- Narrated by: Ian Johnson
- Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
- Release date: 10-30-23
Sparks By Ian Johnson AudioBook summary
The past is a battleground in many countries, but in China it is crucial to political power. In traditional China, dynasties rewrote history to justify their rule by proving that their predecessors were unworthy of holding power. Marxism gave this a modern gloss, describing history as an unstoppable force heading toward Communism’s triumph. The Chinese Communist Party builds on these ideas to whitewash its misdeeds and glorify its rule. One of Xi Jinping’s signature policies is the control of history, which he equates with the party’s survival.
But in recent years, independent writers, artists, and filmmakers have begun challenging this state-led disremembering. Using digital technologies to bypass China’s legendary surveillance state, their samizdat journals, guerilla media posts, and underground films document a regular pattern of disasters: from famines and purges of years past to ethnic clashes and virus outbreaks of the present—powerful accounts that have underpinned recent protests in China against Xi Jinping’s strongman rule.