The China Coin – Plot Summary
* Leah and her mother Joan are on a plane to China in search of the origins of a mysterious half a coin that was sent to Joan from her father. * Leah is not thrilled to be going.
* Leah does not see herself as Chinese.
* We find out that Leah’s father has died of cancer and they are tracing the coin for him, because he was really curious about where the other half of the coin is. * Joan is spooked by what she sees on TV – a student riot. Chapter 2
Joan and Leah go to the Qingping Market.
Leah notices that China is changing Joan – she is becoming “Chinese” – a side of Joan that Leah has not seen before.
They meet a young man who is putting up signs about democracy. *
* Chapter 3
* We learn that Leah and Joan come from Chatswood NSW.
* They and Joan head to Good Field Village.
* They find the Ji family, which is her family and meet Chou Yin Yu (Silver Jade), Grandfather, Swallow and Chained Dragon. * Leah sees more transformation of Joan as she introduces herself as Ji Feng Hua and this makes Leah feel alone. * They find out that Grandfather is Joan’s father’s brother. *
* Chapter 4
* Joan shows them the letter from her father that arrived with the coin. * Swallow ‘adopts’ Leah as a sister.
* We learn about some of the history of Communist China. We also learn that students are protesting in Beijing. *
* Chapter 5
* We learn that Joan’s grandfather started the village 80 years ago. * They go to the village cemetery.
* Leah is starting to feel a sense of belonging to these kind people – her self image is changing as well, and being part Chinese doesn’t seem like such a bad thing now. * Grandfather tells about how he and his brother got separated and asks about how rich Joan’s father was. He says that he thought his brother would come back and help them financially. Joan gets quite defensive of her father. * They have a big banquet after Joan returns from the city with their bags. *
Leah realises she doesn’t really know her mother Joan very well. Leah overhears Grandfather and Jade talking about the coin. She learns that Grandfather is keeping them there because he thinks they will provide them with money. Jade is against this and doesn’t want Joan’s money. Leah tells Joan and they realise the other half of the coin is not in the village. Grandfather says they must go to Turtle Land Village to find the answers. Chapter 7
Joan and Leah catch a train to Shanghai.
They meet a woman who is a Communist Party official. She is rude and abusive to them. Leah sees that China can be a dangerous place.
We find out that Joan is afraid of the students/riots because when she was little there had been anti Chinese riots in Penang and their store had been burnt down. Chapter 8
Leah stops being angry with Joan.
They are in Shanghai.
Leah is taking photos when a group of students being chased by soldiers, run down the street and hit her and she is knocked to the ground. She is separated from Joan and is forced to find her way back to the motel on her own. When she returns Joan is mad and abuses Leah. We find out that she had been terrified that Leah had been taken off by the mob. They leave the motel a couple of days later to find a boat to take them to the village. Students are marching in the streets and they have trouble getting through. The students are carrying banners and fighting for freedom. Leah smiles at the students and is friendly but Joan reprimands her because she doesn’t want the soldiers or police to think she is one of them. * Chapter 9
* They travel along the Yangtze River.
* They both remember how they had found out about Leah’s dad’s cancer. * They are charged as tourists in the boat’s restaurant – Joan will not pay double the cost and eats below with the 3rd class...
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