Beijing Workers Stadium story1

The old and the new

The Beijing Workers Stadium story1 (“the gongti area”) is the first of a series of articles about this famous Beijing landmark, its history, what the future holds and the progress of construction.
I posted several earlier articles since 2020:

Gongti strip to disappear10 August 2020
The gongti strip to disappear, along with all bars, discos, restaurants and shops in the Workers Stadium area. Some historical facts and data. I announced the dramatic changes for my beloved Gongti Strip, the dramatic disappearance of many beloved nightlife spots, some history of the Workers Stadium like the WHAM concert!

New Beijing Workers Stadium – 23 August 2020
Few seem to be aware we will have a new Beijing Workers Stadium, expected to be delivered by December 2022. See here the first details of what to expect!

Beijing Gongti demolition – 23 September 2020
A latest update on the closing of Legend Beer, Thai Laburnum and others in the Gongti area. A last look of Legend Beer.

2020 is a tough year – 7 October 2020
A tough year for many businesses in Beijing, too many to mention. Some are the victim of the wave of destruction, for the other it is the impact of COVID-19.
Sadly since then it got much much worse. The old “Gongti Strip” is now dead. Sad.

The old stadium

As posted earlier, the whole area around gongti has lost so many nice restaurants and bars. Legend, The Den, and also Tairyo (Korean style) from where you had a nice view on the old stadium.

See some pictures of the old stadium. The statues have been removed and stored at the west gate of the Worker’s Gymnasium, they will be put back later.

The demolition of the stadium and many surrounding buildings is now pretty much done

See the dates of the progress.

The history of concerts and other events

I reported earlier about the WHAM concert.
Here a compilation of press articles about the many concerts, the interview with me and background of WHAM. See the official program.

I was also at the concert of Bob Dylan – Workers Gymnasium, April 6, 2011.
Not mentioned here is the impressive AIDA opera staged in the Stadium on 28 September 2003, see here:

I need to write about that, found back the pics.

CRI Interview in French

In our office meeting room

On 8 November 2021 CRI Interview in French in my office, with the journalist Zhang Xiyan who had prepared a list of questions for me, see here: 211108 CRIquestions
The topic was my 40 years in China.

The interview online on 28 November 2021, in French

Média: service radio, CGTN français, or CRI (China Radio International)Gilbert Van Kerckhove, dont l’arrivée en Chine a coïncidé avec le début de la politique de réforme et d’ouverture, a, durant cette période, mis en œuvre le projet d’un centrale électrique dans la province du Henan, au centre de la Chine. Il a ensuite créé le bureau d’Alstom pour la région de l’est de la Chine à Shanghai.
http://french.cri.cn/interview/list/714/20211128/733991.html

Voici le contenu: 211128 CRIinterview

Un extrait des 36 minutes:

“Originaire de Gand en Belgique, Gilbert Van Kerckhove est titulaire d’un master en Ingénierie électronique. Sa première visite en Chine remonte à 1980. Il a travaillé pendant plus des 40 ans en Chine, principalement à Beijing. Mais l’ingénieur belge a aussi travaillé quelque peu à Hong Kong et à Shanghai.

Gilbert Van Kerckhove, dont l’arrivée en Chine a coïncidé avec le début de la politique de réforme et d’ouverture, a, durant cette période, mis en œuvre le projet d’un centrale électrique dans la province du Henan, au centre de la Chine. Il a ensuite créé le bureau d’Alstom pour la région de l’est de la Chine à Shanghai. C’est aussi lui qui a sollicité et obtenu la construction avec succès de la ligne 3 du métro de Shanghai et de Shanghai Jinmao Tower. Toutes ces réalisations lui ont valu le Prix Magnolia, une distinction qui récompense les étrangers qui ont contribué au développement de la municipalité de Shanghai.

Il était impliqué dans les Jeux Olympiques 2008 de Beijing. Durant la préparation de ce rendez-vous sportif mondial, Gilbert Van Kerckhove a travaillé au sein de plusieurs départements du gouvernement de Beijing. Fin connaisseur de la Chine, il est fondateur d’une société de conseil en matière de gestion. Sa société propose des conseils stratégiques aux entreprises tant chinoises qu’étrangères.”

VIW hosted 3 Flemish China Old Hands

VIW

In the evening of 28 September 2021 VIW hosted 3 Flemish China Old Hands in the Belgian Embassy of Beijing.VIW – “Vlaanderen in the Wereld”, see https://www.viw.be/en.

I am not sure but I think I am member of VIW since the early eighties. We now have a dynamic representative in Beijing, Tina, who organised the succesful event in collaboration with the Belgian Embassy. Thanks Tina, thanks to our embassy!

Gilbert, one of the speakers

I found it a challenge to give an overview of my 40 years of China in less than 20 minutes… (I think I talked for about 22 minutes). I had a valuable help from Tina’s son who was the “clicker”. I also brought “3 exhibits”.

I never did a similar presentation but my talk was a bit like the following talk I gave:

“In the evening of 29 May 2018 Gilbert spoke for the Rotaract Club of Beijing West, in a lecture hall gently provided by Beijing University. The audience of 45 young people listened to the story of two major projects Gilbert was involved in, to understand how the Chinese administration works and how one can succeed in “Mission Impossible” through perseverance, innovation and continuous learning. One project explained how subway building resumed in China in 1998 through his success in getting Shanghai Line 3 approved by the central government. The other case explains how Gilbert received the challenge to look for funding for the 2008 Olympics, to build the major venues, and how the contracts were awarded.
The two projects are part of his seminars on how to do successful lobbying in China.”
(I still need to write a post about it… see the picture)

The other speakers

Johan from the embassy welcomed us all and Tina hosted the rest of the meeting. Snacks were sponsored by TRB and beers by Duvel Moortgat.

Two other seasoned expats with an impressive career presented their story:
Pol Castermans, Sales Director, North China at Duvel Moortgat – Beijing, China
https://www.linkedin.com/in/pol-castermans-a435a146/
and
Kris Van Goethem, Managing Director MICE, LEISURE & SPORT at Thomas Cook – Shanghai, China
https://www.linkedin.com/in/krisvangoethem/

Rotary Club of Beijing memories

Cleaning up my paper mountain

As many friends know, I have this annoying statement since a few years that I am trying to clean up the mountain of files in my office. Annoying because I always mention it but failed to make any progress. But I am discovering a lot like Rotary Club of Beijing memories, among many other. It seems like a huge jigsaw puzzle as papers are all mixed up, sometimes with no date stamp. But yes I am making progress and my tricycle recycling friend has more waste paper to collect.
But sometimes I am left puzzled about those hazy memories.

A gold medalist

I stumbled on this small newspaper clipping:

I think the small article is from China Daily. I found the longer version here:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/olympics/2008-08/18/content_6945218.htm

I had nearly forgotten about it. I found back the old post on my website, see here the updated version:
Sergey Bubka, the IOC and Beijing Rotary Club, https://www.beijing1980.com/2013/08/20/sergey-bubka-the-ioc-and-beijing-rotary-club/

Few of our present members ever heard about Sun Children Village… One of the projects we supported. We even had a Rotary Villa there…

GSE 2008

GSE is “Group Study Exchange”. We did that in 2008 when we sent a Chinese team to New Zealand and we then received their team in Shanghai and Beijing. It was a difficult and complicated organization with our Kiwi friends staying all over the city in different locations and changing then from one family to the other. One, Jo, stayed with me and I found back her note, see the pic. I had also organized for her a meeting with one of the most important pharmaceutical companies involved in diabetes medicine; Ms. Joana Young BSc, PG Dip SCi was doing her PhD – Clinical Scientist, Lipid and Diabetes Research Group, Christchurch Hospital.

We had a very varied and full program for the group, but also filled with fun: I took them to a big lesbian evening where we had a great night. To say farewell to our New Zealand GSE team we organized a dinner on Friday 25 April 2008 in Restaurant Sahara (long gone, close to Salsa Caribe, also gone). We had a large VIP room with our own buffet of Middle East cuisine plus belly dancing in our room.

See some of the many pics (never published). One is during our Rotary lunch with the whole team presented; one in Pipe Cafe, long gone and razed, gongti nan lu, that time the biggest lesbian bar where I had privileged access; one in Sahara Restaurant.
Overall it was a big success but it also proved to be too much work for the Club.

Little Leopard went to space

VHS tape

As I mentioned the VHS tape, there was another section at the end: Little Leopard went to space. As it is on that 1984 tape I assume it came on TV that year. Strangely enough when I researched the story, it was apparently only “known” in 2018. Weird!
See the SCMP article:

‘China’s secret 1960s mission to send two dogs into space”
25 February 2018
Academy reveals how it selected the animals and strapped them into tiny, windowless capsules mounted on rockets for a journey they somehow survived
Stephen Chen in Beijing
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2134494/chinas-secret-1960s-mission-send-two-dogs-space

It is Little Leopard

As maybe many cannot reach the article, see a PDF of an edited version. Read the original for all details.

180225 dogsinspace

Comparing the screenshots and the pictures, it is clearly Little Leopard and not Shan Shan.

See the screenshots, with the brave dog being prepared for launch, placed in the rocket and welcomed back on earth. The launch was apparently on Friday 15 July 1966, on a secret military base in Guangde county, Anhui province.