Sang Ye (b. 1955), whose original name was Shen Dajun, was born in Beijing and grew up during China’s Cultural Revolution. He was educated at Qinghua University High School and then became an apprentice at an electrical engineering plant. After the Cultural Revolution ended, he missed university entry, but did a short-term course at Peking Normal University in 1978. By 1980 he was a freelance journalist contributing to Hong Kong and overseas Chinese newspapers. In 1984 he collaborated with the novelist Zhang Xinxin on a long series of interviews about contemporary China, which were published in book form entitled Chinese Lives: An Oral History of Contemporary China. In 1987 he was invited by the Australia Council to visit Australia. Following the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, he and his family were evacuated to Australia. He now lives in Brisbane.

When Sang Ye returned to Beijing in 1988, he became preoccupied with collecting Cultural Revolution materials. Chinese institutions were clearing out their files and he was able to salvage entire archives. He acquired 700 or more versions of the Little Red Book, rare monographs, posters, recordings and local and provincial newspapers.

Chinese Lives: An Oral History of Contemporary China


The Sang Ye Collection, which represents only part of the collection originally assembled in China, was purchased by the Library from Sang Ye in 1990.


The bulk of the Sang Ye Collection consists of Chinese newspapers and serials, mostly published in the 1949–84 period. There are issues of 39 major newspapers, five local newspapers and 142 serials. The titles include:

Zhejiang ribao (Zhejiang Daily)

Jie fang jun bao (People’s Liberation Army Daily)

Jie fang ri bao (Liberation Daily)

Heilongjiang ri bao (Heilongjiang Daily

Hebei ri bao (Hebei Daily)

Hubei ri bao (Hubei Daily)

Guang ming ri bao (Guang Ming Daily)

Nei Menggu ri bao (Inner Mongolia Daily)

Beijing ri bao (Beijing Daily)

Shanxi ri bao (Shanxi Daily)

Da gong bao (Da Gong Daily)

Wen hui bao (Wen Hui Daily).

The collection also contains a small number of government documents of the 1969–77 period, monographs, pamphlets, mimeographed works, and some works published during the Japanese occupation of China.

In addition, there are three maps, published in Beijing in 1958–62, of the United States, Japan and Africa.


The books, pamphlets and newspapers have been integrated in the Chinese Collection in the Asian Collections. They have been catalogued individually. The three maps are held in the Maps Collection. They have also been catalogued individually; the call numbers have the prefix MAP OC.


Jose, Nicholas, Conversation with a Kind-hearted Curio Merchant: Chinese Writer Sang Ye, Voices, vol. 1 (3), spring 1991, pp. 5–12.