Two Kinds of Truth

Two Kinds of Truth

Stories and Reportage from China
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/29/2006
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21861-2
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The most distinguished Chinese journalist of the past fifty years, Liu Binyan has earned the sobriquet "China’s conscience." Between 1956 and 1987, there were nine years during which the Communist Party of China allowed Liu to write the truth as he saw it. Expelled from the Party in 1957, later re-admitted and expelled again, he has lived in exile since 1988. He has continued indefatigably to read, think, and write about his beloved China: the saga of its modern history, the moral wasteland of its present condition, and its place in the global order. In Two Kinds of Truth Liu reflects on these issues and turns his incisive intellect to such topics as the unseen consequences of the Cold War, the roots of global terrorism, and whether "socialism with a human face" is possible. This volume reprints the 1983 collection People or Monsters? and offers four new essays and a lengthy interview with Perry Link.

Author Bio

Liu Binyan left school after ninth grade for lack of tuition money. He continued to read, taught himself Russian, joined the Communist Party underground in 1943, and eventually emerged as 20th-century China’s leading investigative journalist.

Perry Link is Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. His most recent book is The Uses of Literature: Life in the Socialist Chinese Literary System.


“In Two Kinds of Truth, Liu Binyan—who has earned the sobriquet “China’s conscience"—reflects on his country's modern history and turns his incisive intellect to such topics as the unseen consequences of the Cold War, the roots of global terrorism, and whether “socialism with a human face” is possible. ”

“In People or Monsters? Liu develops a very perceptive analysis of the communist system where the monopoly of the Party allows cadres to establish networks through which they enact absolute power, ending up in absolute corruption . . . By republishing this anthology, Perry Link helps attract attention to this writer who played such an important role in the 1980s and who, to this day, has not found a successor in China.”
 — China Quarterly

“. . . These historic pieces illuminate China's present social dyspepsia, beyond all differences between socialism and capitalism. . . . Highly recommended. All readers; all levels.”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

Editor's Note

An Interview with Liu Binyan Perry Link
Part I. Speech to the Congress of Literature and Art Workers
Listen Carefully to the Voice of the People Translated by Kyna Rubin
Part II. Reportage
People or Monsters? Translated by James V. Feinerman
Sound Is Better than Silence Translated by Michael S. Duke
The Second Kind of Loyalty Translated By Richard W. Bodman
Report on a Void Investigation Translated by Perry Link
Part III. Fiction
Warning Translated by Madelyn Ross
The Fifth Man in the Overcoat Translated by John S. Rohsenow
Part IV. Review Essays
An Unnatural Disaster Translated by Perry Link
A Great Leap Backward? Translated by Perry Link