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.
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.