As an inquisitive woman with a critical eye, and as a member of the Chinese Communist Party who portrayed its flaws in her fiction, Ding Ling found herself in a precarious position. Her progressive vision moved her to both revere and... [more]
As an inquisitive woman with a critical eye, and as a member of the Chinese Communist Party who portrayed its flaws in her fiction, Ding Ling found herself in a precarious position. Her progressive vision moved her to both revere and criticize the Communist Party -- her critiques earned her ten years of imprisonment for betraying the Party (despite her persistent denunciations of her own work).
Ding Ling's criticism of the Communist Party was never explicit. Her story "When I Was in Xia Village,' for example, tells the story of a village girl named Chen-Chen who is kidnapped and raped by the Japanese. Despite the abuse, Chen-Chen stays with her tormenters in order to acquire information for the Party. When she returns to her village, however, she is ridiculed for coming home dirty and diseased. The venereal infection she caught from the Japanese troubles her both physically and mentally -- her hope that the Party doctors will cure her is never satisfied. Chen-Chen does not lose her faith in the Party, but Ling's hint of its incompetence and lack of compassion is nevertheless palpable. Party censors denounced the story as counter-revolutionary.
Despite the Party's warnings, Ding Ling continued to write controversial fiction. She chronicled the difficult position of women in revolutionary China and insinuated critiques of the Party in the consequences of her narratives. She was exiled from the Party in 1957 and was imprisoned once again in 1970 for another five years. She eventually moved to Shanxi Province, where she recuperated and continued writing until her death in 1986. [show less]