society

Australian man amazed by positive changes in China during recent years

Jerry Grey, an Australian who has lived in China for 16 years, is amazed by the positive changes in the country and is beginning to become more sentimentally attached to China as he knows more about it.

Jerry Grey in his home in Zhongshan. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

As Grey is fond of experiencing life in various places, he came to Zhongshan, south China’s Guangdong province, after being attracted by a recruitment advertisement for English teachers in 2004.

“Before I came to China, I heard that China was an underdeveloped country, and some daily necessities were difficult to buy. When I first came to China, I filled my suitcase with two large bottles of shampoo and a pile of soap, which I later found to be completely superfluous,” Grey recalled.

Jerry Grey and his wife Liang Yuhua (Photo provided by the interviewee)

Grey added, “Chinese supermarkets have all the things I brought, and they are cheaper and of good quality, which is completely beyond my expectation.”

Admitting that he was not used to the life here when he first came to China, Grey was unable to communicate with people outside of the school because of the language barrier. Later, he met his Chinese wife, Liang Yuhua, and with her help he has gradually settled down.

Grey has taken root in Zhongshan. In fact, he just planned to stay in China for a year or so at first, but unexpectedly, the time period has been extended to 16 years. “The more I know about China, the more I like her,” he said.

Jerry Grey on a bike tour in 2014. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

Over the past few years, Grey has cycled across over 20 cities in China, including Xiamen, Fuzhou, Changsha, Wuhan and Chongqing. He has been amazed by the positive changes taking place in China during his trips.

For instance, Grey and his wife made a second cycling trip to northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2019 along the same route of their journey in 2014.

Back in 2014, bumpy roads were prevalent in poverty-stricken areas of northwest China’s Gansu province and Ningxia Hui autonomous region when Grey made the trip there; there were even local villagers still living in cave dwellings.

Cave dwellings in Gansu province. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

However, radical positive changes have taken place along the same route of his second cycling trip in 2019.

“When we passed through Ningxia again last year, great changes had taken place in the former poor areas. The cave dwellings along the road were still there, but no one lived there. New schools, cinemas, shopping malls, restaurants and hotels have been built, and roads have been renovated,” Grey pointed out.

A street in Ningxia in 2014. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

A street in Ningxia in 2019. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

“In a short period of five years, Ningxia has presented a completely new look, ” he introduced.

From Grey’s perspective, the Chinese government should take credit for the profound changes.

Jerry Grey and his wife in Xinjiang. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

“Without the Chinese government’s poverty alleviation policies, this could not have happened, because this must be deployed across the country,” he pointed out. 

 A street in Ningxia in 2014. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

A street in Ningxia in 2019. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

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