Many visitors to our PR History website have, I know, taken great interest in and followed the link on the “links and resources” page to the many wonderful photographs from China in the 1970s that Michael Rank uploaded a few years ago. Today, sadly, I just wanted you to know that Michael went to see Karl Marx on 20 May, after 5 years of struggle with bile duct cancer. Perhaps best known as Reuters’ correspondent in Beijing in the early 1980s, he had been part of the first generation of British 留学生 in China “after” the Cultural Revolution, when he studied in Beijing and Shanghai from 1974 to 1976. At Fudan University, he was my next door neighbor in 四号楼and together we suffered through many a hyperpoliticized 中国现代文学class during the 批邓反击友情翻案campaign in 1976. In those days, class attendance was compulsory (they came to get you if you were still in your dorm or hid in the toilet feigning diarrhea, I kid you not!) unless one had somehow managed to escape, and I still remember one fine spring day when Michael and I had just about enough and instead spent the day in the former International Settlement on our bikes, taking pictures, trading reactionary complaints about the world around us, but ending it on a happy note in a Xinjiang restaurant that he had discovered on Fuzhou Road.
Missing you, Michael!