New Zealand
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Feature: An Australian publisher and his third "Long March" to China

by Xinhua writers Bai Xu, Yue Dongxing

CANBERRA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Australian publisher Harold Weldon believed that he has embarked on the Long March for three times, literally and symbolically.

"It teaches us all to never give up whatever your circumstance," he told Xinhua in an interview.

Weldon, 56, is a writer and China advisor. His first Long March started in 1985.

Growing up listening to stories of ANZAC, or Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, in World War I, which was significant in Australia's national identity, he found himself fascinated by the Long March story of the Red Army in China since he was a teenager.

An opportunity came in 1985, when his father Kevin, owner of a big publishing group Weldon International, talked with the Chinese government to do a special commemorative album on the 50th anniversary of the victory of the Long March.

"We thought it would be a good idea to show the world sort of the unknown China through the lens of the story of the Long March," he recalled.

They invited dozens of photographers from around the world along sections of the routes.

But Weldon, a 19-year-old who just left school, of course didn't complete the journey. "When we did that trip, we were tired and hungry, and we only walked about 50 kilometers of the 10,000 kilometers," he said, laughing.

It was his most impressive experience in China.

"A good beginning is half the battle," Weldon quoted a Chinese proverb in Mandarin.

He remembered being warmly welcomed everywhere he went, especially at the village level. The team went to beautiful mountains and visited different minority groups with their unique culture, and believed that the album showed the whole world "the beautiful China that they didn't realize existed apart from the rice paddy."

He showed Xinhua several diaries he kept along the way. On the yellowed pages were old photos, beside which he recorded in different colors his experience. On one page, he posted a photo of the Red Well in China's Jiangxi Province, and wrote down the story: it was dug by the Red Army and the late Chairman Mao Zedong for villagers who lacked drinking water.

In another photo, Weldon, a thin man then, was swimming in the Dadu River in southwestern China's Sichuan province, which became famous after Mao mentioned it in his famous poem The Long March.

Twenty-five years later, he did the project again, which he then called the New Long March.

"So much had changed," Weldon said, looking back at the two journeys.

He noted that 1985 was about the start of China's rapid growth. "I've seen the rise of China," which has embraced the world and become more globalized, he said.

During the years he also saw a growing interest in Chinese culture in Australia.

"China has this great civilization for 5,000 years," he said. "The Chinese culture is so strong."

The Melbourne Chinatown is believed to be one of the oldest in the West, and the oldest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Currently, Australia is home to more than 1.2 million people of Chinese ancestry.

Weldon said that the Beijing Olympics in 2008 promoted Chinese culture around the world. "That was an amazing time...The opening ceremony was Chinese culture at its utmost."

Talking about his life involved in the cultural industry, Weldon described it as "passionate" was convinced that culture could help enhance understanding.

"Through that you build trust," he said. "Then we were able to introduce our Australian business friends (to China)...and Chinese businesses to come here."

"The cultural projects are like the real bridge, and over the bridge we have been able to help with trade and business."

In his view, people-to-people ties are at the center of any bilateral relationship.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Australia, in which the publisher said he had been a part for 37 years.

He is confident about the future of the China-Australia relations.

"It's just like the Long March. It's one step at a time."

As Weldon sees it, the Long March spirit was "never giving up". "We needed that sort of spirit to keep us going."

Citing an old Chinese saying "10,000 li begins beneath your feet," Weldon said he would like to play his "small part" in the efforts.

"I arrived (in China) in April 1985 and began a journey that I'm still on. I'm still on the Long March."