The International Herald Tribune profiles Yang Jisheng, whose book, Tombstone, is an account of the Great Leap Forward and the famine that accompanied it. Yang’s previous book contained a lengthy interviewed with purged party leader Zhao Ziyang:
Why then does he feel compelled to write about such sensitive topics?
“There are too many lies in China in the past, even history can be fabricated,” said Yang, in the earthy accent of his native Hubei Province.
“Deceiving children is a sin,” he said. “But they have deceived two, three generations of people already, so this generation cannot lie to the next generation again.”
He said for many young Chinese today, events like the famine, the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen crackdown hardly register. So he feels it imperative that he write down what he knows and has seen.