Zhu Ling’s 45 Years is a non-fiction book about Zhu Ling, a Chinese woman who is the victim of an unsolved 1995 thallium poisoning case in Beijing.
This case has drawn great attention in the Chinese media over two decades, because the then 21-year-old talented musician and chemistry student and the suspect from a well-connected family who was questioned by the police but then released were living in the same dormitory in the most prestigious university of China. The case was never solved, leaving questions about the power of China’s political elite in a society where justice remains elusive.
This story was also the very first internet power showcasing case in China. It was in early 1995, after Ms. Zhu’s illness stumped doctors at China’s most premier hospital, that a desperate high school classmate posted a cry for help on one of the few wired computer terminals then available in China. Amid the hundreds of replies from Western medical experts, most correctly identified the syndrome as thallium poisoning which the prestigious hospital failed to confirm.
Ms. Zhu survived; however, she was paralyzed and nearly blind, her faculties reduced to those of a child. The author has been following this case for more than 10 years and feeling a duty to record the history.
李佳佳 (Audrey Jiajia Li) is a freelance journalist from Guangzhou, China. Her reporting and opinion columns written in both Chinese and English focus on Chinese politics, culture, social justice and freedom of speech. Over the years, Li has contributed to the South China Morning Post, the New York Times, the Foreign Policy, and Phoenix TV, among other publications. For over a decade, Li worked as a TV journalist producing and hosting her own award winning and nationally televised program. Recently, she completed her studies at the MIT Center for International Studies.