China 1985

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan 2018

China 1985

The weather today was much better, and with blue skies above the white snow, the whole city looked magnificent.  Even normally drab city landscapes were transformed by the beauty of the snow.

We began the morning by touring a silk and brocade weaving factory, the Dushinjeng works near West Lake.  We saw the design of the traditional patterns which are now back in favour following the political themes that were mandatory during the Cultural Revolution.  During the tour of the factory, we also noticed the blackboards where workers can put up any messages which they deem important to the other workers (usually political inspirations) and the work points board which showed workers’ progress in earning bonuses (again, the result of the recent economic reforms). I had an interesting discussion with our guide who was surprised to learn that Australian factories also have “propaganda slogans” on display, such as the one I saw in Mitsubishi’s Adelaide factory last August: “Better cars mean more jobs”.  With unemployment well disguised in China, he was fascinated by the slogan to the extent of memorising it, writing it down and checking it with me several times.

Our next visit was to the Lingyin Si (Temple of Inspired Seclusion).  Originally built in the year 326, it has been destroyed and restored 16 times during its none too secluded history.  Although photographs were not allowed inside, we saw the huge 20 metre high wooden Buddha image which was built by the government in 1956, and the montage of 150 small figures behind it.  The prohibition on photographs inside some of China’s temples and museums seems to derive more from an effort to protect the postcard industry than from any religious beliefs.  Although the monks were all sent to the rice fields during the Cultural Revolutions several of them have now returned, and a few were seen near the large image.

After lunch, we returned to the Jun Xun Middle School.  The group began with an excellent 3rd grade primary level lesson in Chinese language, prepared especially by one of the school’s teachers.  This was followed by three friendship games of volleyball.  Despite all the efforts of the Chinese girls to let us save face by winning at least one game, we lost all three, 15-1, 15-13, 15-14.  Following this, we went to the Deputy’s office, where songs and gifts were exchanged.

That evening, we relaxed and celebrated my 9th wedding anniversary which fell on that day.

Day 9


Wednesday, 11 December 1985