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History China

Banished to the Great Northern Wilderness

Political Exile and Re-education in Mao’s China

by (author) Ning Wang

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2017
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2018
    List Price

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Following Mao Zedong’s Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957–58, Chinese intellectuals were subjected to “re-education” by the state. In Banished to the Great Northern Wilderness, Ning Wang draws on labour farm archives and other newly uncovered Chinese-language sources, including an interview with a camp guard, to provide a remarkable look at the suffering and complex psychological world of intellectuals banished to China’s remote north. Wang’s use of grassroots sources challenges our perception of the intellectual as a renegade martyr – revealing how exiles often denounced one another and, for self-preservation, declared allegiance to the state.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Ning Wang is an associate professor in the History Department at Brock University. Previously, he spent ten years working in a Communist Party history research institute in China.

Editorial Reviews

Wang Ning has presented us with an extremely rich study of beidahuang, and the transparency of his deployment of sources, as well as his acknowledgement of their limits... ensures this book will remain relevant and valuable in the long term.

PRC History Review, No. 3

Wang’s exploration of political exiles in Mao’s China incorporates his exhaustive research into a truly beautiful narrative, full of individual voices… raw and moving … Banished to the Great Northern Wilderness [is] indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand the history of the People’s Republic of China

Historical Studies in Education

Seen through a wider lens, Ning Wang’s work inspires us to rethink thought and labour reform in China as part of a larger global history that continues to evolve.

Pacific Affairs, Volume 91, No. 4