Because Lu Xun as a man, not just as a writer, loomed so large in the consciousness of his age, his death was both an event of great public importance and a bitter loss to many. Of the hundreds of millions of deaths in China during the 38 years of the Republic none made a bigger impact, with the possible exception of that of Sun Yatsen, which though perhaps less deeply felt had a more immediate political effect. To this day, educated Chinese who were old enough in October 1936 to be aware of what was happening in the world remember how and where they heard the news, just as Europeans of the same generation remember learning of the outbreak of the Second World War.
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