BBC or BBC PLC ?:  Government Policy Needs to be Clarified

PM Boris Johnson – Will it be the BBC or BBC PLC?

There is much debate about the direction of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and many people have called for the TV license fee to be scrapped. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been concerned enough to speak about the so-called the ‘woke’ agenda. Mr Johnson has threatened to scrap the TV licence fee if matters do not improve, and turn the BBC into a subscription fee service. If this happened, the BBC would need to be privatised, and it would become BBC PLC (Public Limited Company) a commercial broadcaster and subscription service.

These are uncertain times for the BBC, but how did it reach this parlous state? Continue reading “BBC or BBC PLC ?”

Shenyang WW2 Allied Prisoners Camp Site Museum – Mukden POW Camp

Shenyang WW2 Allied Prisoners Camp Site Museum– Site of Mukden POW Camp


shenyang-ww2-allied-prisoners-camp-site museum
Shenyang WWII Allied Prisoners Camp Site Museum

In 2017, I sought out the site of Mukden Allied Prisoner of War Camp in Shenyang, Liaoning province, Northeast China. Mukden Camp, also known as Hoten Camp, was located on the outskirts of Mukden, present-day Shenyang. The former POW site, at Di Tan Street, in the Dadong district of Shenyang, is now the location of the Shenyang WWII Allied Prisoners Camp Museum. It has one of the best preserved examples of an Allied POW camp. At the time of my visit, the new museum had not been completed.
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London Wine Fair – 2019 Revisited

London Wine Fair – 2019 Revisited

London Wine Fair 2019

The London Wine Fair 2019 revisited. A look back at a selection of wines and spirits from exhibitors at the 2019 London Wine Fair. This annual UK wine fair proved once again why it is the best!
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COVID-19 Wuhan medications

COVID-19 Wuhan medications

Wuhan celebration illuminations – 76 days of lockdown ended 8th April 2020

The novel coronavirus, now designated SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), was identified in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on the 7th January 2020.  This specific coronavirus causes the disease COVID-19, and there have been unofficial reports of confirmed cases going back to 17th November 2019.  Subsequently, the world has seen a race to identify which medications could stop or alleviate the symptoms from this highly infectious disease.

A few weeks ago a colleague of mine living in Wuhan, China, was tested positive for the disease COVID-19, and spent 20 days quarantined in an emergency hospital. After being treated with the medications prescribed below, my colleague has now fully recovered. There is currently much debate and experimentation on the type of medications that might effectively inhibit and/or alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19. I have recently obtained a picture from my recovered colleague, which shows the medications that were used for COVID-19 treatment at a Wuhan hospital. Continue reading “COVID-19 Wuhan medications”

Huawei 5G : UK Conundrum or US False Flag?

Huawei 5G : UK Conundrum or US False Flag?

Huawei 5G

For some time, the UK under pressure from the US has dillied and dallied about the installation of Huawei 5G equipment in the UK. Lack of leadership, a UK conundrum or a US false flag? Should it bow to US pressure and ban outright Huawei 5G equipment on national security grounds, or allow Huawei’s 5G more advanced and cheaper technology?

On 14th January 2020, Reuters news agency reported the following, ‘British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said those opposed to the use of equipment made by China’s Huawei in the UK’s new 5G networks need to say what alternative technology should be used instead.’ On many occasions the US has made claims, through the Five Eyes (FVEY) security and intelligence alliance, that China’s Huawei 5G equipment and components represent a major national if not international security threat that would allow China to hack and compromise UK 5G systems.

PM Boris Johnson is reported as saying, ‘ I don’t want, as the UK prime minister, to put in any infrastructure that is going to prejudice our national security or our ability to co-operate with Five Eyes intelligence partners.’ Therein lies the UK problem, buy the best or have security compromised?

So what’s the truth about Huawei and who are Five Eyes? What is the US position on Huawei; does the US have another agenda – false flag? What conclusions can be drawn?
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Bellavita Expo 2019 + The European Pizza & Pasta Show 2019

Bellavita Expo 2019 + The European Pizza & Pasta Show 2019

Villa Sandi DOCG Prosecco

The Bellavita Expo 2019 was held on 7-8th November at the Design Centre, Islington, London. The European Pizza & Pasta Show 2019 was held shortly afterwards on the 13-15th November at Olympia, London. These almost back-to-back events provided an opportunity to discover some of the finest Italian and Mediterranean food and beverages. In this review I will highlight some of my favourite products, important Italian food UK suppliers and scenes from the shows.

First of all, the beverages!
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Dalian – Japanese, Russian and Soviet Historic Buildings

Dalian – Japanese, Russian and Soviet Historic Buildings

Welcome to Dalian

I recently travelled along the Shenyang-Dalian Expressway (also known as the Shenda Expressway) in Liaoning province, China. This is a 400km motorway from Shenyang, in central Liaoning province, to Dalian, which is at the southernmost tip of the Liaodong peninsular. My destination was the beautiful Jinshitan scenic area of northeast Dalian and the Golden pebble beach, known as Jinshitan (金石滩).

Having some knowledge of Dalian’s historical past, I was equally keen to track down and visit Japanese and Russian built heritage. My search began at Zhongshan Square, in the centre of Dalian city.
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London Wine Fair – 2018

London Wine Fair – 2018

london wine fair 2018
 London Wine Fair 2018

The 38th London Wine Fair, with over 14,000 wines from 40 countries available for tasting, was a truly fantastic wine event for buyers, sommeliers and anyone involved with the wine industry.

This year, the event seemed somewhat physically smaller. Nevertheless, there were still many exciting wine (and spirit) discoveries to be made.

Here are some highlights from the Fair – the tastings that I enjoyed and the good experiences. As a matter of course, I am not providing any tasting notes as these can be found on the relevant winery/merchant website. Of course, many wines demanded to be matched with food, which really is another dimension and demands another article!
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37th London Wine Fair – 2017

37th London Wine Fair – 2017

37th London Wine Fair 2017

The London Wine Fair, with over 10,000 wines to sample, is always an event of fascinating wine discoveries. From the chalk downs terroir of Hampshire, England to the arid lands of the Turpan Valley, Xinjiang, China; and from the chalky-clay and gravelly soils of Bergerac, Dordogne, to the sandy, chalky, limestone-rich soils of Valencia, Spain – there were some amazing tasting experiences.

For the first tastings, I decided to concentrate on the numerous smaller French producers of Champagne. I was particularly impressed with the high standard from these lesser-known producers. Naturally Champagne tastes vary, and if food matching is normally a case of complementing the food against grape (varieties) and added sugar. So I am just going to list those champagnes that I enjoyed the most.
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North Korea: a vexing situation for the USA and China

North Korea’s Pukguksong-2 test increases the tension

North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), has again provoked international condemnation whilst developing its current ballistic missile and nuclear programme.

North Korea: Pukguksong-2 missile test

On 12th February 2017, North Korea launched a Pukguksong-2 missile (North Star 2, 북극성 2), from a tracked mobile launch vehicle. The solid-fuel missile is believed to have reached an altitude of 340 miles (550km) and travelled downrange 310 miles (510km) into the East Sea. The missile fell into North Korean territorial waters of the East Sea (disputed by Japan, which it considers it to be the Sea of Japan), and did not pose any risk to Japan. This missile test was primarily of chief concern for the participating nations of the Six-Party talks.
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Soy Sauce Casks and a History of Shenyang, Northeast China (Dongbei)

Soy Sauce Casks and History of Shenyang, Northeast China (Dongbei)

On a recent visit to Shenyang, Liaoning province, Northeast China (Dongbei), I discovered an interesting earthenware container or cask. The blue-white cask had, I was told, been excavated at some time during the 1980s at Taiyuan Jie, near Shenyang Railway Station.

soy sauce cask fengtian shenyang
Soy Sauce cask discovered at Taiyuan Jie, Shenyang, Liaoning province, China

At first sight, the rope-banded style cask seemed to be of Chinese origin. After further inspection, I considered that it might be a sake container or cask from the Japanese Meiji period (23 October 1868 – 30July 1912 ). Meiji period earthenware is generally characterised by blue and white decoration.
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36th London Wine Fair – 2016

36th London Wine Fair – 2016

36th London Wine Fair

The 36th London Wine Fair turned out again to be one of the world’s leading wine and trade events. With an anticipated 700 exhibitors from across the globe, showing some 13,000 wines, there was much to see and expect.

This year’s wine fair was held two weeks earlier than usual, so as to ensure a better fit with UK and International buying schedules – a good move.

It was interesting to see a selection of Japanese sake at the Fair, so it was an easy decision to start with sake tastings!
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2015 – A Year of Sake and Fujii Honke 藤居本家

Sake and Fujii Honke 藤居本家

sake-tasting-2015-restaurant-show, london
Sake tasting – 2015 Restaurant Show, London

This year has seen an increase in the popularity of Japanese food in London, and there are now nearly 500 Japanese restaurants in the Greater London area. However, and more importantly, there has been a surge of interest in Japanese sake ( Nihonshu日本酒 ).

During 2015, there have been many interesting events and tastings to promote this marvellous drink. The IWC 2015 Award Winning Sake Tasting, held at the Embassy of Japan, and events by World Sake Imports: including a talk given by Philip Harper, the first non-Japanese sake master brewer( Toji 杜氏 ) in Japan, from the Kinoshita-Shuzou brewery, Kyoto. Continue reading “2015 – A Year of Sake and Fujii Honke 藤居本家”

35th London Wine Fair – 2015

35th London Wine Fair – 2015

35th London Wine Fair

The 35th London Wine Fair 2015, held at Kensington Olympia – one of the best international events for discerning wine buyers and aficionados.

Over 10,000 wines from over 80 countries were available to taste, and which provided every opportunity to discover some real wine gems. As a regular event goer, and with so many wines available to sample, it is often difficult to know where to start on a new journey of wine discovery. But I did, and here are some of my discoveries and an old favourite!
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Does the US Need a Reality Check?

‘US needs Reality Check’: A China View of US Foreign Policy

China President Xi Jinping with US President Barak Obama

During my stay in Beijing last year, I came across a thought provoking editorial entitled ‘US needs reality check ‘ (China Daily newspaper, 30th May 2014). Alongside the editorial was another article: ‘Time for China to go it alone’, an interesting juxtaposition. It is possible to interpret this juxtaposition, as the decline of the United States as global leader and the rise of China’s territorial ambitions! Continue reading “Does the US Need a Reality Check?”

IFE 2013 – International Food & Drink Event

IFE 2013 – Japan Pavilion

Japan and MAFF Pavilion

During March 2013, I attended the International Food & Drink Event (IFE 2013) at ExCel, London. As expected the event turned out to be one of the highlights of the year, showcasing new and innovative products from around the world.

IFE 2013 had over 50 countries represented on the trade stands, and over the four-day event received almost 30000 visitors from nearly 100 countries. In particular, the Japan pavilions and sake bar, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) were noteworthy – one of the best ever presentations from Japan. Continue reading “IFE 2013 – International Food & Drink Event”

At the James Freeman Gallery

‘The Islands Across the Sea’

James Freeman Gallery – Islington, London

Currently showing at the James Freeman Gallery, Islington, is an amazing exhibition of artworks by Claire Partington and Cornelia O’Donovan entitled ‘The Islands Across the Sea’. At a recent private viewing, the renowned Upper Street art gallery was packed with art lovers and collectors of the artists’ works.

Claire Partington creates amazing narrative earthenware figures very much in the European tradition,  and her technical skills are a wonder. Claire was shortlisted for the Young Masters Art Prize, London 2012. Well, my personal choice for her best art in this exhibition is ‘Master of the Universe’ (below left).

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Dr Lyushun Shen, Taipei Representative Office (Taiwan) in the UK

Dr Lyushun Shen, Taipei Representative Office (Taiwan) in the UK

Last night, I had the privilege of meeting and hearing a presentation given by Dr Lyushun Shen, Taipei Representative Office (Taiwan) in the UK, at a Conservative Foreign and Commonwealth Council (CFCC) meeting in London (28th January 2013).

Dr Shen gave a thoroughly interesting talk on Taiwan history, which encompassed Britain’s former colonial involvement in China and South China Sea region.

Chiang Kai-shek, President of Taiwan 1950-1975

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BBC Trust

*First Published on PM Boris Johnson’s ‘Democracy Archives’ website – click here

The BBC Trust

Dr Robert Frew

“The extent to which the
audience feels its trust betrayed
… bodes ill for the BBC. In the
long term the loser will be
public-service broad­casting itself;
the winners the revengists of ‘old’
New Labour.”


Dr Robert Frew reflects on the role of the BBC Trust

The BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons, has recently revealed he will not seek to be re-appointed in the role when his four-year term ends next May.

A few weeks ago, in a letter to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Sir Michael said the Trust was robust, workable and effective … with much remaining to be done. So what of the background that led to the formation of the BBC Trust and its future ?

The BBC Trust replaced the BBC’s Board of Governors in January 2007. The Government said it was intended to ensure an “unprecedented obligation to openness and transparency”. But one of its first announcements was that the BBC Trust would review the corporation’s UK news coverage, which, whilst seeming even-handed to some, was seen by others as an insidious first step to totalitarianism : more like a politburo flexing its muscles. Continue reading “BBC Trust”