Was he a solution or part of the problem? Cao Yu, considered a leading Chinese playwright, died Dec. 13 at age 86. According to a New York Post obituary, Yu dramatized decadence and suffering in the years preceding the Chinese Communists seizure of power. He was 23 when he published Thunderstorm in 1933. That play was touted as "one of the first successful uses of realism in modern Chinese drama." Yu's towing of the Party line made stood him in good stead when the Communists came to power in 1949, and he was named head of the country's premiere performing arts company, the Beijing People's Art Theatre.