Academic journal article Rock Art Research

The 2014 IFRAO Congress in China

Academic journal article Rock Art Research

The 2014 IFRAO Congress in China

Article excerpt

The 2014 IFRAO Congress conducted by the Rock Art Research Association of China (RARAC) was a demonstration of Chinese ingenuity and resolve, considering its successful performance in spite of all the adversities it had to contend with. Government interference began soon after the event was announced: government agencies dictated two changes of timing and two changes of venue in the lead-up to the event, and threatened to limit the number of admitted foreign participants. One government organisation virtually wrested control of the event from RARAC. Then a natural disaster struck Guiyang City on the day the congress began, in the form of widespread flooding. The basement of the venue, the Pullman Hotel, was completely flooded, shutting down not only electricity and water supply, but also the emergency generator and the food supply. This occurred a few minutes after the opening ceremony, when the lights suddenly went out. At that point, the event seemed to have ended in disaster, and the government agency that had tried so hard to usurp it was only too willing to hand control back to RARAC.

What happened next was a superhuman effort by the Pullman to salvage the event, its operations now paralysed: no lifts in a luxury hotel of 30 storeys, no water, no electricity or air conditioning, no food, in the midst of a city-wide colossal traffic jam. The Pullman worked day and night to install huge temporary cabling for restoring power to the congress lecture halls and to restore limited lift mobility, and on the following day, 17 July 2014, the Congress continued unimpeded as if nothing had happened. It was conducted without the slightest glitch, meals were brought in from outside, and the entire event ran like clockwork. …

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