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National Notebook August 2011

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Margot Cornwall Scholarship, 2011

Peter Cornwall, generously established the Margot Cornwall Scholarship in memory of his wife Margot to allow a Youxie staff member to study in New Zealand for one semester.

Wang Lidan (Linda) was the inaugural Cornwall Scholar and she was determined to make the most of her opportunity.

Linda with Mount Cook in the backgound

Not only was her very first lecture at Canterbury University disrupted by the immense events of 22 February, but her last week here was also thrown into chaos by the major aftershocks of 13 June as her final exams were reorganized and/or cancelled. Despite all the tremors, Linda was awarded an A+ in Art History (‘Picasso who?’ Introducing Modern Art) – a subject that she had never studied before and which was completely outside her past experience. Such a remarkable result is testament to the effort she put into her studies and the passion she discovered for the subject.

Linda Wang at Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Village

She also achieved very commendable results in “Fundamentals of Management” and “Principles of Marketing”, despite shortened courses, lectures in tents, and lack of access to facilities on campus, and she became fully involved in many local activities such as the Student Army and a church choir.

Linda herself has said that she has learnt so much about life in New Zealand and has treasured her time with us. Her experience will be invaluable in her time at Youxie, as she works to further enhance the friendly relations between China and New Zealand.

Special thanks must go to the team in Christchurch who looked after her so well – Eric and Judy Livingstone, Bill Willmott and Di Madgin, and Natasha and Russell Barnett (her long-term homestay).

Peter Cornwall has passed away suddenly at his home in Tauranga, aged 91. While Linda was in New Zealand she was able to visit him. Peter had recently confirmed that he wished to see the scholarships continue and prosper in memory of his late wife. NZCFS was represented by Past President Margaret Cooper at his funeral.

Recent News

Trevor Linyard has been ill and died in Timaru on 18th August where his family held a private funeral. Eric Livingstone on behalf of us all wrote expressing our sadness to his family.

We will miss Trevor very much, especially his very active contribution as our South Island Vice President and his careful contributions to our decision making at a national level. We will especially miss his gentle nature, his sense of humour and his untiring efforts in building friendships with China as well as his significant work to ensure the success of our Society’s tours to China in recent years.


Christchurch Consulate – a recent important development in the representation of the Peoples’ Republic of China in New Zealand, has been to extend its presence from having an Embassy in Wellington and a Consulate in Auckland to a third office, that of a Consulate in Christchurch. Members of the National Executive resident in Christchurch recently welcomed the Consulate-General Madame Tan Xiutian, Vice Consul-General Wang Xinmin, and Consul Hu Aimin, at a dinner at Judy and Eric Livingstone’s home.

Dinner to welcome Chinese Consul General to Christchurch. Top Left: Executive Member Diana Madgin, Deborah Rhodes, Christchurch Branch Committee, Vice Consul-General Wang Xinmin and Dave Adamson, Christchurch Branch President. Bottom left: Past President Bill Willmott, Consulate-General Madame Tan Xiutian, President Eric Livingstone,and past National Treasurer Judy Livingstone.

Two weeks later, Consulate-General Tan and three of her staff hosted our Patron Philip Burdon, Bill, Diana, Judy and Eric to a fine banquet at a Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately the hunt for suitable premises for the Consulate and residences for the staff is still continuing in a difficult market in Christchurch. It was a delight to have our Patron present and to be able to introduce him to Madame Tan during what was a very enjoyable evening with all agreeing we should make every endeavour to work together in the future.

Mr. Liao Hui, member of National Committee of Peoples’ Political Consultative Conference (Zhangxie) and President of the China-Oceania Friendship Association, along with a Youxie arranged delegation led by Madame Li Xiaolin, are visiting Tonga for the late August Pacific Forum. Our Society has been honored to be asked to invite Mr. Liao Hui and his delegation to spend September 4th to 7th in New Zealand before returning to China and our Auckland Branch President George Andrews has arranged for a Mayoral reception plus a banquet for the visitors. The delegation will also make a flying visit to Rotorua, which will include a visit to a Chinese class run by Laytee George, who everyone will remember was a speaker at our Annual Conference in May. Unfortunately Madame Li has to return to Beijing before the New Zealand arrangements, but the delegation will include Qing Boming, Xu Fenghua, Linda and Karen.

2012 NZCFS Sixtieth Celebrations— NZCFS began in Auckland and the Auckland Branch is hosting our annual conference from 18 to 20 May 2012. This will be a celebration of our history and a look forward to our future. Put these dates in your diary now as this will be an experience to remember.

News from the regions: New Plymouth is going to display the Rewi Alley photographic display and Hamilton held a fund-raising day for the Christchurch earthquake on 31 July.

John Meyer, an Auckland Branch member, is the third volunteer teacher going to Hong’an County in October. He is a retired teacher who worked mainly in primary schools, studied Mandarin through Carrington Unitec, and is currently participating in the reading programme “Repeat Reading”.

The National Executive at the meeting held in Wellington on Saturday 30 July, discussed NZCFS’s successful tours, received an update on projects and the use of the website and began the process of revising our goals and activities for the next few years.

 

Tours

NZCFS Projects and Tibetan Communities Tour October 2011

There are thirteen people going on this tour. There has been a lot of interest, and questions about the altitude (they will be at 3700 meters above sea level and above for about one week).

NZCFS China Discovery Tour April, 2011

This tour was the first in a series exploring one area in China in more depth. It included visits to the famous sites – the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the Yu Gardens of Shanghai- with equally amazing sites not generally covered in tours to China.

The feedback was positive with these Highlights –the Shows – the meals – Terracotta Armies – high speed trains –saw many changes to crowds and traffic since first visit 20 years ago– tour of walled city – Pingyao and Yellow River most interesting– loved Peony Gardens in full bloom– enjoyed Tang Dynasty Show at Xi’an, Guilin-type Mountains Luoyang and the Humble Admin Garden in Suzhou.

Other comments were:

Large, clean, comfortable rooms. Softer beds than expected.

Appreciated bottled water on bus instead of using expensive hotel bottled water.

Some beds a little hard but all were very clean.

Too lavish lunches. Enjoyed variety of dishes.

 

Dave Feickert

Dave Feickert is a coal mine safety adviser and winner of a Chinese Government Friendship Award in 2009 for his work on improving mine safety. He is President of Whanganui Branch NZCFS and is currently in Beijing receiving TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). His presentation A Better Way of Dealing with Disasters and New Zealand to the 2011 NZCFS conference is on our website

This is his third opinion piece in the Chinese paper Global Times, and he is now a regular contributor.

Global Times | August 09, 2011
By Dave Feickert

The essential contrast in today’s global economy is not between China, as the second biggest economy and holder of one third of US public debt, and the US as the world’s biggest debtor. It is between the guiding concepts of government in the US and elsewhere. It could be the US that sinks the rest of the world, if we allow them to.

Illustration Liu Rui

The US Tea Party has turned this fight into a struggle against the very notion of the Federal Government. The rancor and division we see daily in US political life is extremely depressing for the rest of us, especially, with the global financial economy still so vulnerable due to a lack of sound regulation.

China, the emerging countries and the rest of the world, will suffer from US folly a while longer, but the tide is turning. While it is impossible to predict actual outcomes either in the US or the EU, where the domino effect of the debt crisis is spreading to Spain and Italy, China will find itself playing an increasingly crucial role whether it wants to or not.

But from the energy perspective, China has some crucial decisions to make. It is the most energy independent of the major powers, save perhaps for Russia. However, its energy imports reveal a real vulnerability. These are mainly oil and gas, in which it is unlikely to ever achieve self-sufficiency. Its transport system is making an increasing call on oil imports as car ownership and truck transport increases exponentially, and gas is needed for space heating primarily in the severe northern winter. This latter is especially important if pollution is to be reduced in China’s huge cities. Energy imports are priced in US dollars, and even if the dollar is depreciating, making it relatively cheaper, the demand is so huge that the import bill becomes an increasingly serious issue. Oil producing countries will not back down on prices, for the moment at least.

China does have plentiful coal reserves. It is likely to increase its output to 4 billion tons a year quite soon. This is causing the government some concern. The best resources are used up first, with mines then having to be built in outlying provinces or going deeper in the central core, at greater cost and more risk to miners. It is not easy to get the energy from the periphery to the eastern centers either, by road, rail or by wire. Going beyond 4 billion tons is not sustainable by any measure, economic or environmental. And this comes at a time when coal can be used to produce oil products. Coal is the hydrocarbon most easily convertible into oil and gas. Hence it is the most flexible fuel, and can take over as the chemical industry feedstock if necessary.

If the coal industry cannot just expand forever, this means that China must grab the new Five-Year-Plan’s aspirational guidelines with both hands and promote energy efficiency, conservation and a lower carbon economy for all its worth. China is already investing more than the US in clean and renewable technology, because of its severe environmental challenges. If it can test its technologies rigorously, in managed markets at home, it can sell them to the rest of the world.

What is going to be crucial in the next few years in the global economy is for China to keep its nerve and champion its own core values, whether it is over US debt or over its own development path.