"This book had a huge impact on me," he says, holding up his dog-eared Chinese translation of Friedrich Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom." Hayek's book, he explains, was originally translated into Chinese in 1962 as "an 'internal reference' for top leaders," meaning it was forbidden fruit to everyone else. Only in 1997 was a redacted translation made publicly available, complete with an editor's preface denouncing Hayek as "not in line with the facts," and "conceptually mixed up."Mr. Yang quickly saw that in Hayek's warnings about the dangers of economic centralization lay both the ultimate explanation for the tragedies of his youth — and the predicaments of China's present. "In a country where the sole employer is the state," Hayek had observed, "opposition means death by slow starvation."