On the 29th of January 49 Forum members gathered at the Church Centre to welcome the guest speaker Jane McKeown whose talk was titled Inside China.
Her daughter is a fluent Mandarin speaker who was a volunteer with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and worked as an English teacher in the city of Xian. Jane spent a month staying with her daughter in her teacher’s accommodation in the Xian university and in her talk described the life of the students who were in general from an under-privileged background but saw the learning of English as the key to advancement enabling them to gain permission to leave China.
She visited and stayed at the homes of her students which often involved travelling long distances on local buses in very basic conditions. Jane highlighted the differences between the modern perception of life in China as modern and sophisticated and the simple life enjoyed by the majority of the largely rural population which she witnessed.
She also stressed the difference in outlook of the Chinese to the Western world where the Chinese regard their country as “the tummy button of the world”.
All organisations are expected to be led by Chinese nationals which gives problems for Christians and Muslims.
Forum members took part in a lively question and answer session before Chairman Mike Earle proposed a vote of thanks to Jane McKeown for a most interesting talk.