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Pioneer journalist Helene Chung broke racist and sexist barriers to become the first non-white reporter on Australian television and, as Beijing correspondent, the first female posted abroad by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The Hobart-born Chinese Australian is author of Shouting from ChinaGentle John My Love My Loss, Lazy Man in China and Ching Chong China Girl: From fruitshop to foreign correspondent. An honours graduate and master of arts in history of the University of Tasmania, she has reported from Australia, Hong Kong, Britain, Egypt and China and freelanced for BBC, CBS, NPR, NZBC and Hong Kong radio.

'the story of how this Australian-born Chinese Catholic school girl became, in many ways, emblematic of the changing nature of Australia.'
Steven Carroll, Age, 31 May 2008

Helene Chung Martin YouTube Channel
International Women's Day Address, Ching Chong China Girl, Helene Chung Author and Journalist

Book Helene Chung as a Speaker

Ching Chong Girl and Artist Gordon Walters Winter 2014

Helene Chung Reading Abridged Ching Chong China Girl ABC Overnights 2014

Helene Chung Author on Facebook

Ching Chong Ching Girl cover


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Ching Chong China Girl
From fruitshop to foreign correspondent

In the tradition of Amy Tan, Ching Chong China Girl is a hilarious and bittersweet memoir of growing up different in a very eccentric but traditional Chinese family in Tasmania.

Warning: Not to be read by convent girls not wearing their gloves.

‘Ching Chong Chinaman’ girls taunted Helene Chung in her Catholic school playground. An Australian-born Chinese growing up in 1950s Tasmania, Helene not only dealt with being different from her blonde-haired, blue-eyed classmates but suffered the shame of having divorced parents. And she kept a shocking secret – her mother, Miss Henry, was a nude model, who also lived in sin with a foreign devil and drove a red MG.

Surviving the embarrassment of childhood, Helene discovered the thrill of the theatre, fell into journalism and travelled the world. She became the first non-white reporter on Australian TV and the first female posted abroad by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Ching Chong China Girl is a memoir filled with honesty, humour, love and loss, and gives insight into life that traverses cultures East and West.


Lazy Man in China

Lazy Man in China is the story of China over two decades — its transition from Old Communism to New Capitalism — intertwined with the love story between Helene and her late partner, John Martin. John is the self-dubbed lazy man employed at the Australian Embassy in Beijing. His witty, perceptive, self-deprecating letters to family and friends have inspired a book interwoven with ninety colour photographs of China past and present.

Lazy Man in China launch, Asialink Melbourne 2004
Lazy Man in China launch,
Asialink Melbourne 2004

John’s death from cancer prompted Helene’s emotional outpouring in Gentle John My Love My Loss. Her first book is an objective reporter's account of life as a foreign correspondent, Shouting from China.

Born in Hobart, Helene is the great-granddaughter of a Chinese miner who, like many others labouring for years in the Tasmanian tin fields, became an opium addict.

An honours graduate and Master of Arts in history, she has reported for radio and television in Australia, for radio from Britain, China, Egypt and Hong Kong, and freelanced for the BBC, CBS, NZBC and Hong Kong radio.

Helene is an engaging speaker on China, her life as an Australian-born Chinese from the age of assimilation to the era of multiculturalism, and her experience of love and loss.


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All material © 2015 Helene Chung. All rights reserved. helenechung.com

Pronunciation: He-lane and Chung as in hung