In 1953, travelling from Shanghai to Tientsin, Eric Chou was arrested by the Communists. A journalist, novelist, and former teacher, Chou had written for the British and American press during the war and afterwards had resumed working for Chinese newspapers. Though he was a leftist and had strong anti-Nationalist feelings, Chou was regarded by the Communists as a dupe of the West because of his friendships with Western diplomats and newspapermen. They thought, however, that he was salvagable and could be made to see his errors after certain reorientations. He spent four and a half years ""confessing"" repeatedly to fabricated political crimes until his captors were satisfied that he was properly ""remolded"". He was then to return to Hong Kong, to his wife and three children, and to do for the Communists what supposedly he had previously done for the Capitalists. Having regained his freedom, if only in the halfway house of Hong Kong, Eric Chou then escaped to London though his family still remains behind. During his imprisonment, which was not a wretched physical ordeal, he was continually astonished that he could be regarded as a threat or thought useful as an agent. But there was a logic, if a sinister one, in the Communist assessment of Eric Chou. At any rate, he still believes that ""no matter how the Communists act they are... a hundred times better than their Nationalist predecessors"".