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Red Earth revisited

By Li Zhenyu (People's Daily Online)

13:46, September 14, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 13, 2011 - Former President of People's Daily Qian Liren and a group of offspring of James G. Endicott, a Canadian missionary and well-known "Friendship Ambassador" to China paid a visit to Doudian Village in suburban Beijing on Aug. 24, 2011.

The sixteen Endicott family members was led by the son of James G. Endicott — Stephen L. Endicott, who was born in 1928 in Shanghai and spent 13 years in Chongqing. Stephen, who goes by a Chinese name of Wen Zhongzhi, was a senior scholar of York University in Toronto and authored a book on China's village, titled Red Earth.

It was Stephen's third visit to Doudian Village. He views it as an opportunity to get a better grasp of the current rural policies in China and tap into the experiences the Communist Party of China has accumulated in developing its society at grassroots level.

"I think Doudian has been a special village in China," Stephen said to this journalist on his road to Doudian Village. "I'm interested to know how the village has changed since my previous two visits during the 1980s and 1990s. I've been wondering if Doudian still operates under the collective farm system as I witnessed over 20 years ago."

Accompanied by Mr. Qian, who has kept friends with Stephen for decades, and other officials, the Endicott family toured the village with great vigor. They inquired about the local existing administrative system, housing, wages, pensions, job security and other social welfare issues while taking notes seriously.

"The changes have been very big indeed." Stephen summarized. "I suppose that we can reflect that Doudian's trajectory is part of the path that China has followed over the past sixty years in its quest to build a socialist society."

As the amiable Endicott family was ready to head back home, the Canadian group was permeated with smiles and friendly feelings.

"I hope the friendship between China and the senior Endicott family members could pass down to the younger generations," said Stephen. "What we would bring home is international goodwill."

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