Groningen Confucius Institute Teacher Took Part in the Bed Talks in Groningen

On 5 May 2020, GCI teacher Wei Jiang took part in the Bed Talks live streaming in Groningen. The event was a joint initiative of Bevrijdingsfestival Groningen (Liberation Festival), the University of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, The Student Hotel Groningen and Here & Now in Groningen. The Bed Talks gathered six 'couples' of complete strangers from different countries to engage in a dynamic discussion about the meaning of FREEDOM in different cultures.
GCI teacher Wei Jiang discussed three questions with Tom, a teacher from the UK who works at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. The first Bed Talks question was how one defines freedom in one’s own culture or country. Wei Jiang expressed that people in China tend to consider freedom in the context of community rather than pure personal freedom. This notion is based on the respect for other people’s freedom in order not to harm other people’s interests. She further explained that people chose to not go out during the corona virus outbreak. This did not mean losing freedom, but a conscious effort for their own health and that of others.

GCI teacher Wei Jiang during the Bed Talks

The second question asked was whether the participants feel free in Groningen. Both Tom and Wei Jiang gave a positive answer. Wei Jiang expressed her love for this lively city, saying that seeing students wearing costumes to go to parties on Friday nights made her feel quite free. She added that even though going to parties during the Coronavirus outbreak was not possible, it helped her to reflect on what freedom is. She thought freedom was more about inner piece than outward displays and parties, that we should also care more about others, for instance the medical workers in these Corona times.
The third question was whether the internet and social media make people feel more ‘free’. After giving a positive answer, Tom expressed his trouble of being trapped into posting pictures on social media. Wei Jiang said that she sometimes would feel overwhelmed when facing too much information and that it’s hard to figure out which information you can really trust.
During the current health crisis, it is especially important to stay connected with each other. The GCI team was honoured to take part in exchanging different opinions about what freedom means and to keep reaching out to people during the current situation.

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