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Short Synopsis
From Xu Hongci, an enthralling true-life story about a daring escape from one of Mao Zedong's prisons.

Full Synopsis
Mao Zedong's labor reform camps were notoriously brutal; modeled after the Soviet gulag, their inmates were subject to backbreaking labor, malnutrition, and vindictive wardens. They were thought to be impossible to escape—but one man did.

Xu Hongci, a young medical student, was a loyal member of the Communist Party until he fell victim to Mao Zedong's Anti-Rightist Campaign in 1957. After posting a criticism of the party, he spent the next fourteen years in the labor camps. Despite horrific conditions and terrible odds, Hongci was determined to escape, failing three times before he succeeded in 1972.

Originally published in Hong Kong, Hongci's remarkable memoir recounts his life from childhood through his prison break. After discovering the book in a Hong Kong library, the journalist Erling Hoh tracked down the original manuscript and compiled this abridged translation of Hongci's memoir, which includes background on this turbulent period and an epilogue following Hongci up to his death in 2008. Almost nobody was able to escape from Mao's labor camps, but No Wall Too High tells the true story of someone who did.

"To understand the deepest source of China’s rise, read Xu Hongci's astonishing epic, a tale of ingenuity, bravery, and, most importantly, unshakable determination." ---Evan Osnos, National Book Award-winning author of Age of Ambition

"A fascinating story, simply and movingly told." ---Anne Thurston, co-author of The Private Life of Chairman Mao

“I [am] deeply impressed by the freshness of [Xu Hongci's] whole story. . . . The tone is sharp and fresh, devoid of self-pity despite a catalogue of horrors." ---Frank Dikötter, author of Mao’s Great Famine

"If you want to understand the essence of Maoism, read this captivating narrative filled with hair-raising details about one man’s life in Mao’s China.” ---Alexander V. Pantsov, author of Deng Xiaoping: A Revolutionary Life and Mao: The Real Story

No Wall Too High

One Man's Daring Escape from Mao's Darkest Prison

Author Xu Hongci, Erling Hoh

Narrated by David Shih

Publication date Jan 17, 2017

Running time 12 hrs

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