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|Monday, August 13, 2001, updated at 15:43(GMT+8)|
Chinese Modern Literature Laureate Expected to Become CentenarianAt the age of 98, Ba Jin is not able to write any more. Medical staff taking care of the most prestigious laureate in modern Chinese literature share a common wish for him to become a centenarian.
Thanks to the medical care at Huadong Hospital, Ba Jin has survived the dangers of many emergency operations and lived to see the inauguration of the brand new Modern Chinese Literature Archives last year and the new century.
Due to fragility and Parkinson's disease, Ba has lost the ability to walk and speak. Medical workers have to figure out his needs and feelings from the expressions in his eyes.
Shao Dianyue used to be the dean of the neurologist department at the hospital. The 74-year-old doctor has been taking care of Ba Jin for the past 18 years.
As a fan of Ba Jin's works, she says that working at the bedside of her idol has enhanced the worthiness of her life.
At the day of her retirement in 1997, her heart still clung to her patient. The senior doctor voluntarily proposed to serve her patient for the rest of her life. The proposal was accepted by both relatives of Ba Jin and the hospital. Since then, Shao has gone to the ward and inquired about the writer every day.
Doctors and nurses in the hospital have treated Ba like their own senior relative. On his birthday and new year's day, the special care ward where the elderly writer lives is decorated in festive style. Thousands of auspicious paper cranes and lanterns are arranged. On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus even came to his room to entertain the elderly man.
Medical staff here said that it is the charm of Ba Jin's personality that caused them to be so devoted.
As the leading writer in modern China, Ba Jin went to study in France in 1926, and while living there he completed his first novel "Destruction." After that, he wrote a lot of award-winning books, including novels, short stories, proses and essays, totaling six million words.
Since 1981, Ba Jin has served as acting chairman and then chairman of the Chinese Writers' Association. His works have been translated into and published in many foreign languages. He has also been given prizes and medals by Italy and the former Soviet Union for his contributions to translating and introducing to Chinese people foreign literary works and promoting Sino-foreign cultural exchange. He is also an honorary member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters.
On his 80th birthday, he said: "I've lived on royalties all my life. It is the readers who have supported me."
Since being hospitalized two years ago, he has donated all his payments and prizes from his works to the charities of the national education program of the Project Hope and disaster aid for earthquakes and flood.
Medical staff said that it is their responsibility and sincere hope to brace the man with steadfast vitality so he can live to be one hundred.
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