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A Selective Biographical Chronicle of Bo Yang

Note: This chronicle is my selective translation of the material on a site created by Bo Yang’s major publisher.

  • 1920 Born.
  • 1933 age 14. Couldn’t get along with his step-mother, and went back to his hometown to attend the primary school. He met the teacher Ke Fei, to whom he was greatly indebted for developing his interest in reading. He met the evil math teacher Hong Wanzun.
  • 1935 age 16. Defied the headmaster and was expelled from the secondary school.
  • 1937 age 18. Beat his step-mother.
  • 1938 age 19. Joined the Nationalist Party and met the beloved teacher Wu Wenyi.
  • 1939 age 20. Married with Ai Shaohe. His father died at the age of 57.
  • 1942 age 23. First experience with Christianity in a bomb-shelter in an air-raid. Bought a counterfeit in-school certificate and was accepted into the Gansu Law College in Lanzhou.
  • 1943 age 24. Traveled the West Yellow River Corridor (Hexi) in Gansu Province. He was expelled from the college after his use of the fake school certificate was exposed. Fell in love with Cui Xiuying and lived with her.
  • 1946 age 27. Graduated from Northeast University in Santai majoring Political Science. Lost contact with Cui Xiuying in the civil war.
  • 1947 age 28. Became a timber merchant. He was permanently banned from school for using a fake diploma to get into Northeast University.
  • 1950 age 31. Sentenced six months into prison for listening to the radio broadcast of the communist party. He lost his job after the arrest. The actual term served was seven months.
  • 1959 age 40. Married with Ni Minghua.
  • 1968 age 49. When translating the comic strip Popeye the Sailor Man, he rendered the word “fellows” into “Dear Fellow Soldiers and Civilians” a speech opener frequently used by the dictator Chiang Kai-shek. This translation subsequently incurred him an imprisonment of ten years. On March 7, he was arrested for being “a communist spy” and “slandering the country leadership”. The death sentence he received was later commuted to a twelve year imprisonment. He made March 7 this new birthday, although the date on his arrest warrant was March 3.
  • 1969 age 50. On hearing his wife filed for divorce to end their ten year marriage, he fasted in the prison for twenty one days.
  • 1975 age 56. A national amnesty was granted after Chiang Kai-Shek died. The term of imprisonment for political prisoners were reduced by one third. Bo Yang’s was reduced to eight years.
  • 1976 age 57. After serving his eight year term in prison, he was still under house arrest on the island of the prison establishment.
  • 1977 age 58. Under the interference of the U.S., Bo Yang was released from the prison after spending nine years and twenty six days in prison. He returned to Taipei.
  • 1978 age 59. He married with poet Zhang Xianghua on Feburary 4.
  • 1984 age 65. From August to November, he joined a three month writing session for international writers in Idaho, United States. Started making speeches on The Ugly Chinaman.
  • 1985 age 66. The book The Ugly Chinaman was published. His modern Chinese translation and annotation of the history classic The Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government (Zi Zhi Tong Jian) was selected as the most valuable and best-selling book of the nation. The book The Schematic History of Chinese People was listed among top ten of the most influential books on China.
  • 1988 age 69. He and his wife visited the Mainland China.
  • 1996 age 77. The Memoir of Bo Yang was published by Ylib (Yuan-Liou).
  • 2008 age 89. Died on April 29 in Sindian City, Taiwan.

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