Richard Frey, Chinese 傅 莱 / Fu Lai, ( born 11 February 1920 in Vienna - died 16 November 2004 in Beijing) was a Chinese doctor and politician originally from Austria. He fled due to the Second World War from Austria to China and spent his entire life in his adopted country. Because of his outstanding contributions to national independence, national liberation and to build China's land, he has gained a high reputation in China.
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Richard Frey was born under the name of Richard Stein as the only child in a middle class Jewish family in Vienna. In 1930, he visited the Döblinger high school and wished later to become a doctor. With great support from his parents, he learned Radiography in the "Institute for radiology Holzknecht" and "Kaiser Franz Joseph-Ambulatorium und Jubiläumsspital" in his senior classes at the same time. At school, he was active in politics, joined the Scouting at the age of 14 and later the Communist Youth of Austria (KJV) and the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ). As a result of the occupation and annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany (Anschluss), he was expelled shortly before his Matura from school. Because of the threat being arrested by the Gestapo, he aborted his medical studies in late 1938, escaped from Austria and finally arrived in China in early 1939. There he participated in the anti-Japanese War in 1941 and came to the front lines of the war in the "Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei border area", changing his name from "Stein" to "Frey" and joined the Eighth Route Army. In 1942, he applied for a membership in the Communist Party of China (CPC) and was accepted in 1944.
While performing as a doctor at the battlefront, he was training doctors and paramedics. Due to lack of medicines in the war 1943 he was successfully able to conquer an epidemic of Malaria in the squad with the help of acupuncture and therefore received an award of Mao Zedong. In 1945 he succeeded in synthesizing Penicillin for the first time in China despite harsh conditions in Yan'an - the political and military base of the Communist Party of China.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China 1949, Richard Frey chose to stay, taking part in the development of the country and received the Chinese nationality in 1955. In war Richard Frey lost contact to the love of his youth Hanna in Vienna and raised a family in Yan'an with his comrade Li Binzhu (Chinese 李滨珠, † 07.2007) in 1945. In the early 60s the marriage was annulled for political reasons and years later he married for the second time. After the death of his father 1962 he was allowed to travel to Austria for a short time visiting his mother, who was living alone in Vienna.
Richard Frey has worked as a physician for disease control in remote areas of southwest China for ten years, and since 1962 as a specialist and consultant for the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing. Under the direction of Richard Frey in the early 80s, a national medical information network was built in China. He founded and managed the first computer database for the medical information center in Beijing. Prior to his retirement, he was the Chairman of the Information Institute and curator of the Medical Academy of Sciences of China.
During the Cultural Revolution, and several political movements in China Richard Frey experienced the political repression and unlawful treatment for years. Only in 1983 he was appointed as the Foreign Expert of the CPC in Beijing as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and participated in the VI. VII. VIII. and IX. CPPCC. Besides his medical scientific activities he always tried to present the New China to the outside world building relations between China and his home country Austria as well as Western countries.
On 16 November 2004 Richard Frey died at the age of 84 in Beijing. Both the Chinese President Hu Jintao and Austrian President Heinz Fischer laid a wreath of honor. (According to his last wish his mortal remains should be donated for medical research).
On 21 February 2006 the Döblinger school unveiled a memorial plaque honoring Richard Frey, its text was written by the president of Austria. On 23 July 2007, the Chinese government set up a monument for Richard Frey at the former battlefront (near Beijing). Also on this day his first wife was buried in Vienna.
Today there is much to learn about the life of Richard Frey in many Chinese museums, and his story has been recorded in various history books of China.