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 […]

SACU ChinaChat: The Early Years of SACU with Graham Perry

SACU ChinaChat Series – “Your Stories with China” “The Early Years of SACU” with Graham Perry in conversation with SACU Archivist Linxi Li, Sunday 29 November This was a truly memorable event in many ways. It was the first online link-up between Li Linxi in Beijing and our speaker, Graham Perry and other participants in the UK. It was also a trip down ‘memory lane’, as Graham, an early member of SACU and former Vice Chairman, delved into the origins and formation of SACU in 1965. Responding to questions from Linxi, Graham described how he himself came to be involved in […]

SACU/Peking University Essay/Art Competition 2020-2021 Launched 5 December 2020

We launched the fifth SACU-PKU Essay/Art Competition online on 5th December, this year online due to the unprecedented global pandemic. SACU members, schoolteachers and students as well as some non-members from both China and the UK attended the event.   The event opened with remarks by SACU Chair Zoe Reed and Professor Sun Hua of Peking University. Both expressed their encouragement to the younger generation of the UK to learn more about China and to promote further understanding between the two countries in the future. Professor Sun Hua also took the opportunity, with the forthcoming 120th anniversary of Joseph Needham’s […]

The Story of China: Michael Wood, SACU/HSBC Joint Event

Michael Wood, SACU’s President, gave a special online talk to the joint HSBC China Connect Group and SACU members on 19th November 2020 on the subject of his new book The Story of China.  Michael has the gift of summarising not only his own book but the whole history of China and its people in a short vivid talk, gripping our attention by focusing on some key episodes and outstanding characters in the long saga of Chinese history and culture.   In the discussion, he mentioned that he is basically a film-maker, which is obvious when he ‘zooms’ into these scenarios […]

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 […]

The Three Body Problem

Review of “The Dark Forest”, a Science Fiction novel by Liú Cíxīn   The ‘Three-Body Problem’ is a difficult to solve mathematical puzzle left for us by Isaac Newton. The actual problem for all people of Earth is even more challenging. Very intelligent aliens originate on a planet in an unstable three-star system, so they are called the Trisolarians. Their evolution has forced them to be extremely resilient because of the planet’s erratic orbit, but now they realise the planet will be drawn into one of the suns. They are looking for a new planet and have chosen Earth.  Their […]

Chinese Science Fiction

Fiction allows worries and aspirations about the future to be explored, without much constraint by current political configurations. The three-body problem trilogy by Liú Cíxīn has had a huge impact in China. There is now the possibility that a TV series will put it centre-stage in Britain. Meanwhile there has been a dramatic move of women into SF. The unprecedented award of the prestigious U.S. Hugo award in 2015 to Liú was followed by a succession of female Hugo awards. Biological themes, rather than combat with extra-terrestrials have thus become important. Gu Shi wrote her short story “Chimera” around a […]

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.