Refugees aboard a train in Shanghai in 1949. For those that reached the United States, ghettoes, racism and mistrust awaited. Photo: Getty

When East Asians were the enemy: why fleeing newly communist China meant enduring racism

  • ‘Everybody who needed to be killed had an East Asian face’ in movies and on the news, says author Helen Zia of America in the 1950s and ’60s
  • Among those escaping Mao’s revolution were tens of thousands from Shanghai, including Zia’s mother, who are the subject of her latest book
Topic |   Books and Literature

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Refugees aboard a train in Shanghai in 1949. For those that reached the United States, ghettoes, racism and mistrust awaited. Photo: Getty
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Helen Zia, author of Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution. Photo: Nora Tam

What China’s post-war refugee exodus tells us about refugee crises today – author Helen Zia

  • Places such as Hong Kong that accepted refugees benefited from admitting highly motivated people who pushed their children to serve, author Helen Zia says
  • A child of refugees herself – her parents fled China for the US in 1940s – she learned of the traumas refugees bury writing her book Last Boat Out Of Shanghai
Topic |   Books and Literature

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Helen Zia, author of Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution. Photo: Nora Tam
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