From 8 to 15 November a delegation from the Union of Bulgarian Journalists invited by the of All-China Journalists Association visited China. The hosts have chosen the topic "Chinese people.

Chinese dream" for our communication. When meeting us Chen Tao – Chief of the European Division International Liaison Department of the Association shared that the purpose of today's Chinese is by 2021 to achieve their dream - to double Chinese gross domestic product and to ensure prosperity for every Chinese. Is that possible? Here's what we saw, when we got in touch with China and its people.

On the way from the airport to the hotel, located in the center of Beijing, one can feel the rhythm of the more than 20-million Chinese capital. Stunning views of groups of skyscrapers alternate one after another. The traffic in the lunch rush hour is intense. And not that there are no cars, but they almost do not stop, the traffic somehow invisibly and methodically adjusts itself. There are no crowds of people on the streets and in the cafés just killing their time. You have the feeling that all Chinese work - somewhere around, inside the huge buildings - quietly and diligently. Stress and hurry are not noticed, just peace and harmony. As if the inhabitants of the city are not millions. Here and there in the gardens and parks one can see groups of people dancing to the sounds of different styles of music. It is always soft and melodic. The scene can be seen in different places and at different times of the day. The famous bikes are there, but not that many of them. In the flow of cars more impressive are the small tricycles used by retailers to carry their products.

Great Renewal of the Nation

When in March 2013 Xi Jinping, President of China and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, took the office in his first address to the Chinese people, he used several times the phrase "Chinese dream." He connects it with the idea of "the great renewal of the Chinese nation." He emphasizes the emotional moment associated with people’s dreams - to maintain rapid economic development, but also to achieve prosperity for every Chinese. Since then, the achievement of "the Chinese dream" became a state policy, and adopted by the Chinese media, it becomes a goal for the Chinese people. "Everyone has their own dream," said Xi Jinping. And urges the young Chinese to dream, to work assiduously for the realization of their dreams and the prosperity of their nation.
Approaching the center of Beijing, one can see the signs left by its long history - colorful doors, parts of palaces’ roofs, temples, walls, alleys with special art atmosphere ... A settlement on this place is mentioned for the first time in the historical chronicles from the 11th century BC, when the Zhou Dynasty defeated Shang dynasty. The overall development of the city since then can be traced in ...

The Metropolitan Museum

It was the first attraction we visited in Beijing. A variety of artefacts can be seen in it - ancient papyri, unique products of porcelain, fine jewelry of rare minerals ... In the different sectors of the museum through figurative compositions are presented reconstructions of life in different fields and periods of development of the nation. There's a story about everything – for the small charming streets – Hutongs, for the traditional houses "Siheyuan", for the palaces, the wars and even the water system of Beijing!
In a strange, cylinder shaped wing with several floors, are placed the temporary exhibitions. The museum is perfectly organized, and yet one can hardly examine it within a few hours. But it is easy to get lost in it. At the end each visitor takes with him an unforgettable memory. It is the same with the other museums in Beijing. We should remember that after London, the Chinese capital is the second in the world in number of museums - they are over 140; a dream-city for tourists.
As most of the important public buildings in the Chinese capital, the modern architecture of the museum is almost cosmic. The most impressive in this respect is the famous "Bird's Nest" - the national stadium in Beijing, one of the wonders of engineering thought in the world.

To Tell you "Sin Chin!" With a Smile

Chinese people are friendly, open to people and the world and very, very polite. This was felt wherever we went - in the Chinese People's University, in the offices of a newspaper in the capital city or in the province, in the Club for the elderly people, in a restaurant or just on the street, everywhere people were smiling at us. And everywhere one hears: "Son Chin", which means: "Come in!". The people rejoiced, wanted to hug us, to have a photo with us. And this was not because they lack foreigners. Millions of tourists from around the world potter about the streets of Beijing.  It is because of their nature. And because they connect Bulgaria with two facts - that Bulgaria is the second country after the Soviet Union that recognized the People's Republic of China and with the Bulgarian rose, without which, for the precise and aesthetically exquisite Chinese women, the perfume industry would not exist. "I love the smell of rose oil" - shared our young interpreter Chen Qiao, a Bulgarian language student at Peking University, or as everyone called her - Milena.

Chinese People's University

Education and the pursuit of it are respected in China. Not surprisingly, the country ranks first in the number of students in the world - they are somewhere around 27 million. The reasons for this lie not only in the dreams of young people and the ancient philosophies of the East, but also in the conditions offered by the Chinese Universities. Only the School of journalism and communication Renmin in the University of China is bigger than any Bulgarian university. Established in 1955, today it celebrates its 60th anniversary. Over 10 000 students have studied there and our guide in it was Prof. Zhong Xin – Director, International Journalism&Communication Master Program. She proudly showed us the offices, the radio room, the TV studio ... In the hall where we were invited for a meeting with the students, we were met with a sign "Welcome, Bulgarian journalists!" And perhaps each of us saw for the first time his name written in Chinese, on the plates at the table. The questions of the students showed strong interest in Bulgaria but also a willingness to discuss how to show a positive image of China to the world. Obviously they think that lately it has not been well represented in the world media.

All-China Journalists Association

A sign "Welcome!" greeted us at the entrance of the editors of Guangming Daily. The Director of the Foreign Affairs office - Xiao Lianbing, first told us about the history of the magazine through a photo exhibition, located in the vast entrance hall. Then we entered an editorial office which Bulgarian journalists can only dream of. The modern communication technologies embedded in the work were astonishing. Not far from the building of Guangming Daily, almost across the street, is located the building of the All-China Journalists Association. The secretary of international relations there - Zhu Shouchen, received us warmly in an elegant parlour in which among the gifts from different countries, was the one from the Union of Bulgarian Journalists – a wooden figurine of Don Quixote. It was given to the Association recently on a visit of its representatives in Sofia. The conversation revolved around the media environment in Bulgaria and in China and the good partnership we have had for 28 years now. The climax of the meeting was the moment when Mr. Zhu Shouchen handed Snezhana Todorova, the Chairperson of the Board of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, the prestigious award of the All-China Journalists Association – the certificate "Friend of the Chinese Journalists." Zhu Shouchen received an honorary plaque from the Union of Bulgarian Journalists.

The Cosmic Opera in Beijing

The very first look at it is a shock. You see a space dish, reclining peacefully in the center of an artificial pond. Two-thirds of the surface of this masterpiece of futurism, a creation of the French architect Paul Andreu, is made of titanium plates / 22000 /, and the remaining third – out of glass. Nothing violates the perfectly smooth elliptical surface. To reach the heart of the opera, viewers come in through the entrance located on the banks of the water body, then pass through about 60 meters long glass tunnel under it. On its both sides one can see various works of art related to music as well as posters. It is seen that world celebrities come here - leading orchestras, singers, dancers. And inside ... Inside, on an area of 149,500 square meters, are built huge halls for opera, concerts, theater ... with a total of 5473 seats. In one of them we were able to enjoy the wonderful performance of the choir "Descendants of the Dragon" at the Beijing National Opera. And we saw that cutting-edge technologies are used not only in the construction of the building but also in the equipment for the performances. In one word, we saw a dream opera; and the biggest investment in the culture of China for the period 2001 – 2005 amounting to 336 million dollars. The National Theatre in Beijing, as the building is officially called, was opened in 2007. It is located to the west of the largest square in the world - Tiananmen, just in the opposite direction of 

The Forbidden City

You can not visit Beijing and not see two things we have all read and heard about – the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China / the most visited tourist sites in the world - annually seen by 9-10 million people/. But they are a topic for another story. Here we will share just that at the entrance of the Forbidden City we were welcomed by a Bulgarian electronic guide. Of course, we immediately took advantage of it. At each point during the walk around the city, the device automatically switched on and a pleasant and melodious female voice told us the most important things about it – in short and well measured, exactly as it should be for a tourist. The rest is a matter of imagination and perception. I think in the minds of each of us emerged a picture of Bertolucci's masterpiece - "The Last Emperor". The movie was filmed in the Forbidden City, but Pu Yi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, ended his life in the north, in Changchun City, the capital of Jilin Province which we had the good fortune to visit, as well as his palace museum there. The tragic fate of the Emperor is reflected in everything - from the stern grandeur of the furnishing to the wax figures depicting his modest behaviour.

Changchun Means "Long Spring"

And the city, as if to prove its name instead of storms and snow, as everyone expected, welcomed us with sunshine. Our colleague there told us that its inhabitants are about 3 million. The city is young, 100 years old as it was destroyed by the Japanese. It started recovering economically with the help of the Soviet Union.
Mao Zedong is highly respected here. His pictures are everywhere - from building facades to phone displays. In fact, if you ask a Chinese if Mao Zedong has made big mistakes, he would reply that there might be such, but his contributions were much more and that for his time he has fulfilled his tasks. In Changchun, we also saw the history of the Chinese Communist Party, told in pictures on the walls of a restaurant bearing the current name "Renewal of the nation." We visited it with Li Xinmin, the Chairman of Jilin Journalists Association.
Jilin Province, with about 29 million people, is very rich: natural resources, huge economic zones, high-tech industry, large agricultural production, perfect infrastructure. It is an important centre of winter tourism in China. And its capital is called "the Chinese automobile city" or the cradle of the automotive industry. Our visit in "FAW Volkswagen" company convinced us that this is not accidental. A new car gets out of the high-tech production line in this factory every four minutes and a half.
Jilin Province is rapidly developing. Its last year’s GDP nominal amounted to 1.3 trillion yuan / 210 billion dollars /.

Our Colleagues from Jilin

Almost all the buildings in Changchun are new and impressive, including that of the newspaper group "Jilin Daily". The offices of 11 newspapers, three magazines, a website and a phone newspaper are gathered there. About 3000 people are employed here, 700 of whom are journalists.
Jilin Daily Newspaper is the main in the group and the oldest - this year it reached 70 years. "The history of the province is very long, that of the newspaper as well. On November 10th, 1935 our first issue came out. ", said its chief editor. It has been chaired by the CCP and the government. "On the one hand, we are a bridge between the government and the people. On the other, in the content we publish all the news from Jilin. Our work system is very good. On 8 November there was a celebration of journalism and many of our colleagues received awards. " The editor gave us a few issues of the newspaper in which there was news from different areas of the province. One of them was dedicated to the "Chinese dream." When a colleague asked her what it meant to her, she replied: "Renewal of the Chinese nation. If it becomes younger and richer, the people will be richer and happier. 30 years ago we were very poor, now the world has recognized our progress. "The location of Gillian is strategic, the province borders or is close to Russia, Mongolia, Korea, Japan so their influence is felt here. "We have close cooperation with these countries. Every year we organise trade shows in which they participate; we have governmental, cultural and media communications.”

Radio and Television Centre

It is known that one of the highest buildings in the world is the television tower in Guangzhou China - 610 meters. But the one in Changchun is not tiny and of course, the most beautiful views can be observed from its upper floors.
This month radio Gillian commemorates 70 years of its creation. Currently it has 9 programs, 21 departments and 470 employees. Its budget last year was 150 million yuan. Its programs cover the entire province. Here is what its director shared: "As a traditional media we are also threatened by the new media. That is why in 2008 we opened a site in which we have more than 390 million visitors. Today we develop the radio via phone and internet. We had two difficult periods. The first was when the risk from the television appeared, the second – with the risk from the Internet. Now we think how to combine the new and the traditional media.”
The director of the television in Jilin said that it was established in 1959, after the Bulgarian National Television. And is one of the first in China. There are 10 channels for the social, economic, cultural life ... It is famous for its documentaries, especially those related to agriculture. "We have about 80 million viewers and we are on between the 18th and the 20th place in popularity among the televisions in China." The revenue from advertising is serious. Cooperation with foreign media /New Zealand and Russia/ is getting stronger. Their TV series are broadcasted in South Korea. They have two stations abroad, one of them is in America. The digital channels are doing well too.

Shiwei District

Here was perhaps our most emotional meeting in China. In the program was included a visit to the Shiwei district in Changchun, but we had no idea what it was. Located near the Lake Nanhu, mostly elderly people live in this neighborhood. We met with some of them in something like a local cultural center. And here we really touched the Chinese soul.
Upon entering we saw several men playing ping pong indoors. In the workshops we were expected impatiently and with smiles. In the literary club they read poetry to us, in the music hall was played popular Chinese music, in the dance lounge we were surprised by wonderful folk performances. We could hardly get away from the calligraphy workshop. There incredible masters of this art painted or wrote down something about each of us; a rare and unforgettable moment. We left the Shiwei neighborhood convinced that we judge the wisdom of a nation through its attitude towards elder people.

China is so vast that it can neither be fully analyzed, nor fully described or completely understood. One can only touch it. And the moment you touch it, the heart fills with love, the soul - with harmony and the eyes - with beauty.


Photos: "Diplomatic spectrum" magazine

First line: Beijing – The Temple of Heaven, a group of dancing people, the Metropolitan Museum, the entrance to the Forbidden City.
Second line: the delegation at the Faculty of Journalism at the Chinese People's University - Renmin; in the editing office of "Guangming Daily"; in the All-China Journalists Association - Mr. Zhu Shouchen hands Snezhana Todorova, the Chairperson of the Board of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, the prestigious award of the All-China Journalists Association – the certificate "Friend of the Chinese Journalists."
Third line: Changchun city - general view; the palace of Pu Yi, the last emperor of the Qing dynasty; the factory of "FAW Volkswagen"; in the calligraphy workshop in Shiwei District.
Fourth line: in the editorial office Jilin Daily; in the radio and television center in Changchun.