Egg on Mao: The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked
a Dictatorship by Denise Chong
TORONTO, June 1 /CNW/ - On September 30, 2009, Random House Canada, in
partnership with Counterpoint in the United States, will publish Egg on Mao:
The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked a Dictatorship,
by Denise Chong, the award-winning author of The Concubine's Children and The
Girl in the Picture.
Most anniversary commemorations of the Chinese regime's brutal crackdown
on June 4 have focused on the fifty days when the entire world watched the
historic standoff between the student pro-democracy movement and the Chinese
leadership. Egg on Mao spans more than a half century of China's recent past,
telling a story around the pivotal, defiant moment, when Lu Decheng, together
with his two friends, Yu Zhijian, a primary school teacher, and Yu Dongyue, an
artist at a small daily newspaper, famously threw paint-filled eggs at the
portrait of Mao Zedong that dominates the square. Besides charting what
brought the three to travel to Beijing and to their dramatic act, the book
explores whether repression and imprisonment, or even time itself, can douse
the flame of desire for human rights.
As a child growing up near Mao's home county, Lu Decheng saw retired Red
Army soldiers muscle his grandmother out of the line-up for rations. As a
teenager, he refused to cry on demand when Mao died. As an adult, he fended
off officials haranguing his pregnant wife to undergo an abortion, and tried
fruitlessly to help a victim of sham police work and trumped-up charges. In
1989, at age twenty-five, he identified with the students' calls for democracy
and freedom. Days later after arriving in Beijing, he found himself staring
down Mao's portrait with an egg cradled in his hand. Later, as an inmate in a
reform-through-labour prison, he refused to recant or break his solidarity
with his friends, even if it meant foregoing a shorter sentence for himself.
Such a story can now be told because after serving nine years in prison
Lu Decheng fled China and made it to Canada in 2006. This year, on June 4,
2009 in Washington, D.C., he will be reunited with his two friends, who
themselves escaped from China, finally making it to the United States in late
May. Yu Zhijian served eleven years in prison, Yu Dongyue, seventeen years.
Egg on Mao, a story that throws into stark contrast the humanity of
individuals against the monolith of the state, tells of the desire that is no
less true today than it was twenty years ago in Tiananmen Square - a desire
for a freedom of association, for the freedom to think, to speak out, to feel
and to know what is in one's heart. Egg on Mao speaks in the universal
language of human rights.
Denise Chong is an award-winning and internationally published author.
Her family memoir, The Concubine's Children, won the City of Vancouver Book
Award, the Edna Staebler Award and the VanCity Book Prize, and spent 93 weeks
on the Globe and Mail bestseller list. She adapted the memoir for the stage
and the play premiered at Nanaimo's Port Theatre in 2004. Her second book, The
Girl in the Picture, was a biography of the iconic Vietnam War victim Kim
Phuc. Both books were shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award.
Denise Chong lives in Ottawa.
For further information:
For further information: Sharon Klein, Random House Canada,