“Socialism Is Great!” A Worker’s Memoir of the New China By Lijia Zhang

A spirited memoir by a former Chinese factory worker who grew up in Nanjing, participated in the Tiananmen Square protest and ended up an international journalist.

Lijia Zhang worked as a teenager 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 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 an ICBM 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’ personal triumphs over the controlled existence that was supposed to be her destiny.
Zhang Lijia: Socialism is Great!


An interview with Zhang Lijia, an author and journalist who spent most of the 1980s as a worker in a missile factory in Nanjing. She has just published a book called ‘Socialism is great!’ A Worker’s Memoir of the New China.

Interview by Jeremy Goldkorn, shot and edited by Ren Bo.

TEDxMongKok – Zhang Lijia – A Frog in a Well

In a fascinating talk, Lijia Zhang brings us on emotional personal journey right to the heart of Chinese society

Lijia is the author of “Socialism Is Great!”, a spirited testament to her personal triumphs over the controlled existence that was supposed to be her destiny. By narrating the changes in her own life, Lijia chronicles the momentous shift in China’s economic policy. Lijia is now an international journalist.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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