Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Michael and I went to the CCTV studio out on the west side near the military museum to tape a couple shows for "Up Close." The subject was foreigners living in China. The guests were two foreigners, one from India and one from the States, both of whom had been in China for more than thirty years. If you are familiar with the history of China in the early "opening up" days, much of it would be review, but it was interesting hear a discussion about that difference between how Americans were treated as against those from developing nations, such as India. As you know, during those days, foreigners could not just go anywhere. And they couldn't just live anywhere. The American lady lived in the Beijing Hotel, and the guy from India lived in the Friendship hotel. Both of them described a very international environment, but the American said the Beijing Hotel was like living in a College dormitory. In contrast to this, the Friendship hotel seems to have been much more of a melting pot of different kinds of international people.

The American lady also said that anyone who associated with her was questioned by their work unit on Monday morning. Suspicion of foreigners didn't begin with the Americans, of course--it's been part of China's history for a long time. Hudson Taylor certainly encountered it. But the kind of uneasiness that Americans in China had to live with in the years immediately following the Cultural Revolution seems to have been a unique function of the cold, uncomfortable relationship between the two countries during the Cold War, especially given the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, and the presence of the Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Strait during those years.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?