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While I have longed to tell my family’s story for many years, my most important goal in publishing Red Circle in the People’s Republic of China’s 60th anniversary is to enhance understanding of China around the world and within its borders. It is essential to know China’s history to appreciate where it is today and to create a better future, not only for China, but also for our world.

——Stephen Songsheng Chen

Red Circle: China and Me, 1949-2009 tells the fascinating story of Stephen Chen and his family. It sketches the history of the People’s Republic of China, not merely as a backdrop, but as the driving force of the book’s action. Red Circle chronicles the rise and fall and rise again of an extraordinary family. At the same time, it is only one of countless stories that could be told by many millions of Chinese. It tells of the hope, turmoil, and terror in the first 30 years of the PRC and of the transformation, transition, and achievement in the last 30 years. Red Circle is the first work of its kind to cover the making of modern China.

The 60-year cycle encompassed by Red Circle is the basis of the traditional Chinese calendar, astrology, and cosmology. The cyclical nature of life and a return to one’s roots are fundamental elements in Stephen’s story. The ways in which his life reflects and completes that of his father, the stunning symmetries and recurring cycles of Red Circle make for a remarkable read.

Stephen has seen China from a range of vantage points that few others have experienced. From the palace he grew up in to brutal labor camps to corporate boardrooms, from stark prisons to secret government offices, Stephen has witnessed history. Red Circle is, however, more than the tale of how a family survives or a nation emerges. At its heart, Red Circle is a thrilling testament to the indomitable will and unconquerable spirit of the individual.