Dori Jones Yang is pleased to announce the publication of After the Bitter Comes the Sweet: How One Woman Weathered the Storms of China’s Recent History, by Yulin Wang Rittenberg, published by East West Insights in May 2015. Dori spent many months revising and polished this fascinating memoir of Yulin, wife of Sidney Rittenberg, a couple she knows and admires.
After the Bitter Comes the Sweet is the tumultuous life story of a Chinese woman whose loyalty to the Communist Party was shattered when her American husband, Sidney Rittenberg, was arrested on false charges and jailed for years.
Born into dire poverty during wartime China, as a young girl, Yulin found opportunity, education, and hope in the Communist Party. After foraging for weeds and scrounging for warm cinders spewed from passing trains, she was given the opportunity to learn radio technology and assigned to Beijing, where she rose to responsible positions within China’s Broadcast Administration. There she met and married Sidney Rittenberg, one of the first foreigners permitted to join the Communist Party of China. He had befriended Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and the other founders and leaders of the Party in its early days before their victory in 1949.
Together, she and Sidney built a life full of promise, with four children. But in 1968, their dreams were shattered when Sidney was thrown into prison, accused of spying for America. Reviled as a "dog-spy's wife," Yulin was confined, persecuted, sent to labor camp, and separated from her young children.
After the Bitter Comes the Sweet is a tale of determination, resilience, and struggle, with lessons for any reader who faces what seems to be insurmountable troubles. As her difficulties worsened and her colleagues attacked her and even her parents, Yulin had to rely on her own resources. She learned how hard times bring out meanness in some people and kindness in others, how to focus her strength and resources on survival, and how to use her rational mind to face injustice.
This book casts a new light on the well-known story of Sidney Rittenberg, whose own memoir, The Man Who Stayed Behind, written with journalist Amanda Bennett, was published by Simon and Schuster in 1993. The remarkable and unique story of Sidney and Yulin was also told in an award-winning documentary, The Revolutionary, released in 2011.