Red at Heart: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love With the Russian Revolution

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Red at Heart: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love With the Russian Revolution
By Elizabeth McGuire
Oxford University Press, 2017
480 pp.
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Thousands of Chinese Communists went to Moscow in the 1920s and 1930s to learn from the Soviet Union. Moved by revolutionary idealism and liberationist sexual ideas, many fell in love, some with each other and others (especially the men) with Russians. These Moscow-born relationships flourished while the two countries were allied and suffered when they split. One sojourner, Chiang Ching-kuo, married a Russian woman and later became president of Taiwan. McGuire presents a richly researched set of personal stories, involving both the lovers and their children, nested within a larger political story. Today, Chinese President Xi Jinping is striving to resurrect the selfless “party spirit” of a mythical golden age. As Xi extols the supposed virtues of that era, Chinese would do well to remember the chaotic personal lives of those who built the Chinese Communist Party in the first place.