China´s history and political situation

6 am, hating jet lag. After spending the last hour tossing and turning in my bed, I now face the challenge of writing about my experience in China. I don’t know if it is due to the lack of sleep or the remains of pollution and Chinese food inside my body, but I have to write about the conference I liked the most, and they are all kind of mixed up in my head. I remember a very good Spanish speaking Chinese woman telling me not to stick the chopsticks in the rice; an old man in a weird suit that collects classic cars; and a really funny lawyer from Chile complaining about his wife…

Definitely need a coffee break.

Well, I’m better now, I have the conferences clearly separated in my mind, and I think I’m going to tell you about Professor David Inch’s conference about the Chinese political and economic system, and Chinese policies on foreign investment (uff!…long title). This might seem like a strange topic to choose, but for the first time in my life, I had a preview of the historical and political background before visiting a foreign country.

It looks like Chinese people are proud of their history, and I would also be if I were Chinese, at least at the beginning of the conference. Chinese did conquer the most impressive architectural achievements in their early ages. During the 4th and 5th century they built The Grand Canal, 1776 km long, in less than 50 years, and I guess I don’t need to tell you anything about The Great Wall.

But the most interesting thing about this conference, and what actually made me choose this topic, are the trips that Admiral Zheng He did during the early 15th century. He travelled almost all around the world in a boat at least 4 times the size of “La Pinta”, “La Niña” or “El Santa Maria”. Actually, some theories affirm that he could have reached America before Christopher Columbus (don’t think so, but amazing anyway). It was really good to have the chance of having a look to the Admiral Zheng He Museum at the Jiao Tong University before leaving Shanghai.

Though I really enjoyed the conference, I was really surprised hearing about the “Chairman” Mao Zedong, a man whose policies leaded to 30 million death of starvation and whose Cultural Revolution meant closing Universities and destroying literature.  It is then shocking to see his face printed in every coin and sculptured in almost every statue in the city, and even more shocking getting “Because he was the man who liberated China” as an answer when you ask about it (in my opinion, he liberated China from having more than one political party).

But, leaving politics aside, I really enjoyed the conference, loved the country and the culture, and kind of tolerated the food. I really wonder if I’ll have the chance to go back again. Gan bei!

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