BKMT READING GUIDES

Blazing China
by R.F. Whong

Published: 2023-07-31T00:0
Paperback : 275 pages
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For Fans of Amy Tan and Francine Rivers, Blazing China takes you on an extraordinary journey of a family, facing adversity and persecution with unyielding courage.

Live or believe? God or survival?

Ordinary Christians. Extraordinary circumstances. Beliefs under siege outside and ...

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Introduction

For Fans of Amy Tan and Francine Rivers, Blazing China takes you on an extraordinary journey of a family, facing adversity and persecution with unyielding courage.

Live or believe? God or survival?

Ordinary Christians. Extraordinary circumstances. Beliefs under siege outside and conflicts within. Where do these women stand?

Leesan wants to produce heirs to carry on the Lee family name and manage their enormous estates. When she delivers identical twin girls, Ann-Ann and May-May, just before the Cultural Revolution in China, she cannot imagine how much their world is about to change. Now, with her husband dead, their land forfeited to the government, and their lives in jeopardy, Leesan, her mother-in-law, Su-Ann, and her daughters must surrender all that’s left of the past, even as they struggle to hold on to their Christian faith.

As the persecution intensifies, Red Guards murder those caught attending their home church, and the survivors are scattered in different directions. From Beijing to Inner Mongolia, from Hong Kong to California, hardship and the clash between ideologies challenge their faith, love, and loyalty.

Should they choose survival over God?

Note: Although the author follows the “less is more” principle, readers sensitive to sexual situations may find this book unsuitable, as it contains scenes intended to portray characters' attitudes towards sexual morality.

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Excerpt

Wang Leesan grows up in a wealthy Christian family and marries her childhood sweetheart, Lee Rong, a communist. They both attend Ohio State University. After the communist takeover of China, the couple relocates back to Beijing. Leesan gives birth to identical twin girls, Ann-Ann and May-May. With the rise to power of the working class under communism, when Rong dies unexpectedly, Leesan finds herself the target of sexual harassment by a local scoundrel. Aware that the authorities will not protect someone in her class, she seeks assistance from Rong’s friend, Liang Duan. Duan secures two passes for Leesan and one of her daughters to flee to Hong Kong. Devastated by leaving one daughter behind, and tainted by her encounter with the scoundrel, Leesan turns away from God. Through the guidance of her landlady, she eventually returns to God’s family.

Meanwhile, May-May remains in Beijing with Rong’s devout Christian mother, Su-Ann. Duan takes care of them as if they were his own mother and daughter. As the communist government suppresses Christianity, Su-Ann’s pastor and other preachers are imprisoned, and her church breaks up into small groups. Duan advises Su-Ann not to host meetings at home but secretly reveals that he has become a Christian. May-May, timid and gentle, befriends a neighborhood boy named Chen Yao, who stands up for her when her classmates mistreat her as if it is their civic duty to belittle and accost a landlord’s granddaughter. As the Cultural Revolution progresses, Duan is exiled to Yunnan. Before he leaves, he confesses to Su-Ann that he remains single because of his love for Leesan. Su-Ann and May-May are banished to a remote town in Inner Mongolia. They lose all their earthly possessions. Despite the tribulations, they find solace and peace through their faith. With no options, May-May marries Ying Jie, a regional chief who is ten years older than her. As an overachiever, Jie doesn’t believe in unconditional love and has spent his life trying to earn his dad’s care for him until May-May changes his perspective.

Yao has loved May-May since their youth. After her departure, he embarks on a revolutionary tour to visit her in Inner Mongolia. Along the way, he learns his father was murdered by Red Guards at a denunciation meeting because of his Christian beliefs. Consumed with anger at God and hatred towards his homeland, he becomes a freedom swimmer and escapes to Hong Kong. He capitalizes on the city’s economic boom and develops into a successful businessman with subsidiaries in Japan and the US. Yet he wrestles with depression, sexually transmitted disease, and his futile yearning for May-May.

Ann-Ann, intelligent and assertive, craves undivided attention but has to share her mama with her twin, a phantom appearing only in pictures and letters. Worse, she has no way to fight back. She resents that her mother must pinch pennies to support her sister and grandmother in China. At seventeen, she falls prey to a playboy, resulting in an abortion. In pursuit of a better future, she moves to California and transforms herself into the mistress of a powerful tycoon. Regardless of the lavish lifestyle and possessions she acquires, she can’t fill the void deep inside her.

Years later, they reunite at Duan and Leesan’s wedding in Hong Kong. Via challenging, winding journeys uniquely tailored for each soul, every one of them learns to establish a close relationship with God. view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

(1) How does the Communist takeover of China impact the lives of the characters, particularly in relation to their faith and personal relationships?

(2) Discuss the theme of sacrifice in the novel. How do the characters demonstrate selflessness and resilience in the face of adversity?

(3) Examine the pivotal role of decision-making in shaping individuals’ lives. Evaluate the transformative impact of each character’s choices on their personal odyssey.

(4) Discuss the significance of the setting, from Beijing to Inner Mongolia, Hong Kong, and California. How do these locations shape the characters’ experiences and the overall themes of the novel?

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