Wang Ruoshui

wpe11.jpg (2059 bytes)


 Resume
简    历

Writings
著    作

Obituaries

讣    闻

Photographs
图    片

Interviews
访    问

Condolences
吊    唁

Commemorating纪   念

Home

首    页

 

Boston Globe, January 11, 2002

THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Wang Ruoshui, 75 Author, Chinese intellectual

By Matthew Brelis, Globe Staff, 1/11/2002

 Wang Ruoshui, a two-time visiting scholar at Harvard University who once helped run the Communist Party paper the People's Daily before being expelled from the party for his reformist views, died of cancer Wednesday at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He was 75. Mr. Wang, the author of five books and numerous articles, was in the United States with his wife, Yuan Feng, who is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. His fields of scholarship focused on Marxist philosophy and the history of the Communist Party in China - and especially its formative leader, Mao Zedong. ''His death may mark the end of an era in which a generation of Marxist humanists attempted to change China,'' Merle Goldman, an associate at Harvard's Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, wrote in an e-mail yesterday. Mr. Wang left the philosophy department at Peking University in 1948 and joined the underground Communist Party. He later received a bachelor's degree in philosophy. Mr. Wang began his career with the People's Daily in 1950 in the theory department. In 1957, during the ''100 Flowers'' political movement, he met with Mao in order to write editorials on the movement. In 1972, he wrote a letter to Mao supporting Zhou Enlai's more moderate policies and criticizing the Gang of Four, which was led by Mao's wife. Mao called Mr. Wang ''unwise'' and sent him to perform manual labor in the countryside. His standing was restored by the Cultural Revolution in 1976. In 1977, Mr. Wang became deputy editor of the People's Daily, and a year later was part of the first official delegation of journalists from China to visit the United States before relations were normalized. He published the first objective reports about America that year. Through the early 1980s, he published a series of articles calling for ''emancipation of the mind'' and advocated for democracy and humanism while criticizing alienation in socialist society. He was ousted from his job in 1983 for criticizing Chinese dictatorial rule and for his unorthodox views of Marxism. He was thrown out of the party in 1987. ''He would have been a Walter Lippmann-type columnist in the West, but he never had the free atmosphere to do it,'' said Ross Terrill author of ''Mao,'' ''China in Our Time,'' and ''Madame Mao.'' ''He was quietly courageous. His career demonstrated the warfare that arises between humanism and ideology,'' Terrill said. ''The day I first met him in his office in Beijing in 1981 he boldly quoted Lord Acton `Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.''' In addition to being a visiting scholar at the Fairbank Center in 1989 and 1993-1994, Mr. Wang was a visiting scholar at the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California in Berkeley in 1994 and was a visiting professor at the Center of East and Southeast Asian Studies at Lund University in Sweden in 1998. Mr. Wang cut short the 1989 stay at Harvard to return to China for the pro-democracy demonstrations. ''We walked to Tiananmen, where it was a sea of people,'' he recalled in a recent interview. ''I remembered how I had joined the demonstrations in the late 1940s, but that was under the rule of the Nationalists. The slogan we shouted back then was `We want freedom and democracy.' I thought, `My goodness, after so many years we've gone full circle, and now we're back shouting the same slogan.''' One of his articles, which was translated by Terrill and Nancy Hearst, librarian at the Fairbank Center, and published in the Los Angeles Times, was headlined ''China's Ban on Bad News.'' ''It is a long-standing problem,'' Mr. Wang wrote, ''that the Chinese media reports only the good news, never the bad. Even worse, Chinese officials dislike it when others report their bad news.'' In addition to his wife, Mr. Wang leaves a son, Wang Sitong, and a daughter, Zhong Xiaodan. Funeral arrangements are private. This story ran on page B7 of the Boston Globe on 1/11/2002.

Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.