Qu Duyi (C) receives a medal at an awarding ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Russia's victory in the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany in Beijing, capital of China, April 15, 2015. (Xinhua)
BEIJING, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Qu Duyi had a remarkable career as a journalist, covering momentous historical events.
In 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), she was the one who broadcast it in Russian to the world.
She co-founded Xinhua News Agency's Moscow bureau and was among the first correspondents stationed abroad from the PRC.
But, it was her father's exemplary work and the family's legacy with the Communist Party of China (CPC) through generations that brought her to the spotlight.
Her father, Qu Qiubai, was an early CPC leader and a revolutionary hero.
In 1920, he landed up in Moscow in search of ways to salvage China. There he researched and wrote about the changes after the October Revolution as a journalist, and listened to Vladimir Lenin's passionate speeches.
He joined the CPC in 1922 and became one of its early leaders. Qu Qiubai earned acclaim as a writer, editor and theorist among his comrades. He was also fluent in Russian.
In 1935, Qu Qiubai was captured by enemy forces and was later executed. He walked through the gates of death unfazed, humming "The Internationale," a song he had translated into Chinese. "Communism is the greatest ideal of humankind," he said before the execution. "Sooner or later, it will be realized, and the CPC will win the final victory."
Qu Duyi, then 14 years old, learned about her father's death from a newspaper in the Soviet Union. She had not seen her parents for five years. They were called back at a time China was reeling under white terror and the Party's underground activities needed them most.
It was an abrupt departure and Qu's father sent her a postcard and flowers from Berlin on the way home.
"Was my father more of a scholarly gentleman or a revolutionary martyr? I was confused," she said in a 2016 interview.
File photo shows a family portrait of Qu Qiubai (R), a key leader of the Communist Party of China in its early days, his wife Yang Zhihua (L) and their daughter Qu Duyi. (Xinhua)
Qu was born in 1921, the same year the CPC was founded. Revolutionary vibes permeated her life early on.
At the age of seven, she had already helped her mother provide cover for delegates to cross the border to the Soviet Union to attend the CPC's sixth National Congress. At a tender age, she understood that a communist is one who does good deeds for the people.
In the early 1940s, Qu and her mother were captured and imprisoned by enemy forces upon their return to China. During an interrogation when she was asked whether she would choose death or abandon the revolutionary, Qu said: "I always believe in communism and I won't think twice. The Party is fighting for the interests of the nation... People's liberation, rights, freedom and well-being are what I pursue. Death is glorious."
By the time Qu was rescued and she formally joined the Party in 1946, she had known what lifelong dedication to communism really meant.
At the Party's base in Yan'an, Qu and her husband used to work for Xinhua News Agency, and on Oct. 1, 1949, they truly saw the rise of "Xinhua" -- meaning New China -- with the founding of the PRC. A day Qu said she never forgot.
"The most exciting part was when Chairman Mao announced the founding of the central government of the PRC," she said in a memoir. Fourteen years after her father's martyrdom, the day turned a new page in history.
File photo taken on Oct. 1, 1949 shows Qu Duyi broadcasting the news of the founding of the People's Republic of China to the world in Russian. (Xinhua)
Qu was called to the state radio station where she broadcast Chairman Mao's speech to the world in Russian. It made her the first journalist to report the PRC's founding to a global audience.
In March 1950, Qu and her husband were among the first correspondents China sent abroad. They helped build Xinhua's Moscow bureau from scratch. They dispatched many first-hand reports about the Soviet Union for the audience of the young people's republic.
At times, Qu would double as a translator for the Chinese embassy. She did interpretations for the then premier Zhou Enlai and the visiting Chinese delegations.
Qu started working with Xinhua's international news department in Beijing in 1978 and retired in 1982.
In 2021, prior to the Party's centenary, Qu was awarded the July 1st Medal, the highest honor of CPC, becoming the only journalist to receive the title.
"The CPC is 100 years old. So am I," she said in a June interview.
On Nov. 26, Qu passed away in Beijing, marking an end to her extraordinary life. But her remarkable works and the family's legacy shall live on. ■