– Life & society

Fushun: small town China

Brian Hennessy. An Australian in China. January 1, 2010. At first glance, the only striking thing about Fushun is its utter ordinariness. It is just a small town in a small county in Sichuan province in southwest China, three hours or so by bus from the hinterland metropolises of Chengdu and Chongqing. It is typical […]

Scratching a living: China reality.

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. June, 2009 Life in the countryside is dull. As dull as the sky viewed through that Chongqing mist. There is no ‘village life’ or excitement, or intellectual stimulation. Just the company of extended family who live in similar circumstances and who share a communal courtyard. A sad example of a […]


Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. 2008. Chen Xiao Jin and Zhang Yue had invited me to their wedding ceremony in Chaotianmen, Chongqing. Xiao Jin, the bride, was a close friend who had waited three lonely years for her boyfriend to complete his engineering degree in France before they could be reunited.    Wedding ______________________________________________________________________ These […]


Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. Chinese New Year, 2009. Chongqing weather: there is nothing good to say about it. The summer is more scorching and humid than the tropics, and winter is a cold wet blanket which coats the ridges in mist and fogs the river valleys below. A town without colour at this time […]

Sichuan earthquake. Shifang. Remembering.

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. 5:12 (2009). On the eve of 5:12, the anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake, I was in the provincial town of Shifang, very close to the epicenter at Beichuan. 6000 residents perished here. China Central Television (CCTV), a nationwide government-controlled service, was due to televise a special live program in memory of […]

Sichuan earthquake. Hongbaizhen. One year later.

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. 2009  I have just spent two days in the earthquake zone. I went there with a small group of volunteers from around China who dropped everything when the earthquake occurred, and went into the zone. Ordinary people: office-workers from Chongqing and Shanghai, off-duty policemen from Guiyang and Xi’an, a businessman from […]

Sichuan earthquake. Beichuan. One year later.

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. 5:12 (2009). My purpose here is to outline what I saw at the epi-center of the earthquake one year after that terrible day. A day when relatives were allowed back into what is left of that city to grieve. Until now, nobody has been allowed to return. Beichuan is beyond […]

Sichuan earthquake: the aftermath.

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. May, 2009 Nothing prepares you for the desolation of a city recovering from an earthquake. It's not the physical destruction that is so difficult to confront, although that is bad enough. Rather, it's the people. Traumatised people. I'm a psychologist who specialises in this area. I know about these things. […]

Campus window.

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. 2005 Campus window I look out of my 15th floor window. Across the campus to the First Affiliated Peoples Hospital rising in the middle distance. Across the crowded student dormitories and old staff apartments, grey 1954 vintage reminders of an ideological past long gone. Below, new China rising. Reaching for […]

Qiongren: the poor people.

Brian Hennessy. China Australia Consult. February, 2009 China's Qiongren: the aged, farmers, laid-off workers, the mentally-ill, migrant workers, peasants, and the uneducated. 800 million of them. Stoic and tough survivors of both communist and capitalist economic policies and promises; natural disasters (usually drought and flood, but last year an earthquake also), and life itself.   […]

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