Colin and Alyce were the first Australians to visit, work and live in the People’s Republic Of China between 1964-66. They went to Peking and signed a 2 year contract to teach English at the Beijing Foreign Languages University. They went 4 months pregnant with their first child and signed a 2 year contract to teach English. Entering a famine, political conflict and an Asian communist country defied their country and family. The reason they went was simple. Colin was beginning his PHD in The Rise of Peking Opera and Zhou Enlai, the foreign affairs minister under Mao Zedong, issued a decree that Chinese people should learn a European language and thus be able to speak for themselves. Zhou was tired of correcting the interpreter as he was fluent in French and capable of many diplomatic conversations. Under protocol, he was forced to use an interpreter, so he sent for any European that applied for a job. Despite being Australian and Australia not having an embassy in China, nor did it recognise China as a country, opting for Taiwan. Colin applied and got a job with his new pregnant wife and went very quickly to China.
Links to other pages under the section ‘Life in China 1964-66’