Zha Jianying is a journalist and nonfiction writer. She is the author of two books in English, China Pop: How Soap Operas, Tabloids, and Bestsellers Are Transforming a Culture and Tide Players: The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Dushu. She divides her time between Beijing and New York City.
After reading Ji Xianlin’s The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a Chinese intellectual friend summed it up to me: “This is our Auschwitz.” Indeed, though what happened in the cowshed where the celebrated Indologist Ji was held was by no means exceptional (torture and violence were widespread at the time), of all the memoirs of the Cultural Revolution I have read, I cannot think of another one that offers such a devastatingly direct and detailed testimony on the physical and mental abuse an entire imprisoned intellectual community suffered.