Alan Winnington

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Alan Winnington (born March 16, 1910 in London , † November 26, 1983 in Berlin ) was a British journalist and writer.


As a student he was a fellow at the Chigwell School London . He became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain around 1934 : initially as a branch secretary in Walthamstow , after he had found his way into the party through talks with Harry Pollitt . He initially worked for a photo agency and had a press card from the National Union of Journalists . Later he was the party's first press spokesman and was appointed by her for six years as chief corrector at the Daily Worker . Here he also works as a journalist for the newspaper.

In 1948 he worked on behalf of the CP of Great Britain as a correspondent for the Daily Worker in China, where he accompanied the Chinese People's Liberation Army in the final phase of the Chinese civil war . At the same time, he worked for the foreign department of the Chinese news agency Xinhua in Beijing. Alongside Wil (Fred Graham) Burchett, he was one of two Western correspondents accredited by the Communists in the Korean War . He later continued his work as a war correspondent in the Vietnam War . He wrote several novels about East Asia, including Heaven Must Wait and Headhunters , the anthropological study of minorities in China (“The Slaves of the Cool Mountains”), and a travelogue about Tibet.

For many years he was described by government circles in Great Britain as a "traitor to the fatherland" because of his clear position against what he believed to be the imperialist aspirations of NATO and the USA. He was also charged with interrogating British prisoners of war in Korea. An accusation that no British prisoner of war has ever confirmed. In 1954 his expired passport was not renewed by the British government authorities and he was practically " stateless ". (It was not until 1968 that the British authorities issued him a passport again).

In 1960 he broke with Mao and the Chinese communists, after he had gained his distance as a staunch communist in 1958 because of " Great Leap Forward " and other campaigns that he described as "stupid". Winnington, who spoke Chinese fluently, left China in 1960 with his Sino-British (Jewish) wife and children. She moved to Great Britain with the children. Because an accusation of treason or espionage with a death sentence was being discussed in the British government, he moved his residence to East Berlin, the capital of the GDR , where he started a new family in 1963 (he married Ursula Wittbrodt, alias Ursula Winnington 1967 ). In the GDR he worked as a correspondent for the Morning Star and as an Asian advisor to the GDR government. However, the Vietnam War offered him time and again the opportunity to travel to the Far East and also to work as a journalist in China.


In the GDR, Winnington worked alongside his journalistic work as a novelist and author of crime fiction. Heart Failure , Inspector Gullet and the Death Curve , The Believered Dead and Anglers Alibi are among his crime novels. He also wrote children's books, such as the fantastic horse story (in 2 volumes) about a "robot horse" called "Silberhuf", which is located in the Himalayas .

In 1980 Alan Winnington wrote his autobiography Breakfast with Mao and published in a small edition posthumously under From London to Beijing - Memories 1914 to 1960 .

There are 9 short novels in English, six of which can be assigned to the crime and detective genre, the two children's books and four travel books already mentioned about China and Asia.


  • Alan Winnington: Breakfast with Mao. Memoirs of a foreign correspondent . Lawrence and Wishart, London 1986. ISBN 0-85315-652-2
  • Duel in Tschungking , Das Neue Berlin, 1978
  • The double agent ; Engl. Original edition: The Double Agent , Dt. Edition: Verlag Das Neue Berlin, Berlin, 1981
  • Alan Winnington: From London to Beijing, Memoirs 1914-1960, Verlag Das Neue Berlin, Berlin, 1989

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Professional: Alan Winnington . In: Der Spiegel . tape July 29 , 1961 ( [accessed May 27, 2019]).
  2. Graham Stevenson's website Biographies of English Communists