Helene Chung Homepage

Helene Chung, a former ABC Beijing correspondent, was the first non-white reporter on Australian TV and the first female posted abroad by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. A fourth-generation Tasmanian Chinese, she is the author of Shouting from China, Gentle John My Love My Loss, Lazy Man in China and, her most recent memoir, Ching Chong China Girl - now also published as an e-book.

'a must read', David Robert, Amazon, 9/2/12

Ching Chong Girl and Artist Gordon Walters Winter 2014

Helene Chung Reading Abridged Ching Chong China Girl ABC Overnights 2014

Helene Chung, 'China Rising: Still Depressing', China Story Journal, 21/12/13

Helene Chung on Mao to Now, ABC TV 25/12/13

Ten Questions, The Australian, 11/11/13

ABC 24 on 40th anniversary of Peking bureau, ABC TV 30/10/13

Helene Chung and others reflect on reporting China, ABC TV 30/10/13

Listen to Helene on letters in her books, ABC Overnights, 5/12/12

Shanghai Images 2013 on Facebook

Helene Chung on Facebook


Ching Chong Ching Girl cover


Browse inside book


e-edition UK

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 © 2013 Helene Chung. All rights reserved. helenechung.com

Pronunciation: He-lane and Chung as in hung