Carl & Michael Crook--Witnesses to Modern Chinese History 04-20-2005 11:32

This episode is the first time that Up-Close invited two guests onto the stage, and it seems like a duo performance from the beginning to the end. Carl and Michael Crook, two Chinese-born foreigners became two representatives to present their family stories with us.

Missionaries, communists; Educators, merchants; NGO staff member, students in China. Four generation of this family witness the contemporary Chinese history and the development of their second homeland. They're the Chinese people's friends--The Crook Family, deeply rooted in China.

As the successor of the first generation of missionaries, David and Isabelle Crook are the second generation of this family. David was born in a declining middle class family in England. In the 1930s, he joined the British Communist Party. In 1936 he volunteered for the International Brigade fighting for the Spanish Republic against the armed revolt of fascist General Franco backed by the military intervention of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. While in Spain, David read Edgar Snow鈥檚 book锛孯ed Star Over China锛嶥avid鈥檚 life long interest in China was sparked. With all his hopes, dreams and idealism, he took a teaching job in Chengdu, and there met his future Canadian wife Isabel Brown, a woman born China and close to the Chinese people.

In 1947, a critical moment during China's Liberation War and the land reform movement锛孌avid Crook and his wife Isabelle Crook went to Shilidian Village, a Liberated area of Hebei Province to look into the stirring land reform campaign. They not only recorded everything with their pen and typewriter, but also made accurate and complete records with their camera. Life with the villagers brought them close together. The villagers had ceased to regard the Crooks as foreigners, but treated them as their own brother and sister.

The couple is also seen as the pioneers in the field of English education here in China. Up-Close has invited their students, coworkers and friends to the studio, who are the most influential people in English education, to share their stories with the audience. They recalled the significant contribution the couple made to Beijing Foreign Studies University and the field of education in China.

The Crook Family has enjoyed a great relationship with China but it was not always smooth鈥o the third generation of the family, Carl and Michael worked in some factories during the Cultural Revolution. They consider it a memorable time for them. Most recently, Carl is a wine distributor, and Michael is a NGO staff member. They themselves are continuing the family legacy to further develop the friendship with the Chinese people. It鈥檚 no doubt that China is their home, not only because it is their birthplace, but also because of their deep love for this country.--Written By Zhang Yao


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