Bridge Builders: Zoë Reed - a bridge between hearts

Bridge Builders: Zoë Reed - a bridge between hearts


Zoë Reed’s English mother Susan met her Chinese father KC
Sun at college in the late 1940s. He had been brought over as the first ever
mature Chinese student funded by British United Aid to China; she was
one of only three women – from the cohort of 103. “She had a pretty good choice of which young man to fall in love with and told me there was a chap from Iceland she quite liked,” smiles Zoë. “But it was my father from China with whom she fell in love. They had a strong romance together.” A two-year affair ended when KC returned to
China... not knowing Susan was pregnant.

Initially told her father was dead, Zoë eventually discovered the truth and started a written correspondence, but didn’t meet him in person until her 46th birthday. They met under the huge flag in Beijing’s Tian-anmen Square, and Zoë finally connected with a long-minimized part of her heritage. Having built a personal bridge, she now helps others to do similar – as part of the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU). Having joined as an ordinary member, she was persuaded to become its chair in 2009. SACU’s objective is to build friendship and understanding between the peoples of China and Britain, she explains: “Particularly, an education charity – to educate the British public about all things to do with China and the Chinese.” She has helped to build up SACU’s profile at a crucial time, amid growing Sinophobia in certain sections of society. “As the West has gotten more critical of China, I think the interest in SACU from British people who actually don’t think that’s the right route has gotten stronger,” she says. “We’ve got a growing number of people that are joining SACU, and I’m very excited that there’s a whole number of younger people.”

Presenter: Louise Greenwood
Producer: Sarah Parfitt 
Sound Editor: Terry Wilson
Series Producer: Elizabeth Mearns 

Heart UK