Blood Letters and the Woman Who Fought for Change

Pick one woman in history or fiction to converse with for an hour and explain your choice. What would you talk about?

My parents grew up in the shadow of Maoist China, a country fraught with censorship, crackdowns, and conformity. I’ve always been curious about their childhoods, so starkly different to my life in America. So, last summer, I picked up the book Blood Letters by Lian Xi. I learned about Lin Zhao, a courageous writer who wholeheartedly opposed the Mao administration, even as her resistance caused her execution.

Lin Zhao was a stubborn woman who used shrewd, sharp words to critique the regime. Even during her imprisonment, she refused to stop writing, pricking her skin with hairpins and using her own blood (!) to author hundreds of pages of political commentary. She wasn’t just a writer; she was a fighter, and I’m in awe of her sheer resolve to resist the dictatorship. I want to weaponize my words against injustice and corruption like she did, but focus on modern Chinese society and the debilitated Chinese mental-healthcare system.

I’d want to discuss with Lin Zhao the China I know from visits every other year during the summer. While it’s evolved since the Mao-era, censorship is still widespread, political critique limited, and social conformity emphasized. These are issues I want to combat, along with the corrupted,...

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