Looking Back, Part 1

For many years the military dictator Park Chung-hee, self-proclaimed “president for life” feared assassination, particularly by communists or North Korean agents. His wife was killed in 1974 by an assassin gunning for her husband. Ironically, the deed was finally done by Park’s own head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Kae-won, who was angry at his declining influence over Park and fearful of losing his job. He invited Park to dinner at KCIA headquarters, killed Park and Cha Ji Chui and had his five KCIA henchmen finish off the remaining bodyguards. Almost immediately, all of the culprits were arrested Read More

Finding Contentment in Mainland China

In 1984-86 I taught at Xiamen University in Fujian Province, China. My friend Jim is now teaching in the province to the north of Fujian. When we did this interview over Skype in July 2011, it was clear that some circumstances in China had changed, like technological and economic growth, but others, such as the living conditions of Foreign Experts and the behavior of people in public places were much the same as they were twenty-five years ago. (Jim has kindly supplied the photos.)

Jim’s Story

It was great moving to Asia at the age of 50. I needed a … Read More

Last Days in China, Part 2

In Part 1, Harriet described the xenophobic mood and the widespread discontent preceding the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, then the glorious day of April 27, when she followed the demonstrators from Beijing Normal University from the school through the square and beyond.

Harriet’s Story

Sometime in the next few days, the officials had a dialogue on TV with the previously recognized student organizations [set up by university officials]. Some of the questions put by these student leaders were pretty lame, but some were to the point. The answers were rather patronizing, but they were at least talking. The activists … Read More