In an interview the Czech novelist Milan Kundera once said that “you can only understand the world if you see it from several sides.”
As observers, we feel as though we can gain a holistic understanding of China through the media, books, documentaries, and so forth. Such exposure fills our minds with knowledge about the South China Sea, unprecedented economic growth, and the Great Wall. However, do we really understand China? What ‘sides’ are we seeing? And what ‘sides’ are we missing out on?
The China Symposium showed us many sides of China, some that elaborated on the knowledge that can be obtained from the aforementioned sources, but most of which took us by surprise and revealed something new to us. So, what side of China should I all too briefly show you? The organised chaos of Beijing on National Day? The history of stateless people in Shanghai? A place of worship sitting proud upon a mountain in Yunnan Province? Instead of writing something, you can find out better for yourself. I would like to show you some of these different sides of China in pictures. I will let each photo tell you something and capture your imagination.
Yes, I understand China more after seeing so many of its different sides, even those I could not imagine. Although, perhaps the real beauty lie within the fact that the more I know about China, as the phrase goes, the less I realise I know. The desire remains to understand China, a country that can teach you, I, and the world so much. Go and find her secrets for yourself.
Seeing just a few of China’s secrets would not have been as incredible and enriching without the shared dialogue and moments between friends, the diverse group of students that attended the symposium. I urge you to become one of these students, it is one of the best experiences university and the GLP can give you!
GLPer and 2017 China Symposium delegate Richard Thompson is a Bachelor of Arts student, with a major in Anthropology.
The GLP Symposium to China is a two-week study and cultural tour to Shanghai, the Yunnan Province (Lijiang and Shaxi) and Beijing to explore economics, trade, diplomacy, cultural heritage and traditions in China.
The 2018 GLP Symposium to China will once again visit Shanghai, the Yunnan Province and Beijing. Program dates are Saturday, 30 June to Saturday, 14 July 2018.
Applications to the Symposium are now open and will close this Friday, 16 March at 9am.