Sidney Shapiro---A foreigner chooses China as his home 05-19-2005 15:03

When Sidney Shapiro came to China from America in 1947, he had no idea he would eventually marry a Chinese woman and make China his home. Sidney became a Chinese citizen in 1963 and did not step again on American soil until 1971. In 1983, he became a National Committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Sidney Shapiro is a translator. His most famous work is his translation of the Chinese classical masterpiece, Outlaws of The Marsh. Understanding the meaning and the culture of Outlaws of the Marsh was quite difficult for Sidney who is not a native Chinese speaker. Luckily he received help from other Chinese, especially his wife Feng Zi (whose name means Phoenix in English). She explained to him not only the meaning of the ancient Chinese language but also the background behind the complex society at that time. Sidney's first translation was Daughters and Sons. In the 70's, he translated Outlaws of The Marsh. He also translated many famous Chinese literary works into English, such as Ba Jin's Family , Mao Dun's Spring Silkworms and Zhao Shuli's literary works. Sidney Shapiro is Jewish, and his own interest led him to edit and compile a book on studies of Jews in China, called Jews in Old China.

Sidney and his wife Feng Zi had an incredibly romantic love story. All his life, Feng Zi was very important to Shapiro. In his own words, he says he chose a Phoenix , and thus, he chose a Dragon, meaning China. You could see in the program how interesting their first meeting was. At first, he studied Chinese from this drama actress and taught her English, but one month later they got married! Feng Zi was the editor of a revolutionary magazine at the time and it was dangerous for them to stay in Shanghai because of fear of Kuo Ming Tang persecution. The couple went to a liberated area, and finally settled in Beijing. Sidney and Feng Zi lived for many years in a Hutong like common Chinese people. Of course they also had their conflicts. The American aggression against Korea once made Feng Zi very angry and she refused to speak to Sidney for a week. In 1996, Feng Zi passed away. After 45 years of marriage, Sidney naturally missed her very much, but he didn't stop working. He published Feng Zi's essays and his biography I chose China.

Want to know which character Sidney Shapiro likes best in Outlaws of The Marsh and what his neighbors think of him? Watch our program on Sidney Shapiro to hear more of his amazing life stories.--Written By He Jieping


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