China Bound and Unbound

History in the Making—An Early Returnee’s Account


Frances Wong

ISBN : 978-962-209-171-9


December 2009

192 pages, 6″ x 9″, 51 color and b&w illus.

  • HK$250.00

In this first-hand account of an early returnee’s life in communist China, Frances Wong relates her personal experiences in China from 1949 to the present, detailing numerous political movements, including the devastating experiences of the Anti-Rightist Movement and the Cultural Revolution. After her husband was labelled a “Rightist,” they were banished to the countryside for eight long years, while their four children were sent to different parts of the country to do manual labor.

China Bound and Unbound recounts how one woman’s hope of building a new China gradually turned to disappointment, disillusionment and despair, reflecting the minds of China’s intellectuals at the time.

Frances Wong was born in Hong Kong in 1923. She attended Diocesan Girls’ School and the University of Hong Kong. She went to the mainland with her husband against the flow of the mass exodus in 1949 to help to build a new China. After her retirement in 1986 she spent fourteen years in California and came back to China in 2000 to see the developments in China and to write her autobiography.

“If you want to get beyond the soulless facts and figures of the rise of the People’s Republic of China and share in the living, breathing experience of what this period of history has meant, and continues to mean, for more than a billion of Frances’s fellow Chinese, then there can be no better starting point than China Bound and Unbound. Read on . . . ” —Pat Ellis, Southern Cross University (Australia)

“Answering Mao’s call, the author and her husband left well-paid jobs to help build a new China. Her poignant story is one of patriotism and enthusiasm, followed by disillusionment and betrayal. One of the best books I have read on this period of history.” —Valery Garrett, author, Chinese Dress from the Qing Dynasty to the Present

“In this deeply touching and beautifully courageous autobiography, Frances Wong provides a truthful and fascinating account of the passion, patriotism, dedication and diligence of New China’s first generation of returned intellectuals, who suffered unimaginable hardships during the chaotic Cultural Revolution, but who have never lost their hope, dream and optimism for a better China.” —Justine Su, China Institute of California State University, Northridge (CSUN)