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.

 

By DOROTHY OKRAY

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 ofchina.kids.jpg 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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
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    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
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    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.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.

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