The Lu brothers, Brian and David, with Sky’s Richard Bestic
Sky News has launched a search for the family of two brothers who became trapped in Communist China, enlisting the help of regional newspapers across Britain to find the mother they last saw in 1948.
The rolling news network has carried the story this week of Brian and David Lu who were taken to China when they were two and four years old, leaving behind in Liverpool their Chinese father, English mother and younger sister.
The brother’s story has since been highlighted by the Liverpool Echo, and Sky News has asked newspapers including the Manchester Evening News, the Birmingham Evening Mail and Yorkshire Post to help track down their sister and mother, who would now be in her 80s. It is hoped that the only two photographs they have of themselves as boys with their father and of their younger sister will help the men trace the family they lost touch with decades ago.
Sky News Asia correspondent Richard Bestic met the brothers in the Zhejiang province where they were sent to stay with their blind aunt. Their father, a merchant seaman, wanted his two sons to be educated in his language and culture, believing it would improve their prospects.
But when the civil war ended in victory for the communists, all exit visas were stopped, and the boys were unable to leave the country. Their father was allowed to visit them three times before his death in 1962. But their mother and their sister were never allowed into the country. The last time they saw their father he told them that he would be back within a year to take them home.
As the Cultural Revolution progressed, the boys were accused by teachers and fellow pupils of having counter-revolutionary thoughts. Their applications to leave the country were turned down because their political ideology was deemed to be wrong.
"As young children they were told that their parents would come for them soon, and they continued to believe they would only be there for a short time in spite of everything," said Bestic.
"I don’t think there was a dry eye while they were talking to us. We had to keep stopping filming to pass tissues to our producer, Julie Feng."
By Julie Tomlin