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China's most acclaimed modern writer Ba Jin dies

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BEIJING, Oct 17 (AFP) - China's most acclaimed modern writer Ba Jin -- whose novels criticized traditional Chinese society -- died Monday in Shanghai, state media said. He was 100.

Ba died at a local hospital after a six-year battle with a malignant tumor and other diseases, the Xinhua news agency said.

A native of Chengdu city in southwest China's Sichuan province, Ba was considered by the government and other Chinese authors to be the greatest writer in modern China.

His main works including "Family", "Spring", "Autumn" were semi-autobiographical novels published in the 1930s which attacked traditional Chinese family hierarchy, when parents decided children's futures with no place for individualism or choice.

The novels depicted well-to-do families in decline and centered around characters' internal turmoil as they struggled over whether to succumb to family pressure in decisions such as marriage.

The novels were not only popular at the time but are considered classics and continue to be widely read not only by people living in China but among Chinese-speaking populations overseas.

His other main works include "The Trilogy of Love", "A Dream of Sea", and "Autumn in Spring".

Born into a wealthy family, Ba, whose true name is Li Fugan, studied in France in the 1920s and there completed his first novel, "Destruction."

After that, he wrote numerous books, including novels, short stories, prose and essays, according to Xinhua.

Following the Communist revolution in 1949, Ba was praised by the Communists as a critic of old China.

But as with many intellectuals, he was condemned as a counter-revolutionary and publicly humiliated during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76).

He was rehabilitated in 1977 and eventually regained fame and respect. He was elected head of the Chinese Writers' Association in 1981.

Ba also held honorary political posts, serving for years as a deputy of the rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), and as a member of the Standing Committee of the NPC.

An asteroid discovered by Chinese scientists was named after Ba.

In 2003, the State Council awarded him the title of "People's Writer."



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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