During an autumn school at East China Normal University (ECNU) a "Journée d'étude suisse" was taking place on September 11. The conference about historical relations between China and Switzerland was themed "Reciprocal Images and Representations from Past to Present" and was coorganised by swissnex China.
The Swiss Day was part of the tenth holding of a study week initiated in 2004 by the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme et l'Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne together with Chinese partners. This year's main subject was "China and Europe in Global History." After the opening ceremony with the participation of the two consuls general Emmanuel Lenain (France) and Heinrich Schellenberg (Switzerland) various modules dealt with the tension between national and global history and historiography respectively.
As chairman of the Swiss Day, Li Hongtu (Fudan University) looked back on first cooperation projects with the University of Fribourg. Still on the Chinese part, the contributions of Yang Jiaqing (Beijing Information) and Bao Zhong (Shanghai Library) were dedicated to the relations between China and Switzerland under a historical perspective. The latter examined in her study the presence of Swiss in Shanghai before 1949.
Daniel Nerlich (Archives of Contemporary History, ETH Zurich) introduced the private papers of the Swiss journalist Walter Bosshard (1892-1975), a pioneer of modern photojournalism with international reputation. In long-term stays in China, he reported in text, photo and film about Kuomintang and Communists, about the Second Sino-Japanese War or about his expeditions to Tibet and Turkestan and to Inner Mongolia.
Claude Hauser (Department of Historical Sciences, University of Fribourg) presented the documentary "China without Mask" (1936) of the physician Hans Vogel. In addition, he analysed the work of Swiss journalist Fernand Gigon, whom he called a cultural mediator between China and Switzerland during the Cold War.
After the scientific agenda the movie "Rêve de Chine" by François Yang, a Swiss rooted in China, was shown. The story of 2009 is about three Swiss teenagers who follow their father already professionally committed in China. In the discussion with the director the plot wormed out of the audience several analogies to the actual political "Chinese Dream". And as an adequate conclusion of the animated Swiss Day, a cocktail with Swiss wine and cheese was offered to around 50 guests to deepen the good bilateral relations on a more individual level.
Contributed by Daniel Nerlich, Deputy Director, Archives of Contemporary History ETH Zurich, www.afz.ethz.ch