Veteran journalist and writer Israel Epstein, a true old friend of the Chinese people, died in Beijing at age 90 on the morning of May 26.
On April 17, Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a special visit to Israel Epstein, Epi for short, who interviewed Chairman Mao Zedong in the 1930s when working for US news organizations, to extend greetings on the eve of his 90th birthday.
President Hu praised Epstein for the "outstanding contributions " he made to China 's progress and his "sincere affection for China and the Chinese people" in the past several decades during which he witnessed all the phases of China's revolution, construction and reform under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Born to a Jewish family on April 20, 1915, Epstein came to China with his parents at the age of two. He began to work for China's revolution in 1933 and became a Chinese citizen in 1957. The noted journalist and writer once served as editor-in-chief of China Reconstructs (China Today) magazine. From 1983 on, he has been elected member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People 's Political Consultative Conference, the top advisory body in China.
When serving as a correspondent of the United Press and the Allied Labor News of the United States, Epstein visited North Shaanxi Province and Shanxi-Suiyuan Anti-Japanese Base Areas, and interviewed Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and other CPC leaders, along with a delegation of Chinese and foreign reporters. His major books include "From Opium War to Liberation," "The People's War," "The Unfinished Revolution in China" and "Tibet Transformed."