Esther Cheo Ying

Black Country to Red China
  • Black Country to Red China

  • Born in pre-Revolutionary China and brought up in the Midlands, Esther Cheo Ying returned to China in 1949 after a traumatic childhood, convinced that there she would find the happiness and sense of belonging she longed for. Caught up in the turmoil of civil war and sympathetic to the Communist Revolution, she joined the Red Army and then stayed on to work in the new People's Republic. But despite her determination to make a new life in China could she truly be happy in a country which encouraged constant self-criticism and viewed her as a 'false foreign devil'?

    Black Country to Red China is an extraordinary account of life before the Cultural Revolution, but it is also a fascinating insight into one woman's struggle to come to terms with your own identity.

Esther Cheo Ying was born in Shanghai in 1932. From the age of six she spent her childhood in England but returned to China at seventeen. In the Chinese People's Liberation Army, then in the New China News Agency and on Peking Radio, she saw the New China in the making - from the inside. Eleven years later she returned to Britain and became a teacher. For many years until retirement she was head of a primary school in the West Country. She and her journalist husband then moved back to the outskirts of London to be near their children and grandchildren. Her hobbies include sculpture, writing and walking and her daughter Polly is a successful author.

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