April 15, 2008


Railway saves Tibet
Flying in from Beijing to attend the BOAO Conference in Hainan, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to government ministers and leaders of different levels about Tibet (They were not too enthusiastic). My favorite response came from Shi Dahua the chairman of China Railway Group Limited, who proudly claimed that his railway line into Lhasa is actually saving the Tibetans. China is not only bringing them culture (really??) it is bringing them a way to save themselves as there is not too much oxygen in Tibet. Nicely put it is a way for Tibetans to leave and live in China, easily and efficiently. Wow. I nearly choked on that last point. Just thought I would share this wonderful pearl of wisdom.

BOAO Conference Hainan
This yearly conference is similar to Davos in Switzerland, except more focused on Asia. Business and Political leaders gather to share opinions, dispute ideas and find solutions to the challenges of the region and the world. It is a well-organized and high profile, 3-day event that brings together individuals who can actively make change in our world. The focus this year was the environment and what we can do as leaders to enact change. Our forums included Hu Jintao, Pervez Musharaff, Kevin Rudd, Nambar Enkhabayar, The President of Chile, The Prime Ministers of Sweden, Kazakhstan and Tonga, Nobel Prize Winners, Heads of companies like Google, COSCO, O and M, Samsung, SK, CCTV, Tata, and other notable organizations that my poor memory fails to recall. It was the first year I have been invited to this conference and I must say it was quite an intellectual feast. Putting this many people of varied and influential backgrounds together in one room is the best way to nurture and generate ideas that can make a difference in our world. For Filipinos, we represented a small delegation that included politicians and businessmen in the fields of banking, real estate, consulting, logistics, and distribution. While this year it felt like the Taiwanese + China negotiations took the stage, The Philippines can still be, politics aside, an excellent source of projects with solid returns. There were four of us who met in private with Vincent Siew to help strengthen business relations with Taiwan.

It is through conferences like this that I feel we can grow together as a region. With China in front, Asia can become a power to balance Europe and America.


Anonymous said...

Was that official drunk by any chance when he made those statements? What was he on? Must be potent stuff. But you got to love how he connected the railway system, tibet and validating china's presence in Tibet! A+ for creativity!

The Jolly Jetsetter said...

Well, ministers and businessmen who deal closely with the government often times have no choice but to take the same stand as the state and enthusiastically so. Its a matter of self preservation.

In this case however, I do think he really believed in what he was saying...