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 under way, see Golden Anniversary plans

Read about our Foundation and fifty year's of Understanding China


SACUIf you would like to attend our anniversary event on 30th May, please book a place so we can estimate numbers, with Event Brite .


The China News section has a selection of news stories from the web which is updated every day.

Spring 2015 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 2015



SACU’s 50th Anniversary event at King’s College, London, is now a little over a month away and May 30th is fast approaching. The level of interest so far has been more than we originally anticipated and we have moved to a larger room at the College. We are very grateful to those members and supporters who have donated to the Appeal to help offset the cost of this event, which includes printing costs for associated material and refreshments for those attending. The reservation rate through our Eventbrite link presently indicates that we may expect about 100 members and supporters to be present. If you wish to donate to the Appeal using PayPal link . If you prefer to send a cheque to the Treasurer (Jane Hadley, 66 Blackbutts Drive, Walney Island, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria LA14 3JZ) would you please make it payable to SACU. Our bank will not recognise any other specified payee. that we may expect about 100 members and supporters to be present. Virtually all speakers are now confirmed and you can find details of the programme at our web page.

Thank you, again, to those who have already donated.


The BBC Radio 4 programme In Our Time, hosted by Melvyn Bragg, recently (April 16th) featured a discussion on Matteo Ricci and the Ming Dynasty. IOT has about two in-depth discussions a year on Chinese history topics and SACU VP Dr Frances Wood is a frequent contributor. Past shows include: The Sino- Japanese War (8 May 14) with Rana Mitter; Sources of Early Chinese History (23 Jan 14); Romance of the Three Kingdoms (27 June 13); Marco Polo (24 May 12) and The An Lushan Rebellion (16 Feb 12). You can download these as podcasts from either the BBC at or from iTunes.

The BBC 2 series Wild China is again available to watch or download (to watch later) from BBC iPlayer


China Daily runs a lively forum on its web site where questions like “Living in China: Expectations vs. reality” are discussed. Expectation: I expected it to be very difficult to learn Chinese.
Reality: Actually, I completely underestimated how difficult it would be to learn Chinese. (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2015-04/16/content_20436090.htm )


British Born Chinese - Film Screening and Discussion, 30th April, 5 pm to 7 pm, at the Manchester Central Library. This is a documentary film about the experiences of Daniel and Kevin, boys born to Chinese migrants and living in Manchester (UK). Made over the course of two years in experimental reflexive and participatory style, the film explores the challenges faced by the two boys seeking to reconcile their Britishness with Chineseness. There will be a discussion following the film led by Dr. Elena Barabantseva (Project lead researcher and film co-producer) with the first published British born Chinese novelist, PP Wong, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Dr. Véronique Pin-Fat and the director of the film, Andy Lawrence.

Reservations available through Eventbrite . To learn more about the film and its presenters, go to: http://www.allritesreversed.co.uk/british-born-chinese.html


Western media seem sometimes to prefer presenting freakish events as somehow representative of life in China. The story that ran four years ago about crowds walking away from a small child crushed by a lorry is a notorious example. The incident, Death of Wang Yue, even has its own Wikipedia entry. Here’s a story that didn’t get any press in the UK but suggests that we are all pretty much alike; in an emergency, we help out. CCTV News filmed dozens of people in Henan Province rushing to help lift a bus from a man trapped beneath it. Posted on YouTube .


Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces Thanks to Anne Allan, a SACU member who also serves as Secretary of the Yorkshire chapter of the Chinese Brush Painters Society (CBPSY), for this interesting reference which I have cribbed from the newsletter she sends her members:

“Whilst scouring the internet looking for events, I came across VCM - a website called Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces . More than 120 worldwide museums are involved in this project. The idea is that museums holding significant collections of Asian art will contribute images of their masterpieces with associated stories - written or video - about them. Each day a new ‘masterpiece’, housed in one of the participating museums, is uploaded to the website as Masterpiece of the day.”

Interestingly, the masterpiece of the day for April 21st was a painting on scrolls of ‘The Dutch and Chinese Quarters’ at Nagasaki, painted in 1801 when China’s GDP was approximately 30% of world GDP, according to this graph at The Atlantic magazine web site .

On the 24th and 25th of May CBPSY will host a workshop given by Qu Lei Lei on Flowers with Birds & Zen Landscapes. This workshop is likely to fill up quickly so please contact Anne for costs and directions if you would like to attend.


SACU member and author Barnaby Powell's article on China's 'soft power' , which was in the Winter issue of China Eye, is now available on the SACU web site as a featured essay. Barnaby is an active and frequent speaker at schools and community groups on the topics covered in his most recent work (with Alex Mackinnon) “2018 - China Goes Critical”. So far this year he has lectured at The Purley Literary Society, The In & Out (Naval & Military Club), Wellington College, and to the Croydon U3A. His next engagement is a presentation to Cheltenham Ladies College on 2nd May. If you would like to invite Barnaby to speak to your group, please let me know and I will relay your interest to him.


Dragon Boat Racing Season is almost upon us! Walter notes there are likely to be several of these events around the country this summer but the biggest will be at Salford Quays, on the Manchester Ship Canal, on Sunday June 14th. This web site hosted by the Ninhua Chinese Association provides the history and background of the event.


On The Well-Chosen Word . From Caixin Online, an essay in defence of simplified Chinese by Peng Andong ...

“Critics of simplified Chinese logograms continue to exalt language as a receptacle of history - but they fail to take in to account the system’s comprehensive etymology and evolution”


Theresa Booth from the Chopsticks Club recently emailed about an upcoming event that she believes will be of interest to SACU members:

We are doing a joint event in July 2015 with the HK Society, at the offices of EY to explore cultural & business etiquette differences between the mainland Chinese, BBC’s Chinese from HK, Singapore & Kualar Lumpur. I am sure some of your members will be interested in this discussion. More information about this event at the Chopsticks Club events calendar or from info@chopsticksclub.com.


The SOAS China Institute houses the largest community of China scholars in Europe, with over 50 academics, and is host to the oldest professorship of Chinese in the UK. On June 29th, in Beveridge Hall, in the second annual China Debate, senior-level experts from different sectors will explore the question ‘How healthy is China?’ and offer their personal and professional insights into China’s economic, political, cultural and environmental health. The event is free and open to the public. Register here .



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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
Dim Sum   A range of news and cultural topics serving the U.K. Chinese community.
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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