The Intertwined and Utterly Different Lives of Li Zhengdao and Wu Ningkun

Li Zhengdao is a world-known physicist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Wu Ningkun is a famous translator and expert in English and American literature. They were both alumni and close friends and went to study in the United States almost at the same time. However, because one of them stayed in the United States and the other responded to the call of the Chinese Communist Party and returned to the Communist China, their life have been very different ever since. This fully fulfilled the prophecy of the Whistleblower Movement saying: “whoever follows the Communist Party, he will go into the crematorium.”

In 1946, Li Zhengdao entered the University of Chicago to study physics. And his supervisor was Fermi. In 1948, Wu Ningkun entered the University of Chicago to pursue a Ph.D. degree in English and American literature. After the Chinese Communist usurpation, Yenching University extended an invitation to both. They were expected to return to participate in the development of China. Wu was very patriotic and immediately agreed, while Li said he did not want to be brainwashed.

On July 18, 1951, Wu Ningkun boarded a cruise ship to Hong Kong, and Li Zhengdao saw him off. In 1951, during the purge movement, Wu Ningkun was hit by the “counter-revolutionary group” incident. In 1957, during the Double Hundred Movement, he was classified as a rightist and expelled from public service because of his criticism of political affairs at that time. In 1958, he was imprisoned and sent to the Northern Wilderness for labor reform. In 1962, he was imprisoned in cattle shed. And in 1970, his family was forced to live and work in the countryside.

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Translated by: MOS Translation Team – Snorlax S.
Design&editor: HBamboo(昆仑竹)

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