excerpt from Age of Ambition

Before I checked out the book, share with you an excerpt that I have to quote mentor Abby’s line “Right on the money!”–“The stereotype of Western journalists was that we paid too much attention to dissidents. It was, we were told, because we sympathized with their hopes for liberal democracy, because they spoke English and knew how to give a sound-bite. Indeed, the inherent drama of an individual standing up to the state was obviously seductive, and it helped explain why the most famous image from China in the past thirty years was not of its economic rise but of the man standing in front of the tank near Tiananmen Square. Whenever I wrote about human rights abuses, I knew to expect that often the most critical reactions came from other expatriates in China. I understood that: foreigners with no reason to probe could spend years in China without ever interviewing someone who had been tortured or locked up without trial, and to them, my focus was misplaced. Dissidents who were famous in New York or Paris were unknown to ordinary Chinese citizens, which suggested that the discussion of democracy and rights was at odds with the everyday concerns of ordinary people. ” –Evan Osnos, p227-p228, Age of Ambition


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