Shi Pingmei (Shih P'ing-mei) 1902V1928

Shi Pingmei died at the age of twenty-six, but the stories, poems, and autobiographical essays she left behind are some of the most emotionally direct and promising literary works produced in China during the 1920s. Shi was born into a progressive family of scholars from Shanxi Province and attended girls' schools in the city of Taiyuan before enrolling in Peking Women's Normal College in 1920. A political and social progressive, she wrote essays on women's rights, Marxism, and social reform, and also established a reputation as one of the first wave of vernacular, free-verse poets in China. A frequent contributor to numerous literary journals of the period, she helped edit 'The Rose', a literary supplement to a popular Peking newspaper, together with her friend and classmate Lu Jingqing, from 1926 to 1928. The friendship of Shi Pingmei, Lu Yin and Lu Jingqing, who met in their student days at Peking Women's Normal College is one of the most well known literary friendships in modern China.

Despite her literary accomplishments, however, Shi Pingmei is often remembered in China today for her relationship with Gao Junyu gt, a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party. Although deeply in love, Shi rebuffed Gao's advances when she learned of his previous arranged marriage to a girl in his home town. Their stormy, tragic loveXGao died suddenly in 1925Xwas the subject of Lu Yin's novel Ivory Rings, and in recent years, it has been told again in a popular biography as well as a television mini-series. Following her own premature death from encephalitis in 1928, Shi Pingmei was buried by Gao's side in Tao Ran pavilion park on the outskirts of Beijing. Their tombstones remain a favourite pilgrimage spot for young lovers.

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