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Yang Jisheng (Chinese: 杨继绳, Pinyin: Yáng Jìshéng) (b. 1940) is a Chinesemarker journalist and author of Tombstone (Mùbēi), a comprehensive account of the Great Chinese Famine during the Great Leap Forward. Yang joined the Communist Party in 1964 and graduated from Tsinghua Universitymarker in 1966. He promptly joined Xinhua News Agencymarker, where he worked until his retirement in 2001. As of 2008, he was the deputy editor of the journal Yanhuang Chunqiu(炎黄春秋) (Chronicles of History) in Beijing. Yang Jisheng is also listed as a Fellow of China Media Project, a department under Hong Kong Universitymarker.

Work on the Great Famine

Beginning in the early 1990s, Yang began interviewing people and collecting records of The Great Famine of 1959-1961, in which his own father had died, eventually accumulating ten million words of records. He published a two-volume 1,100 page account of the period, in which he meticulously cited his sources to prevent the Chinese government from dismissing it. It was widely acclaimed as being the authoritative account of the Great Famine. He begins the book,
I call this book Tombstone.
It is a tombstone for my father who died of hunger in 1959, for the 36 million Chinese who also died of hunger, for the system that caused their death, and perhaps for myself for writing this book.

The book, not yet translated from Chinese, was published in Hong Kong and is banned in mainland China.

Published works

  • 墓碑 --中國六十年代大饑荒紀實 (Mu Bei - - Zhong Guo Liu Shi Nian Dai Da Ji Huang Ji Shi), Hong Kong: Cosmos Books (Tian Di Tu Shu), 2008, ISBN 9789882119093


  1. "A hunger for the truth: A new book, banned on the mainland, is becoming the definitive account of the Great Famine.",, 7 July 2008
  2. "Chinese author of book on famine braves risks to inform new generations" by Verna Yu, International Herald Tribune, December 18, 2008
  3. "Yang Jisheng" at the China Media Project, Hong Kong University, October 2007 (accessed 9 March 2008)
  4. "When China Starved" by Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post, August 12, 2008

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