Bold Plum: with the Guerrillas in China's War against Japan launched at Beijing's Bookworm
Bold Plum was launched at the Beijing Bookworm on 3 July 2007. The Bookworm is Beijing's principal English-language bookstore. At the beginning a five-minute video of an interview with Hsiao Li was shown which included many photographs taken at the time. The video is available on Youtube. Just type Bold Plum into the search box. The video gave the audience a feeling for the living conditions and the harsh terrain in which Hsiao Li lived during the period covered by Bold Plum. Hsiao Li's son James explain the background to her story and the then read excerpts from the book.
There then followed some lively question in concerning Hsiao Li's life with the guerrillas and during her time in Yan'an. A nice surprise was to meet again with Peng Di and Qian Xing old friends from Yan'an days.
One questioner asked Hsiao Li about the allegation in Jung Chang's recent book, 'Mao, the Unknown Story' that the Communists had not really fought against the Japanese. Hsiao Li said that Jung Chang's allegation was nonsense. This would be obvious to anyone who read Bold Plum. Furthermore she said that her husband Michael Lindsay after the war visited Japan as part of his academic research. He tracked down Japanese military personnel who had been on the other side in the fight against the Communists in North China. What emerged from Michael's interviews with these Japanese sources was that the Japanese regarded their attempted occupation of the communist controlled part of north China as a serious mistake. The communist guerrilla tactics had tied up a large number of Japanese personnel and resources thus helping to ensure Japan's failure to win the war in China. The Japanese were in no doubt that the Communists had made a determined and effective resistance.
Hsiao Li then signed copies of Bold Plum for members of the audience and for Alexandra Pearson, The Bookworm's manager. Such was the demand at the bookshop ran out of copies. More are currently on order.