"The change in the last 50 years has been astonishing," he said. "I fell in love with the place ... when my wife (Alyce) and I went to Beijing as 'foreign experts' to teach at what was then called the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute. It is now called the Beijing Foreign Studies University, and I still love the place."
Rural tourism in Hainan is also in full swing. Last year, 9.5 million tourists visited the island's rural areas, accounting for 14 percent of visitors－year-on-year growth of 16.8 percent. They brought in more than 2.8 billion yuan.
One of her ancestors, Isaac Nathan (1790-1864), was a distinguished conductor and composer. After coming to Australia in 1841, he opened an academy of singing. Nathan went on to become the choirmaster of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney and organized the largest concert of sacred music in the then British colony.
Xiong said the key to reforming the country's English language tests is a separation between exams and enrollment, so that people will start to learn English because they like the language, not because they are required to study it.
The 49-hectare farm presents tourists with a broad range of choices－lakes, mountains and forests for sightseeing, along with 17 agriculture products for sharing, such as longan, litchi and coconut. There are free range chickens and eggs, fish, wooden inns and fragrant rosewood.
"Recent criticism by the Australian media about China 'trying to buy influence' in Australia has not helped," he said. "China is not going backwards. It is a leading world power.