No Wall Too High: One Man's Extraordinary Escape from Mao's Infamous Labour Camps
'ONE OF THE GREATEST ESCAPE STORIES I'VE EVER READ' MAIL ON SUNDAY It was one of the greatest prison breaks of all time, during one of the worst totalitarian tragedies of the 20th Century. Xu Hongci was an ordinary medical student when he was incarcerated under Mao's regime and forced to spend years of his youth in some of China's most brutal labour camps. Three times he tried to escape. And three times he failed. But, determined, he eventually broke free, travelling the length of China, across the Gobi desert, and into Mongolia.This is the extraordinary memoir of his unrelenting struggle to retain dignity, integrity and freedom; but also the untold story of what life was like for ordinary people trapped in the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.
"One of the greatest escape stories I've ever read...will live on as a timeless testament to the resilience of the human spirit" * MAIL ON SUNDAY * "One of the most compelling and moving memoirs to emerge from Communist China...gripping." * LOS ANGELES TIMES * "Riveting...There are many memoirs by Chinese imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), but I've never read one, by a loyal Party member, like this...While books such as this cannot be openly sold in China, Xu Hongci's will of course be smuggled in and will amaze readers, especially those under forty." * JONATHAN MIRSKY, Literary Review * "While there are notable victims' accounts of Nazi and Soviet atrocities, there has largely been silence from those who actually suffered at first hand the worst of Red China's astounding inhumanity to its own people. Xu's moving account [is] a must-read" * DAILY MAIL * "Xu Hongci is China's Louis Zamperini, an ordinary man who simply refused to be broken. To understand the deepest source of China's rise, read Xu Hongci's astonishing epic, a tale of ingenuity, bravery and, most importantly, unshakeable determination. Xu's chronicle, masterfully translated by Erling Hoh, is the story of modern China itself: the struggle for freedom of body and mind." * EVAN OSNOS, China correspondent at the New Yorker and author of the acclaimed Age of Ambition *
Xu Hongci It took Xu Hongci four attempts before he finally escaped the labour camps. He then travelled the length of China into Mongolia - only to be arrested and sentenced to two years in a Mongolian prison for illegally entering the country. After serving his sentence, Xu Hongci met and married a Mongolian nurse, started a family and, after Mao's death, returned to China where he died in 2008.Erling HohErling Hoh is a Swedish-Chinese journalist who came across a Chinese copy of Xu Hongci's memoir in a Hong Kong library. After tracking down Xu Hongci's Chinese publisher and, eventually, his wife and children, he obtained the original manuscript that contained much richer content than the original Chinese edition.