Jet Li Guest Lecture!! 李连杰

Tuesday, July 12

We were told on Monday that we would be having a guest lecture by a very famous person the next day. Prof Xie refused to tell us who it was in case we brought all our friends, and at the time we were all skeptical. Who could it be? Would we even know this person? At the time, no-one suspected that the special guest would be world-famous martial arts movie star JET LIIIIII asdfklasdflkjsalfjadlfkj!!!

Li is renowned for his wushu skills but the topic of his talk was about his work in charity and public welfare. After he and his daughters almost lost their lives while vacationing in the Maldives during the 2004 tsunami, he founded the One Foundation (which encourages the donation of one Chinese yuan), an NGO which funds disaster relief among other issues. His guiding principles are wisdom and compassion, the two core teachings of his Buddhist religion.

The man himself looked older than in the movies, and he seemed to be developing a bit of a belly. But you could tell from the energy and agility of his movements that he was highly skilled physically, and his shiny eyes darted around the room with a speed uncharacteristic of his age. His English wasn’t fantastic but his charisma and sincerity were clearly conveyed. His message was that everyone can do something, because collectively we can be strong given a platform through which we can help others with donations of any quantity. He believes that young people can use technology to spread love and support to anyone who needs it, and is highly optimistic about the future.


Still can’t get over the fact that we got to see Jet Li and his daughter Jane!

Simatai Great Wall 司马台

Friday, July 15

Simatai is a less touristy section of the Great Wall known for its beauty and steepness. Located approximately 120 km north of Beijing, we had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get there on time. Much mist-ery was experienced up on the Wall:


After much sweating and legwork plus a constant drizzle of light rain, we arrived at our destination, the tenth watchtower. For some of us, a fraction of the journey involved crawling up the stairs on our hands. The view at the top was amazing but the thought of going back down on the slippery stones was not.



The Wall had strategic holes for defense during wartime:


What was upsetting though was the amount of waste that tourists had accumulated near the watchtowers. A splattering of plastic bottles lines the greenery nearby, ruining the efforts to preserve this World Cultural Heritage Site.

Of course we had to take a few selfies along the way. Princeton represent! Credits to the long-armed Oliver Hsu:




Yuanmingyuan 圆明园

Sunday, July 10

Yuanmingyuan, also known as the Old Summer Palace, is a site filled with palaces and gardens used by emperors in the Qing dynasty, China’s last dynasty. The complex contains both Chinese and western architecture, and still retains much of its bygone glory through reconstruction following its destruction by French and British troops during the Second Opium War in 1860.


Fuhai Lake



Huanghuazhen, which is surrounded by a maze



Scale model of Yuanmingyuan



It was a really hot day. Popsicles were an absolute necessity.