'History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme' - Mark Twain.
A gallimaufry of random China history and research interests
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A Sad Loss - John W Powell
Another of the last of the Old China Hands has sadly died - John W Powell - the son of the great JB Powell, the doyen of the old Shanghai press corps of the inter-war period - died in California this week at 89. JB was one of the group of Missourians, which included Carl Crow, who moved east to Shanghai following the call of the influential Tom Millard. JB's great media vehicle was the China Weekly Review which he ran until the Japanese invaded, imprisoned him, tortured him horribly and then expelled him. JB died shortly after of his wounds.
I won't repeat JW's life (you can link to the obits below) except to note that he did restart the China Weekly Review (as a monthly) after the war for a time but is of course best known for his long battle against McCarthyism. One story not noted is that he was actually born in a rickshaw racing through Shanghai taking his mother to hospital - they were late and JW popped out mid-ride!
Powell and his wife courageously fought the evil McCarthy and HUAC though were blackballed for their efforts and became house restorers in California.
As someone who divides their time pretty evenly writing about China now and China back then this seemed like a place to throw all the interesting bits that fall through the cracks somehow and never get used anywhere else.
It's basically the stuff that doesn't get used in my writing about modern China or in the books I do about old China - i.e. probably of little interest to anyone but me and therefore ideally suited to an obscure blog up a dark cul-de-sac of the Internet.