Shen, James 1909–2007

views updated

Shen, James 1909–2007

(James C.H. Shen)


See index for CA sketch: Born June 15, 1909, in Shanghai, China; died July 12, 2007, in Taipei, Taiwan, China. Journalist, information officer, interpreter, diplomat, and author. Shen worked as a journalist in China in the 1930s and an officer of the government information ministry in the 1940s. Educated at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Shen was assigned as director of the ministry's San Francisco bureau from 1943 to 1947. When China fell into the hands of Communist revolutionary Mao Tsetung in 1949, Shen cast his lot with the opposing Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek in exile on the island of Taiwan. He was an English interpreter for the exiled leader in the 1950s, then joined the foreign affairs ministry in the de-facto capital city Taipei, where he directed the Government Information Office in the early 1960s. At that time much of the western world treated Taiwan as the official center of Chinese government, and Shen was appointed ambassador to Australia in 1966; he became vice minister of foreign affairs in 1968. He was the Taiwanese ambassador to the United States from 1971 to 1979, when President Richard M. Nixon reestablished diplomatic relations with mainland China, formally recognized the Communist government, and rendered Shen's job obsolete. The diplomat returned to Taiwan, where he spent the rest of his life. Shen's bitterness toward the United States is reflected in the title of his 1983 book, The U.S. & Free China: How the U.S. Sold Out Its Ally. His other writings, from happier times, include a collaboration with former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Edwin O. Reischauer and former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, China's Open Wall (1972).



Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2007, p. B11.