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Living for Change in China

'Living for Change' book

‘Living for Change’ book published in Chinese

By Grace Lee Boggs
Special to the Michigan Citizen

The University of Minnesota Press, publisher of “Living for Change,” has signed an agreement with China Film Press in Beijing to publish a Chinese translation of my autobiography in China and sell it “throughout the world.”

This is exciting news. I was born in the USA and I was in China only once — for two months in 1984 when I discovered that I was much more American than Chinese. But I am conscious and proud of my Chinese heritage.

From my mother who never learned to read or write because there were no schools for females in her little village, I learned early on that huge changes are needed in our world.

From my father, who like most overseas Chinese was a supporter of the 1911 Chinese revolution, I got a sense of the pride that comes with supporting or making revolution.

Also, while I don’t expect my life or book to affect developments in China, I am very conscious of how much our world is being affected by China’s extremely rapid urbanization and industrialization, which like our urbanization and industrialization is accelerating global warming and endangering life on Earth.

Meanwhile, I am encouraged by the growing number of militant demonstrations by the Chinese people against pollution.

China has long been known as a place where the world’s dirtiest mines and factories could operate with impunity. Those days may not be over but a growing environmental movement is beginning to make the most polluting projects much harder to build and operate.

As China becomes increasingly urbanized, its people are also experiencing troubles that resemble ours. For example, in recent years there have been a number of attacks outside Chinese schools. On Friday, Dec. 14, the same day that little school children were massacred in Connecticut, 22 Chinese children were stabbed outside a primary school in a village in Henan province. The main difference is that they were stabbed rather than gunned down with an automatic weapon.

At my age I don’t  expect to visit China again. But  I’m delighted that my life is being made accessible in China through my autobiography.

Contact Grace Lee Boggs at


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