Ai Qing, Chinese poet

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Dates: 1932 - 1935; 1958 - 1978

Region: Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature


Artist: Ai Qing (1910 - 1996)

Confronting Bodies: Chinese Nationalist party and Chinese Communist party officials

Dates of Action: 1932, 1958

Location: Yan'an and Beijing, China

Description of Artwork: Ai Qing is best known for criticizing the Chinese government through his poetry. In his allegorical essays, The Yellow Bird and Dream of the Garden, he criticizes the Maoist government's suppression of culture and silencing dissent.

The Incident: From 1932 - 1935 the Nationalist government imprisoned Ai Qing for participating in the Marxist Left Wing Artist Association. Following the Communist revolution, Qing disagreed with the party platform, separating politics from culture by silencing critical writers. Qing was sent for "re-education" in the Chinese countryside. When he returned, Mao implemented a more liberal cultural plan. Qing returned from his toil in the countryside and continued expressing his grievances with the party. When Qing argued in defence of another writer, Ding Ling, in 1958, the party scrutinized Qing's work; he returned to the countryside.

Results of Incident: Qing was repeatedly sent to the countryside for re-education and farm labor. In 1958, after defending the writings of Ding Ling, Qing's work was banned in schools and universities. He was exiled and forbidden to publish for 20 years. Qing was exonerated in 1978.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones