Bai Hua


Bai Hua
(né Chen Youhua)
b. 1930, Xinyang, Henan
Writer, poet, playright
Labelled a ‘rightist’ during the Anti-Rightist Campaign in 1957, Bai Hua was silenced for twenty-two years. His work combines poetic sensitivity and a preoccupation with socio-political criticism. The misfortune of intellectuals, the condemnation of bureaucratic corruption and dogmatism and the call for individual freedom are among his key themes.
His best-known film script, Bitter Love (Kulian, 1979) was made into a film entitied The Sun and the People (Taiyang yü ren, 1980), but was denounced nationwide in 1981, making him the first Chinese writer to be singled out for criticism after Mao’s death. Unrequited Love portrays the misfortune of a patriotic painter who returned to China from the United States with his family after the CCP’s victory, only to be persecuted and die in misery. His 1980 novella The Mothers (Mama a, mama) is among the early works critical of the CCP’s alienation from the people. His symbolic novella Death of a Fisherman (Yige yübashi zhi si) of 1982 portrays the psychological struggle between a cormorant and its master, the stubborn and domineering fisherman. His long novel The Remote Country of Women (Yuanfang you ge nu’er guo, 1988) contrasts the hypocrisy of Han culture under Mao with the carefree spirit of the Moso minority, which practises matriarchy. In the 1990s, he continued to show his social concern through fiction eliminate in the novel River of No Return (Liushui wu guicheng, 1995), which depicts moral degradation.
Bai, Hua (1992). ‘China’s Contemporary Literature: Reaching Out to the World and to the Future’. Trans. Howard Goldblatt. In Helmut Martin (ed.), Modern Chinese Writers: Self-Portrayals. Armonk, NY: M.E.Sharpe, 42–52.
——(1994). The Remote Country of Women. Trans. Wu Qingyun and Thomas O. Beebee. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Spence, Jonathan. ‘Film and Politics: Bai Hua’s Bitter Love’. In Jonathan Spence, Chinese Round-about: Essays in History and Culture. New York: Norton, 277–92.
LEUNG LAIFONG

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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