Author Archives

Retired lawyer studying Chinese and linguistics

  • Another Tragedy in the English Channel

    Following the deaths of 27 asylum seekers seeking to reach the United Kingdom in the Channel this week, the UK government has again sought to deflect responsibility onto France for allowing them to make such a perilous crossing. This has… Read More ›

  • Hendaye Sunsets…

    Hendaye is a seaside town in the French Basque Country, located on the border between France and Spain. It is well known for its beautiful sunsets, a product of its location to the east of hills along the Bidassoa River… Read More ›

  • “Nandu Beigui – “Move South and Return North”) by Yue Nan

    I am in the process of reading a biographical book by the Chinese writer Yue Nan (岳南) entitled “Nandu Beigui/南渡北归” (“Move South and Return North”). The book is not yet available in English translation, so the title translation is my… Read More ›

  • A Visit to the Xu Beihong Museum in Beijing

    I visited the Xu Beihong Museum (徐悲鸿纪念馆) in Beijing and took the photographs in this post in late October 2019. It is likely that few western visitors have visited this Museum since I was there, given that China is likely… Read More ›

  • Blaming the Victims…

    The Financial Times published an article yesterday entitled ‘Covid’s Health Legal Legacy Demands Radical Revamp of Welfare Systems’. It was written by an FT staff writer Kate Allen. Ms Allen argues that welfare systems and employers need to do more… Read More ›

  • Why Did Western Countries Fail to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19?

    [NB: This article was first written in June 2020. There is a Chinese version on my website] Why did Western Countries Fail to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19? The Covid-19 pandemic is a once in a century grave health… Read More ›

  • Shanghai: The Former French Concession Area

    I have had to postpone a trip I planned to make to Beijing in May this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  However, I have had time during the pandemic lockdown to reflect on some of the photographs I took… Read More ›

  • My New Website

    I have started a new website ( on which I am summarising articles published on the Chinese website  The Aisixiang (‘Love Thought’) site publishes articles by Chinese writers, academics and think tank specialists.  Some are written specially for the… Read More ›

  • Brexit: The Crunch

    Theresa May has at last managed to negotiate a Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.  That Agreement has clearly shown two things: The best deal the UK can get is a transition period during which everything remains the… Read More ›

  • Zhao Hong: ‘Is Chinese a Difficult Language to Learn?’

    Zhao Hong is a professor in the Foreign Language Institute of the East China University of Science and Technology, based in Shanghai.  One of the chapters in her book ‘Exploring Language Culture/语言文化探索’, published in 2015, is entitled ‘Is Chinese a… Read More ›

  • Zhao Hong’s book ‘Exploring Language Culture’

    When I last visited Beijing I purchased a copy of a recent book by Zhao Hong (赵宏)at the Wangfujing bookshop: “Exploring Language Culture/语言文化探索”.  Zhao Hong is an assistant professor in the Foreign Language Institute of the East China University of… Read More ›

  • My Brexit Predictions Updated

    On 21 March 2017 I published a post entitled ‘My Predictions for the Outcome of the Brexit Negotiations’.  You can read the original post below but my key points were: (i) there will be an agreement involving a three to… Read More ›

  • A Walk in Regent’s Park

    Regent’s Park in London is an excellent spot for a walk in all seasons.  There is always a relaxing atmosphere plus new things to see.  I took the photos below during a walk yesterday, 12th May. Border flowers A goose… Read More ›

  • 中国人民革命军事博物馆的亮点

    去年十二月我在北京旅行的时候去了中国人民革命军事博物馆(下面简称‘军博’)。军博位于北京西部复兴路,离故宫五公里左右。 我在军博里参观了第一层和负一层两个展区。这里的陈列内容包括很多类型的兵器装备像飞机,大炮,舰船,导弹和坦克。还有美国和日本造的飞机,大炮和坦克。下面有五张由我拍摄的照片。 军博的氛围不是充满火药味的,而是平静和庄重。我在军博的时候是唯一的‘老外’,不过其他的参观者和军博工做人员都很友好。 军博的网站很有用(。网站的内容包括军博简介,基本阵列,主题展览,研究成果,艺术创作等30个栏目。还有7个基本陈列网上展馆:古代战争馆,近代战争馆,土地革命战争馆,抗日战争馆,全面解放战争馆,新中国国防和军队建设成就馆和军事艺术馆。 ‘功勋喷气式歼击机’ – 这架飞机是王海(中国人民志愿军空军的战斗英雄)驾驶过的苏联造的米格飞机。据展品的注释,王海的飞行大队击落击伤敌机29架。王海本人驾机击落击伤敌机9架。王海被志愿军总部授予‘志愿军一级战斗英雄’称号。据百度百科,王海现在还活着,今年九十二岁了。 ‘英雄的215号坦克’ – 这辆坦克是苏联造T-34/85中型坦克。据展品的注释,这辆坦克在抗美援朝战争中,共击毁敌人重型坦克5辆,化学迫击炮9门和汽车一辆。这辆坦克也完成了7次配合步兵作战任务。为此,中国人民志愿军领导机关授予全体成员集体特等功。 ‘美国造U-2高空侦察机残骸‘ – 美国高空侦察机是20世纪50年代美国洛克希德公司研制的高空战略侦察机。1962年9月9日中国空军地空导弹部队首次击落一架U-2高空侦察机。至1967年9月,空军地空导弹部队共击落5架U-2侦察机。这架飞机残骸是由四架飞机残骸拼成的。 ‘美国造M4A3谢尔曼中型坦克’ – 1950年12月抗美援朝战斗时期第二次战役中这辆美国坦克是于朝鲜介川地区缴获美军的。 ‘中国造轰-6轰炸机’ – 这架飞机是中国仿制苏联图-16双发高亚音速中程轰炸机的战斗飞机。

  • We Are All Marxists Now

    I have recently finished working through a Chinese textbook on linguistics (used in Chinese universities’ ‘Linguistics 101’ courses).  I found nothing particularly ideological about the textbook.  It did contain references to Russian linguists (along with western experts like Saussure and… Read More ›