Six Western Women of the Past who Married Chinese Men | Speaking of China

20 Responses

  1. Chris Waugh
    Chris Waugh September 2, 2011 at 5:10 am | | Reply

    The Yang’s were brilliant translators!

    Also, I have no idea how close to the truth it is, but ‘For All Eternity/Across the Bridge’ is a great film. I especially liked how it uses the actual (rather rickety) bridge as a framing device.

    I have heard of a European woman, perhaps Dutch or Polish, who married a Chinese man in about the 50s (from patchy memory) and lived right through all the turmoil into modern day Beijing. I can’t for the life of me remember her name, but I say “Dutch or Polish” because I remember a TV programme about a Dutch woman more or less fitting that very vague description, and one of my just graduated students has a Polish grandmother. May well be two different women fitting a similar geographical and chronological space, but there aren’t many foreigners who lived through that time period in Beijing.

  2. Nova
    Nova September 2, 2011 at 5:21 am | | Reply

    Thanks for sharing! wow, That’s priceless 😉

  3. Juan Perez
    Juan Perez September 2, 2011 at 5:33 am | | Reply

    interesting but not completely shocking Sessue Hayakawa was a Japanese film star of the silent era. East Asian leading (male) actors in hollywood were much better regarded in those days…sadly due to WW2 and other events…the excessively negative view remains today and in some ways worse. I suspect but have no proof that the generation who were socialized then had (at least on first impressions) less negative sentiments than today’s america

  4. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian September 2, 2011 at 11:38 am | | Reply

    They were all brave women. True mavericks, rebels, adventurers and romantics? I have heard of Gladys Yang but not of the rest. I take my hat off to them all. And may they inspire more cross-cultural relationships.

  5. Eileen
    Eileen September 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for sharing all this. It’s amazing.

  6. Li Lan
    Li Lan September 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm | | Reply

    Wow…this may be getting a bit off topic but Gladys Yang in that photo looks so much like me when I was 19.

  7. Jia Qi
    Jia Qi September 3, 2011 at 11:09 am | | Reply

    What about Bruce Lee’s wife? I don’t think she had hardship like these women above, but she’s well known.

  8. just a bleepin' statistic
    just a bleepin' statistic September 3, 2011 at 12:25 pm | | Reply

    “What about Bruce Lee’s wife? I don’t think she had hardship like these women above, but she’s well known.”

    If you watched Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story then you must know that she too had it very hard, esp. from her nagging mother.
    The father was never shown but one can only guess HIS stance.

    I don’t like the few scenes (AND I”LL NEVER FORGET IT) where they had to insert scenes debasing Chinese men, (like where a young Linda Emery was with her female friends) and one of them said “EEUWW, you actually put your tongue into mouth of a Chinese guy?” (paraphrasing)

    It just show you how racist Hollywood was and continues to be regarding the Asian male. Surely they could’ve omitted that part or changed it up somewhat less offensive.

  9. Kin
    Kin September 3, 2011 at 6:55 pm | | Reply

    ‘Surely they could’ve omitted that part or changed it up somewhat less offensive.’
    I don’t see it that way at all, the scene simply reflects the general views of Americans towards the relationship at the time, it adds to the struggle of what Bruce Lee and his wife had to go through. It was made to feel sympathy for the couple and cheer them on.

  10. @JustABleepinStatistic
    @JustABleepinStatistic September 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm | | Reply

    The quote from the Bruce Lee biopic actually goes:

    “Ew! You’d actually let him stick his tongue in your mouth?”
    To which the Linda Emery character smirks flirtatiously and replies:
    “Among other things…!”

    The “among other things” she’d let him – the Asian man – put in her mouth = his penis.

    So the scene was saying that despite racist white society, the White girl was wanting to have sex with the Asian man.

    Understand the scene, people!

  11. Rich
    Rich September 4, 2011 at 10:00 am | | Reply

    Outstanding article. I admire all these ladies.

    I particularly like the background story of Gladys Yang so I Googled her name to see if there was more information I could find. I found this link to a documentary made by CCTV that I found interesting and informative if others would like to learn more about Gladys and Xianyi. It’s in English too:

  12. Sheila
    Sheila September 6, 2011 at 4:39 am | | Reply

    Isn’t it ironic after so many years later, society still shun cross cultural marriage especially involving AMWF???

  13. Friend
    Friend September 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm | | Reply

    There’s another famous Yangxifu grandmother.

    Faina Chiang Fang Liang

  14. yuriko
    yuriko October 23, 2011 at 5:25 am | | Reply

    I used Gladys Yang’s translation of ”Dream of the red mansion” in my Chinese literature class 2 years ago. Didn’t even know the history behind the authors. Very interesting.

  15. skreader
    skreader November 13, 2011 at 3:48 am | | Reply

    Shirley Wood, met her husband (a veterinary science student) at Michigan State in the 1940s and moved to China w/ him in 1946. She wrote an interesting book called “A Street in China” (London : M. Joseph, 1958). She and her husband moved to Kaifeng in the 1950s (I think) and she taught English at the university (eventually Dean of Foreign Languages) in addition to raising 6 kids.
    She also appeared in one of Anna Louise Strong’s “Letters from China” published in ’63

    Here’s an article she wrote for the Christian Science Monitor on her visit back to the US in 1980

    She was still alive in 2009, according to this article:

  16. heahe
    heahe December 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | | Reply

    Qiu Fazu, Chinese: 裘法祖. His wife is a German.

  17. CBiv
    CBiv March 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm | | Reply

    Shirley Wood is still alive.

  18. Gerrit
    Gerrit October 15, 2017 at 1:45 am | | Reply

    Eida Schepers-Tan, Married to Micropaleontologist Prof Ir.Tan Sin Hok, Who is Chinese-Indonesian. Source : Or

  19. Gerrit
    Gerrit October 15, 2017 at 1:49 am | | Reply

    Drs. Tan Goan-Po (Paul Mawira), Chinese -Indonesian Economist Who Married Dutch Lady ,Florentina Petronella Geise Source :

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