March 15th, 2021

Revisiting Rue Moliere in the 1980s

It's a most interesting book – Re-encounters in China: Notes of a Journey in a Time Capsule (1985), by Harold Robert Isaacs. The author revisits China as soon as it reopens for tourism after the Cultural Revolution, and looks for friends and acquaintances that he used to know in the 1930s and 1940s.

This is the group photo taken in 1933 at the Rue Moliere residence, from which the author was subsequently blotted out. The persons, left to right, are Agnes Smedley, George Bernard Shaw, Song Qingling, Cai Yuanpei, Harold Isaacs (behind him), Lin Yutang and Lu Xun.

Having returned to Shanghai 50 years later, Isaacs found this picture reproduced in books and magazines, but doctored to include only GBS, Song Qingling, Cai Yuanpei and Lu Xun (the latter was moved closer to the center, to fill the awkward gap).