Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China by Kang Zhengguo

Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China by Kang Zhengguo

Confessions | An Innocent Life in Communist China by Kang Zhengguo tells the author’s story during a difficult part of China’s history. 

With clear vision this intimate memoir draws us into the intersections of everyday life and Communist power from the first days of “Liberation” in 1949 through the Tiananmen Square protests and after. The son of a professional family, Kang Zhengguo is a free spirit, drawn to literature. In Mao’s China, these innocuous circumstances expose him at the age of twenty to a fierce struggle session, expulsion from university, and a four-year term of hard labor in Xian’s Number Two Brickyard. So begins his long stay in the prison-camp system, a story of hardship and poignance, of warmth and humor in the face of cruelty. He finally escapes the Chinese gulag by forfeiting his identity: at age twenty-eight he is adopted by an aging bachelor in a peasant village, which enables him to start a new life. Rehabilitated after Mao’s death, Kang finds himself still subject to the recurring nightmare of party authority.

Kang Zhengguo is the author of a quirky, highly-praised memoir about life during the Cultural Revolution, “Confessions: An Innocent Life in Communist China” (2007). A self-described misfit, individualist, contrarian and ne’er-do-well, Kang commits countless minor political offenses with both his tongue and his pen. These offenses eventually lead to his expulsion from university, forced labor in a brickyard, a three-year prison term, and a failed career as a rural laborer in a peasant commune. A poet and scholar of classical Chinese literature, Kang has been Senior Lecturer in Chinese at Yale University since 1994.

  • ISBN: 0393064670
  • 480 pages
  • June 27, 2007

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company