Yu Jing (于劲), an award-winning writer of Chinese literary reportage, died on Saturday, November 26, at Hong Kong’s Princess Margaret Hospital. She was 63.
Yu died of illness early afternoon Saturday surrounded by her husband, Qian Gang, director of the China Media Project and author of The Great Tangshan Earthquake, family members and friends.
An accomplished army writer and a member of the China Writers’ Association, Yu published under the pen name Xiao Yu (肖于). She was perhaps best known for her two-volume work of literary reportage, The Debacle in Shanghai: 1949. A native of Zhejiang province, Yu spent her youth during the Cultural Revolution working as an agricultural labourer in the countryside. She enlisted in the army in 1971 and later became a specialist writer for the Nanjing Military Command. She graduated from the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Arts in 1986, studying alongside noted friends and fellow writers including Mo Yan, 2012 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Yu Jing’s works include Doom (厄运), a long-form work of literary nonfiction, and several novellas, including Souls at Rest (安魂), Melting Snow (融雪), and Under the Blue Sky (蓝天下，有一辆军列). Yu received the Youth Literary Prize in 1982 for her short story Cracking Melon Seeds (困了，嗑点瓜子, and the Kunlun Prize in 1983 for her story Sweep of Red Earth (绵亘红土地).
[ABOVE: Yu Jing soon after her enlistment in the People’s Liberation Army.]