One can’t help noticing the negativity surrounding China’s rapid growth into an economic super power. Everything seems to be made there, amid endless rumours of all manner of unsavoury happenings, according to our media, and yes, as a nation they are far from squeaky clean. But then who is?
Most folk in the world are kind, helpful and friendly. It is the tiny minority of domineering, bullies from the business, political and military realms that spoil it for all of us, with their false promises and natural, underhand dishonesty.
This past week here in Liverpool, I have been sharing a dormitory with five other ladies in the Youth hostel (yes, yes, alright I’m hardly a spring chicken!) and I met the delightful Xing Gao (pronounced Shing gow). Like so many of the young Chinese visitors to our shores she is respectful, quiet, friendly and charming company. I never cease to be amazed how they manage to learn English so well, considering how different it is from their own native tongue; the average Briton is woefully lacking in this respect, fortunate that the international community has graced our language with so much favour.
Xing Gao comes from the north of China and Mandarin is her native tongue. She has been studying in Liverpool, helping other young Chinese students find their way, as well as travelling alone throughout Europe, which in my opinion is an incredibly brave achievement. She elects to prefer Britain to all the rest of Europe, due to our friendly, welcoming nature, which warms my heart to think that we have such a positive image in China.
I smile to myself at the thought of two strangers becoming friends from such different backgrounds; this tall Viking woman and shorter Chinese girl sharing coffee together in a cafe on the Liverpool waterfront. Maybe we have more in common than we think, for the Vikings landed in the Americas long before Columbus, and the Chinese had sailed their junk rigged craft all over the world long before we had discovered the spherical nature of the planet. Their ancient wisdom is so beautifully preserved by the writings of Lao Tse, and in the incredible I Ching, not to forget the beauty and grace of Tai Chi and Qi Gong, while we Northern Europeans also had an ancient culture and spirituality that long preceded the more recent Middle-Eastern religious influences.
I only hope that we now have something as equally valuable to share with them…
How about friendship? For if nothing else, we can give them that.