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Inspiration never runs dry for Sinologist

China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-07-27 10:31

SYDNEY-For renowned Sinologist and sociologist David Goodman, China has been a constant source of inspiration in both his research and professional life. He has long examined a country with a deep history that is undergoing rapid modernization.

Goodman is the director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

Over the past 40 years, he has lived and worked in various Chinese cities in pursuit of understanding China's social and political reality.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency from his office, Goodman detailed China's transformation over the last several decades and shared his views on China's development based on his personal experience.

Goodman's studies on China began as an undergraduate at Manchester University in the 1960s. Before his first China trip in 1976, he had already studied the Chinese language for six years and read several books about China.

However, despite being "open to understanding", China in the books did little to prepare him for China in reality.

"To me, all literature of China seems overgeneralized. They talked about China without variety. I hadn't realized the variety, even theoretically, that there were differences between different parts of China," he said.

"That trip was very exciting and changed my life. Because up until that point, I had wanted to be a social scientist who worked on China in social sciences. And after that trip, I decided, I have to go live in China for longer."

The eye-opening encounter sparked what was a 40-year quest for understanding the dynamics of China.

He toured the northern, southwestern, northwestern and eastern parts of China, including some remote villages, to study central-local relations, or the way local areas interact with the central government.

He interviewed entrepreneurs since the early 1990s to study the social dynamics behind their development. He has written a few books about China's social classes, particularly the rising middle class.

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