Asia Abridged Podcast: Remembering China's Cultural Revolution

Weijian Shan talks about his experience in China's Cultural Revolution

Weijian Shan describes his experience as a teenager during China's Cultural Revolution at Asia Society on January 16, 2019. (Elsa Ruiz/Asia Society)

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Today, Weijian Shan is known as one of the world's most successful financiers and a pioneer in private equity. But as a teenager during China's Cultural Revolution, he was dispatched along with millions of other youths to the countryside, where he toiled in the remote Gobi Desert and participated in the era's Maoist political campaigns. 

Shan recounts his youthful experience, and eventual arrival in the United States, in a new memoir entitled Out of the Gobi: China, the U.S., and One Man's Remarkable Odyssey. In this episode of the Asia Abridged podcast, drawn from a conversation at Asia Society between Shan and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, the financier describes his incredible life story.

Read an excerpt of Shan's memoir here and watch the full video of his appearance at Asia Society below.


About the Author

Profile picture for user Matt Schiavenza

Matt Schiavenza is the Assistant Director of Content at Asia Society. His work has appeared at The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, Fortune, and strategy + business among other publications.