Travelers fascinated with their tour of China 2008.01.03

Written by David Green.

Former Morenci United Methodist pastor Dorothy Okray traveled to China with Morenci resident Lois Speed last fall. Following are some recollections of the trip.



The secret of China’s ever escalating rise toward dominance as a world power does not lie with its low manufacturing costs. There are a myriad of countries whose people would rejoice over $1 an hour wages. It is the exuberance its people: pride in their country’s recent accomplishments; hope for a better future; and a willingness to sacrifice not only for personal gain, but for the betterment of all Chinese citizens.

“We are one family and believe we should help those of us who have less,” explained a Beijing guide. 

The Chinese pay taxes, own their own homes, primarily condominiums (few, except in the rural areas, live in free-standing homes), worry about their children’s education and health care, drive late model cars and dress like the average U.S. citizen. They have eight other political parties, but they act, essentially, as advisers. The government has, however, just recently placed two members of these outside parties as ministers in the Communist government, a real step forward toward democracy, the Chinese believe.

Where the Chinese differ from us:

• The willingness to use tax revenue for the education and health care of those in rural areas, the poorest of their country;

• The appreciation of education, with families sacrificing for their children to participate in after-school programs of music, advanced math, art, etc.;

• The emphasis on beauty, with each small space of a city devoted to landscaped works of art. The overhead freeways include hanging greens; every small nook and cranny of the skyscraper-laden cities find sculpted hedges and blossoming flowers, the parks are manicured masterpieces of the most creative landscape architects;

• and the furious pace of work to develop “green” energy alternatives. 

The Chinese hope for even more freedom, but they do not wish to emulate what happened to Russia’s immediate thrust into democracy. The corruption that took hold of Russia and its inability to pay for teachers and other necessary services has taught China patience.

The Chinese do not feel the uneducated masses—primarily rural—are ready for democracy and capitalism, predicting mass starvation and chaos.  Instead, they are trying to educate those people while providing them with more and more services, such as universal health care by 2010. This they believe to be the most intelligent and compassionate way to build their country.  Right now, they are discussing the structures of other countries and their benefits:  the socialism of Norway, Sweden, Denmark vs. our capitalism.

Of all I saw in China—from the ancient glorious buildings and breathtaking new architectural landmarks—I was most astonished not by them, but by the young children. Their genuine smiles and outgoing nature won my heart. I never experienced a whining, petulant one. This gives a person hope when we realize that more than one out of every four people in the world are Chinese.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016