Why are we reading a story about accidents? What can we learn from this particular approach?
Who is Lei Feng (mentioned on page 12) and why is he significant in this story?
On page 12, Brown cites Timothy Cheek’s metaphor of “living Maoism.” What does this theory mean?
What is Brown seeking to accomplish in the two paragraphs that begin at the bottom of page 12 and the top of page 13?
In the last pages of his chapter, Brown discusses Zhou Yongkang. How might his narrative differ if he had published this article after December 2014 when he was expelled from the party and investigated for accruing over 90 billion yuan ($14 billion) in personal wealth? (See BBC coverage of this, here).
In this activity, you will be asked to investigate and reflect on one of the accidents raised by Brown. The accidents identified by Brown include:
Drownings at the Summer Palace (1957)
Cao Yongjia’s injury (September 1956)
Sinking of the Ganzhong (July 1974)
Banqiao-Shikumen dam breech (August 1975)
Fire in Karamay’s Friendship Hall (December 1994)
“My father is Li Gang” incident (October 2010)
Wenzhou high-speed rail incident (July 2011)
Your investigation and reflection should include the following steps:
Identify and briefly explain the problem. What happened? Why did it happen (be sure to consider the larger context)? What do we know about the aftermath of this incident?
Which aspect of this incident do you find most troubling or might most urgent to be addressed?
What possible solutions might exist to address the aspect you find most troubling? Which solution would you prefer to see implemented? Why? What obstacles might exist to implementing that solution?