Sun Bingwen, Zhu De and Liu Ding

Statues near the river side

In a previous post I mentioned the history of Zhu De and Sun Bingwen. On 21 March 2024 a ceremony was held honoring the legacies of Sun Bingwen, Zhu De and Liu Ding. Two groups of statues are located on the river side at Nanxi City.

One location is with the statues of Zhu De and Sun Bingwen, the other is the statue of Liu Ding.
Sun Bin, as the granddaughter of Sun Bingwen and myself paid respect to the grandfather.
Liu Wenshi and Liu Wenshan, sons of Liu Ding the “military industry leader and united front hero” paid respect to their father.

The museums

We visted the Nanxi Museum and then the old residence of Zhu De in Nanxi.
Some of the pictures in the museum were donated by Sun Bin. Pictures feature Zhu De, Sun Bingwen. Sun Yang and Sun Weishi.

When we left the former residence, three young pioneers greeted Sun Bin, Liu Wenshi and Liu Wenshan.
Near the museum I spotted some interesting mural decorations…

Who is Liu Ding

Liu Ding (1902 – 1986) was a native of Nanxi, an older generation revolutionary activist of the Communist Party of China, a loyal communist fighter, and a famous military industrialist. He was an expert in the machinery industry, the founder and outstanding leader of my country’s military industry, and the first president of North China University. He is known as the dean of China’s military industry. In 1924, he joined the Communist Party of China after being introduced by Sun Bingwen and Zhu De. In 1924, he went to Germany for a work-study program and served as secretary of the Youth League branch in Germany. In 1926, he went to the Soviet Union for further study. Graduated from Moscow Oriental University in 1928. In 1929, he was transferred back to China and served as deputy section chief of the Second Section of the Special Section of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. He has been engaged in underground intelligence work for a long time and made great contributions in the Xi’an Incident.

In 1952, in order to prepare for the trial production of standardized weapons he established a number of basic research institutes to serve the ordnance industry. They are the earliest technological research institutions established in New China.
His background in Chinese can be found here.
See here a transcript of the information in Chinese with partial translation: LiuDing_bio

A forest with Taxus Chinensis

On 22 March 2024 we crossed the Yabgtze River and went up to a mountain to check on the culture of a special plant called Taxus Chinensis, also called Chinese Yew.
In our delegation some participants are interested in the plant, used to produce medicines for cancer treatment, including Paclitaxel and Taxifolin. It can also be used in many other ways and is protected under Chinese and international law. Currently, the species is suffering the consequences of its economic and scientific exploitation for the production of the aforementioned anticancer drugs.

See more here: Taxus chinensis

We had a lunch with very local food on the mountain top.

Nanxi industry and education

Impressive industry

As mentioned in the previous post, the visit to Nanxi City also included a tour to Nanxi industry and education facilities.
On 21 March 2024 we visited Nanxi Liquor, Huiji Food, Yibin Vocational and Technical College, Far East Copper Foil, and Sichuan Biomedical Medical Equipment Industrial Parc.

The overall impression was that all facilities we visited were very modern and advanced, clean and highly automated.
The Nanxi Liquor is actually where the original Wuliangye started. The compound is immense but counts well below 1,000 workers. We had a sip of the freshly distilled liquor, pretty strong. The facilities have huge warehouses where the liquor is stored and aged.

From friends we later received many bottles of baijiu, 30 years old and alcohol 61%.
Huji Food makes all kinds of snacks, many with tofu.
The compound of Yibin Vocational and Technical College is simply huge and can accommodate some 20,000 students is very modern buildings.
The Far East Copper Foil factory is simply immense, see just one of the many buildings. They make copper and aluminum foil of different thickness, used in many industries, in particular for batteries. Highly automated.
The Sichuan Biomedical Medical Equipment Industrial Park is brand new and waiting for tenants to move in.

Yangtze River lunch

We had lunch near the First Bay of the Yangtze River.

There is a charming park along the river, we visited in a golf cart. No other vehicles allowed.
The road is used for running competitions, including a marathon.
In the next post, more about the events related to Sun Bingwen en Zhu De.

Nanxi City in Sichuan

The laojia

An official trip to the “laojia” of my wife, Nanxi City in Sichuan,famous because of Zhu De and Sun Bingwen.
On 20 March 2024 we flew to Yibin Wuliangye Airport and then went by highway to Nanxi. This is part 1 of our trip report.

Laojia (老家) is a special term in China, supposed to be the hometown or birthplace. In the case of my wife her “laojia” is Nanxi while she was actually born in Beijing where she spent most of her years. So it refers to her parents and grandparents.

See the Biography of Zhu De. Chinese Edition by Jin Chong.
This book is mainly based on more than 5000 manuscripts, telegraphs, letters and speeches about Zhu De preserved by Central Archives of China – a lot of his work notes, as well as Autobiography of Zhu De in nearly 80,000 words dictated by Zhu De in 1937 and recorded by his secretary Sun Yang.
Sun Yang is the father of my wife Sun Bin and the son of Sun Bingwen.
Sun Bingwen (1885–1927) was a Chinese Communist revolutionary who was executed by the Kuomintang. He met Zhu De in 1917, and served as chief of staff of a brigade. In September 1922, he and Zhu De went to study in Germany and in November of the same year, he joined the Chinese Communist Party in Berlin.
He was arrested and executed by the Kuomintang in Shanghai during the Shanghai massacre of 1927. After his death, his daughter Sun Weishi was adopted by Zhou Enlai, later Premier of China.In Nanxi the memory of Zhu De and Sun Bingwen is important, as shown in the introduction of the city.

Nanxi City is key industrial center and modern city

Nanxi City in Sichuan is a district of the city of Yibin, a prefecture-level city in the southeastern part of Sichuan province. Its population was 4,588,804 inhabitants, according to the 2020 census,

The largest employer in Yibin is Wuliangye Yibin, a company best known for Wuliangye, a brand of sorghum-based distilled spirits known as baijiu. The Wuliangye Group grew from a small company employing just 300 people in 1977 into a large company employing over 20,000 on a seven-square-kilometer plant.
Nanxi has a website but only in Chinese.
Wuliangye started in Nanxi City and later moved to Yibin.

Nanxi has a Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit system, guided by markings on the road. Impressive! More details here.

The city is very modern with excellent infrastructure. Yes, you can say – rich. The apartments have often large balconies.

Major industries and investments

We visited most of the key industries and other on 21 March 2024, more details later.
We were in the Jinjiang Hotel in a large suite, nice. No foreign TV channels of course.


Impressive reception dinner in the hotel in the evening of 20 March. Surprisingly the food was not so spicy during our stay!

Officially we headed a large business delegation, all Chinese contacts, to explore projects in the region. On 21 March in the afternoon we had the official meeting with the city to present our delegation and their projects, followed by another impressive dinner.


Old China Hands lunch 3 May 2024


Once again our Old China Hands lunch 3 May 2024 was right in the middle of a holiday week, for Labor Day. Many people on travel or busy with family. Anyway we still had a grand total of 26 and a very lively lunch.

Food was great as usual, see the menu for our group by Morel’s Restaurant:

  • sliced smoked salmon stuffed with seafood and garden greens OR Morel’s chef salad (ham, blue cheese, and pan-fried chicken on lettuce) OR poached eggs with wine merchant sauce OR Flemish tomato vegetable soup
  • thin sliced tenderloin with black pepper sauce served with vegetable and new potatoes OR fricandeau of beef served with hot cherry and mashed potatoes OR red snapper Mediterranean style served with daily vegetable and mashed potatoes
  • daily dessert (île flottante)
  • coffee or tea

I had the poached eggs, soooo delicious!


Our Dutch friend Khee Liang celebrated his birthday with his extended family at another table but came over to receive the best wishes of all of us. According to Dutch traditions he distributed the famous sweet Rademakers Hopjes to us.

Hopjes are a type of Dutch sweets with a slight coffee and caramel flavor that originated in the 18th century. The hopje is named after Baron Hendrik Hop. The link tells the whole story.
The following lunch is planned for Friday 7 June 2024.

Tamil New Year in Beijing celebration

Tamil community

On 14 April 2024 my friend Raja invited me to join the Tamil New Year in Beijing celebration.
Location was Hotel Mercure close to Ritan Park.
There are currently estimated to be at least one-hundred million Tamil people spread across distant seas, living in more than 70 different countries and islands. Among these are many thousands living in various parts of the world as refugees and asylum seekers.
More about the Tamil diaspora here.
See here the Tamil population by nation.
There are about 300,000 Tamils in the UK, of whom 200,000 are Sri Lankan while the rest are from India, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and other countries.

Discovering Tamil culture

The Tamil community showed an love for their culture by performing dance, singing, video clips, and praying. And of course Indian food. If the performances were not so “professional”, all showed unbridled enthusiasm.
When abroad it is interesting to observe how different expat communities respect and celebrate their country’s culture. My take on Belgians abroad: we mostly shine by being very low key…

Happy to meet some of my friends of our Old China Hands Lunch.