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Shanghai 1928-46


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My grandfather and grandmother moved from England to Shanghai in 1928, my father was born in the city in 1932. In 1943 they were interned in Lunghwa CAC. I am researching my family's past and their life in Shanghai.

Unfortunately I do not read Chinese and wondered if there was someone who could help me translate some of the documents I have?


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  • 1 month later...

> Sounds like your grandfather was the prototype for the movie Empire of the Sun...

Not quite. JG Ballard's father was two years older than my father, and they went to the same school. Ballard's family were interned in G Block in Lunghwa, my family were interned in D Block. Ballard wrote an article in 1995 for the Sunday Times Review aboiut his time in the CAC and it was much like my father's time.

However, when my father saw the film he said "it was nothing like that", and said the same about the book. All the people I have spoken to, who were also in the camp, have said the same thing. The book is fiction, which Ballard says in the foreword, but people keep saying that it is autobiographical - it is not. Many historical 'facts' are wrong. For example, in the later part of the book he describes the whole camp (1800, including 300 children) being forced marched to a stadium and then on to the docks, losing a quarter of the people on the way. The march ends when they see a bright light in the sky (the first nuclear explosion in Japan). In reality, there was no march, and the nuclear flash was not seen in Shanghai. It makes a great story, but it was not historically correct.


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