One Turbulent Year - China 1975

Biographies & Memoirs

By Peter Peverelli

Publisher : Boekscout

ABOUT Peter Peverelli

Peter Peverelli
Peter Peverelli (Holland, 1956) studied Chinese language and culture. He received two PhD’s (in Arts and Business Administration) and spent most of his occupational life as a consultant, specializing in corporations between Western and Chinese enterprises. His leading publications are Ch More...


Grown up in Europe, Peter Peverelli witnesses the final, and very turbulent, year of the Cultural Revolution. He is the first and last Dutch student in China to work in a rural commune and in a department store as part of the curriculum. When Prime Minister Zhou Enlai dies, he personally offers his condolences to Zhou’s widow. But he is also forced to flee his dormitory during the destructive earthquake of July 1976.

Peter’s diary allows us to learn how his experience affected the world outlook of young Western students. They were opinionated and critical, as reflected in the language of the book, but also tried to make sense of China with an open mind. They had to rely heavily on one another to find their way in a culture completely alien to them.

Peter started learning Chinese at age 14 in 1970, out of interest in foreign languages. It turned out to be love at first sight. After finishing high school, he started studying Chinese and was selected to be one of the first Dutch exchange students to study a year in China in 1975. He had a diverse career after graduation, including teaching Dutch in China, teaching Chinese in Holland, selling food ingredients in China for a Dutch company, setting up his own consulting practice and then back to academia again. He obtained to PhDs along the line. China is hot at the moment and numerous Westerners visit the country for shorter or longer periods. This book takes the reader back to the period of the Western pioneers in China. We were the first Westerners from 'capitalist' countries who staid in China for a longer period and had considerable interaction with Chinese citizens. In a way, we contributed to the period of economic and political reforms that started in 1979. This book tells the story of a few European students in China in the final year of the Cultural Revolution period. The reader learns about China through their eyes, as they learned about that then secluded nation while the studied, looked around, and recreated European student life on alien campus.