Ping Pong Diplomacy Remembered

Alan Hydes, Bi Haibo and Harvey Webb at the meeting in London (Photo: Swaythling Club)

In 2021 the Chinese Embassy in London planned a celebration to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the historic visit to China by England’s table tennis team.

The Covid pandemic meant that the celebration was postponed. Now, some two years later the occasion has been remembered.

Alan Hydes, one of the original England team members, was invited to the Embassy to meet Bi Haibo, Minister Counsellor, and Wang Ping, Press and Public Affairs Attaché.

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons other members of the 1971 England Team were unavailable for the gathering but Alan accompanied by Harvey Webb, representing the Swaythling Club International, attended.

The meeting was most convivial, Bi Haibo expressed the importance of keeping the story of Ping Pong Diplomacy alive and recounted how he had learnt about it at junior school. Alan added some

fascinating stories especially recalling how welcome the Chinese people had made everyone feel.

Also, The meeting touched on possible ways we could work together in the future to keep the legacy alive. It was agreed to meet again if any opportunities arose that could be mutually beneficial.