4 Chinese Biographies that You Should Read

It’s true when one says that life can be unpredictable. We can never expect what will happen next. However, we don’t have to live our lives in fear as we can prepare ourselves for unforeseen circumstances by learning from one’s experiences or if we’re lucky, other people’s biographies. 

Here are some inspiring true stories that you can read and learn from: 

1. The Last Eunuch of China

The Last Eunuch Of China by Yinghua Jia


This book tells the story of Sun Yaoting, who is commonly known as “the last eunuch of China.” His tale showed how he persevered during and after his time as a eunuch.

Born into a poor family, he was emasculated by his father in hopes of getting a job inside the royal household. Unfortunately, fate was cruel to him since eunuchs were eventually expelled in 1923 by the last emperor, Henry Puyi. Thus, Sun Yaoting only got to serve for seven of his 94 years before he died in 1996.


2. Life and Death in Shanghai

Life and Death in Shanghai - Wikipedia

Life and Death in Shanghai is a tale about Nien Cheng, a widow of an official of Chiang Kai-Shek’s regime, and how she courageously endured life during the time of the Cultural Revolution.

She became the target of the Red Guards, given her prestigious background. She was sent to prison after refusing to admit that her background made her an enemy of the state.


3. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (9780743246989): Chang, Jung: Books


If you like Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, then you might appreciate this biography that will tell you the stories of three generations.

The author, Jung Chang, narrates the experiences of her family, as well as her experiences of being a Red Guard at the age of fourteen and her life during the Cultural Revolution.


4. Chinese Cinderella

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter: Mah, Adeline Yen: 9780385740074: Books


Chinese Cinderella shows us how real life isn’t always a fairytale since there is no fairy godmother that we can run to. 

Born into an affluent family, Adeline lived her early years as an unwanted child. Her family considered her bad luck as her mother died early giving birth to her. Things got even harder when her father remarried her stepmother and brought stepsiblings into the fold in her version of Cinderella.


Want to add more books to your reading list? Check out these award-winning Chinese authors who launched books in 2020.

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