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Forged in Purgatory joins a limited number of published works on the Cultural Revolution period. It is the first ever written and published by a high ranking political insider in English. This book provides an insider's view of the political struggles of Chinese society and among its leadership during that chaotic time. It provides a rare look inside China's political, legal and penal systems at a time of extreme stress. Wang provides the reader, with a long-term rational perspective on the troubled Cultural Revolution period. He shares important insights, hindsight and foresight which he hopes can help future generations.
Mr. Wang's sense of justice, fairness and commitment to right over wrong reflects the fundamental principles and founding spirit of the Chinese Communist Party. This book provides guidance as China faces the challenges of corruption, personal self-interest over the collective good and local protectionism and unauthorized centers of power. Mr. Wang's old-fashioned moral compass anchors a down-to-earth humanity that has never been diluted or diverted by anyone in power or in the name of any political slogan or justification. There are many lessons that can be applied to today's China as she navigates towards the future. Wang seems to ask whether China's people will build a future society where the livelihood and dignity of a common person is protected by rule of law and a vibrant institutionalized legal system.
The Epilogue by Wang's wife Shi Luoming sings from the heart to law-abiding people everywhere who live their lives in radiant sunshine and breathe freedom.
Forged in Purgatory will touch you, teach you and deepen an appreciation about what is really important in living one's life.
All proceeds from this book will be dedicated to promoting legal education and building rule of law in China.
Wang Zhongfang was born on January 1, 1921 in Wuhu, city, Anhui province China. He joined the Chinese revolution in 1937 and the Chinese Communist Party in 1938. He attended the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese Military and Political University and the Mao Zedong Academy for Young Cadres. He held positions as teacher in the Yanan Nationalities Institute and as Chief of the Social Division of the Northern China Bureau. After Liberation in 1949, he served in the Ministry of Public Security as Political Secretary for the first minister Luo Ruiqing, who later became Head of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department. This last position was the primary reason Wang experienced the events depicted in Forged in Purgatory.
Wang was rehabilitated after the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) and declined offers to rejoin the leadership of the Ministry of Public Security. He later served as Party Representative in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Vice-Secretary and Director of the Institute of Legal Research, Director of the Central Propaganda Office, Vice-Director of the National Committee for Foreign Languages, President of the Chinese Committee for the Study of Law, representative to the Thirteenth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Member of the Seventh and Eight Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Vice-Director of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Member of the Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Public Security and president of the China Law Society. His work focused on teaching, helping young people, building a better future, promoting rule of law, institution-building and nation-building.
"On one level, this book is about a remarkable, resourceful and ingenious person with an indomitable spirit who survived against all odds. But on a deeper level, this is about a country torn apart by the madness of a single person, who was worshipped by his people as a great leader, great teacher, great supreme commander and great helmsman but who cared more for himself than for his people."
-Frank Ching, Syndicated Columnist and Professor at HKUST and CUHK.
"In Forged in Purgatory, a high-ranking Chinese cadre tells the story of his persecution during the cultural revolution. His book makes a valuable contribution to the political and personal history of that turbulent time."
-Andrew J. Nathan, author of The Tiananmen Papers, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University.
"I was aware early on that the Cultural Revolution was horrible, but not until I read Forged in Purgatory did I realize how inhuman it was. Wang Zhongfang prevailed in the face of humiliation, brutality and ignorance and was able to survive, persevere and maintain his dignity and moral compass. His memory for details and people over his five years of imprisonment is remarkable for its clarity and balance. He came through it all a stronger and wiser person, but at a price for him and his family. He, and unfortunately his family, obviously were victims of guilt by association with Luo Ruiqing once, twice and thrice removed. I deeply appreciated Forged in Purgatory and how much wisdom I garnered from it"
-Seymour H. Chalif, Esq., Senior Counsel (Ret), KayeScholer LLP
"After finishing reading the book 'at a dash', I was truly overwhelmed. I've read many books written by those who suffered during the Cultural Revolution, but I find Forged in Purgatory the best among them. Through Forged in Purgatory, I see an extraordinary experience, a deep contemplation and, most of all, the exceptional integrity of a senior Communist party member"
-Yu Lei, Former PRC Deputy Minister of Public Security
"Floating between the lines of Forged in Purgatory is Wang's awe-inspiringly noble credo of 'showing no remorse when facing Heaven and Earth'. In such a difficult environment, Wang was still able to face life with extraordinary optimism; this proves that he is a truly upright man, made of 'sterner stuff'. With a tight structure, simple but vivid descriptions and clean, beautiful words, this book is an excellent work. Such a fine piece of writing is seldom found"
-Bian Zushan, First-Class National Conductor, China
"What is written in 'Forged in Purgatory' is not only the personal experience of Wang Zhongfang, but most important of all, a historical testimony showing the hardship people went through during the Cultural Revolution in China. What is most valuable about the book is that he writes about the truth— he writes about the pain and suffering from the real life experience of an outstanding Communist party member during the 'Ten Years' Catastrophe' of China. Many people nowadays, even in China, don't know much about the Cultural Revolution. This book offers a unique perspective to its readers, especially to the younger generations, on what the Cultural Revolution was all about."
-Lin Baiye, Professor of PLA University of National Defense, China
"What is so valuable about 'Forged in Purgatory' is that it demonstrates to its readers how important it is to have an optimistic spirit, especially when one is surrounded by adversity. It is hard to imagine how one can face the cruelty of such an everyday life without strong ideals and convictions. This book is no doubt an excellent educational material for young people nowadays, about upholding one's standards and beliefs."
-Liang Sicui, Secretary of Luo Ruiqing (Former Chief of People's Liberation Army)