Archive for the ‘Internships’ Category

Matthew Joseph, Russia – July 2010

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Two-Headed-Eagle_-Two-continents

I have been in Moscow since June 9th, 2010, and working with the Andrei Sakharov Foundation.  I am working in the Sakharov Archives.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s, the archives that held the KGB files, and other sensitive information, were opened to the public, and Sakharov’s wife, Elena Bonner, was able to gain copies of a large amount of documents.  Andrei Sakharov was a physicist in the Soviet Union, and is sometimes referred to as the father of the Thermo-Nuclear bomb for the Soviets.  As you can imagine, he was greatly rewarded for doing this and lived among the elite of the Soviet Union.  However, Sakharov was a man with a conscience.  He became one of the most well known Soviet dissidents, pushing for the implementation of Human Rights, and warning against the dangers of a nuclear war.  After his first international publication entitled “Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom” Sakharov was banned from all military involved projects and was eventually sent into isolation to the city of Gorkii.

I have been able to read through these documents and work with them every day.  It is interesting to compare how they treated other people as oppose to how they treated Sakharov.  They almost feared him it seems.  Also, just see the bureaucracy cycle that these documents would go through, because no one wanted to take the responsibility or steps.

Recently, on July 12th, the former director of the Sakharov Museum was taken to trial for an art exhibition that they had inside of their facility.  It was very interesting to try and attend the court proceedings.  At first I was not even allowed through the gate to the courtyard of the court.  Standing on the street with 100 other people, all trying to fight their way in, was very unique.  There were clashes of rhetoric between the Russian Orthodox supporters and the human rights activist community.  I was asked several times what side I belonged to, and I explained that I was a neutral by stander, just trying to see how the system works.  Finally, after standing on the street for almost one and a half hours, they changed the guards at the gate, so I walked up to the new guard, explained that I work with the Sakharov Foundation, showed him my visa where it shows them as the sponsoring organization, and got in to the courtyard.  The only thing that was better about being inside the gates was that I didn’t have to listen to all of the quarrelling, and watch the local Orthodox Church parade around the block with their cross carrier in front.  After waiting there for another hour, they finally came out of the court.  The verdict was guilty, charged with “having incited hatred towards believers”, and they were fined around $13,000.

Tolstoys-Estate

I have had the opportunity to go to Red Square, Tretyakov Gallery, VDNKH (look this up in Wikipedia, it is really an interesting place), Cosmonaut Museum, Arbat, Ismailovskii Park, Tsarizevno, Kosmolenskii Park, to attend Sa’ban’tue (a harvesting holiday for a lot of the Muslim Minorities in Russia) and to little city’s around Moscow, such as Tyla where they have an Arms Museum as well as a Samovar Museum (tea pot like things) and Ya’snaya Polyana, where Lev Tolstoy lived and wrote his works.  I was lucky enough to come to Moscow the year that they set their record for highest summer temperature, 98 degree’s plus humidity.  And you always thought that Russia suffered from snow all year long.  I am greatly enjoying the time and opportunities.  Moscow is a great city.Austronaut-Museum

Jesse Gray, Scotland – June 2010

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Tuesday June 1- Today I was assigned a new project. I am working to find out the possibilities to get a marina on Millport in Cumbrae. I have been getting contacts of Marina consultants to be able to figure out what needs to come together to make it happen. I have gotten some good responses. Right be fore I left Kenneth asked me to write his speech on NHS funding for Thursdays NHS amendment debate. (8:00-5:00 9 hours).

Wednesday June 2- I pretty much spent all day researching and writing Kenneth’s speech for the NHS. Since it was my first speech I wanted to make sure that I covered all the details so I wanted to get as much good research in that I could. (6:00-5:00 11 hours).

Thursday June 3- Today I continued on the Millport Marina project. I am going to meet with Martin Ladimer for a preliminary meeting next Friday to see what we need to do. He has been a Marina consultant for 30+ years and is keen to see a Marina in Millport. I also went to the debating chamber to watch Kenneth give my speech. (8:00-5:00 9 hours).

Friday June 4- I took the weekend off and we rented a car to visit various places around Scotland. Today we went to the castle at Kirkcaldy and then to St. Andrews. At St. Andrews we saw the Castle, the old Parish and the golf course where the British Open is played. We then headed Aberdeen and spent the night.

Saturday June 5- We headed off to Balmoral Castle and it was excellent. We then went to Inverness and had some lunch there. On our way to Inverness we saw a ski resort so of course we stopped and had a look around. We then went to Loch ness, but unfortunately did not see anything out of the ordinary. We then drove to Oban and spent the night.

Sunday June 6- We left Oban and went to Stirling to see the Castle. It was very nice and big (aren’t all castles?). We then visited the William Wallace Monument. We left Stirling and went through Falkirk to Kirkintilloch. This has significance because it is where my family is from. After Kirkintilloch we headed back to Edinburgh.

Jesse Gray, Scotland – May 2010

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The Experience of Edinburgh

Wednesday May 12- Today I officially started at the Parliament in the offices. The first thing that I was assigned to work on was a motion. The motion was on “the rise of anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom.” After I completed the motion I was assigned to work on two topics 1. Campaign strategies for the SNP and 2. Finding grants for renewables to people in Kenneth’s constituency to mitigate costs, with the purpose of incentivizing people to go green. The report focused mainly on home solar and wind technologies. Because the renewable energy grants project had greater precedent I decided to start that one first (after I finished my motion of course). On Wednesday I finished the anti-Semitic motion (which continues to gain votes as we speak). I started a report on finding grants for renewable energy on an individual basis as opposed to a commercial basis. I was also asked by Kenneth to put together research on how to effectively campaign for the SNP in this coming Scottish parliament election. (9:00-5:00 8 hours)

Thursday May 13- Today I worked on the renewables project all day. This day I mainly focused on the Scottish and British government’s role in supplying funding. I found a program that Britain is working on called a Feed in Tariff. It is modelled after the German program to help individuals gain access to subsidies for home renewable energy sources. I also got to see the First Ministers Questions today in the debating chambers. (8:00-5:00 9 hours)

Friday May 14- I continued my work the renewable energies and today I mainly focused on funding that the European Union has to offer. There are many programs that the European Union offers but many of them will begin to expire in 2013 and there is a need to gain access to them as soon as possible. (8:00-5:00 9 hours)

Saturday May 15- Kelsey and I visited the royal Botanical Gardens and the sites around it. On the way home we stopped and ate at Highlands take-away

Sunday May 16- A relaxing Sunday

Monday May 17- I came in early today so that I could finish the renewables project. I finished the project around 1:00. It detailed what types of energies were issued under the feed in tariffs and who could apply. I basically catered the report to the people in Kenneth’s constituency, so that they could gain access to this money therefore getting access to clean energy. (7:00-1:00 6 hours). After I finished the report Kelsey, Spencer and I went to hike Arthur’s seat. We made it halfway up and decided to turn back and feed the ducks and the ducks and the swans. We also went to an old cemetery where there was a memorial to Abraham Lincoln and the Scottish soldiers who had died in the American Civil War. Also buried in the cemetery was the great Philosopher David Hume. (6:00-1:00 7 hours)

Tuesday May 18- before I started my SNP campaign project Kenneth assigned me to do a project to fund grant money for the University Marine Biology Station Millport. So just as with the renewables project I sought to gain info on the Scottish programs first that would be able to help the UMBSM and then the possible EU grants that would be available to UMBSM. I started the project seeking out grant possibilities from Scottish and British sources. (8:00-6:00 10 Hours)

Wednesday May 19- I continued to work on the UMBSM grant funding project and still on this day only sought British sources. This required a lot of grunt work, mainly because I found a book through SPICe that had all the information on grants available by the British government. So I went through this book and got all the contact information of the possible trusts and grants that could be used for UMBSM. After I had collected all the contact info for the relevant donors to UMBSM I began to contact them. I got many leads. For the rest of the day I took down the information that I received and compiled it. (7:00-5:00 10 hours)

Thursday May 20- Today I mainly worked on the UMBSM report and how it could be funded through the European Union. I found the grant schemes the European Union provides for facilities such as UMBSM.

Friday May 21- Today I finally finished the Grants project for the University Marine Biology Station Millport. It looks like there are good options for the UMBSM to get some funding. Today I just cleaned up the project, put all the information together. I created the report so that the director of UMBSM would be able to and apply for grants following the criteria and steps in it. (8:00-3:00 7hours)

Saturday May 22- Today Kelsey and I went to Portobello Beach and I went swimming in the Firth of Forth. The Forth River dumps into the North Sea, so needless to say even though it is May the water was still extremely cold. When I got out of the water I was freezing. The beach was fun though and luckily the sun was out all day. I even got a little sun burnt (yes in Scotland!).

Sunday May 23- Just a relaxing Sunday.

Monday May 24- Today I am starting my project on how the Scottish National Party (SNP) can garner more votes in the coming Scottish elections. I am starting my project on the use of networking and communications tools for campaigning. When I first got to Scotland and helped to campaign for the Westminster Elections the biggest method we were using was that of “canvassing.” I know Election Day was that week, but I feel that an effective networking and communications campaign through the internet would significantly increase success of the SNP in Scotland. As the data in my report points out the majority of voters in Scotland are older voters. With the use of internet and social media networks the younger generation will be more easily approached. The younger generation are also those that fall more in-line with the ideologies of the SNP. This is what my data has been suggesting so far. (8:00-3:00 7 hours).

Tuesday May 25- I am continuing my report on the SNP campaigning. Today I am creating my report on how to staff and utilise tools such as blogs, facebook and twitter. (8:00-5:00 9 hours)

Wednesday May 26- I got some responses for my project on UMBSM, so I am doing some follow up research for the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). The SFC currently funds UMBSM but wants to know how giving more money will be in the SFC’s interest. The HIE also wants to fund UMBSM but wants it justified. So I am putting together a report for both to justify it. (7:00-5:00 10 hours).

Thursday May 27- This morning Kenneth asked me to write a motion on the unveiling of a memorial at the Auld Kirk in Beith in honour of reverend Dr. John Witherspoon who was a minister there in the early 18th century. Reverend Dr. Witherspoon was also one of the most prestigious President of the Princeton University and a signer of the declaration of Independence. I then continued on my campaigning report. I then wrote another motion on the North Korean sinking of the South Korean Choenan ship that was in the Yellow Sea. The motion was published but I do not think that it got much support. (7:00-5:00 10 hours)

Friday May 28- I took today off and Kelsey and hiked Arthur’s seat and afterwards went to the Elephant House Café where JK Rowling began writing Harry Potter.

Saturday May 29- we went to visit the cemetery of Adam Smith was born. It was really nice. We then went to visit the Islamic Mosque in Edinburgh. It was great and I got a lesson in the history and beliefs of Islam.

Sunday May 30- Yet another nice and relaxing Sunday

Monday May 31- Today I am continuing my project on the SNP and campaigning. I got more could information on Scottish voting trends and am working that into my report. I left work early to go walk on the river trail and the Edinburgh Museum of Modern Art. The museum was great and I really want to go back (8:00-1:00).

Ben Sainsbury, China – December 2009

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Doctor D and Company

Hey how are things going?  We will just have to wait and see what happens with the Taiwan issue, I am probably more of a Henry Kissinger man when it comes to international relations.  Anyways this past week has been great.  This week we are throwing a big fair, that includes companies from all over China and a few from surrounding countries, such as Korea, Japan and Taiwan, but mainly they will just be Chinese companies.  With global exports down around 15-30% the government officials are trying to stimulate the Chinese market into buying Chinese made goods.  The Chinese stimulus unlike the American stimulus artificially kept the economy growing around 8% this year but if exports don’t rebound China will be hurting, so they need to stimulate the Chinese consumer to buy.  With the Chinese growing in wealth now it is a good time to stimulate the Chinese consumers to buoy up the Chinese economic engine in the future.  With emerging markets such as India and Vietnam where things can be made dirt cheap, and with the Yuan being artificially low China can currently compete, but if they value the Yuan where it’s really supposed to be valued China will lose its exporting edge. So this fair should be a good one.  They are expecting around 100,000 people to attend, most of which will be business owners and government officials not to mention regular Joes that want to purchase product. I will be returning on the 8th of December.

Take care all,
Ben

Ben Sainsbury, China – November 2009

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Conversation with director of UVU International Center – Dr. Danny Damron

Dr. Damron to Ben:

Your time in Taiwan sounds like it was very enlightening. Your informal public opinion poll produced some surprising results from my perspective. I don’t follow Taiwanese politics and public opinion really closely but my general sense was that the public face (at least) has been much more conciliatory toward China and that politicians with national aspirations have recently moderated their public statements stressing separation and independence.  I hope that things continue to go well. I look forward to hearing about how this week goes.

Ben to Dr. Damron:

Just to give you a little perspective on Taiwan politics.  There are two main parties the KMT (Chinese Nationalist Party which came from china with Jiang Jie Shi when they lost to the communists, pro china but anti communism) they forced their way into power on Taiwan backed by the US government, and from 1949- 1985 martial law was enacted by the KMT. This period of time was called the white terror period by the Taiwanese.  The DPP(Democratic Progressive Party) is the other party (pro- independence anti china) were in power for 8 years but did not have the backing of the US if they declared de-facto independence, the party recently lost favor because of corruption and recently voted out of office and a new KMT president who is pro- china runs things now.  However public sentiment shows that over sixty percent of the population refers to themselves as Taiwanese where only around fifteen percent say they are Chinese, 25 percent would be willing to go to war for independence where 60 percent would rather maintain the status-quo and 8 percent would rather rejoin with the China.  Young people in particular are very anti-China and pro-Taiwanese and in talking with them the likened Taiwan and China to the US and Canada.  Now that the corruption scandals of the DPP are starting to fade the public is now drifting back to that party with the current KMT government in office sitting at around 35% approval and in recent legislative elections DPP has gained seats so in two years maybe the DPP will be back in the presidential office. Who knows?  But it’s complicated, China will attack Taiwan if they declare independence, America has a treaty with Taiwan saying if China attacks Taiwan the US will back them but we oppose Taiwan independence…. Historically Taiwan declared Independence from any foreign power in 1599 but was short lived…the Dutch ruled Taiwan for a number of years, than the Qing dynasty, than the Japanese, than the KMT, currently Taiwan is a democratic society with little to no international recognition.

Dr. Damron to Ben:

Thanks, Ben. It sounds like you have become fairly passionate about this issue. Where do you stand in terms of the advisability of Taiwan declaring de facto independence? If you were to make a prediction about the next 15 years, would you predict reversion of Taiwan back to China, status quo, or complete independence?

Ben to Dr. Damron:

Ah yes…the ultimate question regarding Taiwan’s future.. In the next fifteen years I predict drastic changes will occur, but depending on the political climate it yet remains to see which way Taiwan will go.  We know they do not want to be a part of China but there are powers greater than Taiwan, mainly the USA and China at play.

In fifteen years from now the PLA will have a much more sophisticated Navy, and Air force, not to mention the thousands of missiles can launch at Taiwan should Taiwan go rogue.  A one on one war in the Taiwan Strait would eventually result in a Chinese victory, Though Beijing has claimed China will go to war over Taiwan declaring Independence they would prefer to force Taiwan back to the mainland by controlling the Taiwanese economy, but the problem is the young generations of Taiwan have no sense of identity or belonging when it comes to China, as do many Taiwanese in general, most of whose ancestors left the mainland for Taiwan 300-500 years ago).  Then you got the aboriginals who have been there for thousands of years and are related to pacific islanders who are the most adamant China haters in Taiwan.  So three key factors will be involved in regards to Taiwan’s future.

1) China: with the rapid improvements in Chinese military capabilities, China might get fed up and one day just decides to launch an invasion. China has 400,000 thousand troops located in the southern provinces just for that very purpose, with accurate missile strikes China could cripple the better Taiwan air force, and without international interference Taiwan will be forced to join China, but first China will try to lure Taiwan as close to China as it can, so the Taiwanese will feel that they need China in order to maintain their level of prosperity.  But China might have its own issues to deal with, such as social unrest. The richer the Chinese are getting the more complications for a communist government there are. India also is China’s biggest rival in Asia and India sitting where China was 15 years ago is developing by leaps and bounds and the two don’t like each other.  Japan will more than likely maintain good relations with both the US and China, but Japan refuses as of now to view Taiwan as a part of China, Japans statement regarding Taiwan is “Undetermined.” Unless Japan gives up its pacifist constitution and goes imperial again Taiwan will not be harassed by Japan.  However if Taiwan were to declare Independence Japan would recognize them.

2) USA: In the TRA (Taiwan Relations Act) of 1979 we agree to sell Taiwan weapons of a defensive nature as well as commit troops in the scenario that China attacks Taiwan.  However with the US enthralled to China because of our debt and economy, we might sell out Taiwan if it means not going to war with China.  As of now our Navy and Air force can defeat the Chinese, but the current weapon systems being built in China are designed to knock out USA Navies and in 15 years a war between two great nations can result in the loss of potentially millions of lives. It would really depend on the current government in the US at the time. (Democrats are usually more anti-china because they take American jobs and human rights whereas Republicans are usually more pro-china and pro free trade but would also more willing to do battle with China if it means defending Taiwan)The economy might have a sway over morals in the case of US interference if China really attacked Taiwan.

3) Taiwan: Taiwan’s culture has developed to the point that I don’t think anytime in the near future would they want to become a part of China, whether it be KMT or DPP, now China has said it might not tolerate another DPP rise in Taiwan politics because they are outright anti china, but another DPP rise is very possible.  The young generations have lived in relative peace and prosperity, with pride in their Taiwan system of government. Taiwan has self ruled for over 60 years and before that it was the Japanese for 50. Over a hundred years has gone by without Taiwan being ruled from the mainland, and they would prefer it to stay that way.  It all boils down to how bad does China want Taiwan as a part of the mainland?  And how bad does Taiwan want independence. my guess is the longer the Taiwanese issue is unresolved and the richer China gets the higher chance that China will strike Taiwan, If China can get the US to see its side of the board by brandishing the vulnerable greenback and US economy, and oppose Taiwan independence like Bush did and as Obama does, and also get the USA to stop selling Taiwan arms than Taiwan is doomed.  But the longer Taiwan is controlled by Taiwanese the more and more entrenched in their independent ways they will be.  They will also become more resistant in China’s attempts to assimilate Taiwan.  Either way I believe Taiwan will not join the China peacefully, Once China believes they can win a war against the US pacific fleet, or the US won’t interfere in the case of a Chinese invasion than Taiwan will be attacked.  As far as China winning the hearts of the Taiwanese time is not on their side, nor ever was.

Ben Sainsbury, China – 9 November 2009

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Dear all,

It’s been awhile since I have left an update; things have been pretty busy here and fun as well.  This past week was the annual 3 countries down and feather exhibition. China, Japan, and Taiwan held in Taipei this year.  I had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan and witness the event.  Though obviously more of a private sector party, the Chinese government was not invited… Chinese communist officials are not allowed on Taiwan soil so a delegation of Chinese that could report back to the government was assembled and came.  We went as a third party to represent the American end of things in Asia.  Though strictly an Asian gathering many Far East countries sending products to America need to test through American approved companies such as IDFL in order to sell in the states.  And with America being such a big buyer they also had us invited.

Because this year’s event was hosted in Taiwan and just recently Taiwan has opened up more to Chinese visitors, it was the first time many Chinese nationals had a chance to visit the renegade province…. (Though I say they are different countries) The Taiwanese being very hospitable of course took the Chinese delegation to see all of the famous ROC sites, democratic sites, Taiwan pride sites, nature sites, and military sites.  Most of the Chinese delegation by the end of the day, though treated nice were appalled at all of the anti china rhetoric from the local Taiwanese.  Taiwan definitely leans more toward the west in independent thought and culture than their gigantic communist cousins to the north.  Taiwan is more westernized in thought with a hint of Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese cultures mixed into one.  Not to mention western capitalism has helped this nation flourish to where the average citizen has a far better lifestyle than that of the average Chinese citizen.   The Taiwanese have a fledgling robust democracy and are very independently minded and just in asking on the streets whether they are a part of China every single person I asked said no claiming that Taiwanese and Chinese cultures are fundamentally different.    But it is hard to explain that to someone from China.  For the most part everything went smooth as companies got to know each other but in the evening after everybody had something to drink and the business aspect of things was finished, the insults started to fly between the Taiwanese and the Chinese delegation.  The Japanese and us left early and left the drunk Taiwanese and Chinese to have their fun (nothing to serious happened between the groups) But overall I think both sides learned a little bit about the other and if hard politics between the groups can’t be established than soft politics is the next best option.

I am back in China now, working in the Chinese CIQ and have just under a month left.  I will be home around December 7th.  Time is flying by.

Until next week,
Ben

Ben Sainsbury, China – 3 October 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Well it’s the Chinese national day holidays this week, and the patriots of china have come out in full force.  Almost every car has a Chinese flag on it, and the cities are lined with the communist flag on every street.  Sounds of fireworks are heard periodically throughout the day and well into the nights.  Meanwhile in Beijing’s attempt to impress its citizens they rolled out the big guns at the nation’s capitol in an attempt to inflame nationalistic pride. I think it worked 60 years is an important number in Chinese culture it is the age of a ripe life, and in this sense the country.

I took the opportunity to travel a bit around china during the holiday.  I originally tried to get foreigner access to either Tibet or Xinjiang in western china and go out there with a friend I made at the Australian consulate, however we were denied and my friend ended up going to Taiwan.  I stayed and traveled shanghai, visiting the shopping malls and taking in the big city with some friends.  I than took a 3 hour train ride to Nanjing (the capitol of China for periods of time throughout its history) I stayed in Nanjing for two days seeing historic sites. I paid my respects to Dr Sun Yat Sen tomb in Nanjing sun Yat Sen who was the founder of the ROC 1912-1949 until they were ousted by Mao’s communists; however the communists still consider sun Yat Sen a father of modern day China and are respectful as such. They have a national park which is dedicated to him near Nanjing, though there was little mention of Jiang Kai Shei (the nationalist who fled to Taiwan after Maos takeover, the nationalist rule.  Also there nearby were the tombs of the Ming dynasty emperors whom had also made Nanjing their capitol.  These tombs are around 800 years old and the history behind them is amazing.  I really enjoyed my history trip to Nanjing during the break.  Other than that I explored around Xiaoshan where I live a little bit. Climbed a few mountains, got a few foot massages, (which are really cheap here) and just relaxed a little bit.bensainsbury.3oct.017

Ben Sainsbury, China – 27 September 2009

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Hello all, another week in the town of Xiao Shan (depressing mountain) has proven to be another decent one.  My main duties as of late have been to go around Zhejiang province with some of the government workers I work with, and inspect factories.  These factories have contracts with companies outside of China so mainly all of the materials they make will be exported.  It is the government’s job to go in and make sure the products are up to snuff.  In fact my main duty on these little adventures is to really make sure nobody is handing money under the table to maybe have a government official turn a blind eye on certain things.  It happens all of the time, sad but true, communists countries tend to be very corrupt.  But I still have a good time going with them, and on my end I just make sure that we are doing things legit out here.  A lot of foreign companies even though have to comply with the Chinese regulations as far as exporting goods go will hire a third party…like us…to work alongside the government officials to make sure their products are really what they say they are.  It has definitely given me a good look as to how our biggest trading partner runs things.

Every Sunday I have the opportunity to attend LDS church services, which was a surprise for me.  We meet for an hour once a week, and mainly just socialize.  We are not allowed to attend church services with Chinese Nationals and what not, but they can meet amongst themselves as well, and in every major city in china there is a local LDS Chinese branch.  Even though communism frowns upon religion, and has done their best to snuff it out among the locals in the past, religion is slowly starting to make a comeback in china, though if you’re a member of the communist party it is illegal for you to have a religious belief, basically the party is your belief. But as the closet capitalists are coming out in china, starting with the late Deng Xiao Ping the damage inflicted during the Cultural Revolution is starting to heal, and china is becoming more and more capitalistic every day. In fact a lot of the guys I work with like to joke that Chinese communists are more capitalists than Obama is. (Referring to tariffs against Chinese tires)

The 60 year of PRC rule in China is coming up and celebrations will last for 4 days starting on Thursday, they also have a mid autumn festival during the celebrations so everybody here is excited for the extra time off work.

Ben Sainsbury, China – 20 September 2009

Friday, September 25th, 2009

As I drove down the streets of XiaoShan (depressing mountain village, near a remarkably modern city of hangzhou) where I live I noticed that on the main streets of the town big red Chinese communists party flags were being hung from the streets, and shops. A field of red with a large bronze star in the upper left circled by four lesser stars. It’s the commies 60th anniversary coming up in about a week or so, and all of the city officials, and businessmen don’t want beijings eye if they are not presenting the communists colors. A movie was even produced specially this year to attract a lot of the less interested younger populations. The movie has many Chinese starts that the young people love, and it’s the story of the maoist revolution, and the ousting of the beurgios nationals led by jiang jie shi (jiang kai sheik) I guess it is really well made according to a co-worker of mine who saw it on the opening day, I would personally like to go and see it even though it will contain some false information and have heavy political overtones. Taiwan is scheduled to come out with a movie of their own in about two weeks (the nationals holiday) to counter balance the Chinese one, but of course it will not be shown in china. Many of the young people here love the internet! As we know there are many sites that cannot be accessed but many of the young people know how to get around it, and can still read or watch whatever they would like on the internet.

The work here is great. I am in daily contact with communist officials in charge of exporting products around the world, they do all of the testing on goods coming from private factory owners to other parts of the world. The city of xiaoshan is on the border of a bigger city called Hangzhou. Hangzhou is great. I took a walk around the west lake (Xi Hu) and it was an amazing site, the lake was massive with a lot of traditional pagotas spread throughout the lake on little islands, a breath taking view at night. It’s a really modern city that caters well to foreigners but once you get out of the bigger cities its almost like stepping into a totally different world, where poverty is still a major part of Chinese rural societies.Ben Sainsbury

Ben Sainsbury

Ben Sainsbury