Letter from the Editor-in-Chief (2013 July)

IN THE AGE OF GLOBALIZATION, it is easy to meet a foreign friend, common to study a foreign language, and popular to visit a foreign country. All these experiences will quite probably open a window, showing a marvelous new world and breathe new life into people.

Six years ago, I came to the United States and had a one-year academic stay at Michigan State University. I found it highly significant and enjoyable observing and reflecting on different cultures. Meanwhile, my attention was naturally drawn to explore and reflect on my own country and culture, as I was frequently asked about China, Chinese people and Chinese culture. I felt ashamed that I could not answer as an expert would. I also realized that people outside China have very limited resources to truly understand the world’s most populated country. Many people have heated discussions about the real nature of China. That reminded me of the story of the Blind Men and an Elephant, in which a group of blind men argue about what the elephant looks like based on their own experience of touching different single parts of the elephant. Everybody could possible describe China from their own perspective, based on his or her own experience or information. Yet this can be so controversial! This stimulated my passion to promote the world’s knowledge and understanding of China and Chinese culture.

I feel lucky and thankful that I joined Groningen Confucius Institute (GCI) in 2012. The ‘kingdom of tulips’ reveals the beauty and novelty of Dutch culture, day in, day out, both inside and outside of my work in the Netherlands. I am also advancing my dream to promote mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world by working at GCI. I am particularly appreciative of and impressed by one version of the story of the Blind Men and an Elephant: the blind men stop arguing about their own judgment and start listening and collaborating to ‘see’ the full elephant. It is so precious that individuals are aware of the value of communication and respecting different perspectives. This is also where my initiative originates in developing a journal in which we share different perspectives on China and provide insights into China from as many different aspects as possible. We aim to provide a full view of real China to the readers as well as featuring international and comprehensive perspectives, cutting-edge topics, in-depth reporting, classic interpretations and vivid exposition.

The first step on a journey is always exciting and challenging. We have such a great team at GCI, in which we enjoy cooperation and synergy. It is a cross-cultural team, as we have members from China, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Mutual understanding is something of which we are very proud. The efforts of learning both Chinese culture and local culture laid the foundation of our team’s innovation. True to Chinese style, patience is a real important concept to which we adhere: being patient for the long-term dream, being patient when facing a challenge, being patient with others and being patient with oneself. That is one of the core values of Chinese culture and it is also the strength of our team. By sharing we succeed. When you read the very first issue of Global China Insights, I hope you enjoy the beauty of TULIPS, GCI’s spirit: Teamwork, Understanding, learning, Innovation, Patience and Success.

Best regards from Groningen,
Liu Jingyi