Cultural Revolution Liu Baorui’s bones do not exist Hou Baolin repeatedly criticized

After the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, famous comic actors were persecuted, including Liu Baorui, the “king of monologue”, and Hou Baolin, the master of lip-syncing. The former’s famous “three levels in a row” and “pearl and jadeite soup” are familiar to those who love comedy; the latter’s “drunkenness” is also widely known. Some people think that in terms of artistry, Liu Baorui is higher than Hou Baolin. However, such a master was persecuted to death during the dark years of the Cultural Revolution, and his bones were not found. As for Hou Baolin, he was branded as a “gangster” and a “reactionary artistic authority”, and was criticized in several meetings, but still managed to get through those cruel days.

Liu Baorui’s bones were not found after his sudden death

Born in Beijing in 1915, Liu Baorui was born in a poor family since childhood. 13 years old, he studied with comedian Zhang Shuchen, and at the age of 14, he went to Tianjin to perform with Ma Sanli, Zhao Peiru and Li Jieduan at the comic convention of Lianxing Tea House in Nancheng, and broadcasted on the radio. 1940, he returned to Beijing from Jinan and performed at the comic convention of Qiming Tea House, and his reputation rose. After that, he went to Nanjing, Shanghai and other places to give performances. In the late 1940s, Liu Baorui went to Hong Kong to perform and was the first to introduce the art of comedy to Hong Kong and Macao audiences.

Liu Baorui’s monologue is good at absorbing the advantages of sister arts such as monologue, commentary, film and drama, and boldly innovates and creates, forming a unique artistic style with both voice, appearance, emotion and spirit.

After the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party in October 1949, Liu Baorui returned to the mainland from Hong Kong with the expectation of the Chinese Communist Party and joined the China Qu Opera Troupe, later transferred to the China Radio Rapping Troupe. After the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, he was sent to work in the suburbs of Beijing because he had joined the Kuomintang, and on October 8, 1968, he was criticized on the spot while working on a farm in Fangshan, Beijing, and died that night.

There are various theories about the cause of Liu Baorui’s death, but two are popular at the time. One theory is that he died of a stomach perforation, and the other is that he committed suicide by taking sleeping pills.

It is said that during the Cultural Revolution, Liu Baorui was at a mass “debate” and could not bear the slanderous accusations of the “leftists”, so he got into a verbal argument with them and smashed the thermos in his hand while pouring water. Although he did not hurt the other party, the fact that he was a member of the Communist Party and that Liu had joined the Kuomintang caused an uproar in the Broadcasting Bureau about the “counter-revolutionary incident of the Kuomintang fighting the Communists”. From then on, Liu Baorui was characterized and was in a state of mental collapse, so that he was scared to death when he heard footsteps on the stairs.

According to the recollection of Mr. Shao Yanxiang, who was in the same dictatorial team with Liu Baorui, one day, coming back from the field, Liu Baorui looked ashen, pointed to his forehead and said, “My heart hurts, I really can’t do it anymore, you tell me about it.” In the same fate Shao Yanxiang then found and Liu Baorui more familiar with the songwriter Wang decided, informed the situation, hoping he could help to talk.

The next day after waking up, Shao Yanxiang and others suddenly heard that Liu Baorui had died, and that it was a “suicide”. Shao Yanxiang thought that he had chosen this path of relief because he could not bear the pain of his illness, but later, according to the recollection of Xu Heng, who was in the same room with Liu Baorui, the real cause of Liu’s death was the sudden death due to both physical and psychological destruction.

The subject of the dictatorship worked in the fields during the day and “peeled the sticks (corn)” in the field at night. Xu Heng mentioned that on the night before Liu Baorui’s sudden death, Guo, who was in charge of them, suddenly noticed that Liu Baorui was the one who peeled less sticks. So after a loud reprimand, he shouted at Liu Baorui to stand up, and found a large dung skip, filled with corn until the tip, and let Liu Baorui on his back, running around a large circle of four or five hundred people. Guo also followed closely behind, constantly yelling: “Run, hurry up! Faster! Still faster!”

That night, suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure, Liu Baorui returned to the residence, seemed extraordinarily weak, and as usual, moaning, sometimes loud, sometimes small, late at night, the humming sound seems to be greater. No one in the whole house made a sound. The next morning people found that, at some point, Liu Baorui had stopped breathing. Undoubtedly, the real reason for his death was his illness, which could not be treated, and the excessive physical workload.

After the sudden death of Liu Baorui also did not have to stop. The coroner performed an autopsy to prove the cause of death. After the autopsy, the forensic pathologist pointed out that there was a perforation on his stomach, and Liu Baorui died due to gastric perforation, and there was no food or drug residue in his stomach. This is the origin of the story that the gastric perforation caused his death.

After the autopsy, Liu Baorui was hastily buried in the pit dug by Shao Yanxiang and others. There is also news on the Internet that vicious dogs came out late at night and dug up his bones and ate them up. Poor generation of comic masters so the bones of the corpse! And it is said that the person directly responsible for the death of Liu Baorui also died, always dreamed of Liu Baorui before he died. Probably this is retribution.

Hou Baolin who was repeatedly criticized

The first is to learn Peking Opera, and later to learn comic songs. In 1939, Hou Baolin started to play comic for his master Zhu Kuaquan and made his first official appearance at the Tianqiao Xinmin Tea House, where he performed comic songs. The newspaper praised him as “the first person to sing for the comic, learning from the famous actor Pi Huang most similar”.

After the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party, Hou Baolin followed the Chinese Communist Party and, at its request, transformed traditional comic operas, creating a number of “new comic operas” that supposedly reflected real life. In addition, during the Korean War, he also went to North Korea with a condolence mission “condolence performance”.

What Hou Baolin did not expect was that he would follow the Chinese Communist Party in every way, but after the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, he was labeled a “reactionary artistic authority” and was repeatedly criticized, and his disciple Ma Ji, later a famous comedian, was also designated as a “counter-revolutionary revisionist”. Ma Ji had to sweep toilets and paint placards in Beijing. The two wrote large-character posters for each other, which created a lot of animosity, and Ma Ji is said to have beaten Hou Baolin. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, Hou Baolin did not respond positively to this, and Ma Ji denied it in his autobiography.

According to the mainland media, Hou Baolin often dealt with the situation of being “beaten down” with humor. For example, the first day of the fight, before the “Red Guards” rushed into the house, he had heard the noise, and took the initiative to stand at the door to “wait for death”. Then, he walked in front of the group being criticized. Broom, press head, forcibly push, Hou Baolin can “smart” dodge. In addition to this, he has also long changed the “line”. He believes that wearing high-class clothes, will make people with low living standards jealous, suspected of “demonstrating” to the proletariat; wearing green, there is a “disorderly army”, the Red Guards look uncomfortable; wearing patches, people will say that the shape of the left and the right, so, wear is So, wearing a very ordinary and appropriate old coarse cloth, then, concave chest, low head, slippery shoulders, look at the ground, “role” into the natural, appropriate.

Therefore, there are many stories about Hou Baolin laughing during the criticism, such as “the highest paper hat”. However, because of Hou Baolin’s attitude, although he was repeatedly criticized, but less flesh and blood suffering.

Later, Hou Baolin was sent down to Huaiyang, Henan Province to work and reform in the “May 7 Cadre School”, and after a hard time, he returned to Beijing.


During the Cultural Revolution, Liu Baorui and Hou Baolin were not the only two people who were persecuted or even killed in the comic book industry, but they were more notable because of their fame. They are undoubtedly a microcosm of the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party in the world of comedy and literature, and they are also witnesses to the tragedy of that era.