The Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) and Peking University returned to Oundle last week to present certificates and prizes to winners of the 2018 Joseph Needham Essay Competition. 

This competition was also open to pupils at St George’s School, Harpenden, and two £100 prizes were awarded, one to each school. Pupils were asked to write an essay drawing on someone from Britain or China, past or present, who has contributed to Anglo-Chinese understanding and friendship. They were asked to illustrate lessons from their approach and behaviours which are helpful pointers for young people seeking to become successful global citizens today.

Thomas Caskey (L) wrote a fantastic essay on Deng Xiaoping and was awarded a cheque for £100 as the winner. He set out very clearly his definition of a ‘global citizen’ and made a good case for Deng Xiaoping.

Runner-up prizes were awarded to Rohan Scott (Sc), who wrote about AC Scott and William Crane (Ldr) who wrote about Li Hongzhang in a very brave essay on a difficult subject, including a good description of one of China’s great ‘modernisers’ which, in the 19th century meant embracing western technology. 

Joseph Needham played a large role in improving Anglo-Chinese connections. Originally a student at Oundle (Grafton 1918), Needham studied biochemistry at Cambridge and later became Master of Gonville and Caius College. Needham is best known for his magnum opus, Science and Civilisation in China, for which he wrote the first 15 volumes about Chinese technological achievement.