Zhou Youguang,"Father of Pinyin Writing System", Dies at 111, Self-claiming a Nominal Christian

By Yetta Yao, January 18, 2017 06:01 AM

Zhou Youguan still worked in his twilight years

Zhou Youguang(Wikipedia/Fong C)

Known as the "father of pinyin," Zhou Youguang, a renowned Chinese linguist, dies at 111 at home on Jan 14, 2017.

In his late years, the onetime Wall Street banker often joked, "God is so confused that he forgot me." He once quoted," It's never too late to mend.(the famous sentence said by Confucius, from Confucian Analects)" His life glittered the light of wisdom. Regarding his death, a Christian states that God took this beam of light away.

His name,"Youguang", actually is associated with the Bible. When Zhou was young, he studied in St. John's University, one of the best church universities in China at that time. An article by a Chinese writer  Su Xiaohe introduces that he came to know the gospel in that school and gave himself a pen name -- "Youguang" (namely "let there be light"), according to Genesis 1:3.

His oral autobiography "The Passing Years like Water" mentions that he was baptized at the age of 36 in 1942. However, he shared in an interview with Oriental Outlook in 2010 that he wasn't  converted despite his study in a church school, but a friend told him to convert to get comfort after the death of his seven-year-old daughter.

Then he received the baptism lasting five minutes with the friend and ate a small piece of bread. As an intellectual, Zhou said that it was difficult for him to have a real belief and he could not say grace before meals each time. Claiming himself as a nominal Christian, he stated that he didn't really believe in the Lord and it was pretty hard for a man with deep scientific thinking to become a true follower.

Translated By: Karen Luo

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