West China Union University

West China Union University

Isabel Crook has lived in China for over 100 years from 1915 to this present day 26 July 2016. She has lived over 5 generations beginning with her parents meeting in Chengdu China 1915. Isabel’s mother began Montessori Kindergartens and schools for the deaf and dumb Chinese, while her father, Homer was among the few who helped begin The West China Union University in

From the age of 21 (1939), Isabel worked as an anthropologist in Sichuan and was interested in understanding people’s culture and living condition. Isabel pursued anthropological studies by living in the townships and going door-to-door meeting the local people and keeping detailed records of their daily life. Sichuan has many minority people living in it, particularly in the West which is dominated by the Yi Tibetan people. At this time, Sichuan was dangerous with bandits, the War Lord Era, attacks from Japan and the KMT and CPC civil war.

Isabel and David

Isabel began as a Methodist Canadian Christian in China but became a communist in 1942. Isabel married David Crook in 1941 and then both went off to join the army. David was in the airforce intelligence in India and South East Asia, while Isabel joined the Canadian army in Britain. In 1947, both Isabel and David returned to China and were participant – observers of the first successful Land Reform for a communist liberated area. After the Ten Mile Inn Land reform was recorded, David and Isabel continued with CPC party in the civil war with the KMT by teaching diplomats English through the newly founded Foreign Affairs School. When the communist won Beijing, Isabel was invited to stand with key CPC party officials in the victory parade (Jan 1949). She stood with George Hatem, Bill Hinton and the Commander of the army, Ye Jianying.David-Isabel-Bill & Yeh Jianying wide






Isabel in front of Tian'anmen 1949

Isabel in front of Tian’anmen 1949



Premier Li Keqiang with Isabel Crook at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Premier Li Keqiang chats with Canadian educator Isabel Crook at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Isabel crook

Isabel Crook, with her son Michael alongside, receives her medal on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the war against Japan from Zhang Jianguo, director of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, 2015

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 2.48.25 pm

Chinese Gung Ho International Committee

Isabel Crook is greeted by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in 2013 at the Great Hall.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 2.55.55 pm

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C front) helps 97-year-old Isabel Crook (L front) walk out of a hall after attending a meeting with a group of foreign experts.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C front) escorts 97-year-old Isabel Crook (L front) to the banquet after attending a meeting with a group of foreign experts.