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Egg on Mao

The true story of a Chinese bus mechanic who risked his all in a symbolic challenge to China’s dictatorship.

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Denise Chong has built an award-winning career capturing ordinary people living extraordinary lives. “The Concubine’s Children” (1994) told of her own family’s fractured journey from China to Canada and “The Girl in the Picture” (2000) detailed the harrowing story of the young girl whose screaming, naked image became a devastating symbol of the Vietnam War.

In her latest book, Egg on Mao: The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked a Dictatorship, Chong bears witness to the life of a Chinese bus mechanic who risked everything in an effort to change his country’s repressive regime.

On June 4, 2009, three friends – Lu Decheng, Yu Zhijian, and Yu Dongyue – were reunited in Washington, D.C., to mark the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. All three had spent the majority of the past two decades in scattered prisons, united by a single pledge to each another: “I must leave this prison alive and with my sanity.” Those of us fortunate enough to live in a free country can hardly comprehend that throwing paint-filled eggs on a poster could result in endless years of subhuman imprisonment.

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