BEI Ling was born on December 28, 1959 in Beijing, China. He is a well-known dissident poet, essayist and writer.
Between 1990 and 1993, BEI Ling was the writer-in-residence at Brown University. While at Harvard in the mid-1990s, he founded Tendency, a literary journal and press of dissidents and writers-in-exile in Chinese. The journal has also been involved in the translation of non-Chinese writers into Chinese. BEI Ling also founded the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He has been a research associate at Harvard's Fairbank Center for East Asian Research and was a Fellow at the New York Public Library's Center for Scholars and Writers (2002-2003).
BEI Ling's poetry, essays and book reviews have been published in The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, and The Harvard Review. His poetry has been translated from Chinese into English, Japanese, German, French and Spanish.
In August 2000, BEI Ling was arrested for 'illegally publishing' his journal in China. After an outcry of internationally renown writers, the likes of Susan Sontag and Günter Grass, and with the help of, among others, the U. S. State Department, he was released and expelled from China. BEI Ling went into exile in the U. S. A..