Interview with Michael Wood, SACU President, on Du Fu and China for Chinese Social Sciences Today

This interview with Professor Michael Wood, SACU President, on Du Fu and China, was published in Chinese Social Sciences Today (a Chinese language newspaper) on 10 December 2020. Felicia Hong JIANG was the interviewer and the article was published in Chinese. We are grateful to Michael for sending us the text of Felicia’s questions with his replies.   1 How is your new book The Story of China related to and different from the documentary series of the same name in 2016? Films do very different things to books. Obviously in a 600-page book you can do a great deal more than in a […]

gonghe, not gung-ho!

Misunderstanding between China and English-speaking countries is well illustrated by the term “gung-ho”. It is one of the few phrases we borrowed from Chinese and we promptly got it wrong! To Americans it means being extremely zealous. A 1943 film shows US marines in battle. In Chinese gōnghé simply means ‘work together’. Their acronym slogan 工業合作社, written in pinyin as gōngyè hézuòshè is pronounced gōnghé 工合 ‘to work together’ for short. It was picked up the New Zealander Rewi Alley, one of the founders of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives. The linguist Albert Moe considers that gung-ho came via US Marine […]

Panda Diplomacy

“The gift that only the patron can give”, is the way a Chinese Han lacquer cup was described in BBC radio’s “history of the world in 100 objects”.  Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum had in his hand a lacquered cup found near Pyongyang and made around 220 CE. The character for ‘give’ (above centre) is composed of the silk radical on the left, sī and a verb meaning ‘unite’ at right, hé. It may be thought of as “the gift of silk unites the empire” Silk garments were symbols of imperial status and were highly valued as gifts […]

UK-China Relations: Finding the way forward for cooperation in difficult times

SACU Public Event: Tuesday 1 September 2020, 17.30pm by Zoom. This was SACU’s first webinar by Zoom and was a great success! US-China relations are deteriorating alarmingly and the UK government has allowed itself to get drawn into the growing crisis.  Yet over recent decades, relations of cooperation between the UK and China have grown firm roots, building interdependencies across many fields, to the great benefit of both sides. SACU invited a panel of speakers with differing areas of expertise, but all with long-standing experience of working with Chinese counterparts, to discuss their experiences and their views on the value, […]

SACU ChinaChat: Discussion on Hong Kong

Sunday 23 August at 3.00 pm (BST) by Zoom This SACU ChinaChat was a members-only discussion meeting on Hong Kong, where members shared their thoughts and experiences of Hong Kong in an informal setting. SACU members Andrew Hicks and Barnaby Powell, who both have extensive experience and knowledge of Hong Kong, introduced the discussion with their own thought-provoking ideas and perspectives. SACU members then had the opportunity to join the conversation to share their own thoughts and experiences on the topic. The recording of the discussion will be made available to all members by email.

“Only by working together will we defeat the virus” Interview

Dr. Li Yan, one of the 40,000 Chinese doctors who went to help during the lockdown in Wuhan gave an interview to former VRT (Belgian public radio and tv) journalist Ng Sauw Tjhoi, who has been studying and covering China for years. (13 May 2020) Introduction During the lockdown in Wuhan there was no applause at 8pm, but “people hung banners out of their windows, ‘Go Wuhan, go China!’, That’s the way we were encouraged and shown appreciation”, Dr. Li Yan tells me in a Zoom interview that she has granted me. I had thought her testimony very moving, earlier […]

Can a messed up world fight the pandemic together? – article from Think China Magazine, 17 April

Did China make up the numbers? Did it waste precious time before getting information out to the world? Belgian writers Ng Sauw Tjhoi and Dirk Nimmegeers answer these questions and opine that instead of knuckling down and fighting the pandemic together, everyone, from countries to regional blocs to international organisations, seems to have been shell-shocked into “safe-distancing” from each other. This means that the virus is not only attacking our health, economies and mental resilience, but the very international institutions that have been built up since the end of WWII. If a lot of that debilitation has to do with […]

Trump’s America needs to ditch the blame game – article from Think China Magazine, 3 April

Belgian writers Ng Sauw Tjhoi and Dirk Nimmegeers point out that the only thing much worse than possibly holding racist views, is to be aware of likely controversy yet politicise race issues anyway to deflect blame for the tardiness of the government. They believe that the Trump administration needs to stop playing the blame game and start on a sincere path of health cooperation with China, to tackle the pandemic today and any other global challenges tomorrow. This article was first published on  and sent to us by Belgian SACU member Dirk Nimmegeers, Editor, Trump’s America needs to ditch […]

Book Review: “A Bridge Between Hearts: Anglo-Chinese Friendship and Understanding”, by Zoe Reed

This book review by Paul Morris was first published in the Spring 2020 issue of US-China Review, the journal of the US China People’s Friendship Association (USCPFA) and we are grateful to Paul for his permission to reproduce it here. Paul is Production Co-ordinator of US-China Review; he is also a SACU member. A foreign father given up for dead, an unwed mother struggling to make ends meet, a reunion with a long-lost daughter from abroad. Add a handful of prominent China hands who show up at key junctures and you have the plot for an international, intergenerational family drama. This story […]

Covering up: Covid-19 and the face

Covering up: Covid-19 and the face, by Elizabeth Gasson, 10th April 2020 Having spent seven years in China, our SACU member, Elizabeth left China with her soon-to-be fiancé, and headed to the UK to take a research degree and convert her career area into Psychology (so as to better support her students). She is now residing in Sydney where her now-husband is working towards the opening of a Chinese bank branch there and she is pursuing her PhD in Cognitive Science (focused on Chinese reading difficulties) while expanding her online Education Centre for Chinese individuals around the world. Here she […]