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I was accused of being “a toad who longs to eat swan’s meat”

Zhang Lijia’s personal story is nothing but inspiring. From a poor family in Nanjing in eastern China, she was destined to work her whole life in an inter-continental missile rocket factory. Unhappy with this prospect, however, she dreamed of the outside world. She realised in her early teens that her ticket out was to learn English. Ridiculed by her colleagues and with little access to foreigners or English language learning tools, she found a radio station and with diligence and determination, used this as the means to transform her life’s narrative. Now a journalist, writer and social commentator, Lijia has featured on the BBC’s Book of the Week, CNN and other international media stations. Her novel, ‘Lotus,’ has been translated into several languages and her memoir, ‘Socialism is Great!’ gives an excellent account of what China was like in the ‘iron rice bowl’ times before its economic transformation of recent times.

Lijia exhorts us to dream big and suggests that by learning about China, we will not only benefit from thinking more globally, but we might even find our lives can be changed for the better. Discover more of her story here.

Sir Vince Cable becomes new patron of Engage with China

Sir Vince Cable, Patron, Engage with China

EwC is delighted to confirm the appointment of the Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Minister of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, as a patron. Sir Vince’s views chime with our charity’s belief that it is crucial to generate curiosity about and dialogue with China rather than retreat or ignore. China is rich with ideas and subject matter that will benefit young minds and develop character skills relevant to our times.

“Now that China has become an economic and technological superpower some are reacting with fear or hostility. It is better to engage. Large numbers of students, visitors and businesses already do – in both directions. That was the approach I adopted as a government minister in my dealings with China and I want it to continue.”

The Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable, author of ‘China Engage: Avoiding the new Cold War’ (2019)

Sir Vince joins Sir Anthony Seldon, educator and former Vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University and Head of Wellington College, as patron.

Chinese schools are back to normal -despite Covid.

These happy students tell us how good that feels and how they are keeping safe

Durham student internships reap China-UK educational benefits

Two Durham University students have just completed a 10-week internship programme with Engage with China, an independent educational charity, thanks to a philanthropic gift from an alumnus in Chinese Studies also from Durham. Olivia Farr, currently in her 3rd year studying Chinese, should have been in China for her year abroad and Riley Lin, a postgraduateContinue reading “Durham student internships reap China-UK educational benefits”


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