[1967 riots-related] Anthony Grey Held Incommunicado for 806 Days in Peking (English)

22 July 1967 [The Daily Telegraph]

Sharp protest to China for holding Briton


BRITAIN protested "most strongly" to China last night against the detention in Peking of Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent.

Mr. Rodgers, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, called Mr. Shen Ping, Chinese Charge d'Affaires. to give him the message. When Mr. Ping tried to reject it, Mr. Rodgers walked out of tbe room.

Mr. Rodgers said it was " outrageous," that a British subject, who had been accused of no offence, should be forcibly detained and placed under house arrest, and Consular access to him denied.

- Chinese gaoled –

Action against Mr. Grey is obviously retaliation for the imprisonment in Hongkong of Hsieh Ping, representative of the official New China News Agency. He was gaoled on Wednesday for two years on charges of unlawful assembly and being part of an intimidating assembly.

- Police at house –

David Oancia cabled from Peking last night: Anthony Grey was told by the Foreign Ministry that his visa had been withdrawn and that he must stay in his home. He was picked up by two policemen and driven to his home. A police guard was at the house.


22 Oct 1967 [The Sunday Telegraph]


Briton under house arrest in Peking

ANTHONY GREY, Reuter's correspondent, at the door of his home in Peking, where for three months he has been under house arrest. Mr. Grey's telephone is disconnected, and a police sentry stands by.

The posters, pasted over the house by chanting Red Guards, read (left to right, vertically):

Down with the British imperialist rotten eggs.

U.S. imperialists and British imperialists are all paper tigers.

Don't be crazy, those tired dogs —British imperialists.

Pay back our debt of blood, you British imperialists.

We shall back our countrymen in Hong Kong to the hilt.


5 Nov 1967 [The Sunday Telegraph]



CHINESE restaurant owners in Britain, normally the most inscrutable and undemonstrative of men, are suddenly breaking out into a rash of Union jacks. Posters proclaim they are "loyal to the British flag."

This access of patriotism is a belated consequence of the sacking of the British Legation in Peking last summer and the ensuing disturbances outside the Chinese Legation in Portland Place.

Almost all Chinese restaurant men in this country come from Hongkong and the Hongkong Government, worried lest they should suffer from British public indignation, has been distributing posters from its London office.

The posters show a coloured photograph of the Crown Colony of Hongkong by night, plus a Union jack, and bear the words: "You know Hongkong even if you have never been. This restaurant is a piece of the East loyal to the British flag."

- 1,200 POSTERS -

A spokesman said: "No one really knows how many Chinese restaurants there are in Britain, but we have sent out posters to 1.200 of them and are now getting requests from others not on our list. The posters may help to clear up misunderstandings."

Mr. Lee. of the Golden Fountain, Dulwich, said: "Some of our customers do not realise that Hongkong Chinese are British subjects with full British passports. "They think that all Chinese are Communists. The poster will help."

Mr. Liu, of Young's Chinese Restaurant, in the West End. said: "British people are showing a greater appreciation of Chinese food than ever. We have put the poster up to show that we do not like Communism."

Mr. Fu of the Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant, Stratford-on-Avon, commented: "We welcome the oportunity to show that we are loyal to Britain. We are on your side."

(photo: MR GEORGE CHEN, a waiter at Young’s Chinese Restaurant in the West End of London, fixing the "loyalty" poster to the restaurant window.)


The Straits Times, 1 December 1967, Page 3

Peking eases curbs on travel by British envoys



The Straits Times, 8 December 1967, Page 1

Peking summons to British envoy



24 Apr 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Briton Held 9 Months in Peking Room


PEKING, Tuesday. 

MR. ANTHONY GREY, the Reuter’s correspondent who has been kept a prisoner in one room of his house in Peking for nine months, spoke today for the first time about his captivity.

He said that he spent 22 hours and 40 minutes of every day in the room, which has an adjoining bath. The door was always open so that three guards could keep a constant watch on him.

He was allowed into a courtyard for two 40-minute periods of exercise each day and he was completely out of touch with many world developments.

He did not even know that the British office in Peking was sacked and burned last August3

Mr. Grey, who was confined by the Chinese in retaliation for the conviction and sentencing of Chinese correspondents in Hong Kong, revealed these facts in a 21-minute meeting with Sir Donald Hopson, the British Charge d'Affaires, and Mr. John Weston, Second Secretary of the British office in Peking.

The meeting constituted the first consular access that British office has had with the correspondent since his arrest on July 21st, 1967. It took place in the dining room of Mr. Grey's house, under a poster which said "Down with A. Grey."

- Radio forbidden –

Mr. Grey said that he had been given about 20 minutes advance notice of the meeting, which was supervised by three officers as well as the regular guards.

He gave only a glimpse of his struggle against the loneliness of solitary confinement. He was not permitted to use a radio.

His contact with his family and friends appeared to be improving. During the last three months, he had received letters from a friend in England.

“He looked good.” said Sir Donald, who provided Western correspondents with an account of the meeting. “He said he was in good health.”


26 Apr 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Assurance on Peking Prisoner

By Our Political Staff

The detention in Peking of Mr. Anthony Grey, a Reuter correspondent, was described as "indefensible" last night by Mr. William Rodgers, Under Secretary of State, Foreign Affairs.

In a Commons written answer, Mr. Rodgers gave an assurance that the Government would continue its efforts to secure an improvement in Mr. Grey's conditions and his early release. Mr. Grey has been held in one room of his house for nine months.


20 Jul 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]


Mr. Gerald Long, Reuter's general manager, appealed yesterday to Chou En-lai, Chinese Prime Minister, to release Mr. Anthony Grey, 30, Reuter's correspondent imprisoned in Peking Since July 21 last year. Mr. Grey, from Norwich, was confined to his house in retaliation for the arrest of Chinese Communist journalists in Hongkong.


31 Aug 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Exchange Hope for Briton Held in China

By Our Diplomatic Staff

The first faint ray of hope for the release of Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuters correspondent held under house arrest in Peking since July last year, came yesterday with a Hongkong report that China may be willing to exchange him for Hsieh Ping, the New China News Agency journalist imprisoned during last year's Hongkong riots.

The report was printed in the Hongkong newspaper Star, quoting its own sources inside China, Hsieh Ping, who was given a two-year sentence, could be released in November with full remission for good conduct. But the Foreign Office said that although it had been in touch with the Chinese many times about Mr. Grey, it had had no indication that Peking would be willing for an exchange.


25 Sep 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Chinese Still Deny Access to Briton

By Our Diplomatic Staff

Consular access to Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent under house detention in Peking, is still being denied by the Chinese, the Foreign Office said yesterday.

After repeated inquiries by Mr. Percy Craddock, Charge d'Affaires at the British mission, the Chinese have reported that Mr. Grey's health is "excellent."

Mr. Grey has been confined to one room in his house since July last year.


18 Nov 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Hongkong Frees China Reporter


Hsieh Ping, 32, a Hongkong correspondent of the New China News Agency, was released from a Hongkong prison yesterday at the end of a two-year sentence with remission for good conduct. He was gaoled in July last year for leading a violent mob of anti-British demonstrators.

Hsieh's arrest was followed by the detention of Mr. Anthony Grey, Renter's correspondent in Peking, on July 21, 1967. Mr. Grey, 30, has been under house arrest ever since.


26 Nov 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Visitors for Grey

By Our Diplomatic Staff

Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent in Peking, who has been detained without explanation by the Chinese for 16 months, is to be allowed another visit today from British diplomats. It will be the first visit since last April and the second of his detention period.


27 Nov 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Torturer Mao

Amid all her teeming internal troubles, China still finds the time and the inclination to continue what amounts to the torture and humiliation of one defenceless Englishman who has committed no crime and been charged with no offence. Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent in Peking, has now been confined alone in one room of his house for 16 months. Yesterday he was allowed his first visitors since April 21, when the British Charge d'Affaires was allowed to speak to him for 20 minutes. Yesterday's meeting lasted five minutes longer than that. Three Chinese officials were present, two of whom took notes of everything said.

The room in which Mr. Grey is confined is too hot in summer and too cold in winter. He has been allowed no new reading matter and has no one to talk to. All this might not sound too intolerable if Mr. Grey was being punished for something he had done, but he is not, and the Chinese make no pretence that he is. At the time of his original restriction China officially announced that he was being placed under house arrest "in view of the British imperialists' persecution" of Chinese news agency staff in Hongkong. All the eight men concerned, who had been tried and sentenced for taking part in the Hongkong riots, have now been released.

One must suppose it amuses the arrogant and barbaric Mao regime to show its power in the way it has been doing in the case of Mr. Grey. It is also holding a number of British and other European subjects without trial and without giving their national authorities access to them. In this way, "foreign devils" are shown to lose face. Do the Chinese not realise that they are the ones who lose face by behaving in such an uncivilised way? There are said to be four representatives of the official New China News Agency working in London. Why on earth should they be allowed their privileged existence among us while Mr. Grey continues to be persecuted in Peking?


28 Nov 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Protest at Grey's ‘Solitary’

By WALTER FARR, Diplomatic Staff

BRITAIN is to protest in the strongest terms to China at the conditions in which Mr. Anthony Grey, 30, Reuter's correspondent in Peking, is being held in solitary confinement.

Mr. Percy Cradock, British Charge d'Affaires in Peking, is to call for an immediate improvement in Mr. Grey's living conditions, including provision of reading matter. A request will also be made for adequate medical attention, including an X-ray check of Mr. Grey's chest pains.

- Freedom condition –

According to the Hongkong English language newspaper Star, the Chinese are now prepared to release Mr. Grey if Hongkong releases 13 detained Communist journalists. Whitehall considers this unlikely as none of the Hongkong prisoners is connected with those detained in the colony when Mr. Grey was put under "retaliatory house arrest."

Reuter's, who have received many inquiries about Mr. Grey, point out that his address is: 15 Nan Chihtze, Peking.


29 Nov 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Britain Renews Pressure on China to Free Grey

By WALTER FARR, Diplomatic Staff

BRITAIN called yesterday for a swift improvement in living conditions for Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's Peking correspondent, who has been held there in solitary confinement in one room of his house, for 16 months.

A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that Mr. Percy Cradock, Acting Charge d'Affaires in Peking, was making immediate representations to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Mr. Stewart, Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, raised the matter at talks in Rawalpindi yesterday with Mr. Arshad Hussain, Pakistan Foreign Minister.

This was apparently in the hope that Pakistan would use her good offices with China to secure Mr. Grey's release.

Mr. Grey is being forced to live in a room 12ft square, cut off from all contacts with Chinese officials, and without adequate heating or ventilation. He has been allowed British visitors only twice since July. 1967.

In comparison, Chinese Communists held in Hongkong are living in normal and, in some respects, better than normal conditions. 

- 30 women prisoners -

Chinese Communists serving prison sentences or awaiting trial, total 427, of whom 30 are women.

They include a New China News Agency employee Lau Yuk Wo, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment on Sept. 13 last year.

The Chinese recently demanded that he and the others should be immediately released and indicated this would help towards the release of Mr. Grey.

While Mr. Grey is allowed scarcely any reading matter, the Communist detainees in Hongkong can have any number of non-political books and are permitted two visits a month from relatives and friends. Radio programmes are relayed to them.

Mr. Grey has been refused adequate medical attention. The Communist detainees are seen once a week by a doctor and they can see one at any time by request. Mr. Grey's room is cold in winter and too hot in summer. The detention centre where the Communists are held in Hongkong is properly heated and all rooms are fitted with extractor fans.

Reuter staff appeal –

The federated trade union chapel, representing all Reuter's staff, sent a telegram to the Chinese Prime Minister, Chou En-lai, yesterday appealing to him to return Mr. Grey to his home and family immediately. 

“Anthony Grey is being held hostage for the actions of others on whom he has no influence.”


30 Nov 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Fears grow for second journalist

By WALTER FARR, Diplomatic Staff

CONCERN is growing in Whitehall over the failure of the Chinese Government to give an indication of the fate of Mr. Norman Barrymaine, 68, a British journalist who was detained in Shanghai last February.

Mr. Barrymaine was in poor health for some time before he was detained. He had had several operations for a brain tumour and has a metal plate in his head. Anxiety about his health was increased in view of the denial of adequate medical care to Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent, who is under house arrest in Peking.

The British Mission in Peking has made representations to the Chinese every month about Mr. Barrymaine.

Mr. Barrymaine is a freelance writer based in Singapore. He had lived in China for 10 years and wrote articles for The Daily Telegraph Magazine and The Sunday Telegraph.

-Appeals for Grey-

A proposal that British newspapers ask readers to flood Chou En-Lai. Chinese Prime Minister, with Christmas card pleas for the release of Mr. Grey was made at a meeting of journalists in London yesterday by Reginald Turnell, Defence Correspondent of the BBC.

Mr. Jim Bradley, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said the idea would have to be handled responsibly. The International Federation of Journalists, of which Mr. Bradley is president, sent a telegram yesterday to Chou en-Lai protesting against Mr. Grey's detention "under inhuman conditions."


1 Dec 1968 [The Sunday Telegraph]

Peking Prodded on Grey

By RONALD PAYNE, Sunday Telegraph Diplomatic Correspondent

MR. PERCY CRADOCK, acting British Charge d'Affaires in Peking, contacted the Chinese Foreign Ministry again yesterday. He had been instructed to complain about the 16 months' solitary confinement of Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent.

At least nine British subjects, including Mr. Norman Barrymaine, a freelance journalist, and two merchant navy officers are held by the Chinese. Mr. Eric Gordon, another British journalist, is also believed to be under arrest. With his wife and family, he disappeared in China and has not been heard of since October, 1967.


The Hongkong newspaper The Star reported yesterday that there was no hope of Mr. Grey being released soon. It quoted Peking sources for the assertion that although his case was bad for China's international image, the Government did not intend to give way.

The Chinese have been complaining about "persecution and maltreatment" of 13 Communist "newsworkers" serving sentences in Hongkong.

For the moment the Foreign Office is reluctant to take counter-action by expelling Chinese journalists from London.


4 Dec 1968 [The Daily Telegraph, Letters]


Sir – The time has come when the case of Mr. Anthony Grey, and about 14 other British subjects I believe, who have been detained without trial by the Communist Government in China, should receive attention on an international scale.

Mr. Grey's chances of release might well be improved by the use of opinion pressures in certain former Colonial territories, whose Governments enjoy good relations with Peking – Tanzania, for instance.

Nothing is more repugnant to the leaders of most ex-Colonial territories than detention without trial.

If they are given the facts, constantly, they may well make their own views known, at least, to those Communist Chinese advisers and technicians who are now working on aid programmes in their own countries.

Yours truly,


London, W11


4 Dec 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Optimism on Grey's Release

By Our Political Correspondent

AN apparently optimistic phrase in a written Parliamentary answer by the Prime Minister last night led some MPs to assume that he had reason to expect the early release of Mr. Anthony Grey, the British journalist under rigorous detention in China.

Referring Commonwealth Prime Ministers which begins in London on Jan. 7, Mr. Wilson said they would be discussing international problems, including relations with China, and British subjects under detention in China would naturally arise in that context.

"But," he added, "I very much hope that Mr. Grey will have been released by the time of the meeting."

It turns out that the Prime Minister framed his answer in hope rather than expectation. No private information has reached London suggesting that Mr. Grey’s release is imminent. 

The Government will continue to exercise all the pressure it can on Peking. One way of doing this is to ensure that China’s treatment of Mr. Grey remains a subject of world attention and reprobation.

As Mr. Wilson put it, “Mr. Grey’s detention is totally unjustified, and we shall continue to do everything possible to secure his release.”


6 Dec 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

China Slow to Reply on Grey

By JOHN RIDLEY, Diplomatic Staff

MR. PERCY CRADOCK, acting Chargé d'Affaires in Peking, has still not been able to discuss with the Chinese the conditions in which Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter correspondent, is held. He has been detained 16 months.

Mr. Cradock had “renewed his request to see the Chinese on this subject several times,” a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said in London last night. It is now more than a week since Mr. Cradock was instructed to make representations to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Should he fail to obtain an interview, the possibility of calling to the Foreign Office Mr. Shen Ping, the Chinese Charge d'Affaires in London, has not been ruled out.

There was no official comment in Whitehall yesterday on the idea of retaliatory action against Chinese journalists in London. Nor would the Foreign and Commonwealth Office discuss the freeing of 13 journalists and newspaper employees in Hongkong, whose detention was given yesterday as the reason for Mr. Grey's detention.

- Exchange opposed -

The British Government has always opposed the swapping of prisoners imprisoned or detained in Hongkong for criminal offences in exchange for Mr. Grey, considering that it would be a dangerous precedent.

Nor is it felt that retaliatory action against Chinese journalists working in this country would be feasible. It is pointed out that the Chinese are much better at retaliations than we could ever be.

There are still many British subjects in China. There are many British interests there, and there is most important of all, Hongkong to be considered.


8 Dec 1968 [The Sunday Telegraph]

Plea for Reporter

Journalists employed by Reuters news agency in London have asked all news agencies and newspapers with correspondents in Peking to appeal to the Chinese Government for the release of detained Reuters correspondent Anthony Grey. Last week staff at Reuters sent a cable to the Chinese Prime Minister, Chou En-Lai, asking for Mr. Grey's release.


12 Dec 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Peking Briton Sent 250 Cards a Day

By Our Diplomatic Staff

The Post Office is receiving up to 250 Christmas cards a day for Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuters correspondent who has been under house detention in Peking for the past 17 months.

A Post Office spokesman said: "The cards are from all parts of Britain and look as though they were sent by people in all walks of life." Mr. Grey is being held in one room of his house at 15, Nan Chihtze, Peking.

- Communists released –

The Hongkong Government yesterday released five Communists detained under emergency regulations during disturbances in 1967. Thirteen people held under the emergency regulations have been freed this month.—Reuter.


13 Dec 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Stewart's Angry Clash with Heath on Falklands [Excerpt]

By our Parliamentary Staff

Sir Alec Douglas-Home: Peking delay over Briton

Sir ALEC DOUGLAS-HOME referred to the treatment of Mr. Grey (Reuter's correspondent in Peking) by the Chinese. His continual detention was an unjustifiable offence against every standard of international behaviour. But when it came to taking action there must be only one test. It was whether such action would hasten Mr. Grey's release. The House, while rightly expressing its grave concern, would be generally inclined to trust the Foreign Secretary's judgment on whether he would have to ask for even more patience from Mr. Grey's relatives and friends on whether the point had been reached where the only answer must be retaliation. Sir Alec stressed the very serious view which the Commons took about the Chinese Government delay in releasing a man who is innocent of any crime.


21 Dec 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

China Attack Dims Hopes for Grey

By Our Staff Correspondent in Hongkong

China has opened a new campaign against Hongkong and announced yesterday that there was little prospect of the release of Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent who has been under house arrest since July of last year. “The responsibility for Mr. Grey's freedom lies squarely with Hongkong and the British side,” Mr. Fei Yi-ming, the Communist publisher, said in Hongkong.

"For more than a year the Hongkong British authorities have committed towering crimes incurring heaps of blood debts and forfeiting the merest pretence to civilisation and morality." Referring to the Communist-inspired rioting of last year, Fei said most of those arrested had been "seriously injured. Several had been beaten to death.

"In this struggle, the Fascist Hongkong British authorities, totally devoid of human feelings, mobilized the whole of the police force and large contingents of their armed forces in a large-scale suppression committing innumerable abominable Fascist outrages" such as had rarely been seen.


27 Dec 1968 [The Daily Telegraph]

Telegram Home by Grey

By WALTER FARR, Diplomatic Staff

MRS. AGNES GREY, mother of Mr. Anthony Grey, 30, Reuter correspondent under house arrest in Peking, received a telegram from him yesterday. It said: 

Christmas wishes to you, dear Mum… Recent medical showed to my relief nothing serious. Being treated for pharyngitis [Inflammation of the throat], otherwise well. Love to June, Geoff. Alf, Win, everybody, especially you.—Tony. 

Mrs. Grey, who lives in Malvern Road, Norwich, is to call at the Foreign Office next month to see Lord Shepherd. Minister of State for a report on efforts to secure Mr. Grey's release.

Repeated requests by Mr. Cradock, British acting charge d'affaires in Peking, for an improvement in living conditions for Mr. Grey, have been ignored by the Chinese.

- Chinese silent –

The telegram was the first communication from Mr. Grey since a letter dated Nov. 5 which arrived last week. Mrs. Grey received a letter on Christmas Eve from Mr. Cradock, who saw Mr. Grey recently.

Chinese authorities refuse to confirm that parcels and many Christmas cards sent from Britain to Mr. Grey have been received by him.


29 Dec 1968 [The Sunday Telegraph]

Grey faces detention until 1971


MR. ANTHONY GREY, the Reuter correspondent under house arrest in Peking since July, 1967, may not be released until February, 1971. This is when the last of the so-called journalists held by the Hongkong Government for taking part in last year's riots is due to be freed.

The possibility that Mr. Grey's detention may be longer than anyone thought was indicated by the official New China News Agency yesterday.

“Since the Hongkong British authorities continue to keep the 13 patriotic Chinese journalists in gaol, the Chinese Government is fully justified in continuing to restrict Grey's freedom of movement," said the agency.

- No solution –

“In its anti-China outcry on the Grey question, the British Government will achieve absolutely nothing in its effort to force the Chinese Government to change its stand. This unreasonable action does not help to solve the question, but only makes it more complicated.”

The so-called journalists were arrested on charges ranging from intimidatory assembly and violence to hindering police, making inflammatory speeches and resisting arrest.

Wong Chak, described as a "newsworker," was sentenced to five years, but with remissions he could be released in February, 1971.


1 Jan 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Gifts for Grey Accepted

A NEW YEAR parcel of books and cigars for Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuters correspondent detained in Peking, was accepted yesterday by the Hongkong branch of the China Travel Service. Mr. Grey has been detained for more than 17 months.

The China Travel Service is the official government agency which deals with foreigners visiting or residing in Peking. It arranges travel or deliveries of goods.

The parcel, from Mr. Grey's family in Britain and Reuters colleagues, was addressed to him via the information department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

- Parcel returned –

A year ago, the China Travel Service delivered a similar Christmas parcel to Mr. Grey. Another smaller parcel sent through the ordinary post was returned later.

Early last year, the China Travel Service accepted another parcel from Mr. Grey's family and colleagues but it was returned to Hongkong several weeks later.

When the latest parcel was first taken to the China Travel Service offices in Hongkong early in December, Reuters was told it could not be accepted without permission from Peking and from Customs officials at the border post of Shumchun.

- Customs agreed -

The China Travel Service said yesterday it had been told the Chinese Customs would accept the parcel although they did not know if it could be passed on when it reached Peking.

The parcel was deposited yesterday and the China Travel Service officials said later it was on its way to China. It will travel by rail to the south China city of Canton and then by air express to Peking.—Reuter.


3 Jan 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


The Chinese have allowed Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent in Peking, to send New Year greeting cards to his colleagues for the first time since they detained him 17 months ago.

The cards, written on Christmas Eve, were received yesterday in London.


4 Jan 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


[Upper half: Mao's works: 




Amid the growing shades of dusk stand sturdy pines,

Riotous clouds sweep past, swift and tranquil.

Nature has excelled herself in the Fairy Cave,

On perilous peaks dwells beauty in her infinite variety

-- Inscription On A Picture Taken By Comrade Li Chin, 9 Sep 1961]

New Year greetings and belated congratulations David, from Peking. Regards also to Doon Campbell, Stuart Underhill, Don Ferguson, Charles Farmer, Monty Parrot, in fact everybody here’s hoping.

Tony, 24.12.69

A Chinese New Year greeting card which Anthony Grey, Reuter correspondent held in Peking for the past 17 months, has sent to colleagues in Fleet Street.


7 Jan 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

China Sends Back Grey's Parcel


CHINESE representatives in Hongkong yesterday returned to the Reuter office in Hongkong the Christmas parcel which they said last week, could be sent to Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent.

He has been confined to a single room at his house in Peking since July, 1967.

The parcel, containing books, cigars and chocolate from Grey's family and office associates, was sent back by an official of the China Travel Service, which handles the affairs of foreigners in China. He said customs officials at the border had refused to accept it.

The Hongkong Government yesterday released five more Communists detained under emergency regulations.


10 Jan 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

London Day by Day [re Trudeau’s visit in the UK]

Unstudied Reply

But he was caught off balance when, after explaining why he wished to establish relations with Red China, he was asked for his views on the continued detention in Peking of Anthony Grey.

He rather shocked his audience when he replied blankly: “I have not studied the question but I will ask my External Affairs Minister.” After a word with Mr. Sharp, he went on: "No, he has not studied it either," and closed the subject.

Many thought he dodged the question to avoid offending China. In fact, though the Fleet Street committee trying to help Mr. Grey briefed one of Mr. Trudeau's assistants two days ago, the information had not been passed on.


10 Jan 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

China still unyielding on Grey release

By VINCENT RYDER, Diplomatic Correspondent

MR. SHEN PING, Chinese Charge d'Affaires in London, was called to the Foreign Office yesterday in another effort to secure the release of Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent in Peking, who is held under close confinement in his house.

At the end of more than an hour's conversation with Lord Shepherd, Minister of State with special responsibilities for the Far East, there was no sign that the Chinese Government was ready to free Mr. Grey.

The meeting was described by the Foreign Office as "mild and correct." But the Chinese diplomat, making his first visit to the Foreign Office since October, had nothing new to offer on Mr. Grey, 12 other Britons believed to be detained in China, and relations between the two Governments.

- Semi-official hints –

British officials were allowed a short visit to Mr. Grey on Nov. 26, but repeated efforts since to get permission for another visit have fallen on deaf ears.

China links Mr. Grey's case with that of 12 Chinese journalists imprisoned in Hongkong for seditious activities. The last is not due for release until 1971.

There have been semi-official hints that Mr. Grey will be kept under detention until all the Chinese journalists are released but this has not been put as an official threat.

- Ambassadors' meeting –

The Chinese have been more correct in their dealings with British officials in recent months than at the height of the so-called cultural revolution. There is no sign so far that they intend to soften their attitude towards Britain or the West.

If there is any mellowing in their attitude, the first hints may come on Feb. 20, when the Chinese and United States Ambassadors meet in Warsaw. Diplomatic contact between the two Governments, broken off by China early last year, is being resumed at Peking's request.


15 Jan 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

The mother of Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter correspondent who has been under house arrest in Peking since July, 1967, said yesterday she was satisfied with the Government's efforts to secure his release. "Everything is being done that can be done in the circumstances," Mrs. Agnes Grey said after an hour's talk with Lord Shepherd, Minister of State, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


16 Jan 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Concern on Grey

Representatives of the Printing and Kindred Trades' Federation called on Lord Shepherd, Minister of State, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday to express their unions' "grave concern" about the continued detention in Peking of Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent.


The Straits Times, 24 January 1969, Page 12

Britain and the hostage in a Peking prison



The Straits Times, 19 February 1969, Page 2

Try harder, MPs urge



11 Mar 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Anthony Grey pleads for early release

ANTHONY GREY, the Reuter correspondent who has been under house arrest in Peking for more than 17 months, has asked in a letter to his mother what the British Government is doing about his release.

Mrs. Agnes Grey, who received the letter two months' ago, said at her home in Norwich last night: "I told nobody until now because I wanted to keep the letter to myself. Talking about the situation has got us nowhere."

She said her son's letter was mostly "casual chat" but in it he asked what steps the Government were taking to secure his freedom.

"He said that he was getting very despondent and asked me to write saying what action the Government was taking. I have written to him saying I do not know. I have not spoken to anyone about a possible release because 1 find it does no good."


-- Solitary confinement --

Our Diplomatic Staff writes: The Foreign Office in London is doing everything in its power to obtain the release of Mr. Grey, who has never been charged during the months he has been held by the Chinese in solitary confinement.

Mr. Grey was taken into custody very shortly after he had taken over the assignment in Peking. Since then, he has been held almost incommunicado.


12 Mar 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

China deaf to ‘free Grey’ appeal

By JOHN RIDLEY, Diplomatic Staff

BRITAIN has again raised the question of British detainees in China, including Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter correspondent in Peking, who has been under close house arrest for 18 months.

A verbal message was conveyed to the Chinese authorities last Saturday, it was revealed yesterday, but there was nothing new in their reply.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London said yesterday they were aware of the letter sent by Mr. Grey to his mother. Mrs. Agnes Grey, of Norwich, received two months ago.

In this letter Mr. Grey asked what the British Government was doing to obtain his release. It was clear that Mr. Grey was becoming extremely despondent.

Mrs. Agnes Grey said in a radio interview yesterday that she had replied to her son's letter. She had told him that everything that could be done to obtain his release was being done.

But she had written this only to keep up her son's spirits. Referring to Government efforts to free him she said: "I suppose they are trying in their way, but, of course, I am not satisfied. I want immediate action to get my son released."

The Government should do something to speed the release of 11 Chinese newspaper employees detained in prison in Hongkong. China had implied that they might release Mr. Grey when these men were freed, said Mrs. Grey. The Chinese newspaper employees were among 13 sentenced, for taking part in the 1967 riots. The last is not due for release until February, 1971.

Mrs. Grey said she had appealed to Chou En-lai, the Prime Minister, but had received no acknowledgement to her cable.

The message read: "On the occasion of the Chinese Spring Festival, I appeal to you to free my son Anthony Grey from his detention in Peking. More than 18 months have now passed since he was detained, and he has done nothing to deserve this treatment.

“I appeal to you now to mark this Spring Festival with a gesture of goodwill, and allow my son to be reunited with his family.”

From unofficial sources in Whitehall, I understand that a new approach is likely to be made soon to Peking to try to obtain the release of Mr. Grey and other British detainees.


13 Mar 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


By Our Diplomatic Staff

After 18 months of close house arrest, Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter correspondent in Peking, has been allowed access to his books in the room above the one to which he has been confined.

Until now. if Mr. Grey wanted a book from upstairs he had to give the title to a Chinese servant. But he told visiting diplomats last November that as time passed he was unable to remember the titles.


15 Mar 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

‘Easier Going’ for Grey


LIVING conditions for Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent who has been confined to his home in Peking since July, 1967, have apparently improved.

But it seems more likely than ever that he still faces at least five more months in the brick house that overlooks the forbidden city.

Grey was last seen by British diplomats last November when they were permitted a 25-minute interview with him. At that time he said he sorely missed having books to help him spin out the long hours of isolation.

His guards said they would fetch books from his upstairs library if he would tell them which one he wanted. He could not remember the titles. Now, apparently, he has been given access to the library.

- Hongkong the key –

The key to Grey's release is the fate of the 11 Communist journalists who have been imprisoned in Hongkong since the trouble there in the summer of 1967. Peking has said flatly that until they are freed. Grey wiil remain.

After the last visit the British diplomats had with Grey, their second in 16 months, there was a wave of protest directed at China by the British Press and Government, which had previously remained relatively silent on the subject.

Peking subsequently accused the British of using its propaganda machines to slander the Chinese Government and to mislead public opinion.

The Chinese said that Grey had been treated leniently and the Chinese Government had taken a consistent stand on the case.

They said the Government was fully justified in restricting Grey's freedom of movement so long as British authorities continued to keep the Chinese Communist journalists in gaol.


28 Apr 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

China Refugees Risk to Grey

By Our Staff Correspondent in Hongkong

Refusal to send back 10 Chinese, including four soldiers, who defected to Hongkong on Saturday could affect the position of Mr. Anthony Grey, 30, Reuter's correspondent in Peking, and other Britons and Americans held in China.

The Hongkong authorities expect China to ask today for them to be returned.


5 May 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Relatives’ Plea for Reporter Held in China

A petition signed by all 53 relatives of Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent held in Peking for 22 months, is to be handed in to the Foreign Office today.

It demands immediate Government negotiations to secure Mr. Grey's release in exchange for Chinese Communist journalists imprisoned in Hongkong.

Although no charge has ever been brought the Chinese have made it known that Mr. Grey's detention is a reprisal. Mr. Arthur Bullent, of Corton, Suffolk, Mr. Grey's uncle, said yesterday: "We are determined to get some action taken to secure Tony's freedom."

Mrs. Agnes Grey, of Malvern Road, Norwich, Mr. Grey's mother, said: "I like to think the British Government has done all it can to free Tony but has it? Why don't they let the Chinese journalists free? At least it might help my son."


11 May 1969 [The Sunday Telegraph]

New hope for Anthony Grey

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

Hopes have been raised that Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent in Peking, may be freed from house arrest now that 11 Chinese newspaper workers imprisoned in Hongkong are to be released. The Foreign Office emphasises, however, that the review of the sentences was not connected with the Grey case.

Peking had insisted that they would not free Mr. Grey until the 11 Chinese were released. Hongkong Communist newspapers yesterday ignored the Governor's decision to reduce their sentences.


11 May 1969 [The Sunday Telegraph, Letters]

Remember Grey

YOUR correspondent, Mr. A. Dunn, demands that the public should continue to trouble its conscience over the case of the British school teacher undergoing a prison sentence in Russia.

My own conscience—and I suspect many others—is far more troubled over the inhuman detention on no charge of Mr. Anthony Grey in Peking, about which the British Government appears to be doing little or nothing.

Mr. Brooke apparently went to Russia with the deliberate intention of breaking that country's laws by distributing subversive propaganda leaflets: it seems to me that he has only himself to thank for the trouble he is in.


Parkstone, Dorset.


12 May 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


Mrs. Agnes Grey, mother of Reuter’s correspondent Anthony Grey who has been held under house arrest in Peking since July 1967, is going to London today to discuss the matter with the Foreign Office. 


13 May 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

(Photo: Mrs. Agnes Grey, mother of Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent who has been held under house arrest in Peking for almost two years, handling in a family petition at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday. Signed by 53 Mr. Grey's relatives, it urges the Government to take immediate action to secure his release.)


15 May 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


The Government will continue to seek the early release of Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuters correspondent held by the Chinese, Mr. Maurice Foley, Parliamentary Under Secretary, Foreign Office, said in a Commons written answer last night.


20 May 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

‘Free Brooke and Grey’ Call to Envoys

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

The Chinese Charge d'Affaires and the Russian Ambassador were called separately m the Foreign Office in London yesterday in efforts to speed the release of detained Britons.

Mr. Ma Chia-chun, Chinese Charge d'Affaires, was told of the "very great importance the Government attached to the early release of Mr. Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent held under house arrest in Peking for 20 months.

Mr. Smirnovsky, the Soviet Ambassador, saw a senior official for 45 minutes. It was one of a series of meetings over the case of Mr. Gerald Brooke, the London lecturer serving a prison sentence in Russia. Diplomatic warnings to Russia have coincided with the Moscow talks which ended yesterday in which Mr. Wedgwood Benn, Minister of Technology, agreed to wider technical co-operation.


30 May 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


Mrs Agnes Grey, mother of Mr. Anthony Grey, the journalist under house arrest in Peking, had talks with Mr. Percy Craddock, former British charge d'affaires in Peking, at a private meeting in London yesterday.

Mr. Grey has been kept under house arrest by the Chinese since July, 1967, in retaliation for the imprisonment of Chinese journalists in Hongkong.


20 June 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Hongkong Act May Aid Talks on Grey

By Our Commonwealth Correspondent

Hongkong yesterday dropped its emergency powers for imprisonment without trial. The move is expected to help representations to Peking on behalf of Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuter's correspondent, and other Britons held in China.

The regulation, introduced during Left-wing anti-Government riots in Hongkong in 1967, enabled detention for up to a year without charge. The 54 people held under the regulation have been released.

More than 1,000 people were held during the riots. About 200 are still serving court sentences.


25 June 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Peking Eases Conditions for Anthony Grey

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

Conditions have improved for Mr. Anthony Grey, 30, the Reuter correspondent under house arrest in Peking since July, 1967. In a letter to his mother. Mrs. Agnes Grey, of Norwich, he says he is allowed more exercise, may listen to a radio and is no longer under continuous observation.

He was put under house detention following the arrest in Hongkong of Chinese newspaper workers during the 1967 riots. The 11 still in prison are due for release in September and October.

Several are to be granted remission for good conduct and one has had his sentence reduced. The less harsh treatment of Mr. Grey is believed to be the Chinese Government's response.


16 Aug 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Radio Boon to Grey

Daily Telegraph Reporter 

RADIO has made life much better for Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent held by the Chinese in Peking.

He has become a changed man since the Chinese, on May 13, relaxed the conditions under which he lived imprisoned in his own house. Mr John Denson, the Peking Charge d'Affaires, has told his mother in a letter.

Mrs Agnes Grey, of Malvern Road, Norwich, revealed the contents of the letter yesterday. Mr Grey listens to the radio from 5 pm. to midnight almost every day. He picked up a message his mother had broadcast to him for his 31st birthday on July 5.

Mr Denson's visit was the third Mr Grey has been allowed. In his letter he wrote: "Tony was looking very much more relaxed than in November, when his hands were often clenched tight during the interview and he leant forward, his shoulders hunched in a tense way."

- Allowed outside –

As well as hearing his mother's voice Tony listened to the BBC account of the Derby.

There is one plea from Mr Grey that Mr Denson hopes to fulfil. He desperately needs books to read, since he has reread all the books in his house. Apart from 90 minutes spent outside the house every day, there is nothing for Mr Grey to do except listen to the radio.

Mrs Grey said: "It is great to know that Tony is in touch with the radio. Apparently it has done him the world of good. I just hope he is freed in October, when ten Communist journalists are released in Hongkong."


4 Sep 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Hope of Grey's Release Soon

By Our Hongkong Correspondent

Hopes of the release of Mr Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent, who has been held prisoner in his house in Peking for 25 months, rose yesterday with the release of the first of 11 Chinese journalists gaoled for their part in the Hongkong riots of 1967.

The others will be out of prison by Oct. 3. The Chinese Government has made it clear that Mr Grey is being held until the last is free.


25 Sep 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Chinese May Free Grey in 8 Days

Daily Telegraph Reporter 

MR ANTHONY GREY, 31, the British journalist who has been detained at his home in Peking for the last two years is expected to be freed in eight days.

He has written to his mother, Mrs. Agnes Grey, in Norwich advising her to keep calm and not to get excited. But the typewritten letter does not mention his intending release. 

There have been official indications from China that Mr Grey a Reuter correspondent, can expect freedom when Wong Chak, the last of 15 Chinese journalists imprisoned in Hong Kong for anti-Government rioting, is released.

The date for Wong Chak's release has been fixed for Oct. 3, according to reports reaching London from Hong Kong last night.

- New message –

Hopes that Mr. Grey would soon be free were rising in British Government circles last night, but the Foreign Office was making no comment.

The reason for the new optimism is that Mr. John Denson. British Chargé d'Affaires in Peking, has been given a new message concerning Mr. Grey from the Chinese authorities. It is thought that Mr Grey will be allowed to travel to Hong Kong on Oct. 3 and then fly to London.

His mother said last night: “I do not wish to build up my hopes too much just in case we are in for a big disappointment.”


1 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

China Likely to Release Grey in Two Weeks


THE last Chinese Communist journalist imprisoned for his part in the Hongkong riots of 1967 will be released early on Friday. In the next two weeks, it is expected, Mr Anthony Grey, 31, the Reuter correspondent held under close house arrest in Peking without charges since July 21, 1967, will be allowed to leave China.

Wong Chak, a reporter for the Hongkong Communist newspaper Ta Kung Pao, was sentenced to five years on Oct. 5. 1967, for unlawful assembly, making inflammatory speeches, wounding two police constables, possessing a dagger and resisting arrest.

- Sentence reduced –

Mr Grey's crime was being a British reporter in Peking when the Hongkong police began arresting Communist rioters in the Colony. Wong Chak's sentence was reduced in an obvious attempt to obtain Mr Grey's freedom.

The office of the British Chargé d'Affaires in Peking has been given no indication as to when Mr Grey may be freed. but it is thought that the Chinese may wait a week or two after Wong Chak's release.

There is thought to be little chance of Mr Grey being released today, the 20th anniversary of the Communist regime in China.

Peking's leaders would feel that this might be a sign of leniency at a time when they are presenting as tough a front to the world as ever.

If the Foreign Office has any say in the matter, I understand, Mr Grey will be flown home by way of Moscow. This is the fastest route and Mr Grey would avoid the large group of persistent reporters gathering in Hongkong.

Chinese Communist organisations in Hongkong have destroyed cards of invitation to celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Communist regime which bore the traditional quotations from Chairman Mao. Cards eventually sent out for parties in the colony last night made no mention of Mao.


3 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


By Our Staff Correspondent in Hongkong

Wong Chak, the last Chinese newspaperman gaoled for his role in the 1967 Hongkong riots, was released today.

This is expected to clear the way for the release of Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent who has been under house arrest in Peking for the past 26 months.

Chak, who was convicted of wounding two policemen, carrying a dagger and inciting people to riot, was well treated in prison. He had regular visits, a substantial diet, played football and table tennis and received unlimited mail.


4 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Chinese in Talks on Grey

By JOHN RIDLEY, Diplomatic Staff

CHINESE Foreign Ministry officials are to start talks today on releasing Mr Anthony Grey, Reuter correspondent in Peking, who has been under house arrest for the past 26 months.

A British spokesman in Peking telephoned Moscow to say that the Chinese Government was waiting for confirmation from its own sources that the last of the 13 Chinese newspaper workers gaoled in Hongkong had been freed.

It was because of the imprisonment of the Chinese newspapermen that Mr Grey, 31, has been held in solitary confinement in his Peking home. The last of the 13, Wong Chak, was freed yesterday.

- Mother's intuition -

Mr John Denson, British Charge d'Affaires in Peking, was yesterday granted a requested interview about Mr Grey with Mr Tang, acting director of the West European Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Mr Tang told him that the Chinese Government was still awaiting the word that Wong Chak was free before getting in touch with the British Mission about Mr Grey's freedom.

Earlier, two British diplomats in Peking, Mr Roger Garside, First Secretary, and Mr G. G. H. Walden, Second Secretary, were turned away by guards when they went to Mr Grey's house.

At her home in Norwich, Mr Grey's mother, Mrs Agnes Grey, said the uncertainty was causing her to lose 2 lb a day. "The waiting is making me ill with worry, but I have had an encouraging message from Reuters. My intuition tells me Tony will be released on Monday."


5 Oct 1969 [The Sunday Telegraph]


By RONALD PAYNE, Diplomatic Correspondent

[same photo as in 22 Oct 1967]


MR. ANTHONY GREY, the British journalist released yesterday by the Chinese, outside the house in which he was confined for 26 months in Peking. This picture, taken three months after his confinement began, shows slogans pasted around his doorway by Red Guards. One reads: " Down with the British imperialist rotten eggs."

AFTER 26 months of solitary confinement in his house in Peking, Mr. Anthony Grey was yesterday set free. The 31-year-old Reuters correspondent is expected to apply for an exit visa tomorrow and to leave China this week.

Last night Mr. Grey was safe and free at the British Mission compound in Peking. For the first time since the summer of 1967 he was able to talk at length in his own language.

He had been held as a bargaining counter for the release of 13 Chinese newspaper workers gaoled in Hongkong for their part in riots.

On Friday the last of the 13, Wong Chak, was released. Thirty-one hours later, at 3 p.m. Peking time (8 a.m. B.S.T.), Mr. Grey was taken to the Chinese Foreign Ministry to be told of his own release.

-Cable to Reuters-

An official Chinese statement said Grey had been informed "that in view of the fact that the British authorities in Hongkong have released all of our patriotic news workers, effective today his freedom of movement was restored."

He promptly sent the following cable to Reuters in London: "ExGrey Peking onpass Gerald Long. Summoned Foreign Ministry 1500 local informed freedom of movement restored as per conditions prior July 21, 1967. Am well, please reassure my mother. Ends."

Mr. Long, Reuters general manager, said: “I, like everyone in Reuters, feel a most profound sense of relief that Anthony Grey's freedom of movement has been restored.

“We admire the fortitude he has shown, which is in the best tradition of international journalism. We look forward above all to his return to London.”

-Mother's relief-

To his mother, Mrs. Agnes Grey, in Norwich, Mr. Grey cabled: "Conditions restored to normal at 3 o'clock today. I'm perfectly well, free to do as I please, probably leaving within three days. All my love to you, June [his sister] and everybody. Tony.'' He also sent a message to Miss Shirley McGuinn, his girl friend. It was almost identical to that he sent to his mother. Mrs. Grey had been awake much of the night, trying to listen to news bulletins about her son. Her first news of his release came by telephone from Reuters to a nearby public house, as she has no telephone.

Afterwards she said: "It's marvellous news. . . . The strain has been terrible."

Mr. Stewart, Foreign Secretary, sent a message expressing pleasure when news of the release arrived in London.

-Day and night guard-

During the 26 months of his detention Mr. Grey was kept in a 12ft. sq. room of his house in the Square of Heavenly Peace. He was kept under constant day and night guard.

After his release British Mission officers searched the city for Mr. Grey, Mr. Roger Garside the British Consul, discovered Mr. Grey at his house and was made to wait outside by the guards until the Reuter man emerged.

Suffering from a slight cold but otherwise in good health he was taken at once to the British mission compound. There he was issued with a new passport to replace the one burned in last year's Peking riots.

-Other Britons in gaol-

When he receives an exit visa arrangements will be made for him to fly back to London. There is now no reason to suppose that the Chinese bureaucracy will make any difficulties about his final release.

The release of Mr. Grey does nothing to raise hopes for the liberation of 13 other Britons incarcerated in Maoist gaols. Despite frequent efforts the British Mission in Peking has never been given consular access to them.

Some Britons, including Mr. Norman Barrymaine, 66, a journalist who wrote for The Daily Telegraph Magazine, have been detained for as long as Mr. Grey.

The other prisoners, including women and children, are in a different category, according to the Chinese. With 31 other assorted foreigners, they are all accused of contravening Chinese law.

Nevertheless, the Foreign Office hopes that Mr. Grey's release will lead to a general improvement in Sino-British relations.


The Straits Times, 5 October 1969, Page 2




6 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Chou's quip on release of Anthony Grey


CHOU EN-LAI, the Chinese Prime Minister, chose a banquet in Peking on Saturday to make a quip to Mr John Denson, the British Charge d'Affaires, about Mr Anthony Grey, Reuter's correspondent earlier released from house arrest.

His reference to Mr Grey, 31, who was held in solitary confinement by the Chinese for 26 months, came while he met diplomats. To Mr Denson he grinned saying: "Mr Grey is not here tonight? He is not out?" Mr Denson replied to the effect that Grey was not yet out (of China). Chou moved on, then turned back and said jovially: "He can stay if he wants, you know."

In fact Mr Grey does not want to stay. He and British diplomats hope he will be able to leave the country tomorrow. It is hoped to obtain an exit permit for Mr Grey swiftly and have him on tomorrow's flight from Peking to Shanghai. This connects with an Air France flight from Shanghai to Phnom Penh and Karachi.

His release from confinement came more than a day after the release in Hongkong of the last of Chinese Communist journalists imprisoned in the colony after disturbances there in the summer ot 1967.


Norwich plans Norwich is preparing a civic reception for Mr Grey. Mrs Jessie Griffiths, the Lord Mayor, has asked his mother, Mrs Agnes Grey, who lives in Malvern Road, Norwich, to bring Mr Grey to the City Hall "so that I can welcome him home on behalf of the city."

Throughout the weekend Mrs Grey tried unsuccessfully to telephone her son. When the call failed to materialise Mrs Grey went to Norwich Cathedral where she prayed in thanks for her son's release.


8 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Grey Gets his Exit Visa

Anthony Grey, Reuter's Peking correspondent released from house arrest last Saturday, reported yesterday that the Chinese authorities had granted his request for an exit visa.

He expects to leave China in a day or two.—Reuter.


9 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Grey Leaving China Today

By Our Peking Correspondent

Mr Anthony Grey, 31, reasonably rested and relaxed after two years and two and half months house arrest and five days freedom, leaves China today.

Those in the British Office in Peking who have seen him say Mr Grey apparently got over the effects of his confinement remarkably quickly.


The Straits Times, 9 October 1969, Page 1

Grey to leave



10 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Grey's Toast to Freedom

(Photo: Mr Anthony Grey, 31, arriving in Karachi last night on his way home from China after nearly 27 months under house arrest.)

ANTHONY GREY, the Reuter correspondent, sipped a glass of champagne to celebrate his freedom as the plane carrying him from Peking to Karachi crossed the Chinese border yesterday.

The 31-year-old correspondent, imprisoned in his Peking home for 26 months, on his arrival at Karachi described how he felt after his release last Saturday.

He said: "I felt like Rip Van Winkle waking up after 100 years when I saw the girls in the British mission in mini-skirts."

Mr Grey spent the past five days with members of the British diplomatic mission in Peking.

"I felt more rested and more myself each day as time went by gradually thawing out after the long freeze-up," he said.

Mr Grey, who looked thin but otherwise in good health, told Reuter colleagues: "I have been very touched and very grateful for all the attention and publicity given to my case by the Press in Britain and overseas."—Reuter.

-“Five good days”-

Our Peking correspondent cabled: The sky was blue and the sun was shining yesterdav as Anthony Grey left Peking.

He waved and smiled to a group, mainly of British and Indian diplomatic people and correspondents, who saw him off on the first leg of his flight to Karachi and London. In the airport Mr Grey said: “I am feeling very well. I've had five good days with very kind people and I'm very grateful.”


The Straits Times, 10 October 1969, Page 1

Grey on his way home



11 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Grey to Rest in Karachi

MR Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent freed by the Chinese, rested in privacy and quietness yesterday in a house in Karachi.

In the morning he walked in the garden. "It was nice to walk on green grass in the warm sunshine, because Peking is cold," he said. "It was just good to breathe free air again."

He revealed that no firm plans had been made on the duration of his stay in Karachi, where he arrived on Thursday from Peking. He said he "wanted to charge his batteries for his return to London and reunion with his family and friends."

Mr Grey, 31, appealed to fellow journalists to leave him in peace until he has readjusted to normal life. To Reuter colleagues who are with him, he described his feelings when he saw the crowds waiting for him at Karachi airport.

-“Horrible moment”-

“For one horrible moment it was like being surrounded by the Red Guards in Peking. One man put his arm across the door of the car and physically prevented me from getting-in. It brought back that terrible time when the Red Guards broke into my house.

“I've been pressured a lot in the past two years. I don't want to be pressured now. I will tell my story later, every word of it, because I think the world has got to know what the Chinese did to me.”

He denied a British newspaper report that he was upset at the way the Government had handled his case and that in several quarters there was a strong desire for him to remain silent. "I have never said anything like that." he said. " It is absolute invention."—Reuter


The Straits Times, 11 October 1969, Page 3




12 Oct 1969 [The Sunday Telegraph]

Mother meets Grey today

Telegraph Reporter

Mr. Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent, left for Britain by air last night after a stopover in Karachi which followed his release from 26 months of house detention in Peking. Just before his aircraft took off, he spoke by telephone to his mother, Mrs. Agnes Grey, in Norwich.

She said afterwards: "It was the most wonderful moment in my life. He said he could not wait to see me and Shirley, his girl friend, and wanted to make sure we could all meet him." Mrs. Grey later left for London. Her son is expected today at Heathrow Airport.


12 Oct 1969 [The Sunday Telegraph]

Grey's two parcels

MR. ANTHONY GREY, said in Karachi yesterday that he had received his mother's 1967 Christmas parcel 22 months late—on the day of his release in Peking last Saturday.

The Reuter's correspondent had received none of the many parcels sent him by his family, his colleagues, and by a host of strangers during his 26 months' captivity.

But on return to his Peking house from the Foreign Ministry, where he was told his freedom of movement had been restored, he found two parcels lying on his table.

"One was my mother's Christmas parcel from 1967," he said. "The other was a little packet reading 'from Father Christmas' in writing I didn't recognise. Inside was a pair of very nice woolen socks and a card from Gerda Hartje.

"I don't know who she is," he joked, "but I visualise her as a glamorous Swedish blonde."


Mr. Grey went on: " Very many people sent me cards. But the only one I received was from Joanna Lyons and her family of Middlesbrough about six months ago. It was a postcard from Looe. Cornwall, where they were obviously on holiday." [Mrs. Lyons has a son employed by Reuter.]

Relaxing in a secluded house, he commented: "I'm still nervous of any movement. Travelling upsets me." He felt relaxed after five days' rest in Peking. "But the flight out and the attentions of the Press, particularly of the photographers in Karachi, set me right back."—Reuter.


14 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Grey tells how Red Guards hanged cat

ANTHONY GREY, Reuter correspondent, who flew back to London on Sunday, said yesterday that a terrible moment of his 26 months imprisonment in Peking was when Red Guards hanged his pet cat and then started to shout: "Hang Grey, Hang Grey."

Mr Grey, 31, was recovered enough from his journey from China following his release last week to talk about the night of Aug. 18, 1967, when at least 200 Red Guards swarmed into his house in Peking. This was about a month after he had been told that he was a prisoner in his house.

"There was a commotion in the street and I knew I was going to be invaded," Mr Grey said. "Then they burst into my office and dragged me downstairs to the courtyard. It was a hot night. I was in shorts and a sweat shirt.

"They painted me with black paint and jet-planed me—forced my arms behind me so that my body was bent forward. Whenever I tried to straighten up one Red Guard at my side punched me in the stomach. They glued a poster to my back."

-Screaming crowds-

"Others went into the house and I could hear the breaking of glass and other sounds of wreckage. The crowds kept screaming that I was an imperialist, reactionary journalist. "In my painful position I sweated so much that a pool formed on the ground under my eyes and I could see my reflection in it. Suddenly, there was a silence and a slight round of applause.

"I was told to straighten up —and this was perhaps the worst moment of my two years. A few inches in front of my eyes dangled the body of my cat, Ming Ming, hanged from the roof by a washing line. " He was a nice little brown and white cat—very friendly. He had become a very good companion to me in that first month of solitude.

"The crowds then started to shout ' Hang Grey, Hang Grey ' " sometimes changing this to "Hang Wilson."

When Grey was frog-marched into the house again he found posters stuck up everywhere and black paint daubed even on his sheets.

The first month of his imprisonment had been fairly easy. He had the freedom of his entire house, and was allowed to write and play chess with a friend by telephone.

After the Red Guard invasion he was confined to a small room eight feet by eight feet that had been used by his driver between duties. It contained only a bed with the springs sticking up.

“This was my home for the next three months. I could walk only eight and a half paces to a small washroom. They had nailed boards across the window – and even daubed the bristles of my toothbrush with black paint.”

- Saved by Yoga –

Grey said he had three books. One was about chess, another on the theory and practice of Communism and the third was a book describing yoga exercises which he had picked up by chance on his way to China.

“The Yoga book turned out to be my salvation,” Grey said. In his confined space he did the exercises for two hours each day and found they kept him in physical health and brought him mental calm at times when he felt close to panic.

His food was sparse – black coffee and some scrambled egg for breakfast, meat once a day in the evening. There was no butter or any fruit. After a month his guards allowed the window to be open for one hour a day.

- Stomach trouble –

Later in the year he developed stomach trouble. “I could not walk even my eight and a half paces. I felt this very keenly.”

His diet suddenly improved after a Chinese doctor had examined him. There was butter at last and fruit.

He was moved into a bigger room 12 feet by 12 feet. The floor was bare and a blackboard was propped up at eye level filled with the quotations of Mao Tse-tung.

From then until his release his life consisted of devising ways to occupy his mind and keep it balanced.

- Insulting rhymes –

His guards never spoke to him, only stared at him with hostile eyes. He thought out nicknames for them, composed insulting rhymes about them in his mind to the tune of popular songs. They kept singing revolutionary songs or chanting slogans.

“I thought of my past life, of course,” Mr Grey said. “I thought of incidents, people, actions I had taken and analysed them all right back to my childhood. I felt after a while that I had scraped my memory clean.

“I refused to pass the time away by sleeping in the daytime. I knew that would be bad for me, that I had to maintain a proper rhythm of sleep so that I would not be awake in the long nights.

“So even on the hottest days I sat bolt upright in a chair keeping awake when even the guards were sleeping.

“Then I tried to make a proper system of what life I had. I would draw up plans for the coming month – little things because that was all I had, such as noting that on such and such a day I would ask for access to my books upstairs to be restored to me.”

The letters he occasionally received from his mother and his friend, Shirley McGuinn, were high spots. “One letter would occupy me for a whole day, I would read it over and over again.”

Mr Grey was remarkably relaxed yesterday and spoke quietly and unemotionally about his experiences, often laughing and joking.

- Christmas present –

On Christmas day, 1968, he received a crossword puzzle and looked upon it as a fine present. “Somehow I felt a quiet sort of joy on that day.

I put on my best suit – to the puzzlement of the guards – and I tried to make it a special day though I was so alone.”

At the end of May this year Mr Grey suddenly found his conditions much improved. He was allowed to listen to the radio and this was his first contact with the outside world.

It was also the dawn of hope that at last freedom was nearing. – Reuter.


14 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Freed Briton denies he was spy


(Photo: Mr Anthony Grey, the Reuter’s correspondent who was returned to Britain after spending 26 months under house arrest in Peking, taking coffee in his London hotel yesterday with his mother, Mrs Agnes Grey and elder sister, Mrs June Carter.)

MR NORMAN BARRYMAINE, 69, the British journalist released after 20 months’ solitary confinement in Shanghai, yesterday categorically denied a Chinese accusation that he went to China as a spy.

Although doctors had informed him yesterday morning that he had amoebic dysentery he left the Queen Mary Hospital briefly to give a press conference. He was completely relaxed and mentally alert.

He said: “In the eyes of the Chinese any newspaperman who goes to that country is a spy. I am a British subject and if the Foreign Office people ask for my views after such a visit, I’ll give them, as a simple matter of patriotism.”

Although he said he signed “several million words” of confessions no specific action was pinpointed by his interrogators. He felt the Chinese were waiting for him in February last year, when he was arrested following a trip to Shanghai the previous November, for critical articles he had written.

Mr Barrymaine was covering the seizure of the American intelligence ship Pueblo for The Daily Telegraph when he was seized.

- Grilled 14 hrs a day –

His interrogators, who sometimes grilled him for 14 hours a day, were aware that he had worked for the Foreign Office between 1951 and 1954. He said: “I am perfectly sure they firmly believed that I still was with the Foreign Office.”

The Chinese did not seriously attempt to indoctrinate Mr Barrymaine in his bare 8ft by 12ft cell. “In fact, I spent hours trying to indoctrinate them and they listened to my explanations of what Britian was trying to achieve in terms of human betterment.”

He said he told the Chinese their New China News Agency employees in London could walk about doing exactly what he was doing in Shanghai and the British Government “wouldn’t give a damn.” The Chinese listened patiently to him for quite long periods, he said.

Mr Barrymaine – who lost 40lb during his imprisonment – said he was never physically assaulted.

During the several free days Mr Barrymaine spent ashore in Shanghai before his arrest he was always accompanied by an official China travel service guide who told him he was free to photograph whatever he wished. He assumes that a fellow passenger, Signor Bruno Neroni, an Italian master mariner who was arrested with him, is still in prison.

- Wrote petitions –

Mr Barrymaine indicated that the Shanghai Public Security Bureau probably was glad to get rid of him. “I am sure I was the greatest minute writer they ever had. I wrote petitions, usually asking for medical attention almost every day.

“If any one of you gets arrested in China, confess – in the Communist term anything you say is a confession.”

Mr Barrymaine said he did not hate the Chinese for what they had done to him. “I very much like the Chinese race. I have always got on well with Chinese,” he said.

“Chinese like me. I find it difficult – impossible – to be resentful against the Chinese.”

When a reporter asked him if the Chinese were completely unjustified in arresting him, he replied, “I think from their point of view they were not unjustified.”

The Chinese confiscated what they chose to call “spy material” – three cameras and other photographic equipment, notebooks covering a period of 40 years and even his address book.

Yesterday, Mr. Barrymaine sent a cable to Mr Anthony Grey, the Reuter correspondent recently released in Peking, saying he was “terribly delighted” to hear that he was free. The news was given him by his guards during the train journey from Shanghai to Canton.


14 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph, Letters]

Anthony Grey's return

SIR—Your report of Mr Anthony Grey's return to London (Oct. 13) repeats the speculation, already denied by Mr Grey, that Reuters had advised Mr Grey to be reticent in answering questions about his ordeal.

Reuters has given Mr Grey no such advice, although we have told him since his release that he is to put his health and well-being ahead of all other considerations. Mr Grey's decision not to answer questions about Peking was his alone and quite unprompted. The reason for it could I believe, be clearly seen in the great strain Mr Grey is suffering through his sudden emergence from solitary confinement to a world where he is the centre of much attention.

The only advice that Reuters has given to Mr Grey is to meet his colleagues and to answer their questions as soon as he feels able to do so.


Gen. Manager, Reuters Ltd.,

London, E.C.4.


15 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Grey is Made an OBE

By Our Diplomatic Staff

MR ANTHONY GREY, the Reuter correspondent released last week after 26 months' imprisonment in Peking, was yesterday made an officer of the Order of the British Empire.

The award, for meritorious service, was announced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London as the news came from Hongkong that another British journalist. Mr Eric Gordon, with his wife and son, had been freed by the Chinese.

Last night Mr Grey, 31, who arrived back in London on Sunday, was ordered by his doctor to take a few days' rest.

-“Quite overwhelmed”-

Earlier, Mr Grey said he was greatly honoured by the OBE award. "I certainly did not expect to receive anything for enduring what seemed to be a private hardship," he added.”

“I have received messages of welcome from home and abroad from many people I cannot thank personally. I am quite overwhelmed by this concern and sympathy, and now this award has also been very great.”


15 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

China may free 8 more Britons

By Our Diplomatic Staff

WITH the release from China during the past few days of Mr Anthony Grey, Mr Norman Barrymaine, and yesterday, Mr Eric Gordon, his wife, Marie, and their 13-year-old son, there is speculation in Whitehall as to whether the eight other Britons still being detained by the Chinese might be set free.

Mr Grey, Mr Barrymaine and Mr Gordon are all journalists and, therefore, perhaps in a different category to the other eight detainees.

The other Britons still believed held in China are:

Mr Peter Crouch, 29, Second Officer of the cargo ship Demodocus, 7,964 tons, detained in Shanghai on April 3, 1968.

Capt. Peter M. Will, 46, Master of the cargo-passenger ship Kota Jaya, 9,727 tons, detained at Tang-ku, off Tientsin, on or about July 3. 1968.

Mr David C. Johnston, former manager of the Shanghai branch of the Chartered Bank, detained in Shanghai on Aug. 25, 1968.

Mrs Elsi Epstein (formerly Elsie Fairfax - Cholmondeley) arrested with her American husband, Mr Israel Epstein, towards the end of 1967.

Mr Michael Shapiro, 57, former Communist Councillor at Stepney and a translator in Peking, detained at the end of 1967.

Mr David Crook, who lived with his wife and three children in Peking, and was employed by the Chinese Government, detained towards the end of 1967.

Mrs Gladys Yang, British-born wife of a Chinese. She worked as a translator for the Chinese authorities, and was detained in July, 1968.

Mr George Watt, 37, an engineer employed by the Vickers-Zimmer company building a factory at Lanchow, who was sentenced to three years' imprisonment last year for alleged spying. He was arrested on Sept. 26, 1967.


15 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Third British Journalist Freed by Chinese from Detention


MR ERIC GORDON, 38, a British journalist, trudged over the border into Hongkong yesterday with his wife and son after they had been released from 23 months' house arrest by the Chinese.

He is the third British journalist to be freed from China. "I have a lot to say, but I am terribly weary and I have to sort things out a bit first," he said to me.

His African-born wife, Marie, 33, and their son Kim, 13, are British subjects.

He went to Peking in 1965 to work as an editor and translator for the Chinese Government's Foreign Languages Institute. He and his family were on their way out of the city in November, 1967, the height of the Cultural Revolution, when they were arrested.

-Detained in hotel-

They spent almost two years in isolation in a third-rate Peking hotel before being deported.

A number of other journalists who had worked for the Government were detained at the same time "for investigation into their conduct."

Mr Gordon, bearded and bespectacled, would not discuss the circumstances of his arrest. but it is believed that he and others were detained because they objected to the violence of the Cultural Revolution.

He and his family were whisked off by Hongkong Government officials to spend the night at a place that was kept secret.

It was announced that he would probably give a Press conference today. 

- Light on Mao –

It is expected that Mr Gordon, in interviews with British Government officials, will be one of the first people out of China to throw some light on the power struggle that is going on around Mao Tse-tung.

Medical authorities said the family were in good health and arrangements to put them in a Government hospital were cancelled.

The Chinese allowed them to bring out their household possessions and the family arrived with these packed in crates.

Mr Gordon was surprised to learn that Mrs Elsie Epstein, wife of an American journalist, who had worked for the Peking Government for more than 20 years had not been heard of for almost two years. "We were completely isolated—we knew nothing of what was happening to others,” he said.

- FAMILY CAMPAIGN “Never gave up” –

First to hear the release of Mr Gordon and his family was his brother Jeffrey, who lives at East Finchley and who has been leading a campaign to find out Eric's whereabouts.

He telephoned his father, who lives in Hove. His mother, Mrs Sarah Gordon, is in hospital suffering from nervous exhaustion.

The father, Mr Sam Gordon, who is 70 and nearly blind, said at his home in Westbourne Gardens, Hove, last night: "My wife and I have been ill recently. My wife doesn't know about this but I will tell her the news."

“We are looking forward to a reunion in a few days' time.

“It has been a long haul. I have been to London several times to see the Chinese officials. We got the help of MPs, the Press and television in our campaign.

"We have been in touch with every country which has links with China, even Canada and some of the African countries. We never gave up."

- Christmas cards –

Last Christmas, relatives asked for Christmas cards to be sent to Kim through the Chinese Prime Minister, Chou En-lai, in the hope of embarrassing the Peking authorities into action. Thousands of people responded.

(photo: Mr Eric Gordon, a British journalist, 38, his wife, Marie, 33, and their son Kim, 13, enjoying their first taste of freedom for almost 23 months after crossing into Hongkong yesterday from China. They had been held in isolation in a "third-rate" Peking hotel.)


22 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]


By Our Diplomatic Staff

Mr Anthony Grey, the Reuter's correspondent who returned home last week after 26 months' detention in Peking, yesterday called at the Foreign Office.


25 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Anthony Grey on Desert Discs

By Our TV and Radio Staff

Mr Anthony Grey, the Reuter's correspondent who was recently released from house arrest in Peking, is to be the castaway in The Bill's Desert Island Discs on Saturday next week. He will be heard talking about his experiences and will choose his eight favourite records. The programme was recorded this week. Among the records Mr Grey chose were Elgar's Enigma Variations and Exodus, sung by Edith Piaf.


31 Oct 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

Grey tells of turning to God in detention


ANTHONY GREY, the Reuter correspondent who spent two years under house arrest in China, said last night on television that his experience had made him more religious.

"You turn to God in these circumstances by praying," he told Peter Williams, the "This Week" interviewer. At times he had felt he had been forgotten and that no one cared, but he had never lost hope.

"Two years in solitary confinement is an awfully long time, empty and void of any interest," he went on. “But I think the Latin quotation, 'Dum spiro spero,' which means 'I breathe and I hope,' is true.

"While I was alive I hoped. I couldn't really lose hope while I could think."

At first he had been confined in a room 8 ft sq. He had three books—on chess, Yoga and Communism. He rationed himself to reading a number of pages a day and gained most help from the book on Yoga.

- Losing mind fear-

He continued: "I began to worry that it was possible I might lose my mind with nothing to do all day. You can't imagine how it is to wake up in the morning and to know there is nothing to do that day, or the day after, or in the future."

Asked if he felt more could have been done to obtain an earlier release Mr Grey replied: "There were times when I felt bitter and resentful towards the whole world. I even felt resentful towards people who wrote to me because they'd had strawberries and cream on a picnic."

Speaking of the hanging of his cat, Mr Grey said he believed the Red Guards did this because in the cultural revolution all things bourgeois were condemned and keeping cats and dogs was a bourgeois habit. Demonstrators also hanged an effigy of Mr Wilson in a top hat outside his house. Mr Grey added that despite his ordeal he had no hatred for the ordinary Chinese people.


12 Nov 1969 [The Daily Telegraph]

(Photo: Anthony Grey, the Reuters correspondent who was detained for 26 months by the Chinese, with Mrs Agnes Grey (left), his mother, and Miss Shirley McGuinn, a friend, after the Queen had presented him with the insignia of the O.B.E. at a Buckingham Palace investiture yesterday.)


8 Apr 1970 [The Daily Telegraph]


Mr Anthony Grey, 31-year-old Reuter correspondent who was kept under house arrest in Peking for 26 months, was married quietly in St Ouen’s parish church, Jersey, on Friday. His bride was Miss Shirley McGuinn, 32, a London schoolteacher.

Mr Grey’s mother, Mrs Agnes Grey, 59, said at her home in Malvern Road, Norwich, last night: “I know absolutely nothing about it, although I have spoken several times to Tony since he went to Jersey.”


10 Sep 1970 [The Daily Telegraph]


By Earl of Birkenhead

Hostage in Peking. By Anthony Grey. (Michael Joseph)

THOSE who have read in the Press of Anthony Grey’s long and terrible ordeal must have wondered how a man could possibly survive it with his sanity intact. After reading this well-balanced and moving book they will wonder even more. It is written modestly, thoughtfully, and in an unassuming style, and leaves us with a better idea of what Grey endured than might have emerged from a more pretentious history.

It is impossible to give an adequate impression of Grey’s sufferings in a short space and it is important that his book should be read in full to understand the nature of the regime in power in China today. The bare facts of the case are that Grey was Reuters correspondent in Peking; that he was completely blameless, a pawn in the game of international blackmail, and was arrested in childish reciprocal revenge for the detention of a Chinese journalist in Hong Kong.

For a long time neither side would give way. The Chinese refused to release Grey until all their journalists arrested in Hong Kong had been released. The British Government was reluctant to yield to blackmail by doing so. Victim of these circumstances, Grey was held in solitary confinement in his house in Peking for more than two years.

For months he was kept in a room eight foot square, and then in one 12 foot square. He was never allowed out of doors and was watched every second, day and night, by Red Guards who were quartered in the house, of unrelaxing and bitter hostility.

No hint of compassion, nor the slightest glimpse of human kinship, softened the hatred and grimaces of these men throughout Grey’s long ordeal. His windows were daubed with black paint to exclude the light, and Maoist slogans painted on every inch of wall space, and sloshed over his furniture, his bed linen and his cushions.

Just before his arrest, Grey was subjected to a brutal mishandling in which, covered in paint and with a Communist poster stuck to his back, he was forced to lower his head to the ground while his captors photographed him:

When I did not bow as required two of them came and knocked my hands from my hips and forced my head down from behind while the photographers fired their flashes. . . . Now to add to the collection to show future generations of Red Guards in their family albums, the "little generals" had shots of a paint-stained reactionary newsman with his head bowed in shame—if they could erase the hands holding dim by the neck.

Grey lived in his tiny room, obscenely defaced by the smeared slogans, for two years, and this book is an honest attempt to explain the changes in his mental condition, and the constant improvisations he was forced to make to meet them. Some idea of the mentality of his jailers can be gained by the fact that one of their first actions, after befouling his house, was to hang his cat, having first reduced it to a miserable condition to increase the effect:

On the small rickety bunk I found a damp bloodstain that can only have been from the body of Ming Ming. Nearly two years later when I was able to return to the upper part of the house I found a large pair of desk scissors encrusted to their hilt with a thick brown rusted substance. It seemed to me that it was dried blood and the scissors were used to stab the body of the cat to make the blood flow… And to dribble it on the bunk I was to sleep on was designed, I believe, as a final touch of horror for me.

We have the impression, reading this book, of a nation that has become completely mad in adoration of their unlovely deity, Mao Tse-tung. Hatred of foreigners, slavish shouting of meaningless slogans repeated ad nauseam, but above all unrelenting hatred inspired from the top and pumped out by frenzied devotees, recall the nightmare atmosphere of 1984, and Big Brother was not more ubiquitous than Mao.

Grey was therefore not only in mental anguish, but also in constant doubt and anxiety about what might happen next. He sets down his drawn-out agony with admirable honesty and restraint. He does not attempt to conceal the fact that he was frequently driven to the verge of despair, and to a belief that his imprisonment could never end. But he was fertile in expedients to combat this condition, and to keep accidie at bay.

The discipline of Yoga, both physical and mental, was probably the greatest single influence keeping him sane. He learned by heart the list of Yoga postures or asanas he practised daily, and then tried to recite the list from memory faster every day, racing through them over and over again, checking the time by his watch, and often sweating with exertion.

He recalled laboriously all the public houses he knew in an effort to decide which was the "Best-Pub-In-The-World," and got through a whole day with this exercise. He renamed the days of the week, to encourage the Micawber-like belief that "something would turn up"— Monday, Day of Optimism, Tuesday, Day of Possibility, Wednesday. Day of Hope, etc.

He studied the behaviour of ants in his cell by the hour with fascination. He folded his sheets with geometrical accuracy, sculptured a woman in soap, kept a diary against all regulations, and ploughed through the works of invaluable consumers of time. He prayed regularly and without fail. He invented for himself a series of elaborate superstitions. He spent hours converting Centigrade temperatures into Fahrenheit.

The discovery of an old bottle of T.C.P. with an instruction leaflet was a wonderful bonus, and he spent an evening happily reading instructions for the use of the disinfectant for influenza, chilblains, and as a mouthwash. In spite of all his efforts, doubts and depressions continued to attack him.

The guards in his house, hawking and spitting outside his door with a disgusting noise, filled him with rage. But even at Grey’s worst moments of despair one is somehow always conscious of a stubborn will, and an iron determination not to give way, and one leave his book remembering the sublime courage of a man, and the shame of a nation.


13 Sept 1970 [The Sunday Telegraph]

Room to hang a cat

Hostage in Peking BY ANTHONY GREY. Michael Joseph, 50s.

ANTHONY GREY, the British journalist who was held in solitary confinement in Peking for two years, is clearly possessed of courage, discipline and self-reliance of the highest order. Judged on the evidence of the objective and unemotional account of his experience contained in Hostage in Peking, he is also a very good reporter.

Mr. Grey had already served a useful apprenticeship as a Reuter correspondent in the Communist states of eastern Europe when he was posted by Reuters to Peking in March, 1967. Within a few months he,was engulfed by the phenomenal spasm of madness inaptly called the cultural revolution, which still periodically convulses Communist China.

The spark which lit the conflagration in his case was the Hong Kong government's crackdown on the handful of troublemakers among the Chinese journalists in that colony. Grey, "the Imperialist," was immediately seized as a hostage and, after due humiliation and rough handling, confined to one small room in his house for the next two years.

His sole companion, a pet cat, was barbarously hanged before his eyes. It was a terrifying and inhuman ordeal from start to finish, but one, astonishingly, from which he has emerged sane, balanced—and charitable. 

"The experience," he concludes, "leaves me with no fierce enmity towards the Chinese people in general . . . Despite the fact that the regime sometimes does iniquitous things, in the eyes of the rest of the world, it has probably provided a better life for the majority of the vast population than any regime that has preceded it.

It is a scrupulously just but far kinder judgment than the Chinese have any right to expect either from Mr. Grey or the scores of other "foreign devils" who have suffered similar or worse treatment at their hands.


New Nation, 27 February 1971, Page 10

In Red Guard hands



The Straits Times, 26 April 1971, Page 12




New Nation, 3 May 1971, Page 8

Welcome back!



The Straits Times, 9 October 1975, Page 12

Sacrifice of the pawns in a deadly game



17 Oct 1982 [The Sunday Telegraph]

China hand

SOLITARY confinement in a rowing-boat on Fritton Lake, Norfolk, seems infinitely preferable to two years alone in a Chinese prison cell, which was the fate of reporter Anthony Grey.

Yet the journalist turned author-cum-fisherman is contemplating a return to the country that held him prisoner 12 years ago. He has completed his new novel, "Saigon," after four years of research and is now musing on his next project. “I have the germ of an idea and it may well involve me going back to China. Since I came back I have applied to return twice: once with Ted Heath in 1973-74 — that had to be cancelled because of the miners' strike — and later I made an individual application, which was turned down," said Grey.

No fear or loathing of the country that incarcerated him? '* Well, personal feelings change and, more Importantly, things have changed enormously in China. They have hotels and Coca-Cola now."

(photo: A slow boat to China for Anthony Grey, the former Reuters man jailed during the Cultural Revolution.)


The Straits Times, 8 October 1983, Page 1

Grey hits brilliant heights



The Straits Times, 26 October 1988, Page 1



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