Beijing Rotary in 2019 (part 2)

A look back to 2019

See the previous part. Here comes Beijing Rotary in 2019 (part 2).

More to come about our activities in 2020.

Our SR Richard

As mentioned earlier we have a “Special Representative”. See here his previous visit on 5 November 2019.
That was with Jonathan as our club president. We also had Rotaractors joining.

And see the pics of our lunch on 12 November 2019.

UNHCR presentation

During our lunch in Kempinski on 26 November 2019 we had a presentation by UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), Ms. Margriet Veenma, Senior Protection Officer (Leiden University, Netherlands). See their recent update:
or here: UNHCR China Fact Sheet March 2020

Margriet introduced UNHCR’s global efforts assisting refugees and asylum seekers in China. Based in Beijing she was previously assigned to territories including DR Congo, Egypt, Pakistan and Sudan.

Rtn Viktor brought several banners from his trip in Germany (Berlin and Leipzig), Rtn Martin introduced the club Kauniainen – Grankulla of Finland.

We also had a visitor Rtn James of the club of The Hague Metropolitan (Netherlands).

Finally a cake

I complained that every year the December birthday boys and girls don’t get the birthday cake. This year, yes I had a BIG one, during the lunch on 17 December 2019. No speaker that day.

Thank you!

Beijing Rotary in 2019

A look back to Beijing Rotary in 2019.

Yes, I am finally cleaning up my pictures. More to follow. This is part 1.
Our Rotary Club of Beijing was pretty active in 2019 when the dreaded virus had not yet messed up our lives.

Different locations

We usually have our weekly meetings in a private room in the Beijing Kempinski Hotel but we do change at times.

See here some of the different locations, such as our evening in Legend Beer (27 April 2019), Via Roma in Kempinski (6 August 2019), Hotel Chao in Gongti Dong Lu (27 August 2019), and Paulaner in Kempinski (2 July 2019).

Kempinski lunch 29 October 2019

The speaker of the day was Humana People to People, Michael Hermann, chief representative.

Humana People to People China is a development organization, started in 2005 in cooperation with the Yunnan Government Poverty Alleviation Bureau with the aim to create development in poverty areas of China. On 23.07.2010 the organization registered at the Civil Affairs Bureau of Yunnan Province as a foreign background non-profit organization.

About Michael Hermann, in German:
Der 63-jährige Michael Hermann arbeitet seit nunmehr 15 Jahren als freiwilliger Helfer in Südwestchina. Als Vertreter der Hilfsorganisation „Humana People to People (HPP)“ setzt er sich dafür, Kindertagesstätten für Vorschulkinder in den Bergdörfern der Provinz Yunnan einzurichten, um den Teufelskreis der Armut zu zerstören.

A gorgeous BBQ

Thanks to Rtn Till of the Hyatt Regency in Wangjing a vast number of Rotarians and Rotaractors turned up to enjoy the sumptuous BBQ buffet.

Looking back at those pictures, sad to see how many of our friends left Beijing and how much the virus has changed our social life.

No foreigners allowed in Pingyao

China Daily promotes tourism?

See this recent article, all nice but no foreigners allowed in Pingyao…
“Tourism gets back on track” 16 October 2020
Discover Shanxi by China Daily

“Pingyao, in central Shanxi and one of the top tourist destinations in the province, is known for its ancient city, old streets and time-honored firms established by the famed Shanxi merchants centuries ago. The county of Pingyao welcomed more than 300,000 visits during the eight-day National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays on Oct 1-8. The figure ranks it first among all tourist attractions in Shanxi province. Shanxi province received more than 52 million visits during the period and netted a tourism revenue of 31.64 billion yuan ($4.69 billion), according to the Shanxi Culture and Tourism Department. The department’s officials said the figures-almost the same as last year-show that local tourism has recovered from the negative effects of the COVID-19 outbreak that started earlier this year.”

Pingyao is a key tourist destination in Shanxi

I had the pleasure to visit it in June 2018 before the virus. A very interesting place.

I still need to go through the many pictures I took and post some.

Pingyao is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, founded in the 14th century. Pingyao county was recently listed among the country’s top 100 counties in terms of tourism strength in 2020.


The reality

My wife arrived in Pingyao this month to visit, together with Chinese friends.
They went to several hotels and all said, sorry. no foreigners allowed in Pingyao. Call to police did not solve anything.
They finally managed to enter with their car the old city. Found a small basic hotel where my wife said, sorry I lost my Chinese ID (she is Chinese with a Belgian passport). So she managed to stay the night (it was a very poor “hotel”).

I tried to contact the Shanxi and Pingyao government to complain. As always, either the contact details are wrong or no answer:

Shanxi Pingyao – Contact Us – Updated:2013-07-05 10:12 – Pingyao Tourism Bureau
Email: (does not work!)
Shanxi government contact:
Email sent, no answer.

Welcome to China! OK, foreigners not always welcome.

Rotary Club of Beijing

Unauthorized websites

We want to point out there is no updated website of the Rotary Club of Beijing. The only official site is currently dormant.
Any other website claiming to be of the club is unauthorized and do ignore the content.

On my website I bring some news of recent activities of our Club but it is not as such the official website of the club. Any content here is my personal view.

Visit of our Special Representative

The present group of Rotary, Rotaract and Interact clubs in China is seen by Rotary International as a special “District”. As such we do not have a governor as itis the case for districts, instead we have a “Special Representative” (SR), Rtn. Richard. Officially our club is in District 0052 with Club Number: 60724.
Our weekly meeting of 20 October at the Kempinski Hotel we had a special guest: Richard , our SR.

He came over to discuss progress of Rotary in China and to learn about our club.
Before the lunch he met with members of the board.
As for now in China we have 28 Rotary clubs, 10 Rotaract clubs and 12 Interact clubs.
I joined the club on 11 January 2005.

What is Rotary?

See here a few slides about what is Rotary. For more, see the international website.



World Bank talk in Rotary Club of Beijing

Rotary lunch 25 August 2020

During our lunch in the Kempinski Hotel Liangmaqiao we had a World Bank talk in Rotary Club of Beijing by our new member Ben, to speak about a fascinating subject:
“China’ s infrastructure development – lessons and practices”

China has had a spectacular success in developing a massive infrastructure that has generated rapid economic growth and helped to lift 800 million out of poverty.
Many developing and emerging countries seek to understand how China was able to finance and develop such large-scale infrastructure.

Ben Reja, World Bank Practice Manager for Transport Infrastructure based in Beijing, discussed China’s model of infrastructure financing and how the World Bank has been supporting various local governments to build up their infrastructure in an environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable way.

New members

Not only the World Bank talk that day, we were also happy to see two new members, Christin and Ben, being officially inducted.
The Rotary Club of Beijing is sparing no efforts to attract new members to serve the community.