Bo Yang

Bo Yang
(né Guo, Yidong)
b. 1920, Kaifeng, Henan
Writer, cultural critic
Bo Yang is known in Taiwan as a poet, novelist, essayist and historian. After graduation from Northeast University, he became the proprietor of the Youth Daily (Qingnian ribao) and an instructor. In 1949 he went to Taiwan as an instructor. In 1966 he became the director of the Pingyuan Publishing House and edited the cartoon page of China Daily (Zhonghua ribao). He was jailed for ten years in Taiwan for translating into Chinese a Popeye cartoon that the authorities found offensive. After his release in 1977, he began delivering speeches on the ‘Ugly Chinaman’ phenomenon, which is the subject of his popular book The Ugly Chinaman (Choulou de zhongguoren). In it he asks why it is so hard to be a Chinese. He believes that every country has been through bad times and has its own history of humiliations.
China’s bad times, however, seem to have lasted longer than most other countries’. Bo Yang believes that when the face-saving Chinese start calling their compatriots ‘Ugly Chinaman’ in public, this will mark the birth of a new era and Chinese will be able to free themselves from their own ugliness. This book has become popular on the mainland, too. Most of his writings are satirical and reveal the dark side of society.
Bo, Yang (1992). ‘The Chinese Cursed’. In Geremie Barmé (ed.), New Ghosts, Old Dreams: Chinese Rebel Voices. New York: Times Books, 210–15.
——(1992). The Ugly Chinaman and the Crisis of Chinese Culture. Trans. Don J.Cohn and Jing Qing. North Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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