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Christchurch 2012 February Newsletter


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Next Meeting: Annual General Meeting and Godwits Video, 23 February 2012

The first meeting of the year always includes the branch’s Annual General Meeting. This is an opportunity to become more involved by joining the committee or taking on a key role. We are all committed to the NZCFS and together we can continue to work to achieve the aims of our organisation which are:

  • To promote friendship, understanding and goodwill between the peoples of China and New Zealand by encouraging visits and exchanges of ideas, information, culture and trade between the two countries.
  • To foster interest in and promote the study of China, its history, culture, political and social structures-past and present.
  • To support specific aid projects in China.
  • To promote the study of the Chinese language by New Zealanders and English studies in this country by Chinese.
  • To foster on-going development of all sister-city links between the New Zealand and China.
  • To assist both visiting students and new migrants from China.

Committee roles are President, Treasurer, Secretary and committee members. The committee has a monthly meeting of about 1 ½ hours. The main tasks are –

  • Monthly meetings – speakers etc
  • Annual China Day and other banquets
  • December Prizegiving ceremony, CPIT
  • Culture Galore, March
  • Catering to the needs of visiting delegations
  • Any other projects that may come up

 Chinese New Year and Bill Willmott’s Birthday

80 diners recently had a wonderful evening of good food and company, to celebrate both the Year of the Dragon and, even more importantly, the 80th birthday of valued and highly honoured branch member Bill Willmott.

Judy Livingstone warmly welcomed everyone and spoke on the Year of the Dragon. National President Eric Livingstone then spoke on Bill’s long involvement in the society and what he has done for it.

Bill replied, thanking everyone for coming and spoke briefly on his zodiac sign, the Monkey. Bill said his heart is in China and with the society and the good work it does. He wore his four medals, which created a lot of interest. The CNZIM, Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to NZ China relations. The Friendship Ambassador medal, presented in 2002 by The Chinese People’s Assn for Friendship with Foreign Countries (YOUXIE). In 2007 Bill was presented with the Rewi Alley Promoter of the Gung Ho Cooperative Movement by the International Committee for the Promotion of Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (ICPCIC), and finally, a Civic Award presented by Mayor Garry Moore in 2008 for services to the community in relation to Bill’s work in building relationships between China and the City of Christchurch.

Bill and Dianna


Deputy Mayor Ngaire Button was in attendance, and Mr Hu Aimin represented the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Christchurch.

It was wonderful to honour a man who has done so much to build bridges of friendship and understanding between New Zealand and China.


 The Wedding of the Year

Some of you will be aware that our dear friend, Wang Lidan (Linda) was married a few weeks ago in Beijing. I think it’s fair to say it took us all by surprise! She has asked us to spread the word to all her many NZ friends. Her husband’s name is Haiyan, he comes from Inner Mongolia and they met a couple of months after she returned to China last year. Linda has worked for The Chinese People’s Assn for Friendship with Foreign Countries (YOUXIE) for several years, and has been here many times. She started studies at the University

We all wish Linda and Haiyan all the very best for a long married life together, and we look forward to seeing them both in Christchurch in the near future.


Exciting Raffle Opportunity

Air New Zealand has very kindly gifted to the society two return economy tickets to China – either Beijing or Shanghai, as well as any connecting domestic flights. The national executive has decided to raffle them, to raise money for the NZCFS. Second and third prizes are a set of pots, a frypan and a hand painted scroll. Tickets are $5, with $1 from each ticket sold going to the relevant branch. We have 200 tickets for sale. Once we sell them all that’ll be a very easy $200 for our branch. Tickets will be available at our 23 February meeting. If you’d like to buy a couple, or take a book to sell then please approach any committee member (contact details front page of this newsletter).


Vouchers from Hamilton Branch

 A few weeks before Christmas, committee members had the pleasant task of delivering $1225 worth of supermarket vouchers to 33 branch members, which had been generously donated by Hamilton branch members. Virtually all the vouchers, ranging in amounts from $20 to $100, went to people who live in the eastern suburbs.

We are very grateful to our friends in Hamilton for this kind contribution to our members in need. The over 600 shakes we’ve had since 23 December has reminded us that we are by no means out of the woods. Kia kaha Christchurch!

Donation to He Mingqing Scholarship

In December we received a generous donation of $300 from the Rewi Alley School. School Principal Zhihong Lu wrote “In the past year of 2011, the Rewi Alley School team and myself enjoyed working with the Friendship Society very much and we really appreciate the strong support from the Society Christchurch Branch. We are very pleased to make a donation of $300 towards the He Minqing scholarship to express our sincere thanks and respects”.

This generous gesture was completely unexpected and of course all the more wonderful for that. Thank you very much Principal Zhihong Lu. We very much appreciate the support the school gives us, and of course it is very fitting that we meet at the Rewi Alley School! We look forward to a continuing strong and rich relationship.

Photographers’ 22 Day Tour, April 2012

The photographers’ tour now has 15 members plus Tour Leader Judy Livingstone, but organisers are looking for more interested persons, in particular a single male who would be interested in joining the tour.

The tour itinerary is available from the website www.nzchinasociety.org.nz

If you know of someone who could be interested, please forward their name and contact details to Tour Committee member Ann White 03 614 8944 [email protected] and she will do the rest.

Golf mania developing in China

With more and more Chinese people, including successful businessmen, chief executive officers and white-collar workers, developing a strong interest in golf, which is sometimes called a ‘battle of wits and courage’, the sport is becoming a prosperous industry in China. Shen Jingting reports.

With more and more Chinese people, including successful businessmen, chief executive officers and white-collar workers, developing a strong interest in golf, which is sometimes called a ‘battle of wits and courage’, the sport is becoming a prosperous industry in China. Shen Jingting reports.

Li has been hitting the links for more than 16 years. He was the champion of the Amateur Golf Tournament in China and participated in the China Open, a men’s golf tournament that has been held annually in China since 1995.

“But I was not interested in going to golf courses at all at the very beginning because I regarded it as a game for the old,” Li said.

However, his friend successfully persuaded him to have a try. They went to a golf course in Hainan province and, all of a sudden, Li found himself surprised and delighted by the course’s beautiful natural scenery.

“I was out of breath after I played nine holes and had to sit under a tree for a rest,” Li said. Golf is not only a sport that trains people’s bodies, but it is also a complicated mental exercise. “The amazing thing about golf is that it’s like participating in a psychological war with your rivals. It’s a battle of wits and courage.”

Li spends 100,000 yuan ($15,640) a year playing golf and lost 10 kilograms during the past decade. “Although I am in my 50s, I feel no difference in terms of health from when I was young,” the tanned man said.

There are a growing number of Chinese people that have developed a strong interest in golf. In Beijing there are about 65 golf courses. The capital city has seen a trend developing as increasing numbers of people go to golf clubs for both the sport and as a social activity.

The average price for playing 18 holes in Beijing is between 600 and 800 yuan but most golf clubs only allow their members to play.

The membership fee, usually between 100,000 yuan and 1.7 million yuan, tends to keep the general public away.

But even at such high prices, memberships are still eagerly sought. Bayhood No 9 Golf Club, one of the most luxurious clubs in Beijing, previously charged 1.08 million yuan for membership. It is now no longer open to new members because it risks being oversubscribed.

“During the weekends, it is really hard to make a reservation at golf clubs that lie within the Fifth Ring Road in Beijing. Usually we drive to Langfang or Zhuozhou (in Hebei province) to find a golf course which is not that crowded,” said Yang Yue, a golf enthusiast.

Chang Zhihui, a researcher with the golf education and research center at Beijing Forestry University, estimated 600,000 people on the Chinese mainland are members of golf clubs. The figure is expected to increase by 20 percent every year.

Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong, as well as Shandong and Hainan provinces, are the top five golf destinations in China, containing about 600 golf courses in total, Chang said.

The venues coincide closely with the places where there are the highest number of millionaires in China. According to the 2011 Hurun Wealth Report co-released in April by Hurun Research Institute and GroupM Knowledge Center, Beijing was the area with the most multimillionaires. Guangdong province ranked second and Shanghai third.

The report said the number of Chinese multimillionaires was rising beyond people’s expectations – about 960,000 people on the Chinese mainland are worth more than 10 million yuan, including 60,000 people worth 100 million yuan.

“In the past, golf players were usually successful businessmen and chief executive officers, but now, more and more white-collar workers are trying the sport,” Chang added. If people have a monthly income of more than 10,000 yuan, they can afford some games and, therefore, become target clients of golf clubs, he said.

However, of China’s huge population base of 1.34 billion, the number of Chinese golf players accounts for less than 0.1 percent. In some developed countries, such as the United States, the figure is 10 percent across its total population.

“That indicates an enormous growth potential for China’s golf industry,” Chang said.

The strong demand has prompted rapid construction of golf courses, something that some have been critical of because they occupy valuable land resources and use a lot of water.

Grass on golf courses can require as much as half a ton of water for every square meter annually.

“An 18-hole golf course, which usually occupies a total grass area of 300,000 to 400,000 sq m, could probably use 150,000 to 200,000 tons of water a year,” said Han Liebao, executive deputy director of the golf education and research center at the Beijing Forestry University.

In 2004, the State Council forbade the construction of new golf courses. However, the ban has been violated and hundreds of new golf courses have emerged during the past seven years. Most are euphemistically called sports or leisure clubs.

In June this year, 11 Chinese ministries collectively ordered new checks on all golf courses to prevent illegal land use and seizures and to ensure no loss of farmland in China.