Zhang Hanzhi

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Zhang Hanzhi
Born 章含之
14 July 1935
Shanghai, China
Died 26 January 2008(2008-01-26) (aged 72)
Beijing, China
Alma mater Beijing Foreign Studies University
Occupation Translator, diplomat
Spouse(s) Hong Junyan
(1957-1972, 1 daughter)
Qiao Guanhua
(1973-1983, his death)
Children Hung Huang
Parent(s) Zhang Shizhao
(adoptive father)
Tan Xueqing
(biological mother)
Chen Du
(biological father)

Zhang Hanzhi (Chinese: 章含之; pinyin: Zhāng Hánzhī; Wade–Giles: Chang Han-chih; 1935 – 26 January 2008) was a Chinese diplomat who was Mao Zedong's English tutor and U.S. President Richard Nixon's interpreter during his historic 1972 trip to China.

Early life and education[edit]

Zhang was born in Shanghai in 1935, the love child of socialite Tan Xueqing and Chen Du, son of General Chen Tiaoyuan.[1] She was adopted by General Chen's friend, educator and statesman Zhang Shizhao. Her family moved to Beijing in 1949 and four years later, Zhang entered the Beijing Foreign Studies University, where she taught after graduating with a master's degree.


Zhang met Mao in 1950 and then started to translate English for him. The lessons abruptly stopped in 1964 as the Cultural Revolution began taking shape. In 1971, Zhang was transferred to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she began her diplomatic career and attended a series of landmark meetings, including the ones with Nixon, when the countries began restoring diplomatic relations.

Personal life[edit]

Zhang married her first husband Hong Junyan (洪君彦), a Peking University professor, in 1949. Zhang and Hong had a daughter, Hung Huang, who later became an entrepreneur and media figure.[2]

In his memoir, Hong Junyan states that when he was persecuted and humiliated at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, Zhang Hanzhi offered no sympathy and instead despised him. She began an affair with a colleague at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute, and was caught in the act by Hong's sister. In 1969 Hong was sent to perform manual labour in Jiangxi Province, and when he returned to Beijing in 1971, rumours were circulating that Zhang was having an affair with Qiao Guanhua, the head of China's UN delegation.[3] Zhang requested a divorce in December 1972, which was finalized in March 1973, and Zhang married Qiao afterwards.[4]

Zhang died on 26 January 2008, due to a lung-related illness.[5]


  1. ^ http://baike.baidu.com/view/205390.htm
  2. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (May 20, 2008). "Two Chinese Friends, RIP". The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ "章含之文革出轨细节:在前夫大姐家中通奸". Sina (in Chinese). 22 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Chairman Mao's tutor dies at 73". Shanghai Daily. January 28, 2008. Archived from the original on October 27, 2010. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ Barboza, David (January 29, 2008). "Zhang Hanzhi, Mao's English Tutor, Dies at 72". The New York Times.