Bo Yang

Bo Yang

Bo Yang (zh-tsp|t=柏楊|s=柏杨|p=Bó Yáng [The character is traditionally pronounced "Bó". In modern standard Mandarin, some authorities favour the view that it is pronounced as "Bó" except when used to mean "cypress tree", when it is pronounced "Bǎi": see “柏”, 《实用汉字字典》,上海辞书出版社 ("Practical Chinese Character Dictionary", Shanghai Literary Press); “柏”,《辞海》,上海辞书出版社 1999 ("Cihai", Shanghai Literary Press), while other authorities favour the view that 柏 is pronounced as "Bǎi" when used as a surname, see, e.g., "Xinhua Zidian" 10th edition, p.11, Commercial Press 2004, ISBN 7-100-03931-2, and "Modern Chinese Dictionary" (现代汉语词典) 5th edition, p.30, Commercial Press 2005, ISBN 7-100-04385-9 ). Bo Yang himself always pronounced it as "Bo". ] ; 7 March 1920 [ 台灣著名作家柏楊因病逝世] . BBC News Online (Chinese). 29 April 2008. Accessed 30 April 2008. zh icon] – 29 April 2008), also sometimes called Bai Yang [See, e.g., [ some books] by Google Book Search. ] , was a Chinese language writer based in Taiwan. According to his own memoir, the exact date of his birthday was unknown even to himself. He later adopted the date of his imprisonment in 1968 (7 March) as his birthday.


Bo Yang was born as "Guō Dìngshēng" (郭定生) in Kaifeng, Henan Province, China, with family origins in Hui County (輝縣), now part of Xinxiang, Henan. [ [ 作家柏楊病逝] . "United Daily". April 29, 2008. zh icon] Bo Yang's father changed his son's name to "Guō Lìbāng" (郭立邦) to facilitate a transfer of schools. Bo Yang later changed his name to "Guo Yìdòng" (郭衣洞), apparently as a result of a falling out with his father and stepmother. In high school, Bo Yang participated in youth organisations of the Kuomintang, the then-ruling party of the Republic of China, and joined the Kuomintang itself in 1938. He graduated from the National Northeastern University, and moved to Taiwan after Kuomintang lost in the civil war in 1949. [ [,4518,9704290231+0+0+140626+0,00.html 柏楊凌晨病逝 享壽八十九歲] . "China Times". 29 April 2008. Accessed 30 April 2008. zh icon]

In 1950, he was imprisoned for six months for listening to Communist Chinese radio broadcasts. He worked various jobs, including as a teacher. During this time, he began to write novels. In 1960, he began using the penname Bo Yang to write a political commentary column in the "Independent Evening News". In 1961, he achieved acclaim with his novel "The Alien Realm" (異域 "Yìyù"), which told the story of a Kuomintang force which fought on in the borderlands of southwestern China long after the government had retreated to Taiwan.

Bo Yang was arrested in 1967, and from 1969 was imprisoned as a political prisoner (for "being a Communist agent and attacking national leaders") on Green Island for nine years, because of his unwitting criticism of Taiwan's dictator Chiang Kai-shek and in particular a translation of a comic strip of Popeye. [June Teufel Dreyer. ['s%20Identity%20(J_Dreyer).pdf "Taiwan's Evolving Identity."] 17 July 2003.] In the strip, Popeye and Swee'Pea have just landed on an uninhabited island. Popeye says: "You can be crown prince," to which Swee'Pea responds, "I want to be president." In the next panel, Popeye says, "Why, you little..." In the final panel, Popeye's words are too faint to be made out. Chiang was displeased because he saw this as a parody of his installing his son Chiang Ching-kuo as heir apparent. Bo translated the word "fellows" as "my fellow soldiers and countrymen," a phrase used by Chiang Kai-shek. [Daisy Hsieh. [ "Tragedy and Tolerance--The Green Island Human Rights Monument."] "Sinorama". July 1997. Accessed 30 April 2008.] The original 12-year sentence was commuted to eight years after the death of Chiang Kai-shek in 1975. However, the government refused to release Bo Yang after his sentence expired, until it gave in to pressure from international organisations such as Amnesty International. After his release, Bo Yang continued to campaign for human rights and democracy in Taiwan.

One of his best known books is "The Ugly Chinaman and the Crisis of Chinese Culture" (醜陋的中國人 "Chǒulòu de Zhōngguórén") published in Chinese in 1985 and in English translation in 1992. During his imprisonment, Bo Yang wrote a number of works on Chinese history.

He lived in Taipei in his later years. He became the founding president of the Taiwan chapter of Amnesty International. Also in 1994, Bo Yang underwent heart surgery, and his health never fully recovered. He carried the honorary title of national policy advisor to the administration of President Chen Shui-bian. In 2006, Bo Yang retired from writing, and donated the bulk of his manuscripts to the Chinese Modern Literature Museum in Beijing. He was awarded an honourary doctorate by the National Tainan University, to which he also donated much memorabilia and some manuscripts.

Bo Yang died for pneumonia in a hospital near his Sindian residence on 29 April 2008. He was married five times, and is survived by his last wife, Chang Hsiang-hua, and five children born by his former wives. On 17 May 2008, his ashes were scattered along the seashore of Green Island, where he was once imprisoned.

External links

* [ Biosketch] at the Taiwanese American Foundation website
* [ List of English publications] at Renditions website
*Hsieh Wen-hua. [ "Bo Yang classic reaches out to today’s youth."] "Taipei Times". 5 April 2008. p. 3.


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