Life & Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng. Who is Nien Cheng?. ~ Born on January 28, 1915 in Beijing ~daughter of a wealthy land owner ~Attend the London School of Economics in 1935 (Father was an Anglophile) shortened her name Yao Nien Yuan to Nien
Life & Death in Shanghaiby Nien Cheng
~Born on January 28, 1915
~daughter of a wealthy land owner
~Attend the London School of Economics in 1935
(Father was an Anglophile)
shortened her name Yao Nien Yuan to Nien
~Met husband, Kang-chi Chang & converted to Christianity
~Return to China
the communists allowed husband to become the head of Shell…he died in 1957… Nien joined Shell as an adviser.
“Nien Cheng, 94, whose memoir "Life and Death in Shanghai" was widely praised as one of the most riveting accounts of the Cultural Revolution, died Nov. 2 of cardiovascular and renal disease at her home in Washington.”
~The book you are about to read, Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng was first published in 1986.
Cheng’s story conveys her personal struggle for survival during the communist take over of Shanghai.
As you prepare to read this book, take a few
moments to think about what you know actually know about communist beliefs and the
history of communism in China.
What is communism?
a system of social organization based holding all property in common ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
Marxism is the theory
Communism is the practical implementation of Marxism
Marxism is a philosophy that supports the idea that there should be no difference between the rich and the poor
Communism is a political system with a class less, egalitarian and stateless society based on common ownership, which promotes equality and fairness.
Communism In China
~A dark period in China’s History:
After the fall of Qing Dynasty
without an authority to rule over
warlords took advantage of the situation
period lasted from 1916 to 1927
-warlords fought against each other regardless of
common ideas or purpose
~Boxer Rebellion1 of 1900:
starvation, extreme poverty, and grief resulting in the loss
of many innocent lives
~poorly educated as a child but highly
~member of the Nationalist Army
~was introduced to & became
powerfully influenced by Marxism
Great Revolution (1914—1918)
--China saw several movements which strongly
fostered a path into Communism
~1949: Mao brings Communism to China
Proletariatian: working class of the 19th century
(demand for labor, not capital)
Read the one page “Author’s Note.”
~Why take notes / annotate when you read?
Our first reading of a book gives us the story line, the major conflicts, and a sense of what the author intends.
The second (or third) readings provide richer analyses and a deeper understanding of the text.
**taking notes alleviates the need to completely reread the text.