Nov 22, 2015

"Where are we?"
The "China Gang" in Angwin
There was a short period in Angwin in the 1950's when a few missionaries from service in China retired here. They would recognize each other in the market and exchange greetings in shrill and gleeful gibberish. The back and forth in a very foreign language was bewildering to the hearers.
Visitors would raise their eyebrows and exclaim, "Where are we? "
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One of the best-known of the China Gang was Dr. Paul Quimby. As a young man, he had "accepted a call" to serve as a teacher in a new Adventist college near Nanking.
Under the inspiration of that college's president, Denton Rebok, Quimby implemented a policy of requiring students to engage in some kind of manual labor. That was a philosophy foreign in China where scholars were identified by their long white gowns and long fingernails.
The work concept caught the attention of Chiang Kai-shek, the national ruler, and he recruited Quimby to promote the idea, which would influence millions of Chinese youth.
When Quimby retired, he came to the quiet atmosphere of Angwin, where he taught in the PUC Religion Department for about 10 years. The PUC library has a copy of Quimby's adventures in China. It is titled "A Yankee on the Yangtse."
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Two long-time couples in Angwin enjoyed some personal friendship with Quimby and the China Gang.
As a PUC student in the early 1950's, Herbert Ford remembers that every lecture Quimby gave in one of his classes, included some cultural relevance to China. He could not get China out of his mind. Years later Ford was to write a book about Rebok, who had been Quimby's superior and inspiration in China. He titled it "For the Love of China." That moving title describes the China Gang.
Robert and Treva Burgess were Angwin residents during the China Gang period also. They remember with amusement the exchanges at the market's produce counter. Some years later, they, too, would become missionaries to the Far East. Bob and Treva recently related their adventures in China in their book "The Bright Side of China."
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The China Gang was a short decade in Angwin history, but it is remembered as something very different. For a few residents still alive, the China Gang's excited and happy greetings still hang in the air.
Chinese Letering