Wende Museum to Present Ian Johnson on China’s Underground Historians

This weekend, immerse yourself in a captivating program, unveiling hidden histories and shedding light on artistic and spiritual expressions from Asia at the Wende Museum. 

On Saturday, October 14 at 2:00 p.m. we present Ian Johnson, author of Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and Their Battle for the Future. Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist known for his in-depth reporting on China, will delve into a rarely glimpsed world of tenacious underground writers, filmmakers, artists, and activists.

A documentary filmmaker who spent years uncovering a Mao-era death camp; an independent journalist who gave voice to the millions who suffered through draconian Covid lockdowns; a samizdat magazine publisher who dodges the secret police: these are some of the people who make up Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and their Battle for the Future, a vital account of how some of China’s most important writers, filmmakers, and artists have overcome crackdowns and censorship to challenge the Chinese Communist Party on its most sacred ground–its monopoly on history. 

Using digital technologies to bypass China’s ubiquitous surveillance state, their samizdat journals, underground films, and guerilla media posts document a persistent pattern of disasters: from famines and purges of years past to ethnic clashes and virus outbreaks of the present. Based on ten years of on-the-ground investigations and interviews, Sparks challenges stereotypes of a China where the state has quashed all free thought, revealing instead a land engaged in of one of humanity’s great struggles of memory against forgetting–a battle that will shape the China that emerges in the mid-21st century.

Discover their resilience as they utilize guerilla tactics and digital technologies to preserve and share China’s untold stories, from the famines and purges of years past to the ethnic clashes and virus outbreaks of the present, while overcoming crackdowns and censorship in the struggle of memory against forgetting.

TO RSVP, go to https://wendemuseum.org/program/sparks-chinas-underground-historians-and-their-battle-for-the-future/

Wende Museum 

Photo Copyright Sim Chi Yin

The Actors' Gang