Lijia Zhang

Lijia Zhang was born and raised in Nanjing. Her articles have appeared in many international publications, including South China Morning Post, Japan Times, The Independent, Washington Times, and Newsweek. She is a regular speaker on BBC Radio and NPR. She lives in Beijing with her two daughters.

Socialism is Great


Socialism is Great! – A worker's memoir of the new China

Lijia Zhang

As a teenager, Lijia Zhang worked in a factory producing missiles designed to reach North America, queuing every month to give evidence to the "period police" that she wasn't pregnant.

In the oppressive routine of guarded compound and political meetings, Zhang's disillusionment with "The Glorious Cause" drove her to study English, which strengthened her intellectual independence – from wearing bright, western style clothes to organizing the largest demonstration by Nanjing workers in support of Tiananmen Square Protest in 1989.

By narrating the changes in her own life, Zhang chronicles the momentous shift in China's economic policy: her factory, still a ballistic missile manufacturer, won the bid to cast a giant bronze Buddha as the country went crazy for profit.

Written in English, Socialism Is Great! is a testament to Zhang's personal triumphs over the controlled existence that was supposed to be her destiny. (Buy -


"A beautiful memoir of this important period… Our current China literature is heavy with victim memoirs, but this is a true tale of aspiration: a young woman coming of age in a nation desperately trying to do the same" - Peter Hessler, author of River Town and Oracle Bones

Australia 2008 · UWA Press
France 2009 · Bourin Editeur and Eurane
Holland 2009 · Mouria
India 2009 · HarperCollins
Israel 2009 · Hakkibutz
USA 2009 · Random House/Anchor PB



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