(East-West Question) Zhao Qianxi: How does Rewi Alley show the real China overseas?

  China News Agency, Lanzhou, June 12th: How does Rewi Alley show the real China overseas?

  ——Interview with Zhao Qianxi, associate research librarian of the Shandan Rewi Memorial Hall in Gansu Province

  Author Yan Jiao

  Rewi Alley, known as "China's top ten international friends", is a New Zealand educator and writer. He has lived in China for 60 years and has established more than 1,000 Chinese industrial cooperatives ("Gonghe" for short) locally. Through writing articles, taking photographs, participating in international conferences, etc., he spared no effort to show the "real China" overseas, which has been widely recognized by international organizations. He has also become one of the typical representatives of cultural and educational exchanges between the East and the West. .

What did Rewi Alley bring to East-West exchanges?

Zhao Qianxi, an associate research librarian at the Shandan Rei Memorial Hall in Gansu Province, recently accepted an exclusive interview with China News Agency's "East and West Questions" to interpret this.

The following is a summary of the interview transcript:

China News Service: Rewi Alley spent two-thirds of his 90-year life in China, building a "bridge of friendship" between China and New Zealand.

What did this "Rewi Alley Love" bring to China?

Zhao Qianxi:

Rewi Alley has been commemorated by the people of China and New Zealand in various ways such as text, film and television, sculptures, monuments, etc. He built a pragmatic and dedicated people-to-people exchange bridge between the East and the West, and set a model, affectionately called "" Ai Lao".

  Mr. Ai organized more than 1,000 labor unions in China, which solved the livelihood problems of a large number of unemployed workers and refugees. He also solved the problems of education and skills training for children from poor families and poor children at that time by running schools.

Under his influence, foreigners came to China to work and teach, bringing advanced Western concepts and skills to China, which objectively promoted the improvement of local industrial technology and economic development.

  Ai Lao founded Peili School in Shandan County, Zhangye City, Gansu Province, a node city on the Silk Road. At that time, it attracted nearly 30 foreign teachers from 8 countries, as well as many overseas tourists and foreigners visiting Dunhuang, a famous Silk Road city. Experts and even embassies came to investigate, which made a small town in the western interior have a relatively high reputation in the world.

Under the words and deeds of these teachers and technicians, Chinese students have learned about the outside world while mastering the technology. Excellent students are also recommended to go abroad for further study.

Rewi Alley put forward the vocational education concept of "using hand and brain to create analysis", which has been continued in this school.

The photo shows the Peili Vocational College located in Shandan County, Zhangye City, Gansu Province.

Photo by China News Agency Development Gao Zhan

China News Service reporter: In what ways and channels did Rewi Alley tell the "real China" overseas?

Zhao Qianxi:

Before the founding of New China, Mr. Ai mainly introduced China by writing articles for some English publications.

After the founding of New China, he mainly used various international peace conferences to tell about China through personal experience; he went to various places to conduct interviews to understand China's development, and recorded the achievements of New China through writing; After being promoted internationally, he has translated "Selected Poems of Du Fu", "Selected Poems of Li Bai", "Three Hundred Poems of Tang Dynasty", etc., so that foreign friends can understand a poetic China.

  He wrote nearly 70 books in his lifetime, and made detailed records of China.

In addition, he also actively builds a bridge for exchanges and cooperation between China and the world.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand. New Zealand is the first country in the western developed countries to establish diplomatic relations with China. Rewi Alley has played a very important role in coordination and communication.

People visit the Shandan Alley Memorial Hall in Zhangye City, Gansu Province.

Photo by China News Agency Development Gao Zhan

China News Agency reporter: What is the inspiration of Rewi Alley's vocational education thought today?

Zhao Qianxi:

Mr. Ai proposed the vocational education idea of ​​"using hands and brains together, creating and analyzing", that is, cultivating workers with certain professional knowledge and more practical skills, who can solve the livelihood problems of individuals or groups of people with their skills.

  The workers trained by the above vocational education can inherit and innovate some traditional skills in the process of high-efficiency production. If there is enough room for creativity and improvement, they can also be trained as national craftsmen, leading the innovation and development of local industries.

  The vocational education idea of ​​"using both hands and brains, creating and analyzing" also has certain enlightenment for some countries and regions along the Silk Road.

China expands vocational education exchanges with countries and regions along the “Belt and Road”. On the one hand, it needs to build a platform for cultivating talents with “hands and brains, creating and analyzing” talents. With the help of mature education models, it can cultivate talents with better skills and technical level. Talents are sent to these countries and regions to guide and train local laborers on the spot.

  At the same time, workers must be trained on two platforms, classrooms and production lines, to accelerate the transformation of theoretical knowledge into practical skills. This transformation is not only about improving skills, but also giving educated workers a strong sense of accomplishment, thereby stimulating Desire to learn and seek knowledge, improve practical ability.

"Rewi Alley and the Children" wax figure displayed in Shandan Rewi Alley Memorial Hall in Gansu Province.

Photo by Yang Yanmin issued by China News Agency

China News Service: What international influences have the international friends represented by Rewi Alley produced?

What are the lessons for promoting exchanges between the East and the West today?

Zhao Qianxi:

There are many international friends represented by Mr. Ai, with different careers and experiences.

For example, Bethune's contribution was mainly reflected in saving the wounded and dying, while Edgar Snow introduced the unknown China to the world.

Ai Lao has not only experienced the hardships of China, but also witnessed the birth and development of New China. Some centenarian international friends also witnessed the rapid development of New China entering the 20th century.

They view China's development from a Western perspective and introduce China's remarkable achievements to the world, which is more acceptable to Western people.

The original appearance of Rewi Alley's former residence in Beijing displayed in Shandan Rewi Alley Memorial Hall in Gansu Province.

Photo by Yang Yanmin issued by China News Agency

  In today's world, with rapid economic development and instant information communication, human destiny and development resonate at the same frequency, it is even more necessary to make full use of and give full play to the role of cultural exchange messengers, especially those who are at the bottom of society and share weal and woe with the people at the bottom. Destiny's international friends, their most down-to-earth exchanges and exchanges have won the trust of the people, making the cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries the most realistic communication. In the future, such exchanges will be more and more extensive, and the impact will be more in-depth.

  After the end of the new crown epidemic, in terms of labor export, corporate exchanges, cultural mutual learning, etc., the contacts between countries in the world are expected to usher in a blowout development. Like Ai Lao, the international friends who build a bridge of friendship and act as cultural exchange messengers will Emerging in different fields and at different levels.


Interviewee Profile:

  Zhao Qianxi, associate research librarian at Shandan Rewi Alley Memorial Hall in Gansu Province, his representative works include "Promoting Rewi Rewi Alley's "Creative Analysis" Vocational Education Thought, Helping the Construction of the Belt and Road Rewi Alley: Telling China's Stories to the World", etc.