Through the eyes of a Chinaphile

09:02, May 17, 2010      

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Photos: Sidney A. Mcphee


Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) President Sidney A. McPhee first visited China 10 years ago, initiating a fascination that has taken him to 35 cites across the nation on annual trips ever since.

The 52-year-old Bahamas born American is a keen amateur photographer and over the years has accumulated a collection of pictures, which he is now sharing in a touring exhibition, starting in Beijing.

While many people have been impressed by the enormous economic growth in the country, McPhee said it has always been the nature of Chinesepeople which impressed him most.

"China is a great country," McPhee said. "I visit China every year, at least once or twice. China has changed a lot over the past decade; there is undeniable economic growth - 10 years ago most Chinese were unable to afford a car but today many have one. But what remained unchanged is the friendliness I have received here."

The university president has taken numerous pictures showcasing the development of the country over the past decade, and is showing 300 of them in an exhibition China "A decade through the eyes of an American university president," which debuted May 11 at the China Agricultural University (CAU).

MTSU and CAU signed agreements around 2004, by which teachers at CAU can be sent to MTSU to learn campus management.

The photos, a record of his tour experiences, are organized around the following themes: cultural sites, faces and people of China, landscapes and architecture, cuisine, friendship, nature scenes, partnerships and others.

Many students who visited the exhibition were impressed by the landscape shots of China, but some said the exhibition gave only a superficial representation of the country because they failed to reflect the real lives of the disadvantaged.

"I expected to see more photos of children in the poverty-stricken countryside," said one CAU student named Gao Nana.

McPhee admits that he deliberately declined to show the harsher realities, preferring to focus on the positives.

"I dream the world could be a safer place and there would be no conflict or war, although I know I may never see it come true," McPhee said. "I dislike the red tape here. I loathe having to go through so many steps or procedures just to handle one single trivial matter, like one may encounter when exchanging notes in a bank, but there is a dark side in every country."


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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/6987107.pdf