Han Suyin

There was a time when being Eurasian could get you killed. I don't remember this myself because I was only 2, but my mother tells the story of how, in 1967, we were nearly lynched by Maoists amid riots in Hong Kong. I was the provocation, being — in the eyes of the mob — the detestable spawn of her traitorous union with a Westerner. We fled for our lives to the cries of "Bastard!" and "Whore!"

The Belgian-Chinese novelist Han Suyin, born Elisabeth Chow in China's Henan province in 1917, was painfully familiar with this kind of...

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