This afternoon we met up with an old Chinese friend whom we'd not seen for over 15 years. Liu Bincheng is married to a British woman, Nicola, who Liz used to work with. He splits his time between London (where Nicola works) and Beijing (where he's pursuing various projects). He has one of those tough but incredibly interesting backgrounds. Born in around 1950 to a respected, intellectual family in Gangsu province but then slowly moving westwards as his father worked on extending the railway into Xinkiang, he ended up in Urumqir.
His teenage years were interrupted by the Cultural Revolution but he made it through and met Nicola in 1981. She was one of the first Western students of Chinese to arrive following Deng Xiaoping reforms - and the fact that she came to Urumqir made her an object of fascination. They fell in love, got married in China and then moved more or less permanently to the UK. We had lunch in a nice Chinese restaurant near the Purple Bambook Park where he's bought a flat and caught up on the intervening years. Good to re-connect.