Shanghaiin 1935, Zhang was the illegitimate daughter of a shop assistant and the son of a prominent family. She was adopted by Zhang Shizhao. Her family moved to Beijingin 1949 and four years later, Zhang entered the Beijing Foreign Studies University, where she taught after graduating with a master's degree.
She met Mao in 1950 and then started to translate English for him. The lessons abruptly stopped in 1964 as the
Cultural Revolutionbegan taking shape. Zhang and her family and friends were persecuted although she said Mao provided protection at various times. In 1971, Zhang was transferred to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she began her diplomatic career and attended a series of landmark meetings, including the ones with Nixon, when the countries began restoring diplomatic relations.
She scandalized officials when she divorced her husband and married
Qiao Guanhuain 1973, the head of the U.N. delegation, who was 22 years older than her. He died 10 years later.
On the 26 January, 2008, she was reported dead. The cause of death was released as a lung-related illness. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/world/asia/29zhang.html?ref=world Zhang Hanzhi, Mao’s English Tutor, Dies at 72 "New York Times] ]
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