This collection of letters and greeting cards exchanged between Soong Ching-ling and Paul Lin spans over 30 years (1950-1980) and includes about 70 items. They come from the Paul T.K. Lin Papers donated to the Library by Paul’s wife, Eileen, in 2016.
Paul Lin Ta-kuang (林達光) (1920-2004) was a Canadian-Chinese political scientist and peace activist. He first went to China with his family in 1950, quickly getting acquainted with Madame Soong. The two were tied by multiple family connections: Paul Lin’s brother Andrew Lin married Sun Ke’s daughter, Sun Yat-sen’s granddaughter, Pearl Sun; furthermore Paul Lin’s wife Eileen Siu-Tsung Chen’s father Chen Jian’an was the right hand of Soong Tzu-wen, Soong Ching-ling’s brother.
From 1950 to 1964, Paul worked as a broadcaster and editor in Beijing. In 1964 he returned to Canada with his family, under suggestion by Soong Ching-ling who feared he might be hurt in the approaching Cultural Revolution. Most of the letters between the two (and occasionally between Eileen and Soong Ching-ling) were exchanged after 1964.
As most letters were exchanged between 1967 and 1976, they frequently discuss the Cultural Revolution, its impact on Soong’s family and acquaintances and its general significance (some sensitive letters by Soong were exchanged through friends). Other topics are the general exchange of information about their relatives and friends and how to promote the international status of China, as Lin soon after his return to Canada became one of the most influential voices advocating the recognition of China and the improvement of Sino-Canadian and Sino-American relations.
The extremely candid and warm tone of the correspondence makes it both a valuable historical source as well as a vivid and engaging testimony of these eventful times.
Readers can approach it both directly by the immediacy of the high resolution scans or via the facing transcription and the detailed notes.
1972 summer, from left to right: Eileen Lin, Harrison Salisbury, Madame Soong Ching-ling and Paul Lin.
Soong Ching-ling to Eileen and Paul Lin, 1 February 1972