Rewi Alley-A Bridge Builder between New Zealand and China
    2009-12-09 17:18:36      Web Editor: Sun Yang

Li Jianping(Right), vice chairman of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries presents a commemorative badge to Philippa Reynolds, who represented her uncle Rewi Alley during the awards ceremony for the online selection event "Chinese Connection - Top Ten International Friends of China" at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009. []

The New Zealand social activist, educator and writer Rewi Alley is among the top ten international friends of China selected by Chinese internet users. He received more than 23 million votes for his 60 years' working for China's national liberation process and its construction efforts during a time of peace. His niece, Philippa Reynolds, is visiting China this week to collect the award honoring Alley's status as one of the country's best foreign friends. During an interview with CRI, Reynolds talked about "Uncle Rewi" in her eyes.

Spending much of her working life in England, Reynolds did not meet her uncle very often. Through the letters of her father to Rewi Alley, Reynolds knew more about her uncle's works in China, and felt proud of his achievements.

"My father was very close to him, and used to write to him once a week. He was a great supporter of him. I think the whole family is very proud of him for what he did. As he said, he didn't do anything for himself. It's just because he loved China so much."

Rewi Alley (center) with two Chinese children in this undated photo. [File Photo:]

In his sixty years in China from 1920s until the day of his death, Alley contributed greatly to the country's national liberation and development. He established organizations of industrial cooperation, opened schools and joined relief aid projects as well as proposing suggestions to Chinese leaders on significant problems such as environmental protection, economic construction and employment.

What Alley had done revealed his true love for China. His devotion to the East Asian country, as Reynold said, is beyond words.

"He loves China. He loves the Chinese people. He adopted two Chinese boys, as his sons. He does love China. I think he would be very proud (if he could receive the award in person)."

Rewi Alley's link with China has been a strong influence to his niece. In her 70s, Reynolds studies Chinese at the Rewi Alley Chinese School in New Zealand. She also wrote a book on her uncle, "Rewi Alley, from Canterbury to China", a biographical overview of the volunteer worker and humanitarian in China

In Reynolds' eyes, her uncle is a great man, a bridge erector between New Zealand and China, just as Alley said in his autobiography.

"In his autobiography, he said he was one of the bridge builders between New Zealand-his homeland and China-the land he made his working home. He felt the bridge between the two countries."

For Reynolds, she hopes that her book will work as a bridge for the youth who know little about her Uncle, Rewi Alley, and keep his memory alive.


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