On December 1, the Hamilton Branch of the NZCFS held its end of year lunch, preceded by a talk from, Dave Bromwich, National President of the Society, on His Perceptions of Modern China. Anne Sayers was also honoured with a Life Membership of Hamilton Branch for her years of service to the Branch. It was well attended with about 35 of the Society’s members being in the audience. Dave, this year was a recipient of the Chinese Government Friendship Award which recognises his contribution to China’s modernisation, and exchanges and cooperation with other countries. China has become a huge player in world economics and trade, not seeking to become westernised but to provide an alternative society. For many countries China is now a dominant trading partner and a force which needs to be understood. However some of its activities have been viewed as a threat rather then an opportunity.
Dave’s talk covered many facets of China’s modernisation and efforts towards influencing the western world. Dave suggested that China is not always given good press by the western media and there was a need for better knowledge of what is happening in China and understanding Chinese philosophy such as cultural emphasis on families rather than individuals. He emphasised that Chinese have a much greater sense of community and inter-relationship of things rather than Western cultures where individuals and self are emphasised.
He confirmed that New Zealand is held in high regard by the Chinese Government and society with Rewi Alley’s contributions still recognised and appreciated.
He stated that China’s military build up has been largely due to its need to ensure its own defence following unrest in the Asian region and the history of the Japanese invasion in the 1930s. He briefly mentioned the many tensions within China and geopolitical risks in the Asian regions. Hopefully, Dave’s talk will arouse increased interest in learning and understanding China better especially as New Zealand has become home to many Chinese and has become a popular tourist destination for Chinese.
Members and friends met for lunch after the talk and enjoyed a delicious lunch and a fun raffle table at the Hong Kong Canton Restaurant in the city.