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A Thoughtful and Moving Memoir

After the Bitter Comes the Sweet: How One Woman Weathered the Storms of China's Recent History

by Yulin Wang Rittenberg

 Should a woman be punished for marrying a foreigner?

East West Insights announces the release of After the Bitter Comes the Sweet: How One Woman Weathered the Storms of China’s Recent History, by Yulin Wang Rittenberg. This astonishing memoir relates 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, Sidney and 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.

After the Bitter Comes the Sweet, written with the assistance of Dori Jones Yang, is now available in paperback for $12.95 on Amazon and in Kindle format for $3.99, as well as in e-book format on Smashwords.