Dear Bob -

I just finished reading the Economist report on China - & want to thank you for sending the magazine. - I read their first report a year ago & it was obvious that their professional credentials for insight, questioning & writing were of the highest order -

Now, after the return trip, they have not gotten smug – as so called experts often do – but retained this keen insight & reporting ability. If only a lot of other new writers & TV news “producers” were as good. - The world would be better informed & better off. Unfortunately, I feel the media here manufactured mountains where only mounds Tumuli exist. The middle east is one area that has brought out the worst in them. As for China, it is going through a major change – but one would be badly informed if LA thinks it’s all easy & going smoothly. And – what can change quickly to the west – can equally reverse itself tomorrow. - One point that was not brought out in the articles is that China needs a long period of peace if it is to make real progress in industrialisation and improvement in standard of living. It is happening - people are better off – and even Peking & the rural areas, the peasants will go along with it as long as they too make progress. They have seen the progress these past few years - & more is coming – but only if there can be peace.

Sat, Barbie & I went to Tianjin (Tientsin) for a nostalgia trip for me. We drove all around the city I lived in for most of 1946, walked by the buildings I stayed in & pushed our way through the crowds at the Bazaar where I used to shop. I really can’t say in a few words what my feeling were – but they ranged from sadness to pity & discouragement. Some of the buildings look like they have only been used for 34 years and not once repaired or improved. - As an industrial city, I can understand the black soot & grime (a Pittsburgh or Youngstown of the 30s) In addition, this damage from the earthquakes 3 years ago was major & is evident everywhere – firstly from the shells of damaged buildings but more so from the rabbit warren of shanties built on every available square foot of property. I would guess that 1⁄2 of all the 20 sidewalk area in the city is now the floor of these temporary homes. - Even taking this into account, I would have expected something better.

I took pictures of many places exactly like some snapshots taken in 1946. I think looking at the two side by side will better tell the story. We continue to enjoy our activities here, - Barbie loves her teaching & feels she has found a very useful & rewarding outlet for her energies & goodness. I enjoy the challenge of doing new & different things & to do them better each year. Progress is painfully slow – but then I am geared to that & somewhat resigned to the fact that pushing will get nowhere. - The great American hard sell falls on deaf ears. They want to see & convince themselves of the merits of a new idea & not just take a foreigner word for it. I just think of the criticism they would generate if they bought something on the basis of a pitch & it didn’t work out!? - I have been working with them for going on 3 years now - & I am beginning to think they trust me & know I will not lie to them. As such I feel I am able to influence a lot of their thinking – but always with reservations on their part.

Two weeks ago we visited the ancient city of Xian (Sian) to see the clay soldier army & many other intriguing archeological sites. Of equal interest was the view from the train coming & going. Next is Kweillin - this spring - & maybe the Yangtze River Gorges – There is no end to the places we can go -

Again, thanks for the Economist – it is excellent - & a help to anyone wanting to know China better.