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Latest Bill: So much that unites us
I went to a good school and university but I realised this week how poor our schooling is.
The reason is Chongqing. You might have guessed it's Chinese but did you know that it might be the biggest city in the world with 28 million people! Might be, because as it's the land mass size of Austria there's a dispute amongst geographical statisticians as to whether it can be called a city! What is beyond dispute though, is how little I knew of China.
Tianjin, Dongguan, Nanjing, Wuhan... what are they? They're all Chinese cities with over 5 million inhabitants. There's 14 in China and I only knew three. Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong but now I know four because this week Latest TV has been visited by Shenzhen TV and their leading producer Lin Jianjun, producer of the hit shows The Amazing Race and The Generation Show. Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong in Southern China has gone from a population of 30,000 (not much bigger than Lewes) to 11 million (yep that's bigger than London) in 50 years. The average wage is 27,000 US dollars and the lifestyle is young, funky and modern! No wonder we are going to work with them. I wanna be that!
We also welcomed CCTV, which is the Chinese state broadcaster - the equivalent of the BBC. We welcomed our guests to our TV studios, took them to Brighton Palace Pier and up the BAi360, toured Glyndebourne Opera House, wined and dined them at Hotel Du Vin, Terre a Terre and 64 Degrees and talked non stop about films, football, music, TV, our family, their family. It wasn't work, it was fun and I very soon realised – as if I didn't know – that there's so much that unites us and very little that doesn't!
One of our guests Dong Yi presents a programme on Chinese TV watched weekly by 100 million people! (Jonathan Ross eat your heart out.) Dong Yi loves opera but was no diva, a very charismatic but humble lady.
Like so many here in Brighton I wanted to Remain – I love hearing four languages between the Pier and Churchill Square – and it would be great to add Mandarin and Cantonese and make it a half dozen! Our guests were all clever, engaging, open, warm and a lot of fun to be with. If that's the way China is going that's the way I'm going! They also knew a lot more about the UK than any of us knew about China. And despite their new found global success they very much had their feet on the ground.