The tale of Lai Chang-xing is emblematic of post-Maoist China. The man’s like may also be found in post-communist Russia. Here is someone who worked hard, took risks and knew whom to bribe.
Oliver August, who for seven years ran the Times of London’s Beijing bureau, did not set himself an easy assignment when he decided to research Lai’s career. Once his subject fell from favor and fled the country, people found it best for their health not to talk about him. With “Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China’s Most Wanted Man,” August comes across as brave, resourceful and determined. Eventually, he even gets to peek inside the notorious Red Mansion where Lai kept concubines for various officials. [Full Text]