Leading voice for constitutionalism in China


Yu Haocheng, of Manchu nationality, was born in Beijing in September, 1925. As an idealistic teenager, he joined the Chinese Commuist Party in May 1942, and in the following year went to the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Border Region (one of the centers of CCP rule and an base for operations against the invading Japanese) where he worked as a Chinese-language teacher at Kangda (the Resist Japan Military and Political University) and edited the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Daily Newspaper. Mr. Yu attended the Foreign Language School at Yan’an (then the Communist capital), where he majored in English, and from which he graduated in 1945.

Mr. Yu worked as a translator and interpretor during the late 1940s and early 1950s, and in 1956 he was assigned the task of establishing a publishing house for the Ministry of Public Security. For the next thirty  years, he was the president and editor-in-chief of the Qunzhong (The Masses) Press, in Beijing. In the hysteria of the Cultural Revolution, he was accused of liberalism, and in 1969 was thrown into Qingcheng Prison, the place for high-level victims of Mao’s political campaigns. Yu was released in 1971, but did not regain his post in the Masses Publishing House until 1978. In 1986 he was dismissed again, this time for writing a critique of the Chinese legal system in a Hong Kong magazine. Mr. Yu then edited two journals, Legal Inquiry (Falü zhi xun) and Legal Science, and in the few years of liberalism leading up to the tragedy in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, he became a leading voice on behalf of human rights and the rule of law.

After the crackdown in June 1989, Mr. Yu was again deprived of his right to speak and publish. In 1996, Mr. Yu came to the United States. While at UCLA, Mr. Yu has completed a pathbreaking book, in Chinese, entitled Human Rights and Constitutionalism.

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2003