Open main menu

Anthony Grey OBE (born 5 July 1938) is a British journalist and author. As a journalist for Reuters, he was imprisoned by the Chinese government for 27 months in China from 1967 to 1969. He has written a series of historical novels and non-fiction books, including several relating to his detention.



Detention in China (1967–1969)Edit

In July 1967, while working for Reuters in Peking covering China's Cultural Revolution, Grey was confined to the basement of his house by the Chinese government under the leadership of Mao Zedong, ostensibly for spying but really in retaliation for the colonial British government jailing eight pro-Chinese media journalists who had violated emergency regulations during the Leftist riots in British Hong Kong. China demanded the release of the eight before Grey would be released. While the eight were eventually released, China then demanded the release of a further 13 Chinese jailed in British Hong Kong. The British Hong Kong government refused. Grey was able to communicate by mail with his mother and girlfriend back in England, but was only allowed two 20-minute visits by British consular officials in the first 17 months of his confinement, and was never formally charged.

He was released in October 1969, after 27 months of captivity. Upon his return to Britain, he was awarded the "Journalist of the Year" prize for 1969 at the IPC National Press awards, and an OBE.[1]

Grey wrote about his two-year ordeal in Hostage in Peking, published in 1970.

Later careerEdit

He published various stories and articles in such magazines as Playboy, Punch and The Illustrated London News. Between 1974 and 1979 he was a presenter on Twentyfour Hours, a daily international affairs programme on the BBC's World Service.

In 1983, Grey published The Prime Minister Was a Spy, in which he claimed that Harold Holt (Prime Minister of Australia from 1966 to 1967) was a spy for Communist China, and that he had not drowned, but in fact had been "collected" by a Chinese submarine and lived out the rest of his life in Beijing. The book was widely ridiculed, and Holt's biographer Tom Frame has described it as "a complete fabrication".[2]

He produced television documentaries for the British TV stations BBC and ATV World. These include Return to Peking in which he described changes in China since his imprisonment, and Return to Saigon, in which he visited Vietnam for the first time, subsequent to his successful novel Saigon.

In the late 1980s, Grey's experience as a political hostage led him to found Hostage Action Worldwide, which worked for the release of other political hostages, in particular John McCarthy, Brian Keenan, Terry Waite and others held by Islamic groups in the Middle East.

From the 1990s, Grey took an interest in UFOs. He produced a three-part documentary in 1996–1997 for the BBC World Service entitled UFO's - Fact, Fiction or Fantasy?. His conclusion was that there is overwhelming evidence for visitations to earth by extra-terrestrials.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1970, Grey married Shirley McGuinn (16 December 1932 – 24 November 1995), his girlfriend at the time of his imprisonment in China. They had two daughters, and divorced in 1992. From 1969 to 1973, the Greys lived in Jersey, and subsequently in London, West Sussex and Norwich.


Grey's publications include:



Short story collections



  1. ^ a b Brimacombe, Nick (9 December 2013). "Journalist turned author re-releases bestseller". Derby, England: Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  2. ^ Frame, Tom (2005). The Life and Death of Harold Holt. Allen & Unwin / National Archives of Australia. pp. 278–292. ISBN 1-74114-672-0.

External linksEdit