"Chinese intellectuals have a traditional duty, for which there is no equivalent in the West: to worry, to "take responsibility for all under heaven," to argue the question "What can we do with China?" The Spring 1989 demonstrations in Tiananmen Square climaxed a year of animated, despairing, idealistic worry--a year in which writers, journalists, scientists, professors, and reformist officials were able to gather in private to trade views on the corruption permeating Chinese society, the tyranny of the work-unit system, the political repression exercised by the Communist party. This pastime of "chatting" often turned to questions of responsibility: should one resist? how? comply? how? follow an independent path? flee the country?" "In Evening Chats in Beijing, Perry Link takes us behind the closed doors and official language of the party's China and into the lives and thoughts of China's leading hand the despair of lives cornered by oppressive party rule as well as the hope that continues to animate these heirs to China's rich cultural traditions." "Link shows us the intricate cruelties and corruptions of the work-unit system, which lies at the heart of party power in China's cities. He exposes the "official" language that is the medium for all public communications, and the divide between this and the informal language Chinese use in their private relations. He explores the identity crisis experienced by Chinese who struggle to find some alternative to the party's prescription for what it means to be Chinese in the modern world." "The title of this book pays homage to a courageous intellectual, Deng Tuo. For his criticisms of Mao Zedong, Deng was hounded by the party to suicide. Readers will find the courage, insight, and wry humor of Deng Tuo resonating in the voices of Evening Chats in Beijing."--Jacket.