版权所有 - 中国日报�(ChinaDaily) China Daily <![CDATA[How high is Qomolangma? The answer may surprise you]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484942.htm A recent article I helped write for China Daily about Tibetan guides on Qomolangma (known as Mount Everest in the West) called forth a basic question: How high is this thing?

Altitude is, of course, an essential fact in any story about the highest mountain in the world. And so, without thinking much about it, I grabbed the figure listed by most everyone - 8,848 meters above sea level, give or take a smidgen.

It's one of the best-known altitudes in the world, so this was a slam-dunk, right? No need to look further, right? Everybody's going to agree, right?

Wrong.

The careful proofreaders at China Daily grabbed me by the collar and revealed that China had established the official height in 2005 as 8,844.43 meters, about 3.57 meters lower than the more widely cited height. And that lower figure, I was told, is the one that should be used in an article in the newspaper.

How could this be? I wondered. Everybody else seems to use a higher number. If the article cites a lower one, the world might raise an eyebrow. I mean, after all, it's a mountain. It's a big, slow thing. It doesn't sprout up like a teenager, or shrink like an old woman. A mountain's height is a mountain's height.

Why the difference?

So I hit the research trail, which quickly led me to China Daily's archives, which provided the answer. It was good news, a win-win scenario, to borrow a recent favorite in diplomatic phraseology.

In response to a New York Times article a few years back disputing China's lower altitude figure, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation stuck to its guns. The world's highest mountain measures 8,844.43 meters, it said.

The figure was made public in 2005 "with authorization from the State Council" after being "determined through processes inscribed in the country's Surveying and Mapping Law", according to a report in China Daily last year. According to the administration, 8,844.43 meters "has been used until now as a nationally unified standard for the height".

Thankfully for me, the article went on to explain in more detail.

I concluded afterward that a mountain's listed height may not in fact always be the mountain's height. It all depends on what's being measured.

There were several factors behind this particular discrepancy. China first measured the height of the peak in 1975 and found it to be 8,848.13 meters. But a new measurement was made in 2005 using more accurate techniques. This time, surveyors measured the height of both of the mountain's rock base (8,844.43 meters) and the depth of snow and ice (3.57 meters). It was the first time the snow and ice had been measured accurately, they said.

Since the depth of ice changes minutely from time to time, it was excluded from the official height of the peak. Only the height of the rock was included.

This makes total sense. A mountain is made of rock, right? Snow and ice are just the frosting on top.

A third factor, movement of the Earth's crust between 1975 and 2005, had also altered the height.

"The accurate measurement and publication of the height of Qomolangma in 2005 is strictly scientific and statutory," the administration said in defense of its listed altitude of 8,844.43 meters. "As a national official standard, it has also been an important data item widely used in the research of surveying, mapping, geosciences, environment and climate change."

No doubt the Chinese geologists are right - if one is interested in how the mountain was formed. But geology is one thing, climbing is another. If you're interested in climbing Qomolangma and standing on top of the world, you're going to want to know how high you are when you're up there.

The top of the mountain is covered with snow and ice. And that is what successful climbers are standing on when they're at the summit. The top one stands upon is 8,848 meters, give or take a smidgen.

So how did China Daily finally handle this in the recent article about Tibetan mountain guides? A diagram of the climbing routes lists the altitude as 8,848 meters (approximate altitude including snow depth). I hope this keeps both the geologists and the climbers happy. Seems like a win-win to me.

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2019-06-26 07:47:23
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484941.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

In June 1992, Beijing issued the first soccer lottery tickets in the capital as seen in the item from China Daily. The lottery was sponsored by the Chinese Football Association.

Lotteries in China can be traced back to the 1880s. But after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, authorities banned gambling.

It was not until the country embraced the reform and opening-up policy in 1978 that the government started rethinking lotteries.

In 1986, the State Council, China's Cabinet, approved a plan proposed by the Ministry of Civil Affairs to introduce lotteries.

On July 26, 1987, Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, took the initiative by issuing the country's first lottery tickets.

In 1989, a sports lottery was introduced nationwide for the first time in an attempt to raise funds for the 11th Asian Games.

In 1994 the Sports Lottery Management Center under the State Physical Culture Administration was established.

China has two lotteries: the sports lottery and the welfare lottery. The country's total lottery sales rose about 20 percent year-on-year to 511.5 billion yuan ($74.4 billion) last year, official data showed. The Ministry of Finance previously approved two companies, 500.com and China Sports Lottery Operation Co, to engage in online lottery sales under a pilot program.

Facing the growing lottery market, authorities have accelerated innovation in the sports lottery. In 2017, the central government announced plans to transform Hainan province into a horse racing and sports lottery hub.

Despite the hike in popularity, the lottery has also long been plagued by scandals.

Last year, five senior lottery officials were investigated on corruption charges.

Early this year, the Ministry of Civil Affairs vowed to beef up oversight of its lottery system to restore public confidence in the country's major platform for charitable endeavors.

The measures involve new system designs that aim to strengthen information disclosure and internal auditing.

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2019-06-26 07:47:23
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484940.htm Delivery woman jumps cliff to deliver meals

A woman in a scenic area in Chongqing jumps from a 300-meter-high cliff every day to bring hot meals to her colleagues at the foot of the mountain, saving almost half an hour in delivery time. A video by The Beijing News on Saturday, showing Wan Tiandi wearing a bungee cord standing at the edge of the cliff and holding a bag of food, went viral. In order to ensure that they can get warm meals, she decided one year ago to deliver the food by bungee, which takes 2 minutes instead of the half an hour it would take by car.

On-demand trash collection set for Shanghai

With Shanghai's new regulation on household garbage set to take effect on Monday, business opportunities such as online on-demand trash collection services are emerging. Through an online platform, customers can book their door-to-door garbage collection services. Alipay has built a garbage sorting and recovery platform on its app, which allows third-party service companies to offer door-to-door services and collect certain kinds of recyclable garbage from customers. Check more posts online.

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2019-06-26 07:47:23
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484939.htm Society: Drug addicts get robot counseling

Guangzhou, Guangdong province, has employed a talking robot to aid the rehabilitation of substance users through human or machine counseling. The robot boasts a special appeal to addicts who find it embarrassing to talk to human community workers. Aided by artificial intelligence algorithms and big data, the machine offers individual counseling, psychological evaluation and a reminder of urine tests. After swiping an ID card and undergoing facial recognition, a user can start counseling, an important part of the follow-up care after drug addiction treatment, with the robot, which generates a report afterward.

Travel: Beer festival kicks off in Harbin

Harbin, Heilongjiang province, has attracted tourists from all over the world to celebrate the two-month-long beer festival, which kicked off on Thursday. There are 19 beer halls with different themes covering an area of more than 80,000 square meters. At the festival, tourists and residents can choose from more than 100 kinds of beer from all over the world. People can also enjoy various shows every night in the venue.

People: Grandmother cycles length of Britain

A grandmother, aged 81, has become the oldest person to cycle the entire length of Britain in what is one of the toughest endurance tests in the country. Mavis Paterson, who lives in Scotland, has earned herself a place in the record books after finishing the 1,545-kilometer journey from Land's End in Cornwall to John O'Groats in the far north of Scotland. She took up the challenge in memory of her three children who all died within four years of one another. It took the grandmother 23 days to complete the grueling ride, reaching John O'Groats on Saturday. Guinness World Records confirmed in advance that Paterson would become the oldest woman to cycle the length of Britain if she successfully completed the distance.

Photos: Zhongshuge opens in Beijing

On Saturday, Zhongshuge bookstore opened in Beijing. The store is the 18th branch of the Shanghai bookstore chain known for its elegant and interesting designs. Its first bookshop was opened in Songjiang district, Shanghai, in 2013.

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2019-06-26 07:47:23
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484938.htm Alexander Ullman Piano Recital

When: June 27, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater Buick Theater

Praised for his subtle interpretations and refined technical mastery, British pianist Alexander Ullman has impressed audiences and critics worldwide with his deep understanding of the scores he interprets, his elegant touch and crystalline phrasing.

Winner of the 2017 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht, Netherlands, he has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, working with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy and Giancarlo Guerrero.

In the 2017-18 season, he closed the Lille Piano Festival with the Orchestre de Picardie under Jean-Claude Casadesus.

Offering Beijing Modern Dance Company

When: July 3 and 4, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Women of the World, a dance commissioned by the Dutch International Dance Festival in 2007, is the original form of Offering.

The dance was choreographed by Gao Yanjinzi, who is artistic director of the Beijing Modern Dance Company.

Offering was choreographed based on the dancer's imagination and ideas. The performance was expected to present a dialogue between the mystery of water and significance of reality.

Water is the source of all life, from tears to morning dew, from blood to rivers. Similarly, in real life, people cannot avoid various circumstances, such as joy, sorrow, separation and reunions accompanied by birth, death, illness and aging.

Life of Galileo

When: July 5-13, 7:30 pm; July 14, 2 pm

Where: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center

Life of Galileo is a play by the 20th century German dramatist Bertolt Brecht with incidental music by Hanns Eisler. The play was written in 1938 and received its first theatrical production at the Zurich Schauspielhaus, Switzerland, opening in September, 1943.

The play follows the career of the great Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei and the Galileo affair, in which he was tried by the Roman Catholic Church for the promulgation of his scientific discoveries. It embraces such themes as the conflict between dogmatism and scientific evidence, as well as interrogating the values of constancy in the face of oppression.

The Gershwin Piano Quartet

When: July 14, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Gershwin Piano Quartet sheds new light on the music of George Gershwin. It features four pianists on grand pianos, playing, arranging and improvising some of Gershwin's most popular songs and orchestral works, such as Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Porgy and Bess and I Got Rhythm. In its new program, the quartet does not limit itself solely to the music of Gershwin but also includes important works by some of Gershwin's contemporaries, namely Ravel's La Valse and Bernstein's West Side Story.

The Gershwin Piano Quartet was founded by Andre Desponds in 1996. They have played at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Tonhalle Zurich, the Musikfest Stuttgart, the Oriental Art Center Shanghai, and the Sala Sao Paulo.

Othello English Touring Theater

When: July 18-21, 7:30 pm

Where: Great Theater of China, Shanghai

Othelloi s one of Shakespeare's most startlingly contemporary plays - a masterful depiction of a life torn apart by prejudice. This production stars Victor Oshin in the title role.

Venice, a colonial power employs the newly married Othello, a Muslim general, to lead its army against the impending Turkish invasion. The strain of fitting into a society riven by discrimination and fear soon take their toll. Manipulated by Iago, Othello's life quickly unravels as he turns on everything he holds dear.

The Doo Wop Project

When: July 19, 7:30 pm and 10 pm

Where: Blue Note Beijing

The Doo Wop Project traces the evolution of Doo Wop from the classic sound of five guys singing tight harmonies on a street corner to the biggest hits on the radio today.

In their epic shows, it takes audiences on a journey from foundational tunes of groups like the Crests, Belmonts and Flamingos through their influences on the sounds of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and The Four Seasons all the way to DooWopified versions of modern musicians like Michael Jackson, Jason Mraz and Maroon 5.

Featuring stars of Broadway's smash hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical, The Doo Wop Project brings unparalleled authenticity of sound and vocal excellence to recreate - and in some cases entirely re-imagine - some of the greatest music in pop and rock history.

2019 Asia Trophy

When: July 17, 6 pm

Where: Nanjing Olympic Sports Center

Watch world-class soccer stars in action this summer as Manchester City, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers head to China to compete in the Premier League Asia Trophy. The biannual football tournament will give soccer fans an opportunity to enjoy the Premier League experience with matches in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, and in Shanghai on July 20.

This is the second Premier League Asia Trophy to be held in the Chinese mainland, after Beijing in 2009.

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2019-06-26 07:47:23
<![CDATA[Testing the depths of their character]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484937.htm Getting into a dragon boat requires discipline, determination and courage, Xing Wen reports.

Perpendicular to the starting line, five slender dragon boats bob gently on the surface of the water, separated into different channels marked with bright yellow buoys. The setting is almost serene and gives no indication of the anguish and pain that is about to come.

"Nanjing University!" came the amplified voice from the starter, shattering the silence.

In answer, a throbbing drumbeat emanates from the university's brightly painted vessel as if it is an angry creature of the deep, roused from its slumber.

 

Many college students, including Liu Minyi from Nanjing University (left, right), and those from Nankai University (right) and Fudan University (top), compete in the sport of dragon boat racing to test their strength and team spirit. Photos Provided to China Daily

In chorus, the 10 teammates, with their paddles suddenly hoisted aloft, yell a definitive and defiant "Hey!"

The response is part of the ritual - the warm-up act, if you will - of dragon boat racing, as it helps stiffen resolve, boost morale and show opponents the crew's determination.

This is also the moment that Liu Minyi, a 19-year-old from Nanjing University, feels her heart go thump-thump-thump as her senses hone to the sharpness of a razor's edge.

Then the starting gun blasts, and the team is liberated as their stored energy propels the boat forward, paddles slicing through the water in mechanical precision.

"Sometimes I couldn't open my eyes as the person in front of me paddled so fiercely that the water splashed my face," recalls the sophomore. "We had to keep up that intensity for the entire 500-meter race."

Races were held across the country in celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival which fell on June 7 this year.

International students also got a chance to dip their paddle into the current of tradition.

Taliesin Renouf, a British student from the University of Edinburgh on a one-year exchange program at Fudan University, participated in the 12th Shanghai International Students Dragon Boat Race.

For the Chinese studies major, whose teacher back in Edinburgh first explained the intricacies of the event, which is held traditionally to commemorate China's ancient poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), this was a moment to savor.

"When talking about my time in China I will be able to say I took part in a dragon boat race and explain the story behind it too," says Renouf. "I think it's very worthwhile."

Bound for glory

To prepare for the race, Renouf started training with the university's international boat team in April.

"One day, we decided to do the 15-minute push where we had to paddle for 15 minutes continuously. And if someone stopped, we added another one minute," says Renouf. "It was really difficult, but I think it helped everyone learn the importance of not stopping and working together, and through the training and races, I've made more friends."

His teammate Christopher Becker agrees. The German postgraduate student joined the team last year and was asked to practice paddling in a swimming pool during weekdays and on a real dragon boat at the weekend.

"You should extend your body forward, use your shoulders and sink your paddle into the water and take it out without splashing people behind you. There are a lot of details you should pay attention to," he says.

The 26-year-old once tried kayaking. When comparing the two water sports, he notes that fostering team spirit is a priority in dragon boating.

"The drummer, the steer person and the 18 paddlers on a dragon boat are a team, a unit," he says.

Liu's team won the first prize at a dragon boat race held for domestic colleges and universities in the Xixi Wetland National Park of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

"I'm proud of winning as most of our team members were freshmen and inexperienced. I felt the cohesion of the team and will always be touched by my teammates' passion, "says Liu, who also took on the mantle of team leader. "For instance, after heavy rain, when the boats we use for practicing and training were dirty, all the male team members would, without any prompting, clean them."

New perspectives

Before joining the team in 2017, Liu was not the sporty type.

"I never ever thought about working out at a fitness center, but to prepare for each boat race, I was asked to jog and do muscle-building exercises, accompanied by my teammates, at least three times a week," she says.

Liu Yujie, 26, Nankai University's dragon boat team leader, found that apart from getting fitter and stronger he also began to understand the "never-give-up" philosophy.

"I was exhausted during training, "he recalls, "but we all found extra reserves of energy; we kept on pushing ourselves."

The doctoral candidate in microbiology has also used the lessons he learned on the water in the laboratory.

"I become more decisive when starting a new experiment mainly because my experience in dragon boating has boosted my confidence, "he says.

Unlike basketball, soccer and other popular campus sports, dragon boating uses a particular set of muscles and loads of determination. Your greatest opponent is often your own limitations, Liu Yujie says. Moreover, dragon boating requires the concerted efforts of the whole team, rather than individual skill.

"Due to this, a united team, no matter with newcomers or not, could probably get a good performance after some training," he says.

A course for success

To Ji Jingcheng, the chief coach of Nankai University's dragon boat team, the sport is a great way to toughen up college students.

"To be frank, it's an arduous process for these boaters to take the demanding monotonous training sessions and intense races, "says Ji. "However, for today's young people who grow up in a time of plenty, dragon boating can help to toughen and educate them outside the classroom."

He adds that as many students are an only child, it's a good opportunity for them to collaborate and compete with their peers.

There are more than 70 team members between 18 to 27 years old in the current dragon boat team of Nankai University. Ji says, if possible, they would like to officially set up a dragon boating course.

Problems, like lack of financial support and professional coaches, do prevent dragon boating from being embraced by more students, but some universities are encouraging the sport. For example, last April, Zhejiang University initiated an elective dragon boating course and more than 600 students jostled to sign up. To better serve them, the university also sought to cooperate with local government for the opportunity to practice boating on public waterways, such as on the Yuhangtang River.

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2019-06-26 07:47:04
<![CDATA[Hope on the water: Despite barriers, festival frolic helps forge bonds]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484936.htm In British author Kenneth Grahame's literary classic, The Wind in the Willows, Water Rat says to an astonished Mole who is experiencing the river for the first time: "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

"In absolutely no way is that fictional, anthropomorphic rodent wrong. Personally, I love it. Growing up in a Welsh seaside town, I'm always drawn to the water.

So naturally, when it was jokingly suggested that I, a foreign-born copy editor with a habit of avoiding too much social interaction, should join the dragon boat racing team of this venerable organ, I immediately made my mumbled excuses. "I'd love to," I said with mock disappointment, "but the boat is probably already full."

"Oh, no," piped up my always smiling and helpful colleague.

 

Left: The author (right) gets some one-on-one coaching during an early-morning training session at Houhai Lake in Beijing. Xing Wen / China Daily; right: Primed and ready for the starter's signal on race day. Provided to China Daily

"But it's probably not open to the foreign staff," I countered.

"I'm sure it is," she retorted with a knowing smile. "I'll find out."

And thus, I was press-ganged; bound by a sense of duty to my colleague. I was officially a Dragon Boatist.

While I have had my fair share of boat-based physical exertion on oceans, lakes and rivers (even coming unstuck on some rather tricky weirs), I was not prepared for the entirely different techniques required for propelling a dragon boat across the inky brine. Needless to say, 6 am starts were an equally alien concept.

With 10 of us sitting two abreast to paddle the boat, I was required to lean forward and twist my body sideways to the right, with my left arm high in the air, arced over my head holding the T-shaped handle of the paddle. My other hand, meanwhile, was thrust out in front of me, practically in the water, ready to dredge the blade of the paddle backward to the beat of a singular drum.

By the end of that first session, my entire flank was aflame. Muscles I have not felt since youth were screaming an angry song to every other part of my body.

Our second outing wasn't much easier, but we were, as a team, finding our cohesiveness. Even if I still felt very much like an interloper, needing to have my aforementioned colleague sit behind me - like the parrot on a pirate's shoulder - interpreting everything for me. Her boundless enthusiasm and promises that the coach was praising my efforts convinced me, however, that my spot in the boat was warranted.

The third - and final - training session was hellishly tough, going full tilt, up and down the lake, for over an hour. I slept very well that night, even though, for the next few days, it seemed as if my left and right sides belonged to two different people.

Sleep, however, abandoned me the night before the race; my nerves were jangling as much as my muscles after that first, punishing training session. I feared, more than anything, letting the side down.

The adrenaline coursing through my veins got the better of me as the report of the starter's gun echoed across the lake. I started paddling way too furiously. I realized that I'd pulled myself out of time with the drum, and was, as a result, probably having a detrimental effect on the rhythm of my teammates behind me.

After scolding myself, I settled into step with the drum and everything narrowed into just my paddle, the beat and the frantic splashing of water. It was then I looked up and realized that we were dragging way behind our opponents, who had streaked into an early lead and were in no danger of surrendering it. The bitter taste of disappointment lingered on my palate as we eased our vessel home.

Despite this, I clambered out of the boat, helping my teammates alight onto the pontoon, surprisingly with no sense of fatigue and a burning desire to do it all again. All the pain, worry and nerves had been distilled into just 1 minute and 56 seconds.

While there is no tale of underdog victory with which to bore people in the pub, joining the team has helped me overcome my crippling cynicism toward company-organized "fun "and my reticence to get involved with group activities because of a supposed cultural and linguistic barrier.

As we gathered together as a team after the race, I was embraced and applauded for my effort, and I reciprocated heartily. We collectively found solace in watching three other teams post slightly worse times than us, making light of our lowly ranking with jokes and promises to come back stronger next year.

And why wouldn't we? If Wind in the Willows taught me anything, it's that a small, furry British-born character knew how to get the best out of a boat, and next year, I believe, is the year of the Rat.

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2019-06-26 07:47:04
<![CDATA[Staging a creative revival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484935.htm Art center gives teenagers a chance to develop through acting, Xu Haoyu reports.

Art can help us see life's big picture and puts creativity in the frame of our lives, says Ke Lu, 41, an artist who believes the senses, and sense of wonder, we had in our youth have been dulled by the demands of modern society.

"Our senses may have been eroded by information overdose and the demand for instant gratification made possible by advanced technologies", says Ke, who founded the Dashanpai Theater Art Center in 2012.

The center aims to apply drama as a tool for aesthetic education to help restore a sense of creativity, especially among teenagers.

 

From top: Actors from the Dashanpai Theater Art Center perform The Old Man and the Sea at Tsinghua University in March. Primary school students try to act out their imitations of creatures in a workshop by the center. Children are encouraged to play with their shadows in the workshop. Photos Provided to China Daily

It is paying dividends. On June 29, members of the center will perform The Little Prince at Tsinghua University, adapted from the French novel of the same name written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

In the past seven years, the center, based in Wangjing in Beijing's Chaoyang district, has put on seven plays based on famous literature, and has also run themed workshops to inspire youngsters to express themselves through the medium of performance.

Ke, who as a child was fascinated by painting, didn't receive any professional art training until he attended a lecture at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts when he was a 13-year-old middle school student.

That lecture is seared into his memory.

A defining moment

Ke clearly recalls his first meeting with what he considered the "cool", long-haired art teacher who, in his first class, compared an artist's job to that of a divine creator.

Decades later, his teacher's words still ring in his ears: "Do you know what kind of job you will be doing in the future? That is like god's job. Facing a blank piece of paper, a piece of chaotic mud, an empty room, you are god, and you have to create beautiful things in your mind."

Ke says: "That moment defined my fate and belief."

Encouraged by his master, Ke then explored various fields like painting, animation, film and television, until he found his true love: drama and the stage, and its "unlimited potential".

In 2017, his art center was acknowledged by the faculty of Tsinghua University High School. Work carried out by the center was designated a required course among their students. Last year, the center expanded its influence to launch its plays and workshops in more high schools in several cities, including Beijing municipality as well as Zhenjiang, in East China's Jiangsu province.

During the process, Ke found many educators shared similar ideas and goals.

Zhao Guoqiang, principal of Zhenjiang Foreign Language International School, says: "The drama course inspires student creativity, and boosts their ability to learn.

"It promotes the development of children, teachers and the cultural construction of the school."

Chen Shuhua, 60, co-founder of the art center from Taiwan, thinks that children and teenagers are too obsessed with electronic gadgets.

"In my childhood, I had no toys or games to play with. I just had the mountains behind my house to explore. I got the chance to feel the shape of the breeze and to hear the croak of frogs," Chen says. "It's a pity that few people today have the time to sense the beauty of the environment around them."

Chen claims that the art center wants to give the five senses - seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and touching - back to children, and inspire them to discover their natural creativity.

Ripples of inspiration

The center put on a performance in March of The Old Man and the Sea, based on Ernest Hemingway's novel of the same title, at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Before the drama began, Ke ran an interactive education experiment with the audience. He dropped a sandbag, a wooden ball and a pingpong ball on stage. He then asked the audience to imitate and compare the movements of the objects.

Five audience members were invited to go onstage to perform their imitations, showing their observation and imagination. Rolling or jumping, they were all lauded by Ke and the audience applauded wildly.

The play began shortly after. On the simply set stage, the sea and the sky were projected onto the background, while wooden boards, a lamp, a rope and a small statue of the Virgin Mary served as a boat. An inflated balloon represented the moon. The body language of the actors completed the theatrical effects. For instance, when pulled taut by the actors, the rope became a fishing pole and the struggle between the old fisherman and the giant marlin was presented in the form of wresting.

The imagination of the audience is vital for the stage, Ke says. In part this is because of obvious limitations - a wild raging sea cannot be transported onto the stage - and imagination gives added value to the audience.

"We don't want to present the stage as an obvious answer, we want it to collaborate with audiences' imagination and create even more possibilities of image and understanding," Ke says.

Zhang Yanhua, a teacher at Tsinghua University Primary School, brought her 9-year-old son Liu Zicheng to the show. Zicheng was deeply impressed by the creativity.

Another audience member, Dorothy Jiang, a mother of two girls, says that the play can easily grab children's attention with the energetic body language of the actors coupled with the frequent audience interaction.

Ke believes that to develop the ability to spot and savor beauty, people have to start by discovering themselves.

Life's different stages

Kong Minxing, 10, a student at the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences Elementary School in Beijing, has been attending Dashanpai's aesthetic education courses for two years. Last year, he joined the cast as a part-time actor, and his performance in March playing Manolin, the little boy from The Old Man and the Sea, earned widespread acclaim.

Minxing describes the art courses as "compelling". He says: "Ke let me see sounds. He tapped a bowl filled with water and I saw splashes and waves. I felt the expansion of my own body by walking on people's backs, as they created stairs for me to climb and reach for the roof."

He benefited from these exercises, saying that his "ability to concentrate has been hugely improved".

His father, Kong Weimeng, claims that his son used to be an introvert. "My son used to spend too much time playing video games. Learning to perform drama and interacting with the art center's crew opened a window into creativity for him," he says. "Ke uses artistic language to allow people to notice what's easily ignored in daily life. To 'see' sounds, to act, and to 'paint' with a voice - it soothes and comforts your soul."

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2019-06-26 07:47:04
<![CDATA[Children's theater event set to feature seven plays in Shanghai]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484934.htm The upcoming Shanghai International Children's Theater Festival will put up seven plays by troupes from home and abroad to children aged 3 and above at the Art Theater of the China Welfare Institute.

Over 50,000 participants are expected to attend the festival, according to the organizers.

"The festival will present creative plays to children and act as a key platform for international exchange on dramas for children, and this will in turn help to drive the industry in the country," says Song Zhongbei, deputy secretary-general at China Welfare Institute, one of the organizers of the festival.

The selected plays in the festival, which will be held from July 5 to 14, cover a wide range of theatrical forms, according to Cai Jinping, dean of the Art Theater of the China Welfare Institute.

 

Gift for Mom (left), a puppet drama from Russia, and The Sock (right), a production from Denmark, are two plays that will be staged in the upcoming Shanghai International Children's Theater Festival to be held at the Art Theater of the China Welfare Institute in Shanghai in July. Photos Provided to China Daily

A non-verbal play, Sea Heroes, presented by a troupe from the Netherlands, will depict the magical powers of the sea through a mix of dance, acrobatic action, live music and singing.

Performers from Belgium will also put up another non-verbal play titled Shoes which tells the story of two girls who create an imaginary world with footwear.

Another festival highlight is the Russian puppet drama Gift for Mom. The play, which promotes the friendship, cooperation and love, will be performed in English and is adapted from a book written by Belgian artist and children's writer, Quentin Greban.

The tale revolves around a ladybird with blue eyes and freckled nose scouring the forest for the best gifts for her mother.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct 1 this year, two Chinese plays created by local artists at the Art Theater of the China Welfare Institute will be staged as well.

Children's Troupe, which will be shown at the opening ceremony of the festival, is recommended by Cai for those aged 5 and above. The story is about students coming together to form a drama troupe during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

The Art Theater of the China Welfare Institute will also put up the plays such as Rabbit Lantern, Badger Stealing Watermelons and Clown, all of which are adapted from picture books.

Cai suggests that those seeking an immersive experience should check out And Who are You?, a play from Croatia that teaches children how to make new friends, and The Sock, a production from Denmark that aims to stir the imagination through stories about socks.

Cai says that children can also apply for the drama camp that will be held during the festival through the theater's website. A drama master will lead the camp, teaching children to perform and understand stage plays through lectures and activities. Only 25 slots are available.

Other opportunities for immersive theater experience will also come in the form of workshops by professional troupes from Denmark and Russia.

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2019-06-26 07:47:04
<![CDATA[Math gathering]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484933.htm International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians plays host to the world's foremost number crunchers at Tsinghua University, Zhu Dunhua reports.

Liu Yijun is fascinated by numbers. They speak to him and give order to the world around him. It's why he chose to major in mathematics for his undergraduate studies at Tsinghua University.

However, between June 9 and 14 the main thing he was counting was foreign guests and the digits he was deciphering were flight codes, schedule times and lecture hall numbers. And he loved every minute of it.

Liu was volunteering as a liaison officer at the recent International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians.

 

Yun Zhiwei (second from left) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is awarded a gold medal by faculty members of Tsinghua University including Shing-Tung Yau (first from right), chairman and co-founder of ICCM. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Too busy to attend the event - which was held at Tsinghua University - as an audience member, he was still excited to meet the mathematicians and professors from all over the world who came to attend the event, present their research and studies, and interact with their counterparts.

Founded by domestic and overseas Chinese mathematicians, the ICCM has been held every three years since 1998.

"I set my career goal to become a high school math teacher after graduation, but participating in the math congress has sparked my passion to further my education," says Liu, a senior student at the university. "As such, I have decided to obtain a PhD in math, so that I can carry out further research and studies in the field."

The math congress is not only a conference to deliver reports, but also an interactive platform for mathematicians from around the world. Yun Zhiwei from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Zhu Xinwen from the California Institute of Technology each won a gold medal awarded by the congress for their research findings.

More than 1,000 mathematicians from all over the world were invited to attend, and 376 mathematicians delivered reports on geometry, statistics, number theory, artificial intelligence and biomathematics.

The congress offers math practitioners ample opportunity to get the full picture of their counterparts' research and studies through detailed lectures and discussions, according to Chinese-American Shing-Tung Yau, chairman and co-founder of ICCM, who, in 1982 became the first Chinese winner of the Fields Medal prize, the highest award in mathematics.

"It is a rare opportunity to meet the best mathematicians from their respective fields in the same place at the same time," says Dong Rui, a PhD from Yau Mathematical Science Center at Tsinghua University.

Dong, who attended the previous congress three years ago, noticed that more subjects were discussed this year and more foreign mathematicians were involved.

During the congress, participants presented their research and studies and all of the mathematicians gave their lectures in English.

There has been an increase in the number of younger mathematicians over the last few years, according to Xue Jinxin, a professor at Tsinghua University, who adds that most of the young participants at the conference have overseas study experience.

For example, Xue himself has attended several universities in the United States, and has studied at the University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley. He was also a "Dickson instructor" at the University of Chicago.

Xue notes, however, that these young people, since spending many years studying abroad, do not have many connections in the domestic mathematics field.

The conference provides a platform where scholars from around the world are able to communicate closely at an in-depth level. According to Yau, more scholars choose to come back to China after studying overseas in order to maintain their connections in China and help improve the standard of mathematics.

Yau accentuates the importance of fundamental mathematics throughout the ICCM.

"Math is not just to serve the engineering and technology sectors, but also has a charm all of its own, "explains Yau.

He suggests that educators and other math-related organizations should not only put effort and financial support into applied mathematics, but also into fundamental mathematics in order to build a strong base for further development.

Kenneth Ribet, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, whose teaching focuses on algebraic number theory and algebraic geometry, also attended the event.

"The number of mathematicians in China is growing, but there are still many gaps that need to be filled to make the growth more concrete, "he observes.

This was Ribet's first visit to Beijing, and he says that, although living conditions during his stay here were not as comfy as back in the States, and nor was he a big fan of Chinese cuisine, he was satisfied with the packed schedule at the congress, and he enjoyed communicating with other mathematicians.

Ribet also notes that Chinese mathematicians are well supported and highly valued by society.

"Although there is room for improvement, the information exchange between scholars has been priceless, which I really appreciate," says Ribet.

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2019-06-26 07:47:04
<![CDATA[How knowing a little Mandarin can take you a long, long way]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484932.htm Before I arrived in China last fall, I had already spent six years learning Mandarin. One would think my Chinese was good, but I was only really able to memorize vocabulary and study for tests. When it came to speaking, I'd stutter, forget words, and use the wrong grammar or tone - everything I'd learned would suddenly escape me. It was only when I started the Chinese class for my freshman year at Duke Kunshan University in Jiangsu province that I realized why I struggled so much, and how to improve my Chinese.

First, I had to put in the work outside of the classroom. When you have Chinese class every day, it's easy to think "I don't have time to study". But this will only hurt you in the long run. There is only so much you can learn from a textbook. You won't learn web slang or colloquial terms - you need to go out and find them yourself.

Second, the grade you get in class doesn't matter in the real world. The real test is when you go out and talk with people. So what if you have bad tones and incorrect grammar? We're all going to make mistakes, so you might as well have fun doing it.

I'm not going to say that after I told myself these things my Mandarin improved overnight. I still struggle with grammar, tones and confidence, but when my freshman year ended, I felt more confident than ever. So before I headed home to the United States for the summer, I took a solo trip to Beijing for a week and put all the Chinese I had learned to the test.

When I arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport, I took the airport express to Dongzhimen, and my heart started to beat faster. I had never traveled alone before, let alone in China. But the fear eventually faded and excitement took its place. I had a week to explore Beijing and I wasn't going to let it go to waste.

Every day, I navigated my way to numerous historical sites in Beijing and had conversations with new people I met along the way. These conversations usually only started because a person wanted to sell me something or take a picture with me, but I not only understood what they were saying but I could respond in Mandarin.

For instance, when I went into a shop in Nanluoguxiang, a popular tourist spot, to buy a souvenir and spoke in Mandarin to a shop assistant, I ended up getting a good discount. Later, I walked into another store and had conversations with two workers. They asked me questions like where I was from, how tall I was, and about the differences in culture between the US and China, and many other things. It was during these interactions that I realized how far I've come. I used to be so afraid of speaking Mandarin, yet here I was talking with complete strangers.

When my trip came to an end, I didn't want to leave. I was having so much fun.

As I look back on my first year of learning Chinese at university, I can say that without the constant support from my Chinese teacher and the hard lessons I had to learn, this trip probably wouldn't have been possible. I've learned a lot, not just in the classroom but also outside. And although next year's Chinese class is going to be even more challenging, I know that I am not defined by my grades, good or bad.

I'm improving, and that's all that matters.

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2019-06-26 07:47:04
<![CDATA[China helps agricultural development in countries involved in BRI]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/26/content_37484931.htm China and Pakistan recently established the Center for Agricultural and Biological Resources Research at Northwest A&F University, as part of China's bid to help countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative develop their agriculture sectors.

The main task of the center is to strengthen cooperation and exchanges between the two sides in agricultural and biological resources, and to develop biology disciplines, according to Li Xingwang, Party secretary of the university.

Since the BRI was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the university, headquartered in Yangling, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, has been expanding joint efforts with universities in the respective countries to deepen cooperation on agricultural development, by employing its unique strengths.

For example, scholars from the university managed to combat stripe rust, which was a serious problem affecting global wheat production for a long time.

Kang Zhensheng, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a director of the State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas at Northwest A&F University, who has been based in the arid areas of Northwest China for over three decades, led the team to treat wheat stripe rust.

Kang created "China's wheat stripe rust fungus source base comprehensive control technology system", which was applied in 12 provinces and municipalities in China, reducing stripe rust by 50 percent, preventing the loss of more than 2 billion kilograms of grain each year, and increasing annual income by 4 billion yuan ($583 million) across the provinces and municipalities.

Since the BRI was proposed, Kang and his team have been working with more than 10 countries and regions involved in the BRI such as Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ethiopia to collect and study the wheat stripe rust pathogen.

Since 2014, Northwest A&F University has worked with several universities in Kazakhstan to establish three agricultural science and technology demonstration gardens in different climatic regions of the country, and have introduced Chinese wheat, corn, potato and small grains there.

Other professors from Northwest A&F University are also working with experts from the Kazakhstan National Academy of Sciences.

Meanwhile, Hai Jiangbo, a 53-year-old associate professor at the university, has been doing investigative tours across the African continent for many years, covering 11 African countries. And together with 51 colleagues, he has shared with African counterparts China's rich experience in agriculture, horticulture, water conservation, food, electromechanics, forestry and business management.

In Cameroon, rice is one of the key imports. But due to historical reasons, there has not been major rice cultivation there. So Hai led a team to conduct integrated research on rice planting there. They undertook soil surveys, worked on fertilization, pest control and bird pest control, before finally achieving a harvest of 7 tons of rice per hectare in the local 2-hectare demonstration rice field.

Encouraged by the demonstration, local people then began to follow the Chinese model of rice production.

As BRI has gained popularity among people in these countries, many of them are showing interest in agricultural cooperation with China. For example, Northwest A&F University signed an agreement with the Belarus Academy of Agricultural Sciences in December.

In 2016, Northwest A&F University launched the Silk Road Agricultural Education Science and Technology Innovation Alliance, which currently has 76 universities and research institutes in 14 countries and regions as members.

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2019-06-26 07:47:04
<![CDATA[Stock Connect to Cricket Connect - impossible leap of faith?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484452.htm The Shanghai-London Stock Connect launched last week may not be the only glad tidings to come the Brexit-battered Britain's way in recent times. Such is the scope and power of globalization and technology these days that it's going to be just a matter of time - give or take a decade or two - before things long thought of as near impossible will come to pass and spread joy.

England and Wales are currently hosting the 12th edition of the quadrennial cricket World Cup, which features 10 countries (nearly 20 teams were in the qualifying process, while some more are knocking on the game's doors).

This is the fifth time that England has hosted the game's biggest event. Since the inaugural tournament in 1975, England has reached the cricket World Cup Finals three times, but never went on to emerge champions.

Led by Irishman Eoin Morgan, England are this year's favorites, tipped to lift the much-coveted cup finally on July 14. Watched by an estimated global audience of more than 2 billion, cricket could bring pride back to England (and the United Kingdom).

But, frequent rain interruptions to play, and the weird adjustment rules they trigger, coupled with below-par ground facilities and (potential) challenges from teams like India, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, could play spoilsport.

Modern cricket originated in England. The game has gone global on the back of two key factors: its popularization by the governing body, the International Cricket Conference, and, before that, the British Empire. Of late, the effect of globalization has meant that even countries like Afghanistan and Ireland are among the top-tier cricket teams.

One more effect of globalization is that many national cricket teams are cosmopolitan in nature - a tribute to oneness, the essence of humanity, and an uplifting symbol of the unifying power of sport.

Although cricket is a bit unknown in China, the world's second-largest economy is nevertheless having a tremendous financial impact on the game.

Chinese tech companies such as Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Huawei are among the biggest advertisers and cricket team sponsors. Their logos and imprints are everywhere in the cricketing world - on telecasts, shrill marketing campaigns, commercials, jerseys, online content, apps, what have you.

Not long ago, Hong Kong, a British colony until 1997, used to host a popular cricket tournament called HK Sixers. As globalization and technology continue their onward march, Chinese businesses may see in sports and games like cricket the soft power that can bring peoples and markets together, potentially preempting the disruptive influence of annoyances like trade tariff tensions.

If food, movies and yoga - the International Day of Yoga was celebrated on Friday - can deepen understanding and amity between the 2 billion-plus nations of India and China, it is conceivable that cricket could prove a worthy addition to that list.

Things appear to be heading that way. In Beijing and other major Chinese cities, sports bars and certain restaurants are screening live telecasts of the cricket World Cup on big screens, to keep their expat clientele happy.

In Shanghai, there is an active, multilevel league - the Fusion T20 Cricket Cup - played in the game's shortest format. Organized by the Shanghai Cricket Club, which boasts 300 members and a long history starting from 1858, the tournament features teams comprising local Chinese people and expatriates. The teams have imaginative names like "China Zalmi Cricket Club" and "Charminar Cheetahs". They even tour other countries. This year's winner was the Shenzhen Cricket Club.

Before long, Chinese companies with cricketing connections elsewhere may well try to monetize the potential for sponsorships in the Chinese mainland. If China embraces cricket big time, both England and India, besides the rest of the cricketing world, will likely rejoice, given the implications for international relations, people-to-people exchanges and tourism. From Stock Connect to Cricket Connect need not be an impossible leap of faith.

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2019-06-25 07:35:04
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484451.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On June 25, 1991, China celebrated its first Land Day to raise public awareness about the importance of land resources, as seen in an item from China Daily.

Fast economic development, urbanization and industrialization over recent decades have seen a rapid loss of farmland.

Authorities have made rigorous efforts to protect the country's arable land and shore up its food security.

In 1994, the Basic Farmland Protection Regulation was passed, which requires the designation of basic farmland protection districts at the township level and prohibits any conversion of land in those districts to other uses.

In 1999, the Land Administration Law was implemented.

Last year, the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a document to hold provincial governments and officials accountable for farmland protection.

According to the first policy document of the year released by the central government in February, efforts will be made to ensure that grain planting areas remain stable at 110 million hectares and the arable land area will be kept at a level above 120 million hectares.

In January, the country's first national law on soil pollution and control came into force, defining responsibilities for pollution and establishing a special fund for the costs of remediation.

If those who have polluted the soil cannot be identified, those who currently have the right to use the land will be responsible, and if there is a dispute, local governments will be empowered to allocate responsibility, according to the Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law.

The latest data on soil pollution were released in 2014, based on a survey jointly conducted by the country's environmental and land watchdogs.

It was found that 16 percent of the randomly selected spots surveyed within an area of 6.3 million square kilometers were polluted.

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2019-06-25 07:35:04
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484450.htm Spirited Away gets theatrical release in China

The critically acclaimed Japanese animated film Spirited Away hit Chinese screens on Friday, 18 years after it was originally released in 2001. The movie, made by Studio Ghibli, won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003. It follows the adventures of a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro as she wanders around the spirit world to bring her parents back to their original form after turning into pigs.

Researchers teach seals to hum tunes

Scientists at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom raised three gray seals from birth in order to study how successful the animals might be at vocal learning, a skill crucial for learning a language but one that is relatively rare in animals. They have taught the seals to actually hum the melodies like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and the Star Wars theme.

69 days of daylight in time-free Norwegian town

With the Northern Hemisphere's summer solstice on Friday, Sommaroy, meaning "Summer Island", swapped its watches for flower garlands and declared itself the world's first time-free zone. The sun doesn't set on the Norwegian island from May 18 right through to July 26, a full 69 days. Locals, having endured the long polar nights from November to January, when the sun doesn't rise, make the most of these precious months, with no regard to conventional timekeeping.

Check more posts online.

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2019-06-25 07:35:04
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484449.htm People: Cuban artist paints underwater

For Cuba's Sandor Gonzalez, there is no better place to sketch than several meters below the surface of the sea, surrounded by Caribbean fish and coral forms. The 42-yearold first won renown at home and abroad for his predominantly black-and-white, haunting images of imaginary cityscapes, inspired by a trip to Europe. "This started off as a hobby, as a passion," he said, adding "But now I really need to come here, immerse myself and create below water, because there is a peace there that you simply cannot find on dry land."

Video: Writer reveals the magic of bookshops

"Every bookshop is a condensed version of the world," said Jorge Carrion, a Spanish writer and literary critic who roams the globe in his study of unique and culturally influential bookshops. Having traveled to more than 1,000 bookstores, Carrion has put all his anecdotes and meditations into the recent book Bookshop: A Reader's History. As it has been translated into Chinese, the writer came to Beijing last month to chat with Chinese literati and visit local bookstores. In his interview with our website, Carrion reiterates the role of traditional bookshops in the post-digital era, which reminds us of the magic of the written word.

World: Explore the sea on marine motorbike

An underwater motorbike that lets riders explore the sea is on sale in Britain for $22,000. The SubSea Scooter lets owners ride underwater for up to two-and-a-half hours at a time. Riders control the scooter - powered by an electric motor - using the same controls as a standard motorbike. Users can turn the handlebars for direction and push the batons for speed and depth. Pressure and depth gauges are provided on the control bar. Weighing 150 kilograms, the scooter has a maximum advised depth of up to 12 meters. Each scooter is equipped with a built-in air bag allowing the rider to rise and fall in the water by adjusting the air volume.

Trend: Opposition to arranged marriages

A recent survey shows that more than 61 percent of young people in China oppose arranged marriages. The survey, released by China Youth Daily on Thursday, found that the most unacceptable parental interference among young Chinese is parents attending a blind date in place of their children, making up to 45 percent. About 57 percent of the respondents said they hope that instead of imposing ideas on their children, parents should learn more about what their children want.

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2019-06-25 07:35:04
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484448.htm The White-Haired Girl Shanghai Ballet

When: June 25 and 26, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

One of the first Chinese ballet productions, The White-Haired Girl was created by the Shanghai Dance Academy in 1965.

It is inspired by the tale of a young woman who, after being persecuted by her landlord, lives in the wilderness for years and becomes known among villagers as the "wandering ghost".

Taming of the Princess

Beijing Hebei Bangzi Opera Troupe

When: June 27 and 28, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Emperor Daizong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) betroths his daughter Princess Shengping to the Marquis of Fenyang Guo Ziyi's sixth son, Guo Ai.

Later, the marquis celebrates his 60th birthday, and receives birthday felicitations from his sons and daughters-in-law, whereas Princess Shengping snubs the event. Guo Ai gets angry and assaults the princess. The princess complains tearfully to her parents and requests the emperor punish Guo Ai. Guo Ziyi ties his son's hands behind his back and takes him to the throne room for punishment.

However, the emperor grants an additional title to Guo Ai with the aim of teaching the princess to show filial respect for her parents-in-law and adhere to family virtues.

China Film Symphony Orchestra

When: June 27, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The China Film Symphony Orchestra has a history that spans 67 years.

In recent years, the orchestra has popularized symphonic music and trained a number of now famous musicians.

A Dream of Red Mansions Music Legend

When: June 28-30, 7:30 pm

Where: Great Theater of China, Shanghai

A Dream of Red Mansions Music Legend is based on composer Wang Liping's music from the 1987 television drama, reorchestrated and rearranged by composer and conductor Cai Donghua as part of his yearlong music legends series.

Described as a highbrow Mamma Mia!, it will take you inside the classic novel A Dream of Red Mansions by Cao Xueqin during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It tells a story about the Jia clan's wealth and influence, and of its fall, as their mansions are raided and confiscated.

The carefree male heir of the family, Jia Baoyu was born with a magical piece of jade in his mouth. He experiences a bittersweet life and finally understands that life is nothing more than a long dream.

Swan Lake

Paris Opera Ballet

When: June 29-July 1, 7:30 pm; June 30, 2 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater Based on an imaginary theme of a prince's love for a graceful creature, Swan Lake is servant to numerous symbolic and psychological interpretations.

In the Petipa and Ivanov version, based on Russian tradition, the choreographic and dramatic interest is centered on the ballerina who plays and dances a dual role; Odette, white swan - lyrical showcase, and Odile, black swan - dangerous seductress, the prince being reduced to become the instrument of fate.

Choreographer Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev completely reversed the situation.

In his version of Swan Lake, heroes and heroines try to get away from their situation, their entourage and their closed and stifling worlds and to escape to the often imaginary "elsewhere".

Offering

Beijing Modern Dance Company

When: July 3 and 4, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Women of the World, a dance commissioned by the Dutch International Dance Festival in 2007, is the original form of Offering.

The dance was choreographed by Gao Yanjinzi, who is artistic director of the Beijing Modern Dance Company.

Offering was choreographed based on the dancer's imagination and ideas. The performance was expected to present a dialogue between the mystery of water and significance of reality.

Water is the source of all life, from tears to morning dew, from blood to rivers. Similarly, in real life, people cannot avoid various circumstances, such as joy, sorrow, separation and reunions accompanied by birth, death, illness and aging.

The Gershwin Piano Quartet

When: July 14, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Gershwin Piano Quartet sheds new light on the music of George Gershwin. It features four pianists on grand pianos, playing, arranging and improvising some of Gershwin's most popular songs and orchestral works, such as Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Porgy and Bess and I Got Rhythm.

In its new program, the quartet does not limit itself solely to the music of Gershwin but also includes important works by some of Gershwin's contemporaries, namely Ravel's La Valse and Bernstein's West Side Story.

The Gershwin Piano Quartet was founded by Andre Desponds in 1996. They have played at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Tonhalle Zurich, the Musikfest Stuttgart, the Oriental Art Center Shanghai, and the Sala Sao Paulo.

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2019-06-25 07:35:04
<![CDATA[Light touch for Dutch master]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484447.htm Sunflowers gently wave in the breeze, windmills start to turn, and sitting in front of a canvas, an artist selects a color from a pile of paint tubes.

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The artworks of painter Vincent van Gogh are vividly brought to life at an immersive digital exhibition in Beijing, Lin Qi reports.

Sunflowers gently wave in the breeze, windmills start to turn, and sitting in front of a canvas, an artist selects a color from a pile of paint tubes.

Then, the scene suddenly changes: A vase of blooming flowers appears and the water inside starts to overflow before turning into a stream.

These easily recognizable elements from Vincent van Gogh's paintings have been digitalized, animated, rearranged and projected onto the ceiling, walls and floor of an exhibition space that draws the audience into an immersive look at the life and inner world of the Dutch artist.

This engaging encounter created via a sound and light show is the focus for Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, an ongoing exhibition at the National Museum of China that runs through Sept 22. Technicians have used cutting-edge technology to bring to life the work of the gifted artist through an all-encompassing projection display of images taken from more than 200 paintings and drawings from the artist's oeuvre.

The 35-minute show is being staged inside a purpose-built rectangular box occupying a section of the spacious third-floor corridor of the National Museum of China.

The viewer first encounters Van Gogh through a space set out like a gallery, in which the painter's self-portraits are displayed on wall-mounted screens. Then the gallery changes into different scenes inspired by Van Gogh's iconic works, where viewers "step inside" these familiar landscapes. One moment, viewers are surrounded by blossoming almond trees, while the next, they watch crows flying over expansive wheat fields. Overhead, a dreamy, starlit night sky unfolds.

In recent years, Van Gogh has been the subject of many popular interactive exhibitions at home and abroad, where digital technology rather than the original paintings are used to offer an insight into the painter's life and art.

Mario Iacampo, president of Exhibition Hub, a Belgian company that specializes in creating, producing and distributing interactive shows like the current exhibition, tells China Daily that Van Gogh's paintings - which often depict expansive scenes and natural landscapes - are ideal for digital projection onto large surfaces like walls and floors, as are the vivid and innately eye-catching colors found in his works.

He says new developments in technology "completely change the way people access art" by bringing images of famous works to life through animation and offer a better understanding of the context surrounding them.

"The project provides a lot of animation and reinterpretations (of the featured paintings)," Iacampo adds. "The experience is unique to the venue where the exhibition is presented. We add things or make changes according to the specific environment where the show is staged."

For example, when the show was staged in the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples, Italy, in 2017, Iacampo's team used 3D scanning and mapping techniques to match their designs to the interior of the historic structure, replicating their column designs with the real ones in the church.

Also on show at the exhibition at the National Museum of China is a re-creation of the subject of Van Gogh's noted painting, Room at Arles. The painting depicts his bedroom, one of several rooms he rented in the building known as the Yellow House in Arles, southern France.

The painting is striking because of the contrast between its bright colors and sharp angles. The room is also a testimony to a meaningful period in Van Gogh's career: Not only did he aspire to more freedom to his painting in Arles, but also, he invited his painter friend Paul Gauguin to stay and work with him. The relationship between them gradually became tense and ended in tragedy when Van Gogh cut off his left ear lobe.

There is another section in the exhibition where people can paint or draw and then have their works scanned and the digital versions shown on a screen. In another section of the exhibition, people can put on virtual reality headsets to "visit" the places where Van Gogh worked.

Beijing is the first Chinese city where the exhibition is being held, Iacampo says, but the company hopes to take the show to Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou, and details are to be confirmed with local exhibition providers.

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2019-06-25 07:34:42
<![CDATA[China's philatelists give Wuhan event their stamp of approval]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484446.htm The Large Dragon postage stamps, issued by the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) government in 1878, marked the beginning of the modern postal service in China, hence the treasured status and high value of such stamps among philatelists - collectors who specialize in postage stamps.

According to Sun Jiangtao, artist and vice-president of the All-China Philatelic Federation, less than 20 complete sets of Large Dragon stamps now exist around the world.

He presented his private collection of Large Dragon stamps at the China 2019 World Stamp Exhibition, which took place in Wuhan, Hubei province from June 11 to 17, under the patronage of the Federation Internationale de Philatelie. The eight frames include different issues and drafts that record the stamps' design process, and collecting them has taken him over 20 years.

"This set of stamps is particularly difficult to find, and I believe my collection is unparalleled because it includes a lot of stamps known to be the only ones of their kind left in the world," Sun says.

This is the first time that his set of Large Dragon stamps has been displayed at a world stamp exhibition, and they won him the Large Gold Medal in the traditional philately category.

Just like Sun, other philatelists and philatelic organizations from 85 countries and regions brought their stamp collections to exhibit and compete in the international event.

This year is the third time that China has hosted a world stamp exhibition since it joined the organization in 1983.

A highlight of this year's event was the rare stamp exhibition drawn from the collections of the China National Post and Postage Stamp Museum.

A lot of these rare stamps help record the transformation of China and its modern history, such as the coiling dragon stamps of the Qing Dynasty printed with the words "provisional neutrality" and "Republic of China".

The overprints were added after the Revolution of 1911, when the Republic of China (1912-49) overthrew the Qing government but did not have enough time to print new postage stamps.

The exhibition also included the manuscripts of Robert Alexis de Villard, the original designer of the coiling dragon stamps. His manuscripts are the earliest stamp design records in the China National Post and Postage Stamp Museum's collection.

"Considering a lot of postal materials from that era have been lost, his manuscripts are an important record in China's postal history, from which we can learn the ins and outs of stamp design during that time," says Ma Lin, vice-president of the Wuhan Philatelic Association.

"The event brings the precious collections from the China National Post and Postage Stamp Museum to the public, which I think represents a high standard for stamp exhibitions," Ma adds.

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China, another special exhibition at the Wuhan event displayed over 4,000 commemorative stamps released in China over the past 70 years, including those jointly issued by China and foreign countries.

"Chinese stamps have prospered especially during the 40 years since the reform and opening-up started, "Li Jinzhu, a fellow of the All-China Philatelic Federation, says. "Chinese stamps have begun to participate in international cooperation. So far China has jointly issued stamps with nearly 40 countries."

The design scripts of the biggest set of stamps in China's history, Unity of All Ethnic Groups in China, were also on display. The set had been issued at the 50th anniversary of the founding of New China and includes 56 stamps, each depicting an ethnic group.

This year marks the first time that the world stamp exhibition offered a section for people with disabilities.

Ten years ago when the 2009 World Stamp Exhibition took place in Luoyang, Henan province, Li Shaohua, a fellow of the All-China Philatelic Federation who has mobility impairment, founded the China Disabled Persons Stamp Collecting Association.

According to Li, currently president of the association, the association now has more than 1,000 members. Over 200 members from the association attended the world stamp exhibition on the first day, bringing 124 sets of stamps.

"Establishing a section for people with disabilities is groundbreaking. It fulfills the wish of many disabled philatelists across China and shows the care devoted to the disabled," he says.

As for Li, he brought his own collection entitled Disability and Recovery, intending to raise awareness for the disabled and motivate them on their road to recovery.

In the first frame of his collection, a stamp from the United States sums up his attitude toward disability and his encouragement for all people with disabilities, with a caption that reads "disabled doesn't mean unable".

"A lot of disabled people are actually very willing to participate in cultural activities. Stamp exhibitions provide them with a means to communicate with other people," Li says. "I would like to help them strengthen their love for life and the belief to never give in to disability."

 

Left: Stamp lovers attend the rare stamp exhibition of the China National Post and Postage Stamp Museum collection. Cheng Yuezhu / China Daily Right: One of a set of commemorative stamps issued for the China 2019 World Stamp Exhibition. Provided to China Daily

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2019-06-25 07:34:42
<![CDATA[An archipelago's allure]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484445.htm The isles of Zhuhai city's Wanshan district are striving to become a destination that lures visitors with leisure, scenery and outdoor activities.

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Zhuhai's islands are becoming ports of call for a growing number of visitors, Xu Lin reports.

The isles of Zhuhai city's Wanshan district are striving to become a destination that lures visitors with leisure, scenery and outdoor activities.

The district in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, boasts 105 islets and 4,500 square kilometers of sea. Only five of the islands are inhabited and they have become bastions for travelers in recent years.

Authorities unveiled a development outline in February to boost the maritime economy and make the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area a world-class destination.

Two months later, the central government announced plans to transform Zhuhai's Hengqin Island into an international travel destination. Officials aim to create itineraries exploring the greater bay area focusing on Hengqin Island in Hengqin district and the surrounding Wanshan islets.

"Wanshan has become an emerging destination in recent years," says the district's management board director, Lyu Hongzhen.

"Tourism has become a pillar industry."

And that industry, she says, is aiming at the high end.

"Visitors can travel among several beautiful islands over four to seven days and live like locals. They can enjoy pretty views and delicious seafood, and take part in activities such as diving, rock climbing and fishing. They can see sunrises, sunsets and starry skies."

Visitors can tour the historical sites at Dong'ao Island, such as the customs office built in 1898, a fortress and a 290-year-old beacon tower, as well as traditional Chinese buildings.

"The islanders are very friendly, "says Wu Zhaoji, a 24-year-old postgraduate student from Guangdong's capital, Guangzhou, who recently visited Guishan Island.

"I like to walk on the wooden-plank road and enjoy the poems carved into the rocks."

It takes about an hour by boat from Zhuhai's Xiangzhou port to reach Wanshan's major islands. Helicopter trips take about 15 to 20 minutes. A one-way chopper ticket to Dong'ao Island costs 1,299 yuan ($188), and the round trip is 1,599 yuan.

Lyu recently led a group of government officials and travel agency representatives to stage a promotional event in Beijing.

She says Wanshan's tourism authorities hope to attract more tourists from the capital, since the city hosts a relatively large number of people who enjoy traveling. They also hope to cooperate with partners such as travel agencies and learn from the city's marketing expertise.

Tourism authorities also aspire to attract more travelers from nearby areas since Zhuhai is well-situated at the center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge's in October 2018 offers easier access to Wanshan. Direct flights link Guishan and Hong Kong, and plans call for cruises connecting Guishan and Macao.

Wanshan welcomed over 563,000 tourists last year, a 3.2 percent increase over 2017. About 487,000 made overnight stays. Tourism revenue reached 433 million yuan in 2018, a 14 percent year-on-year increase.

The Dong'ao and Wai Lingding islands are rated as national-AAAA scenic areas. The local government is working to upgrade them to AAAAA, the top rating.

Lyu says district authorities are also striving to improve the islands' environment, infrastructure and tourism resources to entice more visitors and prolong their stays.

Guishan has invested 30 million yuan in improving its two villages through such measures as rebuilding local residences and improving infrastructure.

The island has established high-quality bed-and-breakfasts with 190 rooms in total. Visitors can appreciate decor that blends traditional Chinese elements with ocean themes.

Wanshan is also cultivating its wedding industry, promoting outdoor activities and hosting fishing competitions, Lyu says.

The first seaside-matrimony event will be held on Dong'ao between Sept 27 and 29.

Seventy couples from different cities will gather for group ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of New China's founding.

"The island will witness their love," Lyu says.

"Newlyweds can also enjoy beach parties, photography and banquets."

Wanshan will host gastronomical events, mountain marathons and sailing contests this year and next.

Indeed, it seems that Zhuhai's islands are emerging from the sea as attractions set to draw more visitors with their siren songs of natural charm, cultural activities and increasingly convenient access.

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2019-06-25 07:34:42
<![CDATA[Travel expo attracts top tourism industry players to Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484444.htm Chinese travelers' wanderlust has driven tourism companies from across the globe to vie for their attention.

Approximately 1,000 of the biggest players in the tourism business from around China were joined by their counterparts from more than 80 countries and regions to show what they have to offer at the Beijing International Tourism Expo on June 18.

"I want to meet travel agencies from China because I want tourists here to know more about our country," says Veneta Stefanova Raykova from the Club Mondo travel agency, which is based in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia.

Raykova heard about the Beijing tourism expo from friends in the travel industry, who she says have forged cooperative relationships with Chinese tourism operators through similar expos in China.

"We are very interested in the great potential of the Chinese tourism market," she says.

Last year, the number of Chinese outbound travelers reached 149.72 million, a rise of 14.7 percent compared to the previous year, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism reports.

The country received 5.54 billion tourist visits in 2018, an increase of 10.8 percent year-on-year.

Raykova's travel agency has prepared a package of tours that will enable Chinese travelers to enjoy the best of what Bulgaria has to offer and presented them at the expo.

"Bulgaria is very beautiful and shares certain similar cultural traits with China, so we should have good connections with Chinese travelers, "Raykova says.

Previously, Club Mondo only organized tours for Chinese visitors on a diplomatic level, but it now wants to attract ordinary Chinese travelers.

Raykova says her agency is aiming to reach 100,000 Chinese travelers in the near future.

The Beijing International Tourism Expo has been hosted annually since 2004 by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism. It aims to present quality tourism products from both home and abroad to travelers, as well as boost cultural and trade exchanges between China and the world.

The three-day expo covers an area of 22,000 square meters and showcases distinctive cultural and tourism products at favorable rates for both public and professional buyers.

Visitors can also enjoy art performances, snacks and interactive experiences at one of the 400-plus booths to help them see the range of exotic destinations on offer.

In addition to travel agencies, other tourism industry players such as hotels, insurance companies and designers made their presence felt at the expo.

"We hope to bring together all the parties involved in the tourism industry and develop more products that suit travelers' needs in leisure, study and health tourism," says Wang Yue, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism.

Wang says the local government also hopes the expo will help draw more attention to Beijing, which is a major center for tourism.

The organizers say the Beijing expo complements the China International Fair for Trade in Services that was held from May 28 to June 1 in the capital.

Tourism service consumption has accounted for nearly 25 percent of the total volume of retail sales in Beijing, Wang says.

There's still great potential in the field of fixed asset investment, Wang says.

"I believe there's still a lot in Beijing's tourism resources that need to be developed, and a great number of travelers' needs are yet to be met, "Wang says.

A special section was set aside to display products for senior citizens at the expo.

"We hope it will help to raise awareness, especially among tour providers, so that products can be developed to meet the increasing travel needs of seniors," Wang says.

Moreover, a focus was placed on attracting inbound travelers at the expo.

More than 120 international buyers from 65 countries, mostly from Europe and the Americas, were invited to explore tourism business opportunities.

The number of European exhibitors at the expo significantly increased this year, with France, Ireland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Malta all making their expo debut, joining now-regular attendees like Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism.

Having attended the expo for the last two years, this year Indonesia rolled out 10 new tourism destinations to woo Chinese travelers, including Lake Toba, Tanjung Kelayang and Kepulauan Seribu.

"We've brought our core tourism business representatives here to promote tourism in Indonesia," says Indera Dewantho, deputy director of international marketing for China at the country's tourism authority.

The goal is to help Indonesian travel agencies, hotels and airlines to build relations with their Chinese counterparts, Dewantho adds.

"We achieved good results at the expo last year," he says.

Indonesia is aiming to attract 3.57 million Chinese tourists this year, according to Dewantho, and trips to new destinations are already available through major Chinese travel agencies.

 

Left: A foreign tourism representative gives a visitor a VR experience at the Beijing International Tourism Expo on June 18. Right: Two Russian performers dance at the Beijing expo. Photos by Yang Feiyue / China Daily

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2019-06-25 07:34:42
<![CDATA[Playing the health card]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484443.htm White clouds wander slowly in the blue sky, giving visitors the impression of a crystal-clear yet cool summer in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province.

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Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province, is using its fine weather and cleaner air to promote tourism, Wang Ru reports.

White clouds wander slowly in the blue sky, giving visitors the impression of a crystal-clear yet cool summer in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan province.

During the recent China Yunnan-India Cultural Week, which also included the China India Yoga Festival, events were held to promote communication between the two sides.

According to Dai Bin, head of the Kunming municipal culture and tourism bureau: "We are trying to combine health and tourism, and develop tourism that lets you enjoy a healthy life here."

Blessed with good climate, Kunming is called a habitable city with "eternal spring".

Speaking about Kunming's good climate and relatively cleaner air, S.Sridharan, a yoga expert who was invited to take part in the activities, says: "I think these things are a very important aspect of Kunming's health industry. Kunming has clean air, clean water and many plants, and should work hard to maintain them to attract more travelers."

Moreover, Kunming's combination of health and tourism gives emphasis to sports, says Dai, adding: "Kunming's 'eternal spring' means that sports competitions and training can be held all year round."

Kunming has conducted marathon races by the Dianchi Lake and dragon boat races, and accelerated the development of infrastructure for sports activities like the Anning hot spring tennis town competitions.

Dai says La Liga, the top professional league of Spanish football is working with Kunming to bring the La Liga Hope Cup, a teenage football competition to the Chinese city, besides building a La Liga football school there.

"Kunming has also attracted football clubs to carry out their winter training, and we also want to build Kunming into a famous football training base in China," Dai says.

"But football is just one aspect of our sports development, and we also want to work on marathons, horsemanship and other sectors so we can develop healthy tourism in our city."

Kunming's tourism also features its diverse local ethnic culture. For example, an amusement park has been built on the site of the former Dian state, which goes back 2,000 years.

The roller coaster in the park is designed like the head of a tiger, a nod to the fact that the tiger was the totem of the ancient state.

Speaking about how the old culture has been given a modern twist, Dai says: "You can see traces of the ancient Dian culture everywhere in this park. And although you may have experienced entertainment facilities at other parks, the ones here give you a very different feeling."

As for the China India Yoga Festival, it introduced India's traditional medicine system Ayurveda, of which yoga is an important part.

Li Zhaosheng, deputy director of Kunming's health development office, says: "Yoga has connections with the health industry. Our activities will deepen the understanding of each other."

An Ayurveda class, traditional Chinese and Indian medicine forums, a photograph exhibition of Indian culture were among the activities held during the cultural week.

Sridharan was invited to give some lectures on yoga. He says he feels happy about Chinese interest in yoga.

His colleague V. Srinivasan was interested in tai chi after watching a performance at the opening ceremony of the cultural week.

Dai says the China India Yoga Festival serves as a platform for mutual understanding, and this is not the first time Kunming is hosting this festival.

"When we first held the festival in 2016, it did not have so many activities. But now we have added local cultural, health and tourism aspects to it, and in the future we will add more," Dai says.

"Last year, a large wedding was held in Kunming by an Indian family after they got to know of this city through the festival."  

 

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2019-06-25 07:34:42
<![CDATA[Chinese folk orchestra show in Hollywood]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/25/content_37484442.htm For American director and writer Kurt Paul MacCarley, the Chinese violin concerto Butterfly Lovers not only took him through a beautiful and sad love story but has also inspired him to collaborate with Chinese musicians for his new movie Shanghai Cinderella.

"I cried in my heart. It was very emotional," MacCarley said after watching the show on Friday.

"We are casting (for) the new movie. The music solo inspired me tonight to make this music collaboration."

The concerto, performed by renowned Chinese violinist Lyu Siqing, illustrates the folktale of the star-crossed lovers Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, known as the "Chinese Romeo and Juliet".

This musical was part of a grand folk music performance entitled Enchanting China, staged at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Presented by the China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe, the show featured diverse forms of traditional Chinese art, such as orchestral music, Peking Opera pieces, violin concerto and banhu (an ancient traditional instrument) concerto.

The Chinese orchestral piece Songs of the States kicked off the concert on Friday. More than 3,000 people watched it at the Dolby Theatre, where the annual Oscars ceremony has been held.

"Chinese folk music is so beautiful and charming. I just love it, "says Gabrielle Laherram, a Los Angeles local resident.

She says it was her second experience watching a Chinese folk music show after the first in San Francisco years ago.

"I hope to see more Chinese performances here, and I'm very interested to learn more about Chinese culture."

The Peking Opera piece Ode of Pear Blossoms tells the love story of Tang Dynasty (618-907) emperor Li Longji and his favorite concubine Yang Yuhuan. The Chinese orchestral piece Song of Wind gives the audience an intimate overview of people's singing and dancing in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

When Terracotta Warriors Fantasia - symphonic exploration of Chinese orchestra music - called an end to the performance, the full house was immersed in applause.

"Chinese musicians are very disciplined and precise, unlike American artists who are more laid back. I hope to see more interactions and cooperation between the two countries' artists," says Darrell Holllinquest, a local artist.

Zhang Gaoxiang, deputy head of the China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe and show director, says the performance aims to showcase Chinese culture and promote cultural dialogue.

Chinese consul general in Los Angeles Zhang Ping says the performance of the Chinese folk orchestra in the United States is a very good way to promote China-US cultural exchanges.

"Chinese folk music belongs not only to China but also to the world," he says, adding that he hopes more Chinese cultural groups will visit the US to help Americans better understand China.

Los Angeles is the first stop of the troupe's US tour. The troupe will also head to San Francisco and Seattle.

Xinhua

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2019-06-25 07:34:42
<![CDATA[China's gastronomy book still inspires chefs after 200 years]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/24/content_37483900.htm In a banquet room with a view of West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, a chef revealed to me a source of inspiration as legendary as the scenery outside the windows: the celebrated poet and gourmet Yuan Mei, who wrote Suiyuan Shidan (Recipes from the Garden of Contentment), the seminal manual of Chinese gastronomy published in 1792.

Suiyuan Shidan, which I had only discovered months before, after reading the first English translation of the book, has long been hailed as the first great guide to Chinese cui-sine. No other work before it had ever gathered such a comprehensive selection of recipes and information on Chinese cookery, all filtered through the discerning eye and palate of Yuan Mei, a man born in Hangzhou whose exceptional standards for food and dining earned him distinction as one of the finest gastronomes in Chinese history. This has made the work invaluable to many chefs, despite the fact that the vast majority of the recipes are mere rough sketches or descriptions of dishes that novices might struggle to replicate. After all, Yuan Mei, a member of the literati class, had probably never entered a kitchen. Instead, he dispatched his cooks to learn the recipes that he later recorded. So, as experts in the art of preparing food, chefs can glean more insight from this esteemed culinary bible, turning to its pages to refine their talents, as well as their offerings on the table.

Chef Fang at the Hangzhou Restaurant, an eatery that has served up authentic Hangzhou-style food since 1921, stands as one such example. In late April, he demonstrated for me how to prepare qingtang yuyuan, or fish balls in clear broth, an interpretation of Yuan Mei's recipe that proved incredibly elegant.

He used only fish meat scraped from the bones, water and salt for the balls, omitting the lard and starch mentioned in the pages of Suiyuan Shidan. According to Fang, the correct proportion of water and salt to fish meat would naturally allow the ingredients to bind together. He even produced a digital scale, weighing out salt and water to the exact gram, based on the amount of fish meat he had.

I watched chef Fang then mix the ingredients together with his hands, just as the original recipe had stated - and as a seasoned chef, he understood how and how long, continuing until it took on a uniquely frothy texture.

Next, he squeezed small portions of the mixture into a pot of water over low heat to create the fish balls, which looked almost like floating puffs of cream. He even enhanced the presentation, originally calling for the fish balls to be served in broth with seaweed, through an additional topping of thin slivers of egg, sliced after frying it into a delicate pancake.

It's extraordinary that in the master hands of Fang a recipe from Suiyuan Shidan could suddenly emerge anew more than 200 years later on the tables of the Hangzhou Restaurant, delighting the diners of a new era. Qingtang yuyuan has rocketed into the restaurant's top 10 most-popular dishes on its page in Dazhong Dianping, China's version of Yelp - a reminder of how the culinary treasures contained in Yuan Mei's manual can still sparkle today under the direction of an outstanding chef.

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2019-06-24 08:33:51
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/24/content_37483899.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On June 24, 1973, Tianjin and Kobe, Japan, signed a sister city agreement. It was the first such agreement between a Chinese and foreign city.

Since then, more than 250 pairs of cities in China and Japan have established similar ties, according to the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Altogether, about 500 Chinese cities and provinces have established more than 2,570 sister relationships with cities in 136 countries and regions.

In March, 1979, Beijing and Tokyo became sister cities.

An item on April 21, 1986, from China Daily showed runners from China and Japan participating in a marathon in Beijing to mark the seventh anniversary of the special relationship.

In 1980, the Port of Kobe established friendly ties with the Port of Tianjin. Five years later, the Kobe Trade Information Office was established in Tianjin. The cities have focused on business and youth exchanges, as well as cooperation for urban problem solving.

In 2008, the first China International Friendship Cities Conference was held in Beijing. It convenes every two years, with the next gathering to be held in Kunming, Yunnan province, next year.

During the 2018 China International Friendship Cities Conference in Wuhan, Hubei province, three Chinese cities and one province signed agreements to establish friendly relations with their counterparts in Mongolia, Thailand, Kenya and Canada.

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2019-06-24 08:33:51
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/24/content_37483898.htm EU court declares Adidas trademark invalid

The European Union's second-highest court ruled on Wednesday that the three-stripe trademark of Adidas was invalid as a trademark because it lacks a distinctive character. The general court of the European Union upheld a decision of the European Intellectual Property Office in 2016 to annul a previous decision accepting the mark. The German sporting goods company registered the trademark in 2014 for clothing, footwear and headgear.

Researchers learning how to detect fake images

Adobe has unleashed the powers of machine learning to automatically detect when images of faces have been manipulated. According to the company, its researchers created an extensive training set of images by scripting Photoshop to use Face Aware Liquify on thousands of pictures scraped from the internet. In addition, an artist was hired to alter images that were mixed in the data set. The tool identified specific areas and methods of facial warping. In the experiment, the tool reverted altered images to a calculation of their original state, with results that impressed the researchers. The technology may provide an answer to the latest trend of "deepfakes", in which a speaking person's image and words are altered but appear real.

Selfies motivate requests for plastic surgery

Plastic surgery clients are getting younger globally, and doctors and psychologists are pointing to the rise of social media as playing a role. "Snapchat dysmorphia", a phenomenon coined in a 2018 paper published in a JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery Viewpoint by Boston University researchers, refers to a trend in which people bring plastic surgeons their own heavily doctored or filtered selfies for reference.

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2019-06-24 08:33:51
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/24/content_37483897.htm Biz: Harley-Davidson to launch motorcycle

Zhejiang Qianjiang Motorcycle Co has signed a cooperation agreement with US motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson to launch a bike in China next year. Qianjiang and Harley-Davidson plan to develop a premium 338cc Harley for sale in China. The new bike and its engine will be manufactured at Qianjiang's factory in Wenling, Zhejiang province. Founded in 1985, Qianjiang acquired Benelli, an Italian motorcycle maker with a 100-year history, in 2005.

Society: Wuhan to test sky train this year

China Railway Science and Industry Group Corp in Wuhan, Hubei province, is developing a suspended monorail vehicle known as the Sky Train. It's expected to be in operation by the end of this year. With a design similar to a subway train, the suspended monorail has carriages measuring 11 meters long and 2.4 meters wide. A 1-kilometer railway line suspended 500 meters above the ground for trial operations is under construction.

Tech: Researchers design 3D bionic bones

Researchers from the Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, are designing bionic bones with improved biological compatibility and mechanical strength, which will bring new possibilities for future orthopedic implants. They have spent more than 15 years developing artificial bones that are close to natural bones. Bone defects are among the most common conditions treated in orthopedic medicine, and scientists have been exploring new methods to fabricate bone scaffolds to repair them.

World: New York state recognizes China Day

The New York State Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution to recognize Oct 1 as China Day to strengthen the state's friendship with Chinese-Americans. The resolution also recognizes the first week of October this year as Chinese-American Heritage Week. James Sanders Jr., the state senator representing the 10th senatorial district in southeast Queens in New York City, said the resolution is significant in promoting friendly relations and cooperation between New York and China. He noted that China has made remarkable progress over the decades and is playing an increasingly important role in international affairs.

Animals: A stray polar bear in Russia

Russian emergency authorities last week mounted an operation to rescue a stray bear wandering the streets of Norilsk. A member of the response team shot a tranquilizer into the bear, which was then placed in a container and onto a helicopter. It flew the bear to its hometown, Chukotka. The animal was then released into the wild.

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2019-06-24 08:33:51
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/24/content_37483896.htm Remote Shanghai

When: June 27-30, 2 pm

Where: Shanghai

Shanghai has joined an international phenomenon staged all over the world - from Moscow to New York, Milan to Bangalore - to interact with theater audiences through the playful guidance of a computer-generated voice and live actors.

People who have never met before come together to explore the city through artificial intelligence. GPS takes center stage and transforms Shanghai into a living playing field. The starting point is Gate No 3 at Longhua Martyrs' Cemetery.

A Dream of Red Mansions Music Legend

When: June 28-30, 7:30 pm

Where: Great Theater of China, Shanghai

A Dream of Red Mansions Music Legend is based on composer Wang Liping's music from the 1987 television drama, reorchestrated and rearranged by composer and conductor Cai Donghua as part of his yearlong music legends series.

Described as a highbrow Mamma Mia!, it will take you inside a classic novel you'll probably never read.

The television drama is based on the classic novel A Dream of Red Mansions by Cao Xueqin during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It tells a story about the Jia clan's wealth and influence, and of its fall, as their mansions are raided and confiscated.

The carefree male heir of the family, Jia Baoyu was born with a magical piece of jade in his mouth. He experiences a bittersweet life and finally understands that life is nothing more than a long dream.

Swan Lake

Paris Opera Ballet

When: June 29-July 1, 7:30; June 30, 2 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

Based on an imaginary theme with the love of a prince for a young bird who is a poetic and unreal creature, Swan Lake is servant to numerous symbolic and psychological interpretations.

In the Petipa and Ivanov version handed down by Russian tradition, the choreographic and dramatic interest is centered on the ballerina who plays and dances a dual role; Odette, white swan - lyrical showcase, and Odile, black swan - dangerous seductress, the prince being reduced to become the instrument of fate.

Choreographer Rudolf Nureyev completely reversed the situation.

In his version of Swan Lake, heroes and heroines try to get away from their situation, their entourage and their closed and stifling worlds and to escape to the often imaginary "elsewhere".

Irina Mejoueva Piano Recital

When: June 26, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Born in Gorki, Russia, Irina Mejoueva studied at the Gnessin Institute of Music in Moscow under pianist Vladimir Tropp. In 1992 she won first prize at the Eduard Flipse Piano Competition in Rotterdam, which led her to start a career as a pianist. She settled in Tokyo in 1997, and has been engaged in performances in Japan and other Asian countries.

She includes works from the Baroque period through the classical school up to modern times, as well as music by Russian composer Nikolai Medtner. She has recorded for Wakabayashi Koubou, Denon and other Japanese labels.

In 2010 her recording of Chopin's Nocturnes was awarded the Record Academy Prize in Japan. In 2014 she received the 27th Music Pen Club Award in Japan.

Alexander Ullman Piano Recital

When: June 27, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater Buick Theater

Praised for his subtle interpretations and refined technical mastery, British pianist Alexander Ullman has impressed audiences and critics worldwide with his deep understanding of the scores he interprets, his elegant touch and crystalline phrasing.

Winner of the 2017 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht, the Netherlands, he has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, working with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy and Giancarlo Guerrero.

In the 2017-18 season, he closed the Lille Piano Festival with the Orchestre de Picardie under Jean-Claude Casadesus.

Jimmy Bruno Trio

When: July 13-14, 7:30 pm

Where: Blue Note Beijing

Critically acclaimed contemporary jazz guitarist Jimmy Bruno, who was born in 1953 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, came to prominence as a musician in the 1990s, after a successful 20-year career as a sought-after commercial guitarist and session musician.

"I was making good money, but I wasn't playing any jazz. So I saved some money, moved back to Philly and just decided that I'm only going to play jazz. I'm not going to play weddings. I'm not going to take any bad gigs. And if I had to, I would take a day gig for awhile, and I did. I tended bar for two years. And it paid off. I wish somebody in school would have told me that," Bruno said.

Notre Dame de Paris

When: July 18-Aug 11, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, with music by Riccardo Cocciante, Notre Dame de Paris is a French musical that made its debut in Paris in 1998 and has enjoyed worldwide success.

Set against the backdrop of 1482 Paris, the musical follows the life of a young and irresistibly beautiful gypsy girl named Esmeralda.

Her allure and charm capture the hearts of countless men, including the hunchback Quasimodo - who was harshly crowned as the ugliest man in the city - and the sinfully sly and soon-to-be-married Phoebus.

It tells a story about the complex internal struggles of a love triangle.

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2019-06-24 08:33:51
<![CDATA[Stage set for new Odyssey]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/24/content_37483895.htm Following its successful premiere in China in 2016, Theatertreffen in China has returned to the country every year since.

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Two German playhouse masterpieces are being performed in Beijing and Shanghai, Chen Nan reports.

Following its successful premiere in China in 2016, Theatertreffen in China has returned to the country every year since.

This summer, two German theater productions are being staged in Beijing and Shanghai through July 14: Thalia Theatre's Die Odyssee (The Odyssey), a performance of Homer's epic historical masterpiece, and Trommeln in der Nacht (Drums in the Night) by Munchner Kammerspiele.

The program is jointly presented by Berliner Theatertreffen, one of the most important cultural forces in German-speaking countries, Goethe-Institut China, the prominent German cultural organization and Wu Promotion, a private Chinese events-promotion agency for the performing arts.

Having been premiered in Hamburg in 2017, the production by the city's Thalia Theater is a contemporary reinterpretation of one of the most extraordinary figures from Greek mythology, Odysseus.

The director Antu Romero Nunes brings Homer's classic character to the stage with performances by actors Thomas Niehaus and Paul Schroder. It tells the story of two half-brothers, who return from the battlefield 20 years after their father left his family and the country.

On Sept 22, 1922, German playwright and theater practitioner Bertolt Brecht premiered his work, Trommeln in der Nacht, in Munich. Almost a century later, Christopher Ruping, the in-house director at Munchner Kammerspiele, is staging the story that follows the protagonist, Andreas Kragler, who returns home from war to discover his former lover is engaged to another man - and he is forced to make a choice between revolution or love.

In the 1922 premiere, the protagonist deserts his fellow soldiers in favor of his lover. But even while Brecht was writing the play, and to some extent for the rest of his life, he struggled with his ending to Trommeln in der Nacht. In this production, Ruping poses the question: What would have happened if Kragler had chosen revolution over love?

"In 2018, we found that many stories in German theaters revolved around the subject of exiles and refugees, so we focused last year's Berliner Theatertreffen around those issues," says Margarete Affenzeller, theater critic and a jury member of the Berliner Theatertreffen, in Beijing.

The two plays being staged at this year's Theatertreffen in China were selected by five jury members from China and Germany, including Thomas Oberender, managing director of the Berliner Festspiele, Chen Ping, former culture affairs attache at the Chinese embassy in Germany and Chinese theater director, Meng Jinghui.

"It's our task as jury members for Theatertreffen in China to not only find plays that are likely to appeal to Chinese audiences, but also find works that will epitomize the broad range of theater performances that can be seen in Germany throughout the course of the year," says Chen. "During the past few years, around 30 German theatrical productions have come to China as part of our efforts to promote cultural exchanges between the two countries."

In 2015, Wu Promotion launched a five-year partnership with Berliner Theatertreffen to bring productions from theater festivals in German-speaking countries to China from 2016 to 2020.

Other highlights will be the Festival of German Films, which runs through July 7 at Goethe-Institut China, which is part of the renowned German global cultural organization offering language classes, training for teachers, library resources and information services about Germany, as well as cultural programs around China since it was established in Beijing in 1988.

 

Top: Trommeln in der Nacht (Drums in the Night), a play written by German theater playwright Bertolt Brecht, was first performed by the Munchner Kammerspiele in 1922 and a new version directed by Christopher Ruping is due to be staged in China. Above: Thalia Theatre's Die Odyssee (The Odyssey) is a contemporary reinterpretation of Homer's historical poetic masterpiece, which will be staged at this year's Theatertreffen in China. Photos provided to China Daily

 

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2019-06-24 08:34:20
<![CDATA[Little Mermaid to make a splash at kids theater fest]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/24/content_37483894.htm It all starts with a bucket of water.

When Danish theater director Torkild Lindebjerg was invited by the China National Theatre for Children to create a play based on the classic fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, written by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, that was the first idea that came to his mind.

"I can still recall going to the seaside as a child with a small bucket, putting on my flippers and goggles. I liked stepping into the water and making noisy sounds with my flippers," says the Lindebjerg after a rehearsal for the play, which will premiere at the theater on July 6. After the opening performance, the play will be staged on the last three weekends of August and on Sept 1.

As a director and actor working in theater for more than 40 years, Lindebjerg still found a challenge in turning The Little Mermaid into a play for children, since the original fairy tale is quite a sad story.

"Hans Christian Andersen's language is poetic and beautiful and I always want to get something out of a play I work on. In the end, the little mermaid sacrifices herself for the man she loves and she gets an eternal soul. That's the ultimate hope in the story," says the director. "The most important thing about theater is that it's a place for children and adults to get together and enjoy an exciting adventure."

In March, Lindebjerg came to Beijing to do auditions and five young actresses from the China National Theatre for Children were selected to play the roles of the five mermaid sisters.

"This is the first time that I have directed a play performed by Chinese actresses, which is interesting and challenging to me," the director says.

Lindebjerg has invited his longtime friend, Danish composer Jens Tolsgaard, to write music for the play and another Dane, artist Niels Secher, to be the production's visual designer.

Most of the music pieces Tolsgaard has composed for the show are performed using stringed instruments, like guitar, harp and ukulele.

"I have tried to create two worlds, one above and one under the water, like replicating the sounds of the ocean, the bubbles, the chatting of the little mermaids," says the composer, adding that he started working with the director in 1993.

The Little Mermaid is one of the plays which will be staged during the upcoming 9th China Children's Theatre Festival.

From July 6 to Aug 11, a total of 57 theatrical productions from 14 countries, including the United States, Denmark, Japan and Russia, will be staged with 191 performances at the China National Theatre for Children.

Some of the plays will be staged in other Chinese cities, in Hebei and Shandong provinces, as well as in Tianjin.

"China Children's Theatre Festival is an annual festival held during the summer vacation. We want to introduce theater to a younger audience, which, we believe, can change their lives," says Yin Xiaodong, head of the China National Theatre for Children.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, a new original play titled Stars in the Flame will premiere as the opening play for the festival. It tells the story of children who lost their parents during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

Yin adds that since 2014, the China National Theatre for Children has launched some other programs for the festival besides live performances, such as workshops and forums, which see artists from around the world share their views about plays for children.

Co-producing plays is a great way for artists to communicate, learn and experiment, Yin says.

Yin initiated the idea of co-producing The Little Mermaid with Henrik Kohler, CEO of Teatercentrum - a theater center in Denmark for children and adolescents and organizer of the Aprilfestival, a theater festival for young audiences. It was Kohler who introduced Yin to Lindebjerg and that's where the project started.

Last year, the annual artistic gathering of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People came to China for the first time. The Children's Theatre of Charlotte in the US performed an adaptation of China Idiom Stories, one of the most popular productions staged during last year's China Children's Theatre Festival.

"The exchange programs opened our minds about making plays for children and those programs prove the idea that theater can change children's lives," Yin says.

Child actors from the Malanhua Art School in Singapore will close the festival with the play, Malanhua, which premiered in 1956 and has been a classic play in the China National Theatre for Children's repertoire.

 

Left: Danish composer Jens Tolsgaard writes music for the Chinese play, The Little Mermaid, adapted from the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Right: Actresses from the China National Theatre for Children rehearse the play in Beijing. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-06-24 08:34:20
<![CDATA[Polish fete in China brings two countries even closer]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/24/content_37483893.htm WARSAW - The fourth edition of the Polish Circles of Art in China Festival in Beijing is currently bringing Polish art to Chinese audiences and deepening cultural links between the two countries.

Polish pianist Grzegorz Niemczuk played at the opening of the festival recently, and his performance marked the completion of a cycle of six concerts in cities across China, which began in early June.

Speaking about his performances in China, Niemczuk says: "This tour was the grand opening for the current edition of the festival. I will remember these concerts for a long time - sold out venues, very emotional audiences. There is nothing more beautiful for a musician than to realize that his art reaches listeners and moves them.

"Each edition of the Polish Circles of Art Festival evokes more emotions. The festival provides me with new inspiration and shows how people can be influenced by art."

The Polish Circles of Art in China Festival has been held annually since 2016 by a Polish foundation with a similar name. According to the organizers, Polish visual artists, musicians, filmmakers and video producers have presented their works in over 16 Chinese cities so far as part of the event.

Last year, a jazz ensemble was created bearing the name of the festival.

In January this year, a Polish edition of the festival took place, featuring Chinese Yue Opera, one of the most popular Chinese opera genres, which was performed for the first time in Poland with shows in Warsaw, Kielce and Krakow. According to Polish media reports, the three shows were sold out, and the Polish audiences were impressed with the elaborate costumes, seeing women interpret male roles and also by the music played with traditional Chinese instruments.

Speaking about the Chinese shows in Poland, Wojciech Majewski, the festival director, says: "Earlier, we were more than happy to present to Chinese audiences all aspects of Polish art: music, film, visual arts, multimedia and others. But we are now impressed by Chinese cultural and artistic heritage.

"So, while presenting Polish art in China, we are also showing Chinese art in Poland.

"We believe that art will help to bring our nations closer, especially this year when we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Polish-Chinese relations."

Meanwhile, events as part of the fourth edition of the festival will continue to take place until the end of the year.

Xinhua

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2019-06-24 08:34:20
<![CDATA[More than a place of pilgrimage]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/23/content_37483703.htm Jerusalem hopes to show Chinese its allure extends beyond its holy sites, Xu Lin reports.

Hong Kong actress Vivian Chow recently posted photos of her travels in Jerusalem.

The 51-year-old's online photos show resplendent views of the ancient city.

She made the visit as a growing number of Chinese, especially independent travelers, are visiting Jerusalem, not only to see its holy sites but also to experience its culture, nightlife and festivals.

 

Tourists like to visit the Old City of Jerusalem that consists of four sections - Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian. Photos by Li Yimeng / For China Daily

UK-based market research company Euromonitor International released a report at the end of 2018, estimating that international arrivals in Jerusalem had grown by 38 percent to 4.8 million compared with 2017, making it one of the world's fastest-growing destinations.

Local authorities are continuing to strengthen partnerships to attract more Chinese.

Jerusalem contains five of the six Israeli sites most popular among Chinese travelers, official data from 2017 show. They are the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Jewish Quarter, the Mount of Olives and Via Dolorosa (the Sorrowful Road).

"Jerusalem's marketing strategy focuses on the approximately 400 million millennials in China," Jerusalem Development Authority tourism director Ilanit Melchior says.

"They are one of the fastest growing markets, as I can see. The young generation of China is curious about the world. (They're) ready to take challenges and more open to different food."

Hainan Airlines' Beijing-to-Tel Aviv route became the first direct flight between the two countries operated by a Chinese airline in 2016. Their direct flights now connect Tel Aviv to Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing.

China and Israel signed an agreement to allow reciprocal 10-year multiple-entry visas in 2016. China is the first country to have such an arrangement with Israel.

Israel's tourism bureau recently invited representatives of Sina Weibo and Chinese travel agencies to share their insights about the Chinese market with local tour operators.

"The key is to raise the awareness of Israeli tour operators about the potential of the Chinese market," Melchior says.

"They are used to offering tourists only tour packages - for example, a seven-day trip that combines Israel with Jordan. It's important to change that situation and prolong the overnight stays of Chinese tourists and attract them to do in-depth travel in Jerusalem."

The bureau is sharing with local tour operators information about what the city offers, such as dining options, themed tours and itineraries.

The city hosts activities throughout the year, such as the Israel Festival, a multidisciplinary arts celebration, running from May 30 to June 15 this year.

The Jerusalem Marathon is staged every March. Racers from all over the world join the course that passes through such landmarks as Israel's parliament and Mount Scopus.

Over 300 Chinese joined the more than 40,000 runners this year, Melchior says.

"I'm sure we can have more of them in the future - like 1,000 - when more Chinese know about the event," she says.

Over 130,000 Chinese traveled to Jerusalem last year. She hopes the number will reach 1 million within five years.

"To achieve that ambitious goal, we have to do our homework. It's like building a house, and we made our first move by having a Chinese public relations company represent us in China," she says.

"Now, we have to paint the house by sharing what we can offer on China's social media and travel agencies. All those platforms are enabling us to communicate with the Chinese people directly."

Chinese online travel agency Ctrip is one of the tourism bureau's partners.

Hu Wenyu, who's in charge of Ctrip's business in the Middle East and Africa, says Ctrip has upgraded their Jerusalem-tour products to offer unique experiences. Chinese visitors can enjoy dinner with a Jewish family and watch virtual-reality videos about the city's history.

The tourism bureau has also opened official accounts on WeChat and Sina Weibo to share such content as travel tips and itineraries.

Melchior hopes Chinese who visit Jerusalem tell their own stories on social media.

Meanwhile, the city is improving its infrastructure and facilities like free Wi-Fi access.

Some businesses in Jerusalem allow tourists to use the popular Chinese mobile payment platforms WeChat Pay and AliPay. The tourism bureau is encouraging more businesses to follow suit.

They're also working to translate into Chinese such materials as signage in cities and the airport, and brochures and audio guides at attractions.

"When I was in a train station in China, I suddenly understood what it feels like when you don't speak the local language," Melchior says.

"It's like being in others' shoes. Similarly, we shouldn't take it for granted that everyone speaks English."

Contact the writer at xulin@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-23 13:24:12
<![CDATA[Many Chinese seek family-friendly travel]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/23/content_37483702.htm SHANGHAI - For this year's Children's Day on June 1, Deng Mo and his wife drove their son to the city of Suzhou, about 100 kilometers from Shanghai, where the family lives.

Many parents similarly spent the weekend with their children, according to major online travel agency Ctrip.

The platform says bookings for family-friendly hotels increased nearly 60 percent year-on-year that weekend. Sanya, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou were among the top destinations.

Over 70 percent of parents traveling with children chose short-distance tours, and more than 80 percent took high-speed railways or drove.

Family-friendly tours account for up to 60 percent of domestic and overseas travel, a China Tourism Academy survey says.

More than 80 percent of respondents believe traveling with children can bring joy to the whole family, and 96 percent express interest in such tours.

Deng has previously taken his son to Japan and Thailand.

"It wasn't easy to travel with a 3-year-old," Deng says.

"He had a lot of luggage - more than we did."

During their vacation in Japan, for example, his son fell sick, and the parents had to stay in the hotel for a whole day.

Still, Deng hopes such tours will broaden his boy's horizon.

Many parents regard such trips as educational.

Shanghai-based online travel agency Lvmama reports that bookings for tours involving museums increased by 45 percent year-on-year in the first four months of 2019.

Shanghai resident Ji Hongjuan enjoys taking her 12-year-old daughter, Wen Lan, to China's historical sites and museums. In the past few years, they have visited such places as the Palace Museum, the Shaanxi History Museum and the Nanjing Museum.

"I usually ask my daughter to be my guide," Ji says.

"She searches for information about where we will visit and takes me there, which I think is a great way to cultivate her curiosity."

Ctrip says searches for family-travel destinations increased by 200 percent before Dragon Boat Festival. Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hangzhou were popular destinations. Parents preferred traditional activities during the festival.

Overseas travel agencies have caught wind of this huge market. Costa Venezia, the first ship designed by Costa Cruises, the Italian brand of Carnival Corp, and built specially for Chinese guests, has entered the Chinese market. Many facilities and activities were designed for families.

The family-travel market will continue to grow during the summer vacation from July to August, Ctrip and Lvmama forecast.

Ji Hongjuan plans to take her daughter, Wen Lan, to Sichuan province, where they'll visit the Chengdu Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum and the Chengdu Wuhou Shrine, because her daughter loves ancient Chinese poetry.

China Tourism Academy head Dai Bin says the market has great potential.

"Our surveys show many parents complain about destinations being too crowded during public holidays," he says.

"Over 40 percent say they're looking for more quality travel products."

Xinhua

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2019-06-23 13:24:12
<![CDATA[Wtown develops summer offerings]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/23/content_37483701.htm Beijing Wtown has developed fun packages for summer vacationers.

The water town in northeastern Beijing's Miyun district kicked off a series of summer programs with a nighttime reading session, hosted by such Chinese celebrities as actress Wang Luodan and singer Cheng Fangyuan in early June.

The event took place on the Simatai section of the Great Wall and was part of the attraction's efforts to integrate natural landscapes with cultural experiences.

"Staging the reading activities on the Great Wall under the starry night sky is one of the ways we've developed to break the mold of conventional Great Wall visits," says Zhou Jianhong, a sales manager with the water town.

 

Children play with bubbles at the Beijing Wtown. The water town at the foot of Simatai section of the Great Wall in northeastern Beijing's Miyun district has a series of summer programs to attract visitors. Yang Feiyue / China Daily

The destination sits at the foot of Simatai and features architecture with elements from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

It covers an area of about 9 square kilometers and offers sightseeing, leisure and art experiences.

It developed night tours of the Great Wall in 2016, which have drawn many tourists.

Visitors can take a lantern to hike on Simatai, and enjoy fountain and dance shows along the way.

They can also soak in hot springs.

"Our rooms have been almost fully booked during weekends and major holidays in summer over the years," Zhou says.

Over 300 tour groups have booked summer packages, she says.

Most are families and couple. The summer packages are priced at around 1,000 to 2,000 yuan ($145-$290).

Cycling and yoga taught by Indian masters on the Great Wall are new experiences.

Summer visitors can also enjoy camping, a beer market, jazz and church-choir performances.

The night show, featuring traditional lanterns and flying drones, has been popular since it was launched last year, Zhou says.

Guests can also eat breakfast and swill afternoon tea on boats, or join swimming-pool parties.

Children can enjoy bubble baths and foot races, and learn how to make tie-dyed cloth, kites and lanterns.

Shi Yanfang, who has made kites for over three decades and teaches visitors ranging from kids to celebrities, says kites are "a form of culture".

Indeed, the summer offerings may mean that travel to Wtown will heat up in the warm season.

yangfeiyue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-23 13:24:12
<![CDATA[Much more than just a movie event]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/23/content_37483700.htm The Shanghai International Film Festival is an active player in fostering exchange between China and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, Zhang Kun reports.

The ongoing 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival has facilitated greater exchange between the Chinese film sector and those in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, according to organizers.

The festival, which is one of the largest celebrations of the Asian film scene, kicked off on Saturday and will conclude on Monday. More than 500 films are being shown in 47 cinemas across the city during the festival.

Since hosting the first Silk Road film exhibition in 2015, the SIFF has been constantly expanding its contact with filmmakers from countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. Last year, the SIFF founded the Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance and welcomed seven new members this year. The alliance currently comprises 38 festivals and institutions from 33 countries.

 

The ongoing 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival will run through Monday. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

"Last year, we also launched the Belt and Road Film Week within the framework of the SIFF to introduce outstanding films from lesser-known and new artists," says Fu Wenxia, executive secretary-general of the organizing committee of the SIFF.

This year, the film week will present eight important films. Meanwhile, the SIFF will for the first time host a salon for film distributors from around the world, projecting outstanding films from countries involved in the BRI.

"Filmmakers participate in the SIFF because we are an international film festival, and they hope to reach international distributors rather than just the Chinese market," says Fu in an interview to China Daily. "Just like when you go to the Cannes festival, you are not only looking at the French film market.

"We have also invited leading international distributors of art films, including many Chinese companies which play an active role in buying art films," Fu adds.

"We have invited them to the distributors' salon and film screening with the hope that they could connect with those responsible for these outstanding films from countries involved in the BRI."

Fu says the organizers were inspired by the success that Lebanese film Capernaum achieved after its screening at the Belt and Road Film Week last year. The film, officially released in China this April, raked in more than 300 million yuan ($43.54 million). Nadine Labaki, the director of the film, says she was surprised at the reception from Chinese audiences.

Hungarian filmmaker Arpad Bogdan, whose film Genesis is among the eight films featured this year, says he managed to secure a Chinese distributor and is looking to draw more attention to his creation through the SIFF.

As China is the second-largest film market in the world, releasing a new film in the country, be it in cinemas or on streaming platforms, would be of great help to the filmmaker, says Fu.

"Because of the massive audience size, even the money made from a video-streaming service would help to cover for a big chunk of the production cost," she notes.

The Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance has also witnessed a growing number of coproductions between China and these countries and regions involved in the BRI. One of them is King of Grapes, an ongoing coproduction between China and Australia about the friendship between two vineyard workers in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region and Australia's Victoria, which joined the initiative last year.

Filmmakers from China and abroad also shared their insights and observations about China's film industry at the SIFF. During a forum related to the establishment of an industrial system in filmmaking, Li Zhan, a partner of Fanink Consulting Co, says China's film industry has entered a phase of steady development. Li's company conducts surveys and data analysis on China's film market.

Li points out that 16 of the most successful films in 2018 accounted for more than half of the box-office volume, which means that small and medium films now face greater competition.

"This trend shows that China's film market is maturing and growing steadily. At the present stage of development, film producers in China should be building a more efficient industrial framework that allows them to access a much wider audience and ultimately retain them," he adds.

Guo Fan, director of The Wandering Earth, the Chinese movie that smashed box-office records earlier this year with ticket earnings of 4.7 billion yuan, says he learned about China's urgent need for a professional industrial system "the hard way".

"What we lacked with the system, we had to make up with human flesh," he says, referring to the production of The Wandering Earth.

"For one, we don't even have a standard format for screen scripts," he says. "In any other official paperwork, there are standard formats, such as agreed line width and letter spaces, but that is not the case in the film industry in China.

"Don't think of the script as a simple book filled with words - they are bricks that we build a film with."

Guo shares his observation about making China's first successful science-fiction film.

"When we create a situation when the Earth is about to be destroyed, people would normally try to run away, but it is only us, Chinese people, who have such a deep attachment to the Earth, who would want to run away with it," he says.

"This special attachment with the land is part of Chinese culture. I believe that's why the story found strong resonance in China."

This year, more than 3,900 films from 112 countries and regions were submitted for the Golden Goblet awards that take place during the SIFF. Turkish film director and screenplay writer Nuri Bilge Ceylan is the chairman of the seven-member jury for the Golden Goblet awards this year.

Contact the writer at zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-23 13:24:12
<![CDATA[Majority of net users watch online videos in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/23/content_37483698.htm About 725 million internet users in China, or 87.5 percent of the total online population, watched online videos in 2018, while more than 230 million users have paid for membership of Chinese online video platforms, according to a report released on June 11 at the Internet Summit in Shanghai.

"The online audio visual industry is flourishing in the country, with more and more audio visual products of increasingly high quality being created," said Cui Chenghao, deputy Party secretary of the research center of the National Radio and Television Administration, during the summit.

Cui, who is also the deputy editor of the report, points out that major online video platforms in China, including Tencent platform iQiyi, have been pouring capital into the production of original content and the quality of most works have reached a level that is comparable to those produced by broadcasting companies.

"For instance, most original online shows no longer depend solely on the star factor of famous personalities. More and more new actors are appearing in these programs," he says.

Cui also claims that technological advancements have been driving growth in the online media market since 2018 when technology such as 4K (ultra-high definition) and 8K resolution as well as virtual reality started becoming more prevalent in the industry.

According to a joint survey conducted by the research center at the administration, the Center of Shanghai International Film and TV Festival and the audiovisual communication research center at Peking University, about 1,500 films were screened exclusively online in 2018, a drop from 2,400 in 2016.

The drop is partly a result of the rising budgets for online movies, which as the survey also shows, have grown a hundredfold, surging from several hundred thousand yuan in 2015 to tens of millions of yuan in 2018.

"We hope to see the quality of films continue to improve as more budget is allocated to such projects," says Lu Di, director of the research center at Peking University.

Ma Zhongjun, founder of Shanghai-based Ciwen Media and a Chinese playwright, stated at the summit that some key elements of quality online works are innovation, either in characters or plots, and a smooth and rigorous film production process ranging from the choice of scripts to the completion of a film.

Ye Ning, vice-president of Huayi Brothers Media Group, says an excellent film should resonate with the audience, evoke emotions and create a new world in the viewer's mind.

caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily Global 06/21/2019 page15)

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2019-06-23 13:24:12
<![CDATA[Peru's on the menu at South American eatery in Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/23/content_37483697.htm Back in 2016, siblings Francisco, Maria and Juan Carlos opened a pop-up restaurant named Pachakutiq in Beijing, impressing local foodies with flavors from their home country of Peru.

After that they were asked when they would open the capital's first Peruvian restaurant and, last year, the trio finally answered the call, opening Pachapapi in Beijing's Xinyuanli area.

Peru has been named the world's "Best Culinary Destination" for six consecutive years by the World Travel Awards, and three of the country's eateries are listed among the world's 50 best restaurants.

 

Pisco sour is one of the most popular cocktails in Peru.

Francisco Carlos is very proud that Peruvian food is so well received the world over, and he believes that its popularity has much to do with immigrants flowing into Peru from different parts of the world, creating a literal melting pot of delicious flavors - European, African, Chinese and Japanese have all migrated to Peru, bringing their home cuisine with them.

"The mixture of all these regions' flavors has enriched Peruvian gastronomy, but it is the biodiversity of our land, blessed with the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rainforest and the Pacific Ocean, that allows all of these cuisines to flourish, merging beautifully with each other," he says.

"Peru is a country where genetically modified organisms are completely banned, making Peruvian food even more special," he says.

The trio now aims to bring customers an unforgettable experience with mouthwatering cuisine mixed with unique pisco drinks and a vibrant Peruvian-style environment.

Nikkei cuisine is at the heart of this adventure, partnered with traditional Peruvian staples, audacious, strikingly colorful food, fresh aromas and tantalizing taste sensations.

Nikkei, broadly defined as Japanese and Peruvian fusion food, combines key Japanese ingredients, such as soy sauce, miso and seafood with Peruvian aji peppers.

"Nikkei food may have roots in Japanese cuisine, but it's relatively a new and quintessentially Peruvian invention," says Francisco.

Tiradito is a traditional Peruvian dish featuring thin slices of raw fish that are dipped into different sauces that replace wasabi or soy sauce that usually accompany sashimi.

One striking feature of the menu are two pages of chili-based sauces - from curry sauce and garlic chili sauce to golden berry sauce and "tiger's milk", a sauce made with celery, lemon, fish, chili, ginger, coriander and garlic.

According to Francisco, to ensure the authentic flavor of the food at Pachapapi, he imports three kinds of chilis from Peru, aji amarillo, aji panca and rocoto.

"I've tried a dozen kinds of chilis in China, but none of them have the same flavor as the chilis from Peru," he says.

Chifa is also a culinary tradition based on Cantonese elements fused with traditional Peruvian ingredients. Besides Nikkei and Chifa, Bachiche is another key type of cuisine in Peru which combines Peruvian and Italian cuisine.

Causa de atun is a prime example of Bachiche, using smashed potato to make a pie with a tuna filling, topped with coriander, mayonnaise, egg, onion and avocado.

Ceviche is a traditional Peruvian dish. Pachapapi's classic ceviche uses sea bass, sweet potato, corn, coriander and "tiger's milk".

Grilled beef heart is a tasty surprise, with its special spicy sauce brushed on the beef heart, which is served with potato and corn.

The classic pisco sour drink was created in Lima in the early 1920s. After living in Lima for about 20 years, an American businessman named Victor Morris missed his whiskey sour cocktails so much that he decided to create a substitute using local spirits.

He could never have imagined at the time that he was creating Peru's national cocktail that is so popular that it is enjoyed in most parts of the world and has now traveled half way across the globe to be served in the Chinese capital.

"At Pachapapi, we use other fruits to make it a variety of different flavors," says Francisco. "I usually suggest my customers start their meal with a 'Pacha' shot, which is the soul of our restaurant and bar," he says.

liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-23 13:24:12
<![CDATA[Street Heat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/15/content_37481154.htm Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa, a prot��g�� of Junya Watanabe, has long been committed to blending traditional and street culture elements.

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Pioneering Japanese street style label White Mountaineering brings 1990s hip-hop back to the runway with the spring/summer 2019 collection

Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa, a protege of Junya Watanabe, has long been committed to blending traditional and street culture elements.

His brand, White Mountaineering, has become a top choice when for outdoor activewear with creative patterns and color matching.

After its initial success in Japan, it has become a worldwide phenomenon and has undertaken big-name collaborations with famous brands including Adidas and Timberland.

At Paris Fashion Week, the brand's spring/summer 2019 collection took to the runway with the theme "Connecting the Past and Future".

Inspired by the street-style standards of the 1990s, it centered on bright colors, plaids and stripes of various sizes.

Outerwear, trousers, shirts and shorts made of functional fabrics also caught the crowd's eyes. To hammer home the '90s style, the brand invited renowned Japanese hip-hop icon DJ Muro to produce the show's music; classic tracks by famed New York hiphop collective DITC added some heat from the street.

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2019-06-15 06:38:03
<![CDATA[Window of Desire]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/15/content_37481153.htm

These gender-neutral accessories are perfection personified

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2019-06-15 06:38:03
<![CDATA[Mum's the word]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/15/content_37481152.htm The day before this year's Mother's Day, a group of mothers, with a herbal tea or cocktail in hand and handmade corsages on their wrists, watched two plays in the Shunyifornia Theater.

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Unique festival aims to empower stay-at-home mothers

The day before this year's Mother's Day, a group of mothers, with a herbal tea or cocktail in hand and handmade corsages on their wrists, watched two plays in the Shunyifornia Theater.

The first play quickly unveils the anxiety hidden underneath the tranquil facade. With self-deprecating language, five stay-at-home moms in the play talk of their insecurities about their bodies, their lack of communication with adults and their fear of being left out by society.

The play is part of an annual cultural celebration with a special focus on the women of the households, the recurring sections of which include a theater production, an art exhibition and a forum.

This year's events, themed "Mom Restart", put stay-at-home mothers in the spotlight, and sought ways to help them find their vocations and achieve self-actualization besides providing 24/7 service for their families.

The first play, Full-time Housewives Live 9,000 Years, is written by stay-at-home mom and part-time columnist Tao Tai.

Tao Tai, which is the author's pseudonym, says the title expresses support for the group and also the wish of mothers to live long and see their children lead happy lives.

In the play, the stay-at-home moms at first complain about their own lives, but when one of the women's families encounters a calamity, they come together to help her weather the storm.

According to Tao, the play hints at her own mental journey.

The author, who graduated from Fudan University and resigned her job for the sake of her family, says she once felt herself becoming obsolete.

She adds that she later wrote a parenting column at an educational magazine for six years, allowing her to reconcile herself to her situation and offering inspiration to other stay-at-home moms who shared her predicament.

With the play, she encourages stay-at-home moms to find purpose in their lives.

"Mom Restart" does not necessarily mean to help moms to go back to work, but simply to find their own causes, to live a full and contented life."

"We hope more people will notice this social group, and understand that full-time mothers have their rights and abilities to express themselves," Tao adds.

The second play at the festival is The Singles, written and directed by Estella Tsang, who is originally from Hong Kong and is now a stay-at-home mom in Beijing.

The play targets women who choose to stay single and presents multiple possibilities for them.

"There are many different paths of life for women," says Tsang.

"I have transformed from a single career woman to a full-time mom, but I am still exploring other interest.

"I am still changing. Being a full-time mom doesn't mean my life has been freeze-framed."

Both plays feature non-professional actors, many of whom are stay-at-home mothers, who rehearsed for the plays for a month.

The founder of the festival, Vida Fargis, says that the mothers are actively involved in the plays: "We would rehearse two or three times a week before the festival. The actors are very devoted and would find the time to rehearse. It's a very good atmosphere."

Fargis, a Chinese-American woman and mother of two, founded the festival in 2017, hoping to empower women and support them in life.

Speaking about the festival, she says: "With this event, I would like to share lifestyles and content, offering women a platform to participate in discussion and draw inspiration."

For the past two years, the festival has addressed the lack of paternal participation in children's lives and the challenges of raising and educating adolescents.

According to Fargis, this year's theme comes from her observation that many stay-at-home mothers would like to rediscover their careers or develop interest that can prove beneficial for their families and the broader community, particularly when their children grow up and leave for college.

This year's festival introduces a new section, inviting mothers who have already "restarted" their lives or successful businesswomen to give a two-minute speech about establishing their startups or finding their own causes.

Most of these women are now participating in socially responsible businesses and can hence provide professional support to stay-at-home mothers.

 

The festival "Mom Restart" aims to put stay-at-home mothers in the spotlight. Provided to China Daily

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2019-06-15 06:38:03
<![CDATA[All-Chinese women's team summit Mt Qomolangma]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/15/content_37481151.htm

KATHMANDU - Sun Ningning, from Central China's Henan province, faced strong resistance from her parents when she told them of her ambition to climb Mount Qomolangma, as they were worried for her life.

Yet after the 29-year-old reached the top of the world's tallest mountain at the first attempt on May 22, her parents are in awe of her achievements.

"They were not aware of what it meant to reach the top of Mount Qomolangma and they were worried about my life and discouraged me from going there. But after my ascent, they are really proud of me now," Sun told Xinhua recently after returning to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. "I am receiving a lot of congratulatory messages from friends and colleagues!"

Sun was joined on her successful expedition by other two female Chinese climbers: Ma Liyamu from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and Tsang Yin Hung from Hong Kong.

For Ma and Tsang, it was their second ascent to the summit of Mount Qomolangma, as Ma had reached the top of the mountain in 2016, and Tsang conquered it in 2017. But for Sun, this was her first such experience.

"What surprised me when I reached the top was the shadow of Mount Qomolangma on other mountains. It was simply magnificent and stunning and it was a heavenly experience," she shared.

Growing up, Sun didn't have any aspirations to climb Mount Qomolangma, but she loved drawing, especially nature and mountain scenes.

Having worked as a designer, she had some mountaineering experience after climbing Mount Manaslu in September last year. Before she came into contact with Ma, it was not in her mind to form an all-female, all-Chinese team to summit the mountain.

By contrast, forming an all-Chinese women's team to climb Mount Qomolangma had long been a dream for Ma. She formed a squad in 2014 but had to abandon plans to climb the mountain after a deadly avalanche, and a devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015 put paid to her mountaineering ambitions that year too.

For the last six years, Ma has run an expedition company in partnership with Nepali climbers, and it was her company which organized this year's expedition for the Chinese trio.

For her, the main objective of forming an all-women team was to challenge perceptions and break down barriers for women in the largely male-dominated climbing world. However, it was a daunting task for the three to climb Mount Qomolangma this year, because of the limited window for climbing and different speeds of the team members.

On May 22, Tsang reached the top at 3 am, while her two teammates followed at 9 am. Nine climbers were reported to have died on Mount Qomolangma this year, and photographs of long queues of climbers on the route also drew worldwide attention.

Reports suggesting such traffic jams contributed to the deaths of so many climbers this year also made international headlines. However, Ma does not see this in this light.

"Avalanches, natural disasters, and strong winds on Mount Qomolangma are normal. We all attempted to summit the mountain accepting these challenges," said Ma.

According to the three climbers, the long queues of mountaineers came about as many expedition teams had planned to climb the mountain in the space of the same two days.

Although around 200 climbers reached top of the mountain on May 22, the most ever in a single day, the Chinese trio said they were not overly affected by any congestion.

Ma believes that mountaineering is safe as long as climbers work together and follow the instructions of guides.

Forty-three-year-old Tsang, who was a high school teacher before she first climbed Mount Qomolangma in 2017, served as the trio's team leader.

She had to shoulder greater responsibility this time because of limited climbing window, charged with both raising funds and maintaining the group's team spirit. Although she had already summitted Mount Qomolangma, she decided to join the all-women's team thanks to her previous friendship with Ma.

"When I first attempted to climb Mount Qomolangma, it was because my students had challenged me to do so and I accepted," she said. "I used to tell my students that whenever they have ideas like this, they should finish them, and I did it."

Despite climbing the world's tallest mountain for multiple times, the Chinese women's team doesn't want to encourage everybody to take up mountaineering, which is full of challenges and risk. But they do want to help other women achieve their respective dreams.

Xinhua

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2019-06-15 06:38:03
<![CDATA[Origins of style]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/15/content_37481150.htm Renowned fashion designer Ma Yanli made more than 20 trips to Yunnan province seeking inspiration for her autumn-winter haute couture range before presenting her collection at this year's China International Fashion Week.

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Seeking inspiration for her next collection, designer Ma Yanli's returned to Yunnan to explore its rich ethnic heritage and collect fabrics and embroidery, Xu Haoyu reports.

Renowned fashion designer Ma Yanli made more than 20 trips to Yunnan province seeking inspiration for her autumn-winter haute couture range before presenting her collection at this year's China International Fashion Week.

The 50 or so pieces showcased at the event in March featured silk gowns and capes in black, white, red and blue, many accented with gold or silver belts and shoulder pads, while exquisite embroidery and ethnic patterns helped to lend an air of mystery and majesty to the costumes.

This is the third show that Ma has presented extolling the culture of Yunnan. After visiting Chuxiong in 2015, she introduced the embroidery of the Yi ethnic group and welcomed 15 seamstresses onstage to showcase their heritage for her Millennium Yi Embroidery show.

In 2017, with her Shangri-La themed Yun Show, she reflected the masculinity of Yunnan's cattle herding "cowboys" through a range of clothes featuring rich colors and artistic textures.

This time she has drawn inspiration from Pu'er city.

The city covers 45,385 square kilometers (an area roughly three times the size of Beijing and seven times bigger than Shanghai) which is home to 14 minorities and five ethnic groups, who make up over 60 percent of the population and offer a rich array of intangible cultural heritage such as Dongba calligraphy, Bai tie-dyeing, Yi embroidery and Dai palm-leaf scripture carving. It's also the habitat of 5,600 indigenous species of plants and 1,600 native mammals.

Situated on the Ancient Tea Horse Road, the show pays homage to the city's tea heritage which began in the Tang-Song period (618-1279) and peaked during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

For centuries, horse-drawn caravans transported and sold tea from Pu'er down to Vietnam, and specific roads developed into key cultural and trade paths for the minorities of Southwest China.

In the past, bells made of different types of copper and silver were hung around the necks of the horses to help people distinguish between the caravans. During one scene of the show, the bells were rung aloud to remind people of the city's history.

To find inspiration for her next collection and to prepare for the show, Ma visited the towns and villages where the Lahu, Yi, Hani, Va, Blang people and other ethnic groups lived.

"I was deeply impressed by the love the local residents have for their culture," says Ma, who is wearing a long black dress covered with elaborate embroidery. "No matter where they are or where they go, they sing folk songs and wear their indigenous costumes. The traditional elements in their lives bring them peace and joy. And the relaxing and free living environment there seems so fresh to me as a city dweller."

Ma says she spent months in Yunnan collecting local fabrics and patterns, learning about the embroidery and the craft of tie-dyeing and experiencing the local customs and lifestyle.

She says, "I'm totally attracted by what I saw and experienced. The costumes of the local ethnic groups impressed me a lot as they reflect the beauty of their culture. I'm thrilled to present their traditional culture and combine with what I do - fashion design. So I decided to deliver it in the form of a fashion show. If one show's not enough, then I'll do it twice or three times."

After close observation, Ma incorporated many intricate features of the local costumes into her own designs, such as beading and buttons that are commonly seen in traditional Lahu costumes.

"There are a lot more traditional cultural elements waiting to be discovered and expressed through fashion design," she says.

Ma was born to a family of farmers in Henan province in 1974. She began to pursue a career in modeling in 1994 before transforming herself into a fashion designer and establishing her own brand, Marry Ma Series, in 2002.

"The life span of a model is limited. Modeling was an extraordinary occupation for me, but fashion design was the profession that I really wanted to pursue," says Ma.

Ma is always looking to raise the global profile of Chinese culture through her designs.

As she told China Daily in a previous interview, "When we make clothes, we're making culture. Clothing is the carrier, while design is the method, the language, that offers an insight into Chinese cultural heritage.

"Grasping the essence of Chinese culture and placing it on an international platform, has always been my unrelenting goal and motivation," Ma says.

"As a Chinese fashion designer, I hope to bring real Chinese culture to the world, for all the people in the world to appreciate and understand."

Contact the writer at xuhaoyu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-15 06:38:03
<![CDATA[Lovely pandas add more liveliness into China-Russia friendship]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/15/content_37481149.htm

MOSCOW - "I heard groups of children passing by and shouting: 'Pandas! Pandas!' They want to see them as soon as possible," said Svetlana Akulova, director general of the Moscow Zoo.

She was standing in a newly built panda house. Behind her are soundproofed windows. Looking through the windows, one can see two giant pandas, each playing in its own room.

Inside the house are wooden climbers, swimming pools, and recreational toys among other things, all intended to create a comfortable and healthy living environment for the new ambassadors of China-Russia friendship.

The pair, 3-year-old male Ru Yi and 2-year-old female Ding Ding, arrived in Moscow in late April from China's southwestern province of Sichuan. They will start a new life and hopefully a family in the Russian capital.

They were formally handed over to Russia for a 15-year joint research program recently at an opening ceremony for the panda house, which was attended by visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The Moscow Zoo has built a panda house fully meeting the requirements to keep the animals," Akulova said.

The red lanterns strongly suggest a Chinese flavor, in addition to Chinese ink landscape paintings. In the yard, the green bamboo groves are panda necessities.

As part of their old diet, fresh bamboo and bamboo shoots are delivered every week from Sichuan, and kept fresh and prepared in special rooms with large freezers.

Keeping the pandas healthy is an important task, and currently panda keeper Wang Pingfeng and vet He Ming from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda are here to give a hand.

Wang said several Russian workers at the zoo are trained to take care of the pandas and are able to conduct comprehensive physical examinations.

"The pandas are getting used to the new environment and their new life here," Wang said, adding that the local weather is drier than what the pandas are accustomed to.

Muscovites have shown great interest in the panda pair, and the zoo expects huge inflows of visitors after the panda house is open to the public.

"These animals are really unique," said a 33-year-old visitor to the Moscow Zoo who gave her name as Anastasia. "I'm sure all people in Moscow would like to come to see the pandas."

Many see the pandas' arrival as symbol of the solid friendship between China and Russia, especially since it coincides with the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.

"I think it's a very good sign of friendship, because animals are always associated with friendship, kindness and openness. Plus in this case, there will be serious research work. Nobody knows how well they will live here and how it can affect their ability to breed," said a visitor from St. Petersburg who called herself Osipova.

The joint research work on the life of Ru Yi and Ding Ding at the Moscow Zoo in the next 15 years under a bilateral agreement aims to bolster efforts on both sides to protect endangered species and biodiversity.

"We are very proud of our part in the initiative aimed at protecting nature and in the study of rare animal species like the giant panda. It is one of the most important scientific activities by the zoo," Akulova noted.

Studies on multiple topics will be carried out according to a joint working plan. A large team of scientists, zoologists and keepers is involved in the joint mission.

"I hope that our Ding Ding and Ru Yi will provide us with plenty of scientific findings," said Akulova.

In her eyes, the timing that this year marks the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations makes the giant panda research program more meaningful.

"We have to remember that all these can happen partly thanks to the friendship between our peoples, and thanks to the wisdom of our leaders," Akulova added.

"I hope that year after year our friendship will become stronger and stronger," she added. "And I hope that we will be able to write more than one chapter of scientific research on this wonderful animal."

Xinhua

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2019-06-15 06:38:03
<![CDATA[A class apart]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/15/content_37481148.htm Surrounded by lush greenery and spring water, the Sanhe Elementary School in Dabaidi township, Ruijin, Jiangxi province is located in the depths of the mountains. There, teacher Wang Beihai takes care of his only student Chen Weiyu.

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Sanhe Elementary School in Dabaidi township, Ruijin, Jiangxi province, is home to one teacher and one student

Surrounded by lush greenery and spring water, the Sanhe Elementary School in Dabaidi township, Ruijin, Jiangxi province is located in the depths of the mountains. There, teacher Wang Beihai takes care of his only student Chen Weiyu.

Chen Weiyu, 9, was born in a poor family. He lives with his grandfather, because his parents are migrant workers and usually not around.

In 2018, Chen, who had just entered elementary school had to travel back and forth on his grandfather's tractor for more than 20 kilometers to get an education, which was very inconvenient. In order to solve this problem, the local government decided that Dabaidi Central Primary School would take on the work of Sanhe Primary School near Chen's house from February 2019. And the school also hired one teacher, Wang Beihai, 46.

In order to better take care of Chen, Wang does not go home every day but lives in school with Chen. From Monday to Friday, Wang is with Chen, both as a teacher and "parent".

Speaking about his decision, Wang says: "He should have all the courses like other children. So, I teach him over and over again.

"He also has no parents around. He and I are sometimes like father and son, or brothers. It (the school) has already become my second home."

Pinyin literacy, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division ...Although there is only one teacher, Chen's schedule is tightly arranged. And after class, the teacher and student play table tennis, badminton and basketball.

At dinner time, Wang is busy in the kitchen. In less than half an hour, he is sweating all over. Watching the child eating at the dinner table makes Wang smile.

There is no "nightlife" in the mountains, and walking after a meal is the greatest pleasure for both teacher and student.

Passing a stone tablet with Chinese characters, Chen stops and looks curiously; when Chen sees wild flowers on the roadside, Wang accompanies him to smell them and teaches him about the plants.

Now, there are two more "one-student classrooms" like Sanhe Elementary School in Dabaidi township. Dabaidi Central Primary School has arranged full-time teachers to support them, and also arranged special "home" teachers for students with severe disabilities.

When the night falls, the light from the only bedroom in Sanhe Elementary School looks particularly tranquil under the deep blue sky.

There, Wang takes out a paper and pencil to help Chen with the homework.

Later, he helps Chen to wash and waits for him to fall asleep.

Wang then has time to briefly speak to his family on the phone.

Outside the window, the stars are afar; in the distance, the frogs are croaking.

Photos by Lan Hongguang

Xinhua

 

Wang Beihai (left) takes out a paper and pencil to help Chen Weiyu with his homework.

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2019-06-15 06:38:03
<![CDATA[The hi-tech recipe for success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/09/content_37478708.htm Artificial intelligence has in the past few years completely reshaped how businesses operate. Financial institutes use it to forecast trends in the stock markets. Law enforcement use it to identify suspects.

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New book by Donghua University explains how artificial intelligence can help to bolster the development of the domestic fashion industry

Artificial intelligence has in the past few years completely reshaped how businesses operate. Financial institutes use it to forecast trends in the stock markets. Law enforcement use it to identify suspects.

The fashion industry, too, stands to benefit greatly from this technology, according to a new book by Donghua University.

"AI-based approaches provide designers with more objective references to create their works, compared with traditional forecasting methods which mainly rely on the predictions of experienced experts," said Gu Wen, one of the co-authors of the book and a teacher from Donghua University's college of art and design.

When applying the AI methods, Gu stressed on the importance of making full use of the pools of diverse data-sets accurately and efficiently so as to prevent designers and brands from making inaccurate predictions of customer preferences.

In terms of Shanghai fashion forecasting, the book suggests that the industry can build a Shanghai Fashion Data Warehouse which collects and analyzes data gathered from various sources, including fashion shows, the retail market and exhibitions.

"Such a database will help with the application of an AI system to local fashion trend forecasting, but it has not been set up yet," said Gu.

Gu pointed out that IBM Watson, a computer system capable of answering questions in natural language, is already being used by designers to help make decisions and gain new insights. The system can be used to search for clothes with specific elements or design patterns.

AI Color Trend, a database on color fashion trend analysis and guidance, was also released by the China Textile Information Center and the National Textile Development Center in 2017. Available as an app for mobile phones, the system can analyze data from international fashion weeks, brands as well as the most popular colors and fabrics in the domestic market, in turn helping designers with their decisions on what colors or materials to use.

Shi Ang, who founded his brand Moniii Studio in Shanghai, said that he used to rely on magazines for news about the latest fashion trend. These days, however, there are many other sources he can turn to.

"I was recommended by others to refer to WGSN, a global style network dedicated to helping designers deliver the right products through trend forecasting, live analysis and design tools. A few tech companies have developed apps that specialize in such a service as well," he said.

Given how AI is quickly proliferating all types of industries, Gu said that it is imperative the fashion industry start to attract individuals who are not just knowledgeable in fashion but technology as well.

"People who master the skills of technology and fashion insights are in urgent need in the domestic industry. Most designers lack the technical knowledge to develop forecasting tools," she said.

Gu also recommends that designers should familiarize themselves with Shanghai's distinctive culture and fashion demand, as opposed to simply following trend forecasts, to better cater to the market.

Shi echoed this statement, noting that trend forecasting should only be used as a reference, and that designers should create their own styles based on each brand's unique features.

"AI forecasting is sure to dominate the fashion industry in the future. But the inspiration of a designer remains the soul of a brand. This cannot be predicted through data analysis. The brain of a designer can never be replaced," he said.

caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A staff from a clothing manufacturer in Tongxiang, Zhejiang province, uses an AI equipment to capture the 3D image of the company's new product. Xinhua

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2019-06-09 15:00:12
<![CDATA[A HISTORY OF SHANGHAI FASHION]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/09/content_37478707.htm Shanghai fashion may have evolved over the centuries, but it has till this day always retained its philosophy of being delicate, refined and inclusive. 

Before 1843, Shanghai culture was mainly shaped by the culture of the areas in the south of the Yangtze River, namely the regions in today's Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces which were previously known as the ancient kingdoms of Wu and Yue in Chinese history.

Shanghai-style fashion gradually developed starting in the mid-1900s, influenced by the culture that Westerners brought to the city. For example, traditional Chinese attire such as the mandarin jacket were replaced by Western-style suits and accessories as the city became one of the five ports forced open to international trade following the signing of the Treaty of Nanking by the United Kingdom and the Qing dynasty.

In 1912, the establishment of the Republic of China facilitated the integration of Western and Eastern cultures. A classic look for men at that time comprised a suit, a pinched hat, a cane and glasses with gold frames. The look for women consisted of simple turtleneck sweaters and long skirts or skorts.

As Shanghai became a prosperous, cosmopolitan city in China during the 1920s to 1940s, attitudes toward fashion also changed. Consumers became more discerning and were likely to choose apparel that best matched their age and body shapes. The representative clothing of this era were coats, jackets and cheongsams. People no longer wore traditional Zhongshan suits.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Shanghai fashion experienced another change as people became more frugal. The once-forgotten attire such as embroidered shirts and Zhongshan clothes made a comeback. This fashion trend lasted until the reform and opening-up of the country in 1978 when Western clothes became popular again. Trumpet trousers, jeans, short skirts and sportswear, although regarded as weird foreign styles, became popular in Shanghai, especially among young adults.

Shanghai-style fashion has since then always been abreast of the latest developments in the world. In 1995, the first Shanghai International Fashion Culture Festival was held in the city, featuring expositions, competitions and forums on fashion. The festival is still being held today.

The Shanghai government is currently focused on building its "four brands" - services, manufacturing, shopping and culture. The fashion sector has been identified as a key player in this project and many new measures have been implemented to drive creativity and support designers.

"The new Shanghai-style fashion is not limited to fashion in Shanghai - it also includes the surrounding areas that have embraced the values of Shanghai fashion, which are inclusiveness, openness, commercialism and innovation," said Liu Xiaogang, professor from Donghua University's school of art and design.

 

]]> 2019-06-09 15:00:12 <![CDATA[Experts consider IP protection imperative]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/09/content_37478706.htm Xu Kunlin, the deputy mayor of the Shanghai government, said at a May 23 meeting regarding the development of the city's fashion industry that the successful trademark registration of the Shanghai Fashion Week's logo demonstrates the importance of the event as well as the country's commitment to protecting intellectual property rights.The trademark application was approved by the Trademark Office of the State Market Supervision and Administration on March 13.

Shanghai's reputation as a global fashion hub has been growing over the past decade because of the Shanghai Fashion Week. The event, which takes place twice every year, aims to champion and nurture local designers. According to industry players and experts, one of the roadblocks to the development of independent Chinese designers is copycat businesses. Few emerging designers take legal action against such companies because they lack the time and money to do so.

During the meeting, Lv Xiaolei, the deputy secretary-general of the organizing committee of Shanghai Fashion Week, noted that independent designers should familiarize themselves with intellectual property law and register their company trademarks in a timely manner to protect themselves.

Fan Yun, the president of Shanghai Trademark Association, said that trademark associations, social organizations and the government should improve laws and regulations to offer a fairer and healthier competition environment for designers. She also proposed the introduction of a blacklist comprising enterprises and individuals who copy other designers.

Liu Feng, the director of the intellectual property research committee of the Shanghai Bar Association, encouraged designers and companies to keep the faith, noting that the intellectual property protection situation has been gradually improving. He also noted that companies can cooperate with professional agencies that provide monitoring and consulting services.

Apart from seeking supervision and help, designers can also take internal measures to fend off plagiarists. According to Lv Yan, the founder of women's clothing brand Comme Moi, her team does so by promoting their new designs to the market as quickly as possible, letting consumers know that the company is the original creator.

Wang Zhi, the founder of renowned women's clothing line Uma Wang, said that she would apply for a patent for her company's self-developed fabric.

caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2019-06-09 15:00:12
<![CDATA[Ethnic treasures cherished by locals and visitors alike]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/09/content_37478705.htm Craft work by ethnic people across the country has not only helped maintain China's cultural heritage, but also improved local people's lives.

Maywulan Tulak, a 26-year-old Uygur man, opened his boutique last year in downtown Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The store attracts connoisseurs of traditional dresses. Born and raised in Kashgar, Maywulan has a passion for the local culture, including architecture, music, dance and clothing. Two years ago, he launched his WeChat account, on which he broadcast his short video showing the changes in traditional Uygur costume over the past 100 years. He did research work in libraries and went to bazaars in search of old clothes, material and accessories. With the help of his mother, a noted tailor in the city, the young man has made more than 10 vintage costumes. People who stop by the store like to have photographs taken of themselves dressed in the costumes.

Meanwhile, in the southwestern province of Yunnan, the Wa people have also used traditional brocade to boost their earnings. A showroom in Yangluo village, Mengsuo town, Ximeng Wa autonomous county, Pu'er city, gives local people the chance to show how they make brocade. The villagers are encouraged to promote traditional skills and patterns in showcasing shawls, blankets and dresses.

Xinhua

 

A woman from the Wa ethnic group makes brocade at a showroom in Yangluo village, Mengsuo town, Pu'er city, Yunnan province. Lian Yi / Xinhua

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2019-06-09 15:00:12
<![CDATA[It pays to go indie]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/09/content_37478704.htm Having worked with many designers since her days as a brand agent for a host of Chinese brands such as Exception, Hu Chunhui learned that it is not simply the physical designs that matter when it comes to fashion.

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Independent fashion labels are experiencing significant growth as domestic consumers turn to buyers' shops, and emerging Chinese designers continue their rise on the global scene, He Qi reports from Shanghai.

Having worked with many designers since her days as a brand agent for a host of Chinese brands such as Exception, Hu Chunhui learned that it is not simply the physical designs that matter when it comes to fashion.

Rather, the stories that designers want to tell are just as, if not more important, to the label.

Eager to champion the voices and stories of designers, Hu opened HCH, a fashion buyers' shop, in 2012. It is a move she has not regretted. Today, Hu owns seven stores in Wuhan in Central China's Hubei province and Shanghai that stock more than 70 brands by independent designers from China and abroad.

Over the past two years, Hu has also actively promoted emerging designers by helping them set up showrooms at Shanghai Fashion Week to attract potential partners.

"When I first decided to open a buyers' shop there were no similar stores in the market. Today, there are thousands of such businesses across the nation," says Hu, a Wuhan native. "That's how fast the industry is growing."

The concept of a fashion buyers' shop is believed to have originated in Europe around the 1950s when small stores started to stock fashion products by independent designers. Today, this concept is no longer limited to small boutique stores - even the major industry players such as Galeries Lafayette and Lane Crawford have adopted this focus of featuring the relatively more obscure, independent designers.

 

In 2017, the famous Paris-based fashion buyers' shop Colette caused a stir when it announced that it was exiting the market after 20 years of operations. Many people within the industry saw this as a sign that the buyers' shop concept in Europe was on its last legs. This notion was reinforced when renowned London-based buyers' shop Browns was acquired by e-commerce company Farfetch, while 10 Corso Como, another famous buyers' store, appeared to be on the decline.

The story of buyers' shops in China, however, has been different. Since the first buyers' shop in China opened in 1996, this business concept appears to have only become more popular through the years. According to the 2017 Autumn Winter Shanghai Fashion Week Big Data Report released by UnionPay Advisers, the number of domestic buyers' shops in the country increased from 1,636 in 2015 to 3,781 in 2017.

Meanwhile, the MODE exhibition - it is a showcase of creations by independent designers for buyers during the Shanghai Fashion Week - had just nine showrooms when it first launched in 2015. This year, the event featured 28 showrooms that hosted 427 brands.

Factors behind the rise

Industry insiders have pointed out that the rise of the buyers' shop in China can be attributed to factors such as the growing interest in domestic designers who have in recent years been garnering much attention on the international stage.

This growing interest has in turn led to media outlets, department stores and brand agents channeling more attention toward emerging designers. Another reason is the change in consumer behavior.

"I started this business because I was obsessed with the story behind designers. But I did so also because I noticed that consumers were no longer chasing only the luxury or mass-market brands. They were getting more and more interested in independent designers as well," says Hu.

Qiu Qingying, who runs four buyers' shops called Fashion on Top in Shanghai, Fo Shan, Sydney and Melbourne, shared the same observation. Her Shanghai store, which opened in Xintiandi in 2017, rakes in about 550,000 yuan ($82,042) in sales per month.

"Consumer's growing recognition of emerging Chinese designers has been the key reason why buyers' shops are doing well today. Many young and well-educated consumers who draw a high income and value individualism visit my stores. These people care more about the quality and design instead of the brand name," says Qiu.

"For a buyers' shop, the key to success is having a clear sense of the style it wants to showcase. Another key factor is being aware of how consumers' tastes are changing," she adds.

Ida Peterson, the director of buyers' at Browns, says that she placed orders from 10 local brands during her visit to MODE this March. She also plans to cooperate with another 10 brands during the next MODE event later this year.

"The maturity of Shanghai Fashion Week, especially the MODE and its showrooms, really inspired me. The city will soon become an important stop for international buyers because the standards of emerging designers are high as many of them have learned the craft overseas," she explains.

While buyers' shops have emerging designers to thank for their burgeoning sales figures, the stores themselves also have a part to play in a designer's success, notes Hu.

"Young designers have limited channels, funds and experience when it comes to marketing their brand. As such, they need the support from buyers' shops. Most importantly, the buyers' shops provide a platform for consumers to meet with the designers and learn about their stories," Hu says.

The road ahead

While the future of buyers' shops in China appears to be full of promise, Hu says that the lack of regulations, the complex market, price control and rife plagiarism could prove to be stumbling blocks.

According to Hu, some buyers' shops tend to "break the rules" and lower the prices of products without consultation with the designers. There are even those that resort to promoting counterfeits to raise their profits.

"Although the competition between buyers' shops is heating up, there are only so many talented designers at the moment. The demand is overwhelming supply," explains Hu.

The standards that buyers adhere to also have to be unified if the market is to grow further, said Liang Jie, who has worked in the fashion industry for almost a decade.

"A buyers' shop must have a high threshold for quality and pride itself on championing creative designs. It cannot only care about profits," Hu says.

Contact the writer at heqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-09 15:00:12
<![CDATA[Streetwear brands reach new heights]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/09/content_37478703.htm When Chinese sports brand Li Ning and CLOT, the streetwear brand that was launched by Hong Kong actor Edison Chen, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2018, many within the fashion industry saw this development as an indication of the growing success of homegrown street fashion labels.

Market research has also proved this to be so.

According to a report co-released by OFashion, an e-commerce brand, and global research firm Nielsen, at Shanghai Fashion Week in 2018, the consumption of streetwear and hip-hop related brands had increased by 62 percent from 2016 to 2017. In contrast, the rest of the fashion genres only experienced an average growth of 17 percent.

Meng Bingan, the co-founder of Roaringwild, a Chinese streetwear brand based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, can attest to this rise in popularity.

"When I established the brand in 2010, our sales were barely 40,000 yuan ($5,966) per year, but surged to 30 million yuan last year," says the 28-year-old, who launched Roaringwild with five friends during his college years.

"Establishing the brand was just for fun because we have a passion for fashion. We never thought it would be sustainable because of the limited sales channels, supply chains, consumers and lack of media's exposure back then."

Meng points out that consumers born in the 1990s and 95s who have a desire to try new things and value individualism have been a main driver of this rapid growth. Other factors include the rise of e-commerce and the popularity of hip-hop and rap variety shows in recent years.

Roaringwild's success has been encapsulated by its debut at the recent 2019 Shanghai Fashion Week in Xintiandi on March 31.

"You can feel the difference in the landscape now. International buyers, big brands such as Nike and even some luxury brands are integrating streetwear elements into their products. This illustrates the bright future that streetwear brands have," Meng says, after attending the event.

"I'm optimistic about the development of the streetwear brands as the currently booming fashion industry and the huge population of the nation will only bring about more opportunities. Having more streetwear brands emerge to compete with us will be important."

heqi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2019-06-09 15:00:12
<![CDATA[Along for the bumpy ride]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/09/content_37478698.htm Hail hit the windshield of the cockpit. Strong winds shook the entire plane to its core. One minute the aircraft rocketed upward, the next, it plummeted.

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Bonds forged during World War II should not be underestimated, says US pilot who flew supplies into China over the Himalayas, Xing Yi reports.

Hail hit the windshield of the cockpit. Strong winds shook the entire plane to its core. One minute the aircraft rocketed upward, the next, it plummeted.

It was a thunderstorm. Jay Vinyard soon knew what the plane had flown into, but it was too late. For the next 20 minutes, the airplane became a roller coaster.

"I had a hard time holding the aircraft the right side up," recalls Vinyard, 97, who was the pilot of a C-46 Commando transport aircraft in 1945.

The updraft threw the plane to height, of over 7,000 meters, and the downdraft sucked it under 4,500 meters, an altitude below the mountain tops of the Himalayas, where the plane was flying over.

"I was afraid that the wings would fail, because the change (in altitude) was very abrupt, and very, very bad," says Vinyard.

"I just concentrated on keeping the wings level, and took the ups and downs as they came, because I knew somewhere out there, I'd fly out of it."

The young American pilot from Arkansas did make it through the rough weather that day, and survived a tough war serving in China from July 1944 through the end of the war in 1945.

The veteran was visiting Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, for a series of activities held by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the local government over April 23-27.

The events were marking the 40th anniversary of 40th anniversary of China-US diplomatic ties by honoring the memory of the American pilots who helped the Chinese fight against Japanese invasion forces during World War II.

Vinyard was one of around 4,400 American pilots who flew military supplies to China for the struggle against the Japanese troops.

Originally referred to as the "India-China ferry", the airlift operation began in April 1942 and ended in August 1945, and was regarded as the first sustained, long range, military aerial supply line in history.

Because the air route straddled the high mountain ranges on the eastern fringes of the Himalayas on the border of China, India and Myanmar nicknamed the "hump", flyers like Vinyard were known as "hump pilots".

US general William H. Tunner, who has commanded the operation, described the significance of the India-China airlift in his book Over the Hump.

"Once the airlift got underway, every drop of fuel, every weapon, and every round of ammunition, and 100 percent of such diverse supplies as carbon paper and C-rations, every item used by the American forces in China were flown in by air.

"Never in the history of transportation had any community been supplied such a large proportion of its needs by air ... After the Hump, those of us who had developed an expertise in air transportation knew that we could fly anything, anywhere, anytime."

The round trip starting from the Assam in India to different bases scattered across southwestern China took between six and seven hours, and the mission had a high casualty rate due to unpredictable weather, difficult navigation and attacks from Japanese fighters.

"We had a weather bureau to check with before we flew, but it didn't cover the Hump. We were doing it from talking to people who had just flown back," Vinyard says.

"When I got ready to go, I usually asked a pilot who just came in and he told me what he had over the Hump an hour before. But even that changed."

The Hump Pilot Association, a nonprofit organization founded by the veterans of the operation, says on its website that records from the operation's search-and-rescue office show that records about 509 aircraft that crashed were classified as "closed", while records about 81 lost aircraft were labeled "open", 1,314 crew members were known to be dead, and 345 aircrew were declared still missing.

Successfully flying over the Hump 174 times during his service in the China-Burma-India theater, Vinyard considered himself lucky to be among the living.

"We lived in tents in groups of four and every once in a while you came back from a flight and found out that one of the beds was empty. And we knew that a roommate had died in flight, and that the quartermaster had taken the clothes away to send them home to the family," he recalls.

Vinyard recalls many life-threatening incidents. On one occasion, he had an engine blow out shortly after takeoff, and he suffered engine failure on two other night flights, one of which led to the crew throwing everything out to lighten the aircraft as they flew back on one engine.

"I've always told people that when you flew the Hump you needed three things - good luck, good decisions and a good pilot," he says.

"Well, if your luck ran out, the other two didn't matter because you couldn't do anything about it. You had to have that luck with you at all times. Yeah, all the time."

After coming back from the war, Vinyard got married, had three sons, and spent the rest of his career working as a civil air traffic controller in different cities, but he still considers his service in China as the most meaningful part of his life, and talks about it all the time.

In 1969, he joined the Hump Pilot Association founded by Hump pilots from the University of Michigan and helped to organize a reunion and conduct historical research. Vinyard served three times as president and later became the last president of the association in the 2000s. The association became inactive in 2005 due to the age of its surviving members.

In 2004, when he visited Yunnan province, he found that some of the old airfields he used to use had been turned into cornfields. He was happy to find that the Chinese had built a heritage park in Guilin as a memorial to the Flying Tigers - a name used to describe the American pilots who fought in China during the war.

Vinyard visited the park when it opened in 2015.

"That's a place where our common bonds are out in the open and plain for all to see, rather than just reading about it in books," he says, adding that most of his fellow pilots had passed away.

He can vividly recall landing on the airfields of China, when the people working on the runways would come and gave him a thumbs-up.

"That's what I am hoping for between the US and China. We have a very strong bond and there's no reason for us to be nibbling at each other," he says.

Vinyard can still recall the first time he flew across the Hump to China.

"It was daytime. With sunshine you could see the snow-covered mountains of the Himalayas 100 miles to the north. It was a beautiful sight - and a smooth ride."

Contact the writer at xingyi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-09 15:00:12
<![CDATA[On a mission to preserve the habitats of Flying Tigers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/09/content_37478697.htm When Ma Kuanchi was a tour guide with the China International Travel Agency in the 1980s, he accompanied many American veteran pilots to Yunnan province and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region - places where they had once been based during World War II.

On those trips, Ma learned the history of the Flying Tigers.

It was before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the United States hadn't officially entered the war, but around 300 American pilots and ground crew had already come to Southwest China to fight against the Japanese air forces under the command of Claire Lee Chennault.

They were officially known as the first American Volunteer Group, or AVG, but after their first combat mission, where they were victorious despite being heavily outnumbered, the Chinese referred to the pilots as the Flying Tigers.

The noses of the P-40 fighter planes they flew were painted with a ferocious shark mouth design, mimicking those flying missions in North Africa, and when the group was later absorbed into US Fourteenth Air Force, the planes retained the fearsome design. Equally, people continued to apply the legendary moniker of the Flying Tigers to later units, including the bomber and transport squadrons, that fought the Japanese in the sky.

"I was touched by their heroic deeds, and then decided to learn more of their history," Ma says, adding that he visited almost all of the old air bases used by the Flying Tigers in China.

However, when Ma talked to ordinary Americans, he found out that despite the Flying Tigers' contribution to the victory of the Allies, their story was not that well known in the US.

He organized themed aviation tours in early 2000 with his American friend Larry Jobe, a retired pilot with United Airlines, and the tour features visiting some of the Flying Tigers' heritage airfields.

James T. Whitehead, a retired US Air Force major general, was in one of the tour groups.

Whitehead says: "Most people didn't even know there was a war in China at that time. They knew about Normandy, North Africa and the battles with Germany and Italy, but not many people knew about the Flying Tigers except people associated with the military."

When the tour visited an old airfield in Guilin, Guangxi, they stood on rock in front of a cave that once served as Chennault's operation command.

"Standing on the rock, we could see the exact same scene as 1945. There were bomb craters, stone rollers and runways still there with weeds growing up through the cracks - very moving," Jobe recalls.

However, further down the valley, there was commercial and industrial development happening not far from the site.

"I said to Whitehead that it was good that he came when he did, because by the following year the scene would probably be gone forever," says Jobe. "And he said that if we don't do something to save it, the history that goes with it will also be gone."

The three later founded Flying Tigers Historical Organization, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the shared history, sacrifices and heroics of the American and Chinese people during World War II.

"We felt that it was a story that needs to be told," Whitehead says. "There was a special relationship between the Americans and Chinese and it's important to remember that today."

The three founded the historical organization, worked with different government departments in China, collected memorabilia from the veterans and raised the funds for the construction of the Flying Tiger Heritage Park, which preserves the site of Yangtang airfield in Guilin.

Opened in 2015, the park includes a museum, aircraft shelters and relics of the command post located in the cave.

The organization has collected and donated around 4,000 exhibits to the park so far, says Ma.

In 2016, the organization donated a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, a type of transport plane used by the Flying Tigers during the war, and conducted a re-enactment of the wartime route with the old plane.

During the war, transporting military supplies to China involved flying across the Himalayas, a deadly route that claimed lives of many American pilots.

Jobe was on the plane during the re-enactment flight, with four other pilots.

"We didn't fly the 'Hump route' under the adverse conditions that they did in World War II. We didn't have any fighters shooting at us. We had much better weather reporting and GPS for navigation. We had everything going for us and nothing going against us," he says.

The flight was nevertheless dangerous. Having taken off from Australia on Aug 16, 2016, the old plane's engine failed twice during the flight, and an original eight-day trip was prolonged to three months. On Nov 19 that year, the plane finally landed in Guilin.

"Through the re-enactment, we wanted to shine a light on the history and bring that forward a little bit more, and we wanted a plane in the museum," he says.

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2019-06-09 15:00:12
<![CDATA[Taking the plunge]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/08/content_37478651.htm Dragon boat racing, a traditional activity celebrating Duan Wu, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is enjoying a revival thanks to the popularity of rowing events and cultural tourism.

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Cultural tourism and regional events are helping to raise the profile of traditional festivals

Dragon boat racing, a traditional activity celebrating Duan Wu, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is enjoying a revival thanks to the popularity of rowing events and cultural tourism.

The sport originated in Zigui county of Yichang city in Hubei province. This was home to Qu Yuan, a poet in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). The festival, allegedly, commemorates his death.

Over 2,000 years the race has developed into a sports event. It has now attracted younger generations - college students, for example - to join, breathing new life into the historic custom.

Ma Dikai, a 20-year-old student from Wuhan Technology and Business University in Hubei, said that he has been training to compete in the race since April 2018.

"The game is welcomed by my peers. For us young people, the team game is good for both our physical and mental health. We are not only trained to be strong but united with other people," he said. "Also, it's a good way to experience the traditional Chinese culture."

However, it's not an easy task to build a solid dragon-shaped boat or join the sport as a rower.

Fan Jun, sports director with Zigui's culture and tourism bureau, said that he has been engaged in organizing dragon boat races since the early 1990s.

"We build the hull using traditional techniques, which is called mortise and tenon," he said. "Then the carpenters shape the boat into a dragon with a high-raised head and wagging tail. Exquisite scales are also important for a lifelike dragon."

According to Fan, the traditional wooden dragon boat is about 15.5 meters long with a width of 1.1 m.

"The length totals 18.4 m including the dragon's head and tail. It can hold a drummer, a boatman and 20 rowers in the competition," he said.

The dragon boat race is thrilling for the crowd who watch the boats navigate the raging river and who can hear the rowers' shouts. Traditionally, the winners will be treated as heroes by the locals and visiting audience.

Zigui was named as the "hometown of the Chinese dragon boat" by the General Administration of Sport back in 2011 for its well-preserved boat racing traditions and involvement in organizing rowing competitions.

The county, rich in history and folk customs, has been developed into a popular destination for travelers. In 2017, Zigui was honored as one of China's most beautiful filming locations at the 74th Venice International Film Festival.

The county also registered a travel boom last year with about 9.4 million tourists having visited and 13.3 billion yuan ($2 billion) of tourism-related revenue created, according to the county-level government.

Zigui was ready for the Duan Wu Festival that fell on June 7 this year with a culture-themed event.

Wan Dan, the county's deputy head, has introduced a competition on wrapping zongzi, a traditional food made of glutinous-rice and other ingredients. It was held in addition to a dragon boat race and a poetry exhibition.

"It's the 10th anniversary since Duan Wu customs was added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The festival is a cultural, sports and cuisine gala for people from home and abroad," she said.

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2019-06-08 07:04:48
<![CDATA[Boat races boost international exchanges]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/08/content_37478650.htm Dragon boat racing, a traditional Chinese sport originally held to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, has gained global popularity and helps promote exchanges among countries.

For example, the annual dragon boat race held in Nanning, capital city of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in South China, has attracted more international participants, especially from Asian countries in recent years.

With Yongjiang River running through the city, Nanning boasts a long history of holding dragon boat races.

"It is from 2004, when the city became the permanent venue of China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) expo, that the government initiated the first China-Asian International dragon boat race in Nanning to deepen the exchanges of people with ASEAN countries," said Tang Hong, director of the Nanning Sports Management and Training Center, which now organizes the annual event.

Last year, the 14th China-Asian International dragon boat race attracted 56 teams from home and abroad. This included five ASEAN members such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

The races became more appealing last year when participants competed on Yongjiang River rather than Nanhu Lake.

The Yongjiang River had been polluted for a long time because of public activities and industrial development.

The local government started to tackle rubbish and illegal plantations in the area during 2012-14. Also, a 74-kilometer sightseeing belt along the riverbank was completed last year.

"After the Yongjiang River got a major facelift, we chose the Confucian Temple as our headquarters as an opening ceremony could be held there before the race to offer sacrifices to the river and pay tribute to the tradition," said Tang Hong.

Besides a wonderful view, the route also passes by Qingxiu Mountain, a state "5A" grade scenic spot, which boasts a magnificent view.

"It's no doubt the racing is a factor to draw Asian participants, but another important part is that we share cultural proximity with them," said Tang.

Professor DR Nurdin Purnomo, president of the Indonesian Dragon Boat Racing and Canoeing Association, has brought Indonesian dragon boat sprinters to Nanning since 2015.

He said people hold dragon boat races in his country, especially among Indonesian Chinese communities.

According to Purnomo, whose ancestral home is Meizhou, Guangdong province, most of the people in his team are Indonesian Chinese. "I would like to give them a chance to see how China has developed and changed," he said.

This year the event fell on June 7 and 60 teams from home and abroad participated.

 

Fifty-six crews participate in the 14th China-Asian dragon boat racing in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Mo Yun / For China Daily

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2019-06-08 07:04:48
<![CDATA[Power to their paddles]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/08/content_37478649.htm He Zhizhao first took part in a dragon boat race when he was 13 years old. At that time, his father was a veteran of the traditional folk sport.

"When I was young, my father always took me to watch how he and his team members did in the races held in nearby villages and towns during the Dragon Boat Festival," said He.

People in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, would gather along the river banks of the Pearl River, which runs through the city, to watch the traditional celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival. The event falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar, according to He.

"We cheered for racers when the dragon boats marched toward the finish line in rivers - it was an exciting moment in my childhood memories," said He.

He, 46, a native of Liwan district of Guangzhou set up his own dragon boat racing team in 2014.

Led by He, the team has increased in size from 20 to 43 members. They have taken part in various matches and won medals in the past few years.

"Being a dragon boat racer, we do not row alone - only by rowing in a unified pace can we win every race," said He.

According to He, his team competed in races against dozens of teams from nearby villages and townships before this year's Dragon Boat Festival, which fell on June 7.

In addition to celebrations in the Liwan district, there were four dragon boat races in the booming Tianhe district. They were held in Chebei, Tangxia, Liede and Shenchong villages between May 30 and June 7.

"It is a new challenge for us because our rowers do not seem young," he said. In He's team, there are only two young people, aged 17 and 18.

He had to arrange strength training and practical training in rivers for his team.

"In my village, a large number of young men do not join us to take part in the boat racing," said He.

As a result, He would often bring his friends and relatives to watch how the team performs in boat races.

There are many tributaries of the Pearl River running through villages of the city of Guangzhou, in which some dragon boats have a history going back more than 400 years.

"My father and grandfather played roles in the boat races on these rivers. Encouraging more young men to take part in the racing would be of great significance in protecting the traditional dragon boat culture," said He.

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2019-06-08 07:04:48
<![CDATA[China Eastern looking to set up remote check-in, bag services]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/08/content_37478648.htm China Eastern Airlines said it has proposed that off-airport check-in and bag services be introduced at Beijing Daxing International Airport, and related equipment is expected to be built at several places such as metro stations in Beijing as part of its long-term planning.

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Over the next three years, real-time baggage tracking will become a common feature for passengers to identify where their luggage is by checking the status on their mobile phones

China Eastern Airlines said it has proposed that off-airport check-in and bag services be introduced at Beijing Daxing International Airport, and related equipment is expected to be built at several places such as metro stations in Beijing as part of its long-term planning.

The new gigantic airport located in southern Beijing is scheduled to start commercial operations on Sept 30. China Eastern and China Southern Airlines have confirmed that they will move to the new hub, and more than 50 other domestic and foreign carriers have shown interest in operating flights there.

"China Eastern has been in touch with the Daxing airport about building remote check-in services when we confirmed moving there. According to the design of the new airport, remote check-in facilities will be set up at the connecting level of metro stations and terminals, and will start operations once the airport opens. Remote luggage drop services will be launched at a later stage," said Yao Yun, deputy general manager of the global baggage control center at China Eastern Airlines.

"We have been aiming to develop more services that will make travel more convenient. Remote luggage drop is expected to be gradually realized on the Chinese mainland, supported by more advanced technologies and comprehensive safety supervision measures," he said.

China Eastern said three major State-owned airlines all had some positive experiences in off-airport bag drops. In 2011, China Eastern tried out pilot services of remote check-in and luggage drop at its city terminal located near Jing'an Temple in downtown Shanghai, but later suspended the services.

The company said it would further test off-airport bag-drop services starting from domestic flights, but there are many limitations for international flights.

Meanwhile, China Eastern started pilot services of luggage tracking for some of its domestic flights, and passengers can check the location and status of their checked suitcases through a mini program on WeChat. The carrier said in the coming years, it would put more effort into building an advanced luggage tracking system.

Over the next three years, real-time baggage tracking will become a new and common feature for passengers to identify where their bags are by checking the status on their mobile phones, the International Air Transport Association said.

"After checking their luggage in the city, travelers will have time and freedom to hang out with no burdens after they check out from hotels. Besides, they don't need to wait in lines at the airport," said Zhou Lin, senior business manager for passenger services at Travel-Sky Technology, a Beijing-based State-owned travel information provider.

"Off-airport bag drop needs to guarantee the isolation and safety of luggage transportation. There are many other things that need to be considered such as legal issues and authorizations if the services are to be launched in Beijing," he said.

Carriers may also consider cooperating with express delivery companies and provide some high priced value-added services, such as door-to-door luggage transportation services, to passengers, Zhou suggested.

"To make it a sustainable commercial service that can keep producing value, multiple issues need to be considered. For instance, passengers can sign an authorized document with the carrier and courier service company to enable them to track the status of their baggage and guarantee its safety," Zhou said.

Hong Kong International Airport, one of the busiest airports globally, has been offering remote check-in services at multiple locations for a decade, such as at Kowloon and Hong Kong metro concourses.

Passengers can check their luggage as early as 24 hours ahead of the time a flight takes off. If passengers bought tickets of metro express to the airport, the services of off-airport checking and bag drop would be free.

Besides, terminal one of Hong Kong airport plans to add more than 40 self-service baggage-checking machines this year.

"We will launch new equipment to cope with the growing capacity and passenger flows. We will build more seats and shops at the arrival areas and make it more convenient for those who come to pick up travelers. It's critical to keep up with the developing technologies and introduce new facilities to provide more convenient experiences for passengers," said Fred Lam, chief executive of the Airport Authority Hong Kong.

Lily Du, a 29-year-old bank employee in Beijing, said she dropped her luggage at Kowloon station in Hong Kong before her flight home when she traveled to the city earlier this year.

"It's really convenient as it allowed me to spend more time shopping and walking around in the city. If the new airport in Beijing offered such options, I would love to try that. It would definitely make life easier," she said.

At the same time, baggage-checking tags are expected to become smarter, and battery free electronic baggage tags are likely to replace traditional paper tags. Such e-tags are not in use in China yet, but have been put into use in some countries. Lufthansa, British Airways and all major US carriers have started trying out e-tags.

Every year, about 250 million baggage-checking tags are produced in China, which requires a huge amount of special printers and disposable materials, costing over 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) annually.

Shanghai-based Rinlink, a smart technology firm that was founded in 2017, is carrying out research and development of cyclic e-tags. The e-tags show images by reflecting natural light, and produce electricity by a near field communication sensor. Such battery-free tags are in compliance with the baggage check-in requirements of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

A guide from IATA also said that the preferred solution for bag tag displays is electronic ink as it requires no power to maintain its content and only requires power when the content needs to be changed.

"The e-tags that we designed are water-proof, and the images can be saved permanently. If there is a need to look for any specific luggage, the e-tag responds by lighting up, as long as it is within two meters. What we are doing now is to make the e-tags work between different carriers," said Zhou Shaobin, CEO of Rinlink.

"In fact, such image display technology can be used on other occasions as well, like participant passes for events. It will help to save paper, as the e-tags last around three years," he said.

 

Passengers check in their luggage using a machine at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Shan Jing / For China Daily

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2019-06-08 07:04:26
<![CDATA[Chinese airlines and airports aiming for paperless boarding process]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/08/content_37478647.htm Long queues at airports for baggage drops and security checks could soon be a thing for the past for Chinese travelers.

That lengthy process is gradually changing, and has already improved in many places in the past year, and future smarter airports are expected to shorten the wait before passengers can take off for their business trips or vacations.

"We aim to achieve a totally paperless boarding process. Now, passengers can board by showing their e-boarding passes and identity documents.

"Ultimately, facial recognition could serve as the only means of identification and be applied to the entire journey after the initial validation of a passenger's identity," Liang Jia, deputy manager of ancillary services at the e-commerce division of China Southern Airlines, said.

"Before flights take off, we will automatically carry out online checking for those who didn't select seats by themselves and send e-boarding passes to passengers. Now, such services have been launched in 22 cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen," she added.

On Jan 1, China Southern, the largest airline by fleet size in Asia, started online seat selections for all domestic flights, lending a green touch to travel. So far, more than 77 percent of domestic passengers choose to select their seats online in advance.

Guangzhou-based China Southern said it is carrying out research into the development of advanced automated bag-drop machines by deploying more of them at domestic airports. Those machines would also weigh luggage and charge fees for overweight luggage.

"The digital process will help airlines to better manage data and information, and it will also help with more precise notifications and marketing to passengers," she said.

China Southern said security check gates will be able to obtain the biometric information of passengers and combine it with their security checking results. The data would then be provided to boarding gates. When boarding, the facial recognition machines will retrieve security check results, and passengers won't need to show their documents again.

Meanwhile, Shenzhen International Airport started a pilot project in December to test differentiated security check processes, following a request by the Civil Aviation Administration of China earlier last year.

Shenzhen airport said it has upgraded its security equipment to meet the demand from passengers for security checks and the need to reach international safety requirements.

"We have introduced millimeter wave human body checking equipment. Stricter security checks are required for known drug users and passengers with criminal records," said Li Yuanjing, deputy manager of the passenger security check team at Shenzhen airport.

"Passengers who have good safety credit records, based on big data provided by the aviation and public security authorities, will have access to faster security checks," she said.

From December last year to March, more than 230,000 passengers with good credit records experienced faster security checks at Shenzhen airport.

They spent an average of 2 minutes and 56 seconds waiting, and it takes 5 minutes and 5 seconds in total for security checks, which increased its efficiency by more than 60 percent compared with regular lanes, according to Shenzhen airport.

By 2024 or 2025, China is expected to surpass the United States to become the largest air transport market globally, a forecast by the International Air Transport Association said.

Its recent global passenger survey found that passengers want more self-service options along with efficient and seamless travel experiences. For instance, 45 percent of air travelers choose biometric identification as a replacement for their passports. This is preferred mostly by younger passengers between 15 and 44 years old.

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2019-06-08 07:04:26
<![CDATA[Snooze, you lose ... but you might actually gain from a nap]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478264.htm I've never been one for taking afternoon naps, or "power naps" as some insist on calling them in a vain attempt to sound more grown up. Whenever I try, I tend to wake up feeling even more drained than when I went to sleep.

Of course, anyone who has worked in an office in China will have at some point spotted someone taking a post-lunch snooze, most likely right at their desk. Once, I dropped by a colleague's desk around 1 pm to find her fully reclined in her large leather chair with a blanket pulled up to her chin, comatose. I quietly placed the urgent paperwork she'd requested on her desk and tiptoed away.

Even if I did like napping, I'd never have dreamed of sleeping at my desk when I was working in Britain, not least because of the risk that some prankster might take the opportunity to decorate my face with phallic symbols using a permanent marker.

I used to put all this afternoon napping down to big lunches, but it's become fairly obvious that many people aren't getting a sufficient number of z's on an evening.

More than 60 percent of people age 28 or younger don't get enough sleep, largely because of late-night smartphone use, according to estimates by the China Sleep Research Society.

The China Sleep Index, compiled by the National Health Commission, showed people sleep less than 7.6 hours a night on average, just below the recommended amount. In Beijing, at least 30 percent of the population survives on fewer than six and a half hours a night.

Worryingly, the problem appears to be growing particularly acute among adolescents.

Yet while some see napping as simply a midday recharge, scientists at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore have discovered evidence that suggests "catching 40 winks" during the day could actually improve our brain function.

Researchers recently tested the cognitive performance and glucose levels of two groups of students, ages 15 to 19, over a two-week period. One group received six and a half hours of continuous sleep while the other group kept a split schedule: five hours at night with a one-and-a-half hour nap in the afternoon.

"Compared with sleeping nine hours a night, having only six and a half hours over a 24-hour period degrades performance and mood. But interestingly, the split-sleep group exhibited better alertness, vigilance, working memory and mood than those who slept continuously," said Michael Chee, who heads the school's Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience.

However, the downside was that the split-sleep group saw a greater increase in blood glucose levels, potentially firming up the link some have made between insufficient sleep and a higher risk of diabetes.

So napping could make you more productive, but it could also damage your health. I know. Nightmare, right?

We obviously still have a lot to learn about the positive and negative effects of sleep, but one thing is already certain: Leaving a pool of snooze drool next to your mouse is gross!

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2019-06-06 08:06:21
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478263.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On June 6, 1981, Yuan Longping won the first national special invention prize for developing varieties of hybrid rice. He has spent his life working to feed a world hungry for the commodity, as seen in the item on Nov 3, 1982, from China Daily.

In 1973, Yuan successfully developed a special type of long-grained hybrid rice, and the following year he commercially released a hybrid rice variety with 20 percent higher yields, putting China in the global lead in rice production. For the achievement, he was dubbed the "Father of Hybrid Rice".

In 1979, the technique for hybrid rice was introduced into the United States, the first case of intellectual property rights transfer in the history of New China.

The crop is now grown in more than 30 countries and regions, with the total area surpassing 7 million hectares.

By 2003, half of China's rice production area was planted with hybrid rice. Yuan set world records in hybrid rice yield - in 1999, 2005, 2011 and 2017.

Covering 16 million hectares, or about 53 percent of China's rice acreage, and rice output having grown from 6 metric tons per hectare in the 1970s to 15 metric tons now, hybrid rice is known as the "fifth invention in the world". The new variety has made solid contributions to helping feed the Chinese people - which account for 21 percent of the global population - with only 7 percent of the world's arable land.

The 89-year-old scientist continues his research. At Qingdao's Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Research and Development Center in Shandong province, which is led by Yuan, a successful experiment has been carried out in planting rice in the Dubai desert.

This is the first time that rice has been grown in a desert. It is a major contribution to enhancing food self-sufficiency, global food security and improving the environment of desert regions.

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2019-06-06 08:06:21
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478262.htm Central Bank issues commemorative coins

The People's Bank of China, the central bank, issued a set of coins on Wednesday to commemorate the ancient city of Pingyao in Shanxi province. The three-coin set, two gold and one silver, are legal tender, according to a statement by the People's Bank of China. The coins feature the Yingxun gate of Pingyao and have the year 2019 stamped on them. One gold coin has a face value of 2,000 yuan ($290). The other gold coin has a face value of 100 yuan while the silver coin is worth 10 yuan. Pingyao was designated a UNESCO heritage site in 1997.

Shoppers go crazy for Kaws x Uniqlo T-shirts

The Kaws x Uniqlo T-shirts have driven shoppers in China crazy. A viral online video saw shoppers trying to rush into a Uniqlo store in a mall even before the shutter door was rolled up. Released on Monday, the 99-yuan ($14) shirt is a collection by New York artist Brian Donnelly, whose professional name is Kaws. The artist said on social media that the brand collection will be his last.

Campus canteen food photos go viral

A university student recently uploaded hundreds of photos of food she has taken at college canteens in the past four years. The images brought back memories of the food served at universities for netizens. Quan Xuemiao, from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, will graduate from the Hunan International Economics University in Changsha, Hunan province, next month. She posted the photos, more than 900 images, on social media.

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2019-06-06 08:06:21
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478261.htm People: Man knows for whom the bells toll

Over the past 22 years, 68-year-old collector Zhang Shuxin has collected more than 3,500 bells from all over the world. "I still remember buying the first bell at an arts and crafts shop in Chaoyang, Liaoning province in 1997," said Zhang, from Harbin, Heilongjiang province. From then on, he began collecting different bells. Among his bells, the most expensive one is a high-end ceramic bell made in Germany, which cost him more than 3,000 yuan ($434). The largest is about 60 centimeters high, and the smallest is only as big as a walnut. "I will continue my collection and research the history of bells," he said.

Biz: Homestay provider launches travel guide

Chinese homestay provider Sweetome has launched a travel guide that provides tips for tourists to travel as locals. The guide is available on the company's app and will be updated as the seasons change. All the ideas for the guide will come from Sweetome's local employees, including housekeepers and cleaning and cooking ladies from across the country, according to Luo Jun, the co-founder of Sweetome. Tourists will be awarded free accommodation if they contribute novel ideas. Sweetome runs more than 50,000 properties. The company has enabled 30 million tourist stays over the past eight years.

Society: Art museum built on the cliff

An art museum has been built at the edge of a 165-meter-high cliff in Anlong county, Guizhou province. Limestone Gallery covers an interior area of 800 square meters and includes two exhibition floors, a meeting room and an outdoor sightseeing platform on the roof. The museum features an arcade-like frontage and its exterior is a glass curtain wall that allows visitors to enjoy the scenery of the hill and valleys from the top. Visit our website to find out more.

Tech: 'Flying car' to ease traffic snarls

Massachusetts startup Alaka'i has designed a flying car - Skai - that the company touts as the "first air mobility vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells". The sleek, electric air vehicle boasts a cab big enough to fit four passengers - and a pilot - and their luggage, all the while running on clean energy, according to the company. CEO Steve Hanvey said Alaka'i sees air mobility as a key solution to urban congestion. The Skai has a maximum range of 640 kilometers with a flight time of up to four hours. Like a drone, the Skai takes off and lands vertically.

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2019-06-06 08:06:21
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478260.htm Iceage China Tour 2019

When: June 6, 9 pm

Where: Yuyintang Park, Shanghai

Iceage is a post-punk rock band from Copenhagen, Denmark. The band is known for its mastery of various rock genres, including noise rock, hardcore and punk rock.

Iceage, Lower/Iceage and To the Comrades were intrinsic in winning the band the attention they have received over the years. In 2011 they released their debut studio album, New Brigade, in both the Danish and United States' markets. The album was well-received and won the group a solid fan base, which they have built upon with extensive touring.

The release in 2014 of Plowing Into the Field of Love on the Matador label demonstrated Iceage's talent and capabilities. This is a band that certainly have ideas and material in abundance. Fans of the group are certainly impatient to see what they'll deliver next.

King Lear

by Suzuki Company of Toga

When: June 6-8, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It depicts the gradual descent into madness of a king after he disposes of his kingdom by bequeathing his power and land to two of his three daughters in exchange for insincere declarations of love, bringing tragic consequences for all.

First staged in 1606, King Lear's nihilism has heavily influenced modern drama.

Tadashi Suzuki is a Japanese theater director, writer and philosopher. He is the founder and director of the Suzuki Company of Toga, organizer of Japan's first international theater festival - the Toga Festival.

Motorama in China

When: June 8, 8:30 pm

Where: Yuyintang Park, Shanghai

Motorama are a Russian post-punk band from Rostovon-Don. The band was formed in 2005. The group is popular not only in Russia but also abroad. They have released four studio albums, two mini-albums and a number of singles.

The band perform songs in English.

The Hot Sardines

When: June 15 and 16, 7:30 pm

Where: Blue Note Beijing

The Hot Sardines - the mischief-makers of jazz who started out playing underground speakeasies in Brooklyn - have had a whirlwind couple of years.

The eight-piece (seven musicians, plus a tap dancer) band has toured more than 250 cities throughout North America, Europe and Asia, blowing out their vintage-on-steroids sound to crowds as big as 25,000 at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

They've hit No 1 on iTunes Jazz, spent more than a year on the Billboard charts and racked up 20 million streams from fans in more than 90 countries on Spotify.

And it's all come as a bit of a surprise to the band's founders, who bonded over a shared love of Fats Waller at a jazz jam above a noodle shop in New York City.

"I wore out the grooves of my grandfather's old Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald records as a teenager, but no way did I ever expect to be playing those songs at the Newport Jazz Festival one day with my own band," co-founder and vocalist Elizabeth Bougerol said.

Suchmos China Tour 2019

When: June 16, 8:30 pm

Where: Tango Livehouse, Beijing

Suchmos is a Japanese rock band that formed in January 2013.

The band was inspired by rock, a bit of jazz and a little hip-hop and adapted their name from Louis Armstrong's nickname, Satchmo.

They brought their name to the mainstream with Stay Tune, which was used in a TV car commercial. Their sophisticated musicality as well as their street-oriented presence attracts attention and sends them to covers of fashion and culture magazines.

Last summer saw the band perform on the main stages of 14 rock festivals, such as Summer Sonic and Rising Sun Rock Festival.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

When: June 21-23, 2:30 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm

Where: Beijing Theater

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by United States' illustrator Eric Carle, has delighted generations of readers since it was first published in 1969, selling more than 52 million copies worldwide and was translated into 62 languages.

Carle's well-known books captivate readers with his iconic, colorful, hand-painted tissue paper collage illustrations and simple stories.

His work has introduced generations of children to a bigger, brighter world - and to their first experience of reading itself.

The timeless classic has made its way off the page and onto the stage. Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, the critically acclaimed production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show features a menagerie of 75 lovable puppets, faithfully adapting four of Carle's stories - Brown Bear Brown Bear; What Do You See?; 10 Little Rubber Ducks; The Very Lonely Firefly; and the star of the show, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Die Odyssee

by Thalia Theater, Hamburg, Germany

When: June 18 and 19, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan War, he left behind his wife, Penelope, and his baby. Now, 20 years later, his infant son has grown to manhood.

Telemachus has never seen his father. He's heard stories about the ingenious Odysseus, but he has no idea if the great war hero is still alive.

One day a man appears at his father's court on the island of Ithaca. He is carrying a large portrait of Odysseus with him. As it transpires, he knows the war hero: Telegonus is also a son of Odysseus.

Telemachus and Telegonus are now together, awaiting the return of their multifaceted father, who has frequently wandered off course since destroying Troy.

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2019-06-06 08:06:21
<![CDATA[Phoenix rising]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478259.htm In China, it is commonly said that "women hold up half the sky" as a way of emphasizing their contribution to society.

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A female lead is expected to close the X-Men franchise in style, with the film already setting the presale box office alight, Xu Fan reports.

In China, it is commonly said that "women hold up half the sky" as a way of emphasizing their contribution to society.

This is now also being felt in the world of cinematic superheroes.

Since female-led movies such as DC's Wonder Woman and Marvel's Captain Marvel smashed box-office expectations, so too the long running X-Men franchise is preparing to hand over top-billing to a female lead.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is releasing in China on Thursday, one day ahead of its North American debut. The film is about the evolution of female mutant, Jean Grey, into the titular character.

Last week, director Simon Kinberg, alongside cast members Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Tye Sheridan and Evan Peters, showed up in Beijing to promote the forthcoming film, widely seen as a conclusion to 20th Century Fox's 19-year-long iteration of the franchise.

They held a premiere for 2,500 fans that was also broadcast live to thousands of enthusiasts in Shanghai, Xi'an, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Wuhan, making it the biggest-ever X-men fan event in China to date.

Set in the 1990s, the film sees Grey, one of the first X-Men team members, nearly killed during an ill-fated mission to space. She survives by absorbing a cosmic entity, which gives her super abilities, but also puts her in conflict with a dark power that threatens to spiral out of control.

For director Kinberg, who joined the X-Men franchise in 2000 to work as a scriptwriter and producer, the upcoming film marks a significant leap forward in his career, as he occupies the director's chair for the first time.

"I grew up reading X-Men comics. The Dark Phoenix Saga was my favorite of the X-Men storylines. I've always dreamed of seeing it on screen," says Kinberg, who recalls that his fascination began at a young age.

As a comics aficionado, Kinberg says he had shaped the aesthetic look and darker feel of the film visually before the project started.

"I didn't think I'd be responsible for being a part of bringing Dark Phoenix to screen, but when the time came to actually sit down and start thinking about the next X-Men movie, I just couldn't imagine handing this story to someone else to direct," he adds.

The London-born, American filmmaker reveals that he collected bits and pieces from other films to create "mood boards", an array of images and materials to evoke the film's style.

He even had a mood soundtrack and a score that mostly comprised pieces by celebrated German musician Hans Zimmer. Kinberg eventually invited Zimmer to compose the soundtrack for Dark Phoenix. Over his 40-year career to date, Zimmer has composed music for more than 200 films, including The Dark Knight, Gladiator and Interstellar, as well as winning an Academy Award in 1995 for best original score with Disney's The Lion King.

As well as Zimmer, Kinberg's experience as a producer provides him with a rich resource to convince the best in the business to join the team, recruiting top talent in a wide range from the cinematographer to the costume designer.

Reprising her role of Grey from X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), British actress, Turner, is familiar to Chinese fans as Sansa Stark from the recently-concluded HBO fantasy TV series, Game of Thrones.

Comparing the two characters, Turner says both are strong and powerful women, but the challenge of playing Dark Phoenix was researching mental illness to understand how two different personalities can inhabit - and clash - in one body.

"This girl (Grey) is fighting with herself. She really struggles through this movie," explains Turner.

Fassbender, who will appear as the powerful mutant, Magneto, for the fourth time, says the past 10 years has given him opportunities to "explore the character in different stages in his life".

Describing the shooting of the films as "a wonderful journey", Fassbender says the X-Men franchise has also affected his own life. "It has allowed me to set up my own production company and get smaller films made."

McAvoy, who stars as the founder and leader of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier, for the fifth time, says the role has always been that of a helpful and positive force in the stories, which will continue in the new film, albeit with a more driven edge.

One of the things that makes Professor X a darker figure this time is that he's more interested in spreading the message of integration between humankind and mutants than just protecting the mutants, says McAvoy.

As of Tuesday, X-Men: Dark Phoenix had topped the presale box office charts for its opening day, accounting for nearly 48 percent of all the takings for Thursday's screenings in China.

 

Actress Sophie Turner, who reprises her role of Jean Grey in the new X-Men: Dark Phoenix film, displays a Chinese dress embroidered with phoenixes during her Beijing tour on May 30.

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2019-06-06 08:05:51
<![CDATA[Chinese auteur seeks inspiration from the dark side]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478258.htm CANNES, France - "As a filmmaker, my view is always from the people who are living at the bottom of society, this is my perspective," Chinese film director Diao Yinan says.

"There is something very universal about a story like this, because the same character, wherever he might be, he will be punished and he might be shot at the end as well," says Diao, whose movie The Wild Goose Lake was presented in the main competition section at the 72nd edition of the Cannes International Film Festival which ended on May 25.

The film tells the story of a gang leader - on the run after a murder - who is seeking redemption, and a girl in trouble who is ready to risk everything to gain her freedom. In a dark and gloomy atmosphere, both are hunted on the hidden shores of the Wild Goose Lake. And they set a deadly gamble for what may be their last day.

Speaking about the movie, Diao says: "I don't see this as a uniquely Chinese situation in the sense that this could happen in China. I do think that there is something universal about humanity; the way we react and behave in certain situations and environments."

The film took a long time to emerge.

After winning an international award for an earlier film in 2014, the director took a break of a year, then he spent two years developing the script, another year putting together the cast and finally one more year to shoot the film.

"It is a universal fact that sooner or later we are going to die," says Diao. "I think that what is different, in terms of the standpoint of this film, is that we dramatize the fact that it is more important to reflect on what is the value of life and what it means to live."

Diao says that for one of the characters, the final reward justifies the journey to get them through the sense of fear and to find courage.

"We all have things that we are suffering from, or challenges that we face. This is a dramatized version of the struggle we all go through," says the movie director.

Lovers of film noir will recognize the influence of many noir classics from the United States, and also new French noir films inspired by the same classics.

"As a genre I think it is as much about the sense of cynicism that exists in a society, but that cynicism is not serious. My characters are seriously cynical in what they are examining and exploring, so I think what I like is this seriousness of being cynical and very critical about something they want to say and express," he says.

Asked about his inspiration from noir films, the director says: "The way I arrived at this particular noir genre was not on purpose, the stories I write about reflect the reality in China, they incidentally include all the signature elements of the film noir genre."

Speaking about the movie's locations, the Chinese director stressed that at a philosophical level, the areas he scouted and decided to use had a lot to do with his upbringing.

He grew up in a suburban area and not in a metropolis. So he felt he knows the people who are in that type of community.

"In this particular film, I thought it makes sense for someone on the run from crime that they will not go to very bright spaces. So I tried to find a dark and dreary place, with a shadowy underworld which would be a good place to hide. This situation creates a sort of dystopia for the people and the person who is on the run," he says.

Diao was featured in the competition section at the Cannes festival in 2007, with his movie Night Train.

In 2014, he won the Golden Bear of the Berlin film festival with the film Black Coal, Thin Ice.

Xinhua

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2019-06-06 08:05:51
<![CDATA[Japanese director drawn to China's 'charm']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478257.htm "I can see that the door of the Chinese film industry is now wide open," says Japanese film director Yojiro Takita as he sits on a sofa in a Beijing hotel.

After attending the opening ceremony of the Asian Film and TV Week at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in the city on May 16, he spent a few minutes discussing the vitality of China's movie industry.

"I'm becoming more and more attracted to the history and charm of China," Takita says in the interview.

His film Departures, which tells a story of a young embalmer, earned Takita an Academy Award for best foreign language film in 2009.

Talking about his choice of subject matter for the film, Takita says despite many practicing embalming in Japan, it is still a profession that remains distant to the general public.

"This profession is so close to death and yet also very far away. I was attracted by its sense of mystery," he says.

The award helped to boost his career and garnered him many job offers from around the world, including China.

Takita says: "The award recognized my investment in film production. It encouraged me to believe that no matter how minor the theme is, I can still convey my thoughts to the world by shooting and producing a film with a serious attitude."

Last November, Takita finished filming his first Chinese production, Silence of Smoke, in Yunnan province.

Adapted from a novella by Chinese writer Xin You, the film tells the story of a family that has been making cakes for eight generations and explores the theme of continuing traditions.

Takita enjoyed being involved in the scriptwriting process and the freedom it offered.

"The Chinese film industry is developing rapidly and the local film market is expanding quickly as well," he says. "But there are always things in the world that are worth taking the time to examine more closely, such as the topic discussed in Silence of Smoke," he says. "I want to convey the emotions that lie deep within people's hearts."

Takita also applauds the film's three main actors, Zhang Guoli, Han Geng and Xu Qing, who he became friends with during their many discussions over the course of the shoot.

"I'm glad that we exchanged ideas frankly as people from different countries. Together, we built up a great chemistry," Takita says.

Takita says although the working practices in the Chinese and Japanese film industries are different, having a Japanese director oversee a Chinese production was useful to both sides.

"If Japanese films attract Chinese audiences with their delicate storytelling and rich sentimental color, then the Chinese ones attract Japanese audiences with their cultural affinity, the mystery of the country and the strength of their productions," he says. "The two industries coming together is like a marriage."

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2019-06-06 08:05:51
<![CDATA[When the spirit moves you]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478256.htm Before a show at the National Centre for the Performing Arts on May 21, groups of artists in ethnic costumes began dancing jovially in the theater lobby, turning the space into an unlikely venue for an impromptu celebration of folk culture.

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The capital played host to the fifth installment of the Chen Xiang folk series, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

Before a show at the National Centre for the Performing Arts on May 21, groups of artists in ethnic costumes began dancing jovially in the theater lobby, turning the space into an unlikely venue for an impromptu celebration of folk culture.

The dancers were students from the Beijing Dance Academy's Chinese Ethnic and Folk Dance Department. Under the instruction of teachers from the academy and local dance inheritors, together they presented the fifth installment of the academy's folk dance series, Chen Xiang, on May 21 and 22.

Chen Xiang is a series of dance galas that started in 2014, where each production presents around a dozen folk dances, most of which belong to Chinese minority ethnic groups. Literally, chen xiang here refers to the obscure charms of historic art forms.

This year, the dance compilation extended to 14 folk dance performances of eight ethnic groups' styles, including four Han style dances, as well as two dances from overseas.

At the curtain call, the local inheritors of these dance styles also took to the stage with the students, offering the audience an authentic taste of their folk culture.

The performances included a Taiping drum dance, which is popular in the Mentougou and Shijingshan districts of western Beijing and was listed among the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage in 2006.

The inheritor, Gao Hongwei, says the dance style was particularly popular among his grandmother's generation. At the time, the locals would gather in the fields, dancing and drumming as a form of entertainment.

"The greatest characteristic of this dance is the unity between the performer and the drum. The performer needs to dance with the drum and drumstick in their hands and play at the same time, so the drum appears to fly around the dancer," Gao says.

Having provided dance training to the university students for over a year, Gao says that they now have an overall mastery of all the elements of the dance and the project has had a substantial effect on the inheritance of intangible cultural heritage.

Since 2017, the project has been led by Huang Yihua, director of the Chinese Ethnic and Folk Dance Department. Under her advocacy, Chen Xiang has been incorporating folk dance forms from other countries, in particular countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. For example, the fourth installment of Chen Xiang included a traditional dance from Romania.

Continuing this approach, this year's compilation includes two dances from foreign countries, one of them being the Serbian traditional folk dance, kolo, which was chosen by teachers at the academy who visited Serbia on a field trip.

Yuan Jia, a teacher of Chinese ethnic and folk dance and a tutor at the dance rehearsals, says the group from the academy found many similarities between the Serbian and Chinese folk dances.

"Like most folk dances, which are usually performed during a harvest or at a festive occasion, it also expresses a kind of wish for auspiciousness. The state of the dancers, and their expression, is one of excitement, joy and composure," Yuan says.

Huang says that she was touched to learn that the folk dances from foreign countries often express similar sentiments to Chinese folk dances, such as the longing for love and peace. "Although our aesthetics may differ somewhat, we have the same dreams, the same emotions."

Huang says the academy adopted two approaches to help the students learn the folk dances. For some forms of dance, students took part in field trips to learn the dance moves and their cultural origins. However, due to the great number of students participating in the project, for other dances, the academy invited the local inheritors to Beijing to instruct the students.

Liu Yangjie, a senior student at the academy, has been studying Samul nori, a Korean folk genre that combines music and dance, from Chinese teacher Chi Dongdong since her sophomore year.

Liu says that receiving instructions from a local inheritor has deepened her understanding of the art form. Especially for this year's project, the academy invited a representative dancer from South Korea to instruct the students.

"I feel that I can present the art form more accurately. It's more than just technique. As performers, we need to have the urge to present it from the bottom of our hearts, just like the inheritor," Liu says. "He (the dancer) has devoted over 40 years, nearly his entire life, to the art form, and I respect him very much."

By combining research, tuition and performance, the project aims to involve more students and teachers in the preservation of folk dances, while bringing declining art forms to a wider audience.

"As an institute of research and education, we have a duty to continue with this project to study the ways of inheriting folk art, as well as learning the art forms themselves," Huang says.  

Students from the Beijing Dance Academy perform a Taiping drum dance, which is popular in the Mentougou and Shijingshan districts of Beijing, at this year's installment of the Chen Xiang series at the National Center for the Performing Arts.  

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2019-06-06 08:05:51
<![CDATA[Chinese folk legend Liu Sanjie gets modern dance makeover]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478255.htm Among the myths and legends of the Zhuang ethnic group, Liu Sanjie, a folk singer known as the "Song Fairy", is perhaps one of their most iconic figures. With her songs, it is said, she gives a voice to the impoverished and people who suffer from inequality as she sings about her yearning for love.

Stories about the Song Fairy have many versions and have been adapted into various productions for stage and cinema, one of the most renowned being the 1960 film, Liu Sanjie, which left China with several timeless folk songs.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, an eponymous dance drama launches a nationwide tour beginning with a production at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on May 22.

Roughly based on the plot of the 1960 film, the dance drama tells the story of how Liu Sanjie and the male protagonist, A Niu, fight against oppressive forces, express their love for each other and demonstrate the integrity and courage of the Zhuang people.

Although Liu Sanjie is known for her euphonious singing, the performance uses dance moves to express the characters' emotions and narrate the story, for example, by presenting the romance between Liu and A Niu as a dance duet.

The classic folk songs have also been preserved, as the performance uses the original soundtrack from the film in certain scenes.

As the story is set in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, its choreography includes dance elements unique to the Zhuang ethnic group, such as the frog dance and phoenix hand gesture.

Meanwhile, the show also endeavors to update the retelling of the story by incorporating popular modern dance styles such as street dance and Latin techniques.

"We have integrated these modern dance elements into the foundation of folk dance to appeal to the aesthetics of the younger generation," director Ding Wei says. "It is necessary for young people to value our folk culture in order for our culture to be remembered and inherited."

These modern dance styles also make it possible to present the antagonists in a comical way, adding humor to the dance drama.

The portrayal of Liu Sanjie is also built on a modern interpretation. Rather than deifying this role, the show's creators preferred to present a character who is no different to ordinary people.

According to Ding, in this production, Liu is an independent woman who supports herself by picking tea, weaving nets and cutting wood, and, like the youth of today, she longs for love and cannot stand injustice.

The new show's playwright, Feng Shuangbai, says that such a new interpretation is in accordance with the changing era and fits the values of the younger generation.

The protagonist is portrayed by young dancer Wang Qian, who says that she put a lot of effort into researching and presenting the character: "Apart from the director's guidance, I watched the original film repeatedly to imitate the film actor's demeanor and gestures, before later adding my own interpretation.

"Presenting this folk singer only through dance is quite a challenge, so I have to exaggerate and vary my body language and my expressions to convey my emotions to the audience," Wang adds.

Huang Wanqiu, the original actress who portrayed the titular character in the film Liu Sanjie, is working on the production as an artistic consultant, and she acknowledges it as "a treasure of China's dance drama".

"The cast are using their creative dance styles to portray the charm and spirit of Liu Sanjie, and I feel each character is very accurately and vividly presented," Huang says.

Since its debut in Guangxi in September 2018, the dance drama has been performed at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

Huang says she is happy that the dance drama is bringing Liu Sanjie and Guangxi folk culture to a bigger stage: "The story of Liu Sanjie has conveyed optimism, truthfulness, compassion and beauty to a lot of people through folk songs. I think she embodies the cultural confidence of Guangxi, and even China."

 

Dance drama Liu Sanjie incorporates modern dance styles to present antagonists in a comical way. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-06-06 08:05:51
<![CDATA[Tribute to action]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478254.htm Jackie Chan, the iconic action star behind more than 200 movies, is using his celebrity power to earn recognition for stunt performers in cinema. The long-ignored group faces challenges while shooting, including injuries, and is often not given enough time on the big screen.

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The fifth edition of Jackie Chan's film festival will be held in Datong, Xu Fan reports.

Jackie Chan, the iconic action star behind more than 200 movies, is using his celebrity power to earn recognition for stunt performers in cinema. The long-ignored group faces challenges while shooting, including injuries, and is often not given enough time on the big screen.

And toward this end, the Jackie Chan International Action Film Week will hold its latest edition in the ancient city of Datong, Shanxi province, from July 21 to 27.

The annual event was held in Shanghai for its first three years and moved to Shanxi in 2018.

"I wanted to launch this event more than 20 years ago, but I didn't know how to make it happen back then," Chan said at a news conference in Beijing on June 2.

He describes the festival as "a dream come true".

Over the past few decades, Chan has participated in many festivals, but he says he was disappointed to see that few had special sections shedding light on films' dangerous stunt jobs.

Chan, 65, began his career as a stuntman in the Hong Kong film industry in the early 1970s.

Back then, he earned little playing extra characters or working as stand-ins for lead actors. He also suffered from falls, kicks and punches on set.

"It's hard to imagine how tough a stuntman's life can be," he says, adding that he believes the group should be rewarded.

The weeklong film festival he launched presents the Steel Man Awards as its top honor, a set of 11 awards in the action genre for best feature, director, actor, actress and stand-in.

A global solicitation process for potential contenders for the awards was launched in April. So far, more than 800 companies in over 50 countries and regions have responded, says Cai Liang, an organizer of the Datong edition. The selected films will be screened in 19 cinemas in the city and all member cinemas of Jackie Chan Theater International, a theater chain co-founded by Chan and Hong Kong company Sparkle Roll Group.

Film critics will discuss new trends in action films in Asia, covering Chinese martial arts films directed by Xu Haofeng and Lu Yang, Thai films featuring Muay Thai and more.

Wang Cheng, producer of the popular Chinese TV program, Movie Talk, and an organizer of one of the forums, says his team is working to invite 12 stunt performers' associations from nine countries, including Russia, Britain, Japan, Germany and Thailand.

"This is a new part of the festival that will be launched this year," says Wang, adding that international stunt veterans will discuss their survival and development at a time when computer-generated imaging can easily turn a human into an action figure or superhero on screen.

In addition to celebrating action films, the Datong event is boosting tourism in the city, which is known for the UNESCO heritage site, the Yungang Grottoes, and the Hanging Temple. During last year's festival, some 1.4 million tourists visited Datong, an increase of 47 percent year-on-year compared to the same period in 2017, according to the festival organizers.

They say the 2018 event also garnered 170 million views for related content on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

As an initiator of a campaign to use his celebrity influence to help impoverished areas in China, Chan will visit several locations in and around Datong during this year's event. Last year, the campaign saw more than 30 Chinese film stars, including Chen Kun, Zhou Xun and Huang Xiaoming, tour impoverished areas to promote local productions and tourist attractions.

 

Action giant Jackie Chan alongside a group of stunt performers during the Beijing media conference of the fifth Jackie Chan International Action Film Week on June 2. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-06-06 08:05:51
<![CDATA[Events to mark discovery of oracle-bone inscriptions]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478253.htm China will hold a series of events to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the discovery of oracle-bone inscriptions, the Ministry of Education announced recently.

Tian Lixin, head of the department of language application and information management under the ministry, says the ministry will host the events jointly with the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Henan provincial government.

The events will include a workshop in Beijing, a themed exhibition at the National Museum of China as well as an international symposium in Anyang, Henan province, in September and October, Tian says.

Tian says the authorities will also take various steps, such as setting up an expert committee and initiating research programs to support the study and application of oracle-bone inscriptions and other ancient Chinese writings.

"These efforts are to dig into the history, ideas and culture of the language and to showcase the essence of Chinese civilization," the official says.

Jiaguwen, or oracle-bone inscriptions, are ancient Chinese writings carved on tortoise shells and animal bones. They are a primitive form of Chinese characters and the oldest fully developed characters in China.

Oracle-bone inscriptions are one of the four ancient characters in the world and the only text in ancient Chinese characters that has been passed down to the present.

Xinhua

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2019-06-06 08:05:51
<![CDATA[Contemporary Chinese artworks on show in Cuba]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/06/content_37478252.htm

HAVANA - A contemporary Chinese art exhibition was inaugurated recently in Cuba's capital, Havana, offering local people an opportunity to learn about the Chinese view of life and see artworks up close.

Themed "Faces around us in silence", the exhibition of more than 50 works by three contemporary Chinese artists - Yue Minjun, Lou Min and Wu Yuan - opened at the Palacio de Lombillo Museum in a historical district in Havana and will run through June 28.

Yue says: "My paintings feature rich colors and a strong contrast between light and shadow, just like the visual impression this country brings me, which is intense sunlight."

The artists also use lithographs, oil on canvas and ink on rice paper to depict faces and characters in the works that reflect their inner worlds and individual pursuits.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Zhao Xiaoming, the cultural adviser of the Chinese embassy in Cuba, said: "Art is always a universal language, no matter what the distance between the artists and the audience."

And the artworks help "strengthen the bond of cultural exchange and promote understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Cuban people".

Exchanges between China and Cuba can be traced back to the 19th century, when Chinese immigrants first landed on the island, which partly explains why the Cubans are keen on Chinese art and want to update their knowledge of the country.

Aliana Martinez, the curator of the museum, described the exhibition as a "gift" to Cubans, saying, "It is very important because sometimes we have the cliche of seeing China only as an ancient nation, while actually there are many contemporary artists showcasing modern new life."

Xinhua

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2019-06-06 08:05:51
<![CDATA[The joys on living and wandering around Beijing's streets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477651.htm We arrived in China's capital in early May, one of those blessedly cool days when the sky is a deep blue and a slight breeze whipped the leaves on the trees in Huixin Dongjie.

Beijing has its good and bad days when it comes to air quality. When the wind is blowing and a pitter-patter drizzle has washed out the sky, the views can be entrancing.

The discovery process begins with friends who have lived here. One tipped me off where the nearest grocery was, and then pointed me to a good coffee house where you can watch some movies.

You have to understand. A traveling journalist cannot function without a cup of coffee. That's about the only time one snaps awake during a day that can be blurred by editing one story after another.

The first skill I picked up living in cities from Singapore to New York to Hong Kong is mastering the subway system. The same is true of Beijing.

This became handy when I and my wife decided to go one Saturday afternoon to the Panjiayuan antique market. My wife loves rummaging through a flea market.

From our place, it was a 10 or 11 stop ride to the Panjiayuan station on subway Line 10.

We went to the back lot where all sorts of jewelry and jade were laid out on the ground by sellers who watched over their goods, WeChat pay apps on their cellphones at the ready.

There were no smoking signs nearby, but the men puffed away all the same.

There were a lot of blue-and-white colored materials being hawked in the market. They seem to have come from the same establishment, but that is hard to tell.

We were drawn to this yellow-hued orange ladle and gingerly asked the salesman "how much?"

He replied on his calculator: 1,200 yuan ($174). We began to walk away because it was too rich for our blood. Put another way, we just could not afford it.

The guy went after us and said 800 yuan, persistently asking if we could bargain over the price. We still said no and smilingly told the man the price was simply too high for us. It took about three attempts before he gave up.

After Panjiayuan, we decided to make our way to the center of town at Wangfujing Street.

To do that meant hopping on Line 10 and transferring to Line 1, the oldest subway line in the city. The only thing we noticed about changing lines is how far you needed to walk before you can get to the next train.

When it is past lunchtime and you are famished that can be daunting.

Maybe it is my age. When you are nearly 60, physical exertion can get problematic unless you are an ultramarathoner who runs in Death Valley, California.

The main attraction of the street for us were not the brand stores, the duck restaurants, or the Victoria's Secret lingerie shop occupying half a block.

Instead, we headed straight for the shop selling Chinese cakes that we called hopia back in my native land, the Philippines.

They are really small cakes with a filling in the middle ranging from coconut to grounded peanuts to sweet yams. There are spicy cakes that leave a mark on your palate.

We bought four to taste back in our apartment, and then promised ourselves we would be back for more in the weeks ahead.

We want to basically try every variety of hopia there is in that store.

There are four bulls crusted with flecks of gold in the middle of Wangfujing street, a natural attraction for selfies for the smartphone generation.

I took my wife's picture while she sat near several bulls, until a smiling officer told her one is not allowed to sit there. We apologized to the officer, who looked a little stretched and harassed trying to get everybody else not to sit near the bulls.

The joy of living in a "new" city is really discovering what is right around the corner.

I guess as far as Beijing is concerned, we are only just beginning.

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2019-06-05 07:25:38
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477650.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On June 5, 1990, the first Postal and Telecommunication Expo China opened in Beijing, resulting in 70 companies from 13 countries and regions showcasing their latest telecom products, as seen in the item from China Daily.

Last year, more than 400 exhibitors from home and abroad gathered at the annual telecom exhibition.

Hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the event has developed into a major fair in Asian telecommunications.

This year, the 28th PT Expo China will be held in the capital from Oct 31 to Nov 3.

The products showcased at the fair in recent decades indicate the dramatic change in the country's telecom sector thanks to rapid economic growth and technology development.

Easy access to the internet and the proliferation of mobile devices have changed the way we communicate.

The rapid growth of social-networking platforms has further allowed people to maintain closer ties with friends and family via text, audio or video.

To guarantee the large demand of data transmission, Chinese companies have ramped up efforts to develop the next generation of mobile communication technologies, such as the high-speed fifth-generation network.

The 5G technology will be able to transmit data more than 10 times faster than the current 4G system, and will take on tasks that are impossible in the 4G era, such as overseeing self-driving vehicles.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that China will soon issue licenses for the commercialization of 5G.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said 5G is entering a critical period of commercial deployment globally and China's 5G industry has established a competitive advantage through a combination of innovation and open cooperation.

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2019-06-05 07:25:38
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477649.htm Female pilot, 82, makes record flight in Beijing

An 82-year-old female pilot has set a record in China's aviation industry after flying a small plane over Beijing for 40 minutes last week. Accompanied by a flight trainer, Miao Xiaohong controlled the Tecnam P2010 plane on takeoff and then performed a number of turns, climbs, and dives before landing safely. After stepping down from the plane, Miao, who has been retired for 30 years, said she felt great, and that her heartbeat was normal.

4,400 steps a day enough to reduce early death

Walking 4,400 steps a day is enough to slash the risk of dying early, a study suggests. Harvard professor I-Min Lee said: "Our study amplifies the message, 'Step more - even a little more is helpful'." The Harvard University team analyzed data from 16,741 elderly women who wore tracking devices for a week. Their health was monitored for an average of more than four years, during which time 504 died. Those who regularly did 4,400 steps a day had a 41 percent lower risk of dying in that time than those taking just 2,700 steps. Those who did 8,400 steps a day were 58 percent less likely to die within four years. Death rates decreased as the number of steps increased before leveling off at about 7,500 a day. "We hope these findings provide encouragement for individuals for whom 10,000 steps a day may seem unattainable," Lee said.

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2019-06-05 07:25:38
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477648.htm People: Sparks fly with proposal at volcano

When US travel blogger Jarod popped the question to his girlfriend, Alison, he decided to up the ante even further by doing it somewhere completely out of the ordinary - while the couple perched at the top of a 2,300-meter active volcano in Indonesia. The couple was climbing their first volcano, Mount Bromo, when Jarod asked for his girlfriend's hand in marriage.

Travel: Sky Mirror tops Guinness record list

The Sky Mirror glass viewing platform in Huangshi, Hubei province, has been officially named the world's biggest glass viewing platform by the Guinness Book of World Records. Opened to the public on Jan 26, the platform was built with 500 metric tons of steel and 1,500 square meters of glass. The largest single piece of glass is 18 sq m. Visitors can walk on the 700-sq-m glass floor.

Events: Heritage day to focus on historic sites

Cultural events will be held on Saturday across China to celebrate Cultural and Natural Heritage Day, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This year's theme highlights the protection of revolutionary-themed cultural heritage sites. A symposium of more than 100 delegates on the protection of such sites will be held in Yan'an, Shaanxi province. On intangible cultural heritage, Guangzhou, in Guangdong province, will be the main venue for the celebration. According to the ministry, an estimated 3,200 events, including contests, expos and exhibitions will be held nationwide on Saturday. The Cultural and Natural Heritage Day falls on the second Saturday of June every year.

World: Cheese rolling is all down hill in UK

The Cheese Rolling race is held every year at Cooper's Hill, Gloucestershire, in the United Kingdom. It normally takes place on the last Saturday in May, with a Master of Ceremonies presiding over the unusual event. It has been celebrated for centuries and is thought to have its roots in a pagan festival to celebrate the return of spring. The event has grown a bit beyond that to attract international attention in the past few years. There are typically five downhill races - four for men, one for women.

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2019-06-05 07:25:38
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477647.htm King Lear by Suzuki Company of Toga

When: June 6-8, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It depicts the gradual descent into madness of a king after he disposes of his kingdom by bequeathing his power and land to two of his three daughters in exchange for insincere declarations of love, bringing tragic consequences for all.

First staged in 1606, the play's nihilism has heavily influenced modern drama.

Tadashi Suzuki is a Japanese theater director, writer and philosopher. He is the founder and director of the Suzuki Company of Toga, organizer of Japan's first international theater festival - the Toga Festival.

A Streetcar Named Desire

When: June 6-23, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center

The Mandarin version of A Streetcar Named Desire will be performed onstage in Shanghai.

The original play of the same name was written by Tennessee Williams in 1947 and has been recognized as a modern classic of US literature.

It was made into a movie in 1951, with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando creating two of the most iconic figures in film history.

In the play, Blanche, a former schoolteacher of English, moves in with her younger married sister, Stella, after losing their family home.

Blanche finds Stella's working-class husband, Stanley, loud and rough, while in return Stanley dislikes his sister-in-law. Yet Blanche stays on, and makes friends with Stanley's poker-game pal Mitch. But the conflict between Blanche and Stanley escalates, as he digs out her scandalous history.

Romeo and Juliet

When: June 9-23, 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Century Theater

Romeo and Juliet is a hit musical show bringing a timeless story and mythical characters to life. The story and message of the play talks to all generations.

The emblematic story is filled with all the timeless ingredients of the best plots: thwarted love, secret marriage, magic potions, feigned death, chance and fatal misunderstandings.

The lovers of Verona have acquired immortal status, thanks to Shakespeare's words and for the obstinate force of their love, which transcends death.

The Wizard of Oz

When: June 13-30, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

One day, a young girl, Dorothy, and her dog, Toto, are caught in a cyclone that deposits them and their farmhouse in the magical Land of Oz. The falling house kills the Wicked Witch of the East, and Dorothy gets the magical silver slippers that once belonged to the witch.

This production of The Wizard of Oz is a spectacular celebration of that classic 1939 MGM film. It's a new, refreshed and lavish rendition of the beloved classic.

Audiences will be dazzled by the brightly colored sets, charmed by its timeless score and enthralled with its breathtaking special effects.

It's a wonderful show for the whole family. Whether it creates new memories or conjures them up from the past, everyone deserves to experience or relive the wonderful story.

Skylight

When: June 11-July 7, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center

Established in 1995, Skylight was a major hit in London's West End. The director, screenwriter and playwright David Hare is part of the great English tradition of political and popular theater. He portrays two characters united by a devouring love affair but divided by their social status.

On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant, a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently passed away.

As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires.

This adaptation by Claudia Stavisky is the second collaboration of the director with the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. In 2015, she helped produce Blackbird by David Harrower. The show was presented in a number of Chinese cities, including Beijing.

Suchmos China Tour 2019

When: June 16, 8:30 pm

Where: Tango Livehouse, Beijing

Suchmos is a Japanese rock band that formed in January 2013. The band was inspired by rock, a bit of jazz and a little hip-hop and adapted their name from Louis Armstrong's nickname, Satchmo.

They brought their name to the mainstream with Stay Tune, which was used in a TV car commercial. Their sophisticated musicality as well as their street-oriented presence attracts attention and sends them to covers of fashion and culture magazines.

Last summer saw the band perform on the main stages of 14 rock festivals, such as Summer Sonic and Rising Sun Rock Festival.

Christopher Nissen China Tour 2019

When: June 21, 7:30 pm

Where: Bandai Namco Shanghai Base Dream Hall

Danish singer Christopher Nissen is back in China with his new album Under the Surface. He shares perspectives on his daily thoughts and inner struggles in the album. It delves into themes on how to cope with a constant flow of seemingly perfect life, with a conclusion that "nobody is perfect under the surface".

Signed to EMI Denmark, he won an award at the Danish Music Awards 2012.

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2019-06-05 07:25:38
<![CDATA[Artists who simply make an impression]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477646.htm Organization helps talented painters overcome challenges of life to draw their own future, Fang Aiqing reports.

In terms of making an impression, three works at the entrance of 5 Colours Foundation's booth at the 2019 Art Chengdu International Art Fair could be described as impressionist.

The portraits by Xie Xinxin were truly eye-catching. Their bold colors, bouncy strokes and expressiveness seemed to almost demand attention.

The love and happiness they exuded came from her flamboyant depiction of an old couple and a man whom she imagined with green hair.

 

Clockwise from top: Students attend a class in Chengdu, Sichuan province, under the guidance of a teacher from 5 Colours Foundation, a charity helping people with physical and mental challenges. Three portraits by Xie Xinxin. Zeng Liaoying depicts cats with lots of detail and imagination. An artwork with straight lines and bright colors by Tan Haoyue. An illustration made with colored pencils by Liao Yaoyao. Photos Provided to China Daily

Another work was a standing bird where details captured the eye and riveted the viewer. The background was smeared with simple colors, the bird was drawn with dots and lines - short and long, floating and curly - and the colors showed contrast and meticulous layering.

Her drawing teacher, He Linlin, says the painting shows her distinctive techniques in dealing with point, line and plane, which embodies her sophisticated painting language.

Xie, born in 1988, lives with cerebral palsy and amentia due to a difficult birth. Her paintings highlight the vibrancy of color. She took up the brush as a child and her style reflects her ability to transmit her energy onto the canvas.

Aware of Xie's talent since childhood, her mother, Xu Yujiang, found teachers for her and took her works to exhibitions and competitions before getting in touch with 5 Colours Foundation, a charity aimed at helping people with physical and mental challenges, in 2013.

The organization, founded after the magnitude 8 earthquake hit Wenchuan, Sichuan province, on May 12, 2008, was initiated by influential contemporary painter Zhou Chunya to help children who suffered injuries in the devastating quake to use art and painting to aid them on the road to recovery.

It later expanded its remit to helping people living with mental disability. Some of the students made their way to university, studying art-related majors, and the organization helps them with tuition fees and painting materials.

They are given skills to make a living by creating their own collections or doing work related to painting after graduation.

The move also benefits their family, according to Zhou, as they see the progress made and the talent revealed.

A powerful idea

Over the past 10 years, the organization has helped 397 students in 16 locations, including Chengdu, Dujiangyan, Hanwang and Dayi in Sichuan province and Chongqing, Yushu in Northwest China's Qinghai province and Nantong in East China's Jiangsu province. A dozen of them have been to college and some have graduated, got a job and married.

Zhang Jun, secretary-general of the organization, knows that the commitment to helping these artists never ends.

Some of the current students have been with the organization since the very beginning.

Zhang initially struggled with whether to help more students or stick to the current scale, and, whether to start a designated school, or just work with local special schools and welfare institutions.

He chose the latter.

Zhou, as one of China's top contemporary artists, whose works can often fetch tens of millions of yuan in auction, values above all else the teaching quality and the stress on professionalism.

The organization has 16 staff members in total. The teachers are mainly artists who graduated from fine arts institutes in Sichuan and Chongqing, and have been creating their own works alongside the teaching.

Ren Fei, who started working there in 2015, says the situation is of mutual benefit.

As well as selecting books and other materials for reference, the teachers have developed a system of teaching based on a set of textbooks that Xiong Wenyun, artistic director of the organization, compiled in 2005 before joining the team. She made some changes and applied her theories into the education of the disabled, and, depending on students' personal condition, techniques used by adult painters would be gradually taught.

This approach focuses on the individual and it has paid dividends.

The core of the system is that the students do not make changes once they start drawing a picture.

Liao Yaoyao, one of the organization's earliest students, says that they were kept away from erasers at the beginning, or asked to draw with needle pens to cultivate their self-confidence.

The teachers want to protect creativity and encourage students to find out their individual interests and develop their own styles. This translates into more powerful work.

Despite her polio and epilepsy, Zeng Liaoying, 36, started to learn painting with He in 2013. She's created hundreds of works since, mostly of insects and cats. Each work has exquisite detail and imagination.

Zeng works as a cleaner for a living and has devoted most of her energy and enthusiasm to painting.

Tan Haoyue, 23, has a unique perspective when observing things. Fond of sports, the young man, who has autism, utilizes straight and right-angled lines, like those on a sports field.

Liao, who, at the age of 15, lost both her legs in the quake, works as an illustrator and is focused on using colored pencils.

She met Zhou when he and a group of Sichuan artists visited the victims of the disaster at the rehabilitation department of West China Hospital of Sichuan University in Chengdu and soon started learning with the organization.

Since she became interested in colored pencils at college, the teachers helped her with suitable themes and techniques.

She now earns around 3,000-4,000 yuan ($434-579) per month, the average level of new staff in her company.

Many of the works created by the students reflect local characteristics and the culture of the ethnic groups they belong to.

Two-way process

At the beginning, communication with students was difficult for art teachers like He.

Now that she has been with them for nearly six years, she knows them well and still marvels that they're able to interpret images in their own styles and have the ability to be creative and express themselves.

And the students inspire her in turn.

She recalls the first time she dared Zeng to draw on a large canvas that was 1.5 meters in width and 1.2 meters in height.

She says that Zeng answered "I dare" without hesitation, grabbed a pen and started drawing immediately - making no changes from start to finish.

"I wouldn't have the courage to dive in like that," He says.

Zhou says the students' works can also make sophisticated artists think about their own motives.

"They're sincere and unaffected by commercial considerations. They simply convey what's in their mind and that should be the original intention of all artists."

One of the students, Gao Hongying, died of spinal muscular atrophy in February 2018. Her work bears testimony to her extraordinary talent. Although she has passed away, her work lasts, revealing valuable fragments of her existence - her bed, the plants she liked, her family and scenes from her daily life.

According to Zhang, their funds stem from Zhou and donations by renowned artists, including Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Xiaogang and Fang Lijun.

The organization's major expenses are salaries and painting materials. It costs around 20,000 yuan to buy painting materials for one student per year, Zhang says.

The organization has been actively seeking more exhibition opportunities to raise the students' visibility.

Huang Zai, co-initiator of Art Chengdu International Art Fair, was among the earliest volunteers of the foundation.

A college student back then, she went with the artists to the stricken area, donating money and paintings, as well as taking rice and oil.

They also gifted picture books to children at the rehabilitation department in hospital and asked them if they wanted to learn painting.

After discussing the idea, Zhou and Huang decided to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the organization by creating a special part of the Art Chengdu event instead of just holding an exhibition at a gallery, because the event is more open to the public.

According to Zhang, the organization has been working with its counterparts in countries like France, Singapore and the United States to hold exhibitions and to discuss better ways of teaching.

They will also have a touring exhibition in South Korea soon, Zhang says.

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2019-06-05 07:25:17
<![CDATA[UK university program is a class act for pupils]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477645.htm Students from British college teach and make friends in a primary school in Guizhou province, Yang Feiyue reports.

It wasn't the presents the visitors brought with them, nor the time off classroom lessons that made the biggest impression among pupils at a rural primary school in southwestern Guizhou province. It was something much more valuable and intangible - meeting people from a faraway land and making new friends.

Li Chuanlei was thrilled when volunteers from a British university visited his school, Anqing Primary School, in Baide town, the Qianxinan Buyi and Miao autonomous prefecture, in late May.

They brought presents, including textbooks, stationery, sports goods and souvenirs but the key memory from the special day for Li was learning to play basketball and sing English songs with these "big brothers and sisters" who came all the way from the United Kingdom.

"It was fun and really different from my usual school days," says the 9-year-old boy.

The feeling that this day was a special day was reciprocated.

"For the children, it was a joy to see people from another country, but for me, it was to see kids who mean the world to me," says Neha Jasmine Rodrigues, one of the volunteer students from the University of Huddersfield who visited the primary school in May.

"These little kids had a twinkle in their eyes and their faces were glowing with smiles," she says. "A little time with them just made life seem complete, and the little knowledge and love that I could share made me feel accomplished."

Rodrigues is currently pursuing a master's degree in education at the University of Huddersfield, whose China office was behind this philanthropic program in Guizhou.

It was the seventh visit that the university has organized over the past three years, according to Allen Qi, chief brand officer of the China office with the British university that was founded in 1841. The primary school where these students volunteer to teach is the biggest of its kind in Baide town and has more than 500 pupils. Most of them come from nearby villages. Many are living with their grandparents, because their parents have left to work in the cities.

"We want college students to do something meaningful in their spare time," says Qi. "Most of our pupils are orphans or 'left-behind children'."

The goal is to enable them to experience a life vastly different from their own.

"In this way, they can better appreciate life, learn to respect others and be grateful," Qi says.

To date, the University of Huddersfield has developed cooperative relations with more than 400 institutes of higher learning in China, according to Qi.

It has staged nearly 100 charity events for rural young students on the Chinese mainland since 2015, involving many volunteers from domestic colleges.

"Every year we would recruit elite students from Huddersfield and our partners to join our volunteer programs," Qi says.

Students visit children in need and engage in a two-week teaching program at the school.

"Afterward, they will get our volunteer certificates, living allowances, and even scholarships," Qi adds.

Some Chinese students of the domestic colleges who participated in the volunteer programs, opted to study at the University of Huddersfield after joining those philanthropic events, while some students at the university continued to engage in rural teaching even after graduation.

Shi Zhonghui has already planned to visit the Anqing school soon after his graduation from Huddersfield in July.

Shi had his first interaction with the pupils back in 2017, when he came here to work as a volunteer teacher.

"I immediately felt a bond with them," Shi says.

Although Shi and his team helped the children in the weeklong program, including teaching them math, literature, music and paper-cutting, he felt he received a lot more from them.

"They taught me how to love, respect, stay curious and be kind," Shi says.

For Rodrigues, she had a special wish for the pupils.

"May they learn more with each passing day and feel loved and really cared for," she says.

 

Children at the Anqing Primary School in Guizhou's Baide town welcome a volunteer student from the British university.

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2019-06-05 07:25:17
<![CDATA[Reading race hopes to spur on bookworms]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477644.htm HANGZHOU - More than 7,000 Chinese bookworms in the Yangtze River Delta region took part in this year's reading marathon, or "readathon", on May 25 to promote reading among the public.

The event has gained popularity in China over the past few years, with this year's iteration attracting 1,400 teams who competed in 115 public libraries across Shanghai, and those in Jiangsu, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces.

All participants were required to collaborate with their team members to finish the same book in six hours before they had a closed-book test on what they had read.

In Zhejiang Library, competitors could organize their observations by mind mapping using electronic devices.

It is a good way to nurture a reading habit and show people the pleasure that can be found among the pages of a book in this era of fragmented reading, according to organizers.

The book used in the contest, translated but not yet officially published in simplified Chinese, was How to Find a Habitable Planet written by James Kasting, professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.

Zheng Yongchun, a researcher with National Astronomical Observatories of China who won the 2016 Carl Sagan Medal, spent two weeks revising his translation after the book's future publisher informed him that it had been selected for the reading event.

"Searching for a habitable planet like Earth is a topic that interests people," says Zheng, who also set and modified some of the test's questions.

The latest national reading report conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication showed that in 2018, Chinese adults, on average, each read around 4.67 books.

Xinhua

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2019-06-05 07:25:17
<![CDATA[Book on entrepreneur debuts at New York expo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477643.htm

NEW YORK - A book featuring the story of a Chinese entrepreneur made its debut at BookExpo America on May 29 as the annual gala of the publishing industry kicked off in New York City.

The English-language book, Work Is Life - How to Perform to the Best of Your Ability, tells how Che Jianxin, also the author of the book, fought his way from a village carpenter to the chairman and CEO of the Red Star Macalline Group, a leading furniture retail chain in China.

The launch of the book also marked the inauguration of the global promotion of the Chinese Entrepreneurs Series books, co-published by the China National Publications Import and Export Corporation and the New York-based Pace University Press.

"We hope Che's work will be an inspiration to people from all walks of life," said Manuela Soares, the director of the Pace University Press, at the launch ceremony.

"His philosophy that people striving to be successful in business can use this opportunity not just for material wealth, but an opportunity to cultivate oneself and to progress spiritually, is a message much needed in today's world."

Huang Ping, the Chinese consul general in New York, lauded Chinese entrepreneurs as trailblazers and pioneers in China's economic and trade cooperation with the rest of the world.

"The 40-year journey of Chinese entrepreneurs is a window on our hardworking people, on our reform and opening-up, and on the stories of these visionaries who have grown to find their place in the global economy and made their own contribution to globalization," says Huang.

The diplomat also adds that the book series will help American readers better understand what has been going on in China during the past four decades, calling for more communication and cooperation between China and the United States.

BookExpo America, one of the largest book events in North America, ran from May 29 to 31 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and attracted some 500 exhibitors from both the US and internationally, according to organizers.

Xinhua

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2019-06-05 07:25:17
<![CDATA[Issues that confront can help us bond]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477642.htm This year's Beijing International Model United Nations held in the capital had a real-world feel to it, Xing Wen reports.

More than 700 students from 160 high schools and universities from countries and regions including Britain, Germany, Canada, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia and China, participated in the 2019 Beijing International Model United Nations, held over May 23-26 by the China Foreign Affairs University.

However, what made the four-day model diplomatic event more than just a "model" this time was that the topics discussed by the delegates were inspired by several CFAU students' face-to-face conversations with senior UN officials.

"For instance, the topic 'Reform of the Dispute-solving Mechanism of the World Trade Organization' that we chose to delve into at this year's BIMUN is actually an issue that Yi Xiaozhun, the deputy director-general of the WTO talked about during our trip to its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland," says Tang Jie, president of BIMUN.

 

 

Participants of this year's Beijing International Model United Nations gather at the China Foreign Affairs University in preparation for the sessions held over May 23-26 in Beijing, where they act as diplomats for various countries or international groups and learn how to discuss on a range of issues, negotiate and compromise. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Tang was among the 10 students who won the chance to join an international youth exchange program which sent them to visit organs of the UN in Geneva and meet diplomats and UN officials in July because of their excellent performance at last year's event.

The exchange program was initiated by the Wu Jianmin Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase understanding between China and the rest of the world by supporting research, international exchanges and public charity.

The 10-member youth delegation visited the UN Office in Geneva, the WTO, the World Health Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Telecommunication Union, the UN Refugee Agency and the UN Institute for Training and Research, according to Feng Wei, secretary-general of the Beijing-based foundation.

Feng says about the trip: "This is the first time that young Chinese got to exchange views with such high-ranking UN officials, and it was also a great opportunity to connect the model with reality, and put the theory into practice.

"And I hope they can contribute to multilateral diplomacy in the future."

Tang, who will graduate from university this summer and work for the UN Development Program's China office, says his passion for diplomacy has been nurtured by these kinds of events over the past four years.

He joined the university's Model United Nations association, the organizer of BIMUN, in 2015 and was attracted by the intense but orderly work carried out by the association.

"I busy myself in preparing and running the annual conference, making my university life very fulfilling," says Tang.

He adds that the members of the association can play different roles in the annual event, such as being delegates of countries, director or assistant director of a certain committee and also act as support staff for the conference, enhancing their leadership, critical thinking and public speaking skills.

"Through the platform provided by BIMUN, you can grow from a passive learner who is told to do research, to an assistant director who has to undertake more responsibilities to communicate with delegates from different schools and universities, then to a director who is able to independently design a committee and finally to the president who supervises the running of all the 13 committees," says Tang, a senior who has now experienced all these roles during his time at the university.

The 22-year-old has won several awards in municipal and national English oratory and debate competitions, which, he says, were a result of the knowledge and materials he digested in the process of preparing for and attending these events.

BIMUN, now one of the most influential conferences of its kind in Asia, has had a big impact on Tang's career path, and is also the reason why Spanish major Huang Wanqing chose to study at CFAU three years ago.

Huang says: "I started my Model United Nations journey as I entered high school six years ago. I really longed for the chance to take part in a conference that involved real diplomats."

For the 21-year-old, these events sparked her interest in politics and history, and motivated her to take subjects like military history and regional studies of Eastern Europe.

Besides, she also found that when she was representing a certain country at these committees, she had to make clear the country's position on the topics by studying related background information and interpreting its cultural stance, which widened her horizons and enabled her to understand and admire cultural diversity.

"The skills we use to negotiate and compromise at these events also help me get to know how to communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds more efficiently in daily life," she adds.

Prak Sopheak, an international relations major from the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia who has participated in BIMUN twice, agrees.

"The event requires me to put myself into the shoes of the country that I am supposed to represent. In this way, I start to stand by the interests of the country, put forth well-founded motions and persuade other delegates to back them."

Prak says that most of the participants are from developing countries, which makes it easier for her to understand the context. And she gained a variety of perspectives by looking at the international affairs and foreign policies of other countries by exchanging views with delegates from countries such as Indonesia, Japan and Singapore.

For 19-year-old Ouyang Lu, what she learned from the event's topics engendered a wider sense of humanity and boosted her desire to improve people's well-being in underdeveloped areas.

"When searching for background information on a topic, I was often shocked by the severity of turbulence, poverty and other problems faced in some places," says the French major.

"I hope I can work for an international organization to give these people a hand and encourage more young people to join me."

Ouyang's words echo the message sent by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to BIMUN. "To achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, we need a great global mobilization that goes beyond governments, bringing people together from all walks of life and showing that international cooperation can deliver for everyone," he says.

"The voices of women and girls, and of young people, are essential. That's why the Model United Nations is so important."

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2019-06-05 07:25:17
<![CDATA[Universities join forces to forge new scientific alliance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/05/content_37477641.htm The University of Sydney and Fudan University on May 25 signed a memorandum of understanding to form the Brain and Intelligence Science Alliance aimed at fostering greater levels of cooperation in data science, neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

Academic panels from the two universities would also evaluate joint research and education projects before allocating funding to them.

"We need to work across disciplines and across oceans if our research is going to improve lives," says Michael Spence, the vice-chancellor of the University of Sydney.

"The challenges of brain disorders, computational neuroscience and the ethics of artificial intelligence can only be addressed if we get the sharpest minds working on solutions. That's why we are working with Fudan University on this important research."

Spence, who signed the memorandum on the sidelines of the Shanghai Forum 2019, which was co-hosted by Fudan University and the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies, says that it is important to expand research into cognitive neuroscience and brain disorders since dementia has become one of the deadliest disorders of today.

"This disease has enormous social and economic consequences. As we grow older, neurodegenerative disorders are going to become more and more of a pressing social issue," he says.

"These diseases also put pressure on families who have to look after children and old people at the same time. We're beginning to understand the basic mechanisms of diseases like Alzheimer's much better than before and there's a real possibility of great advances in this area."

Further study into the disease will also benefit China. According to the University of Sydney, China is home to more than 20 percent of the world's patients with dementia. Strokes are the leading cause of death in the country as well.

Spence also spoke of the implications that the AI age would have on education, saying that the traditional education model needs to change if graduates are to be armed with the right skills that are required by a workforce transformed by technology.

"Broadly speaking, students will need deep disciplinary expertise, critical thinking skills and a multidisciplinary perspective," says Spence.

"In terms of being knowledgeable in multiple disciplines, we've made it possible for students to combine subjects from anywhere in the university. It's also important to have an international perspective. As such, we ensure that at least 50 percent of our students spend part of degrees overseas. We are currently working with companies and civil society organizations in Australia, China, India, the UK and Europe which provide our students with real problems that they can work on."

Schools will also have to embrace technology to stay ahead of the curve, adds Spence. For example, the University of Sydney has developed a program that enables educators to analyze the students' performance and identify those who require remedial classes.

He notes that AI is being used by other educational institutions as well to improve student welfare by determining at-risk individuals so that they can be provided with prompt assistance.

Spence points out, too, that it is unlikely that teachers could be replaced by robots in the future, or that education would become exclusively virtual.

"Ten or 15 years ago everybody was saying that universities would become obsolete, that everyone would be doing online courses. But we are very embodied people - nobody wants to roll out of bed in the morning and do their degrees on their computer. People still want the campus experience. Students still want interaction with real human beings," he says.

"In this AI age, soft skills, interpersonal skills and cross-cultural skills are going to be much more important because these are things that computers cannot do. These are skills that you can only get from a rich, on-campus experience."

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2019-06-05 07:25:17
<![CDATA[Boston courts hear college cases where fairness is on trial]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477154.htm The wheels of justice sometimes turn at a snail's pace in the United States.

You may remember hearing about the Harvard University admissions lawsuit. I've written about the case several times because it deals with a complicated balance of ethical issues.

Harvard's accusers say the university engages in blatant racial discrimination in its admission policies. They argue that considering applicants' race and setting the academic bar higher for Asians than other ethnic groups is indefensible conduct.

Harvard's defenders say that it doesn't exclude applicants because of race. The race of ethnic minority students can be a factor supporting their admission, it says, because in some cases such students have faced more education obstacles, and because Harvard wants its student body to represent all races.

The case was filed in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions, a group of Asian-American students who argued that although their grades were demonstrably good enough, they had unfairly been denied admission to Harvard.

Hearings began at the US District Court in Boston, Massachusetts, in October, and on March 13, Time magazine reported that US District Judge Allison Burroughs was expected to issue a ruling within weeks.

In an oddly symmetrical juxtaposition, federal prosecutors from the same court announced on March 12 that they had filed charges regarding a criminal conspiracy in which wealthy parents could buy their children's way into top US colleges, including Harvard.

A college placement consultant would arrange high scores on the national tests used in college admissions, or would bribe college sport coaches to recommend a student's admission as an asset to the college team.

None of that came cheap. One parent reportedly paid $6.5 million to get his child into Stanford University.

Prosecutors said the case involved about 50 people.

Some immediately pleaded guilty. A steady stream of defendants made their way to the federal courthouse in downtown Boston.

Imagine, Boston, whose metropolitan area has 52 institutions of higher education, several of them world renowned, is the focal point of two such notorious law cases.

And the two cases couldn't be more different.

In the lawsuit against Harvard, the court has been asked to decide between opposing views of fairness in college admissions. Students for Fair Admissions, understandably, point out with Harvard's own statistics which show that the university sets a higher academic bar for Asian-American applicants than for other ethnic groups.

Surely, that constitutes racial discrimination.

Harvard argues that all students benefit from an ethnically diversified student body, one that adequately represents the whole of society.

In a vision related to the US policy of "affirmative action" - which aims to help underprivileged ethnic groups overcome social problems that keep them from experiencing true equality - Harvard considers the ethnicity of someone from a historically underprivileged, struggling ethnic minority as a positive admissions factor.

The court has been considering the case for months now, and months more may pass before a ruling. Even then, it won't be finished - the case will almost certainly go to the Supreme Court.

Regardless of which side you think is right, both make strong points in support of their contradictory but valid senses of fairness.

What incredible irony it is that the courthouse handling this case is also handling the other.

In one courtroom they deliberate on what constitutes fair college admissions, and in the other they prosecute for criminally unfair college admissions.

In one, students litigate to get the fine education they worked hard to deserve. In the other, defendants are prosecuted for illegally arranging and buying the fine education that students apparently did not work hard enough to deserve.

In one, the defendant says its policies are motivated in part by belief in the need to help the underprivileged attain equality, in the other, the defendants must concede they attempted to help the overprivileged retain superiority.

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2019-06-04 07:25:05
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477153.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On June 4, 1998, 1 million Chinese were connected to the internet and the number has grown steadily as seen in the item on July 15, 1998, from China Daily.

By the end of last year, China had 829 million netizens, or the world's largest online population, figures from the China Internet Network Information Center showed.

The internet has changed people's lives. It is seen by authorities as a new engine of economic growth.

In 2015, the government unveiled the Internet Plus strategy to integrate mobile internet, cloud computing and big data with traditional industries.

The Ministry of Commerce said in its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) that the value of e-commerce transactions is expected to reach 43.8 trillion yuan ($6.55 trillion) by 2020, with an annual growth rate of about 15 percent.

Last year, about 583 million people used mobile payments in China, up 10.7 percent year-on-year.

Moreover, approximately 600 million people used online payment in 2018, up 13 percent from 2017.

Obviously, China has been ahead of the curve compared to the rest of the world when it comes to mobile payment adoption. Six out of 10 of the world's mobile payment users live in China, according to market research company eMarketer's recent estimates.

The domestic payment duopoly, Alibaba and Tencent, have set their sights on markets outside of China, including Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. Operated by Ant Financial Services, an affiliate of Alibaba, Alipay is available in 54 countries and regions, including Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and even at Santa's village in Finland.

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2019-06-04 07:25:05
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477152.htm US visa applicants required to share online data

The State Department in the United States is requiring nearly all applicants for US visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers. In a move that's just taken effect after approval of the revised application forms, the department said it has updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa forms to request additional information, including social media identifiers, from almost all applicants. The change is expected to affect about 15 million who apply for visas to enter the US each year.

Chinese spent $290 billion on snacks last year

The annual output of the Chinese snack industry exceeds 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion), according to the Ministry of Commerce. The snack industry is the most promising sector in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. Its gross output value is expected to hit 3 trillion yuan by 2020. Experts said people now have more options and channels to buy snacks thanks to the popularity of e-commerce platforms.

Shirt turns skinny men into muscular males

Skinny men looking to get that coveted "slim and macho" look without putting in the work and breaking into a sweat at the gym can now achieve their goal pretty much instantly. All they have to do is put on the Super Macho T, a special undershirt that instantly gives them a buff physique. Developed by a Japanese company, the undershirt features inflatable air bags that go into small pockets located around the chest and upper arm areas and visually enhance the wearer's chest, biceps and triceps.

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2019-06-04 07:25:05
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477151.htm World: Foldable sofa assembled in minutes

Designed to change the way consumers buy and move sofas, the Elephant in a Box is a collapsible sofa that is delivered in a compact box and, according to its creators in the United Kingdom, takes less than five minutes to assemble and two minutes to disassemble. Engineered using honeycomb technology, the sofas, which weigh just 45 kilograms, are able to expand and recover their shape after being unpacked.

Education: Coding is popular after school

Computer coding has become popular as an after-school training course favored by parents who want to pave the way for their children's bright futures. Since 2015, the Chinese government has published guidelines encouraging schools to experiment with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) education, including coding. An AI development plan issued by the State Council in 2017 required adding courses in coding in elementary and secondary education systems, and wants institutions and companies to design software and other related games. Roughly 200 institutions and companies in China offer online or offline coding training for children.

People: Judo master, 90, still packs a punch

At the age of 90, Bill Root is Britain's oldest judo master, and still a fit fighter as he continues to teach the martial art. The grandfather first took up judo at 29 and has been an instructor for 59 years. After having his own judo club for 30 years, Bill now focuses on training senior students ages 40 to 50 to be coaches. In each 90-minute session every Wednesday, he can be seen arm-locking and choking opponents, throwing them to the floor and holding them into submission.

Heritage: Craftsmen bring park back to life

Ancient buildings are being brought back to life at a park in Bengbu, Anhui province. More than 100 skilled craftsmen are busy repairing ancient buildings at the Bengbu Ancient Residence Exhibition Park. The park is still under construction and is expected to cover more than 330 hectares upon completion - one of the country's largest spots for ancient residences.

Society: Wedding photos banned in lake reserve

The administration of the Qinghai Lake National Nature Reserve has issued a statement to ban inappropriate activities, including taking wedding photos, at the country's largest inland saltwater lake. Chen Dehui, an official with the reserve's management bureau, said it aims to protect the reserve's environment. Dubbed the "most beautiful lake in China", Qinghai Lake is vital in ensuring the ecological security of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The lake had been shrinking since the 1950s, but conservation and regional climate changes turned things around.

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2019-06-04 07:25:05
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477150.htm National Geographic: A New Age of Exploration 2.0

When: June 3-23, 9 am

Where: Beijing World Art Museum

National Geographic: A New Age of Exploration 2.0 is an exhibition showcasing the greatest hits from the long and storied history of discovery. Go on an expedition alongside scientists, adventurers and storytellers to discover how much further mankind will go.

During the event, visitors will get to see more than 100 classic images of seven themes: history, adventure, wildlife, culture, photography, Earth, and science. They will also get to walk along the amazing wall showcasing National Geographic magazine covers since 1888, to step onto an amazing virtual journey of discovery created by cutting-edge technology.

It is a visual and interactive exhibition that celebrates modern exploration and takes visitors back in time to encounter some of the most fascinating and iconic moments in the magazine's history.

Peace China Tour 2019

When: June 5, 8:30 pm

Where: Omni Space, Beijing

Peace are an English indie rock quartet, formed in Worcester. The band consists of brothers Harry (vocals, guitar) and Sam Koisser (bass), Doug Castle (guitar) and Dom Boyce (drums).

They began to receive critical acclaim in early 2012 from publications such as The Guardian and NME, who compared them to The Maccabees, Foals, Wu Lyf and Vampire Weekend. They were considered part of the B-Town movement.

Their first single, Follow Baby, was self-released in April 2012. The band then signed to Columbia Records and released their debut extended play, Delicious, in September 2012. With their debut studio album, In Love, released in 2013, the band released their lead single Wraith that year.

Cats

When: June 6-19, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and produced by Cameron Mackintosh.

It tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as "the Jellicle choice" and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, Cats first opened in the West End, London, in 1981 and then with the same creative team to Broadway in 1982. It won numerous awards, including Best Musical at both the Laurence Olivier Awards and the Tony Awards. The London production ran for 21 years and the Broadway production ran for 18 years, both setting new records.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

When: June 8, 7:30 pm and 10 pm; June 9, 6:30 pm

Where: Blue Note Beijing

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is a two-time Edison Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated trumpeter, composer and producer.

He is the nephew of jazz innovator and legendary sax man, Donald Harrison Jr. His musical tutelage began under the direction of his uncle at the age of 13. After graduating from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts in 2001, he received a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music, where he earned a degree in professional music and film scoring 30 months later. He has been heralded by Jazz Times Magazine as "Jazz's young style God".

In 2017, he released three albums, collectively titled The Centennial Trilogy, that debuted at No 1 on iTunes. The albums' launch commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recordings in 1917.

Pingtan Impression

When: June 6-9, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

This dance drama is created by dancer-choreographer Yang Liping. Pingtan is an island in Fujian province.

The 100-minute show weaves together different strands from Pingtan's traditional folk culture, such as snippets of dialect, legends, puppet and marionette shows, dragonlion dances, and recreations of rituals paying homage to Matsu, goddesses of the sea. It mainly tells the legendary love story of how the Junshan King, Pingtan's ancestor, and Pingtanlan, the daughter of the sea, fall in love and fight invaders.

Macbeth

by The Romeo and Julia Koren ensemble, Sweden

When: June 13 and 14, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Adapted and directed by Benoit Malmberg and composed by Clement Janequin and Joaquin des Prez, the 70-minute performance combines a selection of musical pieces and fragmented dialogue.

Romeo and Julia Koren's Macbeth premiered in 1997 and has since been performed at Shakespeare festivals in Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Denmark.

The ensemble was formed in 1991 and performs a mix of singing, dance and theater. It has toured more than 35 countries including China and the United States.

Turandot

When: June 20, 7:30 pm; June 21-23, 7 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Mandarin version of Turandot by the National Center for the Performing Arts depicts a love story of mystery. It is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini.

Turandot is a beautiful princess, but cold-hearted. She stipulates that any prince seeking to marry her must answer three riddles, and if he fails, he will be sentenced to death. After three princes lose their lives, Calaf, the prince of Tartary who is in exile, answers all the questions correctly. However, the princess refuses to accept defeat. Calaf generously offers Turandot a riddle of his own: if she can discover his real name by dawn, he will forfeit his life.

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2019-06-04 07:25:05
<![CDATA[Turning back the clock]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477149.htm For Wang Jin and Qi Haonan, two restorers of antique timepieces at the Palace Museum in Beijing, their months spent in quasi-seclusion in 2017 at a watchmaking studio in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, was a crucial period of exploration.

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The Palace Museum and Cartier team up to host one of the cultural institution's largest shows on the theme of craftsmanship and restoration over the centuries, Wang Kaihao reports.

For Wang Jin and Qi Haonan, two restorers of antique timepieces at the Palace Museum in Beijing, their months spent in quasi-seclusion in 2017 at a watchmaking studio in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, was a crucial period of exploration.

They took six movements of timepieces dating back to the late 18th century to the mountainous town to work on their restoration with their counterparts from Cartier, the French jewelry and watch-making house. A documentary recording the project was released online last year.

The Palace Museum, which is also known as the Forbidden City, was China's imperial palace between 1420 and 1911.

"The collaboration was not only a dialogue between the restorers but an exchange of techniques and expertise," Wang says. "We worked together in a climate of utmost sincerity, overcame a number of challenges and accomplished our mission in full."

Their success also lead them to setting up a cross-cultural mission to celebrate craftsmanship.

After the restoration, researchers from both sides began to explore the possibility of presenting a joint exhibition to showcase the splendor of timepieces through the ages. It has now expanded into a much wider plan, and one that doesn't just cover horology.

Grand show

Beyond Boundaries: Cartier and the Palace Museum Craftsmanship and Restoration Exhibition opened on Saturday at the Meridian Gate Galleries of the museum in Beijing. It places more than 800 artifacts dating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to modern times on display, making it one of the largest exhibitions in the history of the Palace Museum.

As a highlight of the exhibition, which is to run through July, the six timepieces - four clocks with exquisite decorations and two gold watches benefiting from the joint restoration - are displayed in Time Memories, one of three themed sections of the exhibition.

The Palace Museum is generally believed to hold one of the world's best collections of mechanical clocks from the 17th and 18th centuries, thanks to the wealth of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors and their habit of ordering the latest timepieces from Europe.

"The level and quality of the (timepiece) objects from the Forbidden City's collection is just extraordinary," says Pierre Rainero, Cartier's director of image, style and heritage. "It's even difficult to find their equivalent in Europe because many of them were destroyed over time."

Other precious timekeeping instruments from both institutions help to form a cultural dialogue. For example, a similar pair of gravity clocks from the collections of the Palace Museum and Cartier are presented together for juxtaposition. The clocks, whose movements are driven by gravity that makes them roll down slowly on an inclined base, both have to be reset by hand.

There are also abundant exhibits of "mystery clocks", the signature objects made by Cartier where clock hands appear to "float" on transparent dials without any apparent connection to the movement. Elements of Chinese inspiration were also used in the decoration of these timepieces.

Speaking of "beyond boundaries", the theme of the exhibition, Cartier International CEO Cyrille Vigneron explains in an interview with China Daily that "art is a universal language".

"If it touches you, it touches you," he says. "You don't have to put any words behind it... This exhibition is a journey through time, space and culture."

Echoing this idea, the exhibition's curators widened the scope of their search for artifacts to a broad range of countries and collections.

Other than artifacts from the Palace Museum and the Cartier Collection, many of the objects came from other public institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Australia, the Qatar Museums and the Musee International d'Horlogerie (International Museum of Horology) in La Chaux-de-Fonds, as well as some other private and royal collections.

The Symbols of Power section of the exhibition displays tiaras, bracelets, necklaces and other items of jewelry owned by royal courts and celebrities from all over Europe, Asia and North America, which combine to present a sparkling fiesta for the eyes. An emphasis was particularly placed on presenting the rise of the modernist style of the early 20th century, marking the birth of the Art Deco movement and plotting the evolution of fashion.

"It's difficult to say where their home is because they are part of the patrimony of history and humanity," Vigneron says.

Wang Yuegong, Chinese curator of the exhibition and director of the department at the Palace Museum studying royal life and imperial rituals, notes that it is a pity that they were unable to find a Chinese emperor in the Forbidden City who once owned Cartier jewels.

However, this absence did not curb their creativity.

"Considering that jewels represented power in the West, we have to confess that there are boundaries between the different cultures," Wang Yuegong says. "And that's the reason for mutual learning. These exhibits show visitors how the lines between different cultures can become blurred and begin to merge naturally."

His team spent months scouring the warehouses of the Palace Museum searching for symbols of Chinese power such as an imperial robe owned by Emperor Qianlong (1711-99), a gold imperial seal and chaozhu - beads worn by high officials during ceremonies at the royal court.

"Nevertheless, we can see that both the Eastern and Western traditions tend to reveal power through outstanding craftsmanship," Wang Yuegong says. "That's an emotional resonance."

Chinese inspirations

In preparation for the exhibition, Cartier also searched through its archives to reveal many of its lesser-known objects that have links with China.

Oei Hui-lan, wife of Chinese diplomat Wellington Koo (1888-1985), who is best known for being one of China's representatives at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, stands out as a fashion icon for her refined tastes in jadeite. One of the many qipao (cheongsam) she once owned appears in the exhibition on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"Since the 1930s, jadeite has emerged as a distinctive feature in jewelry that is sought after by socialites from the East and West," says Wang Hebei, a researcher at the Palace Museum.

"Ranked as one of the top gems, jadeite has become one of the few stones, whose supply, distribution channels and craftsmanship were firmly controlled by Chinese dealers, while the standards of appraisal were set out by Chinese jewelers and intellectuals."

Curators also found the first recorded Chinese customer of Cartier - Aisin-Gioro Tsai Lun. Coincidentally or not, this prince who bought a watch in Paris in 1914 happens to be the great-great-grandson of Emperor Qianlong, a major contributor to the vast collection of clocks in the Forbidden City. A similar watch to the one prince Tsai Lun bought is also on display.

According to Rainero, a passion for Chinese culture became a trend in the West during the 1920s, and fashion brands were quick to respond to the ever-growing demand. Chinese aesthetics and motifs influenced not only the design of jewelry sets, watches and clocks, but also the workmanship of specific materials, nourishing an entire process of creation.

That period is also reflected in the section Chinese Inspirations at the exhibition through artifacts made of typical materials and patterns rooted in the traditions of Chinese culture.

For instance, the Carp clock from 1925 was made of a piece of carved ancient jade depicting two fishes swimming in the waves. Carp is appreciated for its courage and tenacity in Chinese culture, allowing it to swim upstream and change into a dragon.

Elements of Chinese culture seems to be ubiquitous in European upper-class life during this era, which are reflected in a range of exhibits, from a lacquer bridge case that was once owned by the well-known Rothschild family, to a platinum brooch and a vanity case featuring dragon motifs.

As China continues to develop rapidly both economically and culturally, Vigneron says he believes that it is important to remind people of their own traditions through familiar artifacts.

"When it (the exhibition) comes here, it should be inspiring to Chinese people," Vigneron says. "Sometimes you look at things more when someone else looks at it. It's important for the young people not to say (this is) something for the grandparents. They should instead be saying to themselves, let's be inspired by them."

Since it was established in 1983, the Cartier Collection has toured more than 30 major museums around the world, and now has over 1,600 artifacts, according to curator Pascale Lepeu.

Other than Beijing, it has traveled to several other Chinese cities including Shanghai, Chengdu in Sichuan province, Shenyang in Liaoning province, and Taipei. Nevertheless, Beijing remains the only city in the world where the Cartier Collection has made a comeback. In 2009, Cartier Treasures - Jeweller to Kings, King of Jewellers was staged at the Meridian Gate Galleries.

"If you want to go beyond the boundaries of time, what can connect us with the past are objects of art or crafts," Vigneron says. "Especially if you preserve them and continue to keep them in good shape through restoration ... they can provide us with a continuous thread."

He adds: "It is not about being nostalgic, but about preparing for the future."

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2019-06-04 07:24:37
<![CDATA[Photo exhibition sprinkles stardust over Beijing's 798 Art Zone]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477148.htm In 1972, David Bowie gave birth to arguably his most famous alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust - an androgynous alien with spiky tangerine hair, theatrical makeup and brightly-colored glam rock attire. An eponymous ode to the character appears on Bowie's album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, which was released that year.

With the album, Bowie redefined glam rock and spent 18 months in the years 1972 and 1973 touring the United Kingdom, North America and Japan.

During the tour, Bowie invited a Cambridge University graduate, Mick Rock, to be his personal photographer. They first met backstage in March 1972.

Now, 65 large framed photos by Rock, which capture Bowie in his dressing room, his transformation into Ziggy Stardust, shots of his live performances and candid, private moments between the shows, are being displayed as an exhibition, entitled Bowie by Mick Rock, at 798 Space in Beijing's 798 Art Zone from May 29 to Aug 4.

The exhibition, which is supported by Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, a nonprofit museum dedicated to reflecting contemporary popular culture, and co-organized by Beijing-based indie record label, Modern Sky, also showcases performance footage of Bowie, interviews with Rock, who talks about directing Bowie's first four music videos, as well as photos of other music legends of the era taken by Rock, including Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry. It's MoPOP's first exhibition to be staged in Asia.

"Mick Rock's great eye, his unlimited access to Bowie and the trust they shared allowed him to capture, in hundreds of photographs and four music videos, the artist's transformation into Ziggy Stardust and the '70s most intriguing and otherworldly rock star," writes Jasen Emmons, director of curatorial affairs at MoPOP, of the exhibition.

The exhibition opens with a quote from Bowie: "Mick sees me the way I see myself."

It was what Bowie said to his manager when he reviewed the photos that Rock had taken for him.

Under one photo, shot in a dressing room in Scotland in 1973, a line explains Bowie's creation of Ziggy Stardust, which was heavily influenced by two classical forms of Japanese theater: Kabuki and Noh. After a six-city tour in Japan in 1973, Bowie began using a special Noh theater makeup palette, which he applied himself.

Between photos, quotes from Bowie are displayed, like "I wish myself to be a prop, if anything, for my songs. I want to be the vehicle for my songs. I would like to color the material with as much visual expression as is necessary for that song".

Rock, who was born in London in 1948, continued to create iconic images of many other great artists, including Pink Floyd co-founder, Syd Barrett, and Queen lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury.

"I got pictures of David eating, drinking coffee, having a cigarette before going onstage, making himself up. I even got shots of him asleep," says Rock. "I regarded myself as a guardian of his image, and that's true to this day."

During the 1970s, Bowie released 11 albums, including five which are considered as classics. The legendary artist died on Jan 10, 2016, two days after he released his 25th studio album, entitled Blackstar.

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2019-06-04 07:24:37
<![CDATA[An ancient city's new allure]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477147.htm Gu Zhenhong moved gracefully to the soothing traditional Chinese music onstage at a hotel in Jiangsu province's Suzhou in late May.

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Cultural development and overseas promotions are fueling Suzhou's inbound tourism, Yang Feiyue reports.

Gu Zhenhong moved gracefully to the soothing traditional Chinese music onstage at a hotel in Jiangsu province's Suzhou in late May.

Gu wore white silk clothes as he worshiped herbs before lighting them like incense. Wisps of smoke danced around him, filling the air with a pleasant aroma.

"I'd like to spend the rest of my life producing herbs," says Gu, who runs a herbal-culture center in the city.

"I want to bring people the most natural varieties."

People surrounded him after his performance. Some asked about the herbs' benefits and recipes that feature them.

Gu regularly interacts with travelers from abroad since Suzhou's cultural development and overseas promotion have drawn a growing number of inbound tourists.

Most come from Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Russia. They often visit in groups of six or eight, he says.

"They're very interested in our local culture," Gu says.

"Many experience herbal and tea rituals at our place. They sometimes wear traditional Han attire and learn ancient dances with our staff."

Gu's recent performance is part of the city government's strategy to add new cultural experiences and elements to enhance Suzhou's charm.

"Some artists have great pieces and skills but experience difficulty finding buyers while visitors don't know how to access them," says Wang Rudong, a senior official with the city's culture, radio, TV and tourism bureau.

Various innovative-product evaluations and competitions have been staged to discover folk arts that appeal to overseas travelers.

Winners receive government funding and publicity support, Wang says.

Suzhou launched a campaign starting in 2014 that invites North American travel agencies, experts and celebrities to experience the city and has engaged social media, with considerable followings on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Nearly 140,000 North Americans visited Suzhou last year, an increase of 67 percent over 2014, the local culture, radio, TV and tourism bureau reports.

Travel agencies in North America offer over 400 travel products in Suzhou, Wang says.

Wang expects the number to maintain a 7-to-8 percent growth rate this year.

It's easy for international travelers to reach since it's a roughly half-hour high-speed rail trip from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.

Suzhou's canal networks have earned it the nickname, "the Venice of the East" and its abundance of ancient gardens also makes it "China's Eden".

Eleven sites along its canals and nine classical gardens have made the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The city received more than 1.8 million inbound tourists, who spent at least one night, in 2018, compared with 1.76 million the previous year.

The influx of visitors from overseas, who often come for the sites, has pushed tourism authorities to develop more cultural experiences for them to enjoy, such as flower-arrangement and bonsai classes offered in classical gardens, Wang says.

"These are quite popular with inbound tourists, especially from the United States and Europe," he says.

Many North American houses have yards, so visitors can apply the skills they learn in Suzhou to their homes when they return, he says.

They could also learn how to craft local fans and oil-paper umbrellas, and go backstage to watch Kunqu Opera performers apply elaborate makeup.

Many pick and drink tea at Dongshan Mountain near Taihu Lake in the spring.

The abundance of inbound tourists has prompted local fan artist Sheng Chun to market classes to them.

Her company recently translated its informational materials into English.

"And we'll offer English-speaking tour guides in the future," she says.

Indeed, it seems the development of local cultural experiences will continue to contribute to the international appeal of Suzhou's classical sites.  

 

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2019-06-04 07:24:37
<![CDATA[Taiwan shines at Beijing cultural expo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477146.htm Visitors were fixated as Yeh Kuoyi swiftly twisted puzzle-like plastic pieces into different shapes at the Taiwan pavilion, during the 14th China Beijing International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo in late May.

Yeh, who's from Taiwan, invented the toys over two decades ago to help children appreciate math.

He has attended similar exhibitions on the mainland dozens of times over the past decade, he says.

"The mainland market is really big, so we come here a lot," Yeh says.

"We get good feedback. We've enjoyed steady growth from the mainland in recent years."

His toys are used by many mainland kindergartens and primary schools.

Yeh has also played a leading role in organizing other Taiwan exhibitors to participate in the Beijing expo.

Taiwan's pavilion is one of many highlights at the event, which attracted over 700 exhibitors from major domestic cities, and more than 80 countries and regions.

The expo covered 35,000 square meters and presented 17 themed areas, which featured such elements as the distinctive cultures of China and other countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Over 20 Taiwan companies displayed their creative goods, ranging from teapots and skincare products to jade items.

Mai Chuan-liang from Taiwan Ceramics Co brought more than 70 teapots and cups that incorporate feng shui to the expo. He has made ceramics for over three decades.

"Our products are handmade using a special clay from Taiwan," he says.

Mai has joined the Beijing culture exhibition many times over the years.

"People here have shown strong interest in our products," he says.

Yeh says he received many applications to participate in the expo and had to whittle them down to those that best represent Taiwan.

Plans call for more space to be available next year to enable more visitors to know more about Taiwan's creative products.

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2019-06-04 07:24:37
<![CDATA[How to be a good traveler in the 'overtourism' era]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477145.htm In Paris, the Louvre Museum closed for a day last week because workers said the crowds were too big to handle. In the Himalayas, climbers at Mount Qomolangma are concerned that the peak has gotten too crowded, contributing to the highest death toll in years.

In cities and destinations around the world, from Barcelona to Bali, "overtourism" has become a year-round problem.

When fields of wildflowers in Lake Elsinore, California, were overrun this spring by tourists seeking the perfect photo, the city tweeted bluntly about the impact of traffic jams and trampled hillsides: "We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community."

Last summer, it was a sunflower field outside of Toronto that got trampled after becoming Instagram-famous.

A mashup of discount airlines, inexpensive Airbnb rooms and social media shares have brought the blessing of tourist dollars and the growing curse of noisy crowds and even dangerous conditions to places once known for off-the-beaten-path charm or idyllic silence.

"Tourists are trampling the very attraction they've come to witness," says Joel Deichmann, a global studies professor at Bentley University in Massachusetts.

Some communities have begun pushing back with regulations and public-service announcements telling tourists to behave.

How do you visit these places without doing harm? Four tips from experts:

1. Remember, it's not all about you

Venturing far from home and experiencing an unfamiliar culture can be transformative, bringing a sense of freedom and even hedonism. But don't forget: This is already someone's culture, someone's home.

So beyond simply choosing a hotel, really research the place you want to visit. What kind of behavior is appropriate there? What are the environmental policies? If you're booking through a travel service, ask them for guidance.

"This isn't Disney," says Rachel Dodds, founder of the consulting firm Sustaining Tourism.

Pavia Rosati, founder of the travel service Fathom and co-author of the book Travel Anywhere (Hardie Grant, 2019), reminds travelers: "You are not here to just add something foreign to your collection."

It might seem logical to put on a tank top and shorts in Thailand's scorching heat. But if you're going to visit Buddhist temples, it's considered disrespectful. "Err on the side of conservative dressing," Rosati says.

Deichmann, who frequently travels abroad with his students, advises them to be sensitive and take cues from local residents. For example, he says, on a subway or bus in European cities, locals are usually reading or sitting quietly. Follow their lead: Avoid loud conversations or getting up to snap photos.

The same goes for late-night partying: If you're at an all-inclusive resort on a few hundred acres of gated lands, party as you wish. But if you're staying in an Airbnb apartment, realize that the person on the other side of the wall might need to put their baby to sleep or get up early for work.

2. Put picture-taking in perspective

With phone cameras, we've become accustomed to taking pictures constantly. But taking photos of people, their children and their homes can be invasive.

Also, respect the physical environment. It may seem obvious, but don't walk on the wildflowers to get the best photo.

And consider the risks: At Kaaterskill Falls in New York's Catskill Mountains, four tourist deaths in recent years have been attributed to attempts to take dramatic selfies.

You'll probably enjoy your experiences more fully if you spend less time snapping photos, says University of Denver assistant professor Gia Nardini, co-author of a study on the subject.

And showing restraint can help protect the place you're enjoying from overtourism.

"If you take that picture," Dodds asks, "will 1,000 people arrive the next day to take that same picture?"

3. Give back

When Rosati was planning a cruise along the Amazon River, she knew she'd be stopping in villages where children needed basics like pencils, crayons and paper. So "one-third of my suitcase was school supplies", she says. Once there, she gave them away and filled the space in her suitcase with local crafts.

Consider spending money in the local economy rather than at international hotel chains, and seek out locally owned restaurants and bars.

To help the environment, use public transportation as much as possible. "You're going to have a better experience", too, says Dodds.

Finally, take your packaging with you when you leave a place. And never buy gifts made from endangered animals or other illegal materials.

4. Say hello

"My dad used to say you need to learn to say, 'How can I get a cup of coffee' in the local language," says Dodds, author of a new book, Overtourism: Issues, Realities and Solutions (De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2019).

Even in places where many locals speak English, learning a few words in their language - please, thank you, yes, no - will earn you good will and a more authentic experience.

Also, be patient and respectful of those trying to manage the crowds. At the Louvre, union representatives had complained that renovation work around the Mona Lisa led to organizational problems, long lines and harassment of staff by tourists. They said staff numbers have diminished over the past decade, even as the number of visitors rose 20 percent.

Amid the excitement of even bucket list-level travel, Deichmann says, keep in mind: "What if this were your village?"

Associated Press

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2019-06-04 07:24:37
<![CDATA[The tale of taels]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477144.htm Silver was used as money in China for centuries during imperial times. An ongoing exhibition at Shanghai Museum, titled Silver in the History of Chinese Currency, which runs through July 28, tells the story of China's association with the metal.

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An exhibition showcases the evolution of silver as a predominant currency in imperial China, Zhang Kun reports in Shanghai.

Silver was used as money in China for centuries during imperial times. An ongoing exhibition at Shanghai Museum, titled Silver in the History of Chinese Currency, which runs through July 28, tells the story of China's association with the metal.

From ingots to coins and banknotes, the exhibition features more than 130 objects, which are from the museum's own collection, are borrowed from the China Finance and Taxation Museum in Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang province and from new archaeological discoveries in Sichuan province in the southwest and shipwrecks in the South China Sea.

Silver ingots played a significant role in political and economic activities during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), says Yang Zhigang, director of Shanghai Museum. And since the middle of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), silver became the predominant currency and the standard silver monetary system was established.

The archaeological site of Jiangkou in Sichuan's Meishan city was a battlefield along the Minjiang River. Zhang Xianzhong, a rebel-army leader in the Ming era, took large amounts of treasure and silver on a fleet sailing south on the river, where he was attacked and most of the ships with cargo sank.

The underwater archaeological team of the Sichuan Archaeology Research Institute has carried out two excavations at the site since 2016 and made one of the top 10 relics discoveries in China.

Liu Zhiyan, head of the team, says they found more than 300 official ingots in 50 tael (a unit of money) each time, plus, thousands of small ingots and broken silver.

He calls it "the most important and largest silver discovery from the Ming period".

Ten of the ingots are being shown at the Shanghai exhibition.

"We picked the most representative pieces with inscriptions that show when and where they were molded, and how much each weighs."

This information made it easy to track down any foul play or mistakes during the production and transportation process, Liu adds.

In ancient China, the tael was the basic unit by which silver and gold were measured.

One tael is equivalent to about 37 grams, according to Wu Danmin, a researcher in the bronze department of Shanghai Museum, who is also the curator of the exhibition.

Although Chinese smelted and used silver as early as the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), the metal gradually gained its status as currency in the mid-Tang Dynasty (618-907). By the Ming Dynasty, silver became the predominant currency in China, thanks to the development of global trade, Wu says.

"There had long been a shortage of silver resources in Chinese history," Wu says.

When merchants traveled along the ancient Silk Road, silver was an ideal currency because it was light in weight and high in value. On the Maritime Silk Road, silver coins came in from Spain and Mexico. Mexican silver was then characterized by the eagle pattern and was particularly popular in the Chinese market.

The site of the Nanhai No 1 shipwreck is to the south of Taishan and Yangjiang in Guangdong province. It was discovered in the late 1980s, and in 2007, the ship was hoisted from the water and placed at the Maritime Silk Road Museum in Yangjiang. The Shanghai exhibition has many silver ingots from that wreckage trapped in globs of such materials as ceramic shards and shells, which were fused together on the ocean floor after a long period of submersion.

If you go

9 am-5 pm, Tuesday-Sunday, through July 28. Shanghai Museum, No 3 exhibition hall, 4F, 201 Renmin Avenue, Huangpu district, Shanghai. 021-6372-3500.

 

Visitors view ingots at the ongoing exhibition, Silver in the History of Chinese Currency, at Shanghai Museum. Gao Erqiang / China Daily

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2019-06-04 07:24:37
<![CDATA[Italy's Uffizi gallery opens 14 new rooms]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/04/content_37477143.htm FLORENCE - Italy's Uffizi gallery is opening new rooms dedicated to 16th-and 17th-century painters, following nearly a year of renovation carried out with the help of private donors.

The 14 new rooms, spanning over 1,100 square meters, will host 105 works by Venice and Florence artists, including Titian and Tintoretto. The pieces were stored in the museum's warehouses, and about a third had not been exhibited to the public for several years.

"All these great masters are back on view here in the Uffizi in new spacious halls where we can have many visitors to admire them," says Uffizi's director, Eike Schmidt.

"It is as if a second, new museum had opened inside the gallery," he adds.

Titian's Venus of Urbino hangs in a room with two other paintings and is among the most celebrated canvas on display in the new section of the Florence art gallery.

The colors of the renovated rooms were chosen to represent the works they host: green, inspired by the drapery and wall hangings seen in numerous Venetian Renaissance paintings, and dark grey for the Florence school, echoing the stones used to build the famed gallery itself.

Federico Barocci's huge Virgin of the People (also known as Madonna del Popolo) has been placed in the Hall of Pillar, whose light-painted walls recall the atmosphere of a church. The room hosts a collection of altar pieces of the counter-reformation period.

The total cost of the renovation was around 700,000 euros ($780,000). The amount includes $100,000 for the Venus of Urbino room donated by the nonprofit association Friends of the Uffizi Galleries.

An individual member of the association, named Trish Savides, contributed $15,000 to the renovation of Lorenzo Lotto's Holy Family.

Reuters

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2019-06-04 07:24:37
<![CDATA[How technology helps people realize long cherished dreams]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/03/content_37476841.htm By the time this column appears in print, somewhere in the world someone will have introduced a new gadget or app. Such is the speed of technological progress.

When it comes to technology, I must confess I am still a novice, at best a pedestrian. Or rather in geek parlance, zillions of light years away. But one thing that has long fascinated me has been the rapid growth of technology-based applications in recent times and how they continue to blossom, despite the rising trade frictions between countries.

Although the newspapers these days are filled with stories of Chinese tech giant Huawei being subjected to unfair trade practices in developed markets like the United States, little has been said about how Chinese apps are not only gaining traction in India but making a difference through social empowerment.

My interest in the subject came after I read the story of how Ashok Kumar, from Salem, a small town in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, fulfilled his lifelong ambition of being a playback singer after he was noticed through the TikTok (Douyin) videos he posted to friends.

At first glance, there is nothing remarkable to read into the narrative, as it is an oft-repeated storyboard. But the difference here is that the user is a relatively uneducated person who is not a technology freak, and the platform is a Chinese one, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, the world's most valuable startup, valued at $75 billion.

Chinese-made smartphones are already extremely popular in India, and Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo have not only outpaced competitors including Apple, Samsung and Sony but have entered the next stage of development.

In the app space, the Chinese players are far ahead of the competition in India, having apparently found the perfect recipe for success in what is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, experts said. By the end of last year, there were 44 Chinese apps in the top 100 Google Playstore apps in India, compared with just 17 at the end of 2017, according to SensorTower, a company that offers mobile application insights and analysis.

Companies such as ByteDance have been extremely successful because of their localization strategy, said T.B. Nair, an independent commentator in Bengaluru, India. The combination of experience, resources and products is what is making Chinese apps successful in India, he said.

TikTok, an application that allows users to create and upload videos of up to 15 seconds and share them with other users, has roughly 200 million users in India, according to data from Statista, a German database company. Nearly 40 percent of TikTok's 500 million users globally are from India.

Liu Zhen, senior vice-president of corporate development at Byte-Dance, told the Economic Times in a recent interview that short videos are increasingly becoming a choice for people across the world to express, create and interact. And that, to some extent, also explains TikTok's success in US, where it has more than 1 million users.

It is not just TikTok that is making waves. Relatively unknown apps such as Tantan are also gaining traction. The Chinese dating app is currently the fifth-most-popular in India in terms of monthly active users on Apple iOS and Google Android phones, according to App Annie, an analytics company. Alibaba's UC News, a news app has more than 50 million users.

Other Chinese apps like Helo and SHAREit, and mobile games such as PUBG, Clash of Kings, and Mobile Legends are also gaining more users.

But with the growth have come challenges for companies. TikTok faced a slew of problems in India after a court ordered it banned for hosting objectionable content. The ban was revoked only after the company agreed to tighten its internal controls.

The real challenge for companies will come when they have to develop more local content in a variety of languages and ensure that they do not run into rough weather with local and central authorities, experts said. Cutthroat domestic competition and a saturated internet market in China have left many of these app developers with no choice but to explore greener pastures in markets such as India, Nair said.

Over the years much has been written about the need to find synergy. But for many like me (having spent a decade in China), the real synergy will come when there is harmony and unity between China's hardware progress and India's rising software capabilities for win-win cooperation.

On a lighter side, I, too, decided to take the TikTok plunge but was brought back to reality by my teenage daughter, who said that by the time I master the technology, it will be outdated. Indeed, time flies, and so does technology.

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2019-06-03 07:29:00
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/03/content_37476840.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On June 3, 1994, the Chinese Academy of Engineering was established in Beijing, with elected members in science and technology engineering. The first batch of 96 newly nominated academicians was appointed at the inaugural conference.

During the conference, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which was established in November 1949, elected 14 overseas scientists as China's first group of foreign academicians.

The 14 included Derek Barton and Joseph Needham of Britain, and Peter Raven and Herbert Simon of the United States. The others were all Chinese-American scientists, including Nobel Prize winners Samuel Chao Chung Ting, Chen-Ning Yang and Tsung-dao Lee.

Two years later, the China Science and Technology Hall was built to further promote scientific knowledge among government leaders, as seen in an item from China Daily. It has served as an important venue for domestic and international scientific seminars and conferences.

Covering 56,130 square meters, the hall is equipped with real-time translation equipment, a modern audiovisual system and business and telecommunication facilities.

The CAS and CAE are top think tanks in China that advise government and industry on key scientific and technological issues.

The academicians are the most senior members of the two academies.

Elections take place every two years.

After the most recent election, in 2017, the science academy announced 61 new Chinese academicians, including three women.

The average age of the Chinese academicians is 54, with the youngest being Xu Tao, a 46-year-old biophysicist.

Sixteen foreign scientists received the country's highest academic honor academicians.

With the new additions, the academy now has 800 Chinese academicians and 92 foreign academicians.

In 2017, the engineering academy unveiled 67 new domestic academicians, with an average age of 56, and 18 foreign academicians including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

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2019-06-03 07:29:00
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/03/content_37476839.htm World Environment Day comes on Wednesday

Wednesday is World Environment Day, aiming to raise public awareness of the importance of the protection and improvement of the environment. This year's theme is "Beat air pollution". It is a call to action to combat the global crisis. Chosen by China, which is this year's host, the topic invites people to consider how they can change their everyday lives to reduce the amount of air pollution they produce, and to lessen their contribution to global warming, as well as pollution's direct negative effects on human health.

Highly processed food linked to early death

Highly processed foods - such as chicken nuggets, ice cream and breakfast cereals - have been linked to early death and poor health, scientists say. Researchers in France and Spain said the consumption of such food has soared. Highly processed foods are those created by a substantial amount of industrial processing and often have long lists of added ingredients, including preservatives, sweeteners and color enhancers. Examples include processed meat, breakfast cereals, instant soups, sugary fizzy drinks, chicken nuggets, cake, chocolate, ice cream, mass-produced bread and many ready-to-heat meals such as pies and pizza. Sound familiar?

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2019-06-03 07:29:00
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/03/content_37476838.htm Culture: Photo showhighlights aging

Photos contrasting what young people look like now with what they may look like in old age are on display at The Art of Aging exhibition in Kunming, Yunnan province. The photos were taken by a local photographer, who applied special makeup that made the young people's faces appear dry and wrinkled. He then recorded their first responses to the "new look". The exhibition offers audiences an opportunity to observe the passing of time as they imagine and reflect on aging.

Rankings: World's topsmartphone makers

Market researcher IDC recently released the latest ranking of smartphone vendors based on their market share in the first quarter. Samsung retained its top spot with a market share of 23.1 percent, followed by Huawei with a 19 percent share. Among the top six, four are from China - Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo and OPPO.

World: Tiny McDonald's opens for bees

The world's smallest McDonald's has opened its doors in Sweden and it has everyone buzzing - literally. Called the McHive, the tiny McDonald's is not serving burgers and fries to fans of fast food. It's actually a fully functioning beehive for thousands of bees. The McHive features two drive-thru windows, a patio and outdoor seating, sleek wood paneling and McDonald's advertisements in the windows.

Travel: Greek port luringChinese visitors

Piraeus, Greece's largest port, says it's interested in securing more cruise passengers from China, acknowledging that the potential of the Chinese market is huge, according to Piraeus Port Authority. At the fifth Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum recently, PPA Strategic Planning and Marketing Manager Theodora Riga stressed the importance of attracting more visitors from China. She said, "We are constantly seeking to promote Piraeus as a destination for Chinese cruise passengers." China is the second-largest source market for cruise tourism globally, with 2.4 million passengers per year, some distance behind the United States with 11.4 million passengers.

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2019-06-03 07:29:00
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/03/content_37476837.htm The Three-Body Problem II:Dark Forest

When: June 3, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

The 3D play is based on a novel of the same name by Liu Cixin.

Imagine the universe as a forest, patrolled by numberless and nameless predators. In this forest, stealth is survival. Any civilization that reveals its location is prey. Earth has. Now the predators are coming. Crossing light years, they will reach Earth in four centuries' time.

But the sophons, their extra-dimensional agents and saboteurs, are already here. Only the individual human mind remains immune to their influence.

This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a last-ditch defense that grants four individuals almost absolute power to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection, from human and alien alike.

Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.

The Very Hungry CaterpillarShow

When: June 21-23, 2:30 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm

Where: Beijing Theater

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by US illustrator Eric Carle, has delighted generations of readers since it was first published in 1969, selling more than 52 million copies worldwide and translated into 62 languages.

Carle's well-known books captivate readers with his iconic, colorful, hand-painted tissue paper collage illustrations and simple stories.

His work has introduced generations of children to a bigger, brighter world - and to their first experience of reading itself.

The timeless classic has made its way off the page and onto the stage. Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, the critically acclaimed production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show features a menagerie of 75 lovable puppets, faithfully adapting four of Carle's stories - Brown Bear Brown Bear; What Do You See?; 10 Little Rubber Ducks; The Very Lonely Firefly; and the star of the show, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The Hot Sardines

When: June 15 and 16, 7:30 pm

Where: Blue Note Beijing

The Hot Sardines - the mischief-makers of jazz who started out playing underground speakeasies in Brooklyn - have had a whirlwind couple of years.

The eight-piece (seven musicians, plus a tap dancer) band has toured more than 250 cities throughout North America, Europe and Asia, blowing out their vintage-on-steroids sound to crowds as big as 25,000 at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

They've hit No 1 on iTunes Jazz, spent more than a year on the Billboard charts and racked up 20 million streams from fans in more than 90 countries on Spotify.

And it's all come as a bit of a surprise to the band's founders, who bonded over a shared love of Fats Waller at a jazz jam above a noodle shop in New York City.

"I wore out the grooves of my grandfather's old Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald records as a teenager, but no way did I ever expect to be playing those songs at the Newport Jazz Festival one day with my own band," co-founder and vocalist Elizabeth Bougerol said.

Cats

When: June 6-19, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and produced by Cameron Mackintosh.

It tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as "the Jellicle choice" and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, Cats first opened in the West End, London, in 1981 and then with the same creative team to Broadway in 1982. It won numerous awards, including Best Musical at both the Laurence Olivier Awards and the Tony Awards. The London production ran for 21 years and the Broadway production ran for 18 years, both setting new records.

The Cats China Tour will present the authentic West End theater experience.

A Streetcar Named Desire

When: June 6-23, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center

The Mandarin version of A Streetcar Named Desire will be performed onstage in Shanghai.

The original play of the same name was written by Tennessee Williams in 1947 and has been recognized as a modern classic of US literature.

It was made into a movie in 1951, with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando creating two of the most iconic figures in film history.

In the play, Blanche, a former schoolteacher of English, moves in with her younger married sister, Stella, after losing their family home.

Blanche finds Stella's working-class husband, Stanley, loud and rough, while in return Stanley dislikes his sister-in-law. Yet Blanche stays on, and makes friends with Stanley's poker-game pal Mitch. But the conflict between Blanche and Stanley escalates as he digs out her scandalous history.

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2019-06-03 07:29:00
<![CDATA[Literature fest sparks rural reboot]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/03/content_37476836.htm Jiajiazhuang village in Fenyang, Shanxi province, sits around 600 kilometers southwest of Beijing.

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An event set up by film director Jia Zhangke featuring leading proponents of a school of writing from Shanxi aims to place the province on China's literary map, Fang Aiqing and Sun Ruisheng report.

Jiajiazhuang village in Fenyang, Shanxi province, sits around 600 kilometers southwest of Beijing.

Once known for its collective economy that helped draw its population out of poverty, it has now gained another label thanks to film director Jia Zhangke, who was born in downtown Fenyang in 1970, just a short distance from the village.

Jia has devoted much of his time to regenerating the area's cultural legacy, not only through movies, but also through literature.

To do that, Jia set up the first Lyuliang Literature Festival, which was held from May 9 to 16.

Nobel laureate Mo Yan and a dozen winners of the prestigious Luxun and Maodun literature prizes, including Ge Fei, A Lai and Su Tong, together with a group of renowned Shanxi writers and poets gathered that week to discuss literary depictions of the countryside.

The village has a literary tradition which dates back to the mid-20th century, when a new Chinese modern literary genre shanyaodan, a nickname for a potato that's popular in North China, emerged.

Authors who follow the shanyaodan school of writing such as Zhao Shuli, Ma Feng and Xi Rong were all living in the Shanxi countryside, where their work centered around rural life there.

Many of Ma's works in particular were written in Jiajiazhuang, where he witnessed the changes to the village brought about by the agricultural cooperatives during the 1950s after moving to work in Fenyang.

So by holding lectures, conducting dialogues and screening movies related to the countryside and contributed by guest authors, the region's local literary legacy can both be re-examined and extended.

Many modern and contemporary works of Chinese literature touch on common rural issues - childhood upbringing, family inheritance and people's experience of being stuck on the bottom rung of society - that have been rooted in Chinese farming culture for thousands of years.

China's urbanization has been rapidly progressing to the extent that rural life has become something unfamiliar to the majority of the population, which is very different from what it was like just three decades ago, according to Ge Fei, author and a Chinese literature professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

He was delivering a speech on the first day of the festival, interpreting what it means to us when rural societies fade away.

"It's important we have both of the visions. One is the vision to look into the future amid urban life, and the other is to look back on rural history - it's our past," he says, adding that this contradiction - resisting urbanization while at the same time embracing progress - has driven the emergence of modern thought and discourse, which has become the internal motivation for change in art, literature and philosophy.

Ethnic Tibetan writer A Lai, famous for his novel Settling Dust, which was also published under the title Red Poppies, says many of the writers today still depict rural life as they imagine it, rather than observing and reflecting on it by honestly facing the challenges posed by globalization.

"We should be aware that many of the problems facing Chinese farmers and villagers today are universal," he says.

While many people doubt whether Mo could top the success of winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012, Zhang Qinghua, professor at Beijing Normal University, believes that Mo's way of dealing with this has been to make a return to his hometown, a village in Gaomi, Shandong province, both in reality and spiritually.

Mo didn't publish any new work in the five years following the award, when in 2017 he released several short stories, poems and theater works, mainly reminiscing about his hometown.

Unlike Mo's former novels, Peking University professor Chen Xiaoming notes that his new works are more reserved, realistic stylistically and employ more simple language. Literary critic Li Jingze is impressed that Mo has remained acutely sensitive to the realities of urban and rural life.

Architectural experts who have gained a hands-on understanding of the pros and cons of rural reconstruction through their work were also invited to hold a dialogue with the writers, which resonated so strongly with the villagers that some of them surrounded the speakers afterward hoping to expand their discussions.

He Wei, assistant professor at the school of architecture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, who has been leading several projects in the countryside, thinks a major problem is the conflicting demands between the elite class of city dwellers, who tend to seek spiritual comfort in village life, and the villagers themselves who naturally want to improve their quality of life. However, many of the rural traditions have been lost during the process.

"Once they leave the countryside, it's hard for people to come back and settle, both in person and spiritually," he says.

One aim of the literature festival is to improve the cultural appeal of the countryside so as to attract people back, Jia says. The organizers are also working to promote communication between the authors and the villagers, and encourage more reading activities.

Rural resident Ren Chunhua, 63, who now works as a narrator at a local history gallery, was listening to Ge Fei's lecture in her gallery neighboring the festival venue and wanted to buy his work and got the writer's signature. She thought Ma's work inspired by village life in the 1950s was well-written and accurately reflected the reality there.

Literature aficionado Cao Liang drove for two hours from Taigu county to attend the lectures. Having collected all of Su's books and being familiar with many of the guest authors' works, he is currently writing his own novel.

Villagers took turns to attend the festival, a move which Ren believes will invigorate the local cultural environment and raise Jiajiazhuang's profile.

The festival was held in an open square at a cultural zone redeveloped from a local cement plant, a former symbol of its economic boom. And the locals are working together to turn the venue into a cultural landmark that will eventually include a cinema, a creative writing residence and a cultural center named after Jia.

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2019-06-03 07:28:32
<![CDATA[Bollywood actor says content is key for Chinese film success in India]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/03/content_37476835.htm MUMBAI - Indian film actor Ayushmann Khurana said Chinese movies would also do well in his country, while more and more Indian movies are tasting success in China.

"You just have to have good content. India is full of Chinese goods, most of India's imports come from China, Chinese mobile phones, its cars are doing well in India, so movies will also do well," he says.

Khurana's latest film Andhadhun, one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time, produced on a budget of $4.6 million, has grossed $64 million at worldwide box offices, including $48 million in China.

Speaking about the response of Chinese market to Andhadhun, Khurana says "it was quite a surprise".

"That kind of number was unbelievable, I had no idea that we will get this kind of reception in China, it was overwhelming for sure," he says.

Andhadhun is a 2018 Indian black comedy crime thriller, telling a story of a piano player who accidentally becomes embroiled in the murder of a former film actor.

At the Screen Awards ceremony, the film won in four categories, including best director and best screenplay. It also won five Filmfare Awards, including best film (critics) and a best actor (critics) win for Khurana.

The success of Andhadhun has firmed his belief that the film goes beyond the barriers of borders, culture and language.

"I have realized that content will always rule in China," he explains. "Some concepts will appeal to any culture or any region."

Referring to preparations for his role as a blind pianist, Khurana says he had spent almost three months studying for it.

"I went to a blind school and I had a teacher who was partially blind. He taught me how to walk, how to use the cane, how to be careful of the objects around me. Then I met a blind pianist. I used to watch him every day. The way he used to touch the piano, mark his center and then play ... Acting is all about observation," he says.

Born in 1984, Khurana, who made his film debut in 2012, has become an established, award-winning Bollywood player.

Khurana adds that a good movie should resonate with the people.

"The mark of good film is that it should create value and bring about change in an entertaining way. The underlying part is the entertainment. So I think it is important to carry your message through entertainment."

Khurana believes that his upcoming two films, one based on a gay love story and another centering around going bald, will resonate with the audiences both in India and China.

"I always like to do unique films. Masala films may go out of fashion one day, but content will never go out of fashion, so you have to stick with content and uniqueness. That is key in every film," he says.

However, he says it has never been easy to try something new in Bollywood.

"It is always difficult. You hardly get good scripts. It is always a risk to take a subject which is a taboo and which people are slightly uncomfortable talking about. So, it is very difficult to make a rounded script that is more palatable for people and makes it more accessible for the audience. It is not easy for sure, but what is life without risk."

Following the great success of the film Andhadhun, Khurana is keen to visit China for his forthcoming films.

He notes that he would like to visit the Chinese mainland, such as Beijing and other places.

"Chinese are similar to Indians, as they are rooted to their culture and tradition at the same time," Khurana says.

He says he also appreciates the support of the Chinese audience.

"I just want to thank them for liking and loving Andhadhun. That kind of reception was unbelievable. It is beyond our expectations and it also makes us believe that we must stick to our ground and only do content-driven films."

Xinhua

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2019-06-03 07:28:32
<![CDATA[A taste of African culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/02/content_37476615.htm A culinary event during a recent Africa Week in Beijing aims to not only bring the continent's cuisine to China but also to enhance exchanges beyond the dining room, Erik Nilsson reports.

The dinner table can serve as a platform for more Chinese to better understand Africa, a recent culinary event in Beijing sought to show.

Thirty-two people - including Cabo Verde's ambassador, Tania Romualdo, and Angola's ambassador, Joao Salvador dos Santos Netode - attended a dinner on May 21, presenting home-cooked dishes from four African countries in different regions to demonstrate how cuisine communicates culture.

 

Clockwise from top: Chefs plate dishes for the recent Africa Week culinary event in Beijing. Ethiopian injera features spicy stews served atop tangy fermented bread. The four chefs who presented food during the recent Africa Week culinary event. Salata, a Sudanese salad made of pureed eggplant, peanut butter and cumin. Mahamri, a fried, glazed dessert popular in Kenya. Photos Provided to China Daily

"The value of this culinary evening is to highlight African gastronomy and to provide an opportunity for Africans and Chinese to break bread together," says Zahra Baitie, CEO Kente & Silk, the company that organized the meal.

The social enterprise seeks to advance Sino-African ties and people-to-people exchanges.

"Africa is a continent that is relatively unknown to many people - and its food culture even less so. Our goal ... is to present Africa from the point of view of its culinary wealth while also creating opportunities for meaningful engagement."

The second Africa Week the company hosted in Beijing also featured an art exhibition, a forum for China-Africa digital partnerships, a film screening and dialogue, and a talent show, among other activities. Profits went to the winner of a startup-pitch contest for African entrepreneurs in China - Hamster International, a food-delivery and content app aimed at foreigners.

The four-course meal was also meant to showcase dishes presented by budding African catering companies in China. Three of the four chefs work in the sector in the country.

"The depiction of Africans in China is often quite limited to that of students and traders," Baitie says.

"But there are so many Africans creating businesses that provide value to various communities in China. We thought about this when choosing chefs. In addition, we thought that many people may know western African food but may have less knowledge of southern African food or eastern African food.

"An event like this can help provide a sense of both the richness of African culture, its history of engagement with the rest of the world and also how it's evolving. By having dishes from different parts of Africa, we aimed to show - literally and figuratively - the diversity of the continent and help to challenge notions of Africa as one place."

Zimbabwean chef Gladmore Sibanda, who presented a traditional stew, a dessert and a beverage, believes the event was as an "eyeopener" for China's hospitality industry.

"It is of paramount importance to start seeing African foods in Chinese hotels because I believe food is our common denominator. It unites us. And everyone needs to eat," he says.

"You can't talk about culture or traditions and not mention food. Hence, it's very critical for Chinese and other people to experience both sides of the coin as we continue in our Africa-China relationship."

Sibanda, who has lived in China for six years, served a "road-runner" stew called nkukhu makhaya, which translates as "chicken from your rural home".

"A good welcome when you visit a Zimbabwean family is that they slaughter a chicken for you to make a good traditional stew," he says.

He also presented homemade umqombothi, an alcoholic drink concocted using maize, yeast and sorghum malt fermented for a week.

Sudanese chef Limya Adam, who has lived in China for nearly seven years, prepared salata salad made with pureed eggplant with peanut butter and cumin.

Kenyan chef Khadija Osman, who has been in China for three years, presented sambusa, triangular pastries stuffed with meat or vegetables that were served with afiza, an Ethiopian green-lentil salad drizzled with lemon vinaigrette, as starters.

Entrees were Sibanda's Zimbabwean stew served with pap, a cornmeal porridge thick enough to shape, and injera by Ethiopian chef Abenet Belay, who has lived in China for nearly seven years.

"Ethiopian food is famous for hot, spicy food served on top of soft, spongy pancake-like flat bread called injera," she says.

"Injera features a slightly sour flavor that comes from fermentation. The tangy flavor is designed to complement the flavors found in Ethiopian stews."

Diners use the bread made from an endemic gluten-free grain called teff to scoop up the fiery dollops of stew.

"To me and many other Ethiopians, cuisine is more than just mixed ingredients. It's culture," she says.

"In our culture, cuisine is a way of sharing and spreading love on a plate."

Baitie points out that, while many dining customs vary, Chinese and Africans share the concept that meals are times for people to come together.

She quotes Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, who said: "A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground, it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so."

Contact the writer at erik_nilsson@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-02 14:24:58
<![CDATA[Six years on, Bombana still enjoys causing a stir]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/02/content_37476614.htm Two opera singers perform the aria Nessun Dorma from the corner of a room that's reminiscent of an opera house. Guests tuck into cavatelli and carnaroli rice while they listen intently.

This was the scene at Opera Bombana during a gala dinner to mark the Italian restaurant's sixth anniversary in Beijing. The owner, Umberto Bombana, who is known as the king of white truffles, joined forces with the restaurant's new executive chef, Eugenio Iraci, to present a delicate six-course meal to the capital's foodies.

Besides offering classic Italian dishes, Bombana and Iraci created dishes like David Blackmore tenderloin and pickled mackerel in sweet-and-sour onion marinade for the celebration.

From left: Durum wheat cavatelli in eggplant sauce; the new executive chef of Opera Bombana, Eugenio Iraci (left), and the owner, Umberto Bombana, prepare for the gala dinner to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the restaurant; roasted David Blackmore tenderloin with pan-seared foie gras, Madeira sauce and morel mushrooms. Photos Provided to China Daily

"We cook the fish in the traditional way, but we also add sweet-and-sour flavored onion to balance the flavors of the dish," says Bombana, who believes this is the most important aspect to creating a new dish.

"When you cook protein like meat or fish, you have to make sure that the flavor matches very closely with the other layers of flavors you create around it," says Bombana. "That's what I like to do - balance each layer of flavor."

Bombana often looks to nature for inspiration for his new dishes - and sometimes he likes to take a familiar ingredient and look at it from a different angle.

"What nature gives you, you cook," he says. "And then I use my creativity to balance the dish."

Born in Bergamo in northern Italy, Bombana was inspired by his grandmother, who used to cook for an aristocratic family.

In 2010, he opened 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana restaurant in Hong Kong, which became the first three-star Michelin Italian restaurant outside of the country in 2012.

The name of the restaurant is a tribute to his favorite Italian film director Federico Fellini's autobiographical movie 8 1/2, which was released in 1963.

Bombana expanded the Otto e Mezzo brand to the Galaxy Macao in 2015, which was awarded one Michelin star, before opening Otto e Mezzo Shanghai a year later, which now holds two stars.

He opened Opera Bombana in 2013. He named the restaurant Opera because the space has the feel of an opera house and he wanted to present diners with an operatic medley of dishes.

"Each restaurant has its own personality so I don't like to give them the same name," he says.

According to Bombana, if the customers like certain dishes at Opera, they will stay on the menu. At the same time, he likes to change the menu every month by introducing two or three new dishes.

Bombana's goal for Opera is to gain a Michelin star when Michelin lands in Beijing. "To gain a Michelin star, the most important thing is the cleanliness of the flavors," he says.

Bombana worked on collaborations with chef Andre Chiang in each other's restaurants. They teamed up on two separate occasions, once in November and once February, to offer a blend of Italian and Sichuan cuisine at Opera Bombana and The Bridge in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

The duo saw the similarities between the two cuisines, and worked to devise a menu that harmoniously combined the spiciness of Sichuan cuisine with the fragrance of truffles.

Thanks in part to this collaboration, Bombana understands how hard it is to master Chinese cooking since it covers such a range of different cuisines, and he is looking forward to cooperating with more Chinese chefs.

He is also impressed by the flavors of Chinese ingredients. "For example, in Yunnan province, even the fruit is really nice, and the matsutake mushrooms are amazing - the intensity is like the white truffle," he says.

Bombana believes Italian cuisine is simpler than French cuisine, which includes many sauces. "I like pleasing Asian people with my food from the heart," he says.

He describes his cooking style in three words - simplicity, kindness and freedom.

"I like freedom in every sense. I like freedom to see things in different ways, and I like the freedom to create new dishes. But respect comes first: We need to respect people and the ingredients."

liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-02 14:24:58
<![CDATA[A show of gratitude]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/02/content_37476613.htm A dance drama honors the people who lost their lives constructing the railway linking Qinghai and Tibet, Zhang Kun reports in Shanghai.

Wang Ge sat for a whole afternoon at a graveyard along the railway between Qinghai and Tibet. He ultimately decided to tell the stories of the people who died during the construction of this vital lifeline.

Wang is the director of the dance drama, The Railway to Tibet, one of the 51 productions performed during the 12th China Art Festival running in Shanghai from May 15 to June 2. Two performances of the play were staged at the Shanghai Poly Grand Theater on May 24 and 25.

The original dance drama commissioned by the National Center for the Performing Arts, and produced by the NCPA and the Beijing Dance Drama and Opera (Theater), will compete for the Wenhua Award, China's top prize for professional performing arts that's issued by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

 

Winners will be announced at the closing ceremony of the China Art Festival on June 2.

It took the NCPA three years to create the dance drama, which premiered on July 1, 2018, in celebration of the 12th anniversary of the opening of the railway between Qinghai province and the Tibet autonomous region.

Wang was selected to direct the show. The independent artist initially believed it was impossible to present such a subject through dance, without the use of verbal language.

Wang and the creative team made several visits to Tibet in preparation. They experienced the climate, and the geological and geographical challenges the engineers and workers faced. And they learned about the area's folk art and culture, especially traditional music and dance.

Wang was taken to the graveyard for the railway construction crew during one of the visits.

"There were young soldiers and civilians, and ethnic Tibetan and Han people alike, who lie there in silence," he recalls.

"They lost their lives in the construction of this crucial railway. I wanted to give them a voice to tell their story."

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau lacked transportation infrastructure for centuries. In the 1950s, China started to plan a railway, spanning nearly 2,000 kilometers, from Qinghai province's capital, Xining, to Tibet's capital, Lhasa.

The first phase, connecting Xining with Qinghai's Golmud, was completed in 1984.

The second phase, linking Golmud with Lhasa, began in 2001, and the first train set off on July 1, 2006.

"I wanted to focus on ordinary young people and take a lighthearted approach to this heavy subject," Wang says.

"I want people to feel the brotherly ties among the builders, see the bonding between the ethnic Han workers and local Tibetan people, and identify with their love and joy. I want audiences to smile and feel touched emotionally so they can appreciate what these beautiful young people sacrificed."

Li Xing, an international-award-winning dancer, performs the lead role of Lu Tian, a young soldier among the builders, who falls in love with an ethnic Tibetan woman and dies saving his comrades in a tunnel collapse.

"I have portrayed many characters, but never before had I come across a role so close to my true self," Li says.

"I was once a young soldier - playful, curious and happy, just like him. I've also had such experiences when you have to chin up and make the turning point from a boy to a man. I try not to make the effort to portray the role but just express myself honestly."

Li's performance won high praise from Tian Qinxin, a renowned theater director and deputy head of the National Theater of China.

"He's brilliant on the stage. He has a sparkling aura. His technique is flawless, and his physical performance is completely consistent with his mind," Tian says.

"He gave the most natural and purest performance. He and other young dancers have created a masterpiece of dance drama with a realistic theme."

Since its premiere, The Railway to Tibet has staged 45 performances, including shows at the NCPA, the 12th National Dance Performance in Yunnan province and on university campuses in various Chinese cities.

Contact the writer at zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-06-02 14:24:58
<![CDATA[All-women quartet gives Peking Opera a unique touch]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/02/content_37476612.htm For the first time in the history of Peking Opera, four women recently performed a piece in the China National Peking Opera Company production, Stories of the Red Army.

The Peking Opera performance was one of the 51 productions showcased at the 12th China Art Festival in Shanghai.

Two performances took place at Shanghai's Majestic Theater on May 27 and 28.

For the show, the CNPOC brought together three stories based on events during the Red Army's epic Long March (1934-36), to create the modern Peking Opera, which premiered in Beijing on Aug 1, 2018.

"They are stories about the resilience and bravery of the Red Army during the Long March," says Song Chen, head of the CNPOC.

"You see in the play how these soldiers are ready to sacrifice themselves to help others. People will be touched by their faith and devotion."

One of the stories is about three women soldiers staying for a night at a farmer's home in Shazhou village in Rucheng county in Hunan province. They sleep in the home of a local woman named Xu Jiexiu, and feel sorry for her poor living conditions. When they leave the next morning, a soldier uses a pair of scissors to cut up the only quilt she has, leaving half of it for the village woman.

In this scene, the CNPOC did something unprecedented - introducing a quartet comprising three Red Army soldiers and the elderly villager woman.

Peking Opera styles have developed over hundreds of years, creating a wide range of roles, each featuring distinctive methods of performance and singing styles.

Yuan Huiqin, a veteran Peking Opera singer and deputy director of the CNPOC, says: "Every Peking Opera artist has his or her unique vocal expressions. It is not easy to bring together two artists from different schools in one song.

"Never before has there been a chorus in a formal Peking Opera piece."

However, Zhang Manjun, director of the production, says that Peking Opera - despite its long history and rich heritage - is no stranger to innovation and creativity.

"We saw lots of successful innovations in a series of modern Peking Opera performances on the revolutionary theme created in the 1960s. And we believe new creativity can be achieved, and successful innovation is recognized and accepted by audiences and critics as well."

In the chorus, three performers each adopt the singing style of one established school of female roles, or dan, to illustrate their different personalities.

The Mei school founded by Mei Lanfang (1894-1961) features excellent interpretation of grace and refinement. The Cheng school founded by Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58) is known for its whimper-like vocalization recognized as "soft and pleasing yet firm but gentle". And the Shang school created by Shang Xiaoyun (1900-76) features martial arts and heroic brave women.

Yuan who acts the elderly woman character of Xu Jiexiu, is the fourth singer in the four-minute song.

"Composer Chen Jianzhong went to great lengths to introduce elements of Chinese folk music and make sure the four singers retained their styles while creating a harmonious chorus," Yuan says.

"We spent a lot of time in rehearsals making sure this song was done properly."

Since the premiere of the show on Aug 1, 2018, the opera has staged more than 20 performances, touring cities the Red Army passed through during the Long March.

"We worked it out eventually, the four of us, after so many stage performances," Yuan says.

"We have borrowed a little choral-singing technique and figured out how to make sure everybody's unique sound is heard while creating a harmonious chorus."

The CNPOC's Song says: "As China's national Peking Opera company, we shoulder the responsibility of keeping the bar high and setting an example for colleagues in the rest of the country.

"We pulled together talent from the whole company in order to create Stories of the Red Army, and to make sure that the narrative, stage design and music performance are up to the mark.

The innovation, Song believes, is successful, as it respects the principles of Peking Opera art and explores modern harmony.

Jing Junmei, a theater critic based in Beijing, praises Stories of the Red Army for its portrayal of "ordinary stories of ordinary people".

"It enables audiences to really feel the spirit of their time, which is the most inspiring thing about this production," Jing says.

(China Daily Global 05/31/2019 page14)

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2019-06-02 14:24:58
<![CDATA[Terracotta Warriors begin tour of duty at Australian museum]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/02/content_37476611.htm CANBERRA - Eight life-size Terracotta Warriors from China are among the works shown as part of a rare exhibition being hosted by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

The exhibition, Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality/Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape, runs from May 24 to Oct 13.

It offers a new perspective on China's traditional culture with more than 160 exhibits on show, including the Qin emperor's Terracotta Warriors, which were discovered in 1974 in China's northwestern Shaanxi province, and are widely described as one of the wonders of the world.

The exhibition features eight warriors and two life-size horses from the imperial army, as well as two half-size replicas of bronze chariots, each drawn by four horses.

Presented in parallel, work by contemporary artist Cai Guoqiang gives visitors a glimpse of modern Chinese art. Created specially for this exhibition, highlight pieces include the monumental installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds.

Spiraling over visitors' heads, the birds create a three-dimensional impression of a calligraphic drawing of the sacred Mount Lishan, the site of the ancient tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, and his warriors.

Cheng Jingye, Chinese ambassador to Australia, said at the preview ceremony that the exhibition represents another highlight in this year's China-Australia cultural-and-arts exchange.

"I know that the Terracotta Warriors are very familiar with the journey to Australia," he says. "In 1982, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia, Australia was chosen as the destination for the first-ever overseas tour of the Terracotta Warriors. At that time, the figures traveled to six capital cities. In 2010, they were once again on display in the Art Gallery of New South Wales."

He notes that the Terracotta Warriors come from Shaanxi's provincial capital, Xi'an, the start of the ancient Silk Road.

While the ancient Silk Road created a means of exchange between the East and the West 2,000 years ago, the Belt and Road Initiative was launched in 2013 to achieve common development through connected global partnerships.

Last year, the Australian state of Victoria became involved with the Belt and Road Initiative. "I really look forward to seeing the initial results of this collaboration," says the ambassador.

"I strongly believe that the existing exchanges and cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, education and culture between China and Victoria will make even greater progress in the future."

Xinhua

(China Daily Global 05/31/2019 page14)

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2019-06-02 14:24:58
<![CDATA[Enter a world of yummy flavors]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/01/content_37476565.htm Chinese people traditionally throw a 100th day celebration for newborn babies to wish for them a life of 100 years.

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Miam Miam, inspired by bustling international food markets, is bringing hearty, global gastronomy to China's diners

Chinese people traditionally throw a 100th day celebration for newborn babies to wish for them a life of 100 years.

Miam Miam decided to do the same, recently celebrating its 100th day with a party on May 29.

It's actually a restaurant in Beijing, but like those newborn babies, it's hoping to stay in the neighborhood for a long time to come.

Meaning "yummy" in French, Miam Miam's name encapsulates its core ethos: to serve up food that is approachable, hearty, and above all else, delicious.

According to Marine Anglesio, Miam Miam's brand manager, the idea for the restaurant is inspired by Europe's bustling and vibrant food markets, and it aims to become a gastronomic hub, featuring a diverse array of food stalls and live chef stations where diners can meet and share a meal.

"Like all good gourmet markets, Miam Miam's influences stem from all over the globe, guided by the principle of offering hearty, delicious cuisine for all palates," says Anglesio.

Miam Miam, located in the Sanyuanqiao area of the capital, is a half open space which looks like a vintage food court - the first thing to greet customers is the salad bar where green vegetables are growing on the shelves at the back, followed by juice bar where fresh oranges are lined up ready to be squeezed.

The next section is the open kitchen where the dishes are made and an in-house pizza oven is used to produce three types of pizza - classic Italian, American style and Miam Miam's own signature pie.

Even though international chefs from Germany, Thailand and other countries will take part in weeklong residencies to highlight each country's unique culinary offerings, Miam Miam's menu itself leans toward the comforting and familiar with pasta, noodles, steak, soup and salad stations.

The menu looks like vintage newspaper, reflecting the style of the restaurant.

The Miam Miam salad, featuring freshly grated cucumber, zingy Asian dressing and egg tofu made exclusively in-house, is a standout example of its modern approach to dining.

A second signature dish comes in the form of a chicken breast served alongside coleslaw. Battered and fried to perfection before being topped with creamy mushroom gravy, it provides a unique alternative to standard steak options.

The "Banjo burger" is another highlight, putting a spin on the American classic with a juicy beef patty encased in a delicate egg omelet, and served with crispy potato waffle fries.

"This approach to fuss-free cuisine is also reflected in Miam Miam's extensive drink list," says Anglesio. "Orange plays a central role, with only fresh, seasonal oranges used to make cold-pressed juice."

The Caribbean Green smoothie is a must-try - unlike the usual green color smoothies that use celery or tend to taste a bit bitter, this one uses spinach for the green color, but adds banana, mango, passion fruit and lemon - the flavor is sweet and fresh without any bitterness.

A curated list of cocktails, kombucha and Thai milk tea also make the restaurant a suitable spot for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up with friends.

The afternoon tea at Miam Miam is attractive to both adults and children, as it is served on a platter modeled to like a small picnic table, replete with tablecloth, adding a sense of nostalgic whimsy to proceedings.

"Its casual approach allows diners to choose and eat their meals in a relaxed setting, while the attention to detail and quality provides food that is a far cry from "fast food" seen elsewhere," says Anglesio.

Socially, Miam Miam tries to follow the path of low carbon living and aims to become an integral part of the community.

Li Ying, 30, is a staff member at Miam Miam. Since birth, she has suffered from impaired vision. She works at the juice station, making coffee and fresh juice.

"My colleagues tell me where the button is so that I can make the coffee and they lead the way for me by holding my hands in the kitchen," says Li. Her colleagues also walk her from home to the restaurant each day.

Li used to work as a telephone operator in a hotel, which she says was a lonely job, but now she gets to communicate with her colleagues all day.

"All of my colleagues will help me in the kitchen, and I like the job," says Li.

As well as offering job opportunities to those overcoming physical challenges, Miam Miam pledges a percentage of its profits from every portion of "chop chop chicken" and each kid's menu item sold to Bethel China, a nonprofit organization that helps visually impaired children.

Speaking of overcoming challenges, the restaurant's Super Bowl Challenge is proving popular. If a customer can finish a 1.5-liter bowl of noodles and soup within half an hour, the dish will be free. The soup base is laksa flavor with seafood.

Should they manage to slurp up the whole lot, they are met with the image of a strong woman flexing her biceps. "It's like she is congratulating you that you did it," says Anglesio.

 

 

From left: Mexican salad; Miam Miam super bowl.

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2019-06-01 06:02:23
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/01/content_37476564.htm Global food voyage

All-day dining restaurant N'joy launches a food discovery map, leading diners to follow Chinese navigator Zheng He (1371-1435) on a food voyage to discover the world.

The team of international chefs deliver a la carte standards, even though it's a buffet restaurant. There are several hidden delicacies that need to be discovered, from Chinese noodles and Indian tandoori, to Korean barbecued meat and buffalo mozzarella from Mediterranean.

No 2A, Jiangtai Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing; 010-5926-8281

A berry nice treat

As the recently appointed executive pastry chef at Rosewood Beijing, Thomas Cabrit delivers newly designed cakes and a strawberry afternoon tea for the Bistrot B Lounge Bar.

The Napoleon Cake will delight as the caramel and the vanilla cream melt in mouth, juxtaposed by the crisp layer of pastry.

The strawberry afternoon tea employs the classic summer fruit in each dish, both savory or sweet, such as the foie gras terrine eclair with strawberry jelly and pistachio or the strawberry roll with white chocolate. The signature ingredients, for the most part, are nationally sourced from China's strawberry growing capital, Dandong, Liaoning province.

Jingguang Center, Hujialou, Chaoyang district, Beijing; 010-6536-0066

Make it a garden party

Asia Bistro's outdoor beer garden opens in May to celebrate the summertime on the tranquil and spacious outdoor terrace.

The beer garden collaborates with Beijing's top craft beer brewers to offer brews like Boxing Cat extra pale ale, Goose Island IPA, and raspberry Beijing Weisse beer, which is a tart choice for slaking that summer thirst.

To pair with the drinks, the chefs have prepped a secret recipe for crispy chicken wings, deep-fried squid rings with tater dressing, and fried onion rings, as well as local delights such as wok fried spicy crayfish and grilled oyster with minced garlic sauce.

No 83 Jianguolu, Chaoyang district, Beijing; 010-5908-8511

A grilling adventure

Arkado restaurant is bringing authentic Japanese barbecue to Beijing with a buffet style - unlike the Korean barbecue, the meat is not marinated for a long time, and it just needs to be brushed with special soy sauce right before grilling.

The meat selection includes marbled Australian beef steak, and also the tender beef tongue.

Set menus also include a sashimi platter with fresh cut salmon and sweet shrimp. The matcha ice cream is a refreshing resolution to any Arkado repast as the rich tea flavor combines perfectly with the cream.

3F, No 91 Jianguolu, Chaoyang district, Beijing; 010-8571-2337

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2019-06-01 06:02:23
<![CDATA[Kanpai beefs up Beijing's Japanese scene]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/01/content_37476563.htm Founded in 2005 in Taiwan, Japanese barbecue restaurant chain, Kanpai Classic, has finally landed in Beijing, officially opening on April 24.

Located in the Wangfujing area, the capital's first Kanpai Classic has inherited the cozy and delicate atmosphere from its Taiwan counterpart, and its 14 private dining rooms all share a beautiful view of the Palace Museum.

Ten years after the brand was founded in Taiwan, in the summer of 2015, Kanpai Classic was first introduced to Shanghai and gained a Michelin star in 2017 and 2018.

According to Mike Huang, the regional chief operating officer of Kanpai in China, their mission is to promote Japanese yakiniku with the best quality Australian wagyu beef to the world.  

At Kanpai Classic, the chefs present the wagyu beef as different cuts and with different cooking techniques, so that customers can enjoy the meat in a variety of ways, for example as an appetizer such as Carpaccio, or as stewed beef brisket ramen.

The wagyu beef and sea urchin roll sushi is particularly worthy of note, combining the freshness of both ingredients.

The Australian wagyu beef is shipped directly from Australia by air and stored in a custom-made cabinet.

Marbled wagyu beef and other meat-centric meals may be the main attraction, but there are also a number of other must-try dishes.

According to Huang, Kanpai Classic has devoted itself to promoting the concept of sake pairing, partnering with the brand "Masuizumi" from Toyama in Japan, a winner of the International Wine Challenge's gold award, and which is exclusive to the Kanpai Group since 2005.

Another highlight is the freshly made kamameshi - a traditional Japanese rice dish cooked in an iron pot with various types of meat, seafood and vegetables.

Available two different ways, original and Japanese soup, Kanpai Classic's chicken kamameshi offers diners a satisfying aside to a feast of barbecue.

Huang explains why they suffix the word classic after Kanpai - that is because they want to create a mecca for mature adults.

"An older guest once commented that he liked Kanpai, but all the other customers were young people which made him feel like a little out of place," Huang recalls. "We want to convey the emotionally touching experience of great food to older guests as well, so we added a classic element."

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2019-06-01 06:02:23
<![CDATA[Inspirational archipelago]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/01/content_37476562.htm Situated off the east coast of Fujian province, Pingtan county is a chain of over 120 isles centered around the main island of Pingtan, and the closest place on the mainland to Taiwan. The natural beauty and unique culture of Pingtan not only attracts tourists, but it has also provided the inspiration for renowned Chinese dancer-choreographer Yang Liping's latest work.

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The culture and traditions of the island county of Pingtan off the coast of Fujian are explored in the second leg of Yang Liping's dance drama tour, Chen Nan reports.

Situated off the east coast of Fujian province, Pingtan county is a chain of over 120 isles centered around the main island of Pingtan, and the closest place on the mainland to Taiwan. The natural beauty and unique culture of Pingtan not only attracts tourists, but it has also provided the inspiration for renowned Chinese dancer-choreographer Yang Liping's latest work.

Following its premiere in Fuzhou, Fujiang province, in January 2018, the dance drama Pingtan Impression has visited 20 cities and staged around 70 performances across the country.

From June 7 to 9, Pingtan Impression will make its Beijing debut at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, before embarking on a second nationwide tour.

"Dance is a way of satisfying human needs and in primitive societies, dance was a major way to express sentiments," says dancer-choreographer Yang, 61, a practitioner of Chinese folk dance, who is from the Bai ethnic group of Southwest China's Yunnan province. "I always bear that in mind after learning this as a child."

"When I visited Pingtan for the first time in October 2016, I encountered a totally different culture compared to my hometown in Yunnan province. The ocean, the religion, the Hakka folk songs, the local operas and food - everything inspired me," says Yang. "I didn't have to invent anything for the stage. I just presented the rarely seen traditions of Pingtan, some of which are facing extinction."

The visual spectacle gathers together over 50 characters born from the ancient folk tales of Pingtan, such as the prince of the ocean, hardworking farmers and evil gods.

Masks are a crucial element of the dance drama. The female choir members wear masks as they dance onstage as a goddess but they remove their masks when they start to sing to perform as humans. Since Pingtan is close to Taiwan, the statue of Mazu, a goddess of the sea in Chinese culture, can be seen in the temples of Pingtan, demonstrating the deep cross-Straits connections. In Pingtan Impression, Yang borrows the image of Mazu and depicts the holy pilgrimage to Mazu onstage.

Yang also mixes glove puppetry, a form of performance native to Fujian province and also popular in Taiwan, into her choreography. Along with stage designer Tao Lei, Yang recreates life-size glove puppets for the stage.

"The audience can see the unique style of Yang Liping in every part of the stage, like the sounds and colors. It's more than a show. She wants to showcase the power of folk art and nature, which inspired her from the beginning of her career," says Tao.

The other creative team members include composer Qi Yanfeng, who based his creations on Minju Opera, one of the major folk operas of Fujian, and also combined them with folk songs popular among local fishermen.

Pingtan Impression is the eighth dance drama by Yang, who grew up in the mountainous areas of the Dali Bai autonomous prefecture. As the eldest child in her family, she learned to take care of her family from a young age and helped her parents with farming and herding animals. Her grandmother once told her that dancing was a way to communicate with the gods.

She never had professional dance training but Yang joined the Yunnan Xishuangbanna Song and Dance Troupe in 1979. The same year, she won a top provincial award as the lead dancer in the Peacock Princess, a dance drama creat-ed by the troupe. In 1980, at the age of 22, she joined the Beijing-based China Central Ethnic Song and Dance Ensemble.

Yang became a household name in China after she gained national recognition for Spirit of Peacock, a dance drama she choreographed and performed in 1986.

In 2003, Yang directed her dance drama, Dynamic Yunnan, which became a sensation. The work has since been staged over 3,000 times worldwide and is currently performed as a tourist attraction in Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan.

Her interest in folk art and nature led Yang to explore the different cultures in China. In 2007, she launched another successful show, Riddle of Tibet, which won acclaim for its interpretation of Tibetan culture and Buddhism. The show is now a major tourist draw in Sichuan province's Jiuzhaigou Valley, where it is regularly staged.

"We hope that Pingtan Impression will become a regular show in Fujian, which will help more people to understand their maritime traditions," says Wang Yanwu, Yang's longtime partner, who also manages her company, the Yang Liping Arts and Culture Co Ltd.

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2019-06-01 06:02:23
<![CDATA[Hard act to follow]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/01/content_37476561.htm When French-Italian composer Richard Cocciante brought his famous French musical, Notre Dame de Paris, to Beijing over a decade ago, he was approached by a local musical producer who invited him to compose for a new Chinese-language musical. When he discovered that the work was going to be based on Giacomo Puccini's classic three-act opera Turandot, Cocciante politely declined.

"Puccini's music is incomparable and unsurpassable. I felt so small in front of him," says Cocciante during his recent visit to the Forbidden City, or Palace Museum, in Beijing.

However, over the years, he changed his mind and he now plans to stage his own version of the story through music. Working with partners including the China Arts and Entertainment Group, the Chinese musical production of Turandot is scheduled to embark on a national tour in May 2020.

Back in 1998, Turandot was staged at the Forbidden City in Beijing. Directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou and conducted by Zubin Mehta, the story about a Chinese princess was performed in the setting originally intended by Puccini.

"That was a phenomenal performance. With this musical, we want to recount the original story, but from a fresh perspective," says Li Jinsheng, president of the China Arts and Entertainment Group, who announced the production at the Forbidden City alongside the composer.

Puccini died of cancer in 1924 before he could complete the third act of Turandot. For Cocciante, since the story is based in China and enjoyed all around the world, he used this as the core idea behind his composition - a fusion between East and West.

"It will be a completely new musical and since it's a joint effort between Chinese and European artists, it will be a work for the entire world," says Cocciante.

The creative team behind the new musical will feature Chinese lyricist Chen Su, a member of the Opera National de Paris who helped adapt Victor Hugo's timeless novel into a Chinese stage production; lighting and stage set designer Jacques Rouveyrollis who designed the light show for the Eiffel Tower's 120th anniversary celebrations; and the Academy Awardwinning costume designer Gabriella Pescucci, who has worked on films such as The Age of Innocence, Once Upon a Time in America and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

"I will work with Richard Cocciante on developing the story for the musical. We will then work on the lyrics and music together since the Chinese language has different tones," says Chen.

Cocciante started his career as a singer and composer in Europe in the 1970s by working with popular music acts like Vangelis and Toto, and as a solo artist.

He has composed for musicals, including The Little Prince and an Italian version of Romeo and Juliet. His most successful musical, Notre Dame de Paris, is still touring worldwide. After its sellout debut at Le Palais des Congres in Paris on Sept 16, 1998, the French musical has now been seen by more than 8 million people around the world.

The market for musicals in China has been developing rapidly over the past few years, according to One World Cultural Communication Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the China Arts and Entertainment Group. In 2018, 775 musical performances were staged in Beijing alone, attracting audiences in excess of 400,000.

As well as touring China, the production will also be taken on a worldwide tour supported by the Silk Road International League of Theaters, an association set up the China Arts and Entertainment Group in 2016. The league, which represents 107 members from 37 countries and regions, serves as a platform for the performing arts and was set up to promote cultural exchanges between China and countries around the world.

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2019-06-01 06:02:23
<![CDATA[Pop duo team up for Monster track]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/01/content_37476560.htm Last summer, pop stars Li Yuchun and Wu Tsing-fong met at a talent show, The Coming One, filmed for the Chinese streaming platform Tencent Video. Along with another coach, the two singer-songwriters were responsible for developing original singer-songwriters on the show.

Li and Wu became close friends during the show and their mutual artistic admiration for each other led them to the recording studio, where they collaborated on a new single, As a Monster.

Their first creative collaboration, the song is dedicated to the people who pride themselves on being a little "odd".

"I liked the lyrics written by Li Geli very much when I first read them," says Li in Beijing, two days ahead of the single's digital release on May 20. "It portrays people who, sometimes, feel out of the place and are often considered as 'monsters'. I am shy and not sociable. I'm like one of those 'monsters' sometimes."

One of the biggest pop icons in China, Li rose to fame after winning the popular TV talent show Super Girl in 2005, which attracted millions of viewers.

One day in March, Li emailed the lyrics to Wu, who immediately shared her ideas. Not long after, Wu composed a song and sent it back to Li.

"I was exhausted with the hectic schedule that day. But when I listened to the demo, I felt excited and I knew it was right," Li recalls.

The rhythm, as Wu says, just came to him in a flash. And as the title suggests, the song is a playful riff on electronic indie-pop.

"I believe that everyone has a moment where they are being 'odd'. Sometimes I want to be silent or alone when I am among a crowd. It's a very private and personal feeling. It's about finding yourself and being yourself," says Wu, the former lead vocalist of Taiwan pop-rock band, Sodagreen.

"Although I have written songs for many people, I have never performed with another singer. This was my first time," adds Wu, who recorded the song with Li in Beijing.

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2019-06-01 06:02:23
<![CDATA[Geared up for a classic event]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-06/01/content_37476559.htm Shanghai Super Classic (SSC), Asia's first automotive culture and art crossover show, opened at the Shanghai Port International Passenger Terminal at the Northern Bund on May 20, showcasing 28 classic cars with a combined value of more than 207 million yuan ($30 million).

Having been planned for over four years, the 40-day exhibition includes century-old antique cars, prewar and postwar classics, limited edition super cars, F1 racing cars, cars built when China was newly founded, contemporary classics and new energy concept cars.

The biggest highlights include a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 - alone worth more than $5 million - a 1965 Hongqi limousine, and a rare 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 periscopio.

"SSC is not a traditional automobile industry exhibition, but an automotive culture exhibition that pays tribute to the classics, but looks forward to future development which integrates the automobile with technology, art, fashion and lifestyle," says Zhou Yi, the curator of the exhibition.

"I have participated in many overseas exhibitions and classic car events. I was so excited to find this business model that is mature in foreign markets but still untapped in our region," she adds.

Zhou says, China has become the world's largest producer and consumer of automobiles - the country produced more than 24 million passenger cars in 2017 according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. She pointed to the 10 consecutive years of growth and the fact that the 1,000th race of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship being held in Shanghai this year as proof that the industry is booming and evolving.

Despite the nation's automotive industry lagging behind the rest of the world for nearly 70 years, Zhou believes that the nation is on the cusp of a great era in Chinese automotive culture. SSC will play its part by taking visitors on a journey through the history of the automobile industry and how it has helped shape the evolution of social development and human civilization.

James Goldcrown, one of the world's hottest graffiti and fashion artists, who designed the "go viral love" wall, will showcase some of his designs at the exhibition.

The works of French sculptor Zoe Vayssieres, mosaic glass artist Chen Weide, post-impressionist contemporary oil painter Li Zili, and photographer Wang Gangfeng will also be on show, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in more conventional forms of art, alongside the (mostly) four-wheeled masterpieces made from metal, rubber and carbon fiber.

Another noteworthy highlight is a complete private collection of 248 Supreme skateboards, dating from 1998 to 2018 and is the only set of its kind in the world. It has been installed in the "Back to the Future" themed Hall of the exhibition and is valued at 5.39 million yuan.

A variety of cross-border and interactive experiences, including a Li-Ning pop-up store and a Hollywood motorcycle show will also be available to help visitors to celebrate the event.

"The auto show is static, but the immersive style of exhibition, the experiences and activities, as well as various forums and parties are dynamic, all help visitors understand the story behind each car," Zhou says.

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2019-06-01 06:02:23
<![CDATA[Serving up Asia on a plate]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/26/content_37473949.htm A festival in Beijing's Olympic Park has attracted fooddie from around China and beyond with its dazzling array of regional specialties, Li Yingyue reports.

An Indian chef is rolling out roti prata onto a kneading board as a Chinese chef makes lamian (hand-pulled noodles), while on the other side of the hall, a Japanese chef prepares sushi.

This is all taking place in the main venue of the Asian Food Festival held at the central area in Beijing's Olympic Park near the National Stadium, or Bird's Nest, and the National Aquatics Center - which is also known as the Water Cube.

 

From top: Beijing resident Song Zhenzhong shows how to make the traditional Beijing snack tanghulu; a participant shows Japanese style ice cream at the festival; traditional Korean pickles for visitors to enjoy. Photos by Li Yingxue / China Daily

As a supporting event for the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, the festival, which ran from May 16 to 22, also ran concurrently in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, Guangzhou in Guangdong province and Chengdu, Sichuan province.

As well as the main venue, six Beijing shopping malls also staged festival events, including Chaoyang Joy City, Hopson One and China World Mall.

Hosted by the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau and the China Cuisine Association, nine other organizers were involved, including the Beijing Time-Honored Brands Association, the Old Beijing Traditional Snacks Association, and the Beijing Restaurants Association.

According to Jiang Junxian, head of the China Cuisine Association, more than 200 restaurant brands set up stalls in the main event area, which extended to over 15,000 square meters.

"We have been preparing for the Asian Food Festival for over two months, and we have tried to represent every type of Asian cuisine here," says Jiang.

"It's a comprehensive exhibition, which, as well as offering food, also showcases a range of ingredients and cooking equipment, while offering insights into future trends in catering."

The main venue was divided into eight halls split into categories including Asian specialties and drinks, pastries, cold dishes, vegetarian food, snacks, and ingredients.

In the Asian specialties and drinks hall, Zhang Jingli, a tea expert from the Taiyuanfang Teahouse prepared different samples of white and green tea and offered them to visitors.

"Tea is all about sharing. I enjoy making tea for people and talking with them," says Zhang.

The Asian specialties hall offered a wide range of cuisine from countries around Asia, including South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, India and Vietnam, while coffee and cocktail booths were also set up around the hall to provide local tipples.

Jiang believes the food festival is an ideal platform for Asian countries to learn from each other and uncover developing trends in regional catering markets.

"It's not just about cuisine, the event also provides a cultural showcase for the different countries through their food," says Jiang.

According to Jiang, the time-honored brands and intangible cultural heritage pavilion, and the catering cultural creativity pavilion highlighted the history and ingenuity of Chinese cuisine.

Song Zhenzhong presented his skills in making the traditional Beijing snack tanghulu (sugar-coated haws on a stick) at the festival.

According to Song, his family business used to provide almost all of Beijing's tanghulu during the 1980s, making up to 50,000 each day.

"The key is to melt the rock candy down to a state where the sugar coating is thin enough to eat without being sticky on the teeth," says Song.

The catering inheritance and innovation pavilion and the modern catering smart life pavilion were another highlight of the Asian Food Festival, where visitors were given the chance to try the latest technology used in catering.

Koubei by Alibaba Group presented the intelligent restaurant, where customers order their food using their phones and have their meals delivered directly to their table by a robot.

Milk tea made by a mechanical arm, image recognition technology used in a pastry store and takeaway delivery done by drones all featured in the modern catering smart life pavilion.

Meituan Dianping published a report titled Asian Cuisine in Numbers during the festival, revealing the latest statistics and emerging trends in Asian cuisine in China.

According to Chen Rongkai, vice-president of Meituan Dianping, there are around 7.5 to 8 million restaurants on the Chinese mainland, and Meituan Dianping lists around 3.5 million of them, which provided the source data for the report.

He says that Asian-themed restaurants on the Chinese mainland have been increasing sharply since 2014, when there were less than 20,000 Asian cuisine restaurants listed on Dianping. In 2018, this number surpassed 120,000, accounting for 3.4 percent of all restaurants listed.

"Chinese cuisine is still the main force but over the past five years the tastes of Chinese customers have become more diverse," says Chen.

The report says Japanese cuisine, Korean cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine are Chinese consumers' top three preferred styles of Asian cuisine.

"We also noted that the number of Turkish, Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants in China is growing rapidly, albeit from a previously small base," Chen says.

Young people are the biggest fans of Asian food in China, where some 55 percent of the post-1990 generation and around 27 percent of the post-1980 age group regularly enjoy Asian food.

The report also shows that the distribution of Chinese restaurants around Asia is becoming more diverse, and Chinese cuisine has a newer image thanks to time-honored brands and chains.

"Chinese restaurants used to only open up alongside Chinatowns, but now they are spreading all over Asia, especially in East and Southeast Asia," says Chen.

Asian restaurant chains are also growing rapidly in China.

City Garden, a restaurant chain focusing on Singapore cuisine is just one example, as it now has 28 restaurants on the Chinese mainland, including 10 in Beijing, since opening in 2011.

For the food festival, City Garden prepared classic Singaporean dishes such as bak kut teh, prawn crackers and kaya toast.

According to Yang Yuanzhi, City Garden's operations director for the North China market, their chefs enjoyed interacting with visitors at the food festival, and telling them about the history of dishes like bak kut teh, while showcasing their culinary skills by making dishes like teh tarik.

"It's a good opportunity to present Singaporean cuisine and culture, and a chance to talk to our customers face-to-face," says Yang.

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2019-05-26 14:39:06
<![CDATA[Delicious flavors will have you begging for Merci]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/26/content_37473948.htm Coming from Brugge in Belgium, Ignace Lecleir ate French cuisine - such as foie gras, snails and steak with fries - on a daily basis when he was growing up.

For two years, around 20 years ago, he also worked in the kitchen of a French restaurant in Paris.

"I was responsible for preparing all of the vegetables required for any of the dishes," Lecleir recalls. "Since it was a high-end restaurant, there were many positions (in the kitchen). Dealing with vegetables sounds simple, but it's actually a very complicated station."

Lecleir recalls having to use a paintbrush to clean the dirt off a mushroom, because if it was washed, it would absorb the water and affect its flavor.

"Sometimes you have to do as little as possible to get the real flavor, and you want to make sure you can serve them at the prime time," says Lecleir.

He moved to Beijing in 2007 and is now owner and founder of the TRB Restaurant Group in the capital. After considering the idea of opening his own French restaurant for years, when the two-storey open space at Chaoyang Joy City became available, Lecleir knew it was time to make that dream a reality.

"This section of Joy City actually looks European. It's like a courtyard somewhere in Europe," he says. "There are not many French bistros in Beijing right now, so I thought that, maybe, this is a good opportunity."

Merci opened at the end of April and, as the French have strong culinary traditions that often begin in the home, Merci is a bistro focused on providing the joy and family atmosphere that surrounds great French home cooking.

The menu is dedicated to classic country-style dishes, like homemade pate, escargot, steak tartar, foie gras and TRB's signature souffles.

The snails at Merci are prepared in three different ways - one is with garlic, butter and herbs; another is French Burgundy snails with chives; and the last one sees the snails served with parsley foam and beef bone marrow. Diners can pull the snail from the shell with a special fork.

There are four dishes based on foie gras - the French country style pate with pork belly, foie gras on toast with cherry jam, a mixed French style pate platter and a foie gras terrine - that have been all designed for easy sharing.

The white wine clam and mussel pot is made in the authentic French style, but with a little twist by the chefs. To cater for local Beijing tastes, the flavor has been made a bit spicier.

The roasted chicken with potatoes and rosemary is a signature dish which is carved and served at the diners' table.

"I think in Europe, we eat roast chicken once or twice a week," says Lecleir.

The French style lamb leg is a must-try for gatherings of family or friends, as it's a whole lamb leg roasted with garlic, parsley, several different spices and served with courgette - its crispy flavorful skin belies the succulent, tender meat underneath.

When it comes to desserts, Merci's lemon cake is a fun treat. It's crafted in the shape of a lemon, but with passion fruit inside.

One of the signature souffles, however, is the perfect choice to end a meal at Merci - whether it's the milk chocolate flavor, passion fruit flavor or grand marnier flavor - each is cooked to order and has to be served and eaten at the right time, otherwise the puffy top will collapse.

After more than 10 years of living and working in Beijing, Lecleir has noticed that Chinese customers are very excited and curious about new flavors. Even though most of his experience is with fine dining restaurants, Lecleir has decided to do something casual to serve the culinary curiosity of his Chinese customers.

He notes that, now, 70 percent of the customers at TRB restaurants are Chinese - and they keep coming back.

"Sometimes, they will come back with their parents, which we get excited about, as it is like the ultimate confirmation that we were able to pass the final test," he says.

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2019-05-26 14:39:06
<![CDATA[Eatbeat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/26/content_37473947.htm Feeling Hungary?

The 2019 Hungarian Food Festival is being held at the Evergreen Cafe in Beijing Landmark Towers until May 26. Hungarian chefs prepare authentic traditional cuisine that is heavy on dairy, cheese and meats not easily found in Beijing. The dishes include different kinds of sausages, fish soup, stewed beef tenderloin and goulash.

No 8, North Dongsanhuan Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6590-6611.

Traditionally tasty

Beijing chef Han Ping recently teamed up with chef Lyu Zhenning from the InterContinental Beijing Sanlitun to offer traditional dishes from the capital. The food event at the Ying Chinese Restaurant is themed "feels like home", and will end on May 31. Han was an office worker before she became a guest host on a Beijing TV food program in 2004. Besides classic Beijing dishes, she also shared some of her personal recipe secrets with the hotel's kitchen staff. Some traditional Beijing snacks were also prepared to offer guests a variety of flavors.

No 1, Nansanlitun Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8516-0066.

Hui do love sushi

Japanese cuisine chef, Wang Hui, has opened a new kaiseki ryori (multiple-course traditional dinner) restaurant in Beijing named Hui Four Seasons Japanese Cuisine. He has designed a summer sushi kaiseki ryori that starts with a bitter gourd and onion salad and homemade smoked French salmon, before offering 10 types of sushi, including snapper and grapefruit with pepper, and flatfish and sea urchin.

2F, Building B, Jia 6, Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang district, Beijing.

Seafood in the sky

Unico Beijing launched a new menu designed by chef Elijah Holland and the Oysterlicious Bar team to open the summer season with a fresh and exciting dining and drinking experience on the rooftop of the Topwin Center. The Unico seafood platter includes kingfish, lobster, oyster, periwinkle, prawn and calamari.

5F, Topwin Center, No 1 Nansanlitun Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-5624-0888.

A beefed up menu

Dondonya opened its third branch in Beijing with a newly launched filet steak and foie gras with rice, and a wagyu beef salad. The filet steak is served with minced garlic and the foie gras is slowly pan-fried in butter. The thinly-sliced wagyu beef with special sauce and vegetables is a combination of freshness and flavor.

B1, No 1 Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6504-2529.

China Daily

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2019-05-26 14:39:06
<![CDATA[A campus to remember]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/26/content_37473946.htm Overseas students at Fudan University say its holistic approach has helped them understand China better, Cao Chen reports in Shanghai.

The number of international students flocking to China to pursue higher education has been soaring over the past decade.

According to the Ministry of Education, the number was 492,185 in 2018, an increase of about 3,000 students from 2017.

For many foreign students, the prestigious Fudan University in Shanghai is the choice destination because of its inclusive learning and social environment.

 

Some scholarship-winning international students practice Chinese calligraphy at a cultural event in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, in 2018. Provided to China Daily

Goh Qian Xuan from Singapore is one such student. The 23-year-old is among the university's 10"star graduates" this year and she will now pursue a master's degree from Yale University.

During her graduate years, Goh was elected as the president of the Fudan University Singaporean Students Association and the Chinese Language and Literature Faculty Student Union, which gave her the chance to work closely with students from other countries. She was able to share her own culture with her peers at the university's annual International Cultural Festival.

She was also involved in hosting Singaporean delegations that visited the university.

"I didn't come to Shanghai just to get good grades. I believe that academic and non-academic involvement are equally important in undergraduate study," Goh says.

"Being part of the local student associations, working with local Chinese and witnessing how things are done has really helped me to better understand Chinese society and its people."

According to the international students office at Fudan University, there are 16 societies that were specially set up for international students at the university in addition to more than 200 student groups that international students can join to mingle with their Chinese counterparts. Plus, overseas students can participate in summer programs on Chinese culture.

The university also offers extracurricular activities for them to explore the city and the country.

Liu Li, director of the office, says such activities are aimed at creating a cross-cultural environment, which helps international students integrate into campus life in China, as well as help foster closer ties between foreign and local students.

Goh says she felt less like a foreign student only after a year in the student union.

"I took classes and exams with local students, and met my best friends in the association. The environment truly stretched my boundaries and strengthened my foundation for Chinese studies," she says.

Minh Tien Nguyen from Vietnam, a postgraduate student in clinical medicine at Fudan, participated in an activity held by educational officials in the Yangtze River Delta area last year, visiting Yangshan Port and medical research labs in Shanghai, as well as attending lectures on the development of the city's Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park.

"I obtained a deep understanding of the great achievements in the Yangtze River Delta in the past 40 years since China's reform and opening-up started, especially in terms of Shanghai's economics, shipping and technology innovation," says Nguyen. "The skills and experience I have gained in Shanghai can benefit my future career in developing my hometown."

According to Fudan, which was one of the first mainland universities to accept foreigners, more than 50,000 international students have enrolled in its programs since 1952, and over the past 15 years, that number has increased by 30 percent.

The university presently offers 39 programs that are taught in English for undergraduates and graduates. Those who are proficient in Chinese can also apply for programs taught in Mandarin. Economics, management, Chinese language, international relations, media and medicine are the most popular majors among international students.

To provide international students with a conducive learning environment, the university has a center for student development where they can request assistance in a variety of matters, and take part in tutoring programs, courses and camps organized by various departments. The university also provides financial aid to support undergraduate research efforts, psychological consultations and assistance related to career development and accommodation.

Indonesian student Michael Halim, a "star graduate" of Fudan's medical college, had an eventful time at the university.

Halim, who has published eight SCI research papers in international science journals, was invited to give speeches in five countries on one of his research papers on diabetes. He has also translated and edited more than 20 Chinese research papers that were later published in journals. He won awards at an inter-university clinical skills competition held in Dalian, Liaoning province.

He has been sharing resources and guiding individuals who intend to take the Occupational English Test ever since he passed four months ago. Apart from his academic achievements, Halim was also involved in extracurricular activities and was among the top 10 contestants in bodybuilding competitions held on campus.

He has also donated a lot of money to a Chinese charity named Di Shui Chou that specializes in helping patients who are struggling financially to pay for hospital bills.

"Fudan encourages students to focus on other aspects of life, including health and overall development as an individual, in addition to academic excellence," says Halim, who will pursue his postgraduate studies in medicine in the United Kingdom.

"The university has created a campus community where students are encouraged to broaden their minds, to innovate and delve deeper into what we are interested in, and to meet educated and outstanding peers who we can learn from."

Goh, who is planning to join the Singapore Ministry of Education in the future, echoes this.

"The four amazing years I've spent in Fudan have helped to build a strong foundation for my life and career.

"This experience has debunked many stereotypes and put matters into perspective as I now understand the underlying reasons behind the Chinese approach to certain matters."

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2019-05-26 14:39:06
<![CDATA[The master of Chinese art in a glass]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/26/content_37473945.htm An exhibition highlights skill and aesthetics, Zhang Kun reports in Shanghai.

Glass art has taken on a unique look in Boshan, a small town in East China's Shandong province, where artists are creating complex paintings inside small snuff bottles that are no larger than a person's palm.

Some of the master artists from Boshan presented their creations in Shanghai from April 22 to Tuesday in an exhibition titled Spilt Colors and Flowing Lights at the new cultural center at 52 Duolun Road that features traditional Chinese art and craft.

 

Above: Artist Wang Xiaocheng uses a redesigned Chinese brush to paint inside a snuff bottle. Top: One of Wang's works that was on show in Shanghai from April 22 to Tuesday. Photos by Gao Erqiang / China Daily

Although artists in China began painting inside snuff bottles in the early 1800s by dipping the curved tips of fine bamboo sticks in ink and mineral pigments, it was Wang Xiaocheng who redesigned the Chinese brush and took the art form to a new level.

The 74-year-old, who is one of the artists featured at the exhibition in Shanghai, is also one of six nationally recognized master craftsmen who have made significant contributions to the center. Wang will also have residence, host cultural salons and give lectures at 52 Duolun Road.

Wang is known as the man who combined Chinese paintbrushes with the miniature bamboo stick that allowed him to create thinner and more accurate strokes on the glass surface, in turn paving the way for the creation of more complex artworks.

Among his best-known creations is a group portrait of 108 characters from the classic Chinese novel The Water Margin. All the heroes and martial art fighters are painted on two sides of a glass bottle measuring no more than 8 centimeters tall and 5 centimeters wide.

In an interview to China Daily, Wang says he joined the glass factory when he was just 12 years old, filling the job that his sister vacated as she was sick. His talent for the craft was clear even though he was so young. Just a year later, Wang was chosen to be an apprentice of master craftsman Xue Jingwan and he got to learn how to paint on the interior of bottles. He later studied at an art school in Shandong and at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, now known as the China Academy of Art.

Eager to put into use what he had learned, Wang had in 1961 bound part of the hair from a painting brush with fine thread to the bamboo stick traditionally used for painting on the interior of bottles. The soft tip allowed a new freedom for expression.

"I could paint the intricate changes in the different shades of green seen in the woods, the fine outline of a lotus leaf, and details of a bird or a bug," he says.

In 1971, Wang came up with the ambitious plan to paint the 108 heroes from The Water Margin inside a bottle. While it was difficult to fit so many figures in a small frame that measured no more than 40 square centimeters, Wang says the greatest challenge was actually giving each character a distinctive identity.

"I had to hold my breath when drawing each face," he says. "The completion of every head felt like I had just passed a stern test."

At that time, the state government was encouraging craftsmen to sell their creations overseas, and one of the works he chose for this achieved critical acclaim at the China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

In the following decades, Wang went on to win many national awards before receiving the title of "China's National Master of Arts and Crafts" in 2006. He now has plans to build a museum to document the heritage and development of his craft.

Glassmaking has been a craft practiced in Boshan for hundreds of years. A small temple for the God of the Glass Kiln still stands on a hillside in the town.

Snuff was introduced to China by the Europeans during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Small bottles made of jade, glass, ivory and other material were widely sought after in Beijing during that period. Boshan was initially a hub for the manufacturing of these snuff bottles before local craftsmen later learned the skill of painting inside the bottles.

The subjects that are painted often include flowers and birds with auspicious meanings, landscapes and portraits. The development of the craft was temporarily affected when Qing rule ended and the aristocrats lost their money and status. The craft was revived in Boshan after 1949 due to support from the government.

"Chinese art has distinctive aesthetics. In the West, artists observe and depict a subject through different facets, while in Chinese art, lines and strokes play a decisive part," says Wang.

"Snuff bottles are found in many parts of the world, but painting inside the bottle is a craft that is unique to China. We are the ones who are responsible for creating this art form."

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2019-05-26 14:39:06
<![CDATA[Turning palm leaves into fanciful works]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/26/content_37473944.htm Seated under a tent and in front of a simple desk, Ao Congwen effortlessly weaved palm leaves into dragonflies, grasshoppers, frogs and roses, using only a pair of scissors and a fine needle.

The 62-year-old, who was showcasing his craft at a creative fair held recently in suburban Shanghai's Zhaojialou town in Minhang district, was a hit with the visitors, especially children. His simple creations sold for just 30 yuan ($4.34), while the more complex ones cost up to 160 yuan.

"The handicraft of palm fiber weaving has become an inseparable part of my life. I usually spend the whole day weaving and finding places to sell during weekends," says Ao, who has been weaving for 22 years.

Born and raised in southwestern China's Chongqing city, Ao recalls that he was first fascinated by the craft about 20 years ago when he chanced upon a craftsman weaving by the roadside.

"I was eager to acquire the craft but couldn't afford to do so because my family was in debt at that time," says Ao, who had some experience in weaving when he was a child.

"I learned it by observing him (the craftsman) from a distance. Luckily, I learned some basic techniques after three days of observation. It took me almost a year to completely master the craft."

According to Ao, the craft of palm fiber weaving can be divided into two types. The first, which withers quickly, is made of fresh palm leaves with a bright color. The other type, which can be preserved for decades, is made up of dried leaves.

Ao said that he would go to the countryside and collect the material for his creation, carefully picking fresh palm leaves that are long and wide before drying them in the sun.

"The 12 Chinese zodiac signs are my favorites. The complicated ones, like the dragon, usually take me one or two days to accomplish," he says.

"I frequently collect new weaving patterns online as useful references and try to explore ways to create them. We need to be innovative in order to take the craft to a new height."

The craft of palm fiber weaving, which originated in the Three Kingdoms (220-280), has a history that spans more than 1,700 years. It was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage by the State Council in 2011.

Today, Ao is among the few people who are still relying on the craft to make a living. Guo Jing, a researcher at East China Normal University who focuses on the protection of intangible cultural heritage, said that many traditional handicrafts such as palm fiber weaving are dying because "there are too many things that keep people entertained nowadays". Apart from the handful of representative inheritors of intangible cultural heritage, most craftsmen find it difficult to make a living from traditional art.

As such, creative fairs, workshops and handicraft studios have been playing an important role in introducing these traditional skills to the masses as they allow people to try the craft out for themselves, adds Guo.

"I once had an apprentice who showed great interest in the craft, but he eventually gave up. It is hard for people, especially the young, to have the patience to pursue crafts that take up so much time and energy," says Ao, who has resorted to selling marshmallows while displaying his handicrafts.

"The weaving craft is not a profitable business. Though many people are fascinated with the craft the moment they see it, few choose to buy. Besides, we have to pay for the site and that makes our business rather difficult. We hope more exhibition sites can be provided for folk artists to expand their influence."

Tang Xiaofan contributed to this story.

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2019-05-26 14:39:06
<![CDATA[French artist's personal projects on debut show in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/26/content_37473943.htm Master glassmaker Eric Bonte may be known for his beautiful stained-glass ceilings and windows, but the Frenchman is highlighting a different creation for his first showcase in China.

His exhibition Born from Love, Roused by Freedom: The Glass Soul of Eric Bonte, which is being held at the Liuli China Museum in Shanghai from April 25 through October, features 32 glass sculptures consisting of transparent and pure glass with punctuations of black and gold.

"The exhibition sees Bonte leave behind the colorful domed ceilings of his past and move toward an abstract romanticism by shaking free from expectations and constraints," says Chang Yi, co-founder of Liuli China Museum and curator of the exhibition.

"The grander his domed glass ceilings and the more vivid the use of color, the more his true self would retreat. Perhaps he hoped to cultivate his internal voice, to experience the silence and purity following a maelstrom, or perhaps he saw this as an opportunity to make his true self heard."

According to Bonte, the creation of stained-glass windows and domes demanded precision that was achieved through strictly controlled maneuvers. As such, he wanted to be free and "to be carried away by the material" for these personal works that are on show.

The artist, who set a world record in 1987 for creating the world's largest stained-glass installation at the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro in Cote d'lvoire, has achieved "absolute sensitivity, grace and beauty through wild and even violent maneuvers on very thin layers of the material", says Loretta Yang, a glass artist and a co-founder of the Liuli China Museum.

Bonte's sculptures feature diverse themes and subjects. There are crabs, women and goddesses, and more abstract pieces with names such as Comet Dust, Floating Cloud, and Flight in the Light. These sculptures capture a fleeting moment, a flashback of a memory or a passing movement. Chang calls the French glassmaker a "wind chaser with glass".

"Wind is without bounds, it can't be defined, capricious and with emotions ... through lines, planes, creases, twists and turns, and Bonte captures its free spirit," Chang says.

In traditional Chinese art circles, there is a saying that "there are different shades of black ink", Chang says. "In Bonte's creations, we realize there are infinite variations from translucence to transparency."

A maitre verrier, which means master glassmaker in French, Bonte began his career working with stained and engraved glass. He bought his first studio in 1979 and has since been one of the world's foremost experts in crafting stained-glass windows for places such as the Saint Die des Vosges Cathedral and the Saint Guenole Penmarch Chapel. Bonte was also responsible for the restoration of the stained-glass windows of the church of Saint Severin in Paris. Outside of France, his creations can be found in countries such as Oman, Egypt and Russia.

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2019-05-26 14:39:06
<![CDATA[Life Sauternal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470901.htm

Sweet Bordeaux is having a moment that's as close to immortality as wine gets

Liquid gold, the gold standard, luxury in a glass, wine's Chanel No 5, the silence that follows a piece by Mozart in which the listener remains suffused with the music - that's Sauternes, the sweet white wine from France's Bordeaux region. Made from semillon, sauvignon blanc and sometimes muscadelle grapes, it's having a magnificent moment in Asia.

China is now the world's second-biggest market for this sweet Bordeaux elixir, according to Emma Baudry, who represents the Sweet Bordeaux association and travels annually to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo to promote the golden wonder in October and November.

 

The emphasis on food and wine-matching with Sauternes - it goes particularly well with aromatic and spicy dishes, with the sweetness acting as a great complement to spice, which can often overpower red wines. Photos Provided to China Daily

At Hong Kong's most recent Wine and Dine festival, Baudry and the Sweet Bordeaux delegation sold more than 13,000 glasses over four days to the trade, visitors and amateur oenophiles. "The winemakers worked hard to explain the diversity of AOC (appellation d'origine controlee) to the young audience of Hong Kong," explains Baudry. And so popular it was, she ran out of stock.

Sauternes, and especially at Chateau d'Yquem, its most esteemed estate, is produced 40 kilometers upstream of Bordeaux in a region nestled between the left bank of the Garonne and the immense Landes forest. This noble area of about 2,200 hectares is divided among the villages of Sauternes, Bommes, Fargues, Preignac and Barsac. Although they can all properly claim the famous Sauternes appellation, the producers in Barsac are allowed to choose between the Sauternes AOC and its sister appellation, Barsac AOC, which controls production in a very similar manner.

Sweet Bordeaux's silver bullet, irony of ironies, is something called botrytis cinerea, commonly known as noble rot and capable of reducing a potential harvest of 40 hectares to just 18. Semillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle grapes are left on the vine longer than a normal grape, the result of which makes the grapes raisin-like and shriveled, and covered in a veil of fungus. Sauternes is one of the few regions where contamination happens frequently; in years when it doesn't, the winemakers desist from producing.

Grapes are often picked one by one and winemakers may take batches for harvest each day as they assess their state of noble rot. Some estates harvest the sauvignon blanc as soon as it's ripe to retain its aromatic finesse and acidity in order to produce fresh, more vigorous wines, while producers of heady, fuller-bodied Sauternes wait for the maximum amount of noble rot to set in. The natural concentration and selection process afford minuscule yields; a single vine produces just one to three glasses of this extraordinary wine.

Feared everywhere else, rot is providential and makes sweet Bordeaux, in all its iterations, a wine with extravagant complexity and variety; notes of orange, honey, apricot, peach, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon, mango, litchi, cooked apple, ginger, vanilla, acacia blossom, walnut, almond, hazelnut, nutmeg, light and dark creme brulee, and even saffron can all be evident. Really, no other wine bears such profundity in its sultry and seductive versatility.

So why isn't it more commonly drunk? Sauternes and sweet Bordeaux have endured a curious agony-and-ecstasy of an image problem over the years, as a multitude of preconceptions have built up around the wine's consumption.

Among the most commonly misplaced notions are the following: that it's only a dessert wine; that it can only be paired with foie gras, blue cheese and fruit desserts; that it's expensive; that it's wasteful, meaning not everyone wants to finish a bottle once opened; and that its sweetness has made it the preserve of women rather than the red-blooded male.

Edward Narby, Berry Brothers & Rudd's Hong Kong-based corporate account manager, has noticed a rising interest in Sauternes in China - "though not to the consumption levels of dry reds and whites," he says. He identifies several reasons for the change. "The emphasis on food and wine-matching with Sauternes - it goes particularly well with aromatic and spicy dishes, with the sweetness acting as a great complement to spice, which can often overpower red wines."

Baudry and her cohorts have also paired sweet Bordeaux with seafood and found them to be agreeable to the broader Asian palate. "We have paired sweet Bordeaux with oysters, then lobster and finally a smoked saffron fish," she says. "Very beautiful chords showed the guests the sweet wine's pairing abilities thanks to its aromatic complexity, with a variety of textures and tastes."

Narby also believes the region's dining culture matches well with the libation: "The tradition of Chinese dining, where lots of dishes are served at once, also works with sweet wine, as it is surprisingly versatile. There's also a psychological edge to Sauternes - gold is such a positive color, too."

But what about the commonly held belief that alpha males don't touch the sweet stuff? "The notion of Sauternes being a more female-friendly libation is completely unfounded," he says.

"In tastings, I see that everyone enjoys these wines now. Real men drink rose - they are drinking sweet Bordeaux, too."

It's also an elixir with staying power on the practical level. "A sweet white Bordeaux, once opened, thanks to the higher levels of alcohol and acidity, will easily keep in the fridge for up to 10 days ... if you can resist it!" says Narby. At the more remarkable end of the preservation scale, US wine critic Robert Parker tasted an 1811 Chateau d'Yquem in 1996 and awarded it a perfect 100 points. The house of Dior even combined with d'Yquem in 2006 to create an anti-aging cream that utilized sap from its vines.

Nicolas Sanfourche, who oversees 30 hectares of vines at Chateau Loupiac-Gaudiet, of which three hectares are dedicated to red wine and 27 to sweet white Loupiac, says both yes and no to Sauternes being considered a dessert wine. "It's a dessert wine because it replaces the dessert at the end of the meal," he says. "Never mix sweet wine and sugar, and if you really want to pair it with dessert, I prefer fresh fruits."

And on the point about the gender battle: "Soft drinks are sugared, too, but does that mean they are only for women as well?" he poses, noting that he sees more men in his cellar than women. Sanfourche also has two dancefloors in his cellar, where he invites 500 people and six DJs to while the weekend away. "The average age of the people is 25," he adds. As of this month, he's opened a space on the estate for Airbnb for those wanting a taste of the life more ambrosial.

So what are you waiting for? Sweet Bordeaux doesn't only taste sublime or match with all foods - it's an anytime, anywhere libation, "People say sweet Bordeaux wine is only for the end of the year, a celebration, but my favorite time to drink it is next to the pool in the summer," says Sanfourche. From here to eternity, go grab the sweeter life and aspire to iridescent immortality - a life Sauternal?

- CDLP

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2019-05-18 07:25:40
<![CDATA[Musician pens 150 'love stories' in tribute to city]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470900.htm

Everyday scenes of Shanghai form the inspiration for composer's output

Guangzhou-born Luo Wei has over the past few years penned more than 100"love letters" to his adopted city of Shanghai where he has set roots.

But none of these letters are written in a language the common man would understand - they are all piano compositions.

The 29-year-old wrote his first piano piece, titled November 26, Grey Shanghai, on a rainy day when he was feeling down.

 

Luo Wei says he draws inspiration for his piano compositions from the everyday scenes in Shanghai. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

The experience, he recalled, helped alleviate the stress he was bogged down by. He has since never looked back.

Luo, a trained pianist who works as a music composer for cultural projects, television shows, films and stage plays, has since 2013 created 230 piano compositions in his spare time, out of which 150 were inspired by everyday scenes in Shanghai.

"I just love strolling or taking a bicycle ride through the streets in search of interesting details, such as the singing cicadas in the trees in summer, or the rustling of fallen leaves in autumn. All these serve as inspiration for my piano compositions," he said.

One of his favorite "love letters" to Shanghai is Nocturne for Yan'an Road, which was inspired by a taxi ride.

"I always pass by Yan'an Elevated Road when on the way home from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport after my travels or business trips," he said.

"Frequent trips to other cities make me homesick. But whenever I'm in a taxi on this overpass, I know I'm heading home and it makes me relaxed."

One of the things he usually draws inspiration from are sunsets. Watching the sunset on different occasions - once in the Russian town of Irkutsk, once after a heavy rain in Shanghai, and once from a cliff in Bali, Indonesia - has spurred him to create pieces that reflect his feelings at those moments in time.

"People will find out that Shanghai, as well as the world, is a lovely place to live through my music," he said.

Many listeners seem to agree with this sentiment. After all, his creations have been played about 300 million times on online audio sharing platforms and apps in China.

Luo has received numerous fan mails because of his piano compositions, too. A listener who used to suffer from severe depression once sent Luo a message in 2016 saying that he had listened to each of the musician's piano compositions at least five times.

"I still preserve a screenshot of that message from him that says: 'Your music is the sunshine in my life. It's so beautiful and warm'," said Luo.

He also got messages from listeners expressing their desire to visit the Hengshan Hotel in Shanghai or walk along Guilin Road, both of which are described in his compositions.

Born to parents who are both musically inclined - his father taught music conducting while his mother was a violin teacher at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou - Luo started learning the piano when he was 5 years old.

He later enrolled in the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

"My musical journey started as early as when I was in my mother's womb. My parents were still composing music then," he said.

"My parents were strict. They did not believe in shortcuts. When I wasn't attending classes in school, I would be spending most of my leisure time practicing."

One of his most well-known compositions was inspired by a sightseeing cruise along the Huangpu River. Titled Walking on the Bund, this piece received such overwhelming response that it was designated the official theme song for the waterfront stretch that runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River in central Shanghai. Luo took just three hours to create this composition.

In light of this song's success, Luo is now planning to compose themed pieces for 12 of the 34 historical buildings and structures along the Bund that are listed as national-level heritages.

The musician will also kick off his first national tour next year. But instead of performing in concert halls, Luo said that he hopes to hold his showcases in more casual settings such as art galleries and even the Great Wall in Beijing where people can gather around the piano.

"My music used to be a private utopia for myself where I broaden my mind and focus on the beauty of the world," he said.

"Now, I want to bring this utopia to every listener out there."

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2019-05-18 07:25:40
<![CDATA[Documentary highlights 'accidental diplomats']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470899.htm

HOUSTON - People-to-people exchanges between China and the United States contribute to better mutual understanding between the world's two largest economies, a US documentary producer said.

"Public opinion is the core infrastructure of China-US relations," said William Mundell, producer of Better Angels, a feature documentary on the China-US bilateral relationship.

Besides traditional ways, Mundell believes film is another efficient method to foster exchanges between the two nations.

The film Better Angels was screened at Rice University's campus in Houston, the US state of Texas last month. It focuses on ordinary people - referred to as "accidental diplomats" - who build cultural and economic bridges between the United States and China.

"Personal stories are the ones that create a true emotional impact, and that is what is necessary to really change people's minds," he said.

Mundell shared his insights during a panel discussion after the film screening, saying that the US-China relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and people from both countries should engage in cross-cultural cooperation.

Besides building trust at the cross-national level, Mundell wants it to "happen on a people-to-people basis". He hopes these "accidental diplomats", such as a former US marine from Texas who teaches Chinese children English and coaches football in Shanghai, and a Chinese teacher who helps American children learn math using an abacus, will break stereotypes and dispel misconceptions that citizens of both nations have about each other.

"I do want to motivate more people to tell their personal stories of US-China cooperation," he said, anticipating the interaction will help strengthen their trust in the cross-cultural relationship.

Chen Ye, a Chinese actress in the historical drama film The Burning of the Imperial Palace, said something similar at the panel discussion.

"Communication between people from both backgrounds is very important. Most Americans think China is mysterious. But when you meet Chinese people and enter their lives, you will learn something different," she said.

Sunny Zhang, an associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, who also attended the screening as a panelist, found the film interesting because it features stories about Chinese and Americans who are seeking opportunities in both nations.

"I'm impressed by the width and depth of the film," she said.

One story in the film is about two long-term unemployed women who found jobs at a Chinese copper plant in Wilcox County, Alabama, which hasn't drawn any investments in the past 45 years. The Chinese investors have created 300 jobs.

Even though these stories took place in America's heartland or the other side of the world like Africa, this documentary makes China appear less remote and more relatable, Zhang said.

"These personal stories bring people closer," she said. "Just like doing business, on the surface, it seems about two companies making transactions with each other, but ultimately, it's the human relations that make deals happen."

Likewise, Zhang said that the film presents a series of short stories about Better Angels in the global perspective by highlighting a Chinese company expanding their projects in Ethiopia.

Better Angels has received positive responses from both Chinese and American viewers. The movie trailer received over 3 million views on Facebook, Mundell said.

Claire Logue, who saw the documentary, regards the film as an eyeopener. "We are secluded in our own perceptions of what's around us. Hearing things from different parts of the world is very enlightening and insightful," she said.

Logue said she would recommend the film to everyone who is interested in China-US ties. "It perfectly exemplified the relationship we need to be having between the two countries," she added.

Megan Botha, another viewer, thinks the film represents the way both peoples engage with each other.

"The Chinese community is embracing parts of the American culture. I think we should all take an active role in fostering Chinese culture as well," she said.

When illustrating the goal of the documentary, Mundell said, "What we are trying to convey in the film is to let people try harder (to communicate) and trust each other. That way we will achieve the true potential of the China-US relationship."

Better Angels is a 92-minute theatrical documentary directed by award-winning director Malcolm Clarke and produced by Mundell and award-winning Chinese producer Han Yi.

Mundell said Better Angels was released on 9,200 screens in China after the opening week of the 9th Beijing International Film Festival on April 13-20, followed by a North American release.

Xinhua

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2019-05-18 07:25:40
<![CDATA[Express baggage]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470898.htm

Luxury Milanese luggage maker Valextra has launched a new flagship store in Beijing to showcase their own stylish brand of innovation and modernity, Xu Haoyu reports.

After Tokyo, Shanghai, Chengdu, and most recently Hong Kong, the Italian luxury luggage and accessories brand Valextra launched its latest flagship store in Beijing.

Located in Taikoo Li in the capital's Sanlitun shopping area, the Valextra Beijing space opened its doors in late March to showcase is contemporary designs and European aesthetics.

 

Valextra was created from the combination of valigeria, the Italian word for leather goods, and the English word extra, to signify "extraordinary".

The company's CEO Sara Ferrero attended the opening ceremony with London-based Milanese designer Martino Gamper, the interior designer of the new retail space.

Light and color

After opening the dark brass handle adorning the door of the shop's 10-meter-wide glass facade, visitors soon find themselves immersed in a fabulous rhapsody of colors, materials and shapes, where each space is divided by a playful hanging double-tier shelves presenting Valextra's precious creations. Reminiscent of childhood's swings, the pastel-colored shelves suspended from the tall ceilings create a floating display avenue, lending a museum-like feel to the store. The shelves are made of matte-painted metal, linoleum and framed wood, which enhance the contrast with Valextra's leather bags.

The lofty ceilings are not the only element offering a surprise in the store: the light blue terrazzo resin floor scattered with brightly colored brass inserts and edging recreates the geometric pattern of a mandala (an image of a circle surrounding a square, that represents the universe in the Hindu and Buddhist religions) on the floor. Covered in different hues of light pink marbling, the alternate yellow and light blue accents of the walls resonate in harmony with the surroundings.

Gamper, wearing an indigo blue T-shirt he dyed himself matched with wrinkled pants by Japanese designer Issey Miyake, looked composed as he met with visitors to the store.

This is not the first time that Gamper has worked with the brand. In 2015, he designed a boutique for the Italian luxury house in Milan, where he created bespoke store installations using colorful, custom-made magnets.

For the outside of the store, which currently features huge sculpted glass panels, Gamper says he hopes to be able to replace certain areas of the exterior with softer materials if permitted.

He claims that as a designer, he never tries to follow local tastes blindly to please the market. He thinks that design is a personal process, "I really believe that if you make something that you really like, there's a strength in it."

Brand in the making

Valextra was founded by Giovanni Fontana in 1937 with a vision to create the most exclusive handbags in Milan. Catering to sophisticated Milanese women, his iconic store at No 1 Piazza San Babila in the heart of the city, served as a meeting point for the city's elite.

The name Fontana chose for the brand reflected his ethos and the spirit of the time: Valextra was created from the combination of valigeria, the Italian word for suitcase, and the English word extra, to signify "extraordinary".

The brand became popular among international celebrities, who ordered custom-made handbags and travel cases that reflected their lifestyles. Notable customers included the famous singer Maria Callas, Ornella Vanoni, Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, and the former queen of Iran Farah Diba. Many actresses including Sophia Loren, Ira von Furstenberg, Silvana Pampanini, Ava Gardner, were also regular customers.

To celebrate the history of the brand, Valextra relaunched its iconic SerieS to mark the bag's 50th anniversary. The 1961 patent describes the range as "especially appropriate for travel", and the design, which is carried by the Beijing store, was developed with the cultured traveler in mind.

Inspired by traditional doctor's bags, the SerieS features an asymmetrically-cut trapeze shape, an off-center handle engineered for easier carrying and a double internal compartment that fits both business documents and a change of clothes. This piece was created with a male clientele in mind, as they were the most common type of business travelers in the 1960s.

In 1969, following the great success of the SerieS for men and the Carla bag for women, Fontana created the first women's version of the SerieS. Feminine in its proportions and characterized by softer and more sinuous lines, the bag maintained its on-the-go feeling thanks to the double zip and functional array of pockets.

"Valextra was created from the idea that luggage has to be for people on the go, those with a busy life to handle, so it has to meet the needs of the traveler," Ferrero says, adding that while the company values the functionality and beauty of their bags above all else, they have been designed to serve the needs of the modern people looking for a bag to fit every occasion.

"The brand is driven by innovation and modernity. Every product has been built across the history of Valextra, but at the same time, reflects our customers' current way of life," Ferrero says. "We try to make a product that is beautiful, but also meaningful to the people of today."

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2019-05-18 07:25:40
<![CDATA[Chinese graduates in US eye life back home]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470897.htm

WASHINGTON - Despite having already landed an offer in the United States, He Jielin showed up at the job fair organized by Chinese companies recently just outside of Washington DC.

"I do have an offer here, but I don't rule out going back to China," He said when making his way through crowds gathering around the dozens of booths set up by Chinese companies to woo He and his peers.

A graduate this year of Information System Technology at The George Washington University, He is among about 1,000 Chinese students coming here mostly to seek opportunities to put what they have learned abroad into use back home.

Qi Hao, a GW undergraduate who helped organize the event, said the job fair is held because many Chinese students have showed a keen interest in pursuing a career back in China.

"I am definitely going to return to China after I complete my studies here," a University of Maryland student who gave her name as Jiang said, "I feel more at ease working and living in a familiar environment."

This sentiment is shared by many. When submitting CVs, some cite private reasons, including reuniting with family, but more are drawn to the great potential that they believe China has in further development.

"The market in China is much bigger, and with the same language and culture, I may reach a higher position. I might bump against a glass ceiling if I would stay here," a GW junior student who gave his name as Li said.

Data have showed an increasing number of overseas Chinese students who go back to China to work. Li Haozhuan, CEO of the recruiting firm Liepin North America, said that there were about 480,000 students returning to China in 2017, 520,000 in 2018, and this year's number is forecast to top 600,000.

"A lot of students see China as a fertile ground of artificial intelligence and 5G technologies, which are expected to spur future developments," he said. "A trend we have observed is that more students are searching for summer internship opportunities in China during their sophomore or junior years, we see that as a strong intention of returning to China for a full-time job after they graduate," Li said.

The Chinese companies are equally eager to find the right people. Tracy Ma, a human resource officer at the medical equipment company MicroPort, said her company has a thirst for foreign-educated students as it is poised to expand into foreign markets.

"We plan to nearly double our employee head count to 10,000 by 2025," Ma said, adding that recruiting students from top-tier foreign universities is crucial.

According to Ma, her company needs students who excel in foreign languages and meanwhile understand foreign culture and markets. "If we see someone whom we really like, we'll set up a position to suit that person," she said.

"There is really a push and pull that the students are feeling," Li, the recruiting expert, said. Chinese companies, especially those better integrated into the global economy, are courting overseas students while immigration policies and political environment in some Western countries are becoming less appealing to them.

Despite promising prospects, some warn that the path back to China can also have pitfalls for young professionals who missed the drastic changes at home over years.

Zhang Li, vice-president of International Data Group China, said that some of the overseas students are somewhat out of line with the demand of Chinese companies and the Chinese market.

"In the previous interviews, some asked for exorbitant salaries that are unrealistic in the Chinese job market, and some were ready to take any pay package on the table, indicating a lack of understanding of their self-worth." she said.

The fact that the overseas Chinese students have been increasingly younger over years also contribute to the situation, according to Zhang, who noted that those who spend college life or even high school years abroad sure will face a cultural shock when they are back in China.

"The advice is to base expectations on up-to-date information about industry trends in China, and keep a close watch on the latest news of the target company," the recruiting expert Li said.

Xinhua

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2019-05-18 07:25:40
<![CDATA[Vietnam promotes tourism in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470896.htm

HANOI - The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is conducting Vietnamese tourism promotion in the three Chinese cities of Chengdu, Chongqing and Shenzhen through May 24.

The promotion program, which features tourism policy and destination introduction, and art performances, is expected to attract the participation of some 300 Chinese travel companies, airlines and tourism management organizations, Vietnam News Agency reported recently. According to the Institute for Tourism Development Research under the administration, Chinese visitors often account for 28 to 30 percent of the total international arrivals to Vietnam, and they often travel to central Khanh Hoa province, northern Quang Ninh province, central Da Nang city, southern Kien Giang province, Hanoi capital and Ho Chi Minh City.

The number of Chinese tourists to Vietnam is forecast to increase in the coming time, mainly due to low cost, short travel time and high frequency of flights between Vietnam and China, Vietnam News Agency said, noting that over 10 Vietnamese and Chinese airlines currently operate 30 air routes between 20 Chinese cities and Vietnamese localities with a total of more than 500 flights a week.

Vietnam hosted 4.5 million international arrivals in the first quarter of this year, up 7 percent against the same period last year, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Specifically, the country welcomed roughly 1.3 million Chinese visitors, or nearly 28.5 percent of the total international arrivals.

Xinhua

 

Vietnam welcomed roughly 1.3 million Chinese visitors in the first quarter of this year. Huang Shixiang / Xinhua

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2019-05-18 07:25:40
<![CDATA[Is it a duck? Is it an egg?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470895.htm

It's not a riddle, it's an ancient, somewhat misunderstood Asian delicacy

A long time ago, on a smallholding in the rich Jiangnan farmlands, a farmer went about his early morning egg-collecting chores. As he sought out the nooks and crannies on the farm, he suddenly discovered a well hidden nest where the mother duck had obviously been brooding.

Curious, the farmer went nearer and examined the eggs. They seemed to be all fertilized, and he decided a new brood of ducklings was definitely on the way. There were too many eggs in the nest, so he decided to remove a few, with the vague idea of getting another duck to incubate them.

As he walked back, he could have accidentally dropped an egg. It cracked but did not break.

It was nearing lunchtime, and so rather than waste the egg, the farmer's wife cooked it in the rice pot.

That could well be how the first maojidan, or "egg with fur", came about. A more elegant name is huozhuzi, or "living pearl". And these delicacies have been enjoyed in southern China for as long as we can remember.

It is both egg, and meat since the embryo is half developed in the egg and the little bird is starting to form around the egg yolk.

When the southern Chinese emigrated to surrounding Southeast Asia, they brought this portable, nutritious snack along on the journeys. It took root best in the Philippines where it became known as balut. Vietnam sells these as popular street food, too, and calls them trunk vit lon. In Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, they are also commonly eaten.

From the first accidental discovery, the production of these embryonic snacks has come a long way.

Fertilized chicken or duck eggs can be used, but duck eggs are preferred since they are larger, and the meat and broth are tastier.

It demands a certain honesty to be able to eat these. We eat eggs without a second thought. We kill the duck and cook it with no hesitation. Why then do we get squeamish when we are faced with a developing embryo in a shell?

As China gets more urbanized, it is harder to find a well-cooked huozhuzi, but it wasn't so very long ago that the only bits of protein our grandparents could afford came from this half-developed egg.

The best time to eat a huozhuzi is when the eggs have been fertilized and sitting for about two weeks to 20 days. At this stage, the little bird would have just formed its bones and some flesh, but the yolk is still its main nutrition.

The eggs are washed well, then steamed or boiled. The top of the egg is carefully cracked, and the first mouthful of juices sipped clean before the rest of the shell removed.

The infant bones are extremely soft and can be crunched up whole. The yolk, large and light yellow after cooking, is also enjoyed dipped in salt or soy sauce.

While the popularity of the huozhuzi wanes at home, its popularity abroad has only grown.

In the Philippines, entire villages take part in the production of balut, from the rearing of ducks to selection and incubation of eggs.

The cooked products are sold to vendors who insulate the eggs in heavy cotton to keep them warm and disperse to markets and night markets where the balut literally fly off the shelves.

What does it taste like?

You need an impartial eye to truly appreciate this natural wonder. The little bit of liqueur in the egg is like very pure chicken or duck broth, especially after a few grains of salt had been added.

Next, the yolk. It would have lost some of its powdery texture, and is firmer and more chewy, but no less enjoyable. Then comes the interesting part. The baby bird.

The bones are soft enough to be eaten, but the more squeamish eager to examine the embryo more carefully may want to remove the head, web and beak.

However, I've seen grown men pop the whole balut into their mouths and chew a few times, swallow and reach for the next one.

Food come in all possibilities and it is well for us to recognize our resources, and appreciate our food - no matter what form it comes in.

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2019-05-18 07:25:40
<![CDATA[For the greater good of two worlds]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470894.htm

A pet food company in Shanghai is aiming to make the human and stray animal populations in the city safer through a new guide that can be acquired for as little as 0.1 yuan

Pawsome, a Shanghai-based fresh pet food company, had in early April placed 5,000 bilingual pet guides in about 180 pet-related businesses around the city.

Apart from recommendations for pet-friendly cafes, pet products, grooming salons and diets, the 190-page guide also contains useful information regarding behavioral training, boarding services, adoption procedures and pet ownership knowledge.

 

According to Pawsome CEO Franziska Gloeckner, the mere task of identifying the venues that met their high standards took months to accomplish. At the early stages of the project, the team at Pawsome sifted through about 3,800 pet-related businesses that were listed on Dianping.com, relying on photos and reviews posted by customers to determine if a venue was worth evaluating further.

After withering the list down to over 200 venues, Gloeckner and her colleagues painstakingly visited every shop before eventually giving their stamp of approval to 189 businesses.

But despite all this effort and spending close to 83,000 yuan ($12,344) to design and produce the guide, Pawsome isn't looking to profit from the publication. In fact, it won't even be receiving a single cent.

Those who are interested in getting their hands on the guide simply need to scan a QR code printed on the back of the publication and make a donation to Blue Ribbon, which Gloeckner says is the only legalized pet charity in the city. Pet owners who prefer an online version can also get a copy via the PawsomeNutri WeChat account. The minimum that anyone can donate is 0.1 yuan.

Founded in 2012, Blue Ribbon is a nonprofit organization that performs Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for stray animals, primarily cats.

"Making the book donation-based encourages more people to pick it up. This is more important as what we're aiming to do is to educate the public," says Gloeckner.

Benefits of pet education

The first issue that Pawsome wants to raise awareness about is the effectiveness of TNR in controlling the numbers of stray animals in the city. While there are no official statistics regarding the stray population in the city, many of those familiar with the situation believe that numbers have been growing.

Zhou Lei, the founder of Blue Ribbon, points out several factors that are behind the growth in stray animal numbers: the rise in spending power, people getting influenced by foreign movies and television dramas, and the desire for a companion to help cope with the growing pressures of city life.

Legal studies researcher He Hairen from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences had in a 2018 interview with China Daily also connected the rise of pet ownership to the growing problem of abandonment, which in turn exacerbates the stray animal situation.

Last year, the China Pet Products Association reported that pet ownership in China was growing by 15 percent a year. Online pet forum Goumin.com also published a white paper on the pet industry stating that the nation's dog and cat pet market had exceeded 170 billion yuan in value, and that pet owners were expected to spend more than 5,000 yuan per pet, a 15 percent increase from the year before.

According to Zhou, controlling the number of stray cats through TNR would reduce the spread of diseases and the amount of noise generated when animals mate. This in turn keeps both the human and animal communities safer.

"There is also a food safety issue involved. TNR reduces the stray cat population and this lessens the risk of unscrupulous food vendors using the animals as food," he says.

But the most pressing problem that the Pawsome pet guide wants to address is that of pet ownership ethics and etiquette.

Proper etiquette for a dog owner includes leashing the animal in public and picking up after them.

One of the most notable incidents related to this was when a dog owner in Hangzhou assaulted a woman who kicked his pet last year.

According to media reports, the latter kicked the dog, which was not leashed, as it was harassing her two children on the street.

The incident resulted in the authorities introducing a curfew for dog-walking and prohibiting the animal from entering public areas such as markets and green spaces.

Over in Shanghai, it is also common to see elderly people walk their dogs off-leash. Along the promenade at the West Bund, park wardens can often be seen telling pet owners to leash their dogs.

"I personally can understand why the government would implement such laws. This is a safety issue. When people who are afraid of dogs are confronted by a dog that is not leashed, problems are going to occur," says Gloeckner.

"It's not the dog's fault that it's running all over the place and scaring people. Dogs behave like 4-yearold kids. They don't know any better. That's why we need to leash and train them."

With regard to ethics, education would also go a long way to changing some people's attitude toward animals, says Nidhin Nair, an animal rescuer in Shanghai.

Earlier this year, Nair managed to identify the owner of a lost Alaskan malamute after picking it up from the police station. What happened next left him at a loss for words.

"When I called the owner and told her that I found her dog, she started laughing and sounded surprise that it was still alive. She said the dog was abandoned about a month ago because she simply couldn't afford to keep him anymore," he says.

"On another occasion, at a pet shelter in Minhang district in Shanghai, I came across a woman who said she wanted to abandon her dog because she was pregnant. She even tried to justify her actions, saying that she was paying the shelter to take the dog in and not just leaving it on the streets. To these people, dogs and cats are just commodities."

But the mistreatment of animals does not just affect the pets - it also has the potential to create rifts in society. In 2016, animal activists in Chengdu publicly beat up a dog owner who was found to have recorded a video of himself abusing his pet before sharing the footage on his QQ social network.

China currently does not have laws pertaining to the protection of pets. In an interview with Sixth Tone, Zhang Xiaohai of Beijing Loving Animals Foundation was quoted as saying that "an anti-animal abuse law was proposed by scholars in 2009, but it hasn't been scheduled on the legislative agenda yet".

Growing awareness levels

Despite the occurrence of such incidents, members of the community generally feel that the awareness of animal welfare in China has greatly improved over the years.

Renata Mossor, an animal rescuer from Shenzhen in Guangdong province, points out that there has been an increasing number of rescuers, vets and officials getting involved with controlling the stray population through TNR in the city.

"I also like the fact that there's now an official requirement for dogs to get their rabies vaccination and be registered. These are both free and quite easy to obtain in Shenzhen," says Mossor, who is one of the contributing authors of the Pawsome pet guide.

"The awareness level is much higher than five years ago when I arrived in China. The truly amazing thing is that the city opened its first pet park where dog owners can walk their dogs freely."

Zhou says the same is happening in Shanghai. When he first started Blue Ribbon seven years ago, he only had four other volunteers who went around the city with him performing TNR.

Today, his organization has 45 volunteers, one third of whom are professionals such as vets, pet photographers and pet trainers. Blue Ribbon has been sterilizing more than 1,000 stray cats since 2016.

The number of animal welfare communities has increased, too. According to Zhou, there are currently 15 such communities in the city, up from just one in 2015.

"Based on my personal experience, the living conditions of stray animals are gradually improving. Moving forward, it would be good if the government can take the lead in addressing the issues related to strays and pet ownership," he says.

Where furkids can roam

While it is common to see people and their dogs along the streets in Shanghai, the busy walkways aren't the safest places where the animal can roam around. In Pawsome's pet guide, 14 pet-friendly parks located all over Shanghai, including on Chongming Island, are recommended. In some of these parks, dogs are even free to roam the premises without needing to be leashed.

Pawsome has independently verified that these 14 venues are pet-friendly. The company also recommends that people have their pet licenses with them whenever they are out for a walk with their dogs.

Among the parks listed is the highly popular West Bund Greenland area where pet owners and their dogs are a common sight. On weekends, the scenic site becomes a vibrant gathering place for people to do photography, jog along the promenade and fly kites. The neighboring Pets' Playground is also an ideal place for pet owners as they are permitted to let their dogs off the leash.

Spanning 2,500 square meters, the Pets' Playground features different enclosures for dogs of different sizes to roam freely within. The area also provides free plastic bags for dog owners to pick up after their pets. According to an article by Shanghai Daily, this area has been lauded by residents and pet owners.

Another popular venue is the Shanghai Sculpture Park in Songjiang district where there are pockets of secluded space for dogs to roam freely. Here, dogs can also play with sand and water at the adjoining beach.

Pet owners who like ancient architecture could also bring their dogs to the Hanxiang Water Expo in Minhang district. Located in Maqiao town, this charming parkland features an ancient bridge museum and old trees.

There is also no shortage of locations for pet owners that live outside of central Shanghai. In Baoshan district, for example, dog lovers often congregate at the tranquil Meilan Lake where people often set up tents along the shore and have a barbecue.

Nature lovers with pets can also bring their dogs to Shanghai Bay National Forest Park in Fengxian district. Here, visitors can find a wide variety of floral and fauna while allowing their dogs a good workout amid nature.

Over on Chongming Island, located a two-hour drive away from downtown Shanghai, the Mingzhu Lake Park along the Sanhua Highway features lush green spaces that are home to a host of amenities such as an ecological tourism center, a leisure club and a museum.

Another notable park is the Changxing Island Country Park where pet owners can pick oranges and enjoy the fresh air and scenery while walking their dogs.

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2019-05-18 07:25:22
<![CDATA[Easter bombings cast shadow on postwar healing in Sri Lanka]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470537.htm It appeared that life in Sri Lanka was slowly returning to normal after the Easter bombings - until a curfew was imposed again earlier this week.

In retaliatory violence targeted at the country's Muslim community, mobs stoned or torched mosques, shops and houses. At least one death was reported.

The suicide attacks on churches and hotels on April 21, which killed more than 250 people, were carried out by a local group of Islamist extremists, police said.

A key question that arose in the immediate aftermath and remains unanswered is: Why did the government fail to act on prior intelligence it later claimed it had?

Some arrests have been made since the Easter attacks and a state of emergency has been declared.

Sri Lanka now faces a big challenge.

What bearing will the bombings have on a society that had only begun to heal in the past few years?

The country of around 21 million - the population size is slightly smaller than that of Beijing city - has witnessed violence for a long time.

A civil war, among modern Asia's deadliest conflicts that killed thousands, began in the early 1980s and ended in 2009.

Although predominantly Buddhist, Sri Lankan society is multiethnic: Hindu, Muslim, Christian and smaller groups such as the Eurasian Burghers live there. Its pristine beaches and lush hills draw international visitors in large numbers. Tourism, a top driver of the economy (a $4 billion industry), has taken a hit since the Easter bombings.

I reported on a mosque riot in the coastal town of Beruwala during my stint as a correspondent in Sri Lanka toward the end of the civil war. The riot was sectarian in nature and the location was once a bustling port for Arab traders to whom Sri Lankan Muslims trace their origins.

Some other episodes of tensions within the community were previously reported in the media.

And while academics said they worried about the long-term effects of the divisiveness, little was known on the island about Islamist extremism back then.

The April bombings puzzled people both in the country and outside. Many of the country's Muslims have expressed outrage online over the actions of a few that they see as having left their community in limbo.

Last year, the media reported that an extremist Buddhist group had attacked Muslims there.

This week's fresh violence is a grim reminder that the peace the country has experienced in recent times - after nearly 30 years of civil war - is still fragile.

Former Sri Lankan cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara, known for his stylish batting, posted this advice on social media on Tuesday for his fellow citizens: "If we lose ourselves in violence, racism, thuggery and hatred, we lose our country."

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2019-05-17 08:01:59
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470536.htm International Museum Day marks their role

Saturday marks International Museum Day to highlight the importance of the role of museums as institutions that serve society and its development. This year's theme is "Museums as Cultural Hubs: The future of tradition." Many museums worldwide will offer free admission. Last year, more than 37,000 museums participated in the event in about 158 countries and regions.

Uniqlo's Chinese portal not affected by hacking

Japanese retail group Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo chain, said its Chinese portal was not affected in the latest hacking attack on the firm. Fast Retailing said that hackers may have gained access to the personal information, purchase histories and partial credit card information of approximately 460,000 users of its Uniqlo and GU brand e-commerce portals. It apologized to customers and advised users to change their passwords. The incident was limited to the company's Japanese websites.

Crosstalk performer apologizes for improper joke

A crosstalk performer apologized recently after a joke about the Wenchuan earthquake stirred fury among the public. Zhang Yunlei, a member of the crosstalk Deyun Club, issued an apology on social media for "improperly considered content" in his performance and said he would make efforts to improve his "artistic ethics." Zhang said that he felt deep regret and apologized to the public, especially people in disaster areas. He also promised to strengthen his self-discipline.

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2019-05-17 08:01:59
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470535.htm Society: Jiangxi bans phones in college class

Education authorities in Jiangxi province have issued a smartphone ban in college classes. Students are not allowed to bring smart mobile devices into classrooms unless required by the class, according to the notice. The policy feeds into the debate about whether smartphones should be barred from classrooms to reduce their negative effects on students. Previously, most official injunctions targeted primary and middle schools in China. The notice also demands universities and colleges tighten discipline, improve courses and enhance the quality of teaching.

Photos: Gallery brings art to workspace

A two-month art exhibition, curated by shopping center Indigo and French gallery Carre d'Artistes, presents an innovative combination of art and life. The event features more than 40 international artworks in an office building in Beijing, inviting working professionals to enjoy contemporary paintings and even find one for their home. Carre d'Artistes, aims to make art accessible and affordable for more people.

Video: A journey to rebalance the body

Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese practice of inserting needles at specific points on the body to manipulate the flow of energy. It is gaining global popularity after proving to be an effective treatment for illnesses and ailments that Western medicine still struggles to cure. Acupuncture has been practiced across 183 countries and regions.

World: French primary school enrolls 15 sheep

Fifteen sheep have been registered at a French primary school as part of a local farmer's bid to save classes at risk of closure. Jules Ferry school in a village in the Alps northeast of Grenoble, has seen its student numbers fall. The school was told that it would have to close one of its 11 classes due to the decline in numbers, so one local sheep farmer came up with an ingenious solution. Michel Girerd arrived at the school with his dog and some 50 sheep and officially registered 15 of them in order to keep the class afloat.

Heritage: Ancient tombs discovered in Henan

Archaeologists in Zhengzhou, Henan province, have discovered about 160 ancient tombs. The tombs are believed to have been built during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD). More than 1,000 cultural relics were unearthed from the tombs, including bronzeware, ironware and pottery. Coins were also discovered. Despite the abundance of discoveries, archaeologists said that the tombs belonged to civilians rather than royal families. The excavation helped enrich the research resources about Zhengzhou.

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2019-05-17 08:01:59
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470534.htm Kacey Musgraves: Oh, What a World tour

When: May 22, 8 pm

Where: Bandai Namco Shanghai Base Dream Hall

Multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves has kicked off her headlining Oh, What a World tour across the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Japan.

The Shanghai concert will be her one and only stop in China. She first received critical acclaim and recognition with the 2013 release of her gold-certified debut album Same Trailer Different Park.

The album debuted at No 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, making her the first solo female in five years to top the chart with a rookie release.

National Public Radio in the United States has observed that she "is magnetic - there are no two ways about it. It's not just that she can sing like a bird and write like a bard. It's the calm charisma that a person who knows exactly who she is and wishes the same for others can't help but exude."

Cats

When: June 6-19, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and produced by Cameron Mackintosh.

It tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as "the Jellicle choice" and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, Cats first opened in the West End, London, in 1981 and then with the same creative team on Broadway in 1982. It won numerous awards, including Best Musical at both the Laurence Olivier Awards and the Tony Awards. The London production ran for 21 years and the Broadway production ran for 18 years, both setting new records.

Cats China tour will present the authentic West End theater experience.

Brigham Young University China Spectacular

When: May 24 and 25, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center Grand Theater

This week a cast of more than 200 Brigham Young University students will travel to China for China Spectacular 2019. The event combines eight groups from BYU to showcase the best the university has to offer.

With other venues in Shanghai and Xi'an, Shaanxi province, the show will include performances from Living Legends, the International Folk Dance Ensemble, the Ballroom Dance Company, Young Ambassadors, Vocal Point, Chamber Orchestra, Cougarettes cheerleaders, and the Dunk Team with Cosmo, the school mascot.

Each group was carefully chosen to bring China Spectacular 2019 to life and help celebrate 40 years of friendship between BYU and China.

Lars Vogt Piano Recital

When: May 30, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Born in the German town of Duren in 1970, Lars Vogt first came to public attention when he won second prize at the 1990 Leeds International Piano Competition.

He has performed with many of the world's great orchestras including Orchestre de Paris, Santa Cecilia Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Vogt took up his post as Musical Director of Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead in 2015.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

When: June 8, 7:30 pm and 10 pm; June 9, 6:30 pm

Where: Blue Note Beijing

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is a two-time Edison Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated trumpeter, composer and producer.

He is the nephew of jazz innovator and legendary sax man, Donald Harrison Jr. His musical tutelage began under the direction of his uncle at the age of 13. After graduating from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts in 2001, he received a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music, where he earned a degree in professional music and film scoring 30 months later.

He has been heralded by Jazz Times Magazine as "Jazz's young style God". He is known for his use of an un-voiced tone in his playing, emphasizing breath over vibration at the mouthpiece.

In 2017, he released three albums, collectively titled The Centennial Trilogy, that debuted at No 1 on iTunes. The albums' launch commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first Jazz recordings in 1917.

Turandot

When: June 20, 7;30 pm; June 21-23, 7 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Mandarin version of Turandot by the National Center for the Performing Arts depicts a love story of mystery. It is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini and was first produced at the Bolshoi Theater in 1931.

Turandot is a beautiful princess, but cold-hearted. She stipulates that any prince seeking to marry her must answer three riddles, and if he fails, he will be sentenced to death. After three princes lose their lives, Calaf, the prince of Tartary who is in exile, answers all the questions correctly.

However, the princess refuses to accept defeat. Calaf generously offers Turandot a riddle of his own: if she can discover his real name by dawn, he will forfeit his life.

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2019-05-17 08:01:59
<![CDATA[Rag trade a rich seam for Ningbo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470533.htm Ningbo in East China's Zhejiang province has such a long dressmaking tradition that its tailors from the banks of the Fenghua River, known as hongbang ("red band"), have enjoyed enduring fame since the early 20th century.

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With a heritage dating back to the early 20th century, the city's garment sector is now benefiting from an industrial upgrade, Fang Aiqing reports.

Ningbo in East China's Zhejiang province has such a long dressmaking tradition that its tailors from the banks of the Fenghua River, known as hongbang ("red band"), have enjoyed enduring fame since the early 20th century.

The group initially gained recognition for making suits for foreigners before garnering acclaim for inventing the iconic Chinese tunic suit and setting up formal suit-making schools.

While some of the current generation of Ningbo's hongbang tailors have continued to specialize in customized suit-making, others have helped to turn Ningbo into one of China's main fashion cities through their integrity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

There are now over 16,000 textile and garment companies in Ningbo producing 1.5 billion items of clothing annually with a turnover of 110.8 billion yuan ($16.2 billion), according to Zhejiang Daily.

Government statistics show that 501 major enterprises contributed 13.9 billion yuan in added value in 2018, showing a growth of 5.2 percent year-on-year. The combined industrial output of these enterprises reached 55.1 billion yuan last year, an increase of 9.1 percent over 2017.

Fang Wei, deputy director of the economic and information technology committee of Ningbo, says the textile and garment sector accounts for 7.29 percent of the total industrial output of the entire city.

"Although the relative proportion (of garment companies) has gradually dropped, it's still a pillar industry," Fang says.

The garment sector has formed a complete industry chain, covering all sectors, according to Yang Jie, chairman of Ningbo Hixpo Conference and Exhibition Co Ltd and organizer of the annual Ningbo International Fashion Fair.

The sector, which started with menswear, has expanded to cover womenswear, children and outdoor clothing. Several local brands of womenswear have made their way to the New York and London fashion weeks.

Online sales of Ningbo brands have been rising for years, especially during the Nov 11 shopping festival, Yang says.

Ningbo's fashion industry has also become less labor-intensive, according to Fang.

To counter rising labor costs, many garment companies have shifted their factories to inland and border regions or to Southeast Asian countries.

The trend toward automated and intelligent production systems is also growing. The Youngor Group - a Ningbo-based top-500 Chinese private enterprise with a sales revenue of 87.9 billion yuan in 2018 - has built a smart workshop that has increased its production efficiency by around 25 percent, according to chairman Li Rucheng.

The factory uses a system of suspended pipelines to automatically transport, distribute and match clothes made in different sections of the workshop.

Each of the 400 workers are guided by an interactive system that keeps track of every piece of fabric in the process and helps to optimize production efficiency, especially during peak orders.

The use of automated technology has shortened the time needed for cutting fabrics by one-third.

The firm has also been introducing industrial hemp fiber into its clothes and household textiles.

According to Li, Youngor aims to cut back on real estate and investment to focus more on improving its core competitiveness.

Local automated sewing and intelligent knitting machinery suppliers such as Supreme and Cixing are also contributing to this industrial upgrading process.

Cixing has developed a flat knitting machine using 3D technology that can create a piece of seamless knitwear from colored yarn instead of the old method that needed several parts to make one sweater. A simply patterned item of knitwear can be made in an hour this way.

The company is also establishing a customer-to-manufacturer platform, which will connect its smart knitting machines with the internet of things and other industrial internet technology to provide support.

Major garment manufacturers in Ningbo today are more aware of the added value their brands and designs can potentially bring.

Romon Group, a leading domestic menswear manufacturer, has opted to explore international markets with its own brand, starting with Southeast Asia, chairman Sheng Jingsheng says.

The majority of its sales come from its 1,000-plus offline outlets and from online platforms like Taobao, JD and vip.com. It also produces around one million customized uniforms annually for different vocations, which accounts for around 20 percent of its revenue.

Having produced goods for foreign companies to sell under their own names for the past 30 years, the group is developing a midprice range for women. The company plans to approach internet celebrities and cooperate with big-name global designers to expand its brand visibility.

Another local enterprise, the Beyond Group, turned its idle workshops into an incubator for garment and internet startups.

So far, 63 companies have been set up there, including nine clothing brands - seven of which achieve annual sales of 100 million yuan each. The group is also looking into seed and angel funding.

By doing so, Beyond Group chairman Rong Juchuan has successfully redefined his company as a platform for innovation instead of a garment and textile company.

While Ningbo may not be as well known for nurturing design talent as major cities like Beijing or Hangzhou, the company is setting up internships for university and vocational school students.

The group is also exploring ways to expand their product ranges, by exploring niche markets like denim wear for motorcycle lovers, after successfully developing a range of lounge wear.

Some firms prefer to tap the potential of international markets. Zhou Huiming started his cashmere fabrics business focused on the North American market in Canada in 2003 and later entered the garment retail field after purchasing a local brand there.

In 2007, Zhou returned to his hometown of Ningbo and founded Yachu Fashion Co Ltd, establishing him as a garment manufacturer. In 2012, he finally started his own suit brand Nikky based in New York. Zhou and renowned Italian tailor Francesco Pecoraro plan to launch a tailoring school to leverage Pecoraro's technical know-how.

The future of the textile and garment industry in Ningbo depends on innovation in technology, management and ideas, says Yang.

And according to Ningbo's Party secretary Zheng Zhajie, the city's fashion, textile and garment sector is one of the key industrial clusters that the city is aiming to cultivate through investment over the next six years.

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2019-05-17 08:01:37
<![CDATA[Tradition of making suits stumbles on inheritance hurdle]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470532.htm "Tailors are found everywhere, especially in Ningbo."

This is how Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) scholar Qian Yong (1759-1844) started his literary sketch about a local tailor from the ancient city in East China's Zhejiang province.

Ningbo's dressmaking tradition evolved over a long period after that.

Tailors from the city have played an important role in the transformation of dressing styles in modern China. They created China's first Western-style suit, invented the Chinese tunic suit, opened the earliest Chinese-owned suit shop and a school to train tailors, as well as published the first textbook on making suits.

Now, the successors of those Ningbo tailors are struggling to inherit and develop its suit-making culture.

According to Qian's story, back then, most tailors in Beijing came from Ningbo. They dominated the capital's tailoring sector in the late Qing Dynasty as some inscriptions from 1905 suggest.

In 1896, Ningbo tailor Jiang Liangtong started one of the first suit shops in Shanghai. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Ningbo tailors had opened more than 400 suit shops along 10 major roads in Shanghai.

Ningbo tailors, especially those originally from areas on the banks of the Fenghua River and holding businesses in Shanghai, were often called hongbang (red band) tailors. This is because many of them were serving foreigners whom the Chinese had long referred to as "redhaired people". The tailors accounted for 60 percent of the practitioners in Shanghai by the 1940s. Tailors like Jiang learned to make suits in Japan, according to Li Benting, a researcher at the Ningbo Garment Museum.

In 1905, nationalist leader Sun Yat-sen commissioned Ningbo tailor Zhang Fangcheng, who was then living in Yokohama, to design a new style of outfit. Conforming to Chinese people's body shapes, disposition and lifestyle, Zhang applied Western cutting and sewing techniques, drew inspiration from student and sergeant suits and added Chinese cultural elements to the design.

This was later developed into what is now known as the Chinese tunic suit, a style that represents modern China, by brands like Rongchangxiang and Wangshuntai in Shanghai. Both brands published newspaper advertisements in 1927, promoting their products by claiming recognition from Sun by making suits for him.

Some hongbang tailors in Beijing had also made outfits for former leaders, including Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.

Gu Tianyun, who started his suit business in Japan in 1903 and studied the market in Europe, published a textbook in 1933 to introduce suit-making skills to the Chinese. He also started a tailor-training class and later developed it into a vocational school.

Gu wanted to promote the industry and welcomed questions from those who read his textbook, ignoring the common belief that a master should not teach his apprentices all he knew about his business, Li says.

Today, many of the traditional hongbang tailors in Ningbo still run their shops on Xihe Street and some others specially cater to the international market, says Yao Yulian, director of the customization committee for the Ningbo Garment Association.

Some from the younger generations of suit-makers are studying consumer trends to better develop their designs, Yao says.

Qi Baijun, who started learning the skill in 1993, says "honesty and flexibility" are the most important characteristics of hongbang tailors.

Yao says the common practice has proved the tailors' skills and trustworthiness, as customized suits can cost tens of thousands of yuan, and to purchase, the clients need to pay in advance.

A suit is not just a body cover, Qi says, it modifies the body shape and presents the client's personality. He says he designs suits according to the culture, weather and physical traits of residents of the cities where his clients live, as well as considering their professions in order to make customized suits stand out in an industrialized society.

"Three years might be enough to learn the skills, but a lot more time for theory and management is needed," Qi adds.

No tailor can make exactly the same outfit as the other, he says. Whether there is need to stick to the same style or interpretation, the craftsmanship itself is hard to copy, and therefore, it is difficult to inherit and develop Ningbo's dressmaking tradition.

However, as a cultural heritage it needs to be handed down, Qi adds.

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2019-05-17 08:01:37
<![CDATA[Clothing firms look to weave new opportunities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470531.htm I joked with someone from the Beyond Group, the Ningbo-based garment and home textile company: "You beat my mother's little business 20 years ago!"

My mom had a small business making handmade bed linen in our hometown in Zhejiang province back then. She and my grandmother also made beautiful clothes for the children in our extended family, and they were quite good as self-taught designers.

Before long, due to a rise in costs and less demand for handmade products, my mother turned to selling branded clothes, many of them were from Ningbo enterprises, before she eventually closed her shop.

Her tailor friend barely clung on to his old job, before starting to help fix computers and solve our internet problems.

Now, I guess the transition our family underwent was just a small, focused reflection of the rise of the industrialized production of clothing at the time.

Major Ningbo suit manufacturers like Youngor and Romon, along with womenswear brands like Tonlion, which is attached to the Beyond Group, became household names during those years.

I would say that these enterprises have been carriers of China's economic development over recent decades.

Managers of these companies, just like many of those tailors that still focus on customized suits, have inherited and developed the spirit of the well-known hongbang tailors that have prevailed for more than a century - traits like honesty, hard work, flexibility and a strong ambition to benefit society, or at the very least, their neighbors.

Also, with the typical spirit of entrepreneurship rooted in Zhejiang's flourishing private economy, they have made the best of the preferable social environment created by China's reform and opening-up. But they now face other challenges brought about by global competition, changes in consumption ideas and the constant demand for technical progress in this era of artificial intelligence.

Diversified strategies are being applied. Some have outsourced their production and are focusing on improving their management and research and development.

The ultimate goals are lowering labor costs, applying new technologies, uncovering potential new markets and seeking added value beyond manufacturing itself, which, to some extent, represents a logical transformation and upgrade from traditional manufacturing.

However, there's still a long way to go, not only in terms of making the industry smarter and more flexible, but also, when it comes to adapting to the pains of transition, like the pressure coming from short-term investment and potential layoffs.

I'm impressed that there are still around 200 employees who have been working at Romon since its establishment 35 years ago. Most of them are going to retire in the near future.

Yet, such career longevity may not be available to the younger generation. We have to balance the burden of both the opportunities afforded to us along with the anxiety of continual learning and improving ourselves in an era with rapidly evolving technology, in order not to be left behind by social development.

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2019-05-17 08:01:37
<![CDATA[A show of good taste]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470530.htm Good wine sells itself, and good photos, too. For foodies in Asia, especially in countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, they seem to enjoy the same habit: Taking a bunch of pictures of their food with their phones and posting them on social media, such as WeChat Moments, so their friends can also enjoy a feast for the eyes.

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Asian cuisine is flavor of the month, Ma Zhenhuan reports in Hangzhou.

Good wine sells itself, and good photos, too. For foodies in Asia, especially in countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, they seem to enjoy the same habit: Taking a bunch of pictures of their food with their phones and posting them on social media, such as WeChat Moments, so their friends can also enjoy a feast for the eyes.

In some cases, an appetizing photo seems more important than the food itself.

A photo exhibition titled Taste of Asia, featuring Asian dishes shot by tourists and photography fans around the world, received over 3,000 entries within a month of the opening date for submissions on March 19.

The organizers selected their candidate photos and the visual delicacies are currently on show in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, showcasing the best of Asian cuisine among foodies.

The whole photo gala is composed of nine parts, including pictures of traditional Hangzhou-cuisine restaurants, an introduction to the Qiantang River and its fishing culture, and the Taste of Asia photo exhibition.

One photo, for example, shows 43-year-old Hangzhou local, Wang Pinghua, riding a motorcycle while balancing a watermelon on his head. A greengrocer, Wang has been practicing carrying the fruit on his head since he was 13 years old, like people in Africa and Southeast Asia do. This was a unique stunt he performed to lure customers.

The Gourmet Rhapsody, a photo exhibition by photographer and Hangzhou local, Chen Yanfei, is also being held alongside these events.

Chen, a fashion and gourmet photographer, is featured for her pictures of miniature plastic figures in the world of food. Through the sharp and vivid colors, it is hoped that the viewers' appetite will be aroused, while indulging their childlike playfulness.

All of these events are part of the larger ongoing Taste of Hangzhou Asian Cuisine Festival, held in the city from May 15 to 22. The event, which has been staged to support the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, is aimed at promoting cultural and culinary exchanges, as well as showcasing the unique charms of Hangzhou.

During the festival, Hangzhou, famous for its Longjing tea, will hold a tea culture dialogue forum, inviting major Asian tea-producing countries such as Japan, Sri Lanka and India to participate in dialogue and exchanges. The festival will also host a forum promoting traditional Chinese food culture.

Exhibitions on traditional Chinese tableware and Asian cuisines will also be held.

The festival will also present an exhibition of technology and food, demonstrating the achievements of Hangzhou's digital economy and highlighting its urban development. A collection of food imbued with elements of the Olympic and Asian Games will also be displayed. Chefs, athletes and sports nutrition experts from Asian cities will be invited to share their ideas and theories on healthy eating and discuss the relationship between sports and a healthy diet while promoting the Asian Games and Asian Cuisine Festival.

 

Train Night Market Ratchada - a famous food fair in Bangkok, Thailand. Provided to China Daily

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2019-05-17 08:01:37
<![CDATA[A unique artistic treat for special kids]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470529.htm It might have been a gloomy and rainy Monday morning, but Diandian's mood was hardly dampened by the dreary weather conditions.

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In collaboration with British theater group Bamboozle, the public welfare project Wish of Starfish has been infusing joy into the lives of children who are on the autistic spectrum or have serious learning disabilities, Lin Shujuan reports in Shanghai.

It might have been a gloomy and rainy Monday morning, but Diandian's mood was hardly dampened by the dreary weather conditions.

The smile that was etched on his face as he waited impatiently for the school bus to arrive said it all.

This was the first time the 9-yearold, who currently attends the Shanghai No 4 School for Deaf-Mutes, was going to watch a show in an art theater.

Born with impaired hearing, Diandian was diagnosed with autism when he was 3. As such, bringing him to a theater was not something his parents had even considered until Wish of Starfish, a public welfare project initiated by the China Welfare Institute and operated by the Shanghai Children's Art Theater, or SCHAT, was launched in early 2017.

Through theater works, workshops and localized productions of plays specific for children with special needs, the project aims to inspire kids with learning disabilities and teach parents and special education providers how to better educate such individuals.

Since the start of the project, SCHAT has been working closely with Bamboozle Theater, a British theater group that has been performing solely for children with learning disabilities for 25 years.

This year, Bamboozle Theater brought three productions - two designed for children and young people who are on the autistic spectrum, and one for children with profound and multiple learning disabilities, or PMLD.

The first two shows were a space-themed production titled Moon Song, and Storm, which was inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. The third show was an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's Gentle Giant.

SCHAT set aside the entire month of April to put on these shows, all of which were sold-out events.

"By presenting these shows, we aim not only to create more possibilities for learning-disabled children to experience truly accessible theater - this project is also aimed at promoting the Bamboozle approach, which is centered on the values of love, encouragement, tolerance and equality in the education for people who have emotional, behavioral or learning disabilities, as well as their parents and teachers," says Liang Xiaoxia, director of SHCAT.

Each show is attended by no more than six children who sit on the stage alongside the actors. The parents, caregivers and teachers are seated in the backstage area, observing the play and learning how the performers communicate with the children. The adults are urged not to provide any instruction during the show so that the children can fully enjoy the performance.

According to Christopher Davies, the founder and artistic director of Bamboozle Theater, an audience cap is put in place to ensure that the children can effectively interact with the actors.

"It is important that we create a space for these children," says Davies. "We want to send the message that they belong here and are important."

During the show, actors engage the children by weaving their names into the songs being performed and encouraging them to become a part of the show. The artists would at times also mimic a child's movements to make him or her feel comfortable and accepted.

The show that Diandian attended was Moon Song, in which a girl named Megan falls asleep and begins to dream. In the dream, she flies to the moon in a rocket and encounters comets, shooting starts and silvery creatures. Diandian, who has a keen interest in vehicles, was so intrigued with the rocket that he seized it the moment he was offered a chance to touch the prop.

Nicole Arkless, a performer who has been with Bamboozle Theater for 10 years, said that there is no better reward than the joy of seeing a child being engaged during a show.

"It's a shame that society has not been very nice to people who are different," Arkless says. "Disability is largely invisible in society because our world isn't built for anyone to get access to it."

Arkless adds that she considers it a privilege to be a performer as she gets to witness how the theater has helped children with extremely challenging behavioral problems, supported families and effected change in how schools care for such children.

Liang, the director of SCHAT, says that she shared a similar sentiment when she first met Bamboozle during its tour of Edinburgh in 2016. She notes that she was impressed by the theater's approach, which "has not only deeply moved the audience with their performances, but also brought a brand-new educational philosophy" that she believes could fundamentally influence how Chinese society cares for these children.

In 2017, the Wish of Starfish project was born. To bolster its capability of catering to children with special needs, SCHAT has also invited psychology and medical experts to train their staff. The center has also improved its infrastructure, such as adding a ramp from the gate to the elevator and putting up signposts to direct the children.

Hu Jie, the mother of a 10-year-old who was born with Down's syndrome, still vividly recalls the graceful bow her son gave the actors at the end of their show in 2017 when Bamboozle made its Shanghai debut.

Hu admitted that she was initially apprehensive about letting her son attend the show as he had previously demonstrated that he was rigid and awkward in such settings.

"I had never imagined that Yueyue, who is extremely shy, was capable of doing that," she says.

"It's up to us parents to offer our children an environment like the one that has been created by Bamboozle. We need to respect who they are and give them space to explore and engage."

Bamboozle has even had an impact on people who have never caught their shows.

Since its inception, the theater has actively engaged with special education schools across China to help train teachers.

Wang Ying, the principal of Shanghai Pudong School of Special Education, recalled that the school's first encounter with Bamboozle was through its World War II-inspired production Down to Earth. Wang says that the teachers, students and parents were so captivated with the show that they lingered outside the theater to discuss how they could introduce theater into the school's curriculum.

After nearly two years of preparation, during which the school's teachers took training classes and workshops, some of which were conducted by Wish of Starfish, the school started its own theater class earlier this year.

"After two months of trials, the changes in our students are obvious," says Wang. "The theater class has given them a new platform for communication and imagination, which we used to consider impossible."

As part of Wish of Starfish, Bamboozle granted SCHAT the license to perform Down to Earth and The Tempest. Because of this, the theater can now deliver Down to Earth in Chinese. This Chinese version has been staged at special schools in Shanghai to more than 100 students since last September. The Chinese version of The Tempest will make its debut later this year.

Davies says that Bamboozle has been keen on sharing their methodology as the company believes that it can help many children in the country who suffer from learning disabilities. He pointed out that the number of autistic children in China alone amounts to about 2 million.

"Even if we present four shows a day, we'd need more than 200 years to reach every one of these autistic kids," he says.

"But we believe our methodology is a great tool that adds to teachers' existing toolkit. The more people we can share it with, the better."

 

Bamboozle Theater performs a show, Storm, for children with learning disabilities, aiming to inspire them and teach parents and education providers how to better educate such individuals. Provided to China Daily

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2019-05-17 08:01:37
<![CDATA[Symphony puts on private performances for music lovers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/17/content_37470528.htm Classical music lovers now have a chance to enjoy a private performance by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra - all they have to do is write a convincing enough application letter that wins the most public votes on the SSO's WeChat account.

The first batch of seven letters that won the hearts of the project committee at the SSO have already been published on the orchestra's WeChat account. The second window for the public to submit their applications ended on Wednesday. There will be two more windows over the course of the year.

Titled "Symphony in the City: SSO for You", this initiative is part of the orchestra's efforts to celebrate its 140th birthday this year. Previously known as the Shanghai Public Band, the SSO is China's first symphony orchestra. Its first documented performance took place in Shanghai in 1879.

The SSO has encouraged everyone, regardless of whether or not they are fans of the orchestra, to pen invitation letters.

"Tell us your stories, your ideas, your wishes, and why you want the musicians of the SSO to come and play for you," says Zhou Ping, director of the orchestra.

"We have organized this project as a way to express our love for the city and share our music with people from all walks of life."

The first person to win a private performance was Tang Lichen, a surgeon from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center. The concert for him took place at the lecture hall of the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center on April 25.

"Many people are devastated when they first receive their diagnosis," Tang says.

"Every year we treat 6,000 breast cancer patients. The treatment process is long and very challenging for the patient, physically and emotionally. I hope music can help alleviate their anxiety, give them hope, and cheer them up."

More than 300 breast cancer patients and their families attended the concert which featured the East Coast string quartet of the SSO playing Nocturnes by Mozart, The Swan by Camille Saint-Saens and The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II.

"Music gave me great emotional support when I was sick and having a hard time in my life," says 74-year-old Hu Zhichu, who has been a member of a chorus of cancer survivors since 2006.

The hospital established a salon for its breast cancer survivors in 1999 before setting up a chorus in 2006. The salon currently has a membership of 7,000 people.

"I feel full of strength when I sing. I used to think the orchestra was high above and far away, but now I feel it close to my heart," says Hu. "If I have the chance, I want to listen to music in a proper concert hall."

Another winner was a young mother named Liu Qingmei who requested that the musicians play at her daughter's kindergarten as she does not meet the height requirement to gain entry into theaters and concert halls in Shanghai.

"There are many music-loving children in the kindergarten. They would love an opportunity to listen to your music," she writes.

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2019-05-17 08:01:37
<![CDATA[From workshop to showstopper, Shenzhen surges on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469864.htm The first time I visited Shenzhen was in 1993, when I spent a summer traveling around Guangdong province working as a "QC" (quality controller) for a Hong Kong export company.

Much to the amusement of my friends, who perhaps doubted my ability for either quality or control, I was quick to jump at the chance to travel around southern China checking shoe and garment shipments bound for foreign ports.

While giving up a soft office job for a life on the road (it turned out to be one of the most punishing posts I've ever had) didn't seem like the best idea to many of my peers, the ensuing months delivered an amazing experience, and one that offered a genuine insight into China during a period of breakneck development.

It's safe to say that Shenzhen has changed beyond all recognition since those days, and is still a city on an upward trajectory. The former Guangdong manufacturing hub of the 1980s and '90s has now become a global tech center famed for its startup culture and innovation.

Shenzhen was also the start and end point for my trips around southern China after I took up the job to visit factories around the region.

Back then, the transportation infrastructure was still being developed and there was not much in the way of statement architecture. The land-border crossing was nothing short of a bun fight, and most travel revolved around tough negotiations with taxi drivers.

There was no metro or highspeed train network, and the highway to Huizhou, Guangdong, which was still under construction, regularly turned into a quagmire in the summer rain. On one occasion, a bus trip to the city took a staggering 11 hours from Shenzhen.

But fast-forward a quarter of century, and Shenzhen is an altogether more slick affair, thanks in part to its array of cutting-edge architecture.

Arriving at Baoan International Airport's Terminal 3, an airy, honeycombed space designed by Italian architects Studio Fuksas, a taxi journey through a network of highways and bridges takes you to Shekou, the city's port area that's home to the Sea World entertainment district and a new ferry terminal.

I spent an afternoon in the Overseas China Town district visiting the OCT Art and Design Galleryitself a striking building and once more featuring a hexagonal motif - and the OCT-LOFT district, an art zone set up in a network of disused factories like Beijing's 798 district. More retail in concept, the area has a leafy feel and is home to a mishmash of shops, eateries and galleries.

More modern architecture abounds in Shenzhen's CBD, home to the sprawling underground Futian Station, which gets you into Hong Kong's burgeoning West Kowloon Cultural District in a matter of 15 minutes.

The newly-finished Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning is a swooping neofuturistic complex designed by Australian architect Coop Himmelblau, while the nearby Shenzhen Stock Exchange, a more linear affair, is also worth a look for its floating, cantilevered podium.

Back in Shekou, I made a stop at the Design Society, home to the Sea World Culture and Arts Center.

Completed in December, this multipurpose building designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki features three cantilevered spaces, one of which houses the new V&A Gallery at Design Society - the British gallery's first international foray and one that takes Shenzhen's credentials as a UNESCO City of Design to heart.

The opening exhibition concentrates on the intrinsic value of design from a global perspective through some 250 exhibits from the London museum while tipping a nod to Shenzhen's flair for innovation in manufacturing and technology.

It's also a beautiful building, and one that's still striving to reach it's full potential - much like the city itself.

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2019-05-16 07:27:44
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469863.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On May 16, 2002, China Telecom and China Netcom were both officially reestablished after restructuring to promote competition and innovation in the telecommunications sector, as seen in the item from China Daily (right).

After decades of reform, the telecom industry has been dominated by China Mobile Communications Corp, China United Network Communications Group and China Telecommunications Corp since 2008, when reforms created the three operators, reducing the number of main telecom carriers from six to three.

The newly converged operators boosted the domestic telecommunications market, particularly with massive growth after 3G licenses were finally awarded in later 2008.

In 2014, China Tower Corp was established to handle the tower assets of the three operators and reduce duplicate construction and expenditure, as the country rolled out faster networks.

China Tower marshaled existing telecom tower assets worth 204 billion yuan ($30 billion) from its clients and shareholders China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile in 2015.

The big three telecom companies own 94 percent of China Tower (China Mobile 38 percent, China Unicom 28.1 percent, China Telecom 27.9 percent), with China Reform Holdings Corp, a government-backed investment firm, holding the remaining 6 percent.

Thanks to the series of reforms, China has become a leading technology innovator from a follower in the telecommunications industry, as efforts to develop a global 5G mobile standard near the final phase.

Last month, China Unicom announced the launch of its 5G trial network in seven cities.

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2019-05-16 07:27:44
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469862.htm Supermodel accepts proposal by tycoon's son

Supermodel Xi Mengyao accepted a marriage proposal from Mario Ho in Shanghai early this week. Ho is a son of Macao casino tycoon Stanley Ho. Blessings flooded in as the couple posted the pictures of the proposal on their social media accounts. The proposal was made at the Shanghai Shangjia Center.

Chili lovers can wash teeth with spicy toothpaste

People who can't get enough spice in their life and want to practice good dental hygiene, can now get a burst of heat first thing in the morning and last thing at night with a new toothpaste that comes in mild, medium and extra hot. The three-flavor set of toothpastes is inspired by hot pot from Sichuan province and Chongqing, according to online store Dencare. The store warns people with poor oral health and those allergic to spicy foods not to use the toothpaste.

Uninhabited islands wait for development

Do you want to own an island? It is now possible in Guangdong province, which allows entities or individuals to use a number of uninhabited islets for purposes such as tourism and aquaculture, according to the Guangdong Provincial Department of Natural Resources. The time frame for developing the uninhabited islands varies for different uses: 25 years for tourism and recreation use, 40 years for public welfare projects and 15 years for aquaculture.

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2019-05-16 07:27:44
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469861.htm Rankings: Cities with most billionaires

Hong Kong, Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou are among the top 15 cities with the most billionaires in the world, according to the sixth edition of Wealth-X's Billionaire Census report. New York tops the rankings, with the city home to 105 billionaires last year. China had 285 billionaires, with their total wealth reaching $996 billion in 2018, while the United States had 705 billionaires, the highest worldwide, with a combined net worth of more than $3 trillion.

People: Fujian nurse receives top award

Nurse Li Hong from Fujian province has become the only Chinese recipient of this year's Florence Nightingale Medal, which recognizes exceptional courage and devotion to victims of armed conflict or natural disasters. Li is among 29 nurses from 19 countries who received this year's award. Li is vice-president of the Fujian Provincial Hospital, as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Animals: Dolphin gives birth in ocean park

A dolphin calf was born in an ocean park in Tianjin, marking a rare success in bottlenose dolphin reproduction in an artificial habitat in China. A female dolphin called Sanba gave birth to a calf in Tianjin's Haichang Ocean Park last week. The calf has developed well and is able to swim independently according to the ocean park. "The latest case in Tianjin is a breakthrough in the artificial breeding of rare marine species," Qiao Yanzhou, deputy general manager of the ocean park, said.

Society: Hi-tech zone to have 5G coverage

Beijing's Yizhuang economic-technology zone will have 5G coverage by the end of the year, according to local authorities. By then, the area will have more than 200 5G base stations. The 5G network is expected to enable enterprises in the area to have faster connections and work more efficiently, according to officials in the area.

Biz: Hotels cut waste, promote recycling

Hotels in Shanghai will stop providing six disposable items such as toothbrushes and combs from July 1 unless guests request them, according to the city's tourism authorities. Aside from these items, bath brushes, razors, nail files and shoe brushes will not be provided, the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism said. Hotels will first be asked to rectify the issue or face a fine of between 500 yuan ($73) and 5,000 yuan if they continue to provide such items.

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2019-05-16 07:27:44
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469860.htm 2019 Run To The Beat

When: May 19, 6:30 am

Where: Ming Tombs Reservoir, Beijing

The Run To The Beat music half-marathon will take place in the Ming Tombs Reservoir Scenic Area in Beijing's Changping district. Bands will play along the course to encourage runners. It was established by IMG in London in 2008 and attracted 12,000 runners. The event became globally popular and has since attracted more than 100,000 runners.

Little Wizards by State Puppet Theater Varna from Bulgaria

When: May 18-26, 10:30 am and 3:30 pm

Where: Nanshan Sports Center Theater, Shenzhen, Guangdong province

The show, by State Puppet Theater Varna from Bulgaria, is about an old man who cannot smile and seldom talks to others. One day he meets four little wizards. It tells a fun story about love, goodness and our wish to change the world.

Premiered in 2014, the show has been performed hundreds of times in Bulgaria and abroad, and has won numerous international awards.

Sophie Zelmani Sunrise Tour 2019 in Shanghai

When: May 23 and 24, 7:30 pm

Where: Modernsky lab, Shanghai

Sophie Zelmani is a Swedish singer-songwriter who released her first single, Always You, in 1995.

She was born in the suburbs of Stockholm in 1972. Her father bought the family a guitar when Sophie was 14. Despite no professional training, she became a songwriter and recorded songs at a local studio.

After she mailed the demos to three record companies, she was offered a record deal by Sony Music Sweden.

Romeo and Juliet

When: June 9-23; 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Century Theater

Romeo and Juliet is a hit musical show bringing a timeless story and mythical characters to life. The story and message of the play talks to all generations.

The emblematic story is filled with all the timeless ingredients of the best plots: thwarted love, secret marriage, magic potions, feigned death, chance and fatal misunderstandings. The lovers of Verona have acquired immortal status, thanks to Shakespeare's words and for the obstinate force of their love, which transcends death.

The Cat Who Wished to be a Man

When: May 30 and 31, 7:30 pm; June 1 and 2, 10:30 am and 3 pm

Where: Shanghai PG Theater

Adapted from a children's fantasy novel by writer Lloyd Alexander from the United States, the story centers on Lionel, a house cat who wishes to be a man. Lionel, given the power of speech by his master, magician Stephanus, begs his owner to turn him into a man. After many objections, Stephanus finally relents and the transformed Lionel begins his adventures in the town of Brightford.

The mayor and his officers are plaguing the town with capricious rule and economic hardship. The mayor is especially covetous of the inn belonging to Gillian, with whom Lionel begins a rocky friendship. Lionel becomes entangled in the struggles of Brightford and escalates the conflicts between the mayor and the people, while falling in love with Gillian as he becomes more and more human.

Joyce Jonathan China Tour 2019 in Beijing

When: May 26, 8:30 pm

Where: Mao Livehouse, Beijing

Born in 1989 in Levallois-Perret, Joyce Jonathan is a French singer and songwriter. Her first album Sur mes Gardes went gold in May 2010, five months after its release. Less than a year later, the album was certified platinum. In 2011, she received the NRJ Music Awards of the Francophone Breakthrough of the Year. Last year she released her album On.

Swan Lake by Children's Ballet of Kiev, Ukraine

When: June 1, 10:30 am and 2:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Center Theater

With its instantly recognizable music and a timeless story of good versus evil, Swan Lake is the greatest of romantic ballets, featuring an evocative score by Tchaikovsky.

Swan Lake is a Russian classic, replete with haunting music and exquisite dance. The ballet has captured the imagination of many generations. Its fairy-tale mystery and romance continue to fascinate audiences worldwide. It's a tale of two young women, Odette and Odile, who resemble each other so closely one can easily be mistaken for the other.

It is the compelling legend of a tragic romance in which Odette is turned into a swan by an evil curse.

A Streetcar Named Desire

When: June 6-23, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center

The Mandarin version of A Streetcar Named Desire will be performed onstage in Shanghai.

The original play of the same name was written by Tennessee Williams in 1947 and has been recognized as a modern classic of US literature. It was made into a movie in 1951, with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando creating two of the most iconic figures in film history.

In the play, Blanche, a former schoolteacher of English, moves in with her younger married sister, Stella, after losing their family home.

Blanche finds Stella's working-class husband, Stanley, loud and rough, while in return Stanley dislikes his sister-in-law. Yet Blanche stays on, and makes friends with Stanley's poker-game pal Mitch. But the conflict between Blanche and Stanley escalates, as he digs out her scandalous history.

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2019-05-16 07:27:44
<![CDATA[Cinematic vision]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469859.htm A mobile video platform offering new movie releases launched by the country's top regulator aims to reach a billion Chinese fans globally, Xu Fan reports.

Asura, one of the most expensive films ever made in China, has returned to screens on the Smart Cinema platform, the country's first movie-streaming app licensed to release new films.

Produced on a budget of 750 million yuan ($113 million) and with an international crew from 35 countries, the fantasy epic was pulled from cinemas just two days after it opened last year following a tepid response.

Asura reappeared on the Smart Cinema app from May 9, drawing in around 1,000 viewers for its opening screening.

The movie was released on a 3D mobile format, which allows viewers to watch the movie wherever they want via a virtual reality headset.

Alongside Asura, four other first-run films - Hello, Beijing; An Old Woman and the Betelnut; Beyond Belief; and Peppermint - also premiered on Smart Cinema on the same night.

The first of its kind, Smart Cinema is a pilot project initiated by the China Film Administration - the country's top movie regulator - and has been in operation for a year.

Unlike other streaming sites which release films after their first-run screenings end in theaters, Smart Cinema is designed to be a pocket cinema. The app releases first-run films simultaneously with movie releases, limiting users to one ticket per view at a usual cost of 25 yuan.

The app also launched an updated 2.0 version on May 9, offering a richer visual experience more akin to sitting in an actual theater. During some special screenings, audience members can communicate with the creators of the film they are watching to gain a better understanding of its backdrop.

Following its forays into Italy and Spain last year, the venture has signed a new cooperation deal with China's largest phone manufacturer Huawei to expand the online movie release business into Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Smart Cinema has also established a joint venture with Well Go USA Entertainment, a US theatrical and home entertainment distributor, to expand the release of Chinese films in the North American market.

For Jack Gao, founding partner and CEO of Smart Cinema, going global has realized his long held dream of offering more options to overseas Chinese to watch movies from their homeland.

"When I was working in the United States, I noticed that many Chinese people wanted to watch blockbusters from back home, but rarely had the chance due to the limited screen time made available in the Hollywood-dominated distribution system," says Gao.

"We plan to spend five years enhancing the export of Chinese films and expand overseas distribution for the 60 million Chinese people living outside the country," he adds.

All the films streamed through Smart Cinema in outbound markets are released in two versions, one in the original Chinese version and a local version with the subtitles translated into the host country's language.

"Smart Cinema is an extension of the current Chinese film distribution system," says Gao.

Last year, only one third of the 1,082 films which received permits for nationwide release were screened in cinemas.

For most art house titles or low-budget films, it has been an ongoing struggle to make it to the big screen, since cinema operators still prefer to show big-budget commercial blockbusters.

Gao says this situation limits the options for audiences, despite the rising demand for more diverse content from Chinese moviegoers.

Although urban cinemas have more than 60,000 screens across the country, it's still difficult to watch a film in a theater in China's most far-flung regions.

As of April 2019, among the 2,876 county-level administrative regions in China, 880 only had one cinema, 151 had no cinemas at all, and more than 70 percent of the country's population had never had the experience of entering a physical cinema, according to Gao.

"I was impressed to read a report that suggested that most Tibetans own a smartphone," he says.

Earlier this year, when the movie Kelsang Metok was streamed via the Smart Cinema app in Markam county, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, it made a splash among locals.

Yet it is unlikely that the new venture will prompt audiences back to the cinema given the unprecedented expansion of mobile internet, and Gao predicts that Smart Cinema will reach 1 billion smartphone customers within the space of five years.

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2019-05-16 07:27:25
<![CDATA[Carina Lau returns to TV with Eighteen Springs]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469858.htm Carina Lau, one of the most popular film actresses in Hong Kong, is now returning to TV with an adaptation of novelist Eileen Chang's book Half a Lifelong Romance.

The TV drama titled Eighteen Springs stars Lau in a lead role as a nightclub hostess who becomes a slave of her own miserable marriage. The new series marks Lau's reappearance on the small screen after a 14-year hiatus following the TV drama The Spring River Flows East featuring actors Hu Jun and Chen Daoming.

"I am a fan of Chang and have read a lot of her classic tales such as The Golden Cangue and Red Rose, White Rose. They are sad yet beautiful love stories that depict young women who want to chase their dreams but are oppressed by social hierarchy (in their time)," Lau said at a Beijing news conference on May 6.

The A-list actress has used her celebrity influence to invite Oscar-nominated costume designer William Chang Suk-ping and veteran producer Shi Nan-sun to join the TV project. A frequent collaborator with iconic director Wong Kar-wai, Chang Suk-ping is known for his aesthetics in capturing the beauty of women through colorful cheongsams in Chinese films.

Lau says the designer has traveled to foreign countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and India to buy fabric to make the cheongsams for Eighteen Springs that is set in 1930s' Shanghai.

She has already visited Beijing three times earlier just to try them on, she says.

"I have been on a diet through the entire shooting process," says Lau of her need to stay slim enough to wear them.

Eighteen Springs depicts the love story of a young engineer and a factory typist who are forced apart due to a string of misfortunes and misunderstandings spanning a decade.

Lau's character is the elder sister of the female typist, played by mainland actress Jiang Xin, best known for the 2011 hit TV series Empresses in the Palace.

Speaking about her role, Lau says: "She is a kind woman. Unfortunately, she lives in a society that had some ridiculous bias against women, making her a tragic figure."

Her character named Gu Manlu is forced into prostitution following the death of her father, the only bread-earner in the family, and has to marry a businessman who uses her as a plaything and even has his eyes on her younger sister.

Some Chinese netizens have criticized the casting, saying Lau, 53, and Jiang, 36, were "old" to play the characters as depicted in the book.

"I don't know why they care about age," Lau says, adding that she believes a good actress can "become" any role no matter how far the character is from her own life.

The series, which also casts actor Guo Xiaodong and Taiwan actor Joe Cheng, is scheduled to run on Beijing Satellite TV and streaming site iQiyi around the end of May.

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2019-05-16 07:27:25
<![CDATA[First Sino-Kazakh film portrays last years of famed musician]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469857.htm The first China-Kazakhstan production is a biographical feature, The Composer, chronicling the last five years of Xian Xinghai, a musician best known in China for the song Yellow River Cantata.

In 1940, Xian was sent to the former Soviet Union to make music for a revolutionary documentary, but his job was suspended when the Great Patriotic War, in which the Soviets fought against Nazi German invasion, broke out a year later. While he was trying to return to China from Almaty, Xian was stranded in the Kazakh city and stayed with a local family.

In the period depicted in the film, Xian was struggling with poverty, disease and separation from his wife and daughter in Yan'an, Shaanxi province, who he was unable to reunite with until his death in a Moscow hospital in 1945.

 

Left: Actor Hu Jun and actress Yuan Quan (left) promote the Chinese-Kazakh coproduction film The Composer in Beijing on Monday. Right: The biographical feature stars Hu as the prestigious musician, Xian Xinghai. Photos Provided to China Daily

When actor Hu Jun received the call inviting him to play the role of the musician in the film, he says he was shocked. Most of Hu's best-known screen characters are muscular heroes such as the legendary Qiao Feng in the martial arts TV series Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils.

But the producer Jonathan Shen soon shook off his concerns.

"Hu was born into a musical family. He learned to play the violin when he was young," says Shen, during a Beijing preview event on Monday.

The film is inspired from a speech made by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Kazakhstan in 2013, Shen says.

Although Hu had limited knowledge about Xian's last years, he quickly started to dive into the story. And his parents were even more excited about their son's new big-screen incarnation. His father, Hu Baoshan, a singer with the People's Liberation Army arts troupe, told him that he should take the film as a great honor as Xian's music has influenced generations of Chinese.

Xirzat Yahup, who directs The Composer, had previously helmed Flower, a film recounting the legendary story of an ethnic Kazakh singer in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

"But The Composer is a more challenging job. We spent two years shooting scenes taking place in different seasons across three countries: China, Kazakhstan and Russia," he says.

The film uses props and visual effects to recreate the wartime landscapes, especially the architecture of the 1940s.

To shoot a scene of Soviet soldiers rallying at a railway station, the crew borrowed old trains from multiple locations around Russia, the director says.

"When I visited Kazakhstan to do research on the film for the first time, I was surprised to find that Xian is very popular in music and art circles there. Every year, locals hold a concert to perform his Yellow River Cantata," says Xirzat, adding that he hopes the film will enhance friendship between the people of both countries.

Coproduced by China's Shinework Pictures and Kazakhfilm JSC, the film will be released in China on Friday and in Kazakhstan a few days later.

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2019-05-16 07:27:25
<![CDATA[Restaging a Russian classic]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469856.htm For the Vakhtangov Theatre's latest production of Eugene Onegin, Lithuanian director Rimas Tuminas believes that strong performances and clever set designs are the key to creating a stunning tour de force, Zhang Kun reports in Shanghai.

As seen on the poster for the Vakhtangov Theatre's production of Eugene Onegin, young ballerinas perform in midair from swings suspended high above the stage as the play unfolds beneath them.

Following four full-house performances at the SAIC Shanghai Culture Square from May 9 to 12, the Russian company - whose full title runs to the Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia - will head to the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing to stage four consecutive shows from Thursday to Sunday.

 

Young ballerinas dancing midair from a scene in Eugene Onegin, a play presented by the Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia that will run in the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing from Thursday to Sunday. Photos Provided to China Daily

The poetic vision of the poster reflects the aesthetic and lyrical tone set out for the play by Lithuanian director Rimas Tuminas, a popular and respected figure among Chinese audiences.

Last year his plays The Three Sisters and Masquerade were presented during the Modern Drama Valley in Shanghai, and this year, while his creation The Government Inspector was staged at the Daning Theater on the same day Eugene Onegin premiered in Shanghai.

Tuminas' Onegin is nothing but pure beauty, says Shanghai-based theater critic Wang Hong.

"I highly recommend the play to everyone who yearns for beauty and poetry," she says. "You will experience the ultimate height of theater art, as the combination of literature, visual art, performance, music and dance."

The play is based on a novel in verse by Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), a classic of Russian literature. The story follows Onegin, a bored dandy who rejects the high society of St. Petersburg in favor of a life in the countryside. Selfish and lacking empathy, he rejects the love of a young admirer, Tatyana, and ends up killing his friend in a duel.

Years later, an older Onegin looks back and finds himself consumed by loss and remorse. He visits Tatyana, who is now married to a general, and asks her to elope with him. Tatyana admits that she still loves him but rejects him in her determination to remain faithful to her husband. Onegin is left wallowing in his loneliness, unable to find meaning in his life.

Tchaikovsky composed the opera Eugene Onegin in 1879, which has since been widely performed and is familiar to the public. Tuminas, however, doesn't adopt the music from the opera, believing it to be an unfaithful interpretation of Pushkin's work.

Also, "in the Soviet period, Onegin was portrayed as a hero, who gives up high society to live in the country, close to the ordinary people, but that is not true of the character," he says. To his understanding, Onegin is a failure in life. He is selfish and indifferent, unable to relate to the feelings of other people. In contrast to his cruelty and lack of empathy, Tatyana is vulnerably sincere. Pushkin's creation of Tatyana embodies the "soul and character of Russia", Tuminas believes.

So in his production, the director chooses to focus on portraying Tatyana's love for Onegin. Only through this portrayal of the heroine, "can we realize the transformation from literature to theater", Tuminas asserts.

As a theater director, Tuminas is convinced that a well-designed set and strong performances by the actors are all that is required to present a fine play, and high-tech techniques such as video projection are unnecessary. "I believe actors can fill up the space on the stage with their performances," he says. "The stage set has a great impact on the actors, too."

In the play, Tatyana is portrayed by Olga Lerman over a period spanning decades, as she evolves from an innocent youth into a resilient mature woman. The role of Onegin, however, is played by two actors, as the play unfolds through the older Onegin's recollections of his life and times, explains Aleksei Guskov, an award-winning actor who plays the older Onegin.

In Russia, girls begin ballet lessons from an early age. "It's part of our history, like Chinese children practicing martial arts. That's why I decided to have young ballet dancers in the play. It's a reference to Russian history and culture," Tuminas says.

The 67-year-old Lithuanian is the first non-Russian artistic director of the Vakhtangov Theatre, one of the largest companies in Moscow established in 1921. His direction of Eugene Onegin earned him the Golden Mask award at the Russian Festival of Performing Arts in 2014.

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2019-05-16 07:27:25
<![CDATA[Chinese ballet troupe impresses at recent Tokyo performances]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469855.htm TOKYO - When dancers from the National Ballet of China depicted scenes from Raise the Red Lantern, audiences in Tokyo, Japan were left thrilled by the performance.

In order to illustrate the classic story in an artistic form, the performers were dressed in exquisite traditional Chinese costumes of bright colors for the performance on Friday. Their equally delicate dance moves also won the appreciation of the audience.

According to Feng Ying, director of the National Ballet of China, a troupe of 120 performers came to Tokyo to put on shows of Raise the Red Lantern and Swan Lake, the largest-scale performance in Japan since the ballet company was established 60 years ago.

Adapted from renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou's film, Raise the Red Lantern tells the tragic tale of women struggling in a traditional feudal family.

"The play tells the powerful story in a similar way to films and dramas - its plot is unveiled in a theatrical way - breaking away from traditional ballet forms," says Feng, who was herself once a dancer with the National Ballet of China.

Unlike classical ballet, Raise the Red Lantern incorporated various traditional Chinese elements such as Peking Opera, folk music and traditional instruments to deliver a creative form of performance imbued with Chinese culture. The music was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic and conducted by Zhang Yi, head of the China National Symphony Orchestra.

Because of the unique aspects of the show, performers had to employ a clever use of dance and props, such as square tables and specially-developed moves to illustrate people playing mahjong, for instance.

The dancers swirled around the tables, sometimes hopping on top of them and ducking underneath, vividly depicting the relationships of the characters. The clattering sound of mahjong tiles impacting one another was produced by using several abacuses.

To depict the oppression of the heroine by her male master, shadows of the two characters dancing together were cast on a large paper screen with the male shadow evidently larger than that of the heroine. The two shadows writhed and twisted around each other, against a tense musical backdrop, with the whole sequence reminiscent of Chinese shadow puppetry.

These techniques added depth to the performance of the play, which is itself rich in traditional cultural elements.

The performance of Swan Lake on May 12, on the other hand, maintained the standard style of classical ballet and the troupe delivered a high-level of performance to the Japanese audience.

"The two plays of different styles represent the inheritance and innovation of traditions in the ballet field since China's reform and opening-up," Feng says.

Speaking about ballet exchanges between China and Japan, she says, "It should be about exploring how to carry on the tradition while also taking the path of innovation, especially in how to express Asian culture."

She says she was more than impressed by the hospitality and friendship from the Japanese dancers and the Japanese people.

"We communicate not only with the Japanese ballet circle, but also with the Japanese theatrical circle," Feng says. "I remember when I came to perform in Japan in the 1980s, Japan celebrated a coming-of-age ceremony. The Japanese troupe that received us also held a coming-of-age ceremony for the young girls around the age of 20 in our ballet group.

"I still remember the clothes and makeup, the genuine enthusiasm and concern from our Japanese friends," she says.

"In recent years, the National Ballet of China has created many works with traditional Chinese cultural characteristics and also with the spirit of the contemporary era. We hope they can be staged in Japan in the future," Feng says.

"Our Japanese ballet peers have also been exploring how to express Asian culture through the medium of Western dance forms. I've seen them do ballet in kimonos, and they're also exploring new things," Feng says.

"I hope the Chinese and Japanese ballet circles will continue to strengthen communication and learn from each other. I also hope that such ballet exchanges will further promote communication between Chinese and Japanese people, as well as people around the world, and make a contribution to the building of Asian culture and world civilization," she says.

Xinhua

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2019-05-16 07:27:25
<![CDATA[Reborn German orchestra begins first China tour]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469854.htm Maestro Christoph Eschenbach and the musicians of SWR Symphonieorchester Stuttgart will tour China, visiting Shenzhen in Guangdong province, Shanghai, Wuhan in Hubei province and Taiyuan in Shanxi province between Friday and Thursday.

With repertories of Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischutz Overture and Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No 9 in E minor From the New World, the tour will mark SWR Symphonieorchester's Chinese debut.

The SWR symphony orchestra emerged from the fusion of Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart SWR and SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg in September 2016.

Blending musical traditions of its two predecessors, SWR Symphonieorchester Stuttgart has worked with world-class conductors, including Eschenbach, David Zinman and Ingo Metzmacher.

German-born Eschenbach said before the China tour began that "the process of merging results in a perfect team" and that "it's always pleasurable to perform in China".

With four decades of experience of conducting some of the finest orchestras in the world, the renowned conductor first performed in China with Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra in 1985.

"I was deeply impressed by the enormous enthusiasm, which will hopefully continue to grow," he says of the Chinese audiences.

Violinist Ray Chen will join the tour, performing Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor with the orchestra under the baton of Eschenbach.

The violinist performed the piece last year with SWR Symphonieorchester Stuttgart and has toured with the orchestra to the United States, Sweden and Israel, among others, playing the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Johannes Brahms.

"I first learned the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto when I was 9 years old. Since then, it has grown and accompanied me throughout my musical journey. Through all sorts of challenges and triumphs, the concerto is like a childhood friend that I grew up with," says Chen.

The 29-year-old was born in Taiwan and raised in Australia.

"It speaks directly to people's emotions. At this point, I've probably performed it a few hundred times, but the feeling of fresh discovery and youthful energy is still there each time I play the piece, just like when I first discovered it."

Chen started learning the violin at the age of 4 and was accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music at 15, where he studied with American violinist Aaron Rosand. His biggest break did not come until he was 19 when he won the 2008 International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition and the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition.

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2019-05-16 07:27:25
<![CDATA[Women's worlds]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469853.htm A new film by five female directors from BRICS countries, Half the Sky, is released in China just before Mother's Day, Xu Haoyu reports.

New China's founding father, Mao Zedong, said in the 1950s: "Women hold up half the sky." These words have inspired Chinese women to play a greater role in society in the following decades.

In this spirit, the film, Half the Sky, was released in the theaters on Friday, just days before Mother's Day. Jointly created by five female directors from the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - the film spotlights womanhood.

 

The newly released film, Half the Sky, created by five female directors from BRICS countries and produced by filmmaker Jia Zhangke, tells stories of five women from different cultural backgrounds. Photos Provided to China Daily

"We hope that through these five directors' work, women will be heard and better understood. We focus on the realization of their values," says Jia Zhangke, Chinese director and producer of the film.

This is his second time as a producer of a BRICS film.

"BRICS countries have experienced the clash between traditional culture and modern transformation in different ways. It's interesting to present such conflict in films."

Jia recalls his first experience working in cross-cultural cooperation with people from BRICS countries in 2017. He says he exchanged more than 100 emails with filmmakers on a single day to discuss the theme and production format.

Initially, they had thought about shooting the film, Where Has the Time Gone, portraying similar scenarios in the five countries, such as train stations, or people from groups like students and farmers. And many ideas were passed over before the film, which is an anthology of five independent short stories examining the title's theme, was made.

But consensus was reached more quickly when planning the new film.

Jia says women seem to be achieving a lot in the film industry, especially in China, citing by the many awards female filmmakers won at the 2017 Pingyao International Film Festival.

"We are witnessing the rising power of women and, at the same time, noticing their struggles."

Jia says more needs to be done about equal rights, though, and that different countries face their own respective challenges.

He says Hollywood actresses fought for equal pay for equal work last year, which is a problem China solved in the '50s.

"But no policy or labor law can completely wipe out male preference in personal or traditional consciousness," Jia says. "We wish to change the gender inequality hiding in people's subconsciousness, even if just a bit, through films."

In the new film's five parts - as was in the older film - the spaces, skin colors and languages change, but the spirit stays the same, he adds.

Half the Sky lasts 99 minutes and tells stories of five women from different cultural backgrounds.

The Measure of a Woman, made by Sara Blecher from South Africa, tells the story of an athlete, who's questioned about her gender after winning first place in a canoe race. Back, the Brazilian section produced by Daniela Thomas, presents the story of a daughter on the way back home to see her dying mother. Directed by Indian Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Taken for Granted aims to remind people of how difficult it is for a wife to take care of her whole family. Catfishing, produced by Russian director Elizaveta Stishova, focuses on online dating and summarizes a dramatic conflict.

The Chinese section, Dumplings, uses the traditional food to convey emotions and discusses issues, including the communication gap between two generations. It centers on a female white-collar worker, her widowed mother and the latter's late-life lover. It was directed by Liu Yulin, a young female director born in Henan province. She made her first short film, Door God, in 2014 and adapted the novel, Someone to Talk To, for a film two years later.

"A good story comes from real life," says Liu, who draws inspiration from things happening around her.

For Dumplings, Liu was inspired by an interview recorded by An Dun, a writer who also works as a reporter for Beijing Youth Daily, which is about a daughter who regrets preventing her mother from remarrying.

"The dumpling is a traditional food that signifies family reunions," Liu says of the title. "It's also much like the subtle emotional expressions of many Chinese people. Many dumplings look the same from the outside - but what's hiding inside might surprise you."

Talking about being a female director, she says women are likely to be more sensitive in understanding the sorrows and joys of others.

The film was screened at the China National Museum of Women and Children in Beijing on May 7.

Huang Yiyang, deputy director-general of the Department of International Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed his appreciation of the cooperation among the five countries at the film's screening.

"The BRICS countries are at similar stages of development, and a vast number of emerging markets and developing countries have high expectations of us. The relationship among countries depends on the connections among people and cultural exchanges," Huang says.

"Film builds a bridge to enhance mutual understanding among people of all countries."

Wu Haiying, vice-president of the All-China Women's Federation, says: "In the history of New China, women have played an irreplaceable role in social and family life, and they are now writing a glorious chapter on an increasingly broader stage.

"The film provides a good interpretation of women's dreams, struggles and predicaments."

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2019-05-16 07:27:25
<![CDATA[Zombie film kicks off Cannes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/16/content_37469852.htm CANNES, France - Pop royalty mingled with screen stars at Cannes on Tuesday, with the eclectic cast of zombie movie The Dead Don't Die leading the glamor on the red carpet as the film festival got underway on the French Riviera.

British actress Tilda Swinton, in a sparkling silver gown, singer Selena Gomez and actors Bill Murray and Adam Driver made their grand entrance to the first screening and opening gala alongside the film's director Jim Jarmusch.

The acerbic comic romp set in small-town America is set to be one of the highlights of the competition in Cannes, alongside Quentin Tarantino's hotly anticipated return to the Croisette with an ode to Hollywood based on his memories of the industry.

They will vie for the top Palme D'Or prize alongside newcomers, such as Mati Diop, with her film, Atlantics, set in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal.

Although Netflix productions are conspicuously absent from the lineup - as a stand-off with Cannes over selection rules rumbles on - the streaming company loomed large over the first day of festivities.

"Cinema is about being together," Edouard Baer, a French actor and the opening night master of ceremonies, told assembled stars. "Go out, rather than staying at home watching Netflix with a pizza."

Cannes jury president Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the Mexican director of Birdman and The Revenant, stressed his support for movie theaters earlier in the day and at the gala.

"That communal experience is very beautiful," he says.

Cannes organizers also paid tribute to late Belgian-born filmmaker Agnes Varda, a pioneering female director and influential force of the New Wave movement and French cinema.

Varda, who died in March at age 90, features on Cannes' official posting, crouched on the back of a crew member as she tried to grab a shot. A clip of her 1962 Cleo from 5 to 7 was screened at the ceremony.

Reuters

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2019-05-16 07:27:25
<![CDATA[A little kindness can help keep the taxi wheels rolling]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/15/content_37469444.htm Since moving to Beijing, I've become something I never imagined I would be: a frequent taxi commuter.

In other places I've lived, it would have been unthinkable, the cost so prohibitive I would have had to take a second job just to pay for the convenience - and maybe even a third job to help out with the transportation costs to the second.

Here the price is so moderate I've often wondered how the companies and drivers get by.

Still, taxis are omnipresent in Beijing, and I indulge myself.

In seemingly countless 15-and 20-minute conversations in hobbled Chinese (me) sometimes broken English (the driver), I've come to know some of the drivers and had some memorable experiences.

There was the time I got into a cab feeling stressed that I was already running late and ended up spending 10 minutes I'll never forget stuck in deadlocked traffic, listening to and, as I loosened up, humming along with a taxi driver who was singing full-throated the Chinese folk song he had on the radio.

Many's the time I developed what felt like the deepest of friendships with drivers through rudimentary conversations along the lines of:

Driver: Ni laizi shenme guojia (What country do you come from)?

Me: Meiguo (The United States).

Driver: Meiguo hen hao (very good). Obama hen hao.

Me: Zhongguo (China) hen hao. Xi Jinping hen hao.

Funny, only once did I hear a driver pay the same compliment to "Telangpu", the current White House resident. I guess "Obama" just rolls off the tongue.

Spending time with taxi drivers has reinforced my basic perception of the kindness, generosity and decency of the Chinese people.

That's not to say there haven't been a few exceptions. Those who pay their taxi fare with 100 yuan bills will sooner or later run into a driver who fumbles around under the far side of his seat and then hands back what is supposed to be their 100 yuan, saying he can't change it.

I've kept one of those counterfeit 100s as a souvenir. I've got a fake 50, too, and I hope one day to complete my collection with one of the phoney 20s I've heard about.

On the whole, though, Beijing taxi drivers come across as good, hardworking, pleasant people. But how do they make ends meet given that the fares are so low?

In the nine years I've been in Beijing, inflation has crept steadily along. Yet taxi fares only increased once.

That was in 2013. Almost all Beijing taxis were owned by companies, Hu Yongqi and Zhang Yuchen reported in China Daily.

Drivers had to pay a franchise fee of 4,500 to 7,000 yuan ($656 to $1,021) per month, depending on the vehicle.

One driver they interviewed said he had to come up with 150 yuan per day for the franchise fee, plus 200 yuan for fuel. He worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day, and needed to pick up about 30 passengers per day to take in 500 yuan in fares.

At the end of the month, provided he got the 500 yuan each day, he would have 15,000 yuan. After deducting the 4,500 franchise fee and 6,000 for fuel, he would have 4,500 yuan for 360 hours' work - one assumes the 12.5 yuan he took home per hour was taxable.

Shortly after Hu and Zhang's article, Beijing raised the basic taxi fare from 10 to 13 yuan for the first 3 kilometers and the per-kilometer fare very slightly. But the 1-to-3 yuan variable fuel surcharge was fixed at 1 yuan.

As inflation still creeps along, there's nothing that says we can't pay a little extra to show our appreciation.

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2019-05-15 07:47:40
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/15/content_37469443.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On May 15, 2002, the People's Liberation Army Navy's first global goodwill voyage set sail from Qingdao, Shandong province.

Sailing for 132 days, the voyage of guided missile destroyer CNS Qingdao and supply ship CNS Taicang, covered 33,000 nautical miles (61,116 kilometers) and visited 10 countries.

The item from May 14, 2002, in China Daily (right) showed 438 navy soldiers lining up on the deck of their warship and saluting the people who came to see the vessel pull into Wusong Port in Shanghai.

Since then, the Navy has conducted several such trips to promote friendship and exchanges with the rest of the world.

In 2015, the Chinese Naval Fleet 152, comprised of destroyer CNS Jinan, frigate CNS Yiyang and a supply ship, set sail. Following the conclusion of a four-month escort mission to the Horn of Africa, the task force began a goodwill tour and dropped anchor in numerous locations, including two port calls in the United States.

China's naval ships have increasingly taken part in humanitarian and international security operations.

Hospital ship Peace Ark has conducted at least five "Harmonious Missions", providing free medical care and services for tens of thousands of people worldwide.

In 2008, the Navy had a significant presence in the Horn of Africa in support of maritime security and counter-piracy operations in the region.

Last month, the country's 32nd convoy fleet to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters set sail from a military port in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province.

The naval fleet includes the destroyer CNS Xi'an, the missile frigate CNS Anyang and Gaoyanghu, a supply ship.

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2019-05-15 07:47:40
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/15/content_37469442.htm Vision China to focus on new era of intelligence

Themed "Intelligence New Era: Progress, Planning and Opportunity", the seventh session of Vision China, a series of talks hosted by China Daily, will be held at Tianjin Media Theater on Friday. The event coincides with the third World Intelligence Conference to be held in Tianjin from Wednesday to Sunday.

Drinking coffee may help you live longer

Coffee doesn't just keep you alert, it also keeps you alive, scientists discovered recently. They found that two cups a day can raise your life expectancy by as much as two years. It reduces the risks of cancer, heart problems and neurodegenerative brain disease such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The researchers analyzed the ages and cause of death of 450,000 people, along with dietary records that included coffee intake.

WeChat ban after work hours in Zhuhai district

Xiangzhou district in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, has released a rule for civil servants: Stop sending work-related WeChat messages after office hours. The directive also stipulated that each department in the district government should have no more than one chat group on the app for official communication between employees. The district government said the move is intended to reduce employee stress and promote a healthy work-life balance.

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2019-05-15 07:47:40
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/15/content_37469441.htm Rankings: Alibaba tops China brand value list

Alibaba took the crown as China's most valuable brand, with its value surging 59 percent year-on-year to $141 billion. It was followed by Tencent and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which are valued at $138.16 billion and $40.73 billion, respectively, according to Kantar and WPP's 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands. The report said the total value of all 100 companies rose 30 percent to $889.7 billion this year, the highest annual increase since the rankings were launched in 2011. Visit our website to find out more about the country's most valuable brands.

People: Man crosses the Atlantic in a barrel

A French sailor who set out on a solo journey across the Atlantic Ocean in a large, orange barrel, has completed his trip. Jean-Jacques Savin, 72, departed from El Hierro, in the Canary Islands, in December in a bright orange barrel, using just the ocean's currents. On April 27, Savin reached the Caribbean after being at sea for 122 days. A Dutch oil tanker transported Savin and the barrel to Sint Eustatius. A few days later, Savin was brought to Martinique where he is planning his return to France. "It was an exhilarating voyage but also quite risky," he said.

Biz: Volkswagen to recall 92,621 cars

Volkswagen will recall 92,621 vehicles in the Chinese market due to defective gearbox control modules, according to China's market regulator. The recall, starting on June 28, involves more than a dozen models including the Beetle, Golf, Scirocco and Sagitar, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement. Defective gearbox control modules may lead to a loss of power while driving. The company said it would replace the defective modules free of charge. Visit our website to find out more about the recall.

Charity: Race raises cancer awareness

The 2019 More Than Aware fun run took place at Century Park in Shanghai's Pudong New Area on Saturday, drawing more than 3,000 participants of all ages from around the world, including 550 survivors of breast cancer. A total of 75 volunteers from 14 different countries took part in the event to provide services for the participants. Founded in 2011, More Than Aware helps to raise people's awareness of breast cancer and the importance of a healthy life. The funds raised during the event will be donated to the Shanghai Cancer Recovery Club.

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2019-05-15 07:47:40
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/15/content_37469440.htm Good Vibes with Jason Mraz: 2019 Live in Shanghai

When: May 15, 8 pm

Where: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai

Multiple Grammy Award-winner Jason Mraz is bringing his Good Vibes Tour to Shanghai.

Mraz has amassed a diverse fan-base around the globe, bringing his positive message and folk-pop sound to rapt audiences through his vibrant recordings, humorous live performances and philanthropic efforts.

Along the way, he has earned numerous platinum certifications for his various releases, made pop history with his record-breaking singles, I'm Yours and I Won't Give Up. He has won two Grammy Awards and received the prestigious Songwriter Hall of Fame Hal David Award.

On playing for his Asian fans, Mraz said, "I enjoy traveling to and performing for listeners in Asia. I feel a sense of gratitude and enthusiasm unlike anywhere else in the world, which makes a performance feel more like an event than a recital. The audience participation in Asia is harmonic and supersonic. I am thrilled to return, reconnect and re-experience the joy."

Little Wizards by State Puppet Theater Varna from Bulgaria

When: May 18-26, 10:30 am and 3:30 pm

Where: Nanshan Sports Center Theater, Shenzhen, Guangdong province

The show, by State Puppet Theater Varna from Bulgaria, is about a weird old man who cannot smile and seldom talks to others. One day he meets four little wizards.

It tells a fun story about love, goodness and our wish to change the world.

Premiered in 2014, the show has been performed hundreds of times in Bulgaria and abroad, and has won numerous international awards.

Savage Beauty: Jo-Yu Chen Jazz Piano Trio

When: May 29, 7:30 pm

Where: Blue Note Beijing

Jo-Yu Chen's third album, Stranger featuring guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, was released on Okeh Records with Sony Music in 2014.

Chen then joined the distinguished international roster of Steinway Artists. She has been featured in jazz magazines and received rave reviews in Downbeat, Jazziz, All About Jazz, Jazz Inside in the United States and also appeared in Japanese magazines.

Born in Taiwan, the pianist and composer in New York began her musical training on piano at age 5. After moving to New York to study oboe and piano at the prestigious Juilliard School, she discovered a diverse music scene thriving in the heart of the city and decided to take the leap from classical music to jazz.

Snow White

When: May 30-June 2, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The National Center for the Performing Arts children's opera Snow White is adapted from a well-known fairy tale. Snow White, the princess of the Rainbow Kingdom, is pure and kindhearted but her stepmother is jealous of her beauty and wants to kill her.

Romeo and Juliet

When: June 9-23, 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Century Theater

Romeo and Juliet is a hit musical show bringing a timeless story and mythical characters to life. The story and message of the play talks to all generations.

The emblematic story is filled with all the timeless ingredients of the best plots: thwarted love, secret marriage, magic potions, feigned death, chance and fatal misunderstandings.

The lovers of Verona have acquired immortal status, thanks to Shakespeare's words and for the obstinate force of their love, which transcends death.

Cinderella by Rodgers and Hammerstein

When: June 20-23, 7:30 pm; June 22 and 23, 2 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Cinderella is a musical in two acts, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein.

The production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love, ranging from the pumpkin, the glass slipper to the masked ball.

You will also enjoy some of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most loved songs, including In My Own Little Corner and Ten Minutes Ago.

Cinderella sings about becoming something more than she presently is, about transcending her oppressive circumstances.

And her words seem to capture the spirit of the musical.

Murmur by Aakash Odedra Company

When: June 14 and 15, 7:30 pm; June 16, 2 pm

Where: Shanghai International Dance Center Experimental Theater

The Aakash Odedra Company explores how misconceptions about dyslexia can be revealed through visual design, light, sound and movement. They push the boundaries of narrative style dance using a movement vocabulary which blends various styles.

In the first act, the body becomes a place of transformation, an envelope marked, folded and metamorphosed by its journey through a ritualized space. The figures and drawings made on his body reveal the inner duality of the dancer, who enters through a series of transformative stages in a self-seeking quest and an exploration of the body's limits and powers.

In the second act, Aakash Odedra and Australian choreographer Lewis Major delve into the idea of warped and exaggerated realities.

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2019-05-15 07:47:40
<![CDATA[Plotting for success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/15/content_37469439.htm Director pulls no punches as action speaks louder than words, Xu Fan reports.

From the 1990s hit Rumble in the Bronx to the recent China-India blockbuster Kung Fu Yoga, director Stanley Tong is one of a select few to come up with a formula of international success for Chinese films.

Also serving as the standing director of the Taihu World Cultural Forum, the globally recognized filmmaker shared his insight during a visit to China Daily's Beijing headquarters on Sunday.

"In terms of market response and box office takings, the most successful Chinese films in the global market are still action titles," says Tong.

 

Hong Kong director Stanley Tong at the film set of his new movie Vanguard in Dubai. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Over the past half century, martial arts films, led by giants from Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan and Jet Li, have earned Chinese films widespread recognition in North America, historically a difficult market for foreign imports to tap into.

As one of the leading figures in Hong Kong cinema's golden age, Tong still clearly remembers the US debut of his directorial feature Rumble in the Bronx in 1996.

When the film unfolded to a scene featuring a policeman, played by Chan, making a death-defying jump from a rooftop parking lot onto the balcony of a building across the street, "the audience clapped", he recalls.

The sequence highlights that Chan's character would rather risk his life than be humiliated by a gangster, exemplifying typical Chinese values, he says.

"Chan's character is gentle and nice to everyone in daily life, but when he is bullied and offended, he won't be a coward and will fight back," says Tong.

As Chan's first real splash in the United States, the film opened on more than 1,700 screens across North America in 1996, topping the US box office charts in its opening weekend.

Despite the fact that Chan's previous three efforts targeting North America failed to scoop the anticipated plaudits, the film was a major success in changing Western perceptions of Chinese heroes on the silver screen, and expanded Chan's popularity as a kung fu icon outside Asia.

Tong believes market research was significant for the success.

"The North American distributors gave us two suggestions. One was to showcase Chan's stunts and the other was to set the story in the US," he says.

Ang Lee's Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Zhang Yimou's Hero again proved that martial arts is the best genre for Chinese films to leverage in order to win a slice of the US market.

Crouching Tiger and Hero, respectively, raked in $128 million in 2000 and $53.7 million in 2004, to become the two highest-grossing Chinese films in North America.

Hollywood's most lucrative franchises are also action blockbusters, such as the Marvel superhero movies, the Fast and Furious series, and James Bond films. But Chinese action films have unique characteristics.

"Chinese martial arts heroes feature a chivalrous spirit, uniquely rooted in Chinese literature and culture. That makes movies the best medium to export excellent Chinese legacies," says Tong.

However, language remains one of the biggest hurdles for Chinese films trying to reach overseas screens.

"English is somewhat an international language. It makes it easier for Hollywood to win over the rest of the world," says Tong.

"The mainstream audiences in the US are reluctant to watch foreign films with subtitles. Most of these could just be released in arthouse cinemas or theaters in Chinatowns, which only have dozens of screens, but mainstream distribution can reach 2,000 screens."

However, with the rise of China and the uptake in learning Mandarin, Tong believes Chinese films will get a bigger market.

Aside from the big-budget commercial films, arthouse films can also expand Chinese recognition overseas through participation in international festivals, such as Europe's most prestigious events in Cannes, Venice and Berlin, according to Tong.

Additionally, a shortage of talent is a longtime concern for the rapidly-expanding Chinese film industry.

Last year, the country's annual output accounted for more than 1,000 features but even the domestic market's highest-grossing films such as Operation Red Sea and Detective Chinatown 2 performed poorly outside China.

"The number of Chinese directors who are recognized by the international market is around 20. They are even more precious than pandas," he says, jokingly.

"If Chinese filmmakers want to tap into overseas markets, they need to raise their storytelling skills and understand what foreign audiences want to watch," adds Tong.

Approaching the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, Tong says he believes such events, also including the Taihu World Cultural Forum held in Suzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Macao and Beijing since 2008, will increase opportunities for Chinese filmmakers to communicate with counterparts from other countries.

He also suggests that Asian countries establish a cinema chain specializing in screening their films in areas surrounding American universities.

Coproduction is a vital element and must be targeted properly, he says. "Initially, a coproduction should look at which market is its main goal."

His Sino-Indian coproduction Kung Fu Yoga grossed 1.75 billion yuan ($254 million) to become China's fourth highest-grossing film in 2017, but the film received an average reception in India.

"Indian films usually run over three hours, and consist of a lot of dancing and singing. Music is an important part in the appeal of Indian films," he says. "But such a model does not work to attract Chinese audiences. As China already has a huge market, we decided to tailor it for the domestic audience."

With a childhood fascination for Chinese culture and literature, the Hong Kong-born, Canada-educated director reveals he will follow his most familiar formula to direct action films about Chinese heroes.

Just a few hours before the interview, Tong was busy shooting his latest film Vanguard, about a Chinafounded international security company, on the outskirts of Beijing. The film stars Chan, heartthrob Yang Yang and A-list comedian Ai Lun.

"The movie just concluded overseas filming in London, Dubai, India and Africa, and will finish shooting in around 20 days," he says.

The prolific director is also planning another film, which will depict China in 2035.

"I believe Chinese films will get better. It's just a matter of time."

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2019-05-15 08:00:52
<![CDATA[Carriers help owners create art to reveal attitude toward life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/15/content_37469438.htm Two days after its worldwide premiere, the latest collection for Belgian bag brand, Kipling, made its China debut at APM Shopping Mall in Beijing on April 19.

Named Blank Canvas, the whole collection is designed with simplicity and minimalism in mind, mimicking an art canvas that leaves space and room for owners to create their own signature bags.

Watercolor pens and a set of stencil shapes come in a neat pouch free of charge with each bag.

At the launch event, artist Tobias Gutmann from Zurich was invited to fill the "canvas" with drawings.

 

A customer of the Belgian bag company that is winning over many young consumers in China with its simple features, lightness and functionality. Photos Provided to China Daily

Gutmann is known for his Face-O-Mat performances, using graphic elements and patterns to depict people's faces, drawing abstract interpretations of what he sees in faces, dubbed the "hand-drawn selfie".

Before he started to draw on the first bag for Zhou Xiaochen, a local fashion blogger, Gutmann asked three questions about her favorite season, weather and color.

In four minutes, he decorated the bag in light gray with a pink rainbow and a wavy line.

"We wish to provide people a blank canvas to express themselves," says Chen Jianping, general manager of Kipling in China.

"If Gutmann can express a piece of you through his drawing, why can't you do it yourself?"

The bag brand was founded in 1987 by three men in Antwerp, a city in northern Belgium: Paul Van de Velde, Vincent Haverbeke and Xavier Kegels.

The name Kipling was inspired by the Nobel Prize-winning author Rudyard Kipling, who wrote The Jungle Book, and stands for the spirit of fun and adventure.

The look of the bag is the result of an accident that happened the year the brand was founded.

During the dyeing process the materials got overheated, leaving the nylon used in the bag design crinkled.

To embrace the error, they kept the textural effect as a signature of the brand's handbag designs and have used it ever since.

According to Kipling's official website, the bags are sold in over 60 countries and there are more than 650 retail stores worldwide.

Chen himself had been a fan of the sports bag since before he joined the company.

He says that the brand holds a market position, thanks to the crinkled nylon, the core and signature material that offers users lightness, comfort and functionality.

The brand's new slogan - "live light" - aims to establish a stronger emotional connection with consumers.

Following consumer research, Chen found that the public understands and agrees with the slogan and has a similar attitude to life - a desire to be free from burden.

Zhou, a fashion blogger in Beijing, shares her understanding of the slogan: "It gives me courage to maintain a relaxed attitude to life and to have curiosity because you can only follow fashion with a free soul."

Chen says consumers nowadays, especially millennials, who are believed to be the group with the strongest consumption power, are getting tired of leather goods.

"Leather goods need to be taken care of," says Chen, adding that his brand, on the contrary, is easy to maintain, ready "to face bad weather, humidity or other rigors".

The Belgian brand entered the Chinese market in 2014 and has a number of loyal customers, according to Chen, who adds that over 30 percent of the brand's bags around the globe are bought by Chinese shoppers.

And he says the brand plans to collaborate with Chinese brands to present traditional symbols on bags and launch such a collection globally.

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2019-05-15 08:00:52
<![CDATA[Tales of successful women reveal a plotline of advancement]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468750.htm When it was published in English early last year, Roseann Lake's Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World's Next Superpower, drew much attention in China and around the world. Last month, it was finally published in a Chinese version and quickly shot to the No 1 bestseller slot on Dangdang's list of social studies books.

Leftover in China wasn't the first book in English to examine the subject of the rising cohort of educated and independent-minded mainland Chinese women, but the other books tend toward academic explorations.

It is a more popular account, inspired by the friendships and experiences that Roseann acquired during her five years in Beijing working for a TV production company.

When I met up with Roseann in Beijing a few weeks ago, the first thing I asked about was that Chinese title. She is ambivalent about the term "leftover", but she hadn't chosen the titles for either edition. "I think the publisher was maybe trying to play it safe and reflect that it's not just about women," she said. "The book talks about men and women. The word 'leftover' has mixed reviews in China. Some women in their 20s and 30s would take offense. Others embrace it."

But she does call her bilingual stage show, The Leftover Monologues. The first shows were staged back in 2014 in Beijing. After talking with hundreds of women while researching the book, Roseann wanted to give some a chance to describe their experiences directly.

Startling as it may seem, she has never had a problem, in the United States or China, finding Chinese women - and a few Chinese men - eager to stand on a stage in front of scores, even hundreds, of strangers and talk about ... anticipating yet another phone conversation with a relentless matchmaking mother; returning home for the Chinese New Year holiday to contend with amped-up pestering; going on dates with manifestly unsuitable potential mates; discovering that grandpa has been advertising one's assets in a public park; or simply feeling they have strayed from the prescribed life track and, just maybe, are enjoying the strange road not usually taken.

The last part seemed to fit all eight women who spoke at the seventh outing of The Leftover Monologues on April 26 at the Idea Pod in the Guomao area. Even if they were well settled with Mr. Right or content with a new career direction, they still wanted to be considered leftover women.

Because I have lived in the US, Japan and Thailand and spent time in Singapore, I often wondered as I read the book if the roles, jobs and attitudes about marriage of university-educated Chinese women would evolve in ways similar to those countries. Will similar trends in divorce, single households and birthrates follow?

Well, yes and no. As has been true for decades in the US, female university students in China have outnumbered male ones since 2012. But such Chinese graduates may be shedding notions of traditional marriage much more rapidly than Americans did.

China's overall divorce rate is still a very low 2.67 percent but higher in Beijing.

But then, many relentless matchmaking parents don't hold traditional notions about divorce either. As Roseann explained, "A lot of Chinese parents are of the mindset: 'Look, we just need you to get married. If you get divorced later, that's OK.'"

That doesn't mean parents or daughters have given up on a grandchild or two. While the birthrate among these self-sufficient Chinese women probably won't rise dramatically with the end of the one-child policy, Roseann doesn't believe China will see the extremely low birthrates of a Japan or Singapore among the leftover ladies. The reason is simple: "The opportunity costs of having a child" - the cost of childcare - just aren't as high in China.

And that's because those pestering parents are more than willing to assume the burden of childcare, she explained, "Parents are kind of like, 'Hand over the baby. Check back with us in 10 years'."

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2019-05-14 07:32:45
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468749.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

In May 1953, the implementation of China's first Five-Year Plan officially started. It was an economic program that ran from 1953 to 1957.

It aimed to strive for a high rate of economic growth and emphasize development in heavy industry (mining, iron and steel manufacturing) and technology (machine construction).

Since 1953, China has produced 13 five-year plans. An item from Dec 1, 1982, in China Daily showed the economic targets set for the Sixth Five-Year Plan (1981-85).

These blueprints for national economic and social development provide a comprehensive picture of China's economy and society. They usually include numerical growth targets such as annual gross domestic product goals and offer policy guidelines for reforms.

They offer a glimpse of priorities that the central and local governments will adhere to in the next five years.

In the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), China set a target of average annual economic growth of above 6.5 percent. The 6.5-percent annual growth rate over a five-year period is the lowest for more than three decades. The country's GDP is expected to exceed 92.7 trillion yuan ($13.6 trillion) next year, compared with 67.7 trillion yuan in 2015, according to the plan.

The country will implement an innovation-driven development strategy and promote science and technology innovation, mass innovation and entrepreneurship, with supporting reforms and policies, it said.

During the period, the country aims to create more than 50 million new urban jobs. All poverty-stricken rural residents will be lifted out of poverty.

The plan comes as China's economy has entered the "new normal", a phase of moderating growth based more on consumption than the previous mainstay of exports and investment. It embodies new development concepts, led by innovation, for balanced, coordinated and sustainable growth.

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2019-05-14 07:32:45
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468748.htm Workers construct firefighting 'robot' with pipes

Workers at a construction site in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, have built a firefighting "robot" using pipe fittings. It can put out fires and reduce haze. The robot is linked to a small environmental monitoring station. If the air quality drops, the alarm and sprinkler system are both triggered.

Shanxi parkour athlete breaks world record

Zhang Yunpeng, an athlete from Datong, Shanxi province, created a world record at the 2019 Master Parkour Challenge held in Changsha, Hunan province, last week. Zhang, 26, graduated from Shanxi Sports Vocational School in 2012 and has won championships at parkour (where urban runners face obstacles) both at home and abroad. Now he is preparing to break six Guinness world parkour records within 36 hours.

New banknotes to be issued

The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, will issue its fifth series of banknotes and coins from Aug 30. The 2019 edition includes 50 ($7), 20, 10 and 1 yuan banknotes as well as 1 yuan, 5 jiao and 1 jiao coins. The new edition does not include 5 yuan notes because their circulation is relatively small. Check more posts online.

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2019-05-14 07:32:45
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468747.htm People: Man runs from Antarctic to Arctic

Bai Bin has reached the Arctic Ocean after running some 24,110 kilometers from the Antarctic in 443 days. Bai, from Guizhou province, began the challenge from the country's Antarctic Great Wall Station on March 2 last year. He has run across a number of countries including Chile, Argentina, Peru and Mexico, overcoming the challenges of fatigue, scorching sun, blizzards and strong winds along the way. Although exhausted, the 49-year-old said he's still passionate about running and enjoys being on the road. "I wanted to run further than 10,000 km. I never thought of giving up," he said.

Rankings: World's 10 happiest countries

Finland has retained its crown as the happiest country in the world, according to the latest World Happiness Report published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations. Denmark came in second, followed by Norway and Iceland. The report ranks 156 countries on six key variables that support well-being: GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, freedom, anti-corruption efforts and generosity. Visit our website to have a look at the world's 10 happiest countries.

Photos: Wrestlers hold babies for good health

Sumo wrestlers held aloft screaming babies in a crying contest - with the children's parents watching with delight. More than 100 sobbing tots took part in the centuries-old ritual, which is believed by many to bring the infants good health. The bawling infants, all under the age of 1, took part in the ritual at the Yukigaya Hachiman Shrine in Tokyo. Some Japanese parents believe sumo wrestlers can help make babies cry out a wish to grow up stronger.

Travel: Museum offers hands-on experience

Tourists to the Shenyang Palace Museum in Liaoning province can experience restoration work, starting Saturday. Scaffolding has been set up around the imperial ancestral temple with its red walls and yellow tiles, which was built in 1781 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to worship ancestors. Professional builders demonstrate procedures for repairing ancient buildings. Visitors can have a hands-on experience by using linen and oil putty to reinforce the wooden sections of the temple.

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2019-05-14 07:32:45
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468746.htm Li Weigang and Robert McDonald

When: May 17, 7:45 pm

Where: Shanghai Symphony Hall Concert Hall

Born into a family of well-known musicians in Shanghai, Li Weigang began studying the violin at the age of 5 and went on to attend the Shanghai Conservatory at 14.

Three years later, in 1981, he was selected to study for one year at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music through the first cultural exchange program between the sister cities of Shanghai and San Francisco.

Pianist Robert McDonald is an renowned accompanist, particularly noted for partnering leading violin soloists in recital. He is a graduate of Lawrence University and studied at the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music.

2019 Run To The Beat

When: May 19, 6:30 am

Where: Ming Tombs Reservoir, Beijing

The Run To The Beat music half-marathon will take place in the Ming Tombs Reservoir Scenic Area in Beijing's Changping district. Bands will play along the course to encourage runners. It was established by IMG in London in 2008 and attracted 12,000 runners. The event became globally popular and has since attracted more than 100,000 runners.

Kacey Musgraves: Oh, What a World tour

When: May 22, 8 pm

Where: Bandai Namco Shanghai Base Dream Hall

Multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves has kicked off her headlining Oh, What a World tour across the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Japan.

The Shanghai concert will be her one and only stop in China.

She first received critical acclaim and recognition with the 2013 release of her gold-certified debut album Same Trailer Different Park. The album debuted at No 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, making her the first solo female in five years to top the chart with a rookie release.

National Public Radio in the United States has observed that she "is magnetic - there are no two ways about it. It's not just that she can sing like a bird and write like a bard. It's the calm charisma that a person who knows exactly who she is and wishes the same for others can't help but exude."

Sophie Zelmani Sunrise Tour 2019 in Shanghai

When: May 23 and 24, 7:30 pm

Where: Modernsky lab, Shanghai

Sophie Zelmani is a Swedish singer-songwriter who released her first single, Always You, in 1995.

She was born in the suburbs of Stockholm in 1972. Her father bought the family a guitar when Sophie was 14. Despite no professional training, she became a songwriter and recorded songs at a local studio.

After she mailed the demos to three record companies, she was offered a record deal by Sony Music Sweden.

The Cat Who Wished to be a Man

When: May 30 and 31, 7:30 pm; June 1 and 2, 10:30 am and 3 pm

Where: Shanghai PG Theater

Adapted from a children's fantasy novel by writer Lloyd Alexander from the United States, the story centers on Lionel, a house cat who wishes to be a man. Lionel, given the power of speech by his master, magician Stephanus, begs his owner to turn him into a man. After many objections, Stephanus finally relents and the transformed Lionel begins his adventures in the town of Brightford.

The mayor and his officers are plaguing the town with capricious rule and economic hardship. The mayor is especially covetous of the inn belonging to Gillian, with whom Lionel begins a rocky friendship.

Lionel becomes entangled in the struggles of Brightford and escalates the conflicts between the mayor and the people, while falling in love with Gillian as he becomes more and more human.

Swan Lake

by Children's Ballet of Kiev, Ukraine

When: June 1, 10:30 am and 2:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Center Theater

With its instantly recognizable music and a timeless story of good versus evil, Swan Lake is the greatest of romantic ballets, featuring an evocative score by Tchaikovsky.

Swan Lake is a Russian classic, replete with haunting music and exquisite dance. The ballet has captured the imagination of many generations. Its fairy-tale mystery and romance continue to fascinate audiences worldwide. It's a tale of two young women, Odette and Odile, who resemble each other so closely one can easily be mistaken for the other. It is the compelling legend of a tragic romance in which Odette is turned into a swan by an evil curse.

A Streetcar Named Desire

When: June 6-23, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center

The mandarin version of A Streetcar Named Desire will be performed onstage in Shanghai.

The original play of the same name was written by Tennessee Williams in 1947 and has been recognized as a modern classic of US literature. It was made into a movie in 1951, with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando creating two of the most iconic figures in film history.

In the play, Blanche, a former schoolteacher of English, moves in with her younger married sister, Stella, after losing their family home.

Blanche finds Stella's working-class husband, Stanley, loud and rough, while in return Stanley dislikes his sister-in-law. Yet Blanche stays on, and makes friends with Stanley's poker-game pal Mitch. But the conflict between Blanche and Stanley escalates, as he digs out her scandalous history.

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2019-05-14 07:32:45
<![CDATA[Time to reflect]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468745.htm After gaining global recognition for hosting the annual World Internet Conference and Wuzhen Theater Festival, the time is ripe for the water town in East China's Zhejiang province to explore its relationship with the world of contemporary art.

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A scenic water town famed for its internet summit and theater festival, Wuzhen now aims to be a global hub for contemporary art exhibitions, Fang Aiqing reports.

After gaining global recognition for hosting the annual World Internet Conference and Wuzhen Theater Festival, the time is ripe for the water town in East China's Zhejiang province to explore its relationship with the world of contemporary art.

Running through June 30, artworks being shown at the second Wuzhen Contemporary Art Exhibition by big names like Anish Kapoor, Julian Opie, Gregor Schneider and Kazuyo Sejima are adding a fresh cultural dimension to the scenic ancient town.

Under the theme Now Is the Time, 90 works by 60 artists from 23 countries and regions - from sculptures, installations, performance art, images and videos to pieces driven by light, sound and smell - are exhibited in sites scattered between the town's lush trees, calm waters and gray-tiled buildings, and even in the renovated spaces of a traditional rice barn and a silk factory.

"The exhibition presents a current picture of contemporary art and raises questions for the artists and visitors to reflect on the anxiety and insecurity that the complex reality has brought us," says chief curator Feng Boyi.

Although the lineup may not be quite as illustrious as Wuzhen's first contemporary art exhibition three years ago that displayed the works of Damien Hirst, Ann Hamilton and Marina Abramovic, Feng believes the diversity of the artists and range of their works have been enriched this year.

The participation of Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Sejima is certainly one example of boundary-defying artists that Feng is referring to.

Her outdoor installation Another Layer of Surface Water is a pool of mirror-polished chairs set out on a stone-paved piazza that spread out like waves. Visitors can sit on the chairs, chat and watch the reflection of the trees, sky and nearby traditional architecture.

The video installation of 30-year-old Amalia Ulman, who likes to blur the line between fact and fiction in her enduring performances on social media platforms like Instagram, centers around Yiwu, a city in Zhejiang known for its small commodity market.

Starring in the video, Ulman captures city life through her distinctive narrative style, adding subtitles in her mother tongue Spanish, as well as English, German, Japanese and Chinese, and dubbed into Russian, where she ponders whether she might always feel alienated.

Some of the exhibits not only promote dialogue with their surroundings - a typical water town to the south of the Yangtze River - but also with their neighboring artworks.

On the square for open-air movies at the West Scenic Zone stands the renowned India-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor's stainless steel work Double Vertigo, whose concave and convex surfaces reflect one another on one side, while inverting the scene of the square on the other.

Yet, what Kapoor's work does not capture within the space is Chinese artist Wang Luyan's Open Confinement, a piece consisting of more than 600 glass spaces that resemble the floor tiles of the square, and are embedded in the floor just like the tiles.

Inside each of the glass spaces is a row of small figures of varying numbers - a motif Wang has frequently used in his previous works. Devoid of facial expressions, visitors can't tell which way the little figures are facing, or differentiate between their fronts and backs.

The cramped, submerged spaces of Wang's installation with its neighboring work encourages the viewer to confront the relationship between openness, confinement and personal boundaries.

"My work is more about concepts that stress insight rather than visual stimulation and therefore differ from Kapoor's work in essence," Wang says, adding that the main value of communication in art lies in distinction.

Lucy Adams, Kapoor's assistant, enjoys the dialogue between the two works, although, as she admits, she mistook Wang's work as being made up of light bulbs at first.

Wang is just one of the participating artists who chose to emphasize the relationship between their work and the site.

Swiss artist Katja Schenker, who has been focusing on performance art and installations, created a sculpture outside the silk factory using a local camphor tree over the course of her monthlong stay in Wuzhen.

The tree was cut into many parts, restructured and then cast in concrete. The branches reach out in all directions, seemingly struggling to shake free of the shackles of the cement, while the tree is actually being supported by the concrete in an upright position.

According to Schenker, it took a long time for the locals to help find a suitable tree that had grown straight and reminded her of the human body.

And as a performance artist who values the process, Schenker was impressed by the collaboration with local craftsmen, which she described as a collision and fusion of working methods rooted in different cultures.

This year's exhibition also hosts a youth program where 12 Chinese artists under the age of 35 compete to convey their outlook on the present and future through their own artistic language.

The program aims to cultivate young artists and provide them with a platform to raise their profile and promote their work internationally, says Chen Yu, chief producer of the exhibition.

Experimentation inspired by their contemporary life experiences and the creative use of diverse mediums were encouraged by the organizers.

Top winner Wang Tuo's three-channel video work Spiral explores how human desire raised from the two-dimensional world becomes magnified, consumed and deepened in the real world by juxtaposing architecture with otaku culture - the stay-at-home video and anime culture.

"It's hard to judge artwork. I would say we are rewarding the direction they take art toward rather than the individual artists themselves," says established artist Song Dong, one of the judges of the program, adding that the main purpose of the competition is to offer encouragement.

Feng points out though that the works of the younger artists tend to fail to connect with the surrounding site or reality itself. Instead of embracing social involvement, younger artists tend to indulge more in private discourse or focus on technique.

To some extent, the two contemporary art exhibitions in Wuzhen have become a matter of personal identity for Feng, especially when he and the two curators, Wang Xiaosong and Liu Gang, successfully established the contemporary art exhibition brand for the town in 2016.

From his perspective, one of the main difficulties the exhibition faces lies in fitting in with its environmental setting while appealing to visitors that are not used to urban galleries and exhibitions.

Having once curated an art exhibition in a village, Feng objects to contemporary art shows set up in unequipped villages and towns by local government officials simply to benefit their careers.

Yet, with Wuzhen's mature tourism infrastructure, stable tourist volumes, developed economy and a cultural environment built on its history and successful theater festivals, Feng believes the town will be able to provide a competitive, high-end environment for future modern art exhibitions.

He especially values the accessibility of the exhibition, which allows the visitors to absorb the messages the artists convey in their works and help them to improve their knowledge and aesthetic appreciation of contemporary art.

To help this, more lectures and public events related to contemporary art have been planned before the exhibition ends, Feng says.

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2019-05-14 07:32:22
<![CDATA[Meet the training guru keeping China on track]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468744.htm "It's really awesome to be a worker here," says Luo Zhaoqiang, from CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co, a high-speed train manufacturer based in Northeast China's Jilin province.

The 47-year-old has worked for the company for 29 years, testing high-speed trains for eight of them, which makes him a well-known expert in the field. When talking about his work as a so-called "high-speed train doctor", his tone changes, lifting his voice.

"Testing is the very last step before the trains roll out. We endow the cars with life, making sure they leave the factory in good condition."

Earlier this year, he won the second prize in the National Scientific and Technological Progress Awards, the first time a high-speed train worker has been given this honor. His project focused on building a simulation test environment for high-speed trains. By using simulation equipment instead of real trains, training costs and risks are reduced, while testing efficiency demonstrates a 20 percent increase.

The technology has been applied to railway companies and over 20 vocational colleges domestically, as well as to companies in the United States. More than 20,000 students and workers have been educated successfully, with training periods shortened from three years to just six months. Luo's project fills a gap in high-speed train testing technology globally, and has contributed significantly to the industry in China.

"Now we are leading the way in the global high-speed rail industry, so innovation is the key that enables us to go further," Luo says.

Back in 1990, Luo's career as a young electrician had an inauspicious start, as he failed to solve an easy lathe problem. Having endured quite a bit of teasing for his mistake, he decided to figure out how all of the factory's electrical equipment worked, which took him 15 years.

In 1992, he spent a lot of his free time in an automobile factory, where programmable logic controllers - industrial computers adapted for the control of manufacturing processes - were adopted, to learn programming, which was the most advanced technology at that time. This experience paved the way for his high-speed train testing career years later.

CRRC Changchun began developing high-speed trains, which are more complicated than regular trains, in 2004. Luo seized the opportunity, devoting himself to testing the new trains. He started with over 4,000 design drawings and 6,000 logic diagrams, finally understanding all parts of the trains. After years of work, he went from a top electrician to an expert in bullet train testing, witnessing and participating in the rapid development of the high-speed train industry.

President Xi Jinping's visit to CRRC Changchun in 2015 inspired Luo and his colleagues. Xi said high-speed train manufacturing in China reflects the level of China's equipment manufacturing industry, and it is a beautiful calling card for the sector.

By the end of 2018, China had a high-speed railway network covering more than 29,000 kilometers, the world's longest. With top speeds of 350 kilometers per hour, it is estimated by one Chinese travel site that nearly 3,000 bullet trains now race across the country every day.

"As front-line workers, you need to work hard and innovate at the same time. Your job matters, and your innovation could make a big difference for the high-speed train industry," says Luo.

An innovation studio named after Luo Zhaoqiang was established in 2008, providing an opening platform not only for workers in his company, but also university students and employees from other railway manufacturing companies. More than 80 members, including 23 senior technicians, have joined the studio, with Chang Zhenchen, CRRC's chief scientist, as counselor. The studio, which Luo leads, aims at tackling problems in bullet train testing, inventing and innovating new techniques and technologies, as well as offering high-speed train testing courses.

Fu Xinyue, a testing technician, joined the studio because of her excellent English skills. She worked with Luo as an interpreter on a training project for American Springfield rail car factory workers.

"I didn't expect to use English after graduation, but now I can combine my English skills with work. It has become one of my advantages," says Fu.

"CRRC aims to become a respectable global company - so does my studio," says Luo.

Luo Zhaoqiang's Working Methods, the first book collectively written by Chinese high-speed train workers, has been released in April.

"The book is named after me, but it is a collection of general wisdom of high-speed train workers in China. It will be a guide for cultivating talent in this sector," Luo says.

Luo and his colleagues are now working on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed project, which involves the world's first automatically driven trains running at speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour - making sure the trains for the 2022 Winter Olympics, to be held in Beijing and nearby Hebei province, run successfully.

"The country attaches great importance to the development of the high-speed railway industry, and our company encourages innovation. These are incredible opportunities. I'm merely lucky to be part of a great era," says Luo.

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2019-05-14 07:32:22
<![CDATA[Bringing local allures to the world]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468743.htm A Peking Opera doll from Beijing. A qipao-shaped magnet representing Shanghai. A cloth bag printed with a giant panda cartoon hailing Chengdu. And a camel ornament symbolizing the spirit of Dunhuang.

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Recent international tourism fairs in Yiwu feature creative cultural products that blend traditional craftsmanship with modern utility and are infused with regional elements, Xu Lin reports.

A Peking Opera doll from Beijing. A qipao-shaped magnet representing Shanghai. A cloth bag printed with a giant panda cartoon hailing Chengdu. And a camel ornament symbolizing the spirit of Dunhuang.

An array of regional Chinese handicrafts captivated visitors' interest at the 14th China Yiwu Cultural Products Trade Fair and the 11th China International Tourism Commodities Fair from April 27 to 30 at the Yiwu International Expo Center. The event in Zhejiang province's Yiwu city showcased the country's integration of culture and tourism.

Nearly 1,300 exhibitors from home and abroad operated nearly 4,200 booths in the 100,000-square-meter venue. The expo hosted 10 exhibition areas with such themes as intangible cultural heritage, animation, games and creative products.

Chinese made about 150 million outbound tourist visits in 2018, a nearly 15 percent growth over the previous year. Chinese made about 5.5 billion domestic trips last year, a nearly 11 percent increase over 2017.

A growing number of attractions are creating customized cultural products that are becoming increasingly popular with Chinese travelers.

Lin Chien-Hsiang was carefully decorating the back of a wooden smartphone case at a Taiwan exhibition stall at the Yiwu events.

The 35-year-old first sketched with a pencil, embossed the case with powder and glue, and then added gold leaf.

The booth showcased several wooden plates he created using the same method.

These ancient techniques dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) were used to render auspicious patterns on religious statues and murals in ancient times.

The Yiwu fairs were Lin's first time to design creative cultural products.

"Integrating ancient techniques and daily-use items is a good way to promote our traditional culture, especially among youth. Using these products will remind them of traditional craftsmanship," he says.

The Yunlin Cultural and Creative Industry Development Association in Taiwan brought five artisans, including Lin, to create and display their works.

"The fairs offer us a good opportunity to communicate with others about creative cultural products," says the association's president, Wu Ming-Yi.

"Our association has actively participated in similar exhibitions on the Chinese mainland in recent years, and more young artisans are involved."

It's time-consuming to make such products by hand, she says. But more people are willing to pay higher prices for such unique items.

"The key is to cultivate the market," Wu says.

"We're also trying to promote Yunlin's creative cultural products in Southeast Asia."

Yao Jili, founder of S&G Cultural Communication (Beijing), says Chinese demand for creative cultural products is enormous, and the items are increasingly diverse and feature regional elements.

The company has worked with several Chinese museums, such as the Tsinghua University Art Museum, to develop such souvenirs.

"We work with local inheritors of intangible cultural heritage to imbue art into daily-use items," Yao says.

She finds inspiration for her creations "everywhere on Earth" and blends traditional culture with the emotion and material, she says.

She uses factories' leftover bamboo to make portable, cylindrical power banks. She also designs tea sets shaped like traditional Chinese arched bridges.

"Our target customers are well-educated young and middle-aged people, who are interested in traditional culture," Yao says.

"They like quality products with innovative concepts and practical functions."

Smart tourism was another major theme of the fairs.

Visitors used an interactive map of Zhejiang's scenic areas. They could pull up detailed information about the sites by touching them on the large screen.

Hangzhou Maipu Culture and Creativity Company's CEO Ouyang Jinwei says the company has worked with many Chinese scenic areas to establish smart-guide systems to better serve tourists, especially independent travelers.

Tourists can use these interactive maps at sites or scan QR codes with their phones. The systems offer audio introductions and show the locations of nearby toilets, parking lots, restaurants and places to get panoramic views.

"In the smart-tourism era, you can travel with just your smartphone," Ouyang says.

"All the information is there for you."

 

Top, above left and center: An array of creative cultural products is displayed at the 14th China Yiwu Cultural Products Trade Fair and the 11th China International Tourism Commodities Fair in Yiwu city, Zhejiang province. Above right: Lin ChienHsiang decorates a wooden plate at a Taiwan exhibition stall at the Yiwu events. Photos By Xu Lin / China Daily

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2019-05-14 07:32:22
<![CDATA[Elevated races in Yading display top attractions]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468742.htm An international cross-country running event has helped showcase Yading's magnificent plateau and diverse folk customs.

More than 1,100 runners from 28 countries and regions trekked from afar to challenge themselves against the thrilling yet breathtaking alpine landscape in Sichuan province's Yading during the May Day holiday.

They had to jog in the pristine wilderness at an elevation above 4,000 meters.

The cross-country running event was a joint effort between the local government and Chinese company Migu Run.

"The number of participants has continued to increase over the years," says Li Panpan, who works for the event organizers.

The annual running event attracted 200 global runners when it was first staged in Yading in 2016.

Yading sits in southern Daocheng county in Sichuan's Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture.

The place is considered by many to be one of the few remaining pristine lands on Earth.

It was first brought to the attention of the Western world by Joseph Rock, an American explorer, who presented the stunning beauty of Yading in National Geographic magazine in 1931.

"The sports event has brought vitality and fun to (local) tourism," says Tan Chengze, deputy Party secretary of Daocheng county.

"Tourism has become a pillar industry in Daocheng, and Yading has played a leading and supporting role in it," he adds.

Tan believes the skyrunning event has also helped Yading become more open and inclusive.

Yading received more than 1 million tourist visits last year, up 32 percent compared with the previous year, the Yading scenic spot's administration reports.

The number of tourist visits was 420,000 in 2016.

Tourism income hit 2 billion yuan ($293.8 million) in 2018.

Yading's nature reserve is famous for its three mountain peaks that are blanketed by snow year-round and the lush alpine meadows flanking its blue rivers and lakes.

Colorful prayer flags and local ethnic Tibetans leading their mules add charm to the landscape.

The golden-roofed Chonggu Monastery is set against the backdrop of a snowy mountain peak and a pristine blue sky and is a popular site.

"The Yading tracks are very special, and I am deeply impressed by them and villages along the way," says US runner Megan Kimmel.

It was the second time Kimmel visited Yading.

"I'm very glad that I could be back on the Yading tracks," she says.

Kimmel topped the women's 32-km race with a time of three hours, 52 minutes and 40 seconds.

The race was an upgrade from the 29-km run held in previous years and took runners from 2,800 meters above sea level to 4,700 meters.

Participants had to run through sprawling mountains and forests toward the mountain peak, as if reaching for the sky.

Chinese contestant Jiaer Renjia won the first prize in the men's category, with a time of three hours, 12 minutes and 21 seconds.

A 10-km hike, a 7-km vertical climb and 53-km race were also held.

The event is part of Yading's efforts to attract more visitors.

The local authority has continued to upgrade tourism services and infrastructure to improve travelers' experiences.

Trees and flowers have been planted across mountains and on the roadside. And efforts have also been made to tap into the local village culture. Also, toilet facilities have been improved.

So far, e-commerce, ticketing and monitoring systems are in place to better manage operations at the resort.

The goal is to make things easier for visitors and avoid environmental pollution, according to the Yading scenic spot administration.

Growing tourism has also brought benefits to the locals.

A total of 53.25 million yuan out of the ticket profits have been given to more than 9,000 local farmers since 2008. And jobs have been created to cater to the needs of the growing traveler army.

About one-third of the local population is directly involved in the tourism industry, according to the local government.

 

A foreign runner engages in a vertical-climbing race in Yading, Sichuan province.

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2019-05-14 07:32:22
<![CDATA[Chinese to accelerate Malaysian tourism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468741.htm

KUALA LUMPUR - Chinese tourists who have been the key growth driver across Southeast Asia over the past decade will continue to support Malaysia's tourism growth, says a Malaysian research house.

Maybank Kim Eng says in a report released last week that it expects more Chinese to visit Malaysia.

As Chinese visitors spend more than any other major source of visitors, the research house believes more inbound Chinese visitors this year will moderate the adverse impact of fewer Singaporean visitors on the Malaysian tourism industry.

Although Malaysia's overall tourist arrivals dipped 0.4 percent year-on-year to 25.83 million last year, Chinese inbound tourists surged 29 percent to 2.94 million.

While Malaysia's tourism receipts rose 2.44 percent year-on-year to 84.1 billion ringgit ($20.3 billion), Chinese tourist expenditure surged 35.9 percent to 12.3 billion ringgit.

"The improving tourism receipts are partially due to more Chinese visitors to Malaysia," says Maybank Kim Eng, adding that the average Chinese visitor to Malaysia spent 4,200 ringgit last year, more than any other major sources of visitors.

The research house also sees room for growth as the average Chinese visitor to Thailand spends 65 percent more than they spend in Malaysia.

The report also notes that China is currently the world's top tourism spender, spending more than the United States and Germany combined.

Chinese tourists have been the key growth driver across Southeast Asia over the past decade, with Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore becoming the most popular destinations for China tourists.

Xinhua

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2019-05-14 07:32:22
<![CDATA[Mixed culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468740.htm In the fourth century AD, when the Roman Empire was suffering from turmoil, imperial China had its own share of chaos.

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An unearthed Sixteen Kingdoms gravesite shows links from the period to present-day Xi'an, Wang Kaihao reports.

In the fourth century AD, when the Roman Empire was suffering from turmoil, imperial China had its own share of chaos.

From 304 to 439, dozens of states established by various ethnic groups existed all across the north and southwest of China and fought one another, while the southeast was relatively stable under the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) of Han rulers. Some of these short-lived states emerged as regional powers, during a time known as the Sixteen Kingdoms period.

Most relics from that time were destroyed in wars later. Some states remained only in historical records without any archaeological findings.

In Xi'an, Shaanxi province, a large gravesite from the Sixteen States period was recently unearthed. It will probably provide crucial evidence to study that gloomy page of history.

"So far, this is the biggest and highest-level graveyard found from the Sixteen Kingdoms period," Xin Long, an archaeologist from the Xi'an Academy of Cultural Heritage Preservation and Archaeology, told media in Beijing last week.

The excavation started in January 2018 after the site was accidentally found during the construction of a new residential compound on the southern outskirts of Xi'an. The first phase of fieldwork was completed in April.

Two main tombs were found at the site. The bigger one, 18.5 meters underground, has a 60-meter-long passage leading to three coffin chambers, while the tomb passage of the smaller one is 54 meters long.

"We think they are the mausoleums of a king and his queen, but further studies are needed to make sure of the occupants' identities," Xin says.

"The layout of the tombs reflects typical styles of high-level residents of that time. The tombs' occupants probably had a house with three yards in their lifetimes as well."

The king may have wanted to enjoy an equally cozy existence even after death, which is why the tomb complex has front doors, columns and even windows made of clay. The exquisite frescoes found in the coffin chambers are still being restored by archaeologists. Images of deities and warriors are also visible.

Xin says five of the 16 kingdoms once existed on the plains on which Xi'an is also located. But no direct evidence like an epitaph has been found yet to connect the site to any specific state. However, based on studies of 68 unearthed funerary objects, including clay figurines, gold foils, copper coins and silver decorations, Xin suggests the tombs are from the Former Qin (351-394) or Later Qin (384-417) periods.

The two kingdoms have the same name but are distinguished by historians - Former Qin, the strongest among the 16 kingdoms, which briefly united northern China, was established by the Di ethnic group, possibly early Tibetans. Later Qin was founded by ancestors of today's Qiang ethnic group. Both kingdoms once had their capitals in Xi'an, known as Chang'an in ancient times.

Xin says the clay figurines offer references for studies into the Sixteen Kingdoms period, but they also compose the most confusing part. For example, while other unearthed artifacts indicate the tomb was dug during the Former Qin because they look similar to those in previously found tombs of that kingdom, some horse figurines don't have stirrups while artifacts from other contemporaneous tombs do. Academics consider the earliest use of stirrups in warfare to have taken place in the Sixteen Kingdoms period. It gradually expanded westward and changed military history.

Xin says he expects comparative studies to give new ideas tracing its origins and development.

Pottery discovered at the tombs, such as green-glazed pots, show typical styles from southeastern China at the time, and the aesthetics of Chang'an are exhibited by hair buns.

"These artifacts strongly showcase their time," Zhu Yanshi, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tells China Daily.

"That is a time when the north and south communicated in depth, and different cultures mixed."

Zhu says horse-riding nomadic people during the Sixteen Kingdoms period tried to establish their own kingdoms in central China and preferred to set their capitals in Chang'an and Luoyang. Both were metropolises during the Han (202 BC-220 AD) and Tang (618-907) dynasties.

The newly found gravesite also shows typical Han cultural motifs incorporated in the designs rather than purely nomadic styles.

"If one of the tomb's occupants is a king, the studies will give us a general picture of how society and the fine arts developed at the time," Zhu says, adding that royals were pioneers of trends.

Separately, a comprehensive database of ancient Chinese nomadic peoples' DNA is being established to trace their origins, but relevant archaeological materials of the Di and Qiang groups are scant. As bones were found in the tombs in Xi'an, Zhu says related work can be built upon step by step.

"Speaking of the history of Xi'an, people will always think of the Han and Tang dynasties," Song Xinchao, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, says.

"With this, people are being reminded of its important status in the Sixteen Kingdoms period."

The tomb complex in Xi'an was excavated as part of the Archaeology China project launched by the administration.

"The project uses the archaeological approach to establish a framework of knowledge," Song says.

"How did the Chinese civilization begin? How did different cultures mix to form a united country? These are questions we try to answer."

 

Three coffin chambers are seen in excavation in a large-scale tomb from the Sixteen Kingdoms period on the outskirts of Xi'an, Shaanxi province. Provided to China Daily

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2019-05-14 07:32:22
<![CDATA[Massive collection of bamboo, wooden slips found in Hubei tomb]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468739.htm The number of bamboo and wooden slips found at a tomb complex in China is the most among any ancient tomb in the country so far.

As many as 4,546 slips were recently unearthed from a 2,000-year-old tomb in Jingzhou, Hubei province, as announced in a news conference in Beijing last week.

This excavation is expected to offer vast knowledge of Chinese society back then.

Before papermaking was invented in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), bamboo and wooden slips were the main media for writing in China.

The reservoir of slips was found inside one of 18 tombs in a graveyard from the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), which were excavated by archaeologists in 2018. The heritage site is on the northern outskirts of Jingzhou and less than 1 kilometer from the ruins of a contemporaneous city.

Li Zhifang, an associate researcher from Jingzhou Museum, says the new finding covers a wide range. The unearthed materials include 200 slips of calendars and ephemeris, 70 slips of chronicles, 1,500 legal documents and 1,000 medical treatments that were not only for humans but also for curing animals and plants.

"We have cleaned only a small portion of the slips," Li says. "It is no doubt a big discovery because the well-preserved items have many themes to study."

For example, the dates of solstices and key solar terms from the traditional Chinese calendar are recorded every year from 140 to 41 BC.

The legal documents provide detailed explanations of imperial laws at the time, including taxation and auditing, livestock herding and protection of private property. They also show regulations on finding escaped prisoners or laborers running away from corvee, in which unpaid services for major construction projects were organized.

One medical cure is a formula to make teeth whiter by using cinnamon, and another is on how to make lean cattle fatter.

Li says a lot of the content on the slips supplement written history of the time, but some also vary.

In the chronicles, an incident from 218 BC - during the reign of king Ying Zheng, who later became China's first emperor, known as Qin Shihuang - is mentioned. When the king got angry because of a failed assassination attempt against him, he asked for an organized looting of the kingdom for seven days to vent his resentment.

In Records of the Grand Historian, or Shiji, a monumental reference book in Chinese historical and archaeological studies, that campaign is said to have lasted for 10 days.

"That is probably because 'seven' and 'ten' look similar in clerical writing," Li says. "Someone may have made a mistake when copying."

Xin Lixiang, a veteran archaeologist from the National Museum of China, says: "The slips found in Jingzhou are possibly of the highest value among all Han Dynasty slips that have been found so far in China."

The results of academic research on the slips should be made public soon to further relevant studies, he adds.

Wang Zijin, a professor at Renmin University of China and a top expert on bamboo and wooden slips, says: "Some imperial laws had not been seen before in documents. I'm particularly interested in those mentioning raising children. If the study goes further, we might have new ideas of early children's education or pediatrics in China."

This year marks a crucial time for such archaeological research. In Jingzhou, 324 bamboo slips from the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) were unearthed in an excavation, which ended in April. They are from the hegemonic state of Chu that expanded its territory in southern China at the time.

Peng Jun, an archaeologist working on the site, says the materials offer glimpses into the politics, military strategies, ceremonial rituals and other aspects of Chu.

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2019-05-14 07:32:22
<![CDATA[Yuanmingyuan team works hard to repair the past]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/14/content_37468738.htm The floor of an office in Yuanmingyuan Ruins Park is full of broken porcelain pieces that are all lined up. The scene is not an contemporary art installation - the categorized pieces are just waiting for cultural-heritage restorers to find their long-lost brothers.

First built in 1707, Yuanmingyuan, or the Old Summer Palace, which was the former imperial resort of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in northwestern Beijing, was a cultural splendor.

It is often referred to as "the garden of gardens" for its lush landscapes and numerous temples, palaces and pavilions. It covered a 350-hectare area, about five times that of the Forbidden City.

After being razed to the ground by invading Anglo-French forces in 1860, it was continuously pillaged by bandits for years until, finally, there was nothing left but ruins.

According to Li Xiangyang, deputy director of the administration overseeing the ruins park, about 100,000 broken porcelain pieces have been collected since 1988 when the park was established to better protect the site.

"The broken pieces are a witness to the vicissitudes of a gloomy period in our history," he says. "The year 1860 has seared a deep scar on Yuanmingyuan. With the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China, we can make a contribution to echo a national revitalization."

The park has recently launched a program called "Restoring 1860" to bring new life to the damaged artifacts. Porcelain relics are among the first step of the long-term plan.

Chen Hui from the archaeology department of the ruins park leads a six-person team to handle the huge number of broken pieces.

"It's a pity that even not a single complete porcelain item was unearthed in the park," she says.

Her team chose six ceramic articles - a stool, a snuff bottle, two bowls and two glazed tiles - to be the first restored items because of their representative styles and exquisite patterns.

Chen says that another reason for their selection is that the spots where these articles were excavated were well known. Once they are restored, they will assist relevant historical studies.

The porcelain stool - or xiudun - was broken into 130 pieces, and some parts are still missing.

The restored items will be digitally scanned, and a database of 3D images of the cultural relics will be established.

Auxiliary digital technology was also considered to help distinguish the pieces, but Chen's team chose to trust their own eyes.

"There are many hidden patterns on the pieces. They are as thin as hairs but provide crucial references," she explains. "Cameras can often miss these clues. It's better to rely on our experience."

Restoration of the six items will be finished by the end of May, but it is only the start of a long journey.

"The process is very time-consuming," Chen says. "We cannot set a timeline of how much time we need in the face of so many pieces."

In recent years, 37 stone cultural relics that were confirmed lost from Yuanmingyuan were returned to the site and are now publicly exhibited. The administration has also repatriated 80,000 old bricks with the mark of Yuanmingyuan from all over Beijing.

"Things kept going missing from Yuanmingyuan for a long time after 1860," Li says. "But these items are starting to accumulate again."

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2019-05-14 07:32:22
<![CDATA[More open spaces offer city dwellers a walk back to nature]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/13/content_37468220.htm "Golf is a good walk spoiled," goes the phrase of disdain popularly attributed to writer and humorist Mark Twain.

Certainly, for many residents of densely populated Beijing, the expansive fairways of a golf course, peppered with knolls, ponds and sand traps and fringed with trees and other verdant vegetation - all limited to the privileged few who play the sport - may seem like a waste of precious green resources in the city.

So you can imagine my delight when I discovered an abandoned golf course in a southwestern suburb during springtime. The grounds were still brown under a blue sky, but the trees were thickening and the flowers blooming. Birdsong filled the air, while a refreshing breeze blew over glistening streams and ponds.

The course actually falls under a large area set to be rejuvenated with the help of diverted waterways, part of an effort by local authorities to generate more greenery and protect the environment.

Parts of the nearby Yongding River flowing through the capital have been marked out in a major ecological protection and preservation plan covering mostly western and northern mountainous regions, representing more than one-fourth of the city's total area, authorities announced last year.

The ecological "red line" zones focus on soil and water conservation, wetland protection and biodiversity preservation, according to the city government, with nature reserves and scenic sites included.

The authorities will implement stringent environmental standards within the zones, local officials said.

The ecological red lines, part of a major environmental protection system, were added to the amended Environmental Protection Law in 2014. Beijing's municipal government formulated the green plan in 2017, which, together with those of more than 10 other provincial authorities, has been approved by the State Council. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment also rolled out new regulations on the zones, working with the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, to help other provinces lay out similar areas. An online system for monitoring ecological zones nationwide is being set up and any environmental violations will be subject to severe penalties.

In the capital, the zones also cover the upstream regions of the main Miyun, Huairou and Guanting reservoirs in the north; the Baihua, Dongling, Yudu and Haituo mountains in the west; and the Chaobai and Daqing rivers. The city also aims to add about 4,000 hectares of new forests and restore 8,000 hectares of wetlands by the end of next year, under its environmental road map.

The abandoned golf course is itself surrounded by a few stables that cater to horseback-riding enthusiasts, who join off-road bikers and drivers in exploring the area's dry riverbeds on weekends. The green measures have since been making their mark - more trees are being planted, scattered garbage dumping grounds cleaned up, makeshift farms raising ducks and other livestock cleared out and even the horse stables told to shift farther toward rural areas and the northern grasslands.

While the handful of outdoor hobbyists will no doubt miss their small playground on the outskirts of the city, much as the golfers who had to give up their course, no one can deny the benefits brought by the latest environmental efforts to the general population.

More forests, wetlands and open spaces mean more green lungs and emerald spots of respite for urbanites, making the appreciation of nature a walk in the park for all.

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2019-05-13 06:51:53
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/13/content_37468219.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On May 13, 1954, Guanting Reservoir was completed to deliver water to Beijing.

Situated in the capital's northwestern area, the reservoir was the first to be built after the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Because of the country's rapid economic development, water levels decreased and degraded dramatically in the 1980s.

An item from Jan 17, 1990, in China Daily told about a water pumping station under construction to divert water from the Miyun Reservoir in eastern Beijing to the Guanting Reservoir, which was running out of water.

By 1997, Guanting's water was no longer safe for domestic use.

In the mid-1990s, more than 80 percent of Beijing's waterways - 30 rivers totaling 500 kilometers and 26 lakes covering 600 hectares - were seriously contaminated by pollutants from households, factories or construction sites, according to the Beijing Municipal Water Conservancy Bureau.

Since then, the capital government has taken a series of measures to restore and conserve its waterways. Hundreds of factories have been closed in Beijing and nearby Hebei province.

Thanks to the efforts to improve water quality in Guanting Reservoir, it became a backup water resource for Beijing in 2007, before the 2008 Olympics.

Although the environment has improved, Beijing has been facing a serious water shortage. It is among the thirstiest areas of the country, with water availability per capita at 150 cubic meters in 2016, a fraction of the international standard of 1,700 cu m per capita. The number was 100 cu m in 2010.

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2019-05-13 06:51:53
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/13/content_37468218.htm Gold bathtub recognized as world record

An 18-carat gold bathtub weighing 154.2 kilograms at a hot springs resort in southwestern Japan has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the heaviest in the world, the resort's operator said. The tub, worth about $7.3 million, measures 1.3 meters in diameter - large enough to allow two adults to relax, the resort said. The tub was specially made by Tokyo goldsmiths as the resort's hot spring facility underwent renovation. The tub, which Guinness confirmed worked properly for day-to-day use, sits in a reserved space and can be used by up to four people. The resort is known for its salty brown spring water.

Couple quit their jobs to tour around China

The story of a couple, both 26, from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, recently went viral on social media for their bold move to quit their jobs to travel around China. They quit their jobs in 2016 and traveled more than 30,000 kilometers in a car until their trip ended in early 2017. Last year, they spent eight months on another trip, which covered 86,000 km, visiting about 90 percent of China's prefecture-level cities. The couple said they have no regrets, because they followed their hearts. "We broadened our horizons and now feel at peace," the husband said.

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2019-05-13 06:51:53
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/13/content_37468217.htm Books: Chinese kids read a lot digitally

Chinese children read 40 digital books per capita last year, according to a national digital reading survey. The survey found that parents in China were willing to pay for digital reading for children, with particular enthusiasm shown by those in Shanghai and Beijing, where they expected to pay for their children's digital reading. The survey was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication and the online reading website Kada Story.

Theater: Film on Peking Opera releases

A new Peking Opera-themed film Enter the Forbidden City hit screens last week. Set during the reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperor Qianlong, the film unfolds with the interwoven fates of two Peking Opera artists, Wang Ruisheng and Yue Jiu. As the government treated opera performers as low-status entertainers, they were forbidden to marry civilians. "The opera performers have struggled and striven for generations to earn respect and recognition. They deserve a film to tell their stories," director Hu Mei said.

World: Home pinned to side of a cliff

A five-story modular home clings to the side of a cliff in Australia. Entitled Cliff House, the conceptual design by Modscape is a theoretical response to clients on exploring design options for building modular homes in Australia on parcels of coastal land. Inspired by the way barnacles cling to the hull of a ship, a concept was developed for a modular home to hang off the side of a cliff as opposed to sitting on top of it. Entry to the prefabricated home is through a carport on the top floor, where a lift vertically connects the user through each of the descending living spaces. Internally, the living spaces feature minimal furnishings to ensure transcendent views of the ocean. The unique spatial experience of the location remain the focal point of the design.

Trends: Record low in Harbin's population

Harbin, Heilongjiang province, has sunk to its lowest population mark in more than a decade, according to recent data. The city had a registered population of about 9.5 million as of the end of last year, a year-on-year decrease of 35,000, according to the 2018 Statistical Bulletin of Harbin Economical and Social Development. Its population peaked in 2013 at 9.95 million.

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2019-05-13 06:51:53
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/13/content_37468216.htm Chang Xiangyu by Henan Provincial Yuju Opera Troupe

When: May 14 and 15, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Chang Xiangyu, the "Queen of Yuju Opera", died at the age of 81 in 2004. The performance marks Chang's lifetime achievements.

Yuju Opera, originally called Henan Bangzi, is a major opera form and enjoys a broad popular base in China. According to written records, Yuju Opera has a history of more than 200 years.

The Pearl Fishers

When: May 15-19, 7 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

As a coproduction of the National Center for the Performing Arts and Staatsoper Berlin, The Pearl Fishers is directed by German movie director Wim Wenders, winner of the Honorary Golden Berlin Bear Awards at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

A rarely performed gem of the opera world,

The Pearl Fishers is noted for its extraordinary musical beauty. It tells the story of two best friends and their bond that is interrupted by the arrival of a priestess to bless the pearl harvest. This romantic love triangle between the friends and the priestess leads to dramatic consequences.

Lisa Ono jazz concert

When: May 18, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Lisa Ono spent her childhood in Brazil. She started singing and playing guitar at 15 and in 1989 made her debut as a professional Bossa Nova singer.

Her natural voice, rhythmic guitar playing and charming smile led her to huge success and helped popularize Bossa Nova in Japan.

She has performed with many top musicians, including the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim and the Jazz Samba giant Joao Donato, and has been performing in New York, Brazil and Asian countries.

The album Dream, which was released in 1999, sold more than 200,000 copies in Japan.

Ally Kerr Acoustic Tour 2019

When: May 18, 7 pm

Where: Valley Children Music Space, Beijing

Scottish folk-pop singer-songwriter Ally Kerr returns with a new album, Upgrade Me.

This year and next will also see Kerr embark on live shows in Europe and Asia - including his second major headline tour of China, having been the first Scottish singer-songwriter to tour the country in 2015 following two successful festival appearances in Shanghai and Beijing in 2013. It was the critically acclaimed, wide-eyed, innocent, indie pop debut of Calling Out To You that shot Kerr to stardom from Scotland to Japan.

The album's inclusion in a major Japanese music magazine's Top 20 Albums Ever To Come Out Of Scotland list was testament to the melodic strength of the songs, and the album sat alongside the seminal works of familiar names such as Orange Juice, Teenage Fanclub and Belle and Sebastian.

Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition

When: May 16-18

Where: National Agricultural Exhibition Center, Beijing

Hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition aims to enable visitors to better understand the continent's civilization.

The exhibition covers governments, travel agencies, hotels, resorts and airlines from Chinese provinces, as well as more than 30 Asian countries and regions, including Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Art performances and games will be available for the audience to better savor what Asia has to offer.

Rhinoceros in Love

When: May 22-25, 7:30 pm; May 25, 2 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

In the summer of 1999, Rhinoceros in Love started an upsurge in experimental theater works in Beijing. It was honored with the sobriquet "the bible of love for the young generation".

Rhinoceros in Love is an allegory of the human spirit, rather than a real love story.

It tells a tale of a young man in love with a woman for whom he does everything he can. Mingming is a beautiful woman full of secrets who thoroughly changed the life of the man, Ma Lu, who is smitten by her beauty. However, she has a heart of stone and is indifferent to Ma's flowers, promises, physical appearance and his many unsuccessful attempts to woo her.

Ma is deeply frustrated and saddened by her refusals. And he turns to another man to win her heart.

The man, Toothbrush, comes up with an intricate plan and uses two young women - Honghong and Lili - to court Ma in an attempt to make Mingming jealous.

Not surprisingly, this ploy does not work and Ma, increasingly furious and out of his wits, finally kidnaps Mingming in the name of love.

School of Rock

When: May 28-June 2, 7:30 pm

Where: Suzhou Culture and Arts Center Grand Theater

Based on the hit movie School of Rock, this musical play follows Dewey Finn, a failed wannabe rock star who decides to earn extra cash by posing as a teacher at a prestigious prep school.

There, he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.

With a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, story by Julian Fellowes and an incredible cast of kids shredding guitars, pounding drums and rocking out live, School of Rock is a treat for all ages.

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2019-05-13 06:51:53
<![CDATA[Global links]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/13/content_37468215.htm Xue Lan says people around the world knowing more about China is an important part of the country's opening-up.

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The Schwarzman Scholars program at Tsinghua University is aiming to create a better understanding of China, Andrew Moody reports.

Xue Lan says people around the world knowing more about China is an important part of the country's opening-up.

The 59-year-old is dean of Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University that offers the Schwarzman Scholars program, which aims to produce the next generation of global leaders from students around the world.

"When people talk about opening-up, they mostly talk about the economic aspects, like trade and investment," he says.

"My argument, however, is that to make this go smoothly you have to open up in other areas like education, in areas of culture and also people exchanges."

Schwarzman Scholars is inspired by the Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University, founded by the 19th-century British empire-builder Cecil Rhodes.

The new program was founded by the American businessman and philanthropist Steven Schwarzman, who is CEO and chairman of the Blackstone Group, a global private equity company. The highly selective program, which began in 2016, is a master's degree in global affairs, taking in public policy, economics and business.

The current intake is its third and has 135 students from 38 different countries, with only around a fifth from China. Most of the students are aged between 22 and 28.

Xue, who was speaking on the sidelines of the fifth China and Globalization Forum at the China World Hotel in Beijing recently, says the program is designed to attract top talent.

"It is highly selective and the cohort of students come from very different backgrounds. More than half are new graduates and the rest already have some work experience."

The reason why the college is based in China is for students to get a deeper understanding of the country that is going to be an increasingly major force in the world, something that might be considered vital for any future global leader.

"China has emerged rapidly over the past 40 years. So in terms of future global development and global governance, China is a force that cannot be ignored," he says.

"At the same time, you could also argue that China is the least understood by other countries. So that in itself is a very good reason why it is located in China."

The program consists of classes in three broad areas: leadership, global affairs and China itself.

"We also organize what we call a 'deep dive', which involves getting them to visit a specific place in China, to get to know what is really happening there, visiting companies, local governments and NGOs. This is part of what we want them to learn," he adds.

This brings up the question as to what specifically there is to know about China that is different from other countries?

"In the West, there are certain stereotypes or stylized summaries about what China is, and often this is so different from what is really happening in China," he says.

"Our challenge is to go beyond these stereotypes so that students begin to understand the complexity of China. We hope that students can partly learn that from our courses, but it is also a matter of learning from experiencing the reality of just being here."

Xue, who was formerly the dean of Tsinghua's School of Public Policy and Management, was appointed to his new role in September.

He was born in Beijing and his parents, both medical doctors, later moved to Tangshan, a city in nearby Hebei province. His education was disrupted during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) when he was sent to the countryside to be a farmer in Zunhua county, close to the Great Wall.

"It was initially very challenging, but when you look back, it was really useful in terms of getting to know what Chinese society was really like. I feel it was my first university, a social university," he says.

Xue was among the first generation of students to return to universities when they reopened in 1978, studying mechanical engineering at the Changchun Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics.

After graduating, he worked for three years before going to the US, where he went to the State University of New York, Stony Brook, to get his master's and then to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to get his doctorate.

After a spell teaching as an assistant professor in the department of engineering at George Washington University, he returned to China in 1996. He joined Tsinghua, where he has remained ever since, establishing his reputation as a leading China academic as the dean of the university's public policy school.

"My main specialization has been in public policy but specifically in terms of science and technology and innovation policy," he says.

Xue is increasingly confident about Chinese higher education, with many students from around the world opting to study in China instead of typical destinations for overseas students, such as the United States and Britain.

"The recent data shows that last year there were close to half a million students from around the world coming to China to study," he says.

Xue says that many students see higher education as something beyond where you go to just simply learn Chinese.

"In the past, most people did, indeed, come to study in China to learn the language, but my guess is that people now want to go beyond that. They see it as a place to study engineering and science also. The biggest growth rate is in student numbers of those getting their master's degrees and doctorates here," he says.

Xue believes the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China this year is a moment to reflect upon just what progress has been made in Chinese higher education.

In 1949, there were only 150,000 students in universities, less than 0.1 percent of the population, and now the enrollment rate is around 45 percent. The oldest institute of higher education, Peiyang University in Tianjin (formerly Imperial Tientsin University), only dates back to 1895.

"It is a really good time for this generation to reflect on what has happened over the last 70 years in education and other areas. Although we have had more than 2,000 years of studying Confucius, so-called contemporary universities were only in their infancy in 1949, with only about 200 in the country," he says.

"Now we have almost 3,000. You have to look at the success that China has achieved but also the failures and what lessons can be drawn from them."

With Schwarzman Scholars, Xue wants to create a greater understanding between China and the outside world.

"It is fair to say that Chinese people probably know more about the outside world than people from outside know of China. However, they are not fully aware of China's image in the outside world. So in a way you see these gaps in terms of communication and understanding, which, I think, are huge."

With both Chinese and international students on the program, the hope is that some of this gap can be bridged.

Xue says the Schwarzman program will remain at Tsinghua for the time being and there are no plans to expand.

"It is a fascinating program and part of our learning process will be to improve it and refine it. We are fully committed to it and want to do it well," he says.

Despite its relatively small scale, although an annual elite intake of more than 100 is by no means minuscule, Xue believes it has huge future potential.

"It is relatively small, but its impact already goes beyond its size," he adds.

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2019-05-13 06:51:29
<![CDATA[Quju Opera troupe pays homage to Lao She with new play]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/13/content_37468214.htm Chinese writer Lao She (1899-1966) is best known for his vivid descriptions of the lives of everyday folk that reflected the social reality of his time. The Beijing native, who was born as Shu Qingchun in a Manchu family, was also a specialist in depicting local culture in Beijing with his unique humor and use of the city's local dialect.

Because this year marks the 120th anniversary of Lao She's birth, a series of activities are being held around the city.

Beijing Quju Opera Troupe will stage shows adapted from Lao She's classic novels such as Rickshaw Boy and Four Generations Under One Roof.

On Monday, an original Quju Opera show by the troupe, entitled Peaceful Year, will make its debut in Tianqiao Theater in Beijing.

Telling the story of a family living in the courtyard of a traditional hutong (alleyway) in Beijing in 1949, against the backdrop of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the show, which runs through Friday, gathers veteran director Gu Wei and composer Dai Yisheng, as well as young Quju Opera talent.

"Besides being an accomplished novelist and playwright, Lao She made great contribution to Quju Opera, which is the only local opera in Beijing," says Cui Di, the deputy director of Beijing Quju Opera Troupe.

Lao She took his own life at Taiping Lake in Beijing in 1966 during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76). His various works have inspired many generations and have been adapted into plays, movies and TV dramas.

In 1952, Lao She wrote a play, The Willow Well, and called it Quju, which was based on Beijing's local Quyi art form. Since the Beijing Quju Opera Troupe was founded in 1959, nearly 10 of his works have been adapted for the style.

"Like Lao She's work, Quju Opera pieces are known for their depictions of Beijing's local culture, especially the use of Beijing dialect and the portrayal of ordinary people," Cui adds.

The launch of the new show was announced at the Lao She Memorial Hall, a tranquil courtyard in Beijing. Lao She lived there with his wife, artist Hu Jieqing, and their four children, from 1950 to 1966. The courtyard, which Lao She bought in 1950, is preserved in the traditional Beijing style. It is tucked away in Fengfu hutong near the bustling Wangfujing shopping district in downtown Beijing. It opened to the public in 1998 as the Lao She Memorial Hall.

The script of Peaceful Year started 10 years ago, says scriptwriter Wang Jixin, who has adapted Lao She's works such as Teahouse and Beneath the Red Banner.

"It shows people's longing for a happy and peaceful life," says Wang, adding that the show is also dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

According to Dai, the 76-year-old composer who has been working with the Beijing Quju Opera Troupe for over five decades, the new show's music, like the other works of the troupe, is based on the rhythm of Chinese language, especially the local Beijing dialect.

Dai says the Beijing Quju Opera Troupe was on the verge of being disbanded about two decades ago. A show, titled Snuff Bottles, written by Zhang Yonghe and directed by Gu, saved it. Before that, the troupe had produced no new shows for five years.

Snuff Bottles, which tells of the miserable life of a skilled craftsman during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), has been performed nearly 400 times and has been watched by around 170,000 people. It has also won the troupe top national opera awards, such as the Wenhua Award and the first Golden Chrysanthemum Award.

"Snuff Bottles was my first directorial work in Quju Opera. On the first day of our rehearsal, I found the style very interesting," says Gu, 80, who is a director with the Beijing People's Art Theatre. "This new show is original and will offer audiences something different from the troupe's other works."

To popularize the old art form among a younger audience, the Beijing Quju Opera Troupe brought the production to Peking University on April 19. The troupe also works with primary schools in the city's Fengtai district to launch open classes.

 

Top and above left: An original Quju Opera show, Peaceful Year, is being premiered in Beijing by the Beijing Quju Opera Troupe. A series of activities are being held around the city to mark the 120th anniversary of Chinese writer Lao She’s birth. Above right: Theater director Gu Wei, 80, talks about the new show at the Lao She Memorial Hall in Beijing on May 7. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-05-13 06:51:29
<![CDATA[Beneath the blue]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/12/content_37467953.htm Underwater photographer David Doubilet and his wife, Jennifer Hayes, were sharing stories at Ocean Talks - from an encounter with a mother seal and her son to revisiting a coral after nine years.

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International ocean experts deliver talks in Beijing about saving the seas, Li Yingxue reports.

Underwater photographer David Doubilet and his wife, Jennifer Hayes, were sharing stories at Ocean Talks - from an encounter with a mother seal and her son to revisiting a coral after nine years.

The US couple's photos brought the audience into the Earth's tripolar regions of the Antarctic, Arctic and the Coral Triangle, showcasing the beautiful scenes and recent changes.

"Pictures have power. They have power to celebrate, and they have power certainly to humiliate," says Doubliet.

He believes photos can open people's eyes and that nature photography is as important as journalism. Ocean Talks also witnessed US explorer Sylvia Earle and Singaporean Michael Aw sharing their marine experiences.

The talks were part of the celebration of the world premiere of the Elysium Epic Trilogy Exhibition that was staged in Parkview Green in Beijing from April 22 to May 6.

The exhibition displayed pictures, videos, social media posts and talks from expedition masters that show the polar regions' beauty and raise awareness of ocean conservation.

The Elysium Epic project was initiated by the Ocean Geographic Society eight years ago to record the exploration of the Earth's tripolar regions.

Earle says she is grateful to be part of the project that celebrates the natural systems that keep people alive and encourages people everywhere to protect the ocean.

"The dream is that this exhibition that came about as a collaboration among scientists, artists, musicians and explorers - all using their respective ways of looking and learning - and bring it together visually and in words and in music and in images. All they want is to share the view," Earle says.

Earle was born in 1935 and holds nearly 30 honorary degrees. She has lectured in over 90 countries and authored more than 200 scientific, technical and popular publications, including 13 books, such as The World Is Blue.

She has spent over 7,000 hours under the sea and discovered thousands of aquatic species. Earle has been deemed a "hero of the planet" by Time and dubbed "her deepness" by The New York Times.

"People ask me sometimes, 'What are the biggest problems facing the ocean?' Of course, it's what we are putting into the sea, what we're taking out of the ocean, but I think the biggest problem is ignorance - people do not know why they should care about the ocean," she says.

Earle recalls there were few plastics when she was a child.

"These synthetic materials that have been so valuable to humans, now, we understand that there is a hidden cost," she says.

"We must protect nature, particularly the ocean, as if our lives depend on it because they do. And to do that means learning from the past that, where we really protect nature, recovery can occur. We see it in parks and under water."

In 2010, Earle initiated Mission Blue, a nonprofit to protect and explore the Earth's oceans. Her idea for the foundation is to explore and define nature with technology and share the view as widely as possible.

Earle first visited China in 1973. She believes the country and world have since changed dramatically.

She's impressed with China's leadership in technology from the deep sea to the far side of the moon and its understanding of the limits of the environment.

The opening day of the exhibition was also the 50th Earth Day, with the theme "protect our species".

The planet has already lost many species, she points out. Half of the coral reefs are gone, as are 90 percent of sharks, she says.

"We did not know the loss of coral reefs, ice, sharks and tunas could matter to humans, but now we know. That's the good news," says Earle.

With knowing comes caring, and with caring comes hope. Earle hopes people make the shift to protect the natural world - to care for trees for more than turning them into timber, to look at fish as more than just something to eat because they're part of the natural web of life that keeps humans alive.

"We have taken from the ocean, from nature throughout all of our history," she says.

"Why not let this be a time when we deliberately, proactively make an effort and make a commitment to give back?"

Contact the writer at liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

Top: A picture taken by David Doubilet shows Sylvia Earle, who has spent over 7,000 hours under the sea and discovered many aquatic species. Above left: Comfort, an image from the Arctic by Jennifer Hayes. Above right: Orange Celebration, a photo taken in the Antarctic by Doubilet. Center: Toy, at the Coral Triangle, by Hayes. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-05-12 14:21:59
<![CDATA[Exhibition unveils part of thangka scroll set to be completed in five years]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/12/content_37467952.htm Since he started learning thangka painting at age 12, Nyangbon, now in his late 40s, and a generation of other artists have dedicated years to the revival of the ancient Buddhist art form.

Seeing the interest of young people in preserving thangka, Nyangbon, a master painter from Northwest China's Qinghai province, says it's time to take the revitalization a step further.

Five years ago, Nyangbon launched an ambitious project to paint a 1,000-meter-long scroll that shows the development of Tibetan Buddhism and a wide spectrum of Tibetan culture.

Nyangbon, being the scroll's chief designer and lead painter, is working with dozens of senior thangka painters, and so far the team has completed some 500 meters of area.

Nyangbon displayed some 30 meters of completed parts at Buddhist Sublimity, an exhibition at the National Art Museum of China that ended on May 5. It also showed dozens of his other thangka paintings and preparatory drawings, some of which were made more than 20 years ago and loaned from private collectors for the exhibition.

Nyangbon says the ongoing project on the 1,000-meter-long scroll is to produce "an encyclopedia of Tibetan culture".

The lengthy painting seeks to trace the origins of Tibetan Buddhism. It will depict important temples and their surrounding landscape. It will also present the diversity of Tibetan culture to include the knowledge of astronomy, calendars, medicine - featuring diagrams of the human body and pictures of medical instruments - and folklore.

The opening section of the scroll, which was displayed at the Beijing exhibition, shows the Buddha, the 18 arhats and four gods. The meticulous strokes, refined layout and rich colors exemplify a regional style of thangka painting held dear by artists, including Nyangbon, who hail from villages along the Longwu River in Qinghai's Regong area.

Thangka and other arts practiced by monks and artists of Tibetan and Tu ethnic groups in the region are known collectively as the Regong arts - inscribed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.

An experienced thangka painter knows how the established measurements of Buddhist deities and teachers are to be drawn on an artwork. The artist has to strictly follow the instructions on drawing lines and figures, matching colors and pattern designs as provided in ancient texts on the art form.

Nyangbon says many young painters, however, can paint only a small number of the deities while knowing little about the drawing measurements of the rest, a reason for which is the demand in the art market for only certain figures such as an avatar of the Buddha and the goddess Tara, although traditionally, many were drawn.

"There are more than 70 bodhisattvas, and yet, thangka collectors today favor only four or five."

He says the production of the lengthy scroll will help to reintroduce to artists and collectors some Buddhist figures that are less visible. The step is an important part of preserving thangka art.

Nyangbon says all artists taking part in the time-consuming project have practiced the art form for at least a decade. They hope to complete the entire scroll in the next five years.

linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

Left: Nyangbon introduces his artworks to visitors in a recent exhibition at the National Art Museum of China. Right: A completed part of Nyangbon’s ongoing project of a 1,000meterlong thangka scroll that shows the development of Tibetan Buddhism and a spectrum of Tibetan culture. Photos provided to China Daily 

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2019-05-12 14:21:59
<![CDATA[Bringing international flair to the city]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/12/content_37467951.htm Modern Drama Valley, an annual theater event hosted by the Jing'an district of Shanghai, brought 19 theater productions from 11 countries to the city this year.

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Modern Drama Valley allows audiences to enjoy theater shows in outdoor settings, Zhang Kun reports in Shanghai.

Modern Drama Valley, an annual theater event hosted by the Jing'an district of Shanghai, brought 19 theater productions from 11 countries to the city this year.

All the productions were being performed in the city for the first time, while 80 percent of them were making their debut in China.

To make the plays during the April 26 to May 12 festival more accessible to the public, Jing'an district provided financial subsidies to the box offices. According to Chen Hong, head of the cultural administration of Jing'an, the district is subsidizing the cost of each ticket sold by 30 to 40 percent, allowing visitors to enjoy the festival offerings for prices as low as 100 yuan ($15).

Aside from the formal theater shows, many of the performances this year took place in outdoor settings. For example, an environmental theater named Walk Along the Suzhou Creek takes audiences into historical buildings where short plays are presented.

"Theaters have limited seats," explains Chen of the decision to stage outdoor events. "But we want to take the theatrical experience to an unlimited number of people."

Interactive outdoor performances can be found in the public space located next to six landmark malls on the bustling Nanjing West Road too. Here, visitors can choose from three walking tours. The first tour starts from the Jiuguang Department Store and takes audiences close to Jing'an Park and onto the northern square of the Kerry Center. The second takes audiences to CITIC Plaza, the east square of Plaza 66 before culminating at the Majestic Theatre. The third tour starts from the north square of HKRi Taikoo Hui and ends at Weihai Road. All the tours cover the core shopping area of Jing'an district.

Among the most anticipated plays this year is Requiem by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv, Israel. Based on three short stories by Russian author Anton Chekhov, the play was written and directed by Hanoch Levin, and had four full-house performances at the Majestic Theatre from May 3 to 5.

"It is a play that makes people want to cry, think and struggle and effect change," Beijing Daily wrote about the play's third tour of the Chinese capital.

Although the play has gone on three tours of China since 2004, winning high praise from critics and the public alike, this is the first time it had been performed in Shanghai. One of those responsible for its debut in the city is Yu Rongjun, a Shanghai-based playwright-turned cultural official, and the current deputy president of SMG Live, a State-owned theater company that brought the highly-acclaimed immersive theater show Sleep No More to the city.

Over the past 15 years, Yu and colleagues in Shanghai's theater scene have made several unsuccessful attempts to introduce Requiem to the city.

"This is a large and expensive production. We either had difficulty finding another Chinese theater to split the cost, or the company didn't have the time slot for us," explains Yu.

"The cast have aged significantly, and this might be one of the few opportunities we could see the production from the original creative team," he adds.

The opening play, Heart of Heroes, premiered on April 26 at the Majestic Theatre. This Chinese production by the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, which is meant as a tribute to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, is about the development of China's first large passenger aircraft. The C919, China's first self-developed trunk jetliner, conducted its successful maiden flight on May 5, 2017, at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The stage setting featured LED displays and digital visual projections tilted at different angles. Director Hu Zongqi hopes to show audiences "bigger scenes and bigger themes".

Cai Jun, the pilot of C919, attended the opening show. He says that "the storytelling was flawless from an engineer's professional point of view".

The play will have two more performances at the Majestic Theatre on May 23 and 24.

Contact the writer at zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

Clockwise from top: Heart of Heroes, the opening play of this year's Modern Drama Valley in Shanghai, premieres at the Majestic Theatre on April 26; Zero Liturgy by the Alexandrinsky Theatre from Russia; and Requiem, a play by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv, Israel. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-05-12 14:21:59
<![CDATA[Dramatic arts center makes a comeback]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/12/content_37467950.htm The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center will reopen on Saturday after an 18-month refurbishment project. Tickets for 10 theater productions taking place between June and October in the renovated center are already on sale.

The performances include a contemporary interpretation of the Kunqu Opera classic Peony Pavilion, new plays by Shanghai-based playwrights, and several productions from overseas.

Located in a high-rise building at 288 Anfu Road in the former French Concession, the SDAC has three theater spaces which have been important hubs for theater art and cultural events for almost 20 years.

In 1995, the Shanghai People's Art Theater and the Shanghai Youth Theater Troupe were merged to form the SDAC, the only State-owned theater company in Shanghai. The SDAC building was subsequently constructed in 2000 on a piece of land previously reserved for the construction of residential apartments for the company's staff, according to Zhang Huiqing, the general manager of the SDAC.

The SDAC has since been putting on about 800 performances every year that are watched by up to 300,000 people.

The center led journalists around the building before the renovations were completed in April, highlighting the technical improvements and other changes made to the three theater spaces in the building.

"To the theater workers of Shanghai, this building feels like home," says Zhang. "The place was well-used and well-maintained. We have built strong connections with theater lovers in the city and there are ties that we don't want to sever with the revamp project."

Zhang adds that the center has preserved the two marble columns in the lobby and the mosaic pattern at the revolving door to retain the building's original character. While the main structure has been left unchanged, the open spaces on each floor have been expanded to allow audiences to enjoy views of the city during intermissions in the performances.

There will also be a cafe, a shop and an exhibition space on the sixth floor that will showcase the history and evolution of theater art in Shanghai, says Chen Li, the SDAC's public relations manager.

The three theater spaces in the building - the main theater on the ground floor, the Studio Theater on the third floor and Studio 6 on the sixth floor - have been completely revamped, with new seats added and stage equipment upgraded. In the experimental space Studio 6, the seats can be easily removed for immersive theater productions where actors perform among the audience members.

In the large main theater, the new sound field designed by engineers from Tongji University ensures that a performer's speech can be clearly heard throughout the 500-seat space.

"This theater has the most ideal size for drama performances which are different from musicals because actors don't wear microphones. As such, the voice transmission is of great importance in the technological design," Zhang explains.

"Over the past 20 years we have created a large number of important repertoires in the center. The refurbished new theater will see more quality productions released, and our box office is already open on the ground floor," Zhang adds.

The center will also be announcing the winners of the 22nd and 23rd Zuolin Award for Theater Art on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The award was named after Huang Zuolin (1906-1994), a pioneering theater artist who was a founding member of the Shanghai People's Art Theater.

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2019-05-12 14:21:59
<![CDATA[Giving historical spaces their own voice]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/12/content_37467949.htm A music performance titled The Singing House premiered on April 26 and 27 at Zhu Ji Ge, a courtyard in Shanghai's Zhujiajiao watertown.

Zhu Ji Ge is a 100-year-old courtyard in Zhujiajiao that is often dubbed Shanghai's "Little Venice" because of its many waterways. The watertown in suburban Shanghai's Qingpu district has retained much of its character from the early 1900s and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

The courtyard is located near the famous arched Fangsheng Bridge, and is surrounded by two-story houses built using traditional Chinese mortise and tenon work.

The project, which is supported by the National Art Foundation of China, was created by the digital media college of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and features music from local ballads, children's rhymes, local opera, as well as rock, flamenco and film scores.

Four instruments were used in the performance: guzheng, or Chinese zither, zhongruan, a Chinese plucked string instrument, a bamboo flute and a cello.

Audience members were seated in the middle of the courtyard as a dancer and actress moved around the square, leading their focus to different spots where musicians were playing.

Chinese gardens were designed and built as the spiritual backyards of ancient Chinese intellectuals, according to Dai Weiyi, an associate professor with the SCM who is responsible for the whole production. Dai is a composer and academic who specializes in research into the expression of sound in public spaces.

"When people walk through the yard, they feel the breeze and hear all kinds of sounds that tell of the stories and memories of the place. A garden can speak and sing," he says.

"This is a site-specific performance, and all the sound and music belong to this space. I want it to be like the singing voice of the courtyard itself."

Twenty-four loudspeaker boxes and two subwoofers were placed in strategically designed locations around the courtyard, some behind closed windows because "we wanted to display different colors and tones, including hidden and muffled sounds," says Dai.

In order to evoke the audience's imagination of the past and the history of the place, Dai researched the acoustic characteristics and visual aesthetics of the place before coming up with the musical composition and arrangement.

The initial round of performances in April were attended by industry leaders, acoustic professionals and members of the public. There is still no timetable for the second round of performances. But Dai hopes to create more public projects with longer running times.

One possible location has already been identified. Xue Minghua, the director of a research center for the innovative urban renewal and protection under Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the main sponsor of The Singing House project, says this concept can be applied to the renovation of Yuyuan Road in downtown Shanghai to "make sound part of the personality of a space".

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2019-05-12 14:21:59
<![CDATA[China takes action on green issues as others hesitate]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467475.htm I spent some of the May Day holiday catching up with news from home in the United Kingdom.

Apart from the inevitable continuing and increasingly tedious Brexit wrangling, there was a lot of focus on environmental issues.

David Attenborough had a new documentary out on the BBC, Climate Change: The Facts, and London has recently been brought to a standstill by Rebellion Extinction, a group of often middle-aged activists who have been chaining themselves to things.

Apart from the saintly Attenborough, of course, I could not help reflect on the ludicrousness of much of the debate.

It is only OK to fly, for example, if you also commit to planting a tree. Remember, we are talking about the world's fifth-largest economy here and also one that has voted among itself to travel further (beyond Europe at any rate) to do business.

One national newspaper splashed on the supposed hypocrisy of Hollywood actress Dame Emma Thompson flying first class from London to New York days after she appeared at an Rebellion Extinction rally.

Presumably, if she sat in economy (the seat being less heavy than a first-class cabin) or went by sailing boat, the planet would be less at risk.

All this seemed a million miles - air or actual ones - from what I would suggest is a more adult debate taking place in China.

Immediately before the holiday, I had reported on President Xi Jinping's speeches to the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and at the International Horticulture Exhibition, which opened on April 29.

In both he put environmental issues right at the top of the political agenda.

"Every generation has its own mission. Our efforts to conserve the ecosystem will benefit not only this generation, but many more to come," Xi told those attending the opening ceremony of the 162-day exhibition in Beijing's Yanqing district.

Very little of this gets reported in places like the UK. The tenor of the debate there is that "we can do our bit by recycling our waste, etc, but the problem is with the real polluters, China and India."

There is no acknowledgment at all that China fully recognizes it has an environmental challenge, so much so that it is intent on being a global leader in environmental technology.

Investment in environmental technology is forecast to exceed 15 trillion yuan ($2.2 trillion) during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), almost as much as the entire $2.62 trillion GDP of the UK economy last year.

China aims to lead the way in electric vehicles and renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

China has nearly one third (29 percent) of the global total of renewable energy patents, compared to 19 percent in the United States and just 14.5 percent in the European Union.

And, according to the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, no country is in a better position to be the world's renewable energy superpower.

The country is certainly well on target to achieving a "Beautiful China" by 2035, the target set by Xi when he launched China's New Era at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2017.

It is doing all that without having seemingly trivial arguments over whether to build new airports, with the new Beijing Daxing airport set to open later this year.

This is in contrast to the endless wrangling of whether to build a third runway at London Heathrow, which has gone on for more than a decade.

If it doesn't go ahead, it will be another hub airport such as Amsterdam's Schiphol airport or the new Dubai airport, particularly with new longer-range aircraft, that will take the extra traffic.

If your aim is a carbon-free future, China has the realistic but still ambitious policies and targets in place to achieve it.

When it comes to the environment, China increasingly looks like the grown-up in the room.

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2019-05-10 07:41:04
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467474.htm Performance art targets excessive phone use

Middle school students marched wearing masks and their heads and arms in pillories in the shape of mobile phones to warn people not to become "enslaved" by the overuse of digital devices. The students were from Dongkang Middle School in Yuncheng, Shanxi province. The school's principal told video-sharing platform Pear Video that they aim to appeal to people to put down their phones and enjoy life.

Turkish man crowned as 'Spicy Prince'

A man from Turkey won a "hot contest" last week in Changsha, Hunan province. The event required participants to stuff their mouths with hot spices. Six contestants from China, Turkey, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia competed on a stage outside a shopping mall to consume a string of spices that was 5.2 meters long. The fastest was declared the winner.

Don't fail fast - fail mindfully

We celebrate bold entrepreneurs whose ingenuity led them to success, but what happens to those who fail? In a TED talk, author and entrepreneur Leticia Gasca from the United States calls for business owners to open up about their failures and makes the case for replacing the idea of "failing fast" with a new mantra: fail mindfully.

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2019-05-10 07:41:04
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467473.htm Food: Restaurants in China seek global menu

Initiated by the World Federation of the Chinese Catering Industry and the American Chinese Catering Industry General Association, a program to help Chinese restaurants go abroad was launched recently in Beijing. It aims to help the restaurants to boost their brand image, standardize the cooking process and offer consultation on human resources, legal matters and supply chain management when expanding overseas.

Forum: Mother's Day: Share your memories

Sunday is Mother's Day, a day to give thanks to moms who brought us up and made us who we are. What has your mother done to influence your life? What are the things you admire her for most? What are the most touching moments that happened between you and your mother? Visit our forum to share your favorite story about your mom or anything you'd like to say to her.

Video: Zhao Wei: Films transcend borders

Visual arts, theater, dance, music and cinema - the Festival Croisements 2019 engages artists from both China and France in a rich and ever-expanding dialogue. Covering 35 cities across China, the festival promises a cultural feast running through to July 6. Our website interviewed actress Zhao Wei, who is also the event's ambassador this year, to learn about her impressions of Chinese and French culture, as well as the importance of film in cross-cultural communication. "Film is an artistic language transcending borders," she said. "And art helps to foster better understanding among people from different countries and races."

Society: Hainan to build electric-car power grid

Hainan province vows to put in place 940,000 charging poles by 2030 to meet the rising demand for new energy vehicles, according to local authorities. Statistics showed that the province has built more than 4,600 charging facilities for electric cars. Hainan has accelerated the promotion of clean energy vehicles by announcing a ban on oil-fueled automobile sales by 2030.

Films: Shadow set for North America release

US martial art lovers and moviegoers can enjoy well-known director Zhang Yimou's new action epic Shadow which was released in North America last week. Distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment, the film will be shown in more than 100 theaters in the next few weeks.

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2019-05-10 07:41:04
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467472.htm Leech China Tour 2019

When: May 10, 8:30 pm

Where: HOU Live, Shenzhen, Guangdong province

Leech was formed in 1995 by Marcel Meyer (guitar, piano), Urs Meyer (guitar, piano) and Serge Olar (drums). Right from the start the band devoted itself to experimental instrumental music - rhythmic figures are developed and connected with floating melodies. This all fuses in an epic sound landscape where time becomes irrelevant.

In 2000, Leech presented their third album Zerotonine Days on which for the first time and exceptionally, there was also a track with vocals. In the following two years, Leech was in an extensive phase of experimentation, and there were multiple projects with guest musicians from various different musical directions. These projects were presented live but were never recorded. During this phase, the band members moved in different musical directions, and it was decided to put Leech, as a band, on hold.

Reunited, Leech has now joined the roster of Viva Hate Records, a label in Berlin. The Stolen View was released in Germany (and other European countries) through the label. In addition, Leech released a track with the German instrumental band Long Distance Calling. The record contains two tracks from each band.

Kacey Musgraves: Oh, What a World tour

When: May 22, 8 pm

Where: Bandai Namco Shanghai Base Dream Hall

Multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves has kicked off her headlining Oh, What a World tour across the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Japan.

The Shanghai concert will be her one and only stop in China.

She first received critical acclaim and recognition with the 2013 release of her gold-certified debut album Same Trailer Different Park. The album debuted at No 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, making her the first solo female in five years to top the chart with a rookie release.

National Public Radio in the United States has observed that she "is magnetic - there are no two ways about it. It's not just that she can sing like a bird and write like a bard. It's the calm charisma that a person who knows exactly who she is and wishes the same for others can't help but exude."

The Pearl Fishers

When: May 15-19, 7 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

As a coproduction of the National Center for the Performing Arts and Staatsoper Berlin, The Pearl Fishers is directed by German movie director Wim Wenders, winner of the Honorary Golden Berlin Bear Awards at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

A rarely performed gem of the opera world, The Pearl Fishers, is noted for its extraordinary musical beauty. It tells the story of two best friends and the bond that is interrupted by the arrival of a priestess to bless the pearl harvest. This romantic love triangle between the best friends and the priestess leads to dramatic consequences.

2019 Run To The Beat

When: May 19, 6:30 am

Where: Ming Tombs Reservoir, Beijing

The Run To The Beat music half-marathon will take place in the Ming Tombs Reservoir Scenic Area in Beijing's Changping district. Bands will play along the course to encourage runners. The event was established by IMG in London in 2008 and attracted 12,000 runners. The event became globally popular and has since attracted more than 100,000 runners.

2019 Sun Music Festival

When: May 25 and 26, 3 pm

Where: Dishui Lake West Island, Shanghai

This year's event kicks off a season of live music weekends on the West Island of Dishui Lake in Shanghai.

Last year, it attracted more than 30,000 fans.

School of Rock

When: May 10-12, 7:30 pm

Where: Shenzhen Poly Theater

Based on the hit movie School of Rock, this musical play follows Dewey Finn, a failed wannabe rock star who decides to earn extra cash by posing as a teacher at a prestigious prep school.

There, he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.

With a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, story by Julian Fellowes and an incredible cast of kids shredding guitars, pounding drums and rocking out live, School of Rock is a treat for all ages.

One Starry Night Out of the Blue

When: May 11 and 12, 3:30 pm

Where: MixC World Theater, Shenzhen, Guangdong province

During the summer vacation, little Lena goes to visit her grandpa, a painter. He loves Lena very much, but sometimes magically disappears down a rabbit hole with each stroke of his brush. Lena has no passion toward painting, and is not interested in the painting album that Grandpa sent her. She feels a little bored.

One night, after grandpa falls asleep, Lena falls down her own rabbit hole into a hidden world of classical paintings. Guided by fireflies, she gets on a moon boat. She sails through the Starry Night created by Vincent Van Gogh, and enters a fascinating world where the paintings come to life.

She meets the gallery guard, and together they encounter collapsing Kandinsky, magical Monet and Da Vinci; they also help to capture an escaped ermine and play a game with the Mona Lisa.

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2019-05-10 07:41:04
<![CDATA[Beneath the blue]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467471.htm Underwater photographer David Doubilet and his wife, Jennifer Hayes, were sharing stories at Ocean Talks - from an encounter with a mother seal and her son to revisiting a coral after nine years.

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International ocean experts deliver talks in Beijing about saving the seas, Li Yingxue reports.

Underwater photographer David Doubilet and his wife, Jennifer Hayes, were sharing stories at Ocean Talks - from an encounter with a mother seal and her son to revisiting a coral after nine years.

The US couple's photos brought the audience into the Earth's tripolar regions of the Antarctic, Arctic and the Coral Triangle, showcasing the beautiful scenes and recent changes.

"Pictures have power. They have power to celebrate, and they have power certainly to humiliate," says Doubliet.

He believes photos can open people's eyes and that nature photography is as important as journalism. Ocean Talks also witnessed US explorer Sylvia Earle and Singaporean Michael Aw sharing their marine experiences.

The talks were part of the celebration of the world premiere of the Elysium Epic Trilogy Exhibition that was staged in Parkview Green in Beijing from April 22 to May 6.

The exhibition displayed pictures, videos, social media posts and talks from expedition masters that show the polar regions' beauty and raise awareness of ocean conservation.

The Elysium Epic project was initiated by the Ocean Geographic Society eight years ago to record the exploration of the Earth's tripolar regions.

Earle says she is grateful to be part of the project that celebrates the natural systems that keep people alive and encourages people everywhere to protect the ocean.

"The dream is that this exhibition that came about as a collaboration among scientists, artists, musicians and explorers - all using their respective ways of looking and learning - and bring it together visually and in words and in music and in images. All they want is to share the view," Earle says.

Earle was born in 1935 and holds nearly 30 honorary degrees. She has lectured in over 90 countries and authored more than 200 scientific, technical and popular publications, including 13 books, such as The World Is Blue.

She has spent over 7,000 hours under the sea and discovered thousands of aquatic species. Earle has been deemed a "hero of the planet" by Time and dubbed "her deepness" by The New York Times.

"People ask me sometimes, 'What are the biggest problems facing the ocean?' Of course, it's what we are putting into the sea, what we're taking out of the ocean, but I think the biggest problem is ignorance - people do not know why they should care about the ocean," she says.

Earle recalls there were few plastics when she was a child.

"These synthetic materials that have been so valuable to humans, now, we understand that there is a hidden cost," she says.

"We must protect nature, particularly the ocean, as if our lives depend on it because they do. And to do that means learning from the past that, where we really protect nature, recovery can occur. We see it in parks and under water."

In 2010, Earle initiated Mission Blue, a nonprofit to protect and explore the Earth's oceans. Her idea for the foundation is to explore and define nature with technology and share the view as widely as possible.

Earle first visited China in 1973. She believes the country and world have since changed dramatically.

She's impressed with China's leadership in technology from the deep sea to the far side of the moon and its understanding of the limits of the environment.

The opening day of the exhibition was also the 50th Earth Day, with the theme "protect our species".

The planet has already lost many species, she points out. Half of the coral reefs are gone, as are 90 percent of sharks, she says.

"We did not know the loss of coral reefs, ice, sharks and tunas could matter to humans, but now we know. That's the good news," says Earle.

With knowing comes caring, and with caring comes hope. Earle hopes people make the shift to protect the natural world - to care for trees for more than turning them into timber, to look at fish as more than just something to eat because they're part of the natural web of life that keeps humans alive.

"We have taken from the ocean, from nature throughout all of our history," she says.

"Why not let this be a time when we deliberately, proactively make an effort and make a commitment to give back?"

 

Top: A picture taken by David Doubilet shows Sylvia Earle, who has spent over 7,000 hours under the sea and discovered many aquatic species. Above left: Comfort, an image from the Arctic by Jennifer Hayes. Above right: Orange Celebration, a photo taken in the Antarctic by Doubilet. Center: Toy, at the Coral Triangle, by Hayes. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-05-10 07:40:39
<![CDATA[Exhibition unveils part of thangka scroll set to be completed in five years]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467470.htm Since he started learning thangka painting at age 12, Nyangbon, now in his late 40s, and a generation of other artists have dedicated years to the revival of the ancient Buddhist art form.

Seeing the interest of young people in preserving thangka, Nyangbon, a master painter from Northwest China's Qinghai province, says it's time to take the revitalization a step further.

Five years ago, Nyangbon launched an ambitious project to paint a 1,000-meter-long scroll that shows the development of Tibetan Buddhism and a wide spectrum of Tibetan culture.

Nyangbon, being the scroll's chief designer and lead painter, is working with dozens of senior thangka painters, and so far the team has completed some 500 meters of area.

Nyangbon displayed some 30 meters of completed parts at Buddhist Sublimity, an exhibition at the National Art Museum of China that ended on May 5. It also showed dozens of his other thangka paintings and preparatory drawings, some of which were made more than 20 years ago and loaned from private collectors for the exhibition.

Nyangbon says the ongoing project on the 1,000-meter-long scroll is to produce "an encyclopedia of Tibetan culture".

The lengthy painting seeks to trace the origins of Tibetan Buddhism. It will depict important temples and their surrounding landscape. It will also present the diversity of Tibetan culture to include the knowledge of astronomy, calendars, medicine - featuring diagrams of the human body and pictures of medical instruments - and folklore.

The opening section of the scroll, which was displayed at the Beijing exhibition, shows the Buddha, the 18 arhats and four gods. The meticulous strokes, refined layout and rich colors exemplify a regional style of thangka painting held dear by artists, including Nyangbon, who hail from villages along the Longwu River in Qinghai's Regong area.

Thangka and other arts practiced by monks and artists of Tibetan and Tu ethnic groups in the region are known collectively as the Regong arts - inscribed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.

An experienced thangka painter knows how the established measurements of Buddhist deities and teachers are to be drawn on an artwork. The artist has to strictly follow the instructions on drawing lines and figures, matching colors and pattern designs as provided in ancient texts on the art form.

Nyangbon says many young painters, however, can paint only a small number of the deities while knowing little about the drawing measurements of the rest, a reason for which is the demand in the art market for only certain figures such as an avatar of the Buddha and the goddess Tara, although traditionally, many were drawn.

"There are more than 70 bodhisattvas, and yet, thangka collectors today favor only four or five."

He says the production of the lengthy scroll will help to reintroduce to artists and collectors some Buddhist figures that are less visible. The step is an important part of preserving thangka art.

Nyangbon says all artists taking part in the time-consuming project have practiced the art form for at least a decade. They hope to complete the entire scroll in the next five years.

Left: Nyangbon introduces his artworks to visitors in a recent exhibition at the National Art Museum of China. Right: A completed part of Nyangbon’s ongoing project of a 1,000meterlong thangka scroll that shows the development of Tibetan Buddhism and a spectrum of Tibetan culture. Photos provided to China Daily 

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2019-05-10 07:40:39
<![CDATA[Perfecting the pour]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467469.htm "Welcome my dear customers. This is a picture of my coffee shop. In this beautiful place, we present the most exotic coffee in the world to coffee lovers in China.

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While years of training helped her to become one of the world's top baristas, for Du Jianing, it all boils down to dedication and teamwork, Li Yingxue reports.

"Welcome my dear customers. This is a picture of my coffee shop. In this beautiful place, we present the most exotic coffee in the world to coffee lovers in China.

"As a barista, I brew coffee and share the flavors and stories behind them. This is why I love coffee, because it is all about sharing," says Du Jianing as her prologue to the final round of the Boston World Coffee Championships on April 14.

Over the next 10 minutes, she makes four cups of Ninety Plus Gesha Estate coffee for herself and the three judges sitting in front of her. They watch her present her coffee-making skills with her narration and enjoy the coffee with her as if they were sitting in her own coffee shop - Uni-Uni Roasters and Bakery in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

Representing China, this final presentation helped Du win the 2019 World Brewers Cup Champion - her first win in three World Brewers Cup appearances, after finishing 15th in Ireland in 2016 and eighth in Brazil in 2018 - making her the first Chinese winner of the event.

The world brewers cup competition highlights the craft of filter coffee brewing by hand, promoting manual coffee brewing and service excellence. Around 40 competitors, all national champions in their home countries, joined the two-round competition, with just six making it through to the finals.

Before the presentation, Du ground her coffee beans twice - first crushing them loosely into large lumps before grinding them into fine particles - it makes the coffee evenly distributed and the remove of the silver skin covered pieces before the second grind makes the cup clean with clearer flavors.

She chose a different style of dripper from most of other baristas, so she could use thinner filter paper to gain a more even extraction, while the large opening at the bottom helped achieve clearer layers of flavor.

The brewing was the most exciting part to watch, since Du was the only competitor using both hands to pour the water while altering the speed that she decanted the liquid.

"There will be four stages of brewing. During the first stage, I will pour 60 grams of water at the speed of 6 grams per second for 10 seconds... and for the second stage, I choose to pour 80 g of water and adjust the pouring speed to 4 g per second for 20 seconds," says Du.

As she poured, Du showed the weight of the dripper on an iPad screen next to her, which was a risky move if she made any mistakes, as the judges could monitor the exact time, temperature, and flow rate readings in real time for each brew.

Her steady hands ensured that the pouring perfectly matched her description.

According to her mentor Zhang Yinzhe, Du spent a year practicing pouring the water accurately using two hands so that she can manage to make four cups of coffee and drink them together with the three judges within the space of 10 minutes.

"Most competitors would use the 10 minutes just to make the coffee and describe the flavors, and the judges would have to drink them after that. But Du decided to curtail her preparation time so that the judges could drink along with her as she explained the flavors," says Zhang.

Du's recipe for the finals of the competition was 16 g of coffee, 240 g of water, to brew 190 g of beverage at a temperature of 94 C with a total extraction time of 1 minute 40 seconds.

"Now it's the most important part: Let's enjoy the coffee together," says Du, who recalls this as the key moment of her presentation - savoring the coffee.

She asked the judges to enjoy the aroma before pouring the coffee into the cup.

"Please swirl the vessel gently a few times. You will find yourself immersed in delicate, velvety floral aromas before being overwhelmed by apricot and cocoa notes, followed by the nice sweet taste of cream," Du says to the judges.

Unlike other competitors, Du simply introduced the coffee flavors using just a few words, the same way she briefly explained her brewing process.

Zhang explains that this simplified description allowed the judges more time to concentrate on the coffee.

"In the previous competition, Du would explain as much as she could, but we realized that it was actually a burden on the listeners, so we decided that less is more," says Zhang.

The judges drank the coffee with Du three times as the temperature cooled, to sample the different flavors released by coffee.

"What I love most about this coffee is the acidity! It is sweet like grapes, from a purple grape changing to a green grape, with medium intensity - it's vibrant and lively," says Du, explaining that the balance of the coffee, its complex flavors, delightful acidity and structured body in the mouth "was like a cello concert".

The final results were announced from the sixth runner up to the winner, so when the second place was revealed and Du's name still has not been called, her whole team started to cheer.

"I felt blank at that time. I couldn't breathe or even hear my team celebrating," Du recalls.

The 27-year-old Beijing barista started her coffee career nine years ago, and her competition route took off in 2015 after she was invited to work for Zhang's newly opened cafe in Nanjing.

"She is timid but eager to learn new things, and even though she is nervous before each competition, when once she is on the stage, she really shines," says Zhang.

Du won the third place at the China Barista Championship in 2015 and the following year became the national champion at the China's Brewers Cup, gaining the only spot that allowed her to compete on the world stage.

But she realized there was a gap between her and other top baristas in the World Brewers Cup in 2016 and decided to take a year off and be the assistant to her fellow teammates and allow them to compete.

In 2018, Du was back in the game. She made national champion again and was ranked eighth in the world. She was two places away from the final. One month later, she started to compete in the national competition again to earn her spot in Boston.

She stopped eating carbohydrates weeks before the competition to stay clear headed for her practice sessions, and also spat the coffee after tasting during evening practices so she could be well rested for the next day's training.

"I've practiced the whole presentation for the final 300 times, and I know exactly what move I'm going to make when I speak certain sentence," says Du.

Rather than focusing on winning the competition, Du says she focused on presenting her best skills as a barista.

"I knew I was in better condition than my previous competitions, because before I couldn't bear any changes to my brewing routine or my presentation, but this time I was still discussing things with my team and changing certain phrases the night before the final," says Du.

After winning the world champion title, Du was invited to join many coffee events around China. But after nearly five years' competition she feels she has completed a stage in her life. "The next step will definitely be related to coffee, but I need some time to figure out what it will be."

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2019-05-10 07:40:39
<![CDATA[French pastry chef takes part in Beijing 'bun fight']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467468.htm French dessert chef Kevin Maillard is pouring sugar into a basin that sits on an electronic scale. It's followed by egg yolk and milk. His eyes are fixated on the figures shown on the side of the scale.

On the other side of the worktop, Chinese pastry chef Yan Xugang is rolling a pink-colored dough flat, before rolling it up and slicing it into small cubes.

Like trying to follow a tennis ball, the audience's gaze swings between the pair, as it is tough to follow both chefs performing at the same time - the duo move fast, working deftly to make different dishes with a variety of tools and quick moving hands.

The pair are in the midst of a "dessert battle", hosted by Croissant Village Bakery Studio in Beijing earlier this month, in which top pastry chefs from France and China are invited to present their skills together and share experience with one another.

In the two-hour cooking time, Maillard delivers four classic French desserts including lemon tart and Brest puff, while Yan, together with Beijing cuisine chef, Zhao Guangyou, prepare four traditional Chinese snacks, such as rose cake and peach blossom crisp cake.

The difference in the chefs' techniques are demonstrated by their work stations. Maillard's is littered machines and appliances, and he uses an electronic thermometer to monitor the sauce he heats, while Yan and Zhao use only a knife, as most of their work relies on the dexterity of their hands.

"Traditional Chinese snacks are all handmade, and mostly rely on the chef's own skill," says Zhao.

Each of the cookies Maillard has baked looks the same, while each of the swans Yan has pinched and crafted with the dough has a different posture.

Zhao thinks it's part of the beauty of Chinese snacks that each one is unique, but on the other hand it's difficult for apprentices to maintain quality.

"So, we need to learn from Western methods, as our chefs may make a perfect snack today, but they may not have the same quality tomorrow. Western pastry chefs always manage to achieve a consistent standard," says Zhao.

Zhao and Yan have visited Paris to learn more about French cooking methods and skills hoping to bring that same essence to the production of Chinese snacks.

"Chefs like Maillard know more about the ingredients and the chemistry of how sugar and flour react at different temperatures," says Zhao. "They approach baking as a science and so should we."

Zhao believes that one enviable characteristic of Chinese traditional snacks is the use of more natural, fresh ingredients and less sugar - take kidney bean cake as an example, the kidney beans have to be peeled before they are steamed and smashed for hours in order to make a cake which tastes smooth and still has the freshness of the kidney bean.

In Zhao's mind, the Western and Chinese approaches to making desserts are complementary, and that there are similarities between them.

"The crisp outer layer of a French croissant and a Chinese crisp cake are made under the same principles but with different fats - they use butter to make the crisp bright, and we use lard to make it invisible," Zhao explains.

When it comes to the plating section of the battle, both chefs work together, as each of their plates leaves a spot for the other chef's dessert.

There is no need to decide a winner of this bout, as both of the beautifully presented dessert platters soon get emptied by the hungry audience, while the two chefs try each other's delicacies.

Before his arrival in Beijing, Maillard had never tried Chinese desserts, and for the first week, he admits, they seemed very alien to his finely-tuned French palate.

"Now, however, I can enjoy the mellow taste and softness of Chinese snacks, which is quite a new experience for me," he says, as he gleefully takes a bite of another of his opponent's offerings.

 

Left: French dessert chef Kevin Maillard makes four traditional French desserts to communicate with Chinese pastry chef. Right: The dessert platter combines French desserts and Chinese snacks, including lemon tart, swan cake and peach blossom crisp cake. Photos by Li Yingxue / China Daily and provided to China Daily

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2019-05-10 07:40:39
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467467.htm The Rug gets a shake-up

Founded in Beijing in 2011, well-known brunch venue, The Rug, is upgrading to an all-day menu for the first time, breaking the boundary between each meal - diners can have a souffle in the morning or a pancake with bacon at night. Tokyo cod-roe burdock conchiglie and a crazy shredded beef, egg and apple burger (vegetarians can swap out the beef for avocado) are new to the menu, together with sous-vide tender chicken breast soba and New Zealand clam pizza.

1F, WF Central, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-6528-3966.

Enjoy a slice of bohemian Paris

A slice of bohemian Paris right in the heart of Beijing, Rive Gauche encapsulates French "bistronomy" cuisine, where executive chef Ivan Miguez interprets French classics with his own personal twist, imbued with influences from his travels around the globe and a sense of perfection from his years spent in Michelin-starred kitchens. Both his organic egg with crab, mushrooms, crispy baguette and parsley from the business lunch menu, and the popcorn with chocolate mousse and salted caramel from the a la carte menu are a pair of surprises using basic ingredients but delivering a rich flavor.

1 Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-5393-6688.

Bistrot B serves food fit for a king

Beijing's revitalized modest French dining spot, Bistrot B, has updated its spring menu under the watchful eye of US chef, Jarrod Verbiak, who is the one-time protege of Daniel Boulud, one of America's leading culinary authorities. The Champvallon Louis XIV casserole of braised lamb, potato and onion confit is a must-try as the potato and onion absorb every drop of the Australian lamb's rendered cooking juices, which are brought to life with the essence of rosemary and garlic.

Jingguang Center, Hujialou, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6536-0066.

Making sure the spice is right

Sichuan cold chuanr (kebab) is a snack that originates from Chengdu, Sichuan province, and involves putting boiled chuanr in a pot of spicy soup base. The recipe of the soup is the key to the dish, and Chuanchuanjin, a cold chuanr restaurant, uses 27 different spices and stew them for four hours to make the soup. Other authentically-flavored Sichuan snacks at Chuanchuanjin include spicy duck blood curd and Sichuan pickles.

279 Gulou Dongdajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-6401-8667.

China Daily

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2019-05-10 07:40:39
<![CDATA[Bringing international flair to the city]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467466.htm Modern Drama Valley, an annual theater event hosted by the Jing'an district of Shanghai, brought 19 theater productions from 11 countries to the city this year.

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Modern Drama Valley allows audiences to enjoy theater shows in outdoor settings, Zhang Kun reports in Shanghai.

Modern Drama Valley, an annual theater event hosted by the Jing'an district of Shanghai, brought 19 theater productions from 11 countries to the city this year.

All the productions were being performed in the city for the first time, while 80 percent of them were making their debut in China.

To make the plays during the April 26 to May 12 festival more accessible to the public, Jing'an district provided financial subsidies to the box offices. According to Chen Hong, head of the cultural administration of Jing'an, the district is subsidizing the cost of each ticket sold by 30 to 40 percent, allowing visitors to enjoy the festival offerings for prices as low as 100 yuan ($15).

Aside from the formal theater shows, many of the performances this year took place in outdoor settings. For example, an environmental theater named Walk Along the Suzhou Creek takes audiences into historical buildings where short plays are presented.

"Theaters have limited seats," explains Chen of the decision to stage outdoor events. "But we want to take the theatrical experience to an unlimited number of people."

Interactive outdoor performances can be found in the public space located next to six landmark malls on the bustling Nanjing West Road too. Here, visitors can choose from three walking tours. The first tour starts from the Jiuguang Department Store and takes audiences close to Jing'an Park and onto the northern square of the Kerry Center. The second takes audiences to CITIC Plaza, the east square of Plaza 66 before culminating at the Majestic Theatre. The third tour starts from the north square of HKRi Taikoo Hui and ends at Weihai Road. All the tours cover the core shopping area of Jing'an district.

Among the most anticipated plays this year is Requiem by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv, Israel. Based on three short stories by Russian author Anton Chekhov, the play was written and directed by Hanoch Levin, and had four full-house performances at the Majestic Theatre from May 3 to 5.

"It is a play that makes people want to cry, think and struggle and effect change," Beijing Daily wrote about the play's third tour of the Chinese capital.

Although the play has gone on three tours of China since 2004, winning high praise from critics and the public alike, this is the first time it had been performed in Shanghai. One of those responsible for its debut in the city is Yu Rongjun, a Shanghai-based playwright-turned cultural official, and the current deputy president of SMG Live, a State-owned theater company that brought the highly-acclaimed immersive theater show Sleep No More to the city.

Over the past 15 years, Yu and colleagues in Shanghai's theater scene have made several unsuccessful attempts to introduce Requiem to the city.

"This is a large and expensive production. We either had difficulty finding another Chinese theater to split the cost, or the company didn't have the time slot for us," explains Yu.

"The cast have aged significantly, and this might be one of the few opportunities we could see the production from the original creative team," he adds.

The opening play, Heart of Heroes, premiered on April 26 at the Majestic Theatre. This Chinese production by the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, which is meant as a tribute to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, is about the development of China's first large passenger aircraft. The C919, China's first self-developed trunk jetliner, conducted its successful maiden flight on May 5, 2017, at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The stage setting featured LED displays and digital visual projections tilted at different angles. Director Hu Zongqi hopes to show audiences "bigger scenes and bigger themes".

Cai Jun, the pilot of C919, attended the opening show. He says that "the storytelling was flawless from an engineer's professional point of view".

The play will have two more performances at the Majestic Theatre on May 23 and 24.

 

Clockwise from top: Heart of Heroes, the opening play of this year's Modern Drama Valley in Shanghai, premieres at the Majestic Theatre on April 26; Zero Liturgy by the Alexandrinsky Theatre from Russia; and Requiem, a play by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv, Israel. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-05-10 07:40:39
<![CDATA[Dramatic arts center makes a comeback]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467465.htm The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center will reopen on Saturday after an 18-month refurbishment project. Tickets for 10 theater productions taking place between June and October in the renovated center are already on sale.

The performances include a contemporary interpretation of the Kunqu Opera classic Peony Pavilion, new plays by Shanghai-based playwrights, and several productions from overseas.

Located in a high-rise building at 288 Anfu Road in the former French Concession, the SDAC has three theater spaces which have been important hubs for theater art and cultural events for almost 20 years.

In 1995, the Shanghai People's Art Theater and the Shanghai Youth Theater Troupe were merged to form the SDAC, the only State-owned theater company in Shanghai. The SDAC building was subsequently constructed in 2000 on a piece of land previously reserved for the construction of residential apartments for the company's staff, according to Zhang Huiqing, the general manager of the SDAC.

The SDAC has since been putting on about 800 performances every year that are watched by up to 300,000 people.

The center led journalists around the building before the renovations were completed in April, highlighting the technical improvements and other changes made to the three theater spaces in the building.

"To the theater workers of Shanghai, this building feels like home," says Zhang. "The place was well-used and well-maintained. We have built strong connections with theater lovers in the city and there are ties that we don't want to sever with the revamp project."

Zhang adds that the center has preserved the two marble columns in the lobby and the mosaic pattern at the revolving door to retain the building's original character. While the main structure has been left unchanged, the open spaces on each floor have been expanded to allow audiences to enjoy views of the city during intermissions in the performances.

There will also be a cafe, a shop and an exhibition space on the sixth floor that will showcase the history and evolution of theater art in Shanghai, says Chen Li, the SDAC's public relations manager.

The three theater spaces in the building - the main theater on the ground floor, the Studio Theater on the third floor and Studio 6 on the sixth floor - have been completely revamped, with new seats added and stage equipment upgraded. In the experimental space Studio 6, the seats can be easily removed for immersive theater productions where actors perform among the audience members.

In the large main theater, the new sound field designed by engineers from Tongji University ensures that a performer's speech can be clearly heard throughout the 500-seat space.

"This theater has the most ideal size for drama performances which are different from musicals because actors don't wear microphones. As such, the voice transmission is of great importance in the technological design," Zhang explains.

"Over the past 20 years we have created a large number of important repertoires in the center. The refurbished new theater will see more quality productions released, and our box office is already open on the ground floor," Zhang adds.

The center will also be announcing the winners of the 22nd and 23rd Zuolin Award for Theater Art on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The award was named after Huang Zuolin (1906-1994), a pioneering theater artist who was a founding member of the Shanghai People's Art Theater.

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2019-05-10 07:40:39
<![CDATA[Giving historical spaces their own voice]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/10/content_37467464.htm A music performance titled The Singing House premiered on April 26 and 27 at Zhu Ji Ge, a courtyard in Shanghai's Zhujiajiao watertown.

Zhu Ji Ge is a 100-year-old courtyard in Zhujiajiao that is often dubbed Shanghai's "Little Venice" because of its many waterways. The watertown in suburban Shanghai's Qingpu district has retained much of its character from the early 1900s and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

The courtyard is located near the famous arched Fangsheng Bridge, and is surrounded by two-story houses built using traditional Chinese mortise and tenon work.

The project, which is supported by the National Art Foundation of China, was created by the digital media college of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and features music from local ballads, children's rhymes, local opera, as well as rock, flamenco and film scores.

Four instruments were used in the performance: guzheng, or Chinese zither, zhongruan, a Chinese plucked string instrument, a bamboo flute and a cello.

Audience members were seated in the middle of the courtyard as a dancer and actress moved around the square, leading their focus to different spots where musicians were playing.

Chinese gardens were designed and built as the spiritual backyards of ancient Chinese intellectuals, according to Dai Weiyi, an associate professor with the SCM who is responsible for the whole production. Dai is a composer and academic who specializes in research into the expression of sound in public spaces.

"When people walk through the yard, they feel the breeze and hear all kinds of sounds that tell of the stories and memories of the place. A garden can speak and sing," he says.

"This is a site-specific performance, and all the sound and music belong to this space. I want it to be like the singing voice of the courtyard itself."

Twenty-four loudspeaker boxes and two subwoofers were placed in strategically designed locations around the courtyard, some behind closed windows because "we wanted to display different colors and tones, including hidden and muffled sounds," says Dai.

In order to evoke the audience's imagination of the past and the history of the place, Dai researched the acoustic characteristics and visual aesthetics of the place before coming up with the musical composition and arrangement.

The initial round of performances in April were attended by industry leaders, acoustic professionals and members of the public. There is still no timetable for the second round of performances. But Dai hopes to create more public projects with longer running times.

One possible location has already been identified. Xue Minghua, the director of a research center for the innovative urban renewal and protection under Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the main sponsor of The Singing House project, says this concept can be applied to the renovation of Yuyuan Road in downtown Shanghai to "make sound part of the personality of a space".

 

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2019-05-10 07:40:39
<![CDATA[Tragedies expose globalization's secret: We may be faltering]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466953.htm The Easter extremism in Sri Lanka, coming close on the heels of the Christchurch craziness, is the latest proof that governments, transnational institutions, multinationals and ordinary people aren't yet in sync with the real needs of a globalized world.

When I read reports about Colombo's "colossal" security failure, deja vu made my mind go "but of course". Haven't we heard similar stories of bungling that preceded 9/11 and several other tragedies?

Auto giants cheating emission tests and major companies letting down their customers are symptoms of a broader malaise: a lackadaisical, lopsided, whimsical and even irresponsible approach to globalization. I don't even want to get started on the widening wealth gap and existential threats.

Fads, processes and technologies appear to have assumed a life of their own. Largely unregulated, and unmindful of the larger society's real needs, they are evolving so fast as to transform, or rather devitalize, the world at a terrifying pace.

Institutions are found wanting, unable to evolve faster and develop quickly the systems necessary to manage the runaway change.

Will the genie of mindless change we let out of the development bottle devour us? Is humanity getting ahead of itself? Have we spun out of control, and entered a free-for-all?

We have indeed, according to Extinction Rebellion, a campaign group that organized protests in several countries recently against the climate crisis (and ejected Brexit out of the headlines).

Recent events have spawned second thoughts in my mind about globalization. When already we have the resources and technologies to make the world a better, safer place, why is there the paradox of globalization producing chaos, trouble, stress and mayhem? Are we now deepening globalization without thinking through fully, without adequate preparation - the ramifications of which could destabilize, or even destroy, the world?

The Wandering Earth, an award-winning Chinese movie, portrays an interesting concept: a global government with the wherewithal to administer the whole (apocalypse-bound) world. If globalization is the present and the future, shouldn't a global government - a kind of UN, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, Interpol, International Court of Justice, etc., all rolled into one - be its underpinning?

Owing to globalization and its side effects, hundreds of millions of people - immigrant workers, tourists, visitors, refugees - have left home for far-off lands in pursuit of greener pastures, experiences or sanctuary. It appears they are not only living suboptimal lives but risking getting killed at places of worship.

Is globalization, then, just for free movement of capital, goods, technologies and profits across countries and continents, with no implications for the quality and security of life? When will everyone concerned be able to get through a day without being inconvenienced, underserved, let down, discriminated against or imperiled by the local ecosystem?

But, how many governments, corporations and institutions can claim they are not only aware of but proactively meeting such people's needs, including security and reasonable comfort (in terms of access to conveniences or services like, say, breeze-like documentation, banking, remittances, affordable healthcare, job security, legal help, information, housing, children's education, or personal tax issues)?

How many of them have rejigged their operations, technologies and business models not just to expand their footprint, or secure or boost their bottom lines, but to continue to serve their individual customers irrespective of the latter's current location?

Are ordinary people who may be globalization's beneficiaries outside their motherland, coming together with the locals and fellow expatriates to realize it is indeed vasudhaiva kutumbakam (Sanskrit for "all the world is a family")? Or, are they straitjacketing themselves in their comfort zones of exclusive clubs or exclusivist groups?

I hope to find some answers in Bill McKibben's new book Falter.

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2019-05-09 07:39:34
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466952.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On May 9, 1983, China signed the Antarctic Treaty. The country was granted consultative status in 1985.

In 1984, China organized its first Antarctic expedition as seen in the item from China Daily.

Following that, the country has conducted Antarctic expeditions every year.

So far, the country has sent 35 Antarctic expedition teams and built four research stations on the frozen continent - Great Wall in 1985, Zhongshan in 1989, Kunlun in 2009 and Taishan in 2014.

A fifth is under construction on the Ross Sea Ice Shelf.

The country has achieved remarkable progress in South Pole exploration.

During the 32nd expedition, China's first fixed-wing aircraft in the Antarctic, Xueying 601, was put into service, which greatly enhanced the logistical capacity of the country's Antarctic expeditions.

To provide support for fixed-wing planes and facilitate the country's research and expeditions on the frigid continent, China selected a location for its first airfield in Antarctica during its latest expedition.

The airfield will be near the Zhongshan Station and will be equipped with navigation equipment, refueling facilities and a waiting area, according to the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

To further beef up logistical capacity, Xuelong 2, the country's first home-built icebreaker was manufactured at Jiangnan Shipyard Co, and will be put into service this year.

The vessel is 122.5 meters long, 22.3 meters wide, and has a displacement of 13,990 metric tons. With a maximum speed of 15 knots, or 27.8 kilo-meters per hour, the icebreaker can sail on 60-day expeditions with 90 crew members and researchers.

The nation has been paying more attention to scientific research and peaceful development in polar regions.

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2019-05-09 07:39:34
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466951.htm Peeling crayfish may be an appetizing prospect

"Hello, friends, can you peel crayfish really fast? Are you the kind of person who doesn't want to eat crayfish after peeling them? If you are interested, we're hiring ... " The recent recruitment information posted by Alibaba's Hema Fresh Market outlets has gone viral. Last month, the outlets began to recruit part-time employees for stores in Changsha, Hunan province, Wuhan, Hubei province, Beijing and Shanghai, intending to hire people to peel the shells for customers. There's a strict threshold for the job - only those who can peel the shells of 1.5 kilograms of crayfish within 30 minutes would get the job. They are asked to work at least 4 hours a day, with wages up to 200 yuan ($30) a day.

Online appeal sparks crowdfunding concern

A Beijing family has stopped making appealing for medical donations after questions about their financial status raised concerns of potential fraud. Lai Chunrong put out an appeal for 1 million yuan ($147,850) on crowdfunding platform Shuidichou after her son, Wu Shuai, a cross-talk performer, was admitted to hospital last month with a brain hemorrhage. In her appeal, Lai suggested the family could not afford her son's treatment, as both parents had retired and were living on pensions. However, she has since put an end to her campaign after it was revealed her family owns two apartments in Beijing, as well as a car.

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2019-05-09 07:39:34
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466950.htm Travel: Over 360,000 visit Lhasa for holiday

Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, received more than 360,000 tourists over the May Day holiday, an increase of 32 percent year-on-year, according to the city's tourism development bureau. During the four-day holiday from May 1, the city's travel revenue hit 353 million ($52 million) yuan, up 64.1 percent year-on-year, according to the bureau. Lhasa is a world tourism attraction.

Culture: Li Yugang set for global tour

Singer Li Yugang, who is known for his cross-dressing, wrapped up six performances of his dance drama, Lady Zhaojun, in Beijing recently, and is ready to launch an international tour, covering the United States, Canada and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. His schedule includes Bangkok's 21st International Festival of Dance and Music on Oct 5 and 6. The show is about Wang Zhaojun, an ancient Chinese beauty from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), and the dance drama is part of the ongoing Beijing Arts Festival, the capital's largest annual celebration of dance, music, drama and art. The show's creative team includes renowned Taiwan songwriter Vincent Fang and Oscar-winning designer Tim Yip. The dance drama premiered in 2015 in Beijing and the new version is directed by Max Lee, also from Taiwan, whose works span theater, Peking Opera and Kunqu Opera.

Rankings: World's top spenders on tech R&D

Chinese tech giant Huawei spent $15.3 billion on technology research and development last year, ranking fourth among global tech behemoths, according to data from Bloomberg. Amazon took the lead in R&D spending with $28.8 billion, followed by Google's parent company Alphabet and Samsung with $21.4 billion and $16.7 billion, respectively.

Photos: Highlights of 'Beautiful China'

A new photo exhibition will showcase the beauty of China in 34 overseas culture centers and 19 tourism offices in more than 40 countries from Wednesday to June 28. Titled Beautiful China: Man, Nature and Harmony, the exhibition has selected photographs portraying the natural and architectural landscapes of China, as well as modern people's lives.

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2019-05-09 07:39:34
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466949.htm Li Weigang and Robert McDonald

When: May 17, 7:45 pm

Where: Shanghai Symphony Hall Concert Hall

Born into a family of well-known musicians in Shanghai, Li Weigang began studying the violin at the age of 5 and went on to attend the Shanghai Conservatory at 14.

Three years later, in 1981, he was selected to study for one year at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music through the first cultural exchange program between the sister cities of Shanghai and San Francisco.

Pianist Robert McDonald is an important accompanist, particularly noted for partnering leading violin soloists in recital. He is a graduate of Lawrence University and studied at the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music.

Poetry and Music Night: Shuntaro Tanikawa

When: May 10, 7:30 pm

Where: 1862 Theater, Shanghai

The event invites Japanese writer Shuntaro Tanikawa and his son, musician Kensaku Tanikawa, Chinese singer Chen Bi and a children's chorus to express the beauty of music and poetry onstage for the audience.

Shuntaro Tanikawa is often mentioned as a possible Nobel Prize winner for literature. He has written more than 60 books of poetry in addition to translating Charles Schulz's Peanuts and the Mother Goose rhymes into Japanese.

He was nominated for the 2008 Hans Christian Andersen Award for his contributions to children's literature.

Sophie Zelmani Sunrise Tour 2019 in Shanghai

When: May 23 and 24, 7:30 pm

Where: Modernsky lab, Shanghai

Sophie Zelmani is a Swedish singer-songwriter who released her first single, Always You, in 1995.

She was born in the suburbs of Stockholm in 1972. Her father bought the family a guitar when Sophie was 14. Despite no professional training, she became a songwriter and recorded songs at a local studio.

After she mailed the demos to three record companies, she was offered a record deal by Sony Music Sweden.

Savage Beauty: Jo-Yu Chen Jazz Piano Trio

When: May 29, 7:30 pm

Where: Blue Note Beijing

Jo-Yu Chen's third album, Stranger featuring guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, was released on Okeh Records with Sony Music in 2014.

She then joined the distinguished international roster of Steinway Artists.

Chen has been featured in jazz magazines and received rave reviews in Downbeat, Jazziz, All About Jazz, Jazz Inside in the United States and also appeared in Japanese magazines.

Born in Taiwan, the pianist and composer in New York began her musical training on piano at age 5.

After moving to New York to study oboe and piano at the prestigious Juilliard School, she discovered a diverse music scene thriving in the heart of the city and decided to take the leap from classical music to jazz.

Yayoi Kusama: All About Love Speaks Forever

When: May 9-June 9, 10:00 am

Where: Fosun Foundation, Shanghai

Often described as the Polka Dot Queen, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has been winning the world over with her enchanting creations and artistic personality for more than 70 years.

Marshaling her considerable artistic talents to cross freely between the realms of painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation, performance art and literature, and drawing on a wide variety of styles including surrealism, minimalism and pop art, Kusama is difficult to categorize, let alone imitate. Her exhibition captures the essence of the globally influential artist.

It presents more than 40 artworks, along with Kusama's signature pumpkin and polkadots, as well as her latest painting series, My Eternal Soul.

In addition, the artist is creating multiple large scale, immersive and reflective installation works specifically for the Fosun Foundation Shanghai space.

They will also extend outside the building, drawing the viewer into her unique world.

Zhang Enli and Oscar Murillo

When: May 9-31, 10:00 am

Where: Chi K11 Art Mall, Shanghai

For Zhang Enli, painting - whether his brushes are illustrating human activity or everyday objects - is a vital activity.

As an artist who focuses on some of the more prosaic elements of daily life, Zhang devotes the same amount of passionate attention to every object, be it a bucket, a wardrobe or a person.

Each painting is not only a representation but an expression as well.

His signature expressive lines and curves are influenced by traditional Chinese brush technique, but are always underpinned by the structure of pencil-drawn grids. Immersed in the inherent space of his canvas, painted objects seem on the verge of dissolving into the thin layers of paint.

Born in Colombia, Oscar Murillo is known for an inventive and itinerant practice that encompasses paintings, works on paper, sculptures, installations, actions, live events, collaborative projects and videos.

Taken as a whole, his body of work demonstrates a sustained emphasis on the notion of cultural exchange and the multiple ways in which ideas, languages, and even everyday items are displaced, circulated and increasingly intermingled.

Through his command of gesture, form and spatial organization, Murillo is able to convey a complex and nuanced understanding of the specific conditions of globalization and its attendant state of flux, while nevertheless maintaining the universality of human experience within this milieu.

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2019-05-09 07:39:34
<![CDATA[Hordes embark on flights of fantasy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466948.htm Industry insiders join outlandishly-dressed fans in attending this year's colorful China International Cartoon & Animation Festival, Xu Fan reports.

It was a rainy morning, but I felt as if I had woken up in a dream world as I peered through the window of my Hangzhou hotel room to see hoards of costume-clad fantasy aficionados waiting in long lines to enter the expo hall of the 15th China International Cartoon & Animation Festival.

Amid this sea of outlandishly-dressed enthusiasts - some of whom could be seen lugging suitcases filled with a diverse array of wigs, clothes and makeup items - I could make out a Spider-Man, a Fox Spirit (a character from the 2018 China-US film White Snake) and a dozen other popular fantasy figures acted out by role-playing fans.

It was April 30, the first day of the six-day annual festival, the largest and most influential of its kind in China.

 

Clockwise from top: Fans dress up like their favorite characters in a popular computer game at the 15th China Cartoon& Animation Festival; a mother and her 5-year-old daughter both dress up as popular comic book characters at the same festival; a fan wearing Spider-Man costume mimics the superhero's trademark gesture at an exhibition venue for Marvel; and an artist performs as a pensive monk. Photos by Xu Fan / China Daily and Provided to China Daily

Serving for years as a carnival to celebrate comics and animation culture, the festival - which takes place in 13 venues across Hangzhou in Zhejiang province - attracted nearly 1.44 million visitors and banked over 2.52 billion yuan ($374 million) during the recent May Day holiday.

Besides catering to fans, the festival has also acted as an industry platform to exchange ideas and examine trends.

With participants from 86 countries and regions, this year's event attracted nearly 5,800 industry insiders from 2,645 companies and organizations, who signed 1,368 deals and cooperation agreements worth up to 14 billion yuan.

A report released during the festival says Chinese cinemas screened 34 domestic animated features that grossed 1.62 billion yuan in total in 2018, a rise of 13.3 percent on the output and a 24.5 percent increase in revenue, respectively, compared to 2017.

For many international filmmakers, China's expanding cartoon and animation industry has gripped their attention.

"I think Chinese animation production is already headed in a great direction," says Joe D'Ambrosia, senior vice-president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior.

As one of the guest speakers of the festival's master classes, D'Ambrosia joined Disney in 2011 and has played a crucial role in steering the company to the top of preschool TV networks in the United States consecutively from 2013 to 2018.

He visited China for the first time in 2001, where he noticed that "the business had just started".

"It's such a difference visiting today to see so many different animated productions being done in China. Chinese writers, directors and animators have really jumped into rich storytelling and created really fascinating worlds that the global audience will enjoy seeing," he says.

Over the past eight years, D'Ambrosia has overseen production of such popular Disney Junior's shows such as the Emmy Award-winning Sophia the First and The Lion Guard, which is based on Disney's Oscar-winning 1994 film The Lion King.

Speaking about the key to appealing to children aged between 2 and 7, he reveals that the tales his team creates are built on down-to-earth research.

"We actually do go into preschools and talk to children about the stories and the characters. So we find their words very valuable and adapt our stories to make sure that they not only comprehend the stories but also relate to the aspirations of the characters," says D'Ambrosia.

Pam Marsden, head of production for Sony Pictures Animation, also considers characterization as a crucial element to developing successful animated works.

The studio's 2018 smash hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won a string of awards, including the 91st Oscars' best animated feature, thanks to its unique look that combines computer animation and traditional hand-drawn techniques.

Speaking of developing a formula for making hit movies, Marsden says: "It begins with characters. If you can create a character that is beloved, charming and appealing, and touches the hearts of an audience, you are well on your way to creating a successful animated movie that can cross all borders."

If Hollywood's experience leads it to focus primarily on the characters they create, Japanese director Hayato Date says he believes that voice-over dialogue is another important factor affecting the success of any animated work.

Best known for the manga-adapted animated TV series Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden, Date reveals that he has developed a particular method which gathers all the voice artists together to record the scenes.

Instead of the traditional way where a voice artist records lines alone, this collaborative approach allows the voice-over performer to see the emotional changes acted by others, prompting a natural reaction from an individual performer, according to Date.

"I heard that some foreign fans are learning Japanese so that they can understand the original version. We're very proud of that," says Date.

He adds that he hopes Chinese animators will continue to take inspiration from their own culture and similarly encourage overseas audiences to learn Chinese.

Currently codirecting the anime series Magmell of the Sea Blue, a Sino-Japanese animated series adapted from a Chinese comic book story of the same title, Date says he still marvels at the story's sophisticated narrative, which centers around the adventures of a rescuer of explorers on a newly formed continent.

Interestingly, more and more foreign animation filmmakers are seeking inspiration from China.

Marsden reveals that Sony is partnering with Base Animation in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, to produce the animated feature Wish Dragon.

With its story set entirely in Shanghai, the English version features the voices of action superstar Jackie Chan and Constance Wu, who is best known for the 2018 US romcom Crazy Rich Asians.

South Korean producer Hongjoo Ahn, the creator of The Nub Job franchise and a speaker at the festival's master class, reveals that he is currently working on two animated films with strong connections to China.

One is Mean Margaret, a China-US production based on the novel of the same name by American writer Tor Seidler. The other is Songhua, an original story inspired by the annual ice festival in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province.

"We have been working closely with Chinese animation talents and studios for many years. We have seen an amazing pace of growth in this industry. The cultural and technological advancements are leading us into a golden age where we can create content based on Chinese stories that we feel can play globally," says Ahn.

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2019-05-09 07:39:09
<![CDATA[Italian pianist tunes to lower frequency at Beijing concert]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466947.htm A piano recital usually involves a quiet venue, a musical instrument placed in the center of the stage and a player who moves the audience with perfect music.

But the audience was in for a surprise at the concert hall of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing in April, when they saw two grand pianos placed on the stage. Italian pianist Sebastiano Brusco demonstrated how science can be used to complement art in his performances at the university over two days.

The two pianos are tuned to different frequencies, one using the modern A440 pitch standard with a frequency of 440 hertz and the other with the classical 432-hertz tuning, a renowned advocate of which was 19th-century Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. The Beijing concert was also a rare opportunity for the Chinese audience to attend a live concert with a piano tuned at 432 hertz.

Prior to the last century, different frequencies were adopted in tuning musical instruments.

In 1939 and 1955, respectively, the British Standards Institute and the International Organization for Standardization adopted A440 as the global standard.

Brusco played the works of three classical masters, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert and Frederic Chopin, and accompanied Italian songs performed by Chinese tenor Zhang Mingyu.

The concerts were presented in a format based on the era and mood of each individual piece. Brusco chose between the pianos to achieve the ideal effect. He also performed excerpts of some compositions on both pianos, so the audience could compare and contrast, deciding which tuning they prefer.

Brusco says that the 432-hertz music "has less energy and is much more relaxed".

"To me, 440 hertz goes into the mind and the brain, but 432 hertz goes directly into the heart," he says. Born in Rome in 1969, Brusco learned to play the piano at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. His fondness for chamber music led him to initiate the Concerti della Sagrestia del Borromini music festival 10 years ago.

Brusco says he discovered the charm of tuning his piano to 432 hertz about five years ago, when his piano tuner suggested he should try a lower frequency. He adds that the frequency allows him more space to think about the music he is playing and he feels less tired while doing so. He has since devoted research to 432 hertz, particularly using it to reinterpret Mozart's pieces.

The frequency gives more depth to Mozart's pieces for the listeners, he says.

"It is also good for all melodic and tonal music unless you need to have more energy and a strict rhythm," Brusco says.

Zhang, who has been studying singing at Italy's Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Music since 2014, says, "I have seen many Italian pianist virtuosi over my years of studying in Europe, but it is my first time meeting such an excellent pianist who focuses on chamber music and the interpretation of Mozart."

At the Beijing concert, Zhang first introduced the Chinese meaning of the Italian songs he performed, while Brusco provided the background story.

The concert was part of the university's Sound of Spring festival, which is a seasonal event of art and music where lectures and exhibitions are held as well as concerts.

"We aimed to combine science and art by using the two pianos set at different frequencies, and introduced the story of each piece of music, besides answering students' questions," Zhang says.

Though primarily focused on science education, the university puts emphasis on bringing science and the arts closer, a concept promoted there by former professor of the university and physicist Tsung-dao Lee.

Zhu Wei, executive director and professor at the university's Tsungdao Lee Science and Art Center, is in charge of this concert's planning.

"The concert illustrates the utilization of science in art. Science can serve art and present a higher performance standard. This also shows how science and art are closely connected," Zhu says, adding that he would urge the school's future scientists to develop an interest in the arts, so that they can apply creative thinking to scientific research.

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2019-05-09 07:39:09
<![CDATA[War on drugs hits screens]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466946.htm A new online drama series is focusing attention on a scourge that is afflicting the entire world, Wang Kaihao reports.

The Thunder, a new drama series on Chinese online streaming media platform iQiyi, may remind audiences of Breaking Bad - an American TV series about a kingpin of the drug trade.

But in the case of the Chinese series, it is based on real events.

The 48-episode series was piloted on iQiyi on Tuesday and aims to unveil the human angle behind the news reports.

 

The new online drama series The Thunder is based on a real case in 2013 highlighting China's fight against drugs. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Left: Young-generation idol Huang Jingyu plays narcotics agent Li Fei in the series. Right: Actor Wu Gang plays Li Weiming, a fictional deputy head of a drug-fighting office under Guangdong provincial public security department.

The Thunder is the code word for a police campaign in Guangdong province in 2013, which eradicated a methamphetamine-making syndicate.

The gang, which was led by several influential clans in local communities, also had many sales channels overseas.

Boshe, a village with 14,000 residents in Lufeng, Guangdong, was then dubbed "China's No 1 Drugmaking Village".

Speaking about the series, Fu Dongyu, the director, says: "We have had so many stories on our screens which reflect police efforts to fight drugs. However, I was looking for one answer: How could something like this happen? How could so many people make drugs in one place for such a long time? Did they even once feel ashamed of what they were doing?

"I wanted to enter their inner world," the director says.

"A good crime thriller needs more than action scenes. So, besides the heroes and the villains, we want viewers to remember the vividly-portrayed images."

The drug-making hub in Lufeng was affected by poverty for a long time, and the region was also infamous for producing counterfeit currency.

"The locals wanted to get out of poverty ... but police officers had to break up their entire network of relationships," says Fu. "Those complex ties form the most touching parts of the series."

It took more than two years for the police to prepare for the strike on Boshe, but the production team of the drama needed even longer to hone the script.

Although the first draft of the story was ready shortly after the raids happened, it was revised many times until iQiyi took over the project in 2017.

Speaking about how the authorities helped the makers of the series, Dai Ying, the producer, says: "Fortunately, we were allowed to see documents of the case and interviewed many police officers who participated in the campaign."

As for the realism in the portrayal of the story, Dai says the main goal of the crew was to bring the real essence of the story to the screen by inviting around 1,500 police officers and SWAT members to join the shoot, with their helicopters, armored cars and other equipment.

In the opening scene of the pilot episode, Li Fei, a narcotics agent, who is played by young-generation idol Huang Jingyu, leads a team to capture a drug dealer in a village in a fictional city in Guangdong.

However, he only ends up exposing the tip of the iceberg, as his raid sets off a long battle against the gang, which is protected by patriarchs of the local community.

Li Fei's role may be a fictional one, but he represents many brave behind-the-scene officers in the campaign.

Speaking about how the raids unfolded in 2013, a police officer who participated in the campaign says: "The drug dealers were very vigilant about not allowing any strangers onto their turf. So, when we drove into the village, we were immediately followed and then chased by locals. My colleague even got hurt.

"And when we broke into a gang member's home, we found many explosives there."

Chinese narcotics agents typically remain anonymous for their own safety.

And the officer who took part in the raids says that he has only been to his daughter's junior high school twice to pick her up.

"Sometimes I feel bitter as my wife cannot even post any of my pictures on her social network," he says. "But I have a job to do."

One feature of the series is its fast pace and the multiple storylines that are intertwined in the drama, but Dai says that this was not done deliberately to make the story more complicated.

"This was the reality," she says.

"A successful campaign needs close cooperation between different departments. There is no one hero handling all the problems in cases like these. We have a group of heroes."

Real-life stories of narcotics agents have been reaching our screens more often in recent years, and some of them enjoyed huge success like Operation Mekong in 2016.

That film was adapted from a 2011 case when two Chinese merchant ships were attacked and destroyed by a drug gang in the Golden Triangle, which prompted a cross-border hunt for the murderers.

Speaking about The Thunder and Operation Mekong, Chen Yuxin, who is the screenwriter for both, says: "The difficulty is how to blend the real case and fictional parts together.

"People want the details, but we also need to look at the bigger picture."

As for how the series can help focus more attention on the problem, Shen Yue, an officer from the Ministry of Public Security, who is in charge of cross-border cooperation fighting drug-related crimes, says: "We are urged to take a stronger international responsibility when it comes to fighting crime and cutting off its origins."

And the Thunder operation is just one part of the comprehensive action taken to tackle the problem.

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2019-05-09 07:39:09
<![CDATA[Bizet's opera set to thrill fans in Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466945.htm French composer Georges Bizet's three-act opera Les Pecheurs de Perles, or The Pearl Fishers, will make its debut in China with five shows from May 15 to 19 at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

The opera, coproduced by the NCPA and the Staatsoper Berlin and directed by Oscar-nominated German filmmaker Wim Wenders, premiered at the Staatsoper Berlin in June 2017.

According to Zhao Tiechun, the vice-president of the NCPA, Les Pecheurs de Perles is the first collaboration between the NCPA and the Staatsoper Berlin. And it is the second Bizet opera that the NCPA has produced.

In 2010, the NCPA produced Bizet's opera Carmen.

Speaking about the production, Italian conductor Donato Renzetti, who will take up the baton and lead the China NCPA Orchestra and China NCPA Chorus, says: "Unlike the tragic love story in Carmen, which is bold and brutal, the love portrayed in Les Pecheurs de Perles is romantic and beautiful."

Les Pecheurs de Perles, set to a libretto by Eugene Cormon and Michel Carre, premiered in 1863 in Paris. It tells of a love triangle set on the ancient island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the Indian Ocean. There, two friends, Zurga and Nadir, both fall in love with the beautiful Leila.

Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko, who performed the lead role of Leila in the opera's premiere in Berlin in 2017, will play the same role in Beijing.

Similarly, Italian tenor Francesco Demuro will play Nadir, and Mexican baritone Alfredo Daza will play Zurga, just as they did at the Berlin premiere. Chinese soprano Guo Chengcheng and Chinese baritone Zhou Zhengzhong will also perform in the opera.

Speaking about her performance in Beijing, Peretyatko says: "This is my first time performing in an opera produced by the NCPA. Music is truly an international language. And Bizet's distinctive and delicate music and the French language make this opera very romantic."

As for German film director Wenders, who is also a scriptwriter, producer and photographer, Les Pecheurs de Perles is his first opera.

Speaking about the show, Wenders, who won an Honorary Golden Berlin Bear Award at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in 2015, says: "Les Pecheurs de Perles is often overshadowed by Carmen. But all that will surely change when the audience sees the opera onstage in a theater. The music is brilliant and the story is engaging as it is set against the backdrop of a pearl-diving village on the ancient island."

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2019-05-09 07:39:09
<![CDATA[Tang Yin ballet gets first foreign staging]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466944.htm

WARSAW - Invited by the 26th Bydgoszcz Opera Festival, China's Suzhou Ballet Theater troupe performed its original ballet Tang Yin in Poland on Monday, giving the audience a taste of ballet with Chinese artistic elements.

Tang Yin is about the life of the eponymous protagonist, a talented and romantic scholar who was born in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, about 500 years ago during China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

This ballet applies freehand brushwork to the stage dressing, such as shadows on the wall and a flower beside a pillow, to strengthen its aesthetic effect. It also uses the music of Arvo Part, an Estonian composer, and combines traditional and modern dances.

Li Ying, artistic director of the Suzhou Ballet Theater, said she was very pleased that the troupe was invited to perform in Poland during the Bydgoszcz Opera Festival. "It is a matter of a great significance to us, a young ballet group formed 12 years ago," she adds.

"Through the performance, we try to present oriental beauty to the audience in Europe, in the hope that the audience will enjoy Chinese culture," Li says.

Liu Guangyuan, Chinese ambassador to Poland, says this year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Poland. The visit by the Suzhou Ballet Theater troupe has demonstrated the close cooperation between the two countries in the field of art.

The Suzhou Ballet Theater troupe is currently on a 12-day tour in Latvia and Poland. This also marks the first time that Tang Yin has been performed abroad. In 2015, at the invitation of the Bydgoszcz Opera Festival, the Suzhou troupe visited Poland and performed the ballet, Carmen.

Founded in 2007, the Suzhou Ballet Theater is the only professional ballet troupe in Jiangsu province and the sixth in China.

Xinhua

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2019-05-09 07:39:09
<![CDATA[General turns peacemaker]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466943.htm Decorated US commander Bernard Loeffke was wounded by Chinese troops during the Vietnam War. He soon changed his views on the country and its people, May Zhou reports in Hollywood, Florida.

A sad-faced toy gorilla, dressed like a boxer with the national flags of the United States and China on each side, sits at the entrance of the apartment in Hollywood, Florida, where retired US army major general Bernard Loeffke resides.

"China and the US have had turmoil, and (the toy) is all banged up. It's got gloves on, and it says I want a hug," Loeffke says humorously.

 

Chinese officers check Bernard Leoffke's parachute before he jumps with Chinese paratroopers in Wuhan in 1984. Provided to China Daily

His apartment is filled with memorabilia - medals, awards, family and military photos, art pieces from around the world (including China) - and a world map showing all the places he has visited.

Loeffke pointed at a photo of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: "I had 34 of my soldiers who died when I was a commander and about 200 wounded. I don't want any more soldiers on my walls," he says.

Loeffke is the recipient of four Silver Star medals, five Bronze Star medals and a Purple Heart for his military skill and valor on the battlefield. The former Special Forces officer once ran through enemy fire to rescue a fellow soldier.

The general was himself wounded by Chinese and Vietnamese troops trained and equipped by the Chinese military during the Vietnam War.

His first indirect contact with China may have left him injured, but his subsequent interactions changed his views of the country and led him on a path to promoting friendship and understanding between the two peoples.

Loeffke visited China for the first time in 1973, as director of the White House Fellows. During that trip, he shook hands with Chinese general Xu Xin, who was wounded by US fire as the commander of Chinese volunteers during the Korean War. The two generals became firm friends.

That experience led Loeffke to view the Chinese not as the enemy but as people to get to know and build up a friendship with.

In 1982, Loeffke became the first US army general assigned to the US embassy in China, as defense attache. Over the next three years, he made many Chinese friends and became fluent in Mandarin.

He also became the first foreigner to jump with Chinese paratroopers.

Loeffke had been trying to arrange the jump for almost two years without success before the then US secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger made a request on his behalf when he visited China in 1984.

When the Chinese expressed concern that Loeffke might be injured, Weinberger replied: "I have hundreds of generals in the Pentagon. If he dies, I will send you another one."

"I started training with the Chinese army within two weeks," Loeffke recalls. "The Chinese wanted me to jump with my own US parachute packed in the US. My answer: I want to use a Chinese parachute packed by Chinese riggers. I wanted them to know that I was trusting them with my life."

Loeffke laughed as he pointed at a photo in which a few Chinese military men were checking his parachute.

"This has been the most checked parachute of my whole life. They checked it 10 times. Usually you only check twice. I said I know why: If something happens to me, all of you will be executed. And they laughed."

He said that the jump and the time he spent with the Chinese paratroopers created a bond between them that was difficult to replicate.

"I am now a Chinese brother paratrooper," Loeffke says.

More than 30 years later, the general still possesses the Chinese military helmet he wore when he made the jump in China.

While stationed in Beijing, Loeffke helped US runner Stan Cottrell set up a run from the Great Wall to the southernmost part of China. Three years later in 1985, Cottrell ran 5,793 kilometers across the United States with three Chinese runners.

Loeffke and 1,000 US paratroopers joined the run in Washington DC and took part in the following celebrations.

In 2006, he traveled to China for the 11th time, taking with him his 17-year-old son, Marc. Together they taught English to Chinese students.

He later persuaded his daughter Kristina to teach theater in China for a short period so that she could form a bond with China.

In 2012, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the White House Fellows, Loeffke published the book, China, Our Enemy? A General's Story, in which he documented his experiences in China. He even used a picture of Lei Feng, a popular Chinese role model of the 1950s, on the cover.

"An up-and-coming nation like China is bound to have friction with the United States, but it does not have to be an enemy. We need to establish a strong relationship to prevent war," he says in his book.

In 2012, he also set up a Friendship Fund at the US Military Academy at West Point to send cadets to China for three weeks every summer.

"I give $10,000 each year to send West Point cadets to China. They go to communities to teach preventive medicine to elementary schools. They came back totally impressed. They said that the children are so beautiful. They love the children who say, 'You are my first American friend'. It builds an unmistakable bond," Loeffke says.

So far, about 40 West Point cadets have gone through the program. He is also working with a retired Chinese general to send West Point cadets to Shandong as volunteers.

Loeffke is also a guest lecturer at the Confucius Institute at Miami Dade College in Florida, where he engages with students to discuss the importance of building strong ties with China.

In the past few years, Loeffke has been working with the nonprofit organization Food for the Poor to build simple houses for people in Latin America. So far, he has built more than 30 houses in four villages.

Loeffke says his building project is a good way to demonstrate how the US and China can work together to offer some help to the needy. "I want to build a ring of China, a string of homes around the Caribbean Sea," he says.

A Chinese student who raised money for the program in Beijing to buy fishing boats equipped with GPS for people in need hopes that more Chinese volunteers will participate.

"My dream is a simple one - spend money around the world to help others. My dream is to have China and the US work together for the good of the world. We have to get out of this habit of just thinking about one country - we have to think of the world as a whole," Loeffke says.

The general says many people have asked him about current US-China relations. "There is no tension when it's people to people... If we worry about the relationship one-on-one and one at a time, the world will get fixed. What we need to do is to continue the relationship," he says.

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2019-05-09 07:39:09
<![CDATA[New study of Chinese, Tibetan languages]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/09/content_37466942.htm

WASHINGTON - French and German scientists have found that the Sino-Tibetan language family originated about 7,200 years ago in what is now northern China.

This language family, one of the most diverse with more than 400 modern languages spoken by about 1.5 billion people, originated among millet farmers of Neolithic cultures, such as the late Cishan and early Yangshao. The findings were published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the past 10,000 years, two of the world's largest language families emerged, one in the West and one in the east of Eurasia, together accounting for nearly 60 percent of the world's population.

While the Indo-European language family has been examined comprehensively, the Sino-Tibetan one remains unclear. Some researchers assumed that it arose from southwestern China or northeastern India around 9,000 years ago.

The researchers assembled a lexical database containing core vocabulary from 50 Sino-Tibetan languages. This database includes ancient languages spoken 1,000 and more years ago, such as Old Chinese, Old Burmese and Old Tibetan, as well as modern languages documented by field work.

"We find clear evidence for seven major subgroups with a complex pattern of overlapping signals," says the paper's co-author, Simon Greenhill, of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. "Our estimates suggest that the ancestral language had arisen around 7,200 years ago."

The most likely expansion scenario of the languages involves an initial separation between an Eastern group, from which the Chinese dialects evolved, and a Western group, which is ancestral to the rest of the Sino-Tibetan languages, according to the researchers.

Another study published in the journal Nature on April 24 confirmed that Sino-Tibetan languages originated in present-day northern China, and this language family began to disperse and diversify around 5,900 years ago, a period associated with the Yangshao culture and later the Majiayao culture in the Yellow River basin.

Xinhua

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2019-05-09 07:39:09
<![CDATA[A father's adventures in Beijing with his boy-crazy daughter]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466436.htm My 17-year-old daughter, Sydne, came to visit from the United States not long after her high school graduation. I was a proud papa. She had top grades and had worked part-time for months to save enough money for airfare and a Chinese visa.

But I was nervous. She likes boys.

I mean, she really, really likes boys.

Clever father that I am, I divined by talking to her that one of her main reasons for coming to China was ... boys. She had already "met" a number of boys from all over the country via internet apps and had been simultaneously corresponding with more than one.

Sydne is a self-taught artist whose skills have been improving by leaps and bounds. She had drawn pictures of one particular Chinese boy based on selfies.

"So, you're drawing pictures of a boyfriend you've never met?" I asked in an icy tone.

"Oh, dad, he's not my boyfriend. He's just my friend."

"Fine," I said. "We'll call him your friendboy. Just keep the pictures of him above the waist and yours above the neck."

"D-a-a-a-d ... !" she protested.

Look, I'm no dummy. If she was going to visit me in Beijing she could expect some rules.

Rule 1: Home before dark, no exceptions. Rule 2: Tell me where you're going. Rule 3: Use WeChat to show your location promptly whenever I ask. Rule 4: I want a picture of all friendboys' ID cards, their addresses, their phone numbers, their parents' names and phone numbers and their shoe size. Rule 5: Phone must be powered on at all times. Rule 6: I meet every friendboy in person and have first right of refusal. Rule 7: No sneaking around.

Unwritten rule: If you suck on a boy's face and catch something, it's your problem. (I threw this in because I know that physical affection goes with the territory of teenagers. I'm no dummy. Also, Chinese people are not likely to kiss in public in the daytime.)

"OK, OK, OK, Dad," Sydne said.

Three exciting months lay ahead. I had no idea how powerful social media was in teenworld. I mean, I knew but I didn't really KNOW. That would soon change. (Light speed is close.) Sydne is bright and outgoing and soon had several young male acquaintances on her fishing line. I couldn't remember all their names, so they became Friendboy1, Friendboy2, Friendboy3 and Friendboy4.

"Hey, Dad, would it be all right if Friendboy1 comes to live with us for a few days? He can sleep on the balcony or something."

"No."

"Please ... ?"

"Absolutely not."

"Please, please, pleeeeeeze ... "

"No. And I'm adding Rule 8: No begging."

And so it went. I think it was Friendboy3, who worked at a hairstyling salon not far from home, who gave her the strep throat. She had to go to the hospital alone to get antibiotics, and pay for them herself. Ha, ha. You'll listen next time. Good learning experience.

Around the second or third week I caught her sneaking around outside with Friendboy5 after dark. She had texted me that she was on the steps talking to her mother, but that wasn't true. Trusting my dad radar, I hurried outside just in time to see Friendboy5 darting out the gate. I stopped him and phoned Sydne. "Meet me on the steps, right now," I ordered sternly.

My daughter's expression when she saw me standing there with Friendboy5 was priceless.

Busted!

Later, back inside, I went slow, savoring the moment. I mused aloud about the possible judicial verdicts. "The most extreme punishment is I send you home right now. After all, you were not truthful." She was downcast. "But that's a little harsh, since this was a first offense. So, I could take away your smartphone forever and give you this to use" - I held up a plain old dumb phone. She was terrified. No-o-o! Not that!!

"Justice is required," I continued. "But I am merciful. So let's talk this through and you can propose your own punishment."

We settled on smartphone confiscation for 10 days, and I wouldn't send her home, provided she pulled no more friendboy stunts.

When summer ended and it was time for her leave, she was a wiser, more mature young woman. And our relationship became stronger than ever. She needed guidance, not a heavy hand. Now she's majoring in Chinese at a US university. Top student. She calls me frequently. And she wants to come to China again. I can't wait ... I think ... maybe.

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2019-05-08 07:43:52
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466435.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

The Beijing Book Building opened to the public on May 8, 1998, as seen in the item from China Daily. It was the country's largest book retailer at that time with a floor area of 50,000 square meters.

One year later, the bookstore opened an online shop, with a growing number of people turning to tablets or smartphones for information.

It was one of the country's first brick-and-mortar bookshops to go online.

In 2017, it launched automatic bookselling machines.

With technology, such as artificial intelligence and the internet, the bookstore provides readers with a brand-new environment.

Like the Beijing Book Building, physical bookstores have changed their business models and operations to attract readers.

The latest survey on reading habits from the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication showed nearly 81 percent of adult respondents read digitally, including online, mobile, digital readers and tablets, last year, while the proportion was less than 25 percent in 2009.

The survey found that Chinese adults on average read 7.99 books last year, including 3.32 digital copies, while younger people, ages up to 17, read 8.91 books, a slight increase from the previous year.

In recent years, digital reading has grown steadily across the country, according to the academy.

The annual Government Work Report in March referred to "championing a culture of reading" for the sixth year since 2014.

There were 225,000 bookstores and sales outlets in the country by the end of last year, up by 4.3 percent over 2017. Total sales of publications in the domestic retail sector reached 158 billion yuan ($23.3 billion), year-on-year growth of 11.3 percent, official data showed.

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2019-05-08 07:43:52
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466434.htm US academy elects two Chinese scientists

The US National Academy of Sciences recently elected two Chinese scientists as foreign associates "in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research". The two are Gao Fu (left) and Yan Nieng. Gao is the director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Yan is a structural biologist and the Shirley M. Tilghman Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University.

Campus Newspaper Awards start registration

Online registration for the Campus Newspaper Awards will close on June 28. Launched by the China Daily Hong Kong Edition in 2012, the annual event aims to celebrate and promote great journalism by student-run campus newspapers and media outlets. Last year, students in 38 universities across the country participated in the contest.

Sugary drinks 'are worse than sweet food'

A paper published by professors at the University of Auckland, found sugary drinks were more harmful than sweet food. The study found it is easier to process sugar in liquid form, meaning sweet drinks are worse than sweet treats. So next time, when you feel like something sweet, a cake may be better instead of a sugar-packed beverage.

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2019-05-08 07:43:52
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466433.htm Video: From Harvard to schools in rural areas

New Voices is our website's video special with a focus on young people. In this episode, we interviewed Zhang Xinjie, who quit a PhD program abroad to teach in rural areas. Born in 1992, he was a research assistant at Harvard University's economics department and a PhD economics student at the National University of Singapore. In order to combine his study and research with life in the countryside, he chose to quit the PhD program to teach in rural areas, traveling deep into the countryside to study the education system.

World: Giant asteroid to narrowly miss Earth

The 99942 Apophis asteroid will fly past the Earth in 10 years, the US space agency NASA said. The colossal asteroid, named after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction, is expected to approach the Earth on April 13, 2029, according to the latest data from NASA. But there is no need to worry as it will be about 31,000 kilometers away from the surface of the Earth. NASA said it's rare for such a large object to pass so close to Earth and it will be a great opportunity for asteroid scientists around the world to conduct a close-up study.

Art: Leaf carving gets global attention

Chinese traditional leaf carving works attracted widespread attention at the recent International Handicrafts Trade Fair in Florence, Italy. Deng Weiwei, 27, started to learn the traditional folk art in 2016 and opened a studio in Chongqing. Her works feature local and national characters, like pandas. "The pandas were a bestseller at the fair," she said, adding that she usually uses leaves from oriental white oak, linden and magnolia trees. Leaf carving is complicated and time-consuming. It usually takes about 10 days to turn natural leaves into works of art through a series of processes like selection, cleaning, soaking, drawing, carving and drying.

Travel: 'China Beyond Your Imagination'

Chinese cultural centers and tourism offices overseas will host more than 250 cultural and tourism events in over 40 countries from May 15 to June 30. Through exhibitions, shows, lectures and forums, China Tourism and Culture Week, whose tagline is "China Beyond Your Imagination", aims to showcase the real China and its modern development, as well as promote tourism and cultural cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

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2019-05-08 07:43:52
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466432.htm The Railway to Tibet

When: May 8-11, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The story, told in dance, takes place in 2007, when the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was under construction.

The railway, which is 1,956 kilometers long, is the world's highest line, and the longest built on a single plateau. At its highest point, it is 5,072 meters above sea level.

The railway, which connects the Tibet autonomous region with the rest of world, links Xining - capital of Qinghai province - with Lhasa, capital of Tibet. The railway's construction was a key project in China's 40 years of reform and opening-up.

Beernanza Beer Festival

When: May 10-12, 10:30 pm

Where: Okura Garden Hotel, Shanghai

It is a three-day extravaganza dedicated to all things beer. The event will be Shanghai's biggest beer festival with more than 150 different craft and premium beers from home and abroad on offer.

With 45 bands, there will be three stages to cater to various musical tastes such as salsa, reggae, rock 'n' roll and country music.

Concerto Copenhagen

When: May 10, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Concerto Copenhagen made its debut in 1991 and soon became Scandinavia's leading period instrument orchestra.

Their CD recordings for the German label cpo, Deutsche Grammophone and BIS, as well as DVD productions for Harmonia Mundi and Decca, have attracted worldwide attention and have won several prestigious prizes.

Chang Xiangyu by Henan Provincial Yuju Opera Troupe

When: May 14 and 15, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Chang Xiangyu, the "Queen of Yuju Opera", passed away at the age of 81 in 2004.

Yuju Opera, originally called Henan Bangzi, is one of the major opera forms and has a broad popular base in China. According to written records, Yuju Opera has a history of more than 200 years.

The performance marks Chang's lifetime achievements.

The Pearl Fishers

When: May 15-19, 7 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

As a production of the NCPA and Staatsoper Berlin, The Pearl Fishers is directed by acclaimed German movie director Wim Wenders, winner of the Honorary Golden Berlin Bear Awards at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

A rarely performed gem of the opera world, The Pearl Fishers is noted for its extraordinary musical beauty.

It tells the story of two best friends and their bond, which is interrupted by the arrival of a priestess to bless the pearl harvest. The romantic love triangle between the best friends and the priestess leads to dramatic consequences.

Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition

When: May 16-18

Where: National Agricultural Exhibition Center, Beijing

Hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition aims to enable visitors to better understand the continent's civilization.

The exhibition covers governments, travel agencies, hotels, resorts and airlines from Chinese provinces as well as more than 30 Asian countries and regions, including Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Art performances and games will be available for the audience to better savor what Asia has to offer.

Ally Kerr Acoustic Tour 2019

When: May 18, 7 pm

Where: Valley Children Music Space, Beijing

Scottish folk-pop singer-songwriter Ally Kerr returns with a new album Upgrade Me.

This year and next will also see Kerr embark on live shows in Europe and Asia - including his second major headline tour of China, having been the first Scottish singer-songwriter to tour the country in 2015 following two successful festival appearances in Shanghai and Beijing in 2013. It was the critically acclaimed, wide-eyed, innocent, indie pop of debut Calling Out To You that shot Kerr to stardom from Scotland to Japan.

The album's inclusion in a major Japanese music magazine's Top 20 Albums Ever To Come Out Of Scotland list was testament to the melodic strength of the songs, and the album sat alongside the seminal works of familiar names such as Orange Juice, Teenage Fanclub and Belle and Sebastian.

2019 Sun Music Festival

When: May 25 and 26, 3 pm

Where: Dishui Lake West Island, Shanghai

This year's event kicks off a season of live music weekends on the West Island of Dishui Lake in Shanghai.

Last year, it attracted more than 30,000 fans.

U2 Tribute Concert

When: May 31-June 1, 10 pm

Where: The Pearl, Shanghai

After the hugely successful run of the Queen Tribute concerts, the Pearl's Red Stars wanted a new challenge and voted for U2. The Irish group emerged in the 1980s as a global music force.

The Red Stars have been rehearsing for two months, preparing for the show with guest vocalists set to bring the whole U2 experience to the audience.

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2019-05-08 07:43:52
<![CDATA[Wenzheng College enjoys degrees of success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466431.htm Building links with institutions overseas means ensuring a global outlook, Shi Jing reports in Shanghai.

While competition has become increasingly fierce among the 400-plus privately-run colleges in China, Wenzheng College of Soochow University in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, stands out from its peers with its strength of internationalization, a strategy that has been adopted over the past 20 years since it was founded in 1998.

Wu Changzheng, head of Wenzheng College, returned to Suzhou in mid-March with good news after a business trip to Canada - it will soon start cooperation with another Canadian university in May, when his college is to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

"We would like to bring more chances to our students so that they can gain an upper hand in the job market. This has been at the core of our education policy for the past two decades," says Wu.

Wenzheng College organizes overseas study tours for its students during the summer vacation, and it has also launched cooperative programs with overseas universities. It has rolled out programs with several universities in the United States, including the University of Idaho, Ball State University in Indiana and Northern Arizona University.

The flexibility provided to the students at the college, which is embodied by the full execution of a credit system, has made it possible for all the overseas exchange programs or study tours to be initiated by students themselves, according to Shi Shengwei, deputy head of Wenzheng College.

"Students can obtain their degree over a timescale of the minimum three years to the maximum of eight years as long as they gain all the required credits. This means they will be able to take a gap year to study overseas. Some of the overseas study programs can also be translated into credits," she says.

According to Tang Fengzhen, director of the school's international cooperation and exchange office, Wenzheng College started a program five years ago that offered both bachelor's degrees issued by the Chinese college and the University of Idaho. Under the program, a student can study at Wenzheng College for three years and complete another year of overseas study. Of the first 24 students enrolled for this program with the University of Idaho, 14 are now pursuing further studies in the US and Australia.

In this era of mobile phones and access to the internet, it seems much easier for young people to get to learn more about the world. But as Tang stresses, the experience gained in an overseas environment is invaluable and unique.

"We talk about economic globalization all the time, the effect of which will be a feature of all the students' future careers. If the students can have some basic understanding of this in advance, they will feel more confident in work, for example, when negotiating with future clients," she says.

Besides, international communication is not only crucial for students but indispensable for the college.

"A college without international exchanges can hardly seek further development, let alone rise to be a global first-rate college," she says.

But it is not easy for the students facing the different and challenging environment in the US. To help them, Wenzheng College provides its students English classes during the summer vacation to enhance their language proficiency, and teachers from outside China are invited to give lectures on campus.

It is also challenging for the overseas teachers giving lectures there. Each overseas teacher will be rated at the end of each semester by the students and poor results could lead to dismissal, says Tang.

Mohan Gogineni, a US lecturer at Arizona State University, has been teaching under the cooperative program at Wenzheng College for two years. His course in electrical engineering is a difficult subject that requires a great deal of "abstract thinking". The challenge is even greater for Chinese students as it is given in English, he says.

But it was to his great delight to see students getting in tune with the US style of education-asking questions of the teacher whenever necessary. It was a major marker of progress, as Gogineni found out, for most of them were initially neither comfortable nor confident in asking questions.

Like the rest of the faculty, he was impressed by the campus, which is one of the most beautiful in China and is a harmonious blend of scenery and architecture. Its signature library, for example, designed by Wang Shu, a Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate, is set between the lake and hills.

And the college has carried out renovation work to guarantee excellent facilities for the students, as Gogineni noticed.

"It means that the college is willing to invest in the students," Gogineni says.

The overseas exchange programs at Wenzheng College are perfect for students like Xia Qianhan, who had planned to do further postgraduate studies after college in China. The 22-year-old undertook a business studies exchange program in the US during the first summer vacation at Wenzheng College, and she went to study fashion design at the University of East London for the summer vacation during her sophomore year, before spending a month traveling around Canada in her third summer.

"The overseas study trips have helped a lot regarding my application for postgraduate programs. They were both very challenging experiences, as they had little to do with my major," says Xia, who majored in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. "It was totally unexpected that Wenzheng College could offer so many exchange programs."

But for Wu, head of the college, the long-term goal is to make its international communication a two-way process, which means the school will be receiving more students from other countries and regions in the future.

 

The signature library in the beautiful campus.

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2019-05-08 07:43:33
<![CDATA[Dual role gives double benefit to students]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466430.htm

For the past two decades Wu Changzheng, head of Wenzheng College, the privately-run institution of Soochow University, has had two demanding roles - as a class adviser and head of the college.

This dual responsibility for the faculty members there is not unusual. It is an effective way to save costs, and enhance efficiency and students-faculty communication while controlling the head count of the management staff. The school's management team consists of 100 people, serving 12,000 students. Students help run the canteen and library, too.

"Even for the students with financial difficulties, we suggest they take part-time jobs on campus instead of just applying for subsidies," he says.

The method of allowing everyone to participate in the management of the school is one of the many innovative attempts that the college has been making over the past 20 years.

As one of the eight members of the preparatory team for the college before its founding as China's first such privately-run college in 1998, Wu understood from the outset that the school should be managed in a different way as it took on a unique but important role in China's higher education system.

While university students are supposed to be more academic, college graduates are trained to have expertise in certain technologies, Wu says. Chinese college graduates may find difficulty in pursuing higher positions in their careers due to the lack of academic knowledge. Privately-run colleges were given the go-ahead in 1997 to provide more education opportunities to a wider population, while filling in the gaps in the higher education system, he says.

"We define our students as application-oriented," says Wu, adding that this means they have to supply more good courses and internship opportunities for them.

One example is the flight-attendant major offered by the college. A building has been erected to house a simulated plane cabin, and an exhibition room displays the school's collection of 200 airplane models. The students also take lectures on manners, serving etiquette and makeup tips.

The law majors can work as clerks of court, and there's also a program with the Bank of Suzhou that allows juniors in human resources management, finance and business administration to intern at the bank for a year.

"We hope our graduates will have the skills required by their future employers, who will recognize our graduates as qualified," says Wu.

Most of the students are active in extracurricular activities, have hobbies and share the same broad vision, Wu says. Therefore, the college started to introduce some startup programs in 2011 to prepare them for their future businesses. Teachers were in place to give advice on business ideas and help them incubate their projects at the school.

This is challenging for the teachers, says Wu. Every teacher at the college is required to take an on-the-job training program for three to six months. The school will choose the right company or institution for the teachers to work at. It is compulsory, as the teacher will not be granted a higher professional rank without such experience.

"It takes a lot of courage for the teachers to work in a totally different environment. But it is indispensable. Teachers should keep up with the latest industry trends so that they are capable of instructing the students."

Enrollment at the school has quadrupled from the initial intake of 3,000 students. The relaxed government policy has made all this possible, Wu says, and he hopes that more favorable policies can be granted in the future.

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2019-05-08 07:43:33
<![CDATA[Business acumen nurtured by sound environment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466429.htm When Tao Xueyan set up her own business four years ago, it came as no surprise to her teachers and classmates at Wenzheng College. She had displayed a budding spirit of entrepreneurship when she ran a rock 'n' roll band in her school days.

"It was not for money. As long as we were allowed to use certain venues for free, it was one-of-a-kind experience for the band players. I learned a great deal from negotiations with companies," says Tao, 32.

In 2015, she took over her family business, a Wuxi-based contract factory for the textile group, Heng Yuan Xiang, or HYX. The early days running the adult-underwear business based on an outdated decades-old model was a stern challenge.

Luckily, when the second-child policy was carried out nationwide, Tao seized the opportunity. She convinced the brand's management team to launch a kids' underwear production line at her factory in 2017. Thanks to these efforts, her company is now in profit, selling their products in over 100 stores and online platforms.

Most of her classmates who began startups at college, if still running, have enjoyed great success, Tao says. And she was happy to see an encouraging environment for younger students eager to try out their business ideas at the college.

"When I returned to the school a few years ago, I saw there's a building showcasing students' businesses. Every booth was an office provided by the school for free, and each business was mentored by a teacher. I had not imagined all this before," she says.

But Tao says two things remain unchanged over the years - the relatively free environment at the college and the sense of responsibility that students learn there.

"The teachers are younger and set fewer limits on us. Student clubs also play a role. I was the rock band's manager, for example, but more importantly I had to hand it over to my successor. It was more or less like running a company," she says.

If there is one thing that graduates of Wenzheng College have in common, it is the confidence that can be found in all of them, says Tao. "We are confident that we can make a difference to society," she says.

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2019-05-08 07:43:33
<![CDATA[Refreshing memories]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466428.htm A new reality show that tasks people with cognitive disorders with waiting on tables aims to highlight their lives - and makes for unforgettable viewing, Wang Kaihao reports.

It's one of those restaurants where the waiters and waitresses often confuse the orders and take the dishes to the wrong tables - but in this case it's unlikely that any customers will complain.

Piloting on Tencent's video-streaming platform on April 30, Forget Me Not Cafe is a reality show that aims to inspire people to look beyond the laughs and think about the bigger issues in society.

In the 10-episode show, five senior citizens from all over China who have been diagnosed with a cognitive disorder are invited to work each week as servers at a restaurant in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in a bid to raise awareness of intellectual disabilities in a lighthearted way.

 

Above: Actors Huang Bo (left) and Zhang Yuankun talk about their experiences shooting the reality show, Forget Me Not Cafe, in a recent promotional event in Beijing. Top left: Tan Shaozhu, a server of the restaurant. Top right: Li Junhu, another waiter. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Such disorders affect people's cognitive abilities, with Alzheimer's disease accounting for the majority of cases in this aea.

When 45-year-old film actor Huang Bo, who's one of China's biggest box office draws, was first invited to join the show as the "restaurant operator", he didn't hesitate to accept, despite some initial concerns.

"I have to take care of elderly participants and their health problems," he says. "I don't want the show to have a heavy tone, but it's important to reflect social issues in a feel-good way."

Among the five senior citizens who appear in the first episode, only 68-year-old Tan Shaozhu used to work in restaurants. Sun Lijun, 63, is a former gynecologist; Li Junhu, 69, was a plumber; Hu Gongying, 76, was a teacher; and 80-year-old Li Dongqiao is a retired military officer.

"Sometimes it's like working with five children," Huang says. "But their life experiences, sense of responsibility, persistence and positive outlooks are always present, which I find deeply touching."

Many funny moments arise in the pilot episode of the show.

For example, during rehearsals, a participant forgets to ask the "customer" (played by Huang) to pay the bill. Consequently, once the restaurant opens, he keeps staring back at the table he serves in case someone "dines and dashes", leaving without paying the bill. His unflappable attention confuses many customers.

Another participant accuses the chef of making the wrong dish, until she realizes she had simply forgotten which dish the customer had ordered.

Other moments are capable of reducing the audience to tears. When one elderly waitress tries to explain to customers that she is a patient, she even forgets the name of her disease.

She has a good time talking and playing with a child who dines in the restaurant. However, when the child comes to the restaurant again the next day and says hello to her, she feels in the dark.

"I saw how well they danced together the day before," Huang says, becoming emotional. "But I could tell from her eyes that she didn't remember the child at all."

Unlike other reality shows, no scripts are prepared for the program. And for director Wang Tong, this makes Forget Me Not Cafe one of the most difficult shows she has ever worked on. Her team has to edit down hours of footage to create a "natural flow" of events.

"We are only recorders and observers," she explains. "It's like making a documentary. The program should truly reflect these people's struggle to live good lives and fight against disease, and not to put on a 'show'."

Huang reveals that he once gave one of the five guests the title of "excellent employee".

"I didn't expect my encouragement to offend the other four participants," the actor says. "They grew quite angry and, for a moment, I didn't quite know how to handle the situation."

According to Li Yang, a producer with Tencent, the show aims to show more moments like these to help young people better understand the behavior of patients and relate to their lives.

"We've made so many reality shows, but we have to confess that seniors are a largely neglected sector in previous programs," she says.

"After all, every one of us will become old one day.

"For young people, they probably have elderly relatives in their families who have Alzheimer's," the producer continues. "But do they really know the disease well? Through this show, people can also learn how to face up to it positively."

Many entertainment idols from the younger generation have joined Huang's team on the show, including Song Zu'er and Zhang Yuankun, both 21 years old.

Zhang says the show helped to raise his awareness about issues affecting the elderly and reminded him to offer them more care and attention.

"After I took part in the show, I immediately took my grandparents to get a physical examination," Zhang says. "The older generation needs more care from us."

The production team vetted 1,500 people with cognitive disorders nationwide to prepare for the show, and referred to experts on medical ethics to check whether the project adhered to the rules.

Jia Jianping, one of the medical consultants for the show, who's a neurologist from Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University, praised it for being productive.

"Allowing patients to participate in projects helps them to practice using their minds," says Jia. "When society cares for patients and offers them hope, these diseases will no longer be regarded as undefeatable."

The production team estimates that China has around 10 million people with Alzheimer's disease, and this number rises to nearly 50 million when all the cognitive disorders are combined.

And, as the program's team reveals, life can often be cruel. For instance, one of the waiters on the show, Hu Gongying, previously taught English at a community college for the elderly but had kept her disease as a secret from the school. However, when she was contacted by the production team, Hu was forced to make the difficult choice: Should she expose herself as a patient or not? Hu finally stepped up to speak out for patients' interests but at the cost of losing her teaching position at the college.

"Maybe the disease cannot be thoroughly cured, and we can only slow its progression," Hu says. "But we can prove that we're not useless people through this show. We enjoy our lives very much."

But as with all things, the cafe in the show will eventually have to close its doors.

Huang recalls that one participant in the show broke into tears during a break, saying: "I really don't want to go back into the real world. Here, I feel I'm a more valuable person."

"These five people have set an amazing example," he says. "I'm sure they will touch more people. Things will become different."

The show is rated 9.3 out of 10 points on Douban.com, a TV-and-film-review website, as one of the highest-scoring Chinese reality shows in recent years.

Li Yang, the producer, says she expects Forget Me Not Cafe to inspire more enterprises and institutions to open up more positions to people with cognitive disorders.

"They deserve more interaction with people," she says. "If the whole of society can move in the right direction, our goal will be realized."

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2019-05-08 07:43:33
<![CDATA[Rhodes to success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/08/content_37466427.htm More students in the country are finding a path to academic achievement through international scholarship programs, He Wei reports in Shanghai.

Combating cross-border crimes has been a long-term dream for 25-year-old Mao Xiao. Holding a bachelor's degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and two law-related master's degrees from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, Mao pursues that goal by publishing papers in international academic journals and doing internships at The Hague, where the International Criminal Court is located.

Her dream gained an extra boost when she enrolled into the University of Oxford last year to continue her international law studies. Apart from the academic excellence and top-notch curriculum and faculty, the Rhodes Scholarship sponsoring her study at Oxford is making all the difference.

"It's not just the financial support. It's a network of people - the cr��me de la cr��me - who share their visions, experiences and opportunities to make the world a better place. It's a constant source of inspiration," Mao says.

Founded in 1902, the highly selective scholarship now recognizes over 100 students globally for their academic excellence and leadership and sponsors them to complete postgraduate degrees in a variety of subjects from physics to philosophy.

Each scholarship is worth 50,000 ($65,600) to 60,000, and enables students to spend roughly two years at the University of Oxford, covering tuition, other fees and a modest stipend.

China is among the latest batch of countries added to the recipients' list, with four students eligible to receive the award each year since 2015. A majority of the Chinese Rhodes scholars are from top educational institutes such as Tsinghua University, Peking University and Fudan University.

The scholarship committee is looking to expand the pool of possible recipients in order to gain a wider influence and recruit a more diverse range of talent from the world's most populous country, according to Elizabeth Kiss, chief executive officer of the Rhodes Trust.

"We hope to double the number of Rhodes Scholarships from China from four to eight by 2028," Kiss told China Daily in a recent interview. The plan is the culmination of a push by the trust to raise more money from philanthropists, expand the number of scholarships and broaden the program - which until recently was limited to a shorter list of countries - into something truly global.

Students traditionally pursue a second bachelor's degree, but in recent years most have enrolled in graduate degree programs, or in Mao's case, a master's-turned-PhD program.

The selection process is stringent: Applicants should exhibit their outstanding academic excellence, a mastery in various activities from sports to artistic pursuits, strong leadership, as well as a commitment to service, according to the brief description of potential candidates' qualifications published on the website.

However, in the words of Kiss, the selection committee is looking for people who are "innovators and change-makers" and have the drive to make a difference in their lives.

"We are looking for signs that, in their lives, they have demonstrated interest in other people and have gone beyond what it takes to be a successful student," she says. "It's important to give back to their society and community."

Despite getting distinction for her degrees, Mao envisioned international exposure would add her chances of getting selected. So, instead of applying for the scholarship straight after graduation in China, she took a preemptive approach by studying in the UK first and working part time in a prestigious NGO related to her field of interest.

Yet, not all students choose such a path, one reason being financial limitations. A Rhodes scholar herself in the 1980s, Kiss believes the standards are flexible enough to take into consideration all students' circumstances, especially those in more difficult situations.

"For example, in the United States, there could be a poor student who is working in a fast-food restaurant and supporting their younger siblings. Their opportunities for extracurricular activities are different from a student from a wealthier family, who might be exposed to more organized community services," she says. "So instead of sticking to a strict standard, we strive to be thoughtful about recognizing the circumstances of each student, culturally and personally. We are looking for what they are like as humans."

A growing number of Chinese are utilizing global scholarships to pursue overseas studies and achieve their ambitions. Another notable offering is the Chevening Scholarship, provided by the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organizations, through which over 4,000 students have been selected to study a one-year master's course in the UK since the program made its debut in China in 1983.

Xu Jian, a 45-year-old Chevening scholar who went to University College London in 2014, says he had built a good network of talented people, put the knowledge he retained to good use in his own consulting business, and the experience has served him well since.

As the warden of one of the world's most competitive scholarships, Kiss' suggestion to parents is, interestingly, to teach them how to relax and support them to lead healthy lives.

"Too much pressure means you don't get to know yourself and don't get time to reflect. Then you will never be able to make a real difference in the world," she says.

Mao agrees with this sentiment. She believed the entire process of preparing for the materials and undergoing interviews was "helping you to really think through who you are and what makes you, you".

Kiss says she has come across a survey that suggests when you fund one scholarship, you may give impact to 26 people.

"The best investment anybody can make is an investment in the education of you