Beijing Dinner, the aftermath

What an amazing get-together. At least 12 of us congregated at one of the best Chinese restaurants I’ve been to in Beijing for some incredible food and a very, um, spirited conversation. We had bloggers and blog connoisseurs from the UK, Canada, the US, France and China representing all kinds of professions – marketers, teachers, students, investment bankers, even a movie star in the ascendant.

Each of us holds strong opinions about China, its past and its future, and about the state of US and world politics. So when you get that many strong-minded people together in one room for more than three hours with plenty of beer and other exotic beverages, there’s bound to be some pyrotechnics.

The most fiery topic was, not surprisingly, the question of whether the CCP has been a net plus or minus for China, and how they compare to other regimes in history. My dear friend Joseph Bosco cut them a bit more slack than some of the other attendees, some of whom (like frequent commenter Keir and, I admit, myself) are less willing to show them much forbearance. This led to an intense and fascinating discussion/inquiry into what China and its government are all about and whether they are now on the right track.

As always, it’s intriguing to actually see the faces behind the names underneath the comments. I think we automatically construct faces for these people we never see, so when we’re actually face to face it’s a bit of a surprise to discover just how wrong our imaginations were. In a day or two you’ll actually be able to see some of these faces for yourself. We were lucky enough to have a professional photographer on hand, and photos will be posted as soon as I get them.

Thanks to everyone who took the time and trouble to meet last night, and thanks for making the conversation consistently lively. To those who are about to launch their own blogs, keep us posted and good luck (and I hope you know what you’re getting into). And let’s try to make this an ongoing event, maybe twice a year.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 13 Comments

sorry i missed it. i was just getting back from dalian at the time, and couldnt make it.

August 28, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment

Sounds like you people had a right knees-up. Look forward to the pics.

Can’t promise the same livliness at the southern China rendezvous. I’ll try my best to be controversial and provoke Sam.

Pete, you’re in Guangzhou. Let me know if you intend to go to the southern China meet. We can travel down together. The trains back to GZ used to stop at 9pm, I assume they still do so we could share a taxi back and that.

August 28, 2005 @ 11:24 pm | Comment

I was thinking about writing about this, and I still might. Blogging is a bit like talk radio. You find a voice that resonates with you and follow it. You see whatever personality is projected through the blog (rather than hearing what is projected through the radio) and you construct an image of a person around that. In a way it’s a shame when that imaginary construct is replaced by the real thing. It destroys some of the mystery.

August 29, 2005 @ 12:02 am | Comment

Are you trying to say that you’re no oil painting Will mate?!

August 29, 2005 @ 12:14 am | Comment

Just wanted to say thanks Richard for hosting such a stimulating get together [and a great choice of restaurant]. I’m afraid I didn’t contribute much to the discussion [being quite ignorant of US and even Chinese politics/history], but I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all the other views. And like you say, it is interesting to put faces to names.

August 29, 2005 @ 12:48 am | Comment

Slow Couple of Days – More Soon

August 29, 2005 @ 2:30 am | Comment

Remedial Reading and a Duck Dinner

August 29, 2005 @ 2:32 am | Comment

which restaurant?

August 29, 2005 @ 4:19 am | Comment

Granted I don’t comment much, but I would have loved to attend. An open, political conversation in Beijing is a rare and delicious delicacy! Perhaps there is an opportunity for other bloggers to meet in Beijing in the near future?

August 29, 2005 @ 7:07 pm | Comment

Had a great time, but next time won’t try to compete with Mr. Bosco in the scotch department…
Waited before before posting my gratitude for the opportunity to meet you all there partly because this site wouldn’t open and partly out of the drive to play down my assertion that Clinton had given China Most Favoured Trade Nation Status in 1990…
Ouch. If you’re going to get pissed and bander about numbers with your argfuments, you’d best be damn sure in such company.

August 30, 2005 @ 8:13 am | Comment

I wouldn’t fancy debating with Mr. Joseph Bosco so my hat goes off to you Kier. The stuff that that guy writes is frightening to mere guest bloggers like myself.

August 30, 2005 @ 9:33 am | Comment

Sorry I missed it.

I was in Tokyo at the time. And now that I’ve gotten to Beijing, I’ve found myself bedridden with some extremely unpleasant illness.

lunch sometimes perhaps :)

September 1, 2005 @ 8:22 am | Comment

Realy good site!

September 16, 2005 @ 6:49 am | Comment

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