My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

I must tell you a little more about the drive to the Chinese border. The refugees seems to find any kind of a shelter throught thd hills and you will see them washing or getting water along the streams by the road.

When we reached the barrier we could see the Communist Chinese guards across the bridge and we watched a number of Chinese who live on the other side but whose land is on the H.K. side moving across the bridge, sometimes driving a cow or a calf or a chicken or a pig and always carrying tools to work their land.

There are rice paddies everywhere and veg. gardens. H.K. does not begin to grow enough food so some of it has to come over the border. The border is guarded by police, not by soldiers and the head of the police told us a party of 9 had made their excape the day before from the communist side, walking along the railroad for about 20 miles till they came to a place where there was no fence. Here they crossed, were sptted by the communists and fired at. No one was hit and while they arrived as the head of the police said in "a bit of a mess" which is probably the usual British understatement, they were safely on the free side. He said they told the usual story. They were poeple of small means but they had something and they had been so constantly called up and questioned and bedevilled that they finally could bear it no longer.

I get a feeling that a great many of these people are either Communists or non communists. They just want to be let along and given a chance to earn a living. If The govt. doesn't exact too much in taxes, they are even not much concerned about corruption. What they really want is to be able to eat and to be left in peace.

When we came home from the morning drive we had only a few minutes before crossing the ferry again, this time in our Amer. Consul General's car. The climb up the hill gives lovely views and the consulate high up with views of the bays and the big Communist dominated islands 10 miles away.

There were a number of delightful people on hand including some we had met the night before at Government House and I was glad of the chance to talk again with Mr. Keswick, the British merchant whose family has been so long in China, and Mr. Harrington.

After lunch I went back and had a talk with the Gov. General at his request. Then at the hotel we had Mrs. Fok for tea. She had done some shopping for me which pleased me very much. At six o'clock we were again crossing the ferry to the UN Association meeting held at the home of Dr. Wan. He had kindly opened his home for this meeting and people were seated in the garden. We sat on the porch and I answered questions for nearly an hour, some of them quite evidently slanted questions with Chinese pro-communist sympathy back of them. But I think it was a good meeting and I was glad to meet the people who are members of the UN Assoc in Hong Kong. It is a very young association since it was only started 5 months ago. It is made up, of course, of many nationalities.

My refugee Chinese friend, Dr. Wan, came and took us to a friends house where we had dinner with a number of Chinese refugees. This was my first real Chinese dinner and I was much interested in it and also interested later to go to see a real Chinese house. This was high up on the hills and had the same beautiful view our own consulate has.