Red Diaper Babies — Made in China: The Legacy of ‘Foreign Experts’ and their Families

When and Where

  • 13/04/2017
    7:30 pm-9:30 pm

  • Residence of Embassy of New Zealand
    3 Sanlitun East 3rd St, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100600
    (get map)

Red Diaper Babies — Made in China: The Legacy of ‘Foreign Experts’ and their Families

Event Details

From the 50’s through the 80’s, when China was still a mystery to the rest of the world, a small community of international “red experts” were living and working in Beijing. Some were scientists, many were political exiles and they all shared sympathy for the struggle of the Chinese people and were following an ideal to build a better world. These two charismatic foreign red guards will share a glimpse into their fascinating childhood and that politically charged era.

From having Chinese as their first language and growing up in a mono-racial world, to the political struggles among foreign Maoists and what it was like to live in a “luxury concentration camp”. They will tell some fascinating stories that are symbolic of the 60’s, which culminated into the end of a communist era in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. They will share a glimpse into that microcosm that consisted of many shades of red when leftist humanism was considered an ideal worth fighting for.

Michael Crook was born in Beijing in 1951. His Canadian mother was born in Chengdu 100 years ago to missionary parents. His British father came to China during the war against Japan in 1938, and the two of them met in Chengdu and made it their home. Michael grew up in Beijing and lived through many tumultuous events like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution and is still here. Michael has been a teacher most of his life, and likes to get involved in social issues like rural development, environmental protection, and helped set up the Western Academy of Beijing.

Andy Friend was born in 1966 at the launch of the Cultural Revolution. His Italian mother was a Sinologist and translator who came to China in 1964. She subsequently became well known as a contemporary Chinese art historian and critic. His American father was a MaCarthy era political exile who came to China in 1962 and worked at the Foreign Languages Press in China’s propaganda machine. After graduating from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Andy has been involved in many International film productions since the 80’s and is currently a filmmaker working in the Chinese Film Industry as a director and actor.

Caroline Nath came to Beijing as a teenager in the 80’s with her family who were part of the first batch of Foreign Businesses invited by Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening up policies of the mid-80’s. She is a former journalist, TV and film producer, active in organic markets and owner of Bonne Nani Organic Jams and Chutneys.


60 RMB; 30 RMB for students | Off the Record | Foreign Passport Holders Only | No registration necessary


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