Growing up in Mao’s China

A close and personal look at the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square Massacre

The story of Amei’s life began in a warm and comfortable family in an inner suburb of Beijing. Her time in the selective high school is delightful until Mao reactivated the class war as a vehicle to retain his paramount leadership after the disasters of the Great Leap Forward (the Great Famine),

Then came the nightmarish rampage of the Red Guards and the ensuing ten-year debacle until Mao died and the Gang of Four, headed by his wife, was brought down.

Amei spent most of those ten years in a village, 850 km west of Beijing on a high plateau not far from Xian. She met two old scholars who were sent out years before and they became her personal tutors as she read voraciously in their libraries, including the classics of western literature in Chinese translation. 

She learned enough English to help the old scholars run a program for English teachers when the education system began to revive after it closed down for the duration of the cultural revolution. She managed to get to university to study English and then she became an English teacher.

She experienced some of the horrors of the Tiananmen Square massacre as her students came back from the square carrying their dead and wounded friends in their arms.

Eventually she seized an opportunity to come to Sydney where she studied maths and taught in high schools and a coaching college until she retired in2017.

Available from Amazon Australia

The book is not in bookshops, to buy in Australia go to Amazon Australia, and search in BOOKS  for RAFE CHAMPION  (the co-author).


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Tintarella di Luna
Tintarella di Luna
April 23, 2022 7:38 am

Well done Amei — the long journey started with a single step. Thank you Rafe

John Sheldrick
April 23, 2022 8:53 am

Wow and that sounds like a must read book. Now on my shopping list of books to get.

April 23, 2022 9:45 am

One order in, looks like a decent read for 2 significant bits of history

Fair Shake
Fair Shake
April 23, 2022 1:58 pm

Let me guess, Amei was later kicked out of the NSW teachers union for not being left enough.

Louis Litt
Louis Litt
April 23, 2022 10:40 pm

Wow – I want to know how she went from an English teacher to a maths teacher.
The brain is a amazing thing.
These two areas of though are polar opposites.
I suppose living in Rural China helps where you were not hurrang for learning.

Simon Morgan
Simon Morgan
April 25, 2022 9:56 pm

I can’t get over the fact that we have three, THREE!, self-proclaimed communist parties in Australia!

Just imagine trying to establish a single Fascist party here – you’d be behind bars before your feet touched the ground.

Yet, there the LNP sits in it’s usual 3 wise monkey state: See No Evil, Hear No Evil & Speak No Evil.

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