Huang Miaozi

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Huang Miaozi 黄苗子

Originally named Huang Zuyao on his birth in 1913, Huang Miaozi (Chinese: 黄苗子), was well known in China as a caricaturist, painter, calligrapher, art critic and writer. Several of Huang's works are preserved in the British Museum.

Born into a literary family in Guangdong, Huang was sent to be educated in Hong Kong, then a British colony, at the age of five. When he was eight, he began studying calligraphy under the famous Chinese scholar Deng Erya (1884-1954) and was then admitted to a local school.

In the 1930s, Huang moved to Shanghai, where he worked as a caricaturist and Kuomintang official in the city's concession. When the anti-Japanese War broke out, he joined the anti-Japanese alliance organized by national artists in 1938.

As a result of his friendship with several of China's literati, including Ding Cong, Xia Yan and Ye Qianyu, Huang was introduced to his future wife Yu Feng, niece of the famous Chinese writer Yu Dafu. It was Huang's strong affection for Yu, who was a self-proclaimed pro-communist revolutionary, which prompted his conversion from Kuomintang member to supporter of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Huang was a key messenger who facilitated communications between the Kuomintang and CPC during the Anti-Japanese War. And it was on his recommendation that the Xinmin News (today's Xinmin Evening News) published Mao Zedong's famous poem “Qin Yuan Chun. Xue (Snow – to the tune of Chin Yuan Chun)”.

In 1949, following the Civil War, Huang worked as deputy manager of the Xinmin News in Shanghai. He was also editor of People's Fine Arts Publishing House and the standing executive of the Chinese Artists Association.

However, Huang was damaged by both the anti-rightists and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). He was sent to a northeastern rural village for reeducation and also imprisoned as a political criminal during the 10-year period of social turmoil.

Nonetheless, he survived and reestablished his reputation at the end of the Cultural Revolution. In 1992, Griffith University in Australia appointed him as a Guest Professor.

However, controversy and hardship had not yet finished with Huang, and his peaceful life was interrupted yet again in 2009 when he was accused of having badmouthed his literary peer Nie Gannu in 1962. But by this time, Huang was nearing the age of 100 and bedridden due to illness. As a result, he was unable to defend himself or explain the ins and outs of what was undoubtedly a complicated affair.

Huang died in Chaoyang Hospital on Jan.8, 2012. His will stated that no one should mourn his death and his ashes should not be preserved. Huang was married with three children, only one of whom works in literary circles.