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A Wesleyan-Anglican Church in Boise, Idaho

Pilgrimages

China Memoirs: Return to China 2001

Main Page Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI

Part III: Beijing

Wednesday morning the Mariner's game with the Red Sox was on cable television in our room as apparently a Japanese channel broadcasts all M's games because of Ichiro. What a pleasant surprise! We were able to pick up Mariner games in Tientsin and Shanghai as well! Incidentally, the Red Sox won this one 10-3.

King Wing Hotel in Beijing
King Wing Hotel in Beijing

Around nine the rest of the group headed out with their local guide, Sabrina, and John to visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

I had previously arranged to meet the local director of a proposed American university in Beijing, to spend time with him. I called him when we got up and arranged to meet him at the hotel about 9:30. He and his assistant arrived around 9:45 and we visited for awhile in the hotel.

He shared the plans to develop a liberal arts college offering an American curriculum with majors in computer science, information systems, and technology. The university had received permits from the government and will operate within their guidelines as a private higher education institution. The faculty would be both American and Chinese, with some long term and others short term. Classes would be kept small to allow for a close relationship between professor and students.

David and John at the Beijing Airport
David and John at the Beijing Airport

We then drive to the proposed campus which was in a small town about an hour's drive north of the city. The university has received two buildings, one an abandoned hotel, the other an elementary school building, for their immediate use as well as a large acreage of undeveloped property nearby. Several technology firms have already located there and the community was obviously a developing one.

The objectives of the university are to provide a quality education to Chinese young people which will be heavily value laden, so that students will leave with an attitude of service to others and will have had opportunity to explore their own goals in life.

We returned to the hotel about three. On the way back we had an interesting conversation with the taxi driver on China's perceptions of the bomber spying incident and the economic situation in China, which including the Taiwan issue. The driver felt most Chinese were very upset at the United States spying on China and especially at Bush for 'lying' in that he at first apologized for the incident, then, as soon as the crew had been returned, denied any wrong doing. This was compounded by his attitude toward Taiwan which the Chinese see as rightly theirs.

King Wing Hotel in Beijing
King Wing Hotel in Beijing

Around five the rest of the group returned. I contacted Bao [our Arizona state acquaintance] who seemed pleased to join us for a Peking duck dinner. We went to a well known restaurant near Tiannamen square to have Peking duck.. The place was a true pirate operation as the cost was nearly $100 for the two of us and, as usual, the meal was close to inedible. However, the conversation was enjoyable and it was an opportunity for all to get acquainted and become comfortable with each other. Ray sampled the scorpions, among other delicacies, and Bao, who had been a local tour guide for a year or two, provided quite a bit of information on the area as well as insights into the politics and philosophies of the Chinese, particularly his generation.

He told us that youngsters are invited into the Communist party program in middle school where they can join youth groups, attend seminars, then be invited into the party. One does not need to be a party member to work in government, however.

Bao had been taught that religion was sort of like opium, a drug. In this age of science and technology, man was in control of his own destiny. We asked why they would have a Temple of Heaven and what happened after death since they are atheists. His response was pretty much a Buddhist type answer that one returns to another life based on how well he lived out this one. Sort of a recycling system, apparently.

Around nine we finished our dinner, caught taxis back to the hotel and prepared to go on to Tientsin [Tianjin] the next day.

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Theme Verse

Luke 1:78-79

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