Expat professor retraces his China journey of 25 years ago
William Brown poses for a photo at Xiamen University in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, June 14, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]
William Brown, an American professor at Xiamen University, Fujian province, set off on Tuesday to retrace the route taken by him and his family in China 25 years ago.
In 1994, Brown, together with his wife and two sons, drove 40,000 kilometers around China for about three months in their Toyota van.
Brown said the idea of retracing the journey has always been on his mind. During this revisit, he wants to see the changes that have taken place in China and in people's life in the past 25 years. This would be very meaningful, Brown said.
This time, the 63-year-old is traveling without his wife and sons. But he is not alone. A fleet of four vehicles carry his team, including drivers and doctors. They might also take bullet trains in some occasions.
According to Brown, they will mostly follow the original route taken by his family 25 years ago. But this time, they will also visit Fuan and Changle in Fujian province. The trip is expected to take one month.
Many places he visited in 1994 were underdeveloped, Brown recalled. But he was touched by the Chinese government's efforts, building roads, schools and hospitals in these areas. He really anticipates seeing the outcome of the efforts, said Brown.
Brown was impressed by the honesty and simplicity of the Chinese people during his last trip. He remembered his wife Susan attracted a large crowd when she bought apricots on the street, because the locals had not seen a foreigner before. The farmers only charged her a nominal price for a bag of apricots. Susan offered to pay them more but was refused. Instead, they put some more apricots in the bag.
The generosity of Chinese people, even the poorest one they encountered, made them blush, said Brown.
Brown said he would write two books based on the journey, telling foreigners and Chinese people about China's changes. He said he would record the changes truthfully in the books, whether the good ones or dissatisfactory ones.
Brown and his family moved to the city of Xiamen, Fujian, in 1988. He was the first foreigner granted permanent residence by the province in 1992 and has written multiple books about China.