Long Peace Street

A walk in modern China

The book is based on a walk across Beijing along the road that cuts horizontally through the very heart of the city: Chang’an Jie, or 'Long Peace Street’. This 20-mile-long route, arrow-straight and ten lanes wide in places, provides the narrative and geographical structure for an exploration of the story of China over the course of the last century. Dotted along Chang’an Jie are sites of cultural, political and historical note – some well known and some more obscure – around which the narrative hangs, offering opportunities for the exploration of the grand dramas modern China has witnessed, from the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, through the chaotic years of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, the unrest of the Democracy Movement of the 1970s and 1980s and beyond to the present day. Interspersed amongst the sections focusing on these locations are more impressionistic and personal sections, describing the walk itself and offering the sense of passing through China’s capital along its most symbolically important thoroughfare.

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