Ai Qing

Ai Qing bigraphy, stories - Poet

Ai Qing : biography

March 27, 1910 – May 5, 1996

Aì Qīng ( born Jiǎng Zhènghán (蒋正涵) and styled Jiǎng Hǎichéng (蒋海澄); March 27, 1910 – May 5, 1996), is regarded as one of the finest modern Chinese poets. He was known under his pen names Línbì (林壁), Kè’ā (克阿) and Éjiā (莪伽).


He 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 Feng Mian (林风眠), 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 party. During his imprisonment, Ai Qing translated Verhaeren’s poems and wrote his first book Da Yan River—My Wet-nurse (《大堰河——我的保姆》), "Reed Flute"(《芦笛》), and "Paris"(《巴黎》). He was finally released in October 1935.

After the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Ai Qing wrote "Snowfall on the Chinese earth" (《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, was accused of "rightism", and in 1958 exiled to farms in northeast China, and then in 1959 transferred to Xinjiang by the Communist authorities. 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.


  • Obituary

Category:1910 births Category:1996 deaths Category:Republic of China poets Category:People’s Republic of China poets Category:Writers from Jinhua Category:Victims of human rights abuses

Pen name

In 1933, while being tortured and imprisoned by the Kuomintang and writing his book Da’an River — My Wet-nurse, 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 (蔣介石). 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.


He is the father of famed Chinese artist and architect Ai Weiwei, who participated in designing the Beijing National Stadium, and artist Ai Xuan. He had two daughters with his second wife.


  • Kuangye (1940; “Wildness”)
  • Xiang taiyang (1940 “Toward the Sun”)
  • Beifang (1942; “North”)
  • Guilai de ge (1980; “Song of Returning”)
  • Ai Qing quanji (“The Complete Works of Ai Qing”) in 1991.

Works in French

  • Le chant de la lumière «Guang de zange » 光 的 赞 歌, éditor, translator Ng Yok-Soon. Ed. les Cent fleurs, 1989
  • De la poésie ; Du poète / Ai Qing « Shilun » 诗 论, translator Chantal Chen-Andro, Wang Zaiyuan, Ballouhey, Centre de recherche de l’Université de Paris VIII, 1982
  • Poèmes / Ai Ts’ing, éditor, translator Catherine Vignal. Publications orientalistes de France, 1979.
  • Le récif : poèmes et fables / Ai Qing, éditor, translator Ng Yok-Soon. Ed. les Cent fleurs, 1987

Works in English

  • Eugene Chen Eoyang (ed), Selected Poems of Ai Qing, Indiana University Press, 1982