Standing out in a sea of 'red' literature

Updated: 2011-07-01 08:11

By Yang Guang (China Daily)

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Standing out in a sea of 'red' literature

Six books with the same title, The Founding of a Party, are vying with one another to pay tribute to the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Among them, there are three novels, one academic work, one work of reportage, and one historical story collection aimed at teens.

Playwright Huang Yazhou, however, is confident that his novel - the result of about 20 years of research - will stand out from the crowd.

Huang, 62, started producing works centering on CPC history in 1989, when he was working at the writers' association in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province.

Down the street and facing his workplace is Jiaxing South Lake, one of the most iconic revolutionary landmarks and where the birth of the CPC was declared.

During a casual conversation with a friend, Huang was struck by the fact that almost all major events in China's recent history had been portrayed on the screen, except for the founding of the Party.

"When CPC announced its formal establishment on a pleasure boat on South Lake in 1921, only 13 representatives were present, appearing on behalf of its 50 some members," Huang says.

Huang says he buried himself in research at the local library.

"The more I explored, the greater my interest grew," he says.

In 1999, he produced The Sun Rises From the East, a novel featuring a large number of pioneering CPC members, such as Mao Zedong, Zhu De and Chen Duxiu.

A revised edition of The Sun Rises From the East, The Founding of a Party spans a decade from the May 4 Movement in 1919 to the establishment of the Jinggangshan Revolutionary Base in 1928, covering events such as the First KMT-CPC Cooperation, the North Expedition and the Nanchang Uprising.

Literary critic Zeng Zhennan says Huang is able to create well-rounded characters by combining their public and private lives and showing up both their strong and weak points.

"For instance, many (other writers) have avoided the fact that Zhu De once smoked opium and mustered tremendous determination to quit," Zeng explains. "Zhu was a great man, and quitting opium was part of his greatness."

Huang says the biggest changes in the revised edition include a more comprehensive appraisal of Chen Duxiu, co-founder and first general secretary of CPC, and a more objective analysis of the Zhongshan Warship Incident in 1926, which triggered a political struggle between the CPC and Kuomintang.

Huang is working on a screenplay of Deng Xiaoping, about Deng's life between 1976 and 1984.

China Daily


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