BY THE EDITOR
As we are formally into the Year of the Pig, our editors have selected some notable Chinese people who has, or had, the lovely animal as their zodiac.
Below is our list. Enjoy, and we wish you a prosperous Year of the Pig ahead!
Fu Yuanhui / 傅园慧
Jan 7, 1996
Swimmer / Olympian medalist
Fu won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 100-meter backstroke and owns the textile world record in the 50-meter backstroke.
Fu has been one of the most popular athletes in China for she has created a sensation online by her facial expressions during the post-semifinal TV interview.
“Really, was I that fast?” said Fu about her seemingly effortless performance in the pool in summer 2016.”It must have been the li of honghuang!”
Twenty-four hours later, Fu had become a Weibo star, with thousands of remix videos, motivational posters and image macros.
Li is usually translated as “power”. But what is the “power of honghuang”? In Chinese philosophy, honghuang is the “primitive universe”. It is, varying from story to myth to TV adaptation (we’ll come to that in a minute), at least 4,000 to as much as 50 million years old and filled with mythical beasts such as Kunpeng the bird, Qilin the giraffe and the kitchen god Chau.
“Super Dan” Lin Dan / 林丹
Oct 14, 1983
Badminton player, two-time Olympic champion, five-time World champion, as well as a six-time All England champion
Widely regarded as the greatest badminton player of all time, by the age of 28 Lin had completed the “Super Grand Slam”, having won all nine major titles in the badminton world: Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games, and Asian Championships, becoming the first and only player to achieve this feat.
He also became the first men’s singles player to retain the Olympic gold medal by winning in 2008 and defending his title in 2012.
Winning the Malaysian Open in 2017 marked Lin’s success in having won every major title in the badminton world.
In 2004, he was dubbed “Super Dan” by opponent Peter Gade after winning the All England Open final, and the nickname has since been widely used by his fans as well as the media to refer to him, in recognition of his achievements.
Liu Xiang / 刘翔
Jul 13, 1983
Retired 110-meter hurdler, Olympic Gold medalist and World Champion.
Liu’s 2004 Olympic gold medal was the first in a men’s track and field event for China.
Liu is one of China’s most successful athletes and has emerged as a cultural icon.
He is the only male athlete in history to have achieved the “triple crown” in the event of 110-metre hurdles: World Record Holder, World Champion and Olympic Champion.
He was the favorite to win another gold in the 110 metre hurdles at the Beijing Olympics, but he had to withdraw from competition at the last moment after a false start and aggravation to a previously unrevealed injury.
Again a gold medal favourite at the London Olympics he pulled his Achilles tendon attempting to clear the first hurdle in the heats. On April 7, 2015, he made a retirement announcement.
Liu Xiang was on Time magazine Asian edition‘s cover of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games titled “Liu Xiang & 99 More Athletes to Watch”. He donated approximately 2,500,000 yuan (USD$364,000) to 2008 Sichuan earthquake relief efforts.
Pony Ma Huateng / 马化腾
Oct 29, 1971
Founder of Tencent
“Pony Ma,” as he is nicknamed. Pony comes from his family name, which when translated into English, becomes “horse”.
As a teenager, Ma shifted to Shenzhen. He studied software engineering at the Shenzhen University and graduated in 1993.After completing his studies, Ma worked at various companies such as China Motion Telecom Development Ltd. and Shenzhen Runxun Communications Co. Ltd. in the research and development department for Internet paging systems and Internet calling systems, respectively.
“Liu Xiao Ling Tong” Zhang Jinlai / 六小龄童
Apr 12, 1959
Better known by his stage name Liu Xiao Ling Tong, Zhang was born in Shanghai in a family of performing artists. His family members, who are Peking opera actors, specialise in playing the role of the Monkey King, the protagonist of the classical novel Journey to the West.
Zhang’s activities mostly focus on promoting monkey culture. Zhang expressed his concern over recent Sun Wukong portrayals. He said while he was happy to see that Journey to the West, as well as other Chinese classical novels, received such attention from foreign directors, he emphasized “…such adaptation has to be based on adequate knowledge of Chinese culture.” and “the Monkey King is not King Kong.” Zhang discredited Dragon Ball and thought it is not Chinese style of Sun Wukong.
Recently, some people have become critical of some of Zhang’s activities and behaviours and soon there emerge swarms of Internet memes that mimic or parody Zhang’s behaviours (often by making fun of some of Zhang’s “quotes”). These memes go viral and based on them a whole subculture, called “Liu Xue” (literally “LiuXiaoLingTong-ology” or “Six-ology”) is formed and becomes predominant in Chinese Internet communities.
Zhou Xiaochuan / 周小川
Jan 29, 1948
Economist / Governor, the People’s Bank of China (2002-2018)
Zhou Xiaochuan was also sent to the countryside (1968–72) before enrolling at the Beijing Institute of Chemical Technology (now Beijing University of Chemical Technology) and graduating (1975) with a degree in engineering. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in economic systems engineering (1985) from Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Upon completion of his degree, Zhou was appointed to a succession of economics- and finance-related posts in the government in the 1980s and ’90s, quickly proving himself to be a capable technocrat, administrator, and policy maker.
He distinguished himself during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s by helping keep China’s currency, the renminbi (yuan), stable without seriously affecting China’s increasingly important export trade. Then, as chief of the CSRC, he instituted reforms of the securities-trading system that improved reporting procedures for companies trading stocks and procedures for delisting companies from the stock exchange.
As the global crisis began to loom in late 2006, Zhou became a strong advocate for greater regulation of banks, including maintaining higher reserves (as he instituted at the PBC). He also increasingly called for global financial reforms, notably reduction in dependency on the U.S. dollar at the International Monetary Fund in favour of a multinational currency fund for its reserves and for a stronger presence of the renminbi in the global financial system.
Yi Zhongtian / 易中天
Feb 8, 1947
Writer and historian
Yi became a household name after he appeared in the CCTV program Lecture Room in 2005 and performed a unique, humorous retelling of the history of the Three Kingdoms (AD 220-280). The program was so popular that his book on the topic sold nearly 6 million copies.
In 2013, Yi wrote Yi Zhongtian Zhonghua Shi (Yi Zhongtian’s History of China). A year later, he wrote San Guo Ji (Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms) to dispel myths about the historical figures.
Li Ao / 李敖
Apr 25, 1935 – Mar 18, 2018
Writer, social commentator, historian, and independent politician
Known as ‘the Most Controversial Figure in Taiwan’, Li had been called one of the most important modern East Asian essayists today. He was a vocal critic of both the main political parties in Taiwan today, the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party. He favored reunification with the People’s Republic of China, especially under the “One country, two systems” policy.
Li was born in 1935 in Harbin, capital of the northeastern Heilongjiang Province, and was brought up in Beijing until the age of 14. He left for Taiwan with his family in 1949, and then studied history in Taiwan.
In March of 1971, Li was imprisoned because of his criticism of the island’s ruler, and was freed in November 1976. But he was jailed again from 1981 to 1982.
After his release, Li continued to publish articles in magazines and newspapers, criticizing the Kuomintang government. Ninety-six of his books were banned in Taiwan until 1991. In the 1980s he also sponsored numerous anti-Kuomintang magazines.
Li, who has suffered from brain tumor since July of 2015, died peacefully at the hospital on Mar 18, 2018, aged 82.
Nie Er / 聂耳
Feb 14, 1912 – Jul 17, 1935
Born in Kunming of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Nie is known for his 1935 work March of the Volunteers, which is now China’s national anthem.
The ballad was originally the theme song of the film, Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm, which tells the story of people at the front fighting Japanese invaders in northeast China in the 1930s.
During 1932 to 1935 Nie created a series of works, including more than 20 theme songs, episodes for eight movies, three dramas, and one opera. Nie created 41 scores in total, and a significant proportion of these songs reflected working class life and struggles.
Xiao Hong / 萧红
Jun 1, 1911 – Jan 22, 1942
Born in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang Province, Xiao lost her mother in her childhood.
At 17 years old, Xiao Hong began to study at a girls’ high school in Harbin. In the winter of 1930, Xiao Hong ran away from home to escape an arranged marriage. During this time, she drifted from place to place, making friends with some scholars and taking an active part in anti-Japanese activities.
With the help and support of Lu Xun, Xiao Hong wrote her representative work, the Field of Life and Death, which soon drew attention from literary circles. Taking a village located in northeast China as its background, the novel depicts the miserable life of the peasants, praises their awakening and resistance, and exposes the lies and outrageous behavior of the Japanese militarists. The publication of this novel marked the prime period of her creative writing.
In 1940, Xiao Hong went to Hong Kong, where she wrote the novelette Ma Bole and her second novel Tales of Hulan River. The novel displays the backwardness of feudal conventions by describing the ignorant and numb life of a small town in north China.
Two years later, Xiao Hong died of an illness in Hong Kong. A biopic of Xiao’s life, titled the Golden Era, was released in 2014, starring Tang Wei.