The Badlands: Decadent Playground of Old Peking (Penguin Specials)

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The year is Paul French has done the admirable job of tracking down eye witnesses who have been able to tell him, and even supply photographs of the "Red Light District" of pre-revolutionary Peking. In this part of the historical centre of Beijing, several opium dens and Houses of Sing-Song girls were located within walking distance from the Foreign Embassies. But the foreigners who lived in this quarter were among the poorest of the poor, suffering from an alcohol or opium addiction.

They would earn their money with song and dance or gambling. The badlands. Decadent playground of Old Peking is a small monograph of a part of history which, it seems, the Chinese would rather prefer to forget or blot out.

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The paucity of source materials can be clearly felt, but Paul French has an engaging style of writing which tells the reader about life on the volcano, just before the Japanese invasion of Beijing which would tumble China into the Second World War and subsequent Civil War which for one and all closed that chapter of foreign history in China. An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia. Home Groups Talk Zeitgeist.

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I Agree This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and if not signed in for advertising. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. Members Reviews Popularity Average rating Mentions 20 1 , 3. These vignettes of eight non-Chinese residents of the precinct - White Russians, Americans and Europeans - bring the Badlands back to life, providing a short but potent account of a place and a way of life until now forgotten.

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No current Talk conversations about this book. In China, history is often more a product of the mind and imagination that of material artefacts. You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data. Penguin Special. References to this work on external resources. Wikipedia in English None. No library descriptions found. Book description quoted from readings.

Home to the city's drifters, misfits and the odd bohemian, it was a place of opium dens, divebars, brothels, flophouses and cabarets, and was infamous for its ability to satisfy every human desire from the exotically entertaining to the criminally depraved. These vignettes of eight non-Chinese residents of the precinct — White Russians, Americans and Europeans — bring the Badlands vividly back to life, providing a short but potent account of a place and a way of life until now largely forgotten, but here rendered unforgettable.

Paul French is the author of the internationally acclaimed Midnight in Peking. Haiku summary. Add to Your books. Add to wishlist. Quick Links Amazon. Amazon Kindle 0 editions. Audible 0 editions. CD Audiobook 0 editions. Like so many in the city, uprooted and powerless, he had no choice at all over his destiny. But he had to find the one who had lost her. Beijing before the Olympics.

Badlands: Decadent Playground of Old Peking

Beyond young Xiao Mei's alleyway lie huge earth-moving machines transforming the old city forever. Now her old house is to be knocked down - and the lives of four weasels huangshulang , a little jade goddess and a vulnerable boy named Stone are inextricably bound up with the fate of the family. The Door Opened: s China is a powerful record of the golden era of reform, when China and the rest of the world were united in their enthusiasm for better things to come.

A youthful population was seizing the possibilities of personal development and experimentation. Into this febrile environment came British photojournalist Adrian Bradshaw who had travelled from London by plane, ship and train in for a course at the Beijing Languages Institute. From the first day he knew he was photographing the history of a society on the move. In his new book, he turns to his more personal images - most previously unpublished — sharing what he witnessed in the s with humour and empathy. This was the time China began to visibly embrace the possibilities of reform and opening up: from the first fashion shows to the visits of Muhammad Ali and Bernardo Bertolucci; the transition from muddy rural free markets to private businesses and factories.

In the Jin capital of Zhongdu, Guo Jing learns the truth of his father's death and finds he is now betrothed, against his will, to two women. Neither of them is his sweetheart Lotus Huang. Torn between following his heart and fulfilling his filial duty, he journeys through the country of his parents with Lotus, encountering mysterious martial heroes and becoming drawn into the struggle for the supreme martial text, the Nine Yin Manual.

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But his past is catching up with him. The widow of an evil man he accidentally killed as a child has tracked him down, intent on revenge. Meanwhile, his true parentage at last revealed, Yang Kang, the young prince Guo Jing must face in the Garden of the Eight Drunken Immortals, is forced to choose his destiny.


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Will he continue to enjoy the life of wealth and privilege afforded to him by the invader of his homeland, or give up all he has known to avenge his parents? Translated from the Chinese by Gigi Chang. Through portraits of eight White Russians, Americans, and Europeans who lived and worked in the Badlands in the s and s, Paul French brings the area and its era vividly to life.

A small warren of narrow hutongs, the Badlands sat just inside the eastern flank of the Tartar Wall, which at that time enclosed the old Imperial City of Peking. There was the cabaret dancer Tatiana Korovina, a White Russian girl who did not succumb to the vice of the district but instead married, had a family, and eventually left China to lead a long and happy life. There was the American Joe Knauf, who dealt violence and fear as well as drugs, and finally the enigmatic Shura Giraldi, of indeterminate sex, who was to some a charmer and to others a master criminal, but to everyone the uncrowned King of the Badlands.

Pradyumna Kumar, known as PK, was born into a poor, untouchable family in a small village in eastern India.

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