The door to China SACU in Chinese

The Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) was founded 50 years ago to promote friendship and understanding between the peoples of Britain and China. It is a registered UK charity and is the only friendship society of its kind in the country.

Our Magazine section has extracts from the latest issue of China Eye including contents of all issues over the last ten years.

About China is a reference resource with over 400 web pages of information about China. Including language, history, geography, photographic gallery and traditions

50th anniversary

Our 50th celebration is well under way, see Golden Anniversary programme for details.

8th May - The Cultural Revolution, third SACU Cafe networking event.

21st May - China and the BRICS, SACU panel discussion.

We have launched the George Hogg Fund to promote educational exchanges between Britain and China with special emphasis on the Shandan School where he was headmaster. For more details please see George Hogg Fund Appeal

Spring 2016 issue of China Eye available online
Read the latest news stories about China in our Sinofile column

SACU Newsletter

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April/May 2016

Our second China Cafe event on April 3rd was led by Dr Richard Boyd, visiting professor at Tsinghua University, who spoke on Cultural Barriers to Understanding in China. Dr Boyd noted that China, whose society and culture evolved entirely separately from own, and in terms of continuity could perhaps be considered to have pre-dated it by a thousand years or so, is unlikely to now evolve in to an imitation of a European democracy no matter whether we think it should. The complicated topic of how to understand China as it is, rather than as some would prefer it to be, could never be covered in just two hours but Richard's anecdotes and observations left us with plenty to think about.

The next China Cafe will be on May 8th and is a presentation on the Cultural Revolution by SACU VP Dr Frances Wood, who was a student in China when it happened. Her talk will include her observations on how the Revolution continues to influence the current generation of leaders.

This third and final talk will again be upstairs at the Zizzi at St Katharine Docks. If you would like to attend the talk, please contact me directly for information. We will send all registered attendees a reminder and a map of the location before Frances' talk on May 8th.

The Great Britain China Centre in London is recruiting for a senior position:

“The Deputy Director, based in London, is responsible for business development, new project design and the successful delivery of projects with Chinese partners in the field of rule of law development and good governance in China”

For further information call Richard Pascoe at (+44) 020-7235-6696 or by email contact: Florence Rountree

The Chinese Brush Painters' Society (Yorkshire) is hosting a workshop led by the accomplished master of brushwork, Shuhua Jin,on May 21/22 from 10 am to 4 pm at Pool-in-Wharfedale Village Memorial Hall, Arthington Lane, Pool-In-Wharfedale, LS21 1LG.

To see some of the artist's work (including his impressive paintings in oils, go to web site . For information and fees contact SACU member and CBPS Chair Anne Allan at

Lau China Institute at King’s College London and SOAS:

Dynamic China- Call for papers.

What is the future of China in a changing world? What is the true nature of power in China? How far has popular culture in China been influenced by the proliferation of new media? What impact has China’s popular and literary culture had in the nonChinese speaking world? Is China’s pre-modern history still relevant today? What is the relationship between urbanisation and a consumption-led economic model? What can China’s foreign relations tell us about its global future? These are some of the questions that the British Postgraduate Network for Chinese Studies 2016 Annual Conference will explore.

Details are here . Abstracts should be sent before 30th April 2016 to:

The next event in SACU’s sequence of lectures and seminars to mark our 50th anniversary year is China and the BRICS and will take place on Saturday, May 21st at King’s College Strand campus in London.

China has been a driving force in the development of the BRICS club - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - in recent years. The interactions between China and these key partners in the developing world are crucial to an understanding of China’s emergence as a world power.

This event brings together a panel of speakers with a range of expertise, each focussing on one of the other four BRICS and their relationship with China, to lead into a broader discussion and debate on how China’s rise is reshaping international relations.

For more information or to reserve a place, please see our 50th page

This year also marks the 70th since the end of World War II and it has been commemorated in a number of ways. Professor Rana Mitter of Oxford introduces a series of videos that illustrate the human cost of the War of Japanese Aggression, as World War 2 is also known in China. The series is linked to his research and publications and contains narrative by survivors and participants illustrated by actual footage from the time. It can be found here

Generation UK: China Network is an initiative launched by the British Council in 2015 at the 3rd UK-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue in London.

It revolves around an interactive and events’ focused Linkedin group which SACU members of all ages, with teaching or business experience in China or who plan to develop a career that will depend on engagement with the country, are invited to join. With a target membership number of 20,000 by 2020, the Network already has 1,500.

SACU member Prof. Kerry Brown, Director of the Lau China Institute at KCL, is among a group of “individuals at the forefront of their respective fields selected as Leading Lights who will attend Network events as guests, keynote speakers or panellists.”

For further information, contact Stephanie Jackson at

To join the Network, follow this link

As many of our members know, the etiquette of dining in China varies according to who you are dining with. This essay from a member of the Generation UK: China Network describes some recent business meals with different associates.

Business meals in China - it takes all sorts.

Two further business related items of general interest also came up recently. Foreign Affairs magazine has a short essay on the expanding scale of Chinese investments and acquisitions in the UK. (you may need to register, at no charge, to read the full report)

“Until recently, Germany had been China’s preferred investment destination. But the United Kingdom’s dominance in finance, real estate and higher education has placed it just behind the United States in attractiveness to investors”

....and the Chopsticks Club presents “Running a start-up in China” on 17th May in London.

“Our speaker will be Christopher Dobbing, Founder & CEO of Cambridge Mask Company. Christopher will talk about his new range of 'Smart' pollution masks, innovation and start-ups in China, providing a fascinating insight into the realities 'on the ground' as opposed to general trends.”

Further details here .

SOAS China Institute .... “invites you to take part to our famous annual Debate for an unique discussion on contemporary China. You will have the chance to hear different prospectives and experiences on the remnants of the many revolutions that have permeated the history of China until the present days. Your questions and ideas will represent an important contribution to the discussion.”

The event is chaired by BBC China Editor Carrie Grace and will take place on Wednesday, 27th April at Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre and Suite, Russell Square, SOAS

The event is free and open to the public but booking is essential to guarantee a place by filling up the online registration .

A SACU member who is also a member of SaferWorld, an NGO dedicated to conflict prevention around the world referred this free, downloadable report to the newsletter:

“The governments of China and the UK have committed at a high level to work together to promote development and to prevent conflict. This report seeks to identify any convergence in the two countries’ approaches to conflict prevention which might provide a starting point for practical cooperation in the future.”

Available here in English and Chinese.

Tony Simpson's article in the Spring issue of China Eye (p. 14) included Bertrand Russell's comment on the Chinese sense of humour, which reminded me of a similar anecdote.

Russell said: “As I was leaving Peking, a Chinese friend gave me a long classical passage microscopically engraved by hand on a very small surface; he also gave me the same passage written out in exquisite calligraphy. When I asked what it said, he replied: Ask Professor Giles when you get home.I took his advice and found that it was ”The Consultation of the Wizard“ in which the wizard merely advises his clients to do whatever they like. He was poking fun at me because I always refused to give advice to the Chinese as to their immediate political difficulties”

The Professor Giles referred to was Herbert Allen Giles (1845 - 1935), the first Professor of Chinese at Cambridge and a Lecturer at Columbia University in New York. Giles delivered a series of lectures at Columbia in 1902 titled: “China and the Chinese” covering language, culture, history, art, government and, in lecture 6, an account of ‘manners and customs’ during which he discussed the status of women in imperial China. In that connection he told the following story that had been related to him at a dinner by the Prefect of Taiwan Fu, about ‘henpecked husbands.’

“Ten henpecked husbands agreed to form themselves into a society for resisting the oppression of their wives. At the first meeting they were sitting talking over their pipes when suddenly their wives, who had got wind of the movement, appeared on the scene.

There was a general stampede, and nine of the husbands incontinently bolted through another door, only one remaining unmoved to face the music. The ladies merely smiled contemptuously at the success of their raid, and went away.

The nine husbands then all agreed that the bold tenth man, who had not run away, should be at once appointed their president; but on coming to offer him the post, they found that he had died of fright.

This and several others of Giles’ books on China can be read free of charge courtesy of the Gutenberg Project .

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See Also

Meridian Society   Membership organisation based in London with similar aims to SACU, regular events and tours to China.
Chinatown   A large U.K. site with background cultural information and events information.
Between East and West   Background on British Born Chinese people
Mother Bridge of Love   Help and information for adopting children from China and general chinese understanding
C.S.S.A.   The Chinese Students and Scholars Association's web site aimed at Chinese students studying in the UK
Half and half   Documents the history of British born who are half Chinese, mainly children of Chinese sailors
Oasis Adoption   Support and information for people adopting children from Overseas orphanages
British Council   Web site giving information about Britain to people in China

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