Xinran Blog

Ni hao (Hello)!

Posted by Xinran on September 12, 2008

Hello, this is my first English blog. Honestly, I don’t understand this modern idea at all; write something on an unknown network? If anybody can read it, how do people know me and find out about me here? After driving on to this ‘information highway’, will I ever be able to get off? I have seen some people driven mad, spending a huge amount of time and energy writing and responding to their emails…

Am I brave enough to jump on to this open, or say, ‘naked’ platform made by this ‘human factory’?

Let’s try and let people make of it what they will, or as the Chinese say ‘Let’s be a fish that people can cut and cook to their own taste’. (I have talked about Chinese fish philosophy in my book ‘What the Chinese Don’t Eat’)

Anyhow, I am on a book tour to publicise my new book ‘China Witness’, the tour begins in Beijing in my homeland, China. I arrived here on 26th August, the day after the Olympics finished. After China I travel to New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong.

China Witness is based on 20 years research, and spans China from west to east between the Yellow River and the Yangtze. It is the personal testimony of a generation whose stories have not yet been told. Here the grandparents and great-grandparents of today sum up in their own words - for the first and perhaps the last time - the vast changes that have overtaken China’s people over a century. I believe that this book will help our future understand our past.

On arriving in this new ‘historical internationalized Beijing’ I have been feeling so relaxed and happy, just like a student who has passed an important exam.

Since April I have been holding my breath watching the Olympic torch travel around the world. Then on 24th August we Chinese showed the world that our passion for Chinese culture and history had made the Beijing Olympics!

Everything here is still about the Olympics, there are Olympic flags and signs everywhere. It seems that no-one wants to stop talking about the first global event in China – positive and negative comments can be heard everywhere.

Many Chinese I met in Beijing told me they were in tears when they saw the Chinese scroll opened at the opening ceremony. They thought, or at least they hoped, that China would be reborn in the world and recognised as a nation of culture. They hoped that the people wouldn’t live under political control anymore, and that the experience of the Beijing Olympics would help us to free ourselves from the civil war, revolution and endless political movements of the last 100 years!

Yes we Chinese have lost and suffered so much in the last 100 years, as I hope you will see and understand when you read my book ‘China Witness’.

Xie xie nin! (Thank you!)

See you next time

  1. Suzanne Kijurina Said,

    Hello Xinran, I met you in Camden, NSW, Australia a few weeks ago and I am reading ‘China Witness’ at the moment. It is a wonderful book which is giving me a greater understanding of the older people from China. In the past I read about issues in newspapers and heard about them on the TV but it didn’t have the impact that your book has had on me. I think to understand was placed in the ‘too hard basket’ and it was soul destroying to hear the terrible things which happened to the people. I ‘travelled’ the Silk Road with my Tai Chi Group in October 2006 and got an overview of life there. I find it fascinating to read about the places you mention and to have had a glimpse of some of them. I have been referring back to your map in the book and now must get a larger map to check places in more detail. I love your U Tube clip of your interviews - I joined U Tube when I saw it. I look forward to reading your other books,
    When we were in Kashgar we were visiting an ancient temple when an old Muslim man came quite close to me with my camera. I ‘asked’ if I could take his photo and he was quite pleased about that and was so happy to see his face on the digital screen. He stayed close by for quite a while and I often wondered what stories he could have shared.
    While passing a school in a narrow lane some primary children were leaving for the day. They all smiled and said ‘hello’ , they were so happy to have their photo taken. They wanted us to take more so they could see themselves in our cameras, knowing we were taking their pictures home I guess. I was surprised that they could all speak English - perhaps simplified but we could communicate a little between the giggles.
    I hope in time that some of the old people can understand that westerners are not all bad people and just focus on money and material things but I can understand why they do think that.
    Keep on enlightening us all,
    Suzanne Kijurina

  2. Morelli Said,

    Hello Xinran,
    I am from Brazil. I read your first book that came my hands: The good women…i like it..
    Two years ago, i bought “sky burial”…but in that situation, i don´t read that book…but, in this year, i decided to read..
    Uau…..Wow…that women was a big woman in cold mountains, she lives to long years…waiting a man…waiting a love…
    I am a jornalist too.
    You change many lifes around the world with your words.
    See you on Brazil!!!

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