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Israel Epstein

Israel Epstein was born to a Jewish family in Poland on April 20, 1915.

In 1917, his parents moved to China, and settled in Tianjin in 1920, a decision that was to change Epstein's life.

He participated in China's revolution in the 1930s as a journalist, going to front-line revolutionary bases and writing eyewitness accounts of the bravery of the Chinese people as they fought for national independence and liberation.

In autumn 1938, he joined the China Defense League that Soong Ching Ling had established for the purpose of enlisting international support for the Chinese cause.

At the end of China's War of Resistance Against Japan, Epstein went to the USA with his second wife, Elsie Fairfax-Cholmeley, and worked for the Allied Labor News. He and other progressive thinkers united in urging the US government not to interfere in China's internal affairs. He also made creative and pioneering efforts to strengthen friendship between the two peoples. One example is his help in translating the Yellow River Cantata into English and in getting it performed in the US.

Shortly after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Epstein and his wife returned to China to help Soong Ching Ling set up China Reconstructs (now China Today) magazine in Beijing.

In 1957, with the approval of Premier Zhou Enlai, Epstein became a Chinese citizen. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1964. Since 1983, he has been a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

An accomplished journalist and writer, Epstein has traveled throughout China. He has devoted his life to the study of Chinese history and society, and written many influential works, including The People's War; Unfinished Revolution; From Opium War to Liberation; Tibet Transformed; and Woman in World History: Soong Ching Ling. His latest work, A Memoir of More than 80 Years in China, is a distinctive, personal view of the tremendous changes that have taken place in China during the past century.

(China.org.cn April 19, 2005)