Ba Jin, one of China's most revered communist-era writers, who attacked the evils of the pre-revolutionary era in novels, short stories and essays, died Monday in Shanghai, the official Xinhua News Agency said. He was 100.
Best known for his 1931 novel "Family," the story of a disintegrating feudal household, Ba Jin also translated the Russian writers Ivan Turgenev and Peter Kropotkin.
Ba Jin worked well into his later years writing essays and compiling anthologies of his work.
He was part of the young intelligentsia in the early 20th century that looked to Western philosophies, Marxism, anarchism, and liberalism, for solutions to China's backwardness and social inequality.
Born on Nov. 25, 1904, in the western city of Chengdu, he later changed his name from Li Yaotang to Ba Jin, taking the first syllable in Chinese of the surname of Mikhail Bakunin and the last syllable of Kropotkin, both Russian anarchists.
No information on survivors or funeral plans was immediately released, the AP says.
"Never for a moment will I put down my pen. It is kindling a fire within me," he wrote. "Even after I have been turned into ashes, my love, my feeling will not disappear from this world."
Born to a landlord's family, Ba Jin joined the Chinese anarchists as a teenager.
Ba Jin spent his early adulthood writing fiction and editing anarchist publications, and in 1936 joined the Literary Work Society, an organization of progressive young writers headed by Lu Xun. Most of Ba Jin's heroes were rebels.
In "Family," his favorite work, he portrayed tensions between feudal, patriarchal controls and rebellious youth fighting for personal and social goals.
Another of his well-known novels, "Cold Night," published not long after World War II, told the story of a couple whose dreams are shattered by the war and who become estranged amid disease and discord.
His biographer Olga Lang said his works were successful as much for their social importance as their literary significance. He wrote about the restrictions he knew from his upper-class upbringing and also examined the plight of workers and peasants.
Ba Jin said he wrote "to expose enemies. They include all the old traditional concepts, the irrational systems that obstruct progress, all the forces that destroy human nature."