Nien Cheng

Nien Cheng

in Peking (Beijing), China
January 28, 1915

November 02, 2009


Nien Cheng is a Chinese American author who recounted her harrowing experiences of the Cultural Revolution in her memoir Life and Death in Shanghai. Cheng became a target of attack by Red Guards due to her management of a foreign firm in Shanghai, Shell. Maoist revolutionaries used this fact to claim that Cheng was a British spy in order to strike at Communist Party moderates for allowing the firm to operate in China after 1949. Her book documents her amazing courage and fortitude that enabled her to survive her imprisonment.

Cheng endured six-and-a-half years of squalid and inhumane conditions in prison, all the while refusing to give any false confession. Her daughter Meiping Cheng, a prominent Shanghai film actress, was murdered by Maoist

Average rating: 4.33 · 8,754 ratings · 784 reviews · 2 distinct works · Similar authors
Life and Death in Shanghai

4.33 avg rating — 8,740 ratings — published 1986 — 25 editions
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Mao and China: A Legacy of ...

3.76 avg rating — 21 ratings — published 1972 — 4 editions
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“It's alwasy best to look ahead and not backwards. Possessions are not important. Think of those beautiful porcelain pieces I had. Before they came to me, they had all passed through the hands of many people, surviving wars and natural disasters. I got them only because someone else lost them. While I had them, I enjoyed them; now some other people will enhjoy them. Life itself is transitory. Possesions are not important.”
Nien Cheng, Life and Death in Shanghai

“Large portraits of Mao on wooden boards several feet high stood at main street corners. Painted to make the old man look extremely youthful, healthy, and fat (a sign of well-being in China), these pictures provided a mocking contrast to the thin, pale-faced pedestrians walking listlessly below them. Pg. 193”
Nien Cheng, Life and Death in Shanghai

“Justice? What is justice? It's a mere word. It's an abstract word with no universal meaning. To different classes of people, justice means different things.
Nien Cheng, Life and Death in Shanghai

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