"In the teahouses one could hear the most absurd stories," Lao She (1899-1966) writes of the scene set in one of his best-known works: Teahouse《茶館》.
Since the dawn of the Cultural Revolution, Lao She, one of China's favorite literary sons, or the People's Artist -- as he was commonly hailed by readers -- was incessantly denounced and criticized by the publicity machinery of Chairman Mao's regime. Finally, the curtain fell at the dusk of October 24, 1966. Lao She, aged 67, drowned himself in a Beijing lake, maybe humiliation, maybe dismalness, maybe revulsion and maybe hell after being paraded through streets in chains and banners and beaten up by the Red Guards for more than 6 hours the day before.
Jiang Qing (江青), figurehead of the Cultural Revolution, had this to say of Lao She when asked what badges the writer "counter-revolutionary/reactionary" and why his "reformation" is needed: "he is a capitalistic writer because he eats an egg everyday for breakfast."
40 years on, the teahouse named after that man is said to be one of the most cash-generating teahouses in China.