Mulberry Child is the heart-wrenching true story of a childhood in Communist China.
Jian Ping is the daughter of a senior government official in the rural northeast of the country, growing up at a time of famine and political upheaval in the 1960s. Jian Ping’s innocent childhood comes to an abrupt end when the Cultural Revolution-a power struggle within the ruling party-engulfs the country like a wildfire. Jian Ping’s father, Hou Kai, is falsely accused of treason-he is detained, beaten, and publicly shamed. Her mother Gu Wenxiu, a top administrator of a middle school, is paraded in public and imprisoned by the Revolution Committee and the Red Guards-both driving forces of the Cultural Revolution. She is forbidden to see her children and pressured to divorce her husband. The family is pushed to a breaking point when they are forced to live in a mud house without heating, water, or a toilet. Facing abuse and deprivation, Jian Ping’s family stands steadfastly together, from her aging grandmother Nainai, a frail woman with bound feet, to her parents and siblings. The traumatic impact of their experiences shape the course of their lives forever.
Based on her own memories, as well as interviews and exhaustive research, Mulberry Child is a sprawling family saga and an inspiring tale of resilience and determination, a coming of age story told through the eyes of an innocent child. Mulberry Child allows us an insider’s look into a closed-off world and is written with compassion in honest and intimate language.