrifices of many internationalists from all over the world who lent their helping hands to the national resistance and liberation struggle like Canadian communist Dr. Henry Norman Bethune (白求恩大夫). Friends in need are true friends indeed.

Edgar Snow Centenary Conference

Edgar Snow – Friendship Ambassador

Extracts from Edgar Snow's Scorched Earth (1941)

Norman Bethune – A Great International Humanitarian


Blogger Gwo-Tynde Loh said...

So you a politician? What you do?

12:29 AM  
Blogger atarkoy said...

Greetings. I googled edgar snow and got on to your blog. Having just finished Jun Chang and Halliday's Mao the untold story,wonder if snow was so enrapt by the revolution that he couldn't see straight.
he just dishes over everything mao said and extol it. This book i've just finished reading has blown to bits many of the romanticism and mythology about mao.
Hope you have read it.

2:03 AM  

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