In 1937, Japanese forces entered Shanghai – spelling the end of a period when the Chinese city had been a thriving commercial centre governed by international powers and known as the “Paris of the East”. Under the Japanese occupation, local people in Shanghai endured starvation and brutal treatment; while foreigners scrambled to escape as their lifestyle of servants and glamourous parties slowly disappeared. Josephine McDermott speaks to Liliane Willens, who lived through the Japanese invasion and occupation.
In the 1980s, the minority Uyghur community in China staged some of the first protests against the all-powerful Communist Party. The Uyghurs were demanding that the Chinese government keep its promises to protect their culture and grant them political autonomy in Xinjiang region. In 1989, many Uyghur students enthusiastically supported the pro-democracy demonstrations centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. One of them was Aziz Isa Elkun, who talks to Josephine McDermott.