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THE TIANANMEN PAPERS: The Chinese Leadership’s Decision to Use Force against their Own People — in their Own Words, compiled by Zhang Liang, edited by Andrew Nathan and Perry Link, with an afterword by Orville Schell. Public Affairs, 2001, 560 pp., $30 (cloth).

“The Tiananmen Papers” surfaced with a big splash in January — even the new U.S. president has said he will read them. The overall quality of the reports contained in this thick volume has been judged by a number of China scholars and intelligence experts to fall within the realm of believability, though University of Michigan China scholar Ken Lieberthal was quick to point out that such leaks tend to be edited in a way that is favorable to the political cause of the leaker. The plausibility of the Papers is high because there is little that is new, and what is familiar can be corroborated from other sources.

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