The Right Coast
June 21, 2005
Mao's Jewish Boy
By Maimon Schwarzschild
This obituary tells a weird story:
Israel Epstein, who has died in Beijing aged 90, was one of the last survivors of the band of foreign apologists for Mao Tse Tung, and propagated a heroic image of the Great Helmsman...For forty years and more,
Epstein edited the monthly English-language magazine China Reconstructs (now China Today). The journal invariably presented the best face of China to the West, and Epstein was regularly consulted by Mao, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping as to how the country could improve its image abroad.In China, Epstein met and married Elsie Fairfax-Cholmeley, ten years older than he, the daughter of a left-wing Yorkshire squire. "They formed a harmonious pairing and she became much involved in his work."
Reading this picaresque story, it is crucial to remember -- the obit politely omits to point it out -- that in sheer numbers of human lives destroyed, the Chinese Communist regime was the single worst in all world history; Mao & Co left the Nazis and even Stalin's Soviets far, far behind.
That aside (as it were) -- Epstein's story is surely a curio. Read the whole thing. (Registration required at the Telegraph, though.)