Zhou Yi used to say that Albert Einstein would have brought much more discoveries to the humankind if only he had lived longer and had not get sick. However, we should start "nursing life" well before health problems and in relatively young age. The Chinese medicine formula says: "The highest art of healing is to cure a disease that has not come yet" (zhi wei bing 治 未 病).
In 1924 Zhou Yi was born in Harbin, a city where at that time almost half of the population were Russians. Since early childhood he was surrounded by Russian speech, he tried to understand Russian traditions and culture. Former White Guards taught him to cook borsch (red-beet Russian soup) perfectly and to pronounce almost unpronounceable for the Chinese letter "r". All this had a great effect on Zhou Yi. He decided to go to Beijing and get into the Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages to study of the Russian language. Political situation in the country encouraged this, as such rapid rapprochement with The Soviet Union required translators and experts on Russia.
In 1951 Zhou Yi graduated from the Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages, where he continued to work as an editor of one of the Institute's newspapers published in Russian language. However, the situation in China began to change, relationship with the Soviet Union worsened, and the terrible years of the "cultural revolution" began. Zhou Yi was banished to a penal camp for "correction" as a Soviet regime accomplice. Teacher hated to remember this time. However, from his fragmentary stories it turned out that they had been fed with waste products like cattle and had drunk water from the surrounding swamps.
Then he fell ill with a severe form of stomach ulcer and could not work any longer. Authorities did not want to take care of him and to dig another grave. He was marked as "not dangerous" for the country and sent back as a member of poor family to Beijing for his previous place of work. Those who accompanied him to the station made bets whether he would die on the way or make it to Beijing.
Fortunately, Zhou Yi got to the capital station, where his wife met him. She did not
recognize her greatly changed husband at once. She understood, that it was Zhou Yi only when he was only person left on the platform.
In 1963 he survived a surgery, during which doctors removed about 80% of Zhou Yi’s gaster. After the operation, his health worsened a lot. He was attacked with such diseases as nervosism and arterial hypertension (his blood pressure reached 230/150 complicated with severe thinness and bones shrinking), his liver and spleen increased in size, renal function had weakened dramatically. Zhou Yi was getting weaker and weaker. His legs became heavy, it was hard for him to move along the street, and at forty he looked like a very old man.