In response to:
'Tiananmen Follies': An Exchange from the April 27, 2006 issue
To the Editors:
In his reply to my letter in the April 27 issue, Jonathan Mirsky quoted as follows from the book jacket of Tiananmen Follies—the book published under my name—“She begins to accept the government’s view on certain matters, ending up fingering others in a manner that suggests previous collaborationist actions in China.”
I want to make it clear that this statement is entirely untrue. I never informed on pro-democracy leaders to China’s police, nor has anyone in China ever made such a claim. The only person ever to do so is the unknown publicist who wrote this sensationalist, false back-cover blurb.
I gave permission more than a decade ago for my prison writings to be translated, but the translators and book editors never subsequently contacted me about the book or to learn anything about my prison experiences (although the translations by Geremie Barmé were done prior to all of this and published with my consent in Index on Censorship in 1992). I saw the book for the first time after it was published, when a friend bought several copies for me. Had I been able to see the book earlier, I would have insisted that the false statement and any other inaccuracies and misrepresentations be removed. I also would have asked that the flippant book title Tiananmen Follies be removed, as it is quite inappropriate as a description of a situation where many people ultimately died. And I would have requested that my book have an introduction and explanatory footnotes so that Western readers could understand my prison writings properly.
I do not accept this book as an embodiment of my reflections or ideals. Quite the opposite. Upon seeing the published book after a ten-year delay, with its flippant title, I was so disheartened that I could not read it.
To the Editors:
Over the years, those of us on our team who have translated works by Dai Qing from Chinese into English have always made it a practice to minimize footnotes and focus on accuracy.
It is our conviction that in Tiananmen Follies Dai Qing has provided an important piece of historical testimony and made an outstanding contribution to the literature of reportage. We are honored to be associated with the English-language publication of her book. We also admire Dai Qing for her extraordinary personal courage.
Nancy Yang Liu
Lawrence R. Sullivan
Editors and translators of Tiananmen Follies
November 2, 2006