Zhuang Zedong


BEIJING (AP) — Three-time world table tennis champion Zhuang Zedong, a key figure in the groundbreaking "pingpong diplomacy" between China and the United States, died Sunday, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported. He was 72 and had struggled with cancer since 2008.

Zhuang won fame by presenting a gift to American player Glenn Cowan, who had inadvertently boarded a bus carrying the Chinese team at the world championships in Nagoya, Japan, in 1971.

Zhuang and Cowan were photographed together, creating an international sensation at a time when China and the U.S. were bitter Cold War rivals.

Under orders from Chinese leader Mao Zedong, the 15-member American team was then invited to China at the end of the Nagoya championships for an ice-breaking visit. Ten months later, President Richard Nixon made a surprise visit to China, leading to the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979.

Zhuang became a favorite of Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, a member of the notorious Gang of Four, which held sway during the radical turmoil of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution. Jiang appointed Zhuang to a number of political posts in the sports ministry.

Zhuang came under investigation after the Gang was deposed and Jiang imprisoned following Mao's death in 1976, and subsequently spent years coaching the provincial team in the northern province of Shanxi. He returned to Beijing in 1985 and coached young players for several years.

Zhuang was married twice and had one daughter.

Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

One day soon GOd is making all things new 3rd Pter 2;13

I will always remember you as a great human being whose desire for peace transcended politics. Thank you, sir, for what you gave to the world.

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

May Almighty God provided the Zedong family with a measure of peace during this time. (Psalms 55:22) I offer my condolences to the family.

My sincere condolence for the loss of Zhuang your dear loved one. May your fond memories of him bring much comfort. Peace and love to your family and friends, and to the spirit that you show. [email protected]

Sincere sympathies to the Zedong family and friends. May the God of all comfort be with you to help you endure this difficult time of loss and sadness (Lamentations 3:20,21)

May God comfort your family while you grieve.
-John 5:28

May your soul be at peace in Paradise forever and ever...