Presentation Will Tell of One Man's Life Among China's Political Elite

Oct. 29, 2004

Lacey, Wash. – The legendary Sidney Rittenberg Sr., 82, describes himself as “the man who stayed behind.” In 2001, he co-authored a memoir by the same name, chronicling the story of his years in China, which began with U.S. military service during World War II and included more than three decades of close association with the country’s Communist leadership. Sixteen of those years were spent in solitary confinement in Chinese prisons on charges of being an American spy.

He will share his experiences at a brown bag luncheon at Saint Martin’s College at noon, Nov. 22, at the college’s Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave. S.E. Rittenberg’s talk is free and the public is invited. His appearance at Saint Martin’s is sponsored by the college’s School of Business and Office of International Programs.

Rittenberg remained in China after the war to work with the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Agency and later, as an interpreter and translator of major Chinese works, including those of Mao Zedong. Through his work, he formed a friendship with Zhou Enlai. Since the late 1940s, he has known every Chinese leader, including the current president and premier. His years in China included living with Mao and his band of Revolutionaries in the mountainous regions of the country. Heavily relied on, then spurned, then imprisoned, only to fall into favor once again, he returned to the United States in 1977 after being recognized as “a true friend of the country” by the Chinese government. While he chose to resettle his family in the United States, he remains dedicated to promoting cooperation between the United States and China.

With his wife of 48 years, Yulin, Rittenberg operates Rittenberg & Associates Inc., a consulting firm for individuals, agencies and businesses working with and in China. Their firm has helped clients ranging from Microsoft and Levi Strauss to Intel, Hughes Aircraft and Nextel. Rittenberg, of Fox Island, also teaches courses in modern Chinese and political history as the visiting professor of China studies at Pacific Lutheran University. He is a former faculty member of the University of North Carolina.

For more information:
Riley Moore
Assistant professor, economics and finance

Deanna Partlow
Office of Communication