I usually take these opportunities to report on what is happening in China, especially regarding educational circles, as I am the representative of a group which facilitates Irish teachers teaching in universities in China. I spent 17 years as manager of the organisation’s headquarters in Hong Kong, now a much-changed city.
However for the past year the Covid pandemic has put activities on pause though a number of our teachers remained on in China working online or in restricted circumstances. We hope that travel will be possible again in the autumn and we can resume sending volunteers.
At present kindergartens, primary, middle and secondary schools are open and third level institutes may restart in a limited way by June.
The country is proud that is it almost covid free and restricts foreign travel to keep it that way. The lock-down has ended but regular mandatory tests are held and proof that you are covid-free may be necessary when entering some facilities and shops. People take the pandemic rules and suggestions very seriously and are amazed at how relaxed people are in the West.
China has developed its own vaccines which it shares with neighbouring and African countries rather than seeing a need to roll them out to all the billion and a half population at home.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong a small but significant number of new cases is reported every day. Commentators on the mainland are not slow in pointing out that this indicates the superiority of their social system.