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By: Ou Chaoquan

Red, Autobiography of Ou Chaoquan

Pages: 290 Ratings: 5.0
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Pride and prejudice, war and peace, crime and punishment all feature in this autobiography of an ordinary person in China. The account spans eight turbulent decades, with love struggling through a torrent of change.

The author’s boyhood name was Red. He grew up in a Dong-minority village in remote southwestern mountains, where most people were rice farmers.

Red supported the 1949 transition to communist rule, accompanied research expeditions into minority areas, and in 1959 completed his Beijing-based research studies. In 1965, he was sentenced to re-education through labour.

On being rehabilitated in 1979, Red spent 16 more years as a university lecturer, becoming professor of anthropology. After retirement in 1995, he kept writing, and over the following 16 years, he published several academic books.

Red has lived by the slogan ‘study to death, die to study, die studying’. This book documents Chinese society in the period 1930–2011 from his personal perspective.

Ou Chaoquan (欧潮泉) was born into a Dong-nationality family in Guizhouprovince, China, in 1930. From an early age, he developed a love of learning.

In the course of time, Ou became a lecturer, and later professor, in anthropologyat the Qinghai Institute for Nationalities in Xining. He spent 14 years, between 1965and 1979, doing hard labour. In 1995, he retired to Guizhou, but continued writingand publishing until ill health intervened in 2011.

Professor Ou currently lives with his third wife.

Customer Reviews
5.0
1 reviews
1 reviews
  • W. Alistair Kennedy

    This compelling autobiography by a gifted man from one of China's 55 marginalised minority nationalities adds a very special dimension to our understanding of the early years of the communist take over of that vast country.

    It is possibly unique to have the witness to that whole era of someone from a large minority people, the Dong of Guizhou. Ou Chaoquan begins his story with fascinating details of Dong culture in the 1930s before taking us on his personal journey into Han society in search of education and advancement rare among his people.
    His story is one of progression even as he battles against prejudice and struggles to survive the violence and harsh changes experienced in peaceful backwaters. His non-ideological views broke his marriage and cost him his daughters for many years. Eventually becoming a noted ethnologist he like millions of others suffered years of humiliation and rural exile during the cultural revolution before being rehabilitated.

    This is a tale of dogged personal courage, suffering and endurance – spanning China's changeable years 1930-2011. I bought and read the whole book and found it fascinating and easy reading. Prof Ou's Chinese has been translated into very readable and excellent English by D. Norman Geary.

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