When the Red Gates Opened: Dori Jones Yang's Memoir about China

April 30, 2021
Hosted by Diane Dewey

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Episode Description

Dori was among the first American correspondents to cover China’s transformation from Maoism to modernization. Her deeply personal memoir follows her rise from rookie reporter to experienced journalist. She reveals details of her cross-cultural romance and marriage, which gave her deeper insights into how China's reforms led to hopes for better lives among ordinary people. This euphoria reached its peak in 1989, when peaceful protesters filled Tiananmen Square, demanding democracy. On the ground in Beijing, Dori lived that hope, as well as the despair that followed. After Tiananmen, she returned to America yet continued to visit her husband's relatives in China as the country resumed its growth. Published in 2020, when China’s rapid rise began setting off fears in Washington, her memoir offers insight into the daring policies that started it all—and perspective on what Chinese people really want. This is a memoir of China's reawakening. Drop In with us to explore the antecedents of today's tensions and the rhetoric that has brought it about. You'll find the healing influences of first hand knowledge of this culture and the special time frame during which the author worked, traveled, befriended both ordinary and extraordinary citizens, made a marriage, and became very much a part of the place. Her observations, insights, and impressions will open the lens on a country with which we, outside its territory, are usually only on headline terms. We'll drop In to learn, live, find the intellectual, political and economic context, and finally, the highly personal and human emotional content. Website: https://dorijonesyang.com/

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Diane Dewey

My most pressing question has always been about identity: Who am I? Growing up near Philadelphia with my adoptive family, my genetic identity was hidden. Then, my Swiss biological father, Otto, contacted me when I was age forty-seven in 2002. I’d been told by my adoptive parents that my biological parents were dead, supposedly to protect me. Meeting Otto upended my life. Through him, I met my German biological mother’s family to discover that her story too, had been changed; that she’d not wanted to surrender me and she’d searched for me all her life. Finding my truth was essential.

Based on my experience I am excited to talk to people about their own search for identity. My education includes a BA from Villanova University, a certificate from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. I’ve worked for The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The SoHo Partnership and the National Academy of Design and have studied writing through New York University’s Continuing Education program. As an entrepreneur, I founded my art appraisal business, The Realization of Art in 2006. My non-fiction writing has been published in Shared Space, a monograph, and in Artes online magazine. Writing workshops worldwide have given me the chance to learn and hone my craft. My first book, “Fixing the Fates,” was awarded the National Non-Fiction Author’s Association Silver Medal and the Living Now Award.

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