During an interview with Xinhua at her residence in the Swiss resort of Lausanne on Saturday, the 87-year-old Han repeated in standard mandarin several times her half-Chinese identity, saying that this is why she has been so interested in the Chinese culture that she even criticized her younger sister for her unwillingness to learn Chinese.
The famous novelist of Belgian and Chinese origin has visited China almost every year since 1956, and most of her works dealt with the Chinese revolutionary causes and economic achievements.
Asked what book she is writing at the moment, the writer said humorously," I am forced to rest now because my health does not allow."
"I am 87 years old now … (and) my physical condition prevents me from taking a long-distance tour. But if it allows, I will go to China again."
"I will have nothing to write if I do not go to China any more," said Han, whose English name is Elisabeth Comber.
Han’s latest book was published last year.
Asked how many books she has written all together, she said after a brief thought: "I don’t remember. I have written so many. I myself have even forgotten."
Han is very pleased with China’s achievements. She said that as "a half Chinese" who is knowledgeable of both China and foreign countries, she has been working hard to introduce China to the rest of the world as the world needs to know China and China needs to know the world.
Han was born in Beijing, China, to a Belgian mother and her Chinese father Zhou Yingtong who was a famous railway engineer in China.
Since the 1960s, Han has delivered more than 2,000 lectures in Europe and America, through which she introduced China’s development and achievements to the world by citing lively and concrete facts.
She was granted the title — "Friendship Envoy" by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries in 1996 for her remarkable contributions to promoting exchanges in culture and science between China and other countries.
Han’s late husband, Vincent Ruthnaswamy, an Indian, was conferred the same honor in 1990.