Posted: Tue 9th Feb 2016

Fundraising dinner will further strengthen Swansea’s Chinese links /
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Feb 9th, 2016

Several thousand pounds were raised on the weekend to help send an exhibition about 19th Century Swansea missionary Griffith John to China. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A black tie event at the Brangwyn Hall on Friday night saw people from across the city dig deep to help further strengthen Swansea’s links with the Far East. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Griffith John, who was born in Swansea in 1831, first arrived in China in 1855. He went on to help establish a number of schools, hospitals and colleges in the Wuhan area about 400 miles west of Shanghai. He also became known for his missionary journeys deep into the heart of mainland China. While there, he translated the New Testament and part of the Old Testament into more than one Chinese dialect. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Union Hospital in Wuhan that John helped to found, Chinese officials would like to put on a display there, using exhibition materials all about the missionary that are currently in storage at Swansea Museum. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Swansea Council helped organise the fundraising dinner, which also marked the countdown to the start of the Chinese New Year. Chinese food and entertainment featured. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The number of Chinese students at university in Swansea means the links between the city and China are already strong. This is important because China is one of the world’s largest markets and we’re looking to trade more with China and attract Chinese investment in the Swansea area, which would generate job opportunities for local people and boost the prosperity of the Swansea Bay City Region. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We’re also twinned with the Chinese city of Nantong and Swansea City Football Club’s Premier League status means our profile in the Far East has never been higher. Efforts to further strengthen these links by raising money to send the Griffith John exhibition for display in China could reap rewards in future.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Chinese ceremonial weapons, satin banners and copies of letters John sent from China are among the exhibits making up the exhibition that could soon be travelling overseas. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The fundraising dinner was supported by organisations including The University of Wales Trinity St David’s Confucius Institute. Local businesspeople including Chris Foxall were also heavily involved. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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