CHINA’S UNDERGROUND HISTORIANS AND THEIR BATTLE FOR THE FUTURE - For decades, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has sought to prevent Chinese artists from freely engaging with the world, especially on the topic of China’s history. The CCP’s story of Chinese history describes Communism’s triumph as natural and inevitable and whitewashes the Party’s misdeeds. Thus, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, equates control of historical narratives with the survival of the Party.
In recent years, however, party control over those attempting to bring alternative narratives to light has been shaken by a network of independent writers, artists, and filmmakers. Using technology to bypass China’s legendary censorship mechanisms, these underground historians share powerful accounts of historical and modern disasters that challenge Xi Jinping’s rule.
Using years of firsthand research in China, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ian Johnson challenges the stereotypes of China as a state where all free thought has successfully been silenced. Please join the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub for a discussion on Ian Johnson’s new book Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 12/07/23