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I only know when I see them, I can spend my life like this

this life

By davidPublished 10 months ago 12 min read

Many people may not know that as early as the war-torn 1940s, some foreign friends worked and lived in Yan'an for a long time. Yang Zao and Han Chun are two of them.

Yang Zao was the first to enter Yan'an.

Yang Zao was born into a poor peasant family in New York State, USA. He was used to farm life since he was a child, and he naturally had a closeness to animals, especially cattle.

In college, he started out in medicine, but soon transferred to Cornell University's College of Agriculture. In May 1941, after Yang Zao finished all the courses he felt would be helpful to raising cattle, he dropped out of school and went home to raise cattle and farm.

The work on the farm is heavy. On weekends, Yang Zao’s friend Han Ding from college would go to help. Occasionally, he would bring his sister Han Zhen and Han Chun with him.

Han Zhen was working at the Agricultural Security Administration at the time, and she would tell them something new in the world while chatting, and she would bring some progressive books. Several young people read, argued, and enjoyed it.

In 1945, China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression had entered a decisive stage. Yang Zao is eager to join the revolutionary wave. The other world Snow showed in "The Red Star Over China", Yan'an, had been lingering in Yang Zao's mind, and he decided to go to China to see it.

In 1946, Yang Zao went to Shanghai as a staff member of the United Nations Rehabilitation and Relief Administration.

After getting off the plane, a completely unfamiliar world appeared in front of him: the famine was severe, the streets and villages were full of refugees and beggars; many people lay dying on the roadside, or even died silently - not because there was no relief food , but officials are extremely corrupt, withholding relief food for huge profits. Seeing that there was nothing he could do, Yang Zao simply quit his job at the General Relief Administration and went straight to Yan'an.

When he arrived in Yan'an, Yang Zao was placed in Guanghua Farm. To Yang Zao's delight, there are more than 30 Dutch cows on the farm. Yang Zao, who returned to his old business, worked hard every day. In his spare time, he also studied Chinese seriously and quickly integrated into the local life.

At the end of 1946, the Party Central Committee received news that Hu Zongnan's troops were going to attack Yan'an, and urgently arranged the evacuation of the whole city. One night, when they heard the alarm of an attack, everyone acted quickly, but Yang Zao and the others drove the donkey to the end.

Unexpectedly, a donkey was frightened when crossing the river, flung the thing on its back into the river like a madness, turned around and ran upstream. Yang Zao jumped into the icy river to rescue the package without saying a word.

Relying on the news sent by the investigators and the help of the villagers along the way, they escaped the enemy's repeated attacks, walked all the way from Shaanxi to Hebei, and then returned to the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia border area.

This arduous and long journey brought Yang Zao a great shock. He was eager to tell all of this to his friends in the United States, and he proudly said in the letter: "It's the same as asking for directions, we ask, and the common people take us away, and the 'Bai Jun' asks, the common people don't tell them, and afterward Secretly send us letters. That's how we are treated."

In this way, one letter after another, flew to Han Chun on the other side of the ocean.

Unlike Yang Zao, Han Chun's family is extremely advantageous. Her mother, Cammarita Hinton, was the founder of a coeducational boarding high school in the United States, and her father was a patent attorney. Mathematician George Bull, measurement expert George Everest, and the author of the literary classic "The Gadfly" Aijel Lillian Voynich are all members of her family.

Han Chun loves natural sciences and studied in the Department of Physics, specializing in nuclear physics. Due to his outstanding academic achievements, during the "World War II", Han Chun was called to join the "Manhattan Project" and participated in the development of the first atomic bomb in the United States.

Yang Zao's letter undoubtedly made Han Chun see another possibility. In the letter, Yang Zao persuaded her earnestly: "Come and see the earth-shaking changes in China. If you arrive late, you will miss the last train! You will never be late in your physics research." Zai Yang Zao urged repeatedly Next, Han Chun finally made up his mind and left the United States.

In 1948, Hanchun arrived in Shanghai after 18 days of ups and downs at sea, and after several twists and turns, with the help of Soong Ching Ling, set off to Yan'an. Along the way, Han Chun was very excited and sang loudly.

After three years of separation, the two of them were stunned at first glance at each other's unfamiliar faces. Han Chun took the lead in striding towards Yang Zao, unexpectedly punching him on the shoulder, and Yang Zao also punched back.

In this way, Yang Zao and Han Chun tied the knot in Yan'an.

In 1949, the organization dispatched Han Chun, Yang Zao and several other comrades to open up new farms in the north. After several treks, a caravan pulled by cattle took them to Chengchuan in Inner Mongolia, where they established the "Three Sides Farm".

The scenery on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia is very beautiful. Looking around, the rolling hills and the boundless wilderness make people feel relaxed and happy. The scene she saw when she first arrived there was deeply engraved in Hanchun's memory. 46 years later, in 1995, she drew that scene on a computer, printed it and sent it to her son.

But returning to their specific lives, they encountered more difficulties than when they were in northern Shaanxi. In Inner Mongolia, the temperature difference between day and night is large, and the winter is long. When sleeping at night, only the kang is warm. The room is as cold as an ice cellar, and the towels are hung up and freeze in less than 10 minutes. There are very few vegetables here, only cabbage and shepherd's purse.

The work here is also difficult to start. After a series of setbacks, Hanchun realized that he must first make friends with his Mongolian neighbors. She approached Gala, who lived nearby, on the grounds of asking how to make cheese and cream. They make cream together, ride horses, visit friends, Gala moves, Hanchun carries a pole to help her carry things... They quickly become close.

Hanchun gave Yang Zao a "birthday cake" made of soil

The Mongolians have relied on natural food to feed their livestock for generations, and after centuries of grazing, the local pastures have become quite barren. Yang Zaohe farm staff tried to plant corn and new varieties of pasture to improve the severe shortage of fodder in winter. They also use high-quality breeding sheep to improve the quantity and quality of wool produced by local sheep, and use large donkeys and Dutch cows to breed local livestock. Gradually, the concept of breeding with improved breeds was accepted by herdsmen, and the livestock group gradually expanded.

In 1952, Han Chun gave birth to her and Yang Zao's eldest son, Yang Heping. At this moment, the organization arranged for the two of them to go to work at the Yanzhuang Dairy Farm in the eastern suburbs of Xi'an. In Yanzhuang Dairy Farm, Yang Zao is the deputy director, and Han Chun is responsible for the daily care of the cows, recording daily data and supervising the execution of pasteurization.

After traveling several places, the lack of materials has always accompanied Yangzao and Hanchun, but they are the kind of people who have little requirements for material life. On Yangzao's 32nd birthday, Hanchun carefully made a "cake" out of soil, inserted small wooden sticks as candles, and gave it to Yangzao. Yang Zao felt very happy, and took the "cake" in his hands and looked at it over and over.

The only trouble is the lack of medical care. Once when Yang Zao was leading a horse, his arm was pulled and dislocated, but because there was no condition for medical treatment, he had to endure the severe pain and twist his arm to reset it. Since then, Yang Zao's arms can no longer be raised above his head.

Shortly after the "Cultural Revolution" began, comrades in Beijing visited Yang Zao and Han Chun and invited them to Beijing to do English translation work. Under the circumstances, it was also done to protect them.

After arriving in Beijing, Han Chun was assigned to work in the Foreign Cultural Liaison Committee, enjoying the treatment of "foreign expert"; Yang Zao was assigned to a film distribution and projection company.

Later, Premier Zhou Enlai entrusted Minister of Foreign Affairs Huang Hua to visit Yang Zao and Han Chun, and asked them what their plans for future work were. The two strongly expressed their desire to return to the front line of labor and production. So, they were placed in the agricultural sector.

In the autumn of 1972, Yang Zao and Han Chun moved to the Red Star Commune in Beijing. They regained their former passion and plunged into the improvement of agricultural tools and technological innovation. Hanchun started to design a trailed green feed harvester, and soon he designed a milking machine, which made the commune completely bid farewell to the manual milking method.

In 1979, the Agricultural Machinery Institute hired Yang Zao and Han Chun as technical consultants. They took technicians to the United States to inspect the mechanization of the farm, and Guan Hailing, who was with him, came back and said, "Yang Zao and Han Chun are familiar with machinery, and the inspection team has gained a lot; but in terms of life, it is also too hard. I can’t live in a hotel, and I only go to a park to live in a tent for $1 a night, living like a refugee. The money they save is all used to buy mechanical parts, and the rest is handed over back to China.”

However, the two people who were so frugal later took out their many years of savings and used the opportunity to visit relatives in the United States to purchase high-yield and high-quality dairy cow embryos to improve the quality of the Chinese dairy cattle population.

In the 1980s, Yang Zao and Hanchun had been carrying out technical renovations on the farm and trial-produced pipeline milking equipment; they also led the project of "development of complete sets of equipment for dairy farms, design of dairy farms and intermediate tests". After 5 years of hard work, they finally It has advanced China's technological level in this field a big step forward.

Among them, the cooling milk tank designed by Hanchun has filled the domestic technical gap. The equipment has been operating at the Shahe Test Station of the China Agricultural Machinery Research Institute for 30 years and is still in use until 2016.

After the reform and opening up, there have been some changes in the social environment. Yang Zao and Han Chun did not understand some negative phenomena in the market economy. In their early years in Yan'an, the people and events there shaped their outlook on life and values, and this belief accompanied them throughout their lives.

In the face of new problems in the new era, their perseverance and referrals are precious and rare. They have taken the lead in opposing the sale of the land of the test station to developers to build golf courses, and against the practice of "agricultural technology transfer to whomever has the money".

In 1986, research on how to improve the cold spring of milking cups

Since 1992, Yang Zao's physical condition has not been very good, and he has also undergone heart surgery. On December 25, 2003, Yang Zao died in Peking Union Medical College Hospital due to a severe lung infection.

Hanchun asked the staff to buy the cheapest urn and buried some of Yangzao's ashes under the grass on the dairy farm of the China Agricultural Machinery Research Institute Experimental Station in the northern suburbs of Beijing.

In the early morning of June 8, 2010, Han Chun was admitted to the emergency room of Peking Union Medical College Hospital due to severe abdominal pain. She left a will and did not engage in any memorial activities after her death.

The children discussed that northern Shaanxi is the second hometown of their parents, and it was in that place that the two of them started their lives rooted in China and devoted to agronomy. In the end, they decided to bury part of their parents' ashes together on the vast grasslands of Otuoke Qianqi, on the border of northern Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia.

Yang Zhenning was Han Chun's classmate, work partner, and friend when she was in the United States. The first Chinese phrase Han Chun learned, "This is a pencil", was taught to her by Yang Zhenning. At that time, Han Chun decided to go to China, and Yang Zhenning drove her to the station.

Han Chun was a dazzling new star in the field of physics. In the words of Yang Zhenning: "As the technical leader of the atomic bomb development, one of the very important things that Fermi has done is to measure the critical mass of atomic uranium, that critical mass, It was measured by Fermi and Han Chun." But in the end, Han Chun chose to work as an agricultural and animal husbandry technician on this land in China.

Han Chun, formerly known as Joan Hinton (Joan Hinton); Yang Zao, formerly known as Sid Engst (Side Ernst).

In the year Yang Zao came to China, Yang Zao, a well-known patriotic reporter, was killed by the Kuomintang, so he named it "Yang Zao" as a memorial at the suggestion of a friend.

When they entered Yan'an, they were "foreigners" and "big noses". When they lived in Beijing in their later years, they were called "Lao Yang" and "Lao Han". Nothing can explain the problem more than this.

In 2004, 83-year-old Han Chun obtained a permanent residence permit in China, becoming the first person to receive a "green card" from the People's Republic of China. "I don't regret coming to China," she said in an interview with reporters.


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