Zhang Yihe was born in Chongqing in 1942, but her family is from Anhui province. She is a graduate of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts and a Peking Opera scholar. Her father, Zhang Bojun, was named China’s "Number One Rightist" and was a founder of the China Democratic League and sixth President of Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party. She currently lives in Beijing and has published The Past is Not Like Smoke, a memoir about her parents’ friends, some of whom she termed "Aristocrats" for their role in the formation of modern China as we know it today. She’s also the author of Past Stories of Actors, about Peking Opera stars. Recently she has turned her hand to fiction.