The great soul of Ba Jin, one of the greatest literary maestros in China who passed away several days ago, will be always remembered by numerous Chinese readers and will shine as the brightest star in heaven, said Yu Chunchao, a Tsinghua University student.
Yu, unlike most of his compatriots in 1980s, adored Ba Jin as his personal instructor spiritually. "Ba Jin dedicated all his life to showing people the utmost true side of his heart, therefore he received people's love and respect," Yu said.
Born in Chengdu city, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Ba Jin was widely recognized as one of the greatest masters in modern Chinese cultural history and an eminent publisher and editor. Ba's true name was Li Yaotang or Li Fugan. His main works, including "Family", "Spring", "Autumn", "The Trilogy of Love", "A Dream of Sea" and "Autumn in Spring", are viewed as landmarks of modern Chinese culture.
"Ba Jin always tried to speak truth in his whole life," said Cong Weixi, a well-known writer who opened up a new path of Chinese literature on portraying imprisoned life. Cong, undergoing hardship brought by a series of political movement including the Cultural Revolution, was highly inspired by the struggling spirit in Ba's works.
In 1983, Ba presented Cong with a collection of his masterpieces, among which there was "Random Thoughts", a long memoir that reflects China's chaotic turmoil of Cultural Revolution. In the memoir, he calls for human dignity and human rights and for self-examination, and asserts that "thinking independently" and "daring to speak out the truth" have utility in avoiding another Cultural Revolution.
The "Random Thoughts" by the maestro now once again became a bestseller following his death, as Writers Press, which bought the copyrights of Ba Jin works, received many phone calls from around the country ordering the book.
Li Guowen, another well-known writer, said Ba Jin represents the moral resurrection of the Chinese literary circle. "The reason why Ba dared to speak out the truth is that he loved his motherland and people who suffered long time of aggression and humiliation over the past century. His life-long goal is to write and voice for the people."
"Ba had achieved his goal as all his people commemorate him as a mirror of national spirit," said Liu Minhua, a Tsinghua University student. Ba can be compared with Tolstoy of Russia, as both of their inner worlds went through life-long misery with the ups and downs of their countries. And their moral resurrection upon the social changes was reflected in their works.
In July 1999, one of the asteroids found by Chinese scientists in 1997 was named after Ba, who was also chairman of the Chinese Writers' Association. In 2003, the State Council awarded him the title of "People's Writer."
Ba passed away on Oct. 17 at the age of 101 in Shanghai, right at the same time when the Chinese embraced the successful re-entry of Shenzhou-6. Zhou Ying, a literary scholar with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that Ba awakened the Chinese people with a self-resurrection spirit, and he will be well remembered for his greatest contribution to the country's prosperity.
Shao Chunyan, a student with Peking University said Ba's works came from his personal experience in hardship and social changes, which not only help younger generation learn the modern history of China, but also teach them how to face up to difficulties.
According to her, Ba's masterpieces have been listed among compulsory reading lessons in some Chinese colleges and universities.