China My Other Country
by Gioietta Kuo

Visit the Order Page



This memoir is packed with brilliance, pathos and youthful joie de vivre, spanning a variety of societies — feudalism, democracy and communism.

Idyllic childhood in the Tibetan -Kham- foothills of Chengdu, Sichuan.. Many fascinating stories  - waterwheel, water clock, silkworms, blue ghost and as pets a panda and its symbiotic friend  porcupine. Exciting hiking trip across a wild torrential river on a historic bamboo suspension bridge dating back from the Song dynasty 1000 years ago, to camp by a Buddhist monastery in Kham . Tibet [see Preview 3]. There are also harrowing tales of her feudal relatives — her cousin who had her arm chopped off by her drunken father when she was a baby, and her aunt being made to die drinking opium for having an illegitimate baby who was thrown into a river.

When just 14 years old, she was abruptly dumped into an English boarding school with little English.  Gioietta grew up to be  beautiful and academically brilliant.   Here is an unique and thrilling tale of her metamorphosis from one great civilization to another — her struggles of adaptation, conflicts of identity and her considerable accomplishments — Cambridge, PhD in nuclear physics at age 24, Fellow at St Hilda's college, Oxford and later at Princeton, USA.  She is an expert on CT image reconstruction with 2 patents to her name [see Biography].

Inevitably she was pursued by many young men of different nationalities. Among them was an Italian billionaire who fell in love with her on a Paris-Milano flight [see Preview 2]. May be it is her father, her profession or her personality, her early life revolved around the shady side of politics — spying.   Dancing with a Soviet Russian physicist from communist Soviet Union in the streets of Paris on Bastille day at the height of the cold war led to a sinister skirmish with Soviet intelligence, KGB and British foreign counter Intelligence MI6 [see Preview 1].

Her father was a diplomat for Taiwan  in Paris. He was larger than life, a patron of the arts, a fabulous cook of global reputation, kind, generous and recklessly extravagant especially with women. He doted on Gioietta and was devastated when she left Paris  to marry a Croatian and live in Tito's communist Yugoslavia. He thought he would never see her again.   Most sensational of all, her father vanished one day  —  escaping to Beijing while pursued by Taiwan agents who wanted his head for high treason.  A real life spy story.  All cloak and dagger stuff.



“I do not have a real family, society and country that I can identify as my own. Instead I was hanging in limbo between east and west, not knowing who I was, where I belonged and where I would end up.”

Extraordinary times breed extraordinary people...and rarely, even in fiction, does a character emerge more remarkable than Gioietta Kuo. Beginning her life in the Tibetan foothills of Chengdu, Sichuan to an upper-class family, Gioietta had a childhood comprised of rickshaw rides to school, water clocks and a panda for pet.

“I was torn between racial inheritance and my Western upbringing.”

Once World War II ended, so ended Gioietta’s idyllic childhood. She and her brothers were thrust from the comfort of a landlord class from an old-fashioned village to Paris and then a boarding school in England.

She went from feudal Chinese, Modern Chinese to aristocratic British academia--Cambridge and Oxford.

Once in England, Gioietta found solace within knowledge. At 24, she earned her PhD in Nuclear Physics from the Universities of Cambridge and Birmingham. But understanding the world of nuclear physics still didn’t help her quantify her place on the earth or within her culture and family.  

Endowed with a rare combination of high intelligence and beauty, she began to lead a high life with exuberant youthful joie de vivre in Paris. Read about her unusual escapades including a romance on a Paris and Milan flight with an Italian billionare. 

To truly understand this story, you must understand the extraordinary woman. Gioietta Kuo’s story is one of a woman who grows to understand the complexities of the universe though struggles to find her place in it and in the end her achievements are remarkable! 
China My Other Country is a riveting story of a woman growing into her own identity through cultural differences, political changes, love, and dangerous spying and other family secrets.



Shakespeare said:  ‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon’em’.  Well, like it or not, I was born with an exceptionally interesting life thrust upon me.   Born into a convoluted Chinese society, I was made to cope all by myself at an early age  with a Western environment.  To make matters more complex, I married across all conceivable barriers - ethnic, cultural, political, idealogical, political.... And made a success of it!!

In the Epilogue, you learn what it means to being a Chinese.  Despite over 50 years in the West,  I have certainly acquired a veneer of a Westerner.  Yet, right underneath, my inner self is propelled subconsciously by goals, focus and drive - elements which I recognize as belonging quintessentially to the Chinese psyche.  Is it possible, I ask, that I have  been on auto-pilot all my life? That is,  have I simply lived out what I had  hardwired in me, through my DNA?

Since 2006, I have written over 100 articles on the global environment [see Recent Publications ~ 2016].  Among them many in the Chinese press: ‘People's Daily’ — organ of the Chinese communist party and more importantly ‘World Environment‘ — magazine of the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection,   I have also written for several Washington think tanks: World Future Review, -, and I was a Senior Fellow of my resident think tank - American Center for International Policy Studies,


Gioietta with father in London 1965

Gioietta in Paris - 1958

Our campsite with Mado up a tree -
in 1960

Goran, Gioietta and a friend -
Mado 1960