An even soggier Shanghai

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Last full day in China and off tomorrow for Penang for a dinner, a conference, a lunch and two nights sleep before setting off for the UK. However, I’ll be with seven much more important people – the Vice Chancellors of the other seven NZ Universities – so I’ll be able to take a back seat. The Conference is only half a day after which I have the option of visiting a University’s Poison Centre or going shopping (Mmmm… difficult one that). Visited two more universities today, one of which we will definetly (I can never spell that word) be visiting again. They even have a Foreign Visitors Guest Centre which is full of people from all over the world. We are looking for a small number of strong partnerships and we get many Chinese delegations visiting us in China, and we visit many Chinese universities, but this looks like a serious one. The fact that it is in Shanghai is a great advantage as that is always the stopping off point for our visits to China (now that there is a non-stop flight from Auckland). A further advantage is that it even has it’s own little museum of ceramics, calligraphy and painting – a very nice surprise.

Paul has headed off back to Waiheke and Peilin is off to Jinan and also to visit the Chinese side of his family in Beijing. I’m tidying up after the hectic week and about to pack. I’m trying to avoid talking about Tianjin – as I have done in each blog – mostly because I can’t think of much to say. Our partners there are great but it is big (5m people) and dirty and although it is developing and has a nice touristy cultural quarter, it’s a place to be avoided unless your employer sends you there. So that’s Tianjin.

The China Daily yesterday had a big feature on the recently published International Peace Index – ie a league table of how peaceful and peaceable countries are. The China Daily was quite pleased they had come 60th (out of 121) given their human rights record, rates of exceution of people, and the huge defense expenditure. We were quite pleased to point out to our hosts that New Zealand came second after Norway and before Denmark. Cynics would, of course, say that this must really be the Peace and Quiet index!

There has been a big debate going on about whether one of Shanghai’s leading government officials should be executed for corruption after he had fraudulently taken money to support, amongst other things, his 14 ‘publicly admitted’ mistresses. Exceution is regular here and fraud and general social misbehaviour are treated as seriously as murder.

Well I really do have to pack. The next blog is from London which is hopefully less soggy (famous last words)

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