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Liu Binyan (February 7, 1925 - December 5, 2005) was a Chinese author and journalist, as well as a political dissident. After 1949 he worked as a reporter and editor for China Youth News and began a long career of writing rooted in an iron devotion to social ideals, an affection for China’s ordinary people, and an insistence on honest expression even at the cost of great personal sacrifice.
In 1956 he published “Zai qiaoliang gongdi shang” (“On the Bridge Worksite”) which exposed bureaucratism and corruption, and “Benbao neibu xiaoxi” (“The Inside Story of Our Newspaper”), about press control. The two works had a powerful nationwide impact among readers, but in the next year, 1957, Liu was labeled a “rightist” and expelled from the Communist Party. After being rehabilitated in the 1960s, he again fell out of favor in 1969 and was condemned to a laogai detention camp, where he spent eight years. After being rehabilitated again, he built up a sound reputation as a reformer and a corruption watchdog. From 1957 on, he spent roughly 21 years in and out of labor camps.
In 1978, after the “rightist” label was removed, Liu was re-admitted to the Communist Party but continued, in even starker terms than before, to write “reportage literature” about injustices and the sufferings of ordinary people. In January 1987, as part of Deng Xiaoping’s crackdown on “bourgeois liberalism,” Liu Binyan was again expelled from the Communist Party. In spring of 1988 he came to the United States for teaching and writing; then, after publicly denouncing the Chinese government for its Beijing massacre and nationwide crackdown in June, 1989, he was barred from returning to China and never saw his beloved homeland again.