Expats witness China’s changes

China Daily event

On 12 December 2018 China Daily organized an event in The Bookworm “Expats witness China’s changes”, as China celebrates the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up. China Daily website invited over 30 foreigners to share their stories and insights.
The China Daily online article: https://enapp.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201812/14/AP5c132630a310475542874c93.html

See here the PDF of the article: 181212 CDBookworm

The program and guests:
For the full program see here: 181212 ProgramBookworm

Main speakers:

  • Zhang Chunyan, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily Website
  • Laurence Brahm
  • David Bartosch
  • Gilbert Van Kerckhove
  • Alex Chan
  • Hujjatullah Zia
  • Jocelyn Eikenburg
  • Bruce Connolly

Gilbert talking

The official topic and introduction:
2008 it’s an important year for China as Beijing held the Olympics successfully. To many who have watched or attended the Beijing Olympics did have great memory on it, some even remark it was transformative for the city and country. For our next speaker Mr. Gilbert Van Kerckhove, he was deeply involved in the preparation of the Beijing Olympics. He acted as a bridge between the Chinese administration and foreign governments, embassies and chambers of commerce during China’s preparation for the Olympics. Due to his achievements, he was honored with the China Friendship Award, and he was offered a Chinese “green card” in 2008. Now, we have Mr. Gilbert Van Kerckhove to share his 38 years experience during his stay in China.

The report from China Daily:
Gilbert Van Kerckhove is one of the earliest foreign business people to venture into China after its reform and opening-up. The 70-year-old Belgian business strategist has not only witnessed, but also played an important part in the country’s tremendous transformation over the decades.
In 2008, as Beijing prepared for the Olympic Games, Van Kerckhove acted as a coordinator between the Chinese administration and foreign governments, embassies and chambers of commerce.
Looking back on his memorable experiences of the 2008 Olympics, Van Kerckhove summarized the whole complicated effort in one sentence: “It was not only me — it was teamwork. It also illustrates that we foreigners can contribute to this country.”
Living in China for 38 years, Gilbert Van Kerckhove witnessed China’s great transformation. “In this respect, China has being pretty much planning ahead and being very forward-looking,” he said.
Due to his great achievements, he was honored with the China Friendship Award in 2005, and he was offered a Chinese “green card” in 2008.

Meeting friends

Was good to meet some friends who were there as speakers or VIP guests:
Laurence Brahm, David Bartosch, Bruce Connolly and Emanuele  Francia.

See here the pics, mostly from China Daily, others from friends and myself.

The clip of my recent interview on VRT

As mentioned earlier, I was interviewed by the Belgian VRT at the occasion of the visit of our Belgian PM Charles Michel. See here the clip.


I finally managed to get the full segment, thanks to the help of VRT. The language is Dutch.
This is the direct link:

I also uploaded the clip on Youtube (needs VPN in China): https://youtu.be/mXMiG4hEFTY

Or see here:

My interviews on SINO-US.com websites


Recently I was interviewed by Rebecca Lin from www.SINO-US.com.
The interview lasted over two hours and I guess Rebecca has a lot to digest and has material for more publications…
Some of my friends were surprised to read my story. Indeed, I mostly keep a low profile so some of the more “new” friends know little about my crazy stories, Olympics and much more.
Thanks Rebecca for being very professional.

See here the link: http://sino-us.com/21/17590493560.html
The PDF: 161011-mychineseolympicdream


Then, confusion as my friend Mark Levine alerted me about another article that was published in Los Angeles, about him and me. After asking around Rebecca kindly sent me the PDF as that publication is related to SINO-US …
I honestly forgot about that interview and how those pictures landed there. I need to check about the journalist Zhang Han.
The online translation was kind of hilarious. Seems I am now :Van Gogh”. I am honored!
See part:

“Honor status. By the end of 2012, when Van Gogh was granted a Chinese green card, only about 7,300 foreigners were awarded the honor. Including two years earlier than his American-Chinese physicist Yang Zhenning.
Van Gogh was born in 1948, after graduating from university in Brazil and Nigeria, multinational companies work.”

See here the links:
The PDF: 161009-articleuschinab

Honor gallery of China Friendship Awards

I was surprised to see me in the China Daily article, where they selected a very few of the award winners of the China Friendship Award… I did not expect that at all. Is the same journalist who did the previous article about me. Half-awake drinking my morning coffee discovered it.
The article:
29 June 2016 – Old friends and new challenges
By Liu Xiangrui – China Daily

See the link:

And see here my pdf version:
160629 ChinaDaily

It is pretty cool as the selection of the 5 people mentioned is out of the dozens of China Friendship Awards.
A bit sarcastic for me to be featured under “The Party’s 95th Anniversary” haha.

Participating in CCTV Dialogue not fun

On 8 June I took part in the program of CCTV.
After a long wait it finally came out on 4 July 2016:

Title: “Future of China-Australia ties”
It was a Dialogue special in which CCTV joined forces with Australia’s Sky News for a panel debate on the Sino-Australian relationship. Two hosts: Yang Rui (CCTV) and James Middleton (Sky News Australia)
Four Chinese debaters:

  1. Sr. Colonel Zhou Bo, Director, Center for International Security Cooperation, MND
  2. Prof. Zhu Feng, Executive Director, China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea, Nanjing University
  3. Prof. Zhu Ning, Deputy Director, Advanced Institute of Finance, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  4. Charles Liu, Founder & CEO, Hao Capital

And four Australian debaters:

  1. Professor Gary Smith, Vice President, Deakin University
  2. Professor Greg McCarthy, BHP Billiton Chair of Australian Studies, Peking University
  3. John Russel, Managing Director, North Head Communications
  4. Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific Editor, The Australian newspaper

Well, I found the topic pretty sensitive – the issue of the South China Sea – and I thus kept silent. The panel discussion was not well structured in my view. We as part of the “international audience, former politicians and opinion-makers” were supposed to ask questions to the panelists on the stage. It all went in a strange way and our group was barely visible during the near one hour program; we were literally “left in the dark” and I was wondering why we were even there.

OK it was fun entering for the first time in the new CCTV building (ground floor only) but I have had much better experiences with CCTV in the past.
And yes I am still a lousy selfie taker! See the views of and from around the CCTV tower.