Mr. Chinas Son, 2/E / Edition 2

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 35%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $19.47
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 54%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $19.47   
  • New (8) from $44.97   
  • Used (9) from $19.47   


He Liyi belongs to one of China's minorities, the Bai, and he lives in a remote area of northwestern Yunnan Province. In 1979, his wife sold her fattest pig to buy him a shortwave radio. He spent every spare moment listening to the BBC and VOA in order to improve the English he had learned at college between 1950 and 1953. For "further practice," he decided to write down his life story in English. Humorous and unfiltered by translation, his autobiography is direct and personal, full of richly descriptive images and phrases from his native Bai language.At the time of He Liyi's graduation, English was being vilified as the language of the imperialists, so the job he was assigned had nothing to do with his education. In 1958, he was labeled a rightist and sent to a "reeducation-through-labor farm." Spirited away by truck on the eve of his marriage, Mr. He spent years in the labor camp, where he schemed to garner favor from the authorities, who nevertheless shamed him publicly and told him that all his problems "belong to contradictions between the people and the enemy." After his release in 1962, the talented Mr. He had no choice but to return to his native village as a peasant. His stratagems for survival, which included stealing "nightsoil" from public toilets and extracting peach-pit oil from thousands of peaches, personify the peasant's universal struggle to endure those difficult years.He Liyi's autobiography recounts nearly all the major events of China's recent history, including the Japanese occupation, the Communist victory over the Nationalists in 1949, Mao's disastrous Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, the experience of labor camps, changes brought about by China's dramatic re-opening to the world after Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978, and the recent social and economic changes occurring in the post-Deng China. No other book so poignantly reveals the travails of the common person and village life under china's tempestuous Communist government, which He Liyi ironically refers to as "Mr. China." Yet he describes his saga of poverty and hardship with humor and a surprising lack of bitterness. And rarely has there been such an intimate, frank view of how a Chinese man thinks and feels about personal relationships, revealed in dialogue and letters to his two wives.He Liyi's autobiography stands as perhaps the most readable and authentic account available in English of life in rural China.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Far Eastern Economic Review
A testament to the stoicism that has survived both political dogma and Beijing's smug hope for China's revival.
An excellent account of a remarkable man who survived a difficult period in Chinese history.
Library Journal
This is the searing story of an extraordinary man who triumphed over unimaginable adversities....This book belongs in all libraries.
Journal of Asian Studies
Mr. China's Son will prove to be a classic, one hopes the first in a long line of country narratives to come.
The book is simple, charming and by turns funny and sad.
Multicultural Review
Engrossing anecdotes are sprinkled with fresh images and charming folk wisdom.
Asian Affairs
Mr. He Liyi is irrepressible....Through his eyes we get a glimpse of life in rural China, truly Mr. China's son.
South China Morning Post
Mr. He gives a rare and valuable insight into the lives of the Bai people.
China Business Review
Gives Western readers a framework for understanding the bizarre history which created many of today's successful Chinese business people.
China Review International
A delightful autobiography.
China Journal
Unique, compelling...arguably the most readable testimony of a personal experience in socialist China.
This autobiography recounts the story of a Chinese villager from the southern Yunnan province. After a brief sketch of his youth, the bulk of the work recounts his time in a Chinese labor camp and his later return to work as a peasant in his native village. Referring to the Chinese government as "Mr. China," he recounts the great changes that the shifting policies of the Communist Party wrought on the lives of the average person. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813339795
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 7/10/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 0.78 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

He Liyi's previous book is The Spring of Butterflies, a translation of Chinese folk tales. Claire Anne Chik is currently teaching English as a Second Language at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has taught English at Kumming Institute of Technology and Yunnan University from 1983 to 1986. He Liyi's previous book is The Spring of Butterflies, a translation of Chinese folk tales. Claire Anne Chik is currently teaching English as a Second Language at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has taught English at Kumming Institute of Technology and Yunnan University from 1983 to 1986.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction vii
Part 1
1. An Anti-Party Rightist Cap for Me 3
2. A "General Buffalo" Among the Rightist 14
3. I Wave Goodbye to My Homeland 26
4. An Execution and an Eyeless Village Girl 44
5. The Political Typhoon Continues 69
6. A Big Meeting for Taking Off Rightist Caps 80
Part 2
7. A Broken Mirror Goes Unrepaired 93
8. Unconquerable Problems Lead to Marriage 105
9. A Joyful Torch Festival 117
10. I Become a Nation's Worker 129
11. A Two-Member Family Meeting 142
12. Stealing Other People's Shit 154
13. Two Misfortunes and a "Public Parade" 166
14. An Unforgettable Host 183
15. I Lay Down My Hoe 200
Part 3
16. And I Take Up My Chalk 211
17. A Ninth Dish of Eggs 224
18. Our Firecrackers Announce Big News 237
19. Mrs. He Goes to Kunming 248
Part 4
20. To Sweep Chicken's Droppings 267
21. A Meeting of Two Brothers and Four Sisters 276
22. Jumping into the Sea 294
About the Book 305
Index 307
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)