There are a group people who are second to none in regard of knowing Beijing. Instead of merely knowing Beijing, actually they feel Beijing.
They are foreign reporters based in Beijing. They felt, feel and will feel Beijing and its growth.
Lei Wenting(Levent Ulucer) is one of them. Lei, head of China office, Aydinlik a Turkish daily and Turkish national TV station, has been in Beijing for 15 years.
When accepting the interview of the Legal Evening News, Lei said he has witnessed how Zhongguancun has been turned into innovation demonstration zone from a construction site.
Lei was quite impressed by Zhongguancun when he just came to Beijing in 2003.
“Foreign experts lived in the Friendship Hotel at that time. One day, I explored the city by bike and went to Zhongguancun which was a big a construction site then. You can’t imagine how big those trucks were and how many buildings were under construction anywhere. I was astounded. Many years later, I always point to high-rise buildings there and tell my friend I was here when Zhongguancun was just a construction site. That’s the fast speed China has developed with,” Lei said.
Beijing had only two subway lines then: Line One and Line Two, Lei recalled. Beijing’s subway lines have turned into a dense net in the past 15 years.
“I remembered that the immeasurable joy brought to everyone when a new metro line was put into operation. Now, Beijing has opened so many new lines for which we are not as excited as before,” Lei said.
“Now, the convenient and comfortable high-speed railway is Chinese’s top priority for travel. I expect that a high-speed railway will run from China to Turkey some day. It will be more convenient for me to go to Turkey. I wish to see it in the rest of my life,” Lei said.
Lei thinks that China is more and more open. Chinese model is a shared one.
“Chinese model give us hope and that’s why I came to China,” Lei said.
Lei said he was impressed by Chinese’s friendliness. “I has seldom thought I was an out comer. I didn’t realize it until people stared at me. Though, I am a ‘laowai’ in appearance, I think I am an old Beijinger as I has lived here for 15 years,” said Lei.