Sang Ye

b. 1954, Beijing
Sang Ye, along with the novelist and later TV personality Zhang Xinxin, became famous for their oral history interviews with ‘the cadre in the street’ in the mid 1980s. Their interviews, like Dai Qing’s, were in part inspired by the work of US oral historian Studs Terkel, and were edited into publishable form according to the censorship guidelines of the day. The interviews first appeared in literary journals throughout the country, creating a ‘buzz’ that fired the book sales for Beijing Man (Beijingren, also known as Chinese Profiles or Chinese Lives) in 1985. The profiles were the first relatively candid interviews with everyday people ever published in the People’s Republic, and they sparked a wave of similar volumes, as well as a literature of ‘true confessions’ that has seen many bestselling books since. Sang Ye produced a number of other oral histories, the most important of which only appeared in Hong Kong (1949, 1989, 1999) due to mainland censorship. A resident of Australia since 1989, he is also known as an essayist, freelance curator and an expert on the Cultural Revolution era.
Barmé, Geremie and Sang, Ye (1997). ‘The Great Firewall of China’, Wired 5.6 (June): 138–51, 182 [about the Internet].
Sang, Ye (1999). ‘Beam Me Up’. Trans.
Geremie Barmé. Humanities Research 2:71–8.
——(2001). ‘Rising High: A Beijing Builder Tells Her Story’. Trans. Jonathan Hutt with Geremie Barmé. Persimmon 1.3 (Winter): 30–6. [interview].
Zhang, Xinxin and Sang, Ye (1987). Chinese Lives. Trans. W.J.F.Jenner and Delia David. London: Macmillan.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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