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The Oak Tree with Golden Leaves by Rebecca Clarke

Last Updated on 2023/02/14

Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Glimpses into the Past of a Fascinating Chinese City. Publisher: Earnshaw Books

Tombstone Histories delves into the fascinating and little-known past of Harbin, a major Chinese city founded in the late 19th century by Russians and other settlers. At its peak, Harbin was home to an astonishing 38 different national communities, each with its unique customs, traditions, and struggles. Despite the city’s diversity, it was not immune to the upheavals and wars that ravaged China during the 20th century, leaving many communities shattered and displaced.

Official site

Among the many groups that found refuge in Harbin were Jews fleeing persecution in Europe. Tombstone Histories offers an intimate and poignant portrayal of their daily lives, struggles, and triumphs in a land that was at once distant and alien. Through the stories and reminiscences of nearly sixty families, the book reveals how individuals from all walks of life managed to carve out a place for themselves in this multicultural city.

The book goes beyond dry historical facts and statistics to bring readers into the heart of Harbin’s past. It offers glimpses of the daily lives of the rich, the poor, and everyone in between, shedding light on how they coped with the challenges of living in a city that was constantly in flux. Through these personal stories, Tombstone Histories reveals the resilience and ingenuity of human beings in the face of adversity.

By shining a light on the lives of those who lived in Harbin, the book offers a unique and compelling perspective on a fascinating and often-overlooked chapter of world history.

About the Author

Born in Hong Kong on May 23, 1949, Rebecca Clarke grew up in a large family with nine children during the era of British colonial rule. Her parents were originally from Fujian Province in China and had relocated to Hong Kong after the Japanese invasion. Despite being a daughter in a traditional Fujianese family that placed greater value on male children, Rebecca developed a strong sense of determination to fight for gender equality.

Rebecca began her career after completing a secretarial training course, working her way up in the commercial world. She seized an opportunity to join an American bank, and later became a Vice President of an Asian bank. Eventually, she married an English husband and relocated to Cambridge, where she embarked on a new chapter of her life.

In Cambridge, Rebecca established two successful educational businesses that reflected her passion for empowering students to achieve their full potential. The first was Cambridge Guardians, which provided support to hundreds of international students attending boarding schools. The second was an inspiring Summer Programme that offered English, History, Law, Medicine, and Science courses to students from around the world.

Despite the challenges she faced as a woman in a male-dominated industry, Rebecca persevered and achieved great success in her professional life. Her determination to fight for gender equality, combined with her entrepreneurial spirit and love for education, have made her an inspiration to many. Through her work, Rebecca has made a positive impact on the lives of countless students, and her legacy continues to inspire future generations.

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