|Birth Day:||March 27, 1910|
|Death Date:||May 5, 1996 (age 86)|
As per our current Database, Ai Qing died on May 5, 1996 (age 86).
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While imprisoned for his opposition to the Kuomintang (Chinese National People's Party), he penned Dayanhe, his first book of poetry.
Ai Qing was born in Fantianjiang village (贩田蒋), Jinhua county, in eastern China's Zhejiang province. After entering Hangzhou Xihu Art School in 1928, under the advice of principal Lin Fengmian, he went abroad and studied in Paris the following spring. From 1929 to 1932 while studying in France, besides learning art of Renoir and Van Gogh, the philosophy of Kant and Hegel, he also studied modern poets such as Mayakovsky and was especially influenced by Belgian poet Verhaeren.
After returning to Shanghai, China in May 1932, he joined China Left Wing Artist Association, and was arrested in July for opposing the Kuomintang. During his imprisonment, Ai Qing translated Verhaeren's poems and wrote his first book Dayanhe—My Nanny (大堰河—我的保姆), "Reed Flute" (芦笛), and "Paris" (巴黎). He was finally released in October 1935.
In 1933, while being tortured and imprisoned by the Kuomintang and writing his book Da'an River — My Nanny, he went to write his surname (Jiang, 蒋), but stopped at the first component "艹" due to his bitterness towards KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek. He resented sharing the same surname (Jiang/Chiang) and simply crossed out the rest of the character with an "X". This happens to be the Chinese character ài (艾), and since the rest of his name, Hǎi Chéng meant the limpidity of the sea, it implied the color of limpid water qīng (青, turquoise, blue, or green), so he adopted the pen name Ai Qing.
After the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Ai Qing wrote "Snow falls on China's Land" (雪落在中国的土地上) after arriving at Wuhan to support the war effort. In 1938, he moved to Guilin to become the editor of Guixi Daily newspaper. In 1940, he became the dean of the Chinese department at Chongqing YuCai University.
In 1941, he moved to Yan'an, and joined the Chinese Communist Party in the subsequent year. Beginning in 1949, he was on cultural committees. He was editor of Poetry Magazine, and associate editor of People's Literature.
However, in 1957, during the Anti-Rightist Movement, he defended Ding Ling and was accused of "rightism". He was exiled to farms in northeast China in 1958 and was transferred to Xinjiang in 1959 by the Communist authorities. During the period of the Cultural Revolution he was forced to work daily cleaning the communal toilets for his village of about 200 people, a physically demanding job he was required to carry out for five years, then aged in his 60s. According to an account by his son Ai Weiwei, he lost vision in one of his eyes due to lack of nutrition. He was not allowed to publish his works Return Song(《归来的歌》) and Ode to Light(《光的赞歌》) until he was reinstated in 1979. In 1979, he was vice-chairman of the Chinese Writers Association.
He made a second journey to France in 1980, and in 1985 French president François Mitterrand awarded him the title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Currently, Ai Qing is 112 years, 11 months and 26 days old. Ai Qing will celebrate 113th birthday on a Monday 27th of March 2023.
Find out about Ai Qing birthday activities in timeline view here.