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Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 19:00

My Great Wall Life - Seven Peaks in 35 Years

William Lindesay

Embassy of the Republic of Estonia
No. 1, Liangmaqiao Beixiaojie, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600

爱沙尼亚驻北京大使馆 北京市朝阳区亮马桥北小街1号 邮编:100600

When COVID struck in 2020 William Lindesay decided to spend his time writing about his life at the Great Wall.

Fresh from completing his quarter-of-a-million word memoire, Mr Lindesay will recount seven of his most significant experiences at the Great Wall between 1986 and 2021.

During his presentation, illustrated with a vivid collection of photographs and quality videos, Mr Lindesay will take the BIS audience on a Great Wall odyssey back into China’s ancient past, back to the China of the 1980s that he encountered when he made his life-changing journey along the Wall. He will continue by taking us ‘backwards’ and ‘forwards’ in considering the destruction and survival of the Wall, and on some most unexpected searches for its ruins and stories outside today’s China.

To conclude his presentation, Mr Lindesay will describe some of the WildWall experiences and tours that he designs and leads, and some of the books that he has written.


William Lindesay

William Lindesay OBE is a British geographer, a research fellow at Liverpool University, a member of The Explorers Club and a recent recipient of The Special Award of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. Within China, Mr Lindesay is best known for his conservation work, while outside he has become the Great Wall’s international spokesman.

After a journey on foot of 2,500 Kms along the Great Wall in 1987 he settled in China in 1990. He worked for a decade as a university teacher, an editor at China Daily and Xinhua News Agency before dedicating his attention full-time to Great Wall studies and related activities from 2000. He established International Friends of the Great Wall in 2001.

During his 33 years residence in China, Mr Lindesay has spent an estimated 2,800 days on the Great Wall. He curated The Great Wall Revisited exhibit, shown initially at the Capital Museum, Beijjng and then at the Imperial Academy, Beijjng, and thereafter in following years at Shanhaiguan Great Wall Museum, inside the Jiayuguan Fortress, and in Yulin, Gubeikou and Gaojiapu. He has published six books on his subject, including Alone on the Great Wall (1989), The Great Wall Explained (2013) and The Great Wall in 50 Objects (2015), and most recently a memoire, Great Wall, Beautiful Jade, My China Loves (2021). As a presenter, he has fronted documentaries for National Geographic and Discovery channels, while versions of his Flying the Great Wall have been broadcast in more than 40 countries, including BBC4 and CCTV9.

William Lindesay received the Friendship Award of China in 1998, honorary citizenship of Yulin in 2007, and in 2008 the Beijing Great Wall Friendship Award.

William and his wife Wu Qi divide their time between Beijing and a property beside the Great Wall at Jiankou. For 23 years they have enthralled guests from all around the world by telling the Great Wall story — the way William has discovered it.


We would like to remind you that it is necessary to register before each event by writing to info [at]

Registration will be closed when we reach the venue’s maximum capacity. The very latest registration is Monday 8 November. We cannot accept RSVPs after this time.

Reservations are valid only upon receipt of a confirmation email from BIS.

BIS events are open to foreign passport holders only, please remember to bring your passport.

We would like to inform you that from this year, annual membership will no longer be available due to the uncertainty of these times. Hence, we welcome for a single lecture fee of RMB 100; students with valid ID RMB 50. 

All BIS events are off-the-record. Photography, filming and recording are not permitted.

Membership desk and reception open 6:30 pm for 7:00 pm lecture.