China WOW! 40 years on

Home of Fred the Snake (and Dr. Peter)

China WOW! 40 years on

We are just back from Shanghai, after attending a meeting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ERCP. It was kindly and brilliantly hosted by Professor Hu Bing (standing behind me at the dinner). I enjoyed sharing the podium with Joseph Leung and Sydney Chung, who founded the Endoscopy unit at Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong, which became world-famous for its pioneering practice, teaching and research.


I signed some books (the “Tunnel” book in English and Chinese, and ERCP 2nd edition) for Honest Medical, the local Cook company agents.


Irise Mu was our helpful guide. We toured some local sights and indulged my love of exotic oriental food.


We love congee (a rice porridge), and the hotel had a huge variety of interesting bits and pieces to spice it up.

I could not help reminiscing about my first visit to (mainland) China just 40 years ago (I was in Hong Kong before that, in 1971). My visit in 1978 was with Basil Morson, the British pathologist, who gastroenterologists may remember proposed the adenoma-carcinoma sequence, which led eventually to the modern colonoscopy screening and polypectomy industry.  Behind and between us in the photo is Chen Minzhang. We invited him and 3 others to tour British GI centers the following year. He became Minister of Health of China, and facilitated many of my future visits, one including my daughter Nicola.                                                                                                   

The physical changes over the 40 years are extraordinary. Shanghai was a tired city in 1978, quietly remembering its dominance of Victorian times. Now a humming metropolis of 23 million, remarkably green, clean and tidy, with remarkable buildings.

The “Bund” was the fashionable financial area, looking across the river to suburbs and farm land.       Look at it now! Same place. Unbelievable


We saw the old and new, side by side, and looked down on the Bund from the 107th floor of that tallest building.


Some serious changes in transportation. Stalled on the narrow airport road in 1978, with Basil helping to mend a flat tire. Ever dominant bicycles.

Now great roads and modern cars. More high speed trains than the rest of the world together.  Electric cars have green tags.


So, glad to be home, as always, but grateful for the opportunity to see the amazing developments, and especially impressed with the progress in my own professional field, gastrointestinal endoscopy.

As always, Princess Marion did an awesome job at organizing and companioning…thank you

(And again apologies for not getting the images nicely aligned. They looked good in draft…)


8 Responses

  1. Nicky Richardson says:

    I will always remember my trip to China in 1985 with you Dad – I’d never been anywhere like it – and am very keen to return to see how it’s changed.

  2. martin Park says:

    Natasha and I are on our way there on October 6th…hope you left some great things for us to see.

  3. Brucie Harry says:

    What is the dish which looks for all the world like big worms???

  4. Chris Cotton says:

    Great photos, Pete!

    My first visit to China was in 1987 – the changes since then are quite amazing.

    All the best,

    (Cotton – in Suffolk, UK).

  5. Philip Pan says:

    Perphaps a new chapter in the Tunnel book?

  6. Elaine Rawls says:

    What wonderful memories. Loved the photos except or that “soup”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *