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Sixty years on

Hsiao Li's granddaughter Susan, son James and granddaughter-in-law Sally visited some of the places in the guerilla areas where Hsiao Li and Michael spent much of 1942 and 1943 including the remote village in the Fairy Mountains where Erica was born.

Diaoli Village Diaoli Village about 60 kilometre north west of Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province. Susan, Hsiao Li's granddaughter interviewing one of the local villagers. Michael and Hsiao Li spent several months in this village in 1942 where the army had a radio training centre. The old man had a clear memory of them living in the village. This house is very near the site where they lived. It and most of the other houses in the village were later destroyed by the Japanese. Photo taken 9 September 2003.

Zhongbaicha Village Zhongbaicha Village about 30k north of Diaoli. Susan talks to the villagers. Michael and Hsiao lived here for several months in 1942/1943. There was also a regional radio centre. It was an hour's walk to the village of Wentang which was the local government centre. The man on the right had a particularly clear memory of Michael and Hsiao Li. He said that it was he who first helped baby Erica to walk for the first time. Note the large grinding stone in the background. There are several in the village, only one of which is still used. Photo taken 9 September 2003.

Wentang Hot SpringsWentang village is so small it does not even appear on detailed local maps. It was a local government centre during the anti Japanese war. There are hot spring at Wentang and Mao Zedong used to enjoy the waters. The original hot pool has been preserved, but is no longer used. Hsiao Li's son Jim and granddaughter in law Sally pose in the gardens of the modernised guest-house which has been built on the site. We were told that we were the first foreign visitors to Wentang for over 30 years. Photo taken 10 Sept 2003.

DeepGorgeHsiao Li was sent to the regional medical centre when 8 month's pregnant because a difficult birth was anticipated. A Japanese offensive forced the evacuation of all hospital staff and patients. Hsiao Li travelled to the remote village of Jiaoqingli high in the Fairy Mountains beyond the Datai, some 50k north of Zhongbaicha. The rugged terrain in the photo is typical of the region. The original path to the village avoided the gorge and instead climbed over a high spur. The track up the gorge was built in 1997.

Do you remember my mother being born here?Susan chats with some of the villagers in Jiaochingli. None of the villagers seemed surprised when she told them that her mother had been born here. None in this village recalled Hsiao Li's stay, but a man in a village further up the valley recalled that a couple of women had come to the village to escape a Japanese offensive and that one of the births had been difficult. It is possible he is referring to Hsiao Li. Photo 10 Sept 2003.

Erica's birthplace; Jiaochingli villageA general view of Jiaochingli village. Its remoteness did not protect it from the Japanese who burned the houses during one of their raids. Photo taken 10 Sept 2003.

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