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A Chinese homecoming

A railway contract brought my Russian family to Manchuria 110 years ago. Now that China's European past is unfreezing, I am welcomed back like a long-lost son to my birthplace, Harbin

By Robert Skidelsky   January 2006

I had been plotting my return to China for about a year, and now an invitation from Lanxin Xiang, author of a book on the Boxer rebellion, to lecture in Shanghai in September 2005 made it possible. I say “return,” because the last time I had been on the mainland was in 1948, when I was nine years old. I was born in Harbin in Manchuria in 1939, came to England when I was three, and then went back to China with my parents in 1947, living for a little over a year in Tientsin (now Tianjin). We escaped to…

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