Foreigners under Mao
Western Lives in China, 1949–1976
ISBN : 978-988-8208-74-6
304 pages, 6″ x 9″, 40 b&w illus.
Foreigners under Mao: Western Lives in China, 1949–1976 is a pioneering study of the Western community during the turbulent Mao era. Based largely on personal interviews, memoirs, private letters, and archives, this book ‘gives a voice’ to the Westerners who lived under Mao. It shows that China was not as closed to Western residents as has often been portrayed.
The book examines the lives of six different groups of Westerners: ‘foreign comrades’ who made their home in Mao’s China, twenty-two former Korean War POWs who controversially chose China ahead of repatriation, diplomats of Western countries that recognized the People’s Republic, the few foreign correspondents permitted to work in China, ‘foreign experts’, and language students. Each of these groups led distinct lives under Mao, while sharing the experience of a highly politicized society and of official measures to isolate them from everyday China.
‘This book is enjoyable and engaging. The author introduces a small but dynamic collection of enthusiastic international participants in post-1949 China showing unquestioned loyalty to Mao’s ideals. Equally intriguing are the alternate stories of diplomats and reporters existing far outside the mainstream of Chinese life and trusted by neither the Chinese nor the international supporters.’ —Edgar A. Porter, Professor Emeritus, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University; author of The People’s Doctor: George Hatem and China’s Revolution
‘A well-written survey about the variety of Westerners who lived and worked in the People’s Republic of China between 1949 and 1976. This is a welcome addition to the “sojourner” literature about foreigners who lived in twentieth-century socialist countries. The scholarship, which includes the review of memoirs, archival materials, and secondary works, is impressive and comprehensive.’ —Stephen R. MacKinnon, Arizona State University; co-author of China Reporting: An Oral History of American Journalism in the 1930s and 1940s