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Taking on China: How I Freed My Husband from Jail: A Memoir

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4.67  ·  Rating details ·  18 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In 2010, Karen Patterson's life is turned upside down. The Canadian is living in Beijing, China, with her family when her husband, Chinese artist Wu Yuren, disappears. Wu, along with other artists, had been protesting the People's Republic of China's lack of regard for human rights. During Karen's search for her husband, she discovers that he has been beaten and is now ill ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 17th 2020 by Family Lines
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Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This memoir takes you into the hidden workings of China's repressive regime. Karen's harrowing experience is personal, honest and perilous, and her story will sweep you away. I could not put this book down until the last page was read. Now, I see China with new eyes and need to learn more. ...more
Cend Tol
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a great read!
I loved the fast-paced storytelling and getting to know some of the people that played important roles in this unfair real-life situation.
It was infuriating to read at times because we know there have been so many people incarcerated for speaking up against the Chinese government, so many we don’t know about.
If you love political stories, if you like a tenacious spirit and a strong woman, you will love this book.
Faith Stuart
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book and revealed facts and information that I wasn't aware of. They are good to know!

I have known Karen since she was a baby and have always loved and respected her good nature and ever present mature behavior. She and her sister are amazing people and both have become good friends to and for me.

Reading what Karen went through surprised me as she never dwelt on it or allowed it to get her down in spirit or stop her moving forward. I read "Taking on China" cover to cover and it t
...more
Bianca Weber-Lewerenz
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book comes with a free ticket for a journey to the middle of life in China. It provides deep insights, a broad reflection on existing local conditions a foreigner suddenly can be confronted with. The emotional ups and downs, the various changing attitudes of friends and supporters during Karen's unresting and unconditional will to find and free the father of her child - all this takes the reader on a wave of both love and hate, sometimes sweet and sour at some points. It broadens one's view ...more
Christina Musa
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Karen's story is a parallel journey of love and disillusionment. She honestly and passionately talks about her love affair with her husband and China while taking the reader on a sumptuous journey of all that China has to offer. In the beginning, China is a wonderful place, but as Karen's story evolves, we see the side of China in which the government has little regard for the rights of its citizens. As Karen's eyes open to her reality, we begin to understand the corruption that permeates China ...more
Ted Greenhough
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book gives the reader a real sense of what it's like to live under a repressive regime where freedom of expression is simply not permitted, and the judicial system does not act independently, but rather at the will of the Communist Party of China. Reading this, one can't help but feel sorrow for the Chinese people, most of whom simply do not know the sweetness of freedom, which we tend to take for granted. This book was extremely insightful, a real page turner, building to a dramatic conclu ...more
Kathryn Lowther
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Karen's book gives the reader a very thoughtful insight into how few rights the Chinese citizens have. She has really given us a heart breaking view into her very difficult fight to get Dawu, her husband released from jail. Although her fight is the main focus of the book she has gone far beyond that. She has shared many very personal things - both about her life in general in China, her family life and her marriage to Dawu . Those experiences, both good and bad, carry throughout the book. It is ...more
Dana Goldstein
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Taking on China really gives you a behind-the-scenes look into life in China. Covering everything from the formalities of marriage to the intricacies of daily life, Patterson tells the story from the point of view of someone who dearly loves China. She draws you into her fear and frustration when her husband is arrested and shares the details of her struggle to not only free him, but get any kind of information. Excellent story.
Robert Pauling
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
really enjoying this book written by my friend Karen, we worked together and were great friends during the late 90s in northeast China. I am very happy to be reading her work and learning more about the struggles she had with the PRC and CCP. I suggest this book to anyone who has an interest in China and someone's personal struggles at a human level. ...more
Michal Munro
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An interesting, personal memoir of life in China under a totalitarianism government.
Providing for a growing family, married to a Chinese artist, activist .... life in Beijing can be difficult.
It is a love story through a long, exasperating struggle.
Susan
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because it was like getting an intimate look into China's authoritarian regime that no tourist would ever see. Canadian Karen Patterson takes us on a dramatic, roller coaster ride into her efforts to get her Chinese artist husband, Wu Yuren - imprisoned with zero evidence of wrong-doing, released from prison. We see the overbearing, restrictive way anyone who doesn't strictly adhere to China's status quo is treated–from phone bugging, and continuous surveillance, to the infuria ...more
Anne Wilbur
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You can tell this book is written with great passion, truly a multi year project for Karen, and gives impressive detail on her book's title. She is an amazing woman with a strength of character that is able to take on the enigma of the Chinese legal system and survive. This book is definitely worth the read, not only to understand a little bit more about how China works, but also to understand more about Karen, her career, her marriage, and where she finds the strength to take on China. ...more
Jill Dobbe
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
A remarkably raw and honest memoir of the author's life in China. Karen Patterson is a young, Canadian woman who travels to China as a teacher and entrepreneur. While there, she meets an artist who is popular in the Beijing art scene, marries him, and has a child. Her life is full, happy, and she is surrounded by many friends, artists, and expats.

When Patterson's husband, Davu, is detained in police custody, she spends months working to free him. She names famous Chinese artists like Ai Wei Wei
...more
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Karen Patterson lives in Calgary, Canada with her daughter and dog. She is a dedicated full-time real estate agent, who also assists expats moving to Calgary settle in and find schools for their kids as a freelance Destination Service Consultant. As if that is not enough, Karen enjoys providing culture awareness training as a Cross-Cultural Trainer. Travelling, reading and attending theatre, dance ...more

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“Perhaps in the future, we will live in a world where people's actions are guided by principles of the rule of law, and not by face ... To live in China now is a big risk ... I have no confidence in the [legal] system" - Karen Patterson, spoken just after Wu Yuren's trial in November 2010, Beijing, China.” 0 likes
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