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You think there’s no freedom right now? Why you’ve got it all wrong.

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Your ‘why’

Sidney Rittenberg was an American journalist and scholar. He was sent to China during the Second World War as a Chinese linguist and when the war ended, he chose to stay in the country. As a committed Socialist, he was sympathetic to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cause. He knew Chairman Mao personally, as well as many of the other high-ranking leaders but just as Mao was a friend, he was also Rittenberg’s jailor. At various points, over the coming years, as suspicions grew about foreigners, Sidney fell afoul of the CCP and was imprisoned in solitary confinement not just once but twice, for a total period of 16 years.

During Rittenberg’s first imprisonment, for the initial 12 months, he was kept in a completely dark room. His incarceration continued for a further five years before he was finally released. Through his understanding of human nature and empathy with the prison...

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