In Person

Fragile Cargo: The World War II Race to Save the Treasures of China’s Forbidden City

January 10, 2024
6:30 - 8:00 PM EST

In the early 1930’s, an all-out war between China and Japan was about to break out. To protect the vast imperial art collections that contained a million pieces of art—exquisite paintings on silk, vanishingly rare Ming porcelain, and the extraordinary Stone Drums of Qin, which were adorned with 2,500-year-old inscriptions of crucial cultural significance, the curators transported the imperial art collections thousands of miles across China—up rivers of white water, across mountain ranges, and through burning cities.

Join Adam Brookes, best-selling author of Night Heron and former BBC News correspondent, as he speaks with Susan Yuqing Feng, Director of Programs at China Institute, about his new book Fragile Cargo: The World War II Race to Save the Treasures of China’s Forbidden City. It tells a gripping true story of the bold and determined museum curators who saved the priceless treasures of China’s Forbidden City in the years leading up to World War II and beyond.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase on site and can be signed by the author.

This program is made possible through the support of the Chinese International Education Foundation, and generous supporters of China Institute.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

China Institute’s cultural programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


Adam Brookes

Adam Brookes was born in Canada and grew up in the UK, in a village in Oxfordshire. He studied Chinese at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and went on to become a journalist, working briefly in magazines before landing a post as a 'copytaster' at the BBC, a job now extinct. Adam became a radio producer at the BBC World Service, and then a foreign correspondent for BBC News, based first in Indonesia, then China and the United States, where he now lives. Along the way he filed television, radio and online stories from some thirty countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea and Mongolia. FRAGILE CARGO: The WWII Race to Save the Treasures of China’s Forbidden City is his first work of non-fiction. He is also the author of the NIGHT HERON trilogy of spy novels.

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