Zakelijk China, scherp in beeld gebracht

Frans Vandenbosch

Frans is another Belgian author, who published his book ” Zakelijk China, scherp in beeld gebracht”.
He also published another book, “Statecraft and Society in China – China grassroots politics”. in April 2019, in English.
He kindly gave me a copy of the book on 2 December 2018 in Legend Beer.

Introduction in Dutch

Follows the official introduction of “Zakelijk China, scherp in beeld gebracht” by Frans Vandenbosch (published in 2017).

€ 24,50 Incl. BTW (ebook or print)
China, het echte China van vandaag is ondanks enige belangstelling van de media nog altijd een grote onbekende. Vlaanderen kent China niet of blijft steken in verouderde vooroordelen. Dit boek leidt de lezer door de talrijke zakelijke, politieke, culturele en andere waarden die China te bieden heeft. Het is een praktische gids voor wie China met kennis van zaken wil verkennen en voor wie als ondernemer overweegt om met Chinezen samen te werken.

China is een gastvrij en boeiend land met vele onbekende kanten; een eeuwenoude cultuur met een rijke geschiedenis. Het moderne China bruist van economische activiteit. Het wetenschappelijk onderzoek en de nieuwe technologie ontwikkelen zich in China met een verbijsterende snelheid.
China heeft een steeds grotere invloed op ons dagelijkse leven. Onze kleding, computer, smartmobieltje, huishoudtoestellen en zoveel andere dingen worden vandaag uitsluitend nog in China geproduceerd, straks ook onze elektrische auto en onze voeding. Wil de Vlaamse economie in de wereld een rol van betekenis blijven spelen, dan kan ze zich beter vandaag toeleggen op intensieve samenwerking met China.

Frans Vandenbosch heeft jarenlang in China gewerkt en gewoond. Hij spreekt Chinees en kent China van binnenuit.

My view

No comments from my side. I leave up to the readers of the book.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

A vague memory

I remember I secretly read a Dutch version of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov I found at home when I was like ten years old. It left a deep impression, pretty sensual. However, in the mist of times, I did not remember any details. I also guess it was not a complete translation and probably edited.

The original version

So I finally read the original in English.

Let me say I was somehow disappointed. I did not feel that same sensuality. Yes, it is considered a masterpiece but there is a lot of rambling, excused, because it reflects the mind of the protagonist. I missed the details of what really happened in bed. Too many vague and confusing hints. Being very open-minded I was not “shocked” by the story, or would I say I was not shocked enough.

Not that I condone the acts of the protagonist. It is definitely sick and immoral.

Somehow it reminds me of the movie “Last Tango in Paris”, a movie that also left me a deep impression, and where I do not have the same negative comments about the protagonist. I would like to watch it again with a decent translation in English. I recently saw the DVD but it was only in the original Italian version and a lot of the conversation I could not understand well and I think it is very important to hear the full version. And yes, some impressive and sensual scenes. A great movie.

For me the book Lolita had such a worldwide impact because it was ahead of its times, but yeah, I expected more. Still a recommended read.

A better review

In my Lolita hard copy I kept a book review published in the New York Times on 25 September 2005. That was to commemorate the 50 years since its publication.

I guess a much better insight than mine.
For those who cannot retrieve the original article, see here the PDF:

050925 Lolita

De eeuw van Xi

Impressive book

Last year my friend Stefan Blommaert launched his book “De eeuw van Xi”.
He had asked me to review one chapter only ” Hoofdstuk 8 – Vervuiling en duurzaamheid”. I started reading and decided to review the entire book, sending him my remarks.
I was impressed with his analysis and comments on “China Today” as I would call it.

I am generally speaking cautious with books about China by journalists and so-called “sinologists”. I knew Stefan well as he was journalist in Beijing many years ago, working for Belgian media (VRT).
See one interview:

Belgian PM Charles Michel in the Embassy

The book is one of the few I can recommend; it is a balanced view on China and I can fully agree with his views.

I was happy to receive the printed copy, and one copy I gave to our Belgian ambassador Marc Vinck on 13 March 2019, in his name.

The book is in Dutch, for those who can read it, strongly recommended.

Remark: how to buy

Het boek kan online besteld worden via de website (, maar ook bij en consoorten en ook de webshops van standaard boekhandel, Fnac, en de onafhankelijke boekhandels die daarover beschikken (29 January 2021)

China Remembers by Lijia Zhang

Finally read it!

See my earlier post:

So I made it to the end of the new book. Fascinating.
China Remembers by Zhang Lijia and Calum MacLeod groups 33 contributions from Chinese and foreign residents in China, arranged to give insight into the history of the People’s Republic and leavened with introductions to guide the reader through the complexities of its political campaigns.

About the author:
Lijia Zhang – writer, journalist, social commentator and public speaker

Her novel Lotus:

How to buy

China Remembers: The PRC’s first 50 years, told through extraordinary personal journeys
by Zhang Lijia und Calum MacLeod (Author)
Format: Kindle Edition:
The printed version came out in 1999, and the digital version came out in 2020.
Printed second hand copy is available on Amazon of the 1999 version.

See screenshot and here the link:

My report

I was very impressed with it, the book should receive more media attention while obviously some Chinese officials would not be pleased as it addresses too many issues it does not want to be talked about.
For me, a lot of the content is familiar as I know quite a bit about the turbulent past of the “New China”. But I learned a lot.
I think any so-called sinologist (sinologue) should read the book before pretending they understand modern China. A translation into Chinese would be great as many Chinese, especially the younger generation, know little or nothing about the difficult periods China went through to become the world power it is today.

Remarkable is that many of the people who suffered a lot still remain supportive of the government and the party.
Yes, the book is a must read and is an important legacy to preserve history.

Some remarks

– The contributions by the people interviewed could be dated to better understand the historical context. Something simple like “Interview with XYZ, dated March 1997”.
– Omission
In “Making Revolution” the adopted daughter of Zhou Enlai was not named. It is Sun Weishi, our auntie.
In “Entering the World” it is mentioned Li Peng was the adopted son of Zhou Enlai. We knew that was a false rumor that circulated a lot. Later on Li Peng officially admitted it was not true. Zhou and Li were not so close. Only Sun Weishi was really the “adopted” one. They were very close.
– An index at the end with in particular names of people and important historical events would be nice.
– Printed version: a new and updated printed version would be nice.

Congratulations for this great book. A must read!
I am now reading her book Socialism is Great. Keep posted for my review.

Stories from My Chinese Journey

Another Old China Hands

Mark Levine is the author of “Stories from My Chinese Journey”. He is also a member of my monthly gathering, the Old China Hands Lunch, see here the latest lunch where he was present. He is also part of our Foreign Expert team under SAFEA (China International Talent Exchange Foundation) and we jointly participated is several events. See here about our team.

Two pics from our trip to Qinyuan, Shanxi Province – Changzhi City, where Mark took the stage, to the delight of the local crowd, in August 2019.
Mark, together with his partner Ms. Fu Han, have performed all over China. Their duo is called In Side Out, here their introduction in Chinese: In Side Out_intro

About his book

I had the honor to write a few words for “Stories from My Chinese Journey”, see the pic of the back of the book.
I finally read it, I am terribly behind in my reading…

I admire Mark for his talents as a speaker, professor, musician and especially for his role as a bridge between China and the West. I am also impressed how he could remember so many details of his intense track record. I am so bad at it myself.

He brings a unique and personal insight in the Chinese academic world, how Chinese students are going through their studies at university, how he successfully bound with the students and remained in contact with many. It gives a good picture of the Chinese universities from the inside. He shows how a foreign teacher, not speaking Chinese, navigated the universities and their administration all over China, successfully.
It also gives a correct and detailed insight on how Chinese society functions, how young people think, study, marry and how they deal with their parents and in-laws.

Another interesting part tells the story what role some foreigners played during the early years of the People’s Republic of China, earning them the respect and honors from the government.

Mark could go through all his fascinating experiences with his limitless patience and jovial attitude.
For sure an interesting book by an insider!