An update from John Rendall and Ace Bourke

Published 22 June 2009

We both loved our recent visit to China where we were interviewed in Beijing on CCTV’s weekly program “Us” by host and executive producer Wang Lifen.

Her weekly television program “Us” can be seen in every house or village throughout China which is a potential viewing audience of 1.3 billion people we like to think! Lifen is very dynamic and had thoroughly researched our book and George Adamson’s conservation work. She built a very interesting program around us with a diverse and informed audience all interested or actively involved in wildlife conservation. Many issues were discussed frankly with experts either in the studio or by video link to the World Wildlife Organisation in Switzerland. Others in the studio audience were local academics, Zhu Chunquan the Head of Conservation Operations for the World Wildlife Fund for Nature Beijing Office, World Wildlife Fund supporters, and people working in the field of pandas.

We were very pleased to learn that unlike the global trend for most animals, the panda population is not decreasing. We were asked many interesting questions and were well served by efficient interpreters. We found the experience very worthwhile and were pleasantly surprised to realise that there is a degree of awareness and sense of responsibility for wildlife and environmental challenges. The program will be aired in China in October when A Lion Called Christian is published.

We had time to visit the Forbidden City which we found was overwhelmingly beautiful and of course we admired the two stylised bronze lions which flank the entrance to the Emperor’s pavilion. The number of lion statues in Beijing reminded us of the awe with which Chinese people hold lions (the lion dance features in many Chinese celebrations) and perhaps explained the interest in Christian’s story. We also visited The Great Wall of China on misty mountain ranges and a landscape familiar from Chinese paintings.

– John Rendall and Ace Bourke

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