Author discusses family persecution during China's Cultural Revolution
March 20, 2009
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
Her father is falsely accused of treason, detained, beaten and publicly humiliated. Her mother, a school administrator, is paraded in public and imprisoned. The family is forced to live in a mud house without heat, water or a toilet.
Jian Ping is the daughter of a high-ranking government official in the rural northeast of China, growing up at a time of famine and political upheaval in the late 1960s. Her innocent childhood comes to an abrupt end when the Cultural Revolution, a power struggle within the ruling Communist party, engulfs the country like a wildfire.
“Mulberry Child” is the heart-wrenching true story of a childhood in Communist China. Based on Ping’s 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.
Now a successful businesswoman, mother and wife, Ping will discuss her early life and her book at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 in the Krasa Center Rooms A, B and C on the campus of Benedictine University.
“The mulberry tree is a tough tree that thrives in unfavorable conditions,” Ping said. “From my grandparents struggling against poverty to my parents enduring hardship and maintaining their integrity in the face of political persecution, the spirit and triumph of resilience were the core of their survival and success.
“My siblings and I, growing up during the Cultural Revolution, learned to cherish this spirit from them,” Ping added. “Like the mulberry tree, we didn’t succumb to the traumatic experiences we were subjected to. We thrived and become stronger.”
Ping subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Jilin University, Changchun, China and a master’s degree in Film and a master’s degree in International Affairs from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
She worked at the China 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 United States include “The Chinese Film Theory,” published by Praeger, New York. She worked as co-editor and translator on that book.
Ping has completed several writing programs, including Creative Nonfiction Writing at Northwestern University and Memoir Writing at the University of Chicago. She held a residency at Ragdale, the fourth largest artist retreat center in the United States, and was the recipient of the Florence Bear Picker Fellowship from the Ragdale Foundation.
She now works as National Director Tsingtao Beer for the U.S. importer of the brand. Her business dealings with the Tsingtao Brewery has taken her back and forth to China several times each year for 20 years, keeping her abreast with the development of China today and in close contact with her family members.
Jian Ping lives with her husband and daughter in Chicago.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education
recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes
magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business
as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.