Air China’s inflight magazine for July featured New Zealand’s very own Rewi Alley as one of four of China’s special foreign friends
Published during the Communist Party’s 90th anniversary, the other foreign friends mentioned were American Edgar Snow, author of “Red Star Over China”, Canadian doctor Norman Bethune and Korean-born First Army commander Li Hongguang.
Air China’s magazine, Wings of China, has an estimated readership of around 3.4 million each month and is one of the most expensive magazines in the country in terms of advertising costs circa RMB 240,000 (NZ$48,000) per page. It is available on all international and domestic flights and at airport lounges.
Rewi Alley arrived in China in 1927 and stayed there for 60 years becoming one of China’s “best-known and best-loved foreigners”.
The magazine says that he laboured among the Chinese trying to improve their living and working conditions and coined the term “Gung Ho/Work Together” which created worker cooperatives and employment.
Alley also set up schools – the most famous being in Shandan, Gansu province in 1942 where he was also headmaster. He wrote and travelled extensively around China, speaking on behalf of international peace agencies. Alley has been honoured by China and New Zealand both before and after his death in 1987. Last year, China’s state broadcaster screened a five part TV documentary series on Alley’s life,.
New Zealand’s Beijing Embassy says that Wings of China is a well-thumbed magazine as Chinese airlines do not allow mobiles or computers to be switched on during flights
Flights are often delayed by several hours during the summer thunderstorm season, so the inflight magazine usually gets read cover to cover.