Xiao Qian bigraphy, stories - Chinese gymnast

Xiao Qian : biography

27 January 1910 - 11 February 1999

Xiao Qian (Simplified: 萧乾; Traditional: 蕭乾; pinyin: Xiāo Qián; Wade-Giles Hsiao Ch'ien), alias Nuoping (若萍) (27 January 1910 – 11 February 1999) was a famous essayist, editor, journalist and translator from China. His life spanned the country before and after the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

Major works of literature

Popular publications

As a journalist, he wrote a variety of publications. One of them is his book: xin bian wen shi biji cong shu (新编文史笔记丛书[新編文史筆記叢書],Xīnbiān wénshǐ bǐjì cóngshū). The series contains 50 books, in which 6,000,000 words were written. These series were written between 1980s and early 1990s. The books collected a range of anecdotes and highlights from over 2000 celebrities and researchers. The series became highly reputable and widely accepted when it was released. As the last volume of the series published in October 1994, another edition of the series were published in Hong Kong and Taiwan shortly after. The work was awarded the "Chinese Book Prize" (中国图书奖[中國圖書獎], Zhōngguó tú shū jiǎng) as early as in 1993.


In addition to his books Xiao also wrote several notable essays.

Though Xiao wrote no more than 20 essays, they played a very important role in the development of Chinese essay history. All his works were published under the name of "Tatamulin", an exiled Latvian merchant, between the years 1946 and 1948. His essays were satirical and often contained criticisms of contemporary political issues at that time.

His essays also include a considerable amount of poetry which express his strong feelings toward China at that time. The sole purpose of all his essays was to end the political dictatorship of the Nationalist Party in China, and thus promote a peaceful, democratic Utopia. His magnum opus is "Long talk by red hair" (红毛长谈[紅毛長談], hóngmáo chángtán). In the polarised political climate of that time in China, his two essays — “Ease, tolerance & personnel work" (放心、容忍、人事工作, fàngxīn, róngrěn, rénshì gōngzuò) and "Why do people's presses become the government offices?" (人民的出版社为甚么变成衙门[人民的出版社為甚麼變成衙門],rénmín dí chūbǎnshè wèi shénme biàn chéng yámén) — caused him to be labelled a rightist in 1957.


Apart from his work as a journalist and a writer, Xiao also translated important works of European literature into Mandarin Chinese. He translated several books and plays by William Shakespeare, Stephen Leacock and Henrik Ibsen. These were widely published in mainland China and Taiwan.

In 1990, as invited by Nanjing YiLin Publication (南京译林出版社[南京譯林出版社],Nánjīng Yìlín chūbǎnshè), he translated Ulysses(尤利西斯) by James Joyce (詹姆斯·乔伊斯) into Mandarin, assisted by his wife Wen Jieruo, who was fluent in both English and Japanese. When the book was released in 1994, it became a surprise best-seller in China. Because of this, he received the Caihong Translation Prize (彩虹翻译奖[彩虹翻譯獎],cǎi hóng fānyìjiǎng) and the Best Foreign Literature Book-First Class (全国优秀外国文学图书一等奖[全國優秀外國文學圖書一等獎],quán guó yōu xiù wài guó wén xué tú shū yī děng jiǎng).

The English-based magazine "The Economist" complimented his work as being The Odyssey in China.

Major works of journalism

Early reports

Two of Xiao Qian's early major reports in China were:

  1. Report on the Flooding refugees in Shandong, published at Takung Pao (《大公报》[《大公報》], Dà gōng bào)
  2. Impression on the war between Beiping and Suiyun

Instead of simply reporting the facts, Xiao describes the scenes in a vivid way. Many people were moved by his articles and this stirred up public debate over the state of Chinese society and China's internal problems.

Feature articles

Between the 1940s and the 1990s, Xiao wrote many famous articles. Many of his published feature reports are distinctive for their combination of news-accuracy and literary style of writing.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine