Klara Blum was born to a Jewish family in the Austro-Hungarian city of Chernivtsi (in German, Czernowitz) in present-day Ukraine, where she lived until the age of nine. In 1913, she and her mother moved to Vienna, Austria. She began to study psychology and attended lectures by Alfred Adler, but had to drop her courses for financial reasons. She worked as a journalist for various newspapers. In 1929, as a Zionist, she followed a stepbrother to the British Mandate of Palestine, but returned the same year. She became a communist and campaigned for women's emancipation. In 1934, she was awarded a study trip to the Soviet Union, where she decided to live permanently. She published several volumes of poetry in German and worked as a translator, teacher, and editor in the USSR. In 1937, she had a love affair with Zhu Xiangcheng, a Chinese journalist and theater director. When he abruptly disappeared, she thought he was on a secret mission in China; but in fact, he had been arrested and sent to a labor camp in Siberia, where he died in 1943. After World War II, Klara Blum was allowed to leave the USSR and traveled through Europe to China looking for Zhu. In 1949, she was appointed a professor of German language and literature at Fudan University, and a few years later obtained Chinese citizenship under the name Zhu Bailan. She continued to write works in German, including the semi-autobiographical novel Der Hirte und die Weberin (The Shepherd and the Weaver, 1951). In her final years, the paranoia and suspicion of foreigners during the Cultural Revolution alienated her from colleagues.