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LISA MULLINS: We received several comments from listeners about a conversation we had last week with Canadian journalist Jan Wong. We spoke with Wong about her new book called A Comrade Lost and Found. Wong was one of the first Western students to study at Beijing University during China's Cultural Revolution. She was swept up in the ideals of the movement.
JAN WONG: I was trying to change the world, try to make it a better place, and to me the Chinese revolution was the answer because I saw in the West how we had so many problems. We had racism, we had sexism, we had poverty, and, of course, China was one huge poor country, but I thought, â€œOh, at least they're all trying to be equal.â€
MULLINS: And so, when a Chinese student asked Wong for help to go to the United States, Wong reported the young woman to her teacher.
WONG: It didn't mean very much to me at the time, it wasn't a big deal, I didn't think anything serious would happen, and I completely forgot about it.
MULLINS: But Wong told me that a lot did happen to that student. She was expelled from the university and had to do hard labor in a community where nobody would talk to her. Some of you wrote to us to ask what became of that young woman, and whether Jan Wong was remorseful and tried to make amends. Yes, she was, and yes, she did. Wong went to China to find the student that she had turned in, and to apologize to her. But when Wong found her, the woman told her not to be sorry at all, that what happened was not Wong's fault. As it turned out, many people reported the young woman for her beliefs, and she was accused of many crimes. Wong still wanted to make amends, however, and she was glad to learn that she might get the chance to help the woman's daughter go to Canada. You can feel free to write us about anything that you've heard on The World. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, â€˜the-world â€“ and that's one word â€“ at p-r-i-dot-o-r-g -- one word -- at-PRI-dot-o-r-g.' You can also reach us by telephone; here's the number: 617-300-5750. The number again: 617-300-5750. Please tell us where you are and how to pronounce your name. This is PRI, Public Radio International.