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Rewi Alley

PLA Daily 2005-08-09

Rewi Alley

Rewi Alley was born in Springfield, Canterbury, New Zealand in 1879. He left New Zealand for China and arrived in Shanghai on April 21st 1927. He first got a job in Shanghai as a fire officer and later as a chief factory inspector. During this period of time he witnessed the miseries suffered by the Chinese workers and decided to identify himself with their struggles. In the mid-1930s he became friendly with many Chinese and foreign progressive people, and worked with them, sometimes in underground activities supporting the Red Army.

After the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression broke out in 1937, he and some Chinese and foreign friends, including Edgar Snow and his wife, initiated and organized the Gong He (Gung Ho) movement to set up various industrial co-operatives. By 1942 they had set up about 2,000 such co-operatives, rendering great support to the Chinese resistance against Japanese aggression. From the mid-1940s to early 1950s, Rewi Alley founded the Shandan Bailie Schools in Shandan County, Gansu Province in order to explore a new education mode suited to Chinese national conditions, namely the work-study program. In this program students would use their brain as well as brawn. Shandan Bailie School cultivated large number of young technical personnel for China.

After the Founding of the People's Republic of China, Rewi Alley was appointed deputy head of the New Zealand delegation to attend the Asia-Pacific Region Peace Conference held in Beijing in 1952, and member of the Secretariat of the Asia-Pacific Region Peace Liaison Committee.

Rewi Alley devoted 60 years of his life to the liberation cause of the Chinese People and formed profound and sincere friendship with many Chinese revolutionary predecessors. He passed away in Beijing on Dec. 27, 1987. Comrade Deng Xiaoping wrote an inscription in memory of him: " Eternal Glory to the Great Internationalist Fighter! "