The staggering story of the most important Chinese political dissident of the Mao era, a devout Christian who was imprisoned, tortured, and executed by the regime
Blood Letters tells the astonishing tale of Lin Zhao, a poet and journalist arrested by the authorities in 1960 and executed eight years later, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. The only Chinese citizen known to have openly and steadfastly opposed communism under Mao, she rooted her dissent in her Christian faith–and expressed it in long, prophetic writings done in her own blood, and at times on her clothes and on cloth torn from her bedsheets.
Miraculously, Lin Zhao’s prison writings survived, though they have only recently come to light. Drawing on these works and others from the years before her arrest, as well as interviews with her friends, her classmates, and other former political prisoners, Lian Xi paints an indelible portrait of courage and faith in the face of unrelenting evil.
Professor Lian’s research is focused on China’s modern encounter with Christianity. His first book, The Conversion of Missionaries (1997), is a critical study of American Protestant missions against the backdrop of rising Chinese nationalism in the early twentieth century. His second book, Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China (2010), winner of the 2011 Christianity Today Book Award, examines the development of missionary Christianity into a vibrant, indigenous faith of the Chinese masses. Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China (2018) is his most recent book. It is the first authoritative, documented biography of the most important political dissident in Mao’s China, whose open opposition to communism was sustained by her Christian faith. Dr. Lian’s other research projects include the flourishing of Christianity among minority peoples on the margins of the Chinese state and the emergence of Protestant elites and their prominent, if also precarious, role in the search for civil society in today’s China.
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