Since China's economy began to liberalize in 1979, 200 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, the GDP is now the third largest in the world, and hundreds of Chinese have graduated from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. With the glittering cities of Shanghai and Beijing, and a growing middle class buying automobiles and real estate, it's easy to forget that for many middle-aged Chinese the years 1966 to 1976 were a period of social upheavals and convulsions known as the Cultural Revolution.
Mulberry Child is the heart-wrenching true story of a childhood in Communist China. Jian Ping is the daughter of a high-ranking government official in the rural northeast of the country, growing up at a time of famine and political upheaval in the 1960s. Jian Ping’s innocent childhood comes to an abrupt end when the Cultural Revolution - a power struggle within the ruling party - engulfs the country like a wildfire.
Jian Ping’s father, Hou Kai, is falsely accused of treason-he is detained, beaten, and publicly shamed. Her mother Gu Wenxiu, a top administrator of a middle school, is paraded in public and imprisoned by the Revolution Committee and the Red Guards-both driving forces of the Cultural Revolution. She is forbidden to see her children and pressured to divorce her husband. The family is pushed to a breaking point when they are forced to live in a mud house without heating, water, or a toilet. Facing abuse and deprivation, Jian Ping’s family stands steadfastly together, from her aging grandmother Nainai, a frail woman with bound feet, to her parents and siblings. The traumatic impact of their experiences shape the course of their lives forever.
Based on her own memories, as well as interviews and exhaustive research, Mulberry Child is a sprawling family saga and an inspiring tale of resilience and determination, a coming of age story told through the eyes of an innocent child. Mulberry Child allows us an insider’s look into a closed-off world and is written with compassion in honest and intimate language.
She worked at the China’s Film Distribution and Exhibition Company in Beijing for four years as a translator. Her publications in China include A Fool’s Paradise, a translation of a collection of short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, published by Xiwang Publishing. Her translations of articles on film theory appeared in Art of Film, a quarterly magazine. Her publications in the US include The Chinese Film Theory, published by Praeger, New York. She worked as co-editor and translator on that book.
Jian Ping worked as National Director Tsingtao Beer for the US importer of the brand for twenty years. She travels frequently to China and keeps abreast of developments in China.
See www.mulberrychild.com for additional details and www.smearedtype.com for her
blogs. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.
6:00 PM-6:30 PM: Networking
6:30 PM-8:00 PM: Presentation
8:00 PM-9:00 PM: Drinks at The Midway Club, Fifth Floor
Jian Ping (Speaker)