Diaries

Welcome to Ambassador Fu Bingchang’s digital archive!

 

If you click on the top right-hand search box and browse through the book covers you will find, in their original form, the entire collection of Fu Bingchang’s work; his 22 diaries, his ‘News of the Day’ reports, important cablegrams, and numerous associated personal papers. The first diary entry takes place when Fu is in China, on his way to Chongqing, 10 November, 1939. His last and final entry is written in Taiwan on 14 July, 1965, just two weeks before his death from a heart attack. There are a few (but not too many) gaps in the diary entries, and they are listed here.

Ambassador Fu in Moscow, 1943. During his lifetime, Fu Bingchang (1896-1965) was referred to by the Cantonese spelling of his name, Foo Ping-sheung傅秉常.

Ambassador Fu in Moscow, 1943. During his lifetime, Fu Bingchang (1896-1965) was referred to by the Cantonese spelling of his name, Foo Ping-sheung傅秉常.

As a young revolutionary, Fu had worked closely with Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of China’s Republic.  Later he became a leading diplomat under General Chiang Kai-shek’s National Government. He held important government positions, and importantly, was Chiang’s Ambassador to Soviet Russia from 1943-1949. An account of that period can be listened to here in ‘Fu Bingchang’s Diaries’, Document, a Radio 4 special on ‘The Big Freeze’ Cold War series.

A Young Fu Bingchang: Superintendent of Customs and Commissioner for Foreign Affairs at Canton 1922-26.

A Young Fu Bingchang: Superintendent of Customs and Commissioner for Foreign Affairs at Canton 1922-26.

Educated in Hong Kong, Fu was a man of international culture. He loved languages and was fluent in Chinese, English, French, and in later life, Russian. Fu lived his life during some of China’s most difficult and heroic periods, straddling the divide between East and West through the vicissitudes of the anti-Japanese War, the Second World War, China’s Civil War, the emergence of the Cold War, and finally, National rule in Taiwan. Fu’s diaries cover all these periods, and his keen observations, from a Chinese perspective, throughout these troubled times are heart-felt and candid with doses of wit and humour along the way.

Today, Fu is also recognised for his contribution to photography.  A talented photographer with an eye for beauty and form, his photograph entitled, ‘Woman in a Swimsuit Sitting on a Rock’ was recently included by Paul Lowe (2017) in his magnificent volume, 1001 Photographs: You Must See Before You Die. More about Fu’s photographic career and talents can be found here at the ‘Historical Photographs of China’ project, established in 2006, and based at the University of Bristol.

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The aim of this project is to bring out, in English and in Chinese, the wealth of Fu’s everyday observations through his extraordinary diaries.  The archive is still a work in progress, and gradually we are matching together and uploading English translations alongside the Chinese originals.  The years 1939, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1955, 1956, and 1957 are available in both languages.  In the English, we have provided the truest rendition we can, using a literal form of translation.  Some diary sections were written in English by Fu, and from these passages we can see how he might have expressed himself to a Western audience. These areas are marked out. As we continue to work on the project, we would welcome your contributions.  For suggestions, corrections, or any form of helpful information regarding any aspect of the diaries in language or their historical significance, please contact us here.

Dr. Yee Wah Foo, University of Lincoln
Project Director

The Wartime Diaries of FBC 001

Our sponsors

This project could never have been realised without the generous help and support of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation (CCKF) for International and Scholarly Exchange.  Of equal value has been the support and close collaboration of  colleagues at Academia Sinica in Taiwan, the University of Hong Kong, the University of Bristol, the London School of Economics and the University of Lincoln.