For the millions of people who have fought for the rebirth of China during the darkest period of its history, there is no dearth of epic stories to tell, just like the Chen family, who abandoned their comfortable lives in their home country to fight and then work for China, the country of their ancestors, which they loved just as much as their own.
This version of the Chen family story focuses on one line of the big family as told by Chen I-wan (陈一文), the grandson, in his lecture titled “The Social Responsibility of Sincere Friends to the True Communists of China” at Peking University as part of Dr. Mark Levine’s series of lectures on China’s foreign friends during the revolution.
Chen I-wan (Right) with Dr. Mark Levine before his lecture on April 17, 2013. Photo: sino-us.com
Chen I-wan, a British Chinese born in Oxford, England in 1942, has lived in China since 1950 and speaks fluent Mandarin like a native speaker. “My first language is English, but I have never studied English at school even for one hour. And I have lost my London accent,” I-wan said without a hint of regret in his voice.
He looks just like every Chinese you might bump into on the street, only with a darker complexion and slightly curly hair – the reason for which lies in his family history dating back to his grandfather.