Myths about China dispelled at Gary meeting
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent February 11, 2013 6:36PM
For more details on the American China Society of Indiana, contact Jenny Massey at (317) 968-9458 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: March 13, 2013 6:20AM
GARY — The Gary Chamber of Commerce lost its guest speaker for its monthly luncheon, but still covered its topic of China.
Jenny Massey, president for the American China Society of Indiana in Indianapolis, canceled her appearance last minute because of car trouble, so Bill Thon, Executive Director for IVY Tech’s Corporate College, stepped in to talk about his experience in China. Thon, along with then-Mayor Rudy Clay and several members of the business community, went to Beijing, Fuxin and Shenyang on a business fact-finding mission in 2008.
Having traveled in Europe, Thon said he wasn’t expecting the extreme differences between Europe and China but was duly impressed by what they saw.
“We were in the downtown section of Beijing, and we counted 100 cement trucks pouring concrete into these municipal projects,” Thon said.”In one instance, they had built a village with a school system in 26 months out of flat farmland. The ideas of how they expand are very quick-paced.”
But quick doesn’t equate to poor quality, even though there’s often that perception. The Chinese are just as concerned with the quality of their products as anywhere else.
“It’s important to them that they’re doing all they can,” he said.
There’s also a perception that the government looms large and heavy, controlling each and every turn. Thon dispelled that thought as well, saying everyone was exceptionally accommodating to the delegation.
“We were told we were the only American delegation in the country at the time,” he said. “There was a woman — she was about 5-1 — who was always with me through the whole trip, and I thought she was just someone who wanted to learn from us. So it was exciting to find out she was my security for the trip.”