China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

This article was written for the Sting by Mr Sandor Meszaros, former Ambassador of Hungary to China and winner of the China Unlimited competition. Mr Meszaros took part in the China Unlimited trip from 22 July to 02 August 2016.

Jpeg

Mr Sandor Meszaros is the former Ambassador of Hungary to China and one of the winners of the China Unlimited competition.

As an intern in Beijing, I went with the Ambassador to the October 1-st National Day reception in 1973. Mao was just to cross the last chapter in his life, Premier Zhou didn’t leave the hospital, but Jiang Jin gloomily stood in the reception line. As we shook hands I felt, as if staring into a frozen window. History sat on the faces, a stormy era was about to step off the scene. The only question remained:when and how. The city was dark, submerged in silent anticipation. I would never come back here, told myself, never, ever.

Next time I saw Jiang in 1980, on TV in Beijing; she was listening to the judge reading her death sentence, with a suspension. They ridiculed her for the outbursts she demonstrated, yet I felt a certain respect, because she had held herself toughly. The leadership stated that Mao was mostly right in his actions, obviously it was Jiang to be blamed for the devastating „cultural revolution”. Anyway this trial took place soon after the leadership decided on a new political course, and under the egis of Deng Xiaoping launched reforms and opening.

Premier Zhao Ziyang jovialy received Head of Foreign Missions leaving for good, assuring the Hungarian Ambassador, that they were on the right track and  learnt a lot from the Hungarian economic reform experiences.

In 1984 Deng came to a bridge tournament, was sitting not far from me, I could smell the smoke of his Panda cigarettes. His face radiated self-confidence: events were moving according to his will. By than life improved a bit for most of the people, the country accepted his promis: everybody gets rich, but some people will be richer earlier.

Yet, when returning to Beijing in 1988, the Chinese society was disturbed and agitated very much because of the growing material inequalities generated by the reforms and the spreading corruption. The majority felt not being among those who will become rich soon. A fever of money-spending and dissatisfaction overwhelmed the streets, in the restaurants baijiu heated discussions rolled on ad on.

By the tragic summer of 1989 the two closest ally of Deng were gone: Hu Yaobang died in a heart attack, many believed, caused by his disgraceful dismissal from his post two years earlier. Zhao in a way sided with the student demonstrators, so he was ripped all of his positions, and locked in his house until his death. Deng faced the toughest decision of his life: using force against the young men was bad, but to let the demonstrations go on was not feasible either for the leaders. Tiananmen protests were crushed, and I am sure it stayed with the paramount leader until the last day of his life. 25 years later,remembering that difficult year I published a book trying to find out what happened to that young man, who stoped a column of tanks in Beijing.

In 2004 I returned again in China as Ambassador of Hungary, President Hu Jintao accepted my credentials, called me an old friend of China, and praised our growing cooperation.

Everywhere one could feel sort of a „the world is not enough” athmosphere, the Chinese economy was rising like a shiny hotair baloon, seen ever smaller from the ground, but bigger and bigger for those who actually were flying above it. Cities entered into competition, wich of them is able to built more skyscrapers in the shortest period.The first Chinese austronaut only smiled at my question: whether the Great Wall really could be seen from outer space? And consumption, consumption above everything and at any price: as if the population of China wanted to catch up during one generation with the whealth of the rich countries. A high offficial complained about the problems caused by the fast growing number of private cars, the Minister of Finance told me about his nightmares he might see concerning the stability of the countries galactical amount of savings.

And now China again. Monsun heat, raining every evening, smog sits on the city as a wet blanket, cars everywhere, the highrises are higher than before, endless eatings and drinkings at every corner. The development has brought China and its society into the 21-st century, at the same time the problems seem to be significant also, the rise of the economy slowed down. One feeels the tension growing inside the people: Oh, God, don’t let anything endanger our just achieved good life! And the pressure: I have to get the money, more and more,  whatever it takes!

Having returned home I write emails about our recent trip to China to my old Chinese friends, their number unfortunately is getting fewer. I again started dreaming about going back for one more time, China drags as a magnet. Who knows…

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

FROM THE FIELD: Niger supporting the most vulnerable, as crises mount

How quantum computing could beat climate change

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

Brexit: Six more months of political paralysis or a May-Corbyn compromise?

How next-generation information technologies tackled COVID-19 in China

Security Council calls for dialogue in Haiti

Donald Tusk presents EU summit conclusions for last time

Coronavirus: ‘An emergency in China, but not yet a global health emergency’

Century challenge: inclusion of immigrants in the health system

Time to act together: Von der Leyen at the European Parliament July plenary

Theresa May expresses her optimism about Britain’s economic success while UK business outlook seems ominous

IMF’s Lagarde indirectly cautioned Eurozone on deflation

Data show EU Economy in a stubbornly subdued state

Landmark terror finance resolution adopted by Security Council

EU lawmakers vote to reintroduce visas for Americans over “reciprocity principle”

Tackling the toxic norms that hold women back in Asia

How to fix our planet: the pioneers fighting to bring nature back

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a break for nature – let’s make sure there is one after the crisis

Brexit update: Will the EU grant extention to Britain preventing economic chaos?

Estonia built one of the world’s most advanced digital societies. During COVID-19, that became a lifeline

Towards a European Republic

Warmer months ahead for many parts of the planet: UN weather agency

The new assembly lines: Why AI needs low-skilled workers too

Europe’s poor investment in digital is threatening prosperity. Here’s what its start-ups need

Why symbols of injustice matter and what to do with them

Health equity and accessibility for migrants is a peremptory demand

Future of Insurance Claims in Focus at Fourth Annual Connected Claims Europe Summit

Parliament: Last compromise on bank single resolution mechanism

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

These 3 countries are global offshore wind powerhouses

State aid: Commission approves €431 million public support for cleaner transport in German cities

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Q&A on the 19th China-EU Summit to be held on 01-02 June 2017 in Brussels

Service Engineer Intern – 1991

Onagawa’s spirit of togetherness: lessons from the 2011 tsunami

EU to Turkey: No other ties than €3+3bn to upkeep refugees

Horn of Africa: UN chief welcomes Djibouti agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia

South Sudan ‘revitalized’ peace deal must be inclusive, Security Council hears

Brexit: European Commission recommends the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the agreement reached on the revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and revised Political Declaration

Why a cash-free future might not be as close as you think

These are the world’s 10 most innovative economies

Elections in Britain may reserve a surprise for May’s Tories

It’s not enough to respond to crises. We need to take action before they happen

Women’s empowerment ‘essential to global progress’ says Guterres, marking International Day

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Medical students as the critical link to address climate change

‘Action and tangible progress’ needed to finally ‘win the peace’ for Syrians: UN envoy

Draghi’s negative interest rates help Eurozone’s cohesion

GSMA Mobile 360 in Kuala Lumpur– Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

EU imposes provisional anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels

Syrian Constitutional Committee a ‘sign of hope’: UN envoy tells Security Council

More than half a million Rohingya in Bangladesh get ID cards for first time: UN refugee agency

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

Wolfgang Schäuble: “Without European unification, there would be no German unity”

“A sustainable economy, low-carbon, resource-efficient, resilient and more competitive on the global stage”, EU Commissioner Vella in a Sting Exclusive

Dear China

Mali’s ‘self-defence’ groups must face justice, after deadly intercommunal attacks

What makes a good healthcare professional?

Human Rights and Democracy: striving for dignity and equality around the world

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s