Weariless in Seattle

Updated: 2014-02-16 08:36

By Deng Yu in Seattle(China Daily)

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On the wall over Deng Rihua's office desk in Seattle's Chinatown is a beautiful Chinese calligraphy scroll Sang Zi Qing Shen, which in traditional Chinese script relates the deep feelings Chinese people overseas have for their homeland.

"We still have our bearings in the motherland. When the motherland is stronger, we will have a firmer footing where we live," says Deng, the 80-year-old chief editor of the weekly Seattle Chinese Times. "In the past few decades, China has expanded on its foreign policy. That has helped lift the status of overseas Chinese."

Deng still remembers when he was one of the more than 1,000 Chinese-Americans who participated in the welcoming ceremony when President Hu Jintao arrived in Seattle in 2006.

A lion dance greeted Hu at the airport when he arrived. The tops of buildings in the old Chinese district of Seattle were adorned with large Chinese flags, while down in a building basement, one of the oldest overseas Chinese groups, the Su Yuan Association, was busy putting final touches on welcoming signs and banners.

"Emotions were running high, as the US had never received a state leader against the backdrop of a strong China," he recalls. "Feelings of pride in being Chinese had never been stronger in Seattle's Chinatown."

Deng's true love for China and the Chinese community in Seattle is the reason for his 27 years of service to both, especially attracting overseas investments to his native province of Guangdong.

Deng was born in 1934 in the village of Yunfu in Guangdong. During most of his early life he experienced wars, wandered from place to place and endured many hardships, but he never thought of leaving China.

At the same time, he gradually started to write about masses of his countrymen living in dire straits, as well as their passion for their country and about their daily lives.

"From the year of 1952, my lifelong writing career began. I enjoy observing the changes about my hometown and fellow countrymen," he says.

In his most productive year, Deng had more than 100 articles published by news media and magazines.

He did not stop writing after he and his family migrated to the United States for a family reunion in 1987.

In the US, Deng became a journalist for Chinese newspapers, including Singtao, World Journal. He also worked as an editor and writer for local Seattle Chinese newspapers, such as Seattle News and Chinese Business Times.

With the wealth of experience with media friends working for the media in China, Deng founded the bilingual weekly newspaper Seattle Chinese Times, and became chief editor, in May 2004, together with six of his best friends.

In the past 20 years, apart from writing thousands of articles on recent developments about more than 20 cities in Guangdong province, Deng also has edited and published thousands of stories that told of business opportunities and policies of provinces and cities, such as Sichuan, Hainan, Zhejiang, Beijing, Shanghai and Qingdao, following China's reform and opening up.

On Deng's bookshelf, piles of magazines and newspapers from China almost block the window light.

"Stories and reports from alternative presses in China help keep me posted on the most recent developments in China," he says.

Deng also seeks to bring the Chinese community closer together and he has played an active role in Seattle's Chinese community in his spare time.

Deng also has traveled to China - at least twice a year during the past 27 years. He goes not only to pay tribute to ancestors and to visit friends and old neighbors but also to lead local Chinese associations and business groups to promote cultural exchanges and attract investments for the development of his hometown.

Last year, Deng led a delegation of more than 80 people from 11 Chinese community organizations and associations to China for cultural exchanges. He says he expects to go to Yunfu in Guangdong to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his hometown's founding in November.


 Weariless in Seattle

Deng Rihua, the 80-year-old chief editor of the Seattle Chinese Times, calls his paper the "letters from the homeland". Deng Yu / China Daily

(China Daily 02/16/2014 page5)