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Book reveals the untold stories of those who fled China’s Communist Revolution

The personal stories of some of those who fled Shanghai in 1949 during the Communist Revolution feature in a new book, the first of its kind to be printed in English.

Author Helen Zia talked about her new book at the FCC. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC
Author Helen Zia talked about her new book at the FCC. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC

Author Helen Zia interviewed hundreds of Chinese exiles over 12 years in her bid to reveal the struggles faced by those living in what until then had been Asia’s most cosmopolitan city. In the end, she selected the stories of four people from differing backgrounds to feature in the book, Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution.

Zia told the FCC Club Breakfast on March 28 that her mother had always told her that she’d left China on the last boat out of Shanghai. Over the years, Zia said she met many exiles who all also repeated the claim that they were on that last boat.

She said that having told the stories of those who fled and the horrors they witnessed during the upheaval, she hoped that people would be more tolerant of refugees and appreciate their contribution to the societies they seek safety in.

Read more about Helen Zia’s book here.

Watch the full talk here.




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