Rewi Alley (1897-1987) is well-known internationally as a writer, poet, educator, and outstanding social activist. Born in New Zealand, he came to China in 1927 and stayed on ever since for 60 years , working and living in China in support of Chinese people’s revolution and socialist contraction. When the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression broke out, he, together with Edagar and Helen Snow, initiated the Gung Ho ( short for Chinese Industrial Cooperatives or CIC) movement to get unemployed workers and refugees organized for production to support the War of Resistance. His remarkable contribution as the chief field organizer won him the fame of “The Teacher of Gung Ho”.To train more organizers and technical workers for Gung Ho, Alley worked together with a young English Gung Ho activist to build up the Bailie Technical school in 1944 in the remote poor little town Shandan in Gansu Province, where they began to practice half- work, half-study system in the spirit of Joseph Bailie’ integration of study with practice. The enrolments were mostly children from refugee and poor peasant families who enjoyed free schooling. It was under extremely difficult conditions that Alley and Hogg succeeded in keeping the school growing and expanding. They named the school by Joseph Bailie’s surname actually had the implication “train for the dawn” of a New China, as in Chinese Bailie sounds the same as peili (培黎) which can be interpreted as to “train for the dawn” of a New China. It was a great loss that the young principle George Hogg died of an accident in 1945 when he was only 30 years old. Sadly he did not live to see the Liberation of the Chinese people for which he gave his life.
Alley had made contributions of historical significance to the Chinese revolution and socialist construction in his life time and left us a rich legacy in many fields. As a bridge builder for people’s friendship between his homeland and adopted country, he has won tremendous love and respect from both Chinese and New Zealanders . He met many times with veteran Chinese revolutionary leaders like Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and praised highly by Deng Xiaoping as a“veteran fighter, comrade and friend of the Chinese people” and great internationalist. In his late years, Rewi Alley spared no efforts to reviving Gung Ho and the Shandan Bailie school in order to serve China’s modernization program after the reform and opening door. He earnestly encouraged and supported the restructuring of schools run by social forces and the development of higher professional education, personally involved in creating the Beijing Baillie Vocati