FDA, Women’s Basketball, Church and UNC Alumni

Yesterday Peter Coclanis, Tom Martineau and I had lunch with Dr. Yan Jiangying (or Jenny Yan, to use her “English name”).

She is a senior official of the State Food and Drug Administration for China. She is a pediatrician and she was a Fogarty Fellow at UNC with Dr. Gail Henderson in 2005.

We went to a very nice restaurant which has recreated the elegant old style of entertaining. It was a very pleasant meal, made all the more so by Dr. Yan’s recounting of her very positive memories of her year in Chapel Hill.

We discussed future possibilities for partnerships between the SFDA and UNC.

Dr. Jenny Yan from the SFDA.
bill and jenny

Last evening we went to see the USA women’s basketball team play the Czech Republic. In addition to Peter, Tom and Will, Mark Little joined us. He is Provost Bernadette Gray-Little’s son. Mark has spent the past year in Beijing as a Luce Fellow, teaching environmental science at PKU.

The USA team was slow to get started, but after Candace Parker went in they caught up and really blew the other team away. The final score was 97-57. At the end I was yelling “we want biscuits,” but I am not sure the local crowd got the point.

This morning I went to church at the Beijing International Christian Fellowship. It is a large congregation, planted in 1980. It began with British and American Embassy expatriates. They have grown to be now several congregations — meeting in multiple locations with services in several languages in addition to English and Chinese.

I went to the main location and the 9:30 a.m. service had perhaps 1000 people — seated in a modern theatre-style auditorium located in an office building.

The 90-minute service contained both English and Chinese songs, with the words projected on an overhead screen. The sermon was in English, with simultaneous translation available in Chinese. The relatively informal service reminded me of the Chapel Hill Bible Church.

Current government regulations mean that BCIF (and other churches like it) are open to foreign photo ID holders only. I had to show my passport to get in.

By the way, last Sunday I went to church in Shanghai at a Chinese church. The service I attended was entirely in Chinese. I was able to sing the hymns, though, as they were familiar tunes — including “Blessed Assurance.” My English blended right in with the hundreds of Chinese-singing worshipers.

We had a very nice luncheon today with several UNC alums who live here in Beijing. Elyse Ribbons, ’03, organized it. We ate at a great French restaurant and had a very good brunch. I confess that after a week and a half of wonderful Chinese food, I really enjoyed bacon, eggs, rolls, and crepes for dessert.

Tonight we are going to men’s basketball — USA vs. China. It should be a real show! Everyone here is excited about the game. It is like UNC vs. Duke back home. Only here I am cheering for the team led by Coach K!

President Bush at the USA-China men’s basketball game.

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