Known in China, little known beyond (1) - Isabel Crook
𝘐𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳’𝘴 𝘊𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵 𝘗𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢, 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭-𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯 𝘰𝘳 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘣𝘶𝘪𝘭𝘥-𝘶𝘱 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘺 (1921) 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦’𝘴 𝘙𝘦𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢 (1949) 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘴 “𝘒𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢, 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘥”
𝗜𝘀𝗮𝗯𝗲𝗹 𝗖𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗸 饶素梅 (105) was born in 1915 to Canadian missionary parents in #Chengdu, #Sichuan#Sichuan province and studied for an MA in anthropology in Canada before returning to China, where she was recruited in the 1940’s to conduct rural reconstruction surveys and movements committed to the revolution in a.o. Hebei and Sichuan provinces.
She married David Crook, a British Communist Party member in 1942 and in the late 1940’s they accepted an invitation from CPC leaders to teach at a newly established foreign affairs and language school in #Beijing, which was the forerunner of today's Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).
As a teacher at BFSU Crook laid the foundation for foreign language education in China, 400 ambassadors and more than 1,000 foreign affairs diplomats have gone through the doors as graduates since. During the time of the Cultural Revolution, David Crook was imprisoned for 5 years, while Isabel Crook was confined on the BFSU Campus. Despite this, Isabel Crook has stated that she understood and has forgiven, for example at one event by citing one of her favorite poems from Bertolt Brecht:
“The house was built with the stones that were there,
the picture was painted with the colors that were there,
the revolution was made by the rebels that were there.”
“It is such a realistic poem about the revolution,” she says. “The revolution was made not by angels, but by ordinary people who wanted a just society. Of course they also made mistakes. That’s an unavoidable part of the learning process.” After the death of her husband David Crook in 2000, she told in China Daily "He was well aware that 'revolution is not a dinner party' so he never blamed China for his imprisonment."
Started off in a dormitory on the new school campus in the late 1940’s, she and her late husband have been living on the BFSU campus ever since, having brought up 3 sons. Isabel Crook wrote several books and in 2019 she received the Medal of Friendship, a rare honor reserved for foreigners who have made contributions to China’s socialist modernization and promoted co-operation with other countries from President Xi Jinping.
Content and picture sources :
Sources and inspiration https://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2017/02/07/interview-isabel-crook-anthropologist-teacher-and-revolutionary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabel_Crook https://wikipeacewomen.org/wpworg/en/?page_id=3617 https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1164042.shtml http://www.china.org.cn/living_in_china/life_in_pictures/2008-01/03/content_1237975.htm https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-07-19/Isabel-Crook-Not-just-a-foreigner-but-a-builder-of-New-China--121qQ8v5q4o/index.html https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15063195