The build up to the 100th anniversary commemoration of the founding of the PRC has been a very active time. There are a number of engagements in China and New Zealand that has given NZCFS a strong presence. They are based on the high level of respect that Rewi Alley retains in China, and in the NZ-China relationship, and other friends like Kathleen Hall. We have done our best to present a high standing for NZCFS in Chinese forums.
I have participated in several of the forums that celebrate China’s friends. There was the May 15 “A Century of Friendship towards a Shared Future; CPC and Foreign Friends” zoom meeting organised by Beijing Youxie and Gung Ho. You can find the exhibition room for foreign friends here: http://www.bjyx.org.cn/portal/xsbnmyyg/#/
On June 18, All China Youxie and Gung Ho held an all- day webinar out of Yanan. It was titled ‘Legacy of Edgar Snow in New Era’, and consisted of several plenary sessions. Elspeth Sandys and I spoke in the session ‘International Friends and Gung Ho’. My speech titled Rewi Alley and his legacies is here. Andy Boreham, NZCFS Member at Large, journalist at Shanghai Daily, was a panellist on this session.
Discussion of greatest interest in this forum came in the last session titled ‘Calling for Snow of the New Era’, with several international journalists on the panel. Edgar Snow was celebrated for his reaching out to the west to provide an understanding of what was happening in China at that time when the CPC were based in Yanan. He had spent three months in Yanan researching his book “Red Star over China”, which was received by a west hungry to learn about the happenings. It was felt by panellists that in today’s west, it was in fact harder to get reporting received by the west about what is really happening in China today. Sad, but true?
In Wellington, the Chinese Embassy organised a rescreening of Jeff Steven’s documentary on Rewi Alley, shot in 1979 when Rewi was 82. Preceding the film was several minutes of recorded speeches from each of Ambassador Wu Xi, Elspeth Sandys, Dave Bromwich and Jeff Steven. Several videos including Rewi Alley and Kathleen Hall are here.
There is a further zoom meeting on July 23 organised by Beijing Youxie and Foreign Languages Press. Called “Shared Ideals: the Communist Party of China and its Cherished Friends from Around the World”, I have again been invited to speak. Then on July 29, with Beijing Youxie, we are having a zoom meeting to celebrate Kathleen Hall. Details elsewhere, open to everybody to attend.
Then I was asked to record a speech to an international forum run out of Guizhou province. This forum, titled “Rural Revitalisation and Ecological Civilisation”, has been running biannually for some years. I participated in 2018, see here My speech this year is titled “Ancient Wisdom in a new policy framework’ and is here.