Each character represents a picture which has generally been simplified over time. The characters are relatively uniform over all of China and most would recognize the character and what it meant even though the spoken sound for it could be different.
Neville said that China was partially controlled by other nations for about 150 years which prompted the unification of China by Mao.
Neville then showed slides of Beijing city, the Forbidden City, a Hutong (old village) in Beijing, Tiananmen Square. Then various locations in Shanghai including the Bund, an embankment made to prevent flooding of the city.