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Speaking Out for China

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-09-22 09:29:00 | Author: XU Qingqun and BI Weizi

Konstantin Shchepin. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By XU Qingqun and BI Weizi

Konstantin Shchepin, a post-80s graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, came to China for the first time in 2004 to participate in Harbin International Economic and Trade Fair. The Fair promotes development of economic and trade relations between China and Russia and the deepening of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Harbin or Beijing?

The first trip to China changed the course of Shchepin's life. That year, he became a correspondent for Russian News Agency (TASS) in Beijing, having previously worked for the agency after graduation. For Shchepin it is a toss up between Beijing and Harbin when it comes to his preferred place. "Beijing is [now] my hometown, and Harbin is a place I often visit. One of the things that bother me is that I can't find authentic Harbin beer in Beijing. Harbin beer is so good," he said.

In 2006, Shchepin began working for China Radio International, and in 2008, he moved to the editorial office of Sputnik in Beijing. Four years later he returned to China Radio International, now China Media Group, where he has been to the present day. His daily work is to keep up to date with the latest news and stay at the forefront of the world's developments, producing news content in a timely manner. Shchepin believes there is nothing inconvenient about living in Beijing, except that due to COVID-19 he has not been able to visit his parents for three years. "Every time she saw me on a video, my mom would cry. She misses me so much," he said.

Fascination with Chinese food

Shchepin is more than just a correspondent, he is also a gourmet and author. In 2018, he published a book about Chinese food in Russian. This book consists of two parts: a food map, which introduces authentic food of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and other provinces or regions; and a food calendar, including seasonal food and festival food. He believes that the creation of this book required not only an understanding of food, but also an understanding of Chinese culture.

He has discovered a lot by studying food, and enjoys telling the story about "Crossing-the-bridge noodles", which is a rice noodle soup originating in Yunnan province and listed as an intangible cultural heritage of Kunming city in 2008. Legend has it the name was derived from the manner in which the ingredients are moved between receptacles, similar to crossing a bridge from one bowl to another.

Shchepin's obsession with Chinese food is far beyond the fact that he is a foodie. He said that he was able to travel intensively to foreign countries on assignments, and as a foreigner, learning about different cuisines was a good way to better understand various cultures, and be more easily accepted by local people he encountered.

Chinese Government Friendship Award    

As a foreign voice speaking out for China, Shchepin has devoted himself to promoting humanistic exchanges and cooperation between China and Russia, and has been deeply involved in objective international communications. He was therefore bestowed with the 2020 Chinese Government Friendship Award, saying that the award would inspire him to commit more to showing the world a real, three-dimensional and comprehensive view of China.

As a representative of foreign experts working in China, he recalled offering a suggestion directly to Premier Li Keqiang at the symposium held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing before the Spring Festival in 2022. The Premier said, "If you have any ideas, just speak up," which prompted Shchepin to suggest an increase in the number of foreign journalists attending the Two Sessions, since telling the Chinese story is not only a matter for Chinese journalists, but also for foreign media. Premier Li responded to his suggestion positively. Having attended several Chinese New Year symposia, he felt that they were becoming more and more practical and that foreign experts were getting more opportunities to express themselves there.


This story is in cooperation with the International Talent Magazine published by Foreign Talent Research Center of MOST.

Editor: 毕炜梓

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