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

AGM and Chinese in WW1 London, 18th July
Summer 2015 issue of China Eye available online
Read the latest news stories about China in our Sinofile column

SACU Newsletter

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June/July 2015

SACU’s 50th anniversary symposium at King’s College London on May 30th was a great success. Most of the 150 members and guests who registered to attend did so. Another 15 arrived on the day. Feedback forms returned by attendees were complimentary of the organisation of the event, the quality of speakers and the buffet lunch. A number of non-members have since joined SACU and several existing members have indicated an interest in participating in organising future events.

SACU’s membership is nationwide and our Council meets quarterly each year in Manchester, Birmingham and London. We are a volunteer organisation and if you can help us with advice or consultation on how to improve what we offer members and, especially, on how we can attract more young members, please consider this an open invitation to attend any of our Council meetings.

This newsletter will note the dates and places of the quarterly meetings when confirmed. Our next meeting will be the AGM on Saturday, the 18th of July in London, SW1X 0BD. The AGM agenda is on page 5 of the 2014 Annual Report included with the Summer issue of China Eye.

The China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham maintains a blog at that provides a (non-political) “platform for commentary and analysis of current events in China and East Asia”. A June 12th post by Linda Tsang notes that China is one of the most multilingual countries in the world, with native speakers of 400 different languages, in Multi-lingualism, Discourse and Identity in China.

The Meridian Society is hosting a talk by Betty Yao on Wednesday, the 24th of June, on the photography of the famous John Thomson, specifically of his 19th century photographs of China during the last Dynasty, the Ching. The talk will be in room V211 of the Vernon Square campus of SOAS (in London) near King’s Cross from 6:30 to 8 pm. There is no charge for Meridian Society and SACU members to attend, £5 for non-members. If you are interested in attending please email the Meridian Society administrator at

The Silk Road Journal was founded in 2003 to monitor and report on the latest research and current archaeological investigation, as well as exhibitions, publications and events relating to the history and cultures of Eurasia and the Silk Road. Its purpose is to communicate this information, at no cost, in print and online. It covers the period “encompassing pre-history, the era beginning with the establishment of trans-Eurasian and cultural interaction some two millennia ago, and the subsequent history of those interactions down through the centuries”.

The Journal is published once or twice a year and each edition is downloadable as a PDF. Past issues are also available at the web site. The current edition (2014) has an article on the very fine Chinese art and calligraphy collection of the Seattle Art Museum .

SACU member and author Barnaby Powell will be talking about his latest book 2018 - China Goes Critical, on Friday August 7th, 10 - 12 noon, at the Croydon U3A Summer Workshop (23 Whitestone Way, Croydon CR0 4WF. He will be at the Oxford University Society, Surrey Branch on Tuesday, 13th August, 12 noon (see details ). And for those who diary far ahead, Barnaby also will present a talk on China to an audience at Oundle School on 24th of September , A3 Adamson Centre, Oundle School PE8 4EE.

SACU Council member Andrew Hicks will be discussing his book ‘A True Friend To China’ on 13 October, 6.00pm to 7.30pm. Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London. Our Hampshire members are invited to his talk in Petersfield at the Petersfield Library, 8 October, 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Laszlo Montgomery was a university student when the US table tennis team visited Beijing in 1971, in the opening stage of the diplomatic thaw between the US and China. He astutely decided to switch majors and read Mandarin in order to position himself for the future employment opportunities he was sure would develop. Some forty years later, he is now a trade consultant with a serious hobby - China History Podcast - at a web site that offers 45 minute pod casts on nearly every aspect of Chinese history from the History of Tea to the First Emperor. If you have an hour to fill every day, commuting to the office or walking the dog(s), and if you own an iPod, this can be time well spent.

SACU member Anne Allan, Chinese Brush Painters Society (Yorkshire), reports that spaces are still available for Angela Reich’s workshops for Saturday and Sunday 20 and 21 June. Angela taught impressive workshops for CBPS (Y) last year concentrating on flowers and birds topics and brush loading and brush-stroke skills. Please contact Anne at if you are interested in attending.

While walking to the University of Liaoning when teaching there in 2008-9, I was impressed with how clean and tidy an army of street sweepers kept the main road through Shenyang. I noticed the same devotion to eliminating litter on trips through Beijing. But keeping the main roads of China's cities tidy is just the beginning! A recent story in Caixin Online reports: China Opens Agency to Clean Up Space Junk Circling Earth

One of our colleagues at the CPAFFC emailed SACU before the 50th symposium with the information that “Everybody in Beijing is talking about 'belt and drive'” and asked if it might make a good topic for China Eye. It is unusual for the CPAFFC to recommend topics to us and probably underlines the importance of this one in China today.

What Beijing calls "Belt and Drive" is being reported here as the Silk Road Initiative, a multi-pronged economic (and political) strategy designed to bring the same level of prosperity to the west of China as the Special Economic Zones produced for eastern China. The intended prosperity potentially extends to the countries (Russia, Mongolia and the numerous 'Stans) to the far west.

SACU VP Jenny Clegg is writing a conference paper on the topic that a future edition of the newsletter will link to. Professor Kerry Brown has also written a compact article (1359 words) on the subject. If you are not familiar with the initiative, this will help get you up to speed. The title is "Go West, Young Man" and is at Inside Story, an Australian academic web site

The Chopsticks Club is looking for rowers to participate in the London - HK Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday 28th of June “Be a part of the CHOPSTICKS TEAM and compete in a dragon boat race - you don't need rowing experience but need to be able to swim. We will be competing in a totally amateur category. Past participants have described the event as 'more fun than I could ever have imagined' and 'unforgettable' To take part email Theresa on”

The Guardian, in the 'Art & Design' section of the newspaper, describes why photographer Jo Farrell tracked down “The Last Women in China with Bound Feet ”.

Wikipedia has a well-written history of foot binding, part of a 'Violence against women' series.

If you have ever wondered how many one yuan coins it would take to buy a new car - and who hasn’t wondered about this? - or if you find yourself in charge of collecting really tough questions for a pub trivia quiz, this story from China Radio International is essential reading .

The University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre , in conjunction with the Beijing Review, has provided an informative summary of the PRC government’s 2015 Work Report, which relates ongoing progress on the targets set in the most recent 5 Year Plan. The introduction is by the Centre’s Director, SACU member Dr Kerry Brown. Highlights of the 2015 Government Work Report .

“The annual National People's Congress held in Beijing is the main chance to hear the Chinese government leadership giving something approaching a 'State of the Nation' update. The most central part of this is the Work Report given by the Premier, and then his press conference, held at the end of the session. The Work Report this year focused on themes that have already come to the fore over the previous two years - the aspiration to maintain reasonable growth rates, even as the overall GDP has been diminishing to around 7 per cent, and the stress on sustainability.

Both of these issues come through in the summary of the Work Report produced in collaboration with the Beijing Review. This is part of the China Studies Centre's ongoing work in producing accessible material that attempts to convey some of the policy priorities of the current administration in Beijing.”

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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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