BOOKS: TEEN MAOIST

CAN A WESTERN GIRL FIND JOY IN A BEIJING LATHE FACTORY?

Blame it on the reflexive rebellion of the early '70s or on her loving parents' exasperating prosperity (they owned several Chinese restaurants in Montreal). For whatever reasons, including that she was "pretty damn spoiled," 19-year-old Jan Wong, until then a dutiful daughter, reconstituted herself as a true-believing Maoist.

"Don't go," said her father, who had visited China. That settled it. In the summer of 1972, as she recounts in a wry, wondering memoir, Red China Blues (Anchor Books; 405 pages; $23.95), she flew to Beijing to join the workers' paradise. A valued propaganda asset, she was enrolled at Beijing University, along...

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