CHINA ARTICLES by Brian Hennessy

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Brian Hennessy. Cairns, Australia. January, 2024 Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it is known locally, is China’s longest and most important festival. It begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon, 15 days later. Every year has a zodiac animal: the Rat, Ox, Tiger, […]

The knock on the door

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. July, 2019 There are no secrets in China. Shortly before I flew there to reunite with my wife in our new apartment, I received a call from an old Western friend in Chongqing who told me that he had recently been invited to ‘have a cup of coffee’ with […]

Lightheaded in Litang

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. June, 2019. I hadn’t been up there for ten years.  Would altitude sickness give me a headache to remember? Would my lungs be able to extract enough oxygen out of the rarefied atmosphere to keep brain and body functioning OK? And once extracted, would my heart cope with the […]


Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China.  The first snow has fallen. A soft, white, layer of magic. A sparkling membrane of tiny, tiny crystals resting gently on the contours of the Maoya valley, its protective mountains, and the Khamba Tibetan town of Litang.  Monastery: in Litang _________________________________________________________________________ Apart from the snow, nothing much has changed. It […]

Five chickens in Chengdu

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. June, 2019 It was a long drive down from Litang on the Tibetan Plateau to Chengdu in the Sichuan basin. A nine-hour journey on a difficult road. Travelling with three Tibetan friends: Medok (the driver), Yinbo, and Qumei. Plus five live chickens in a bag.   Five chickens in […]

Vale Chinese patriots

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. February 16, 2019 There are communists, and there are communists.     Vale Li Rui 李锐; April 13, 1917 – February 16, 2019 Li Rui (李锐), who died today at age 101, was a typical, sincere Chinese communist in his early years. Later he became Chairman Mao’s personal secretary […]

On worrying about China: 2018

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. August, 2018 I met Xiao Zhang many years ago when she was a PhD student at a Medical University. It was my job to teach her class how to write up their research in a way that would increase their chances of having it published in a Western journal. […]

Generation gap

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. June, 2018 There’s an old factory in Chengdu which has been converted into a museum and arts centre. From the outside it looks like a tired remnant of the Cultural Revolution days with its dull concrete walls, old machinery, and black and white weathered murals exhorting workers to: Continue the […]

Slow train to Chongqing

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. April 2015 In China, it always pays to book transport the day before. That’s how I missed out on a comfortable two-hour fast rail journey from Chengdu to Chongqing (350kms), and was forced to wait four hours for a slow train which would take another four and a half […]

Ciqikou. Ancient village

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. September, 2016 If you want to get an idea of what Chongqing used to look like, visit Ciqikou in Shapingba District. It is both a symbol and a microcosm of old Chongqing. This fascinating old village is perched above the Jialing River which flows downstream to its confluence with the Yangtze […]

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