版权所有 - 中国日报�(ChinaDaily) China Daily <![CDATA[Going loco about going local? When in China be yourself]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781451.htm "I'm more Chinese than you are!" the guy sitting next to me suddenly cried out, causing me to jump and inhale the mouthful of noodles I had been enjoying at the time. It's not a sentence you hear often, even in China, and especially not from a 20-something Jewish man from California.

To somehow prove his point, the man slammed his wallet on the table and produced several pictures he'd recently had taken with his Chinese girlfriend at a Beijing photography studio. She was in a traditional qipao, and he was wearing a sparkly T-shirt, leather wristbands and a pair of shades, trying his best to look moody.

The guy was a friend of a friend who had joined a group of us for a feast of beef noodles, lamb skewers and beer. In his defense, his declaration was in response to someone else saying that I was in fact more Chinese than him, because I have a Chinese wife and have lived in the country longer.

"But I'm not in the slightest bit Chinese," I responded, after coughing up a lungful of noodles. I pointed out that both my parents are Caucasian, although that should have been obvious from my pasty white features. "And nor are you Chinese," I added.

Yet my fellow diner seemed uninterested in genealogical fact. For him, "being Chinese" meant he had truly embraced his adopted home, soaked in its culture, and become "one of the locals".

It was an odd exchange, but over the years I've caught several groups of expats arguing over who was "more Chinese". Sometimes these debates have even included people of Chinese heritage born in other countries, who surely have an unfair advantage.

While some expats struggle to adapt to China's unique ways, there are others who take intense pride in how quickly they pick up local habits.

I've always been skeptical of the "When in Rome ..." advice I've received, though.

One summer night, a British friend - who had lived in Beijing for some years by that point - advised me I should always shout in China, particularly when asking questions to a stranger. To test his theory, as soon as we finished dinner at a restaurant, he sought out a random passer-by to ask directions.

"Watch this," he said, before turning to bellow a question in Mandarin at a middle-aged woman standing in the street. After asking the whereabouts of the nearest public restroom three times - each time receiving only an equally loud "WHAT?" in response - my friend smiled, thanked the perplexed woman, and walked away.

Of course, you never truly appreciate the habits you pick up from living in a foreign country until you return home and sit down for a family meal.

"Are you going to do that every meal?" my mother asked during the first trip back with my wife, as I loudly slurped the noodles I'd requested at lunch in place of potato fries.

My wife looked over, tutted, and added, "He's so Chinese."

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2018-08-17 07:45:43
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781450.htm Nanjing Massacre survivor passes away at 94

Lyu Jinbao, a 94-year-old survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, died on Tuesday in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, according to the Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders. Born on April 12, 1924, Lu was 13 when the then-capital of China was captured by the Japanese in December 1937. He suffered head injuries during an air raid and lost his sight. This year marks the 73rd anniversary of Japan's unconditional surrender in World War II.

Fatally ill bride dies during wedding ceremony

Yang Feng, 27, held a moving wedding ceremony in a hospital for his fiancee in Zhengzhou, Henan province, on Sunday. But the 32-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with leukemia at 24, died before Yang put the ring on her finger. "She will be my true love forever," Yang said.

People find Tuesday the saddest day of the week

Monday, the start of the working week, has traditionally been considered the hardest day to get out of bed. But, actually, we're more likely to feel down in the dumps on a Tuesday. According to research, our moods are at their brightest on Saturday. But while levels of contentment drop on Monday, it is on Tuesday that we really reach our lowest ebb.

Check more posts online.

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2018-08-17 07:45:43
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781449.htm Culture: Classic love stories from 10 films

Friday marks Qixi, Chinese Valentine's Day. The day for romantics celebrates a story from mythology. On the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, two separated lovers meet each other high above the Milky Way. Our website picked 10 romantic films to mark the day.

Video: Twins dazzle at piano competition

Twin sisters Lin Xi and Lin Wang from Shantou, Guangdong province, played a piano duet, Yellow Rock, during the finals of the Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition on Monday. More than 60,000 children and adolescents from around the country participated in the event.

Rankings: 10 busiest airports in the world

Beijing Capital International Airport remained the world's second-busiest airport by passenger traffic in the first half of the year, witnessing 49.38 million passengers, according to Civil Aviation Data Analysis, a data platform in Shanghai. The list, comprising 17 international airports, ranks airports in terms of passenger traffic as of the end of June. Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained the world's busiest airport, with passenger traffic of 52.64 million. Visit our website to find out more about the 10 busiest airports.

Education: Big data and AI majors hot in college

Data science and big data technology remain the hottest majors for universities this year, followed by artificial intelligence, Beijing Youth Daily reported. According to a list issued by the Ministry of Education, universities across the country have applied to establish 2,542 new majors this year. More than 220 universities have applied to offer data science and big data technology, far more than applications for other majors.

Society: Renovation on track at railway station

Reconstruction work on Beijing's Fengtai Railway Station began recently. The station, which opened in 1898, has been closed since June 2010. According to contractor China Railway Construction Engineering Group, the renovated station will cover an area of 398,800 square kilometers. Reconstruction work is set to finish in 2020.

People: Designer set for New York Fashion Week

Late last year, designer Li Qiang received an invitation to show his work at New York Fashion Week next month. Celebrities, including crosstalk performer Guo Degang, TV host Meng Fei and boxing champ Zou Shiming, are among his clients. Increasing numbers of homegrown designers are winning recognition on the international stage.

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2018-08-17 07:45:43
<![CDATA[经典外文好书(下)]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781448.htm 暑假已经过去一个月啦,双语君带大家浏览下经典外文好书,做个爱学习的乖宝宝吧!

I'll Give You the Sun

By Jandy Nelson

This is a brilliant, luminous story of love, family, loss, and betrayal.

《我会给你阳光》讲述了一个有关爱情、家庭、失去以及背叛的故事,精妙绝伦、发人深省。

The central characters. twins, compete against each other and for their mother's attention but then try to remake their lives from the debris of sadness.

双胞胎主人公在争夺母亲的关注的过程中伤痕累累,最终他们决定放下心结,开始新的生活。

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

By Muriel Barbery

The book follows events in the life of a concierge, Renee Michel.

《刺猬的优雅》围绕着看门人勒内·米歇尔的生活展开。

It incorporates themes relating to philosophy, class consciousness, and personal conflict.

该书的主题囊括哲学、阶级意识、个人冲突。

Fangirl

By Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is a contemporary young adult novel. Cath and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow fantasy book series when they were kids.

《狂热的女粉丝》是一部当代青年小说。双胞胎主人公凯斯和伦从小便是小说家西蒙·斯诺的粉丝。

After going to college, Cath is on her own, completely outside her comfort zone. The story evolves around the challenges she faces.

步入大学的凯斯完全跳出了自己的舒适圈,开始独自生活。小说讲述了她所面临的种种问题。

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

By Junot Diaz

The novel is set in New Jersey, where Diaz was raised. The book chronicles the life of Oscar De Leon, a Dominican boy growing up in Paterson.

《奇妙的一生》以作者迪亚斯的成长故土新泽西州为背景。主人公奥斯卡是多明尼加后裔,本书讲述了他在帕特森成长的故事。

Oscar is obsessed with science fiction and fantasy novels and with falling in love, as well as the curse that has plagued his family for generations.

奥斯卡沉迷于科幻和奇幻小说,也对家族几代人的爱恨情仇痴迷不已。

The Martian

By Andy Weir

Astronaut Mark has landed with his team on Mars. A storm means the team have to abandon their mission without Mark. But he survived the storm and has to look after himself until help arrives.

《火星救援》讲述了这样一个故事:马克与他的团队在火星着陆,一场沙尘暴中断了他们的任务,马克被孤身一人留在了火星。他在沙尘暴中活了下来,一直坚持到救援的到来。

Mark confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after another. Will his resourcefulness be enough to triumph against the impossible odds stacked against him?

马克一次次绝境逢生。他能凭借自己的聪明才智战胜困难吗?

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

By Emily Dickinson

Dickinson was a prolific poet, writing nearly 1,800 poems.

狄金森是一位才华横溢的诗人,《艾米莉·狄金森诗集》收录了近1800首诗歌。

Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality.

大部分诗歌的主题都是死亡与永恒。

The Goldfinch

By Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. It tells the story of a boy, Theo Decker, and a famous painting The Goldfinch.

《金翅雀》于2014年获得普利策小说奖,讲了一位名叫西奥·德克尔的男孩和一幅名画《金翅雀》之间的故事。

Theo survived a terrorist bombing at an art museum in which his mother died. The painting and the trauma and guilt for his mother dominate his life.

西奥在一场艺术博物馆的恐怖袭击中幸免于难,而他的妈妈却不幸离世。自那以后,这幅画和对母亲的愧疚与悲痛占据了西奥的生活。

The Joy Luck Club

By Amy Tan

The novel focuses on four Chinese-American immigrant families in San Francisco who form The Joy Luck Club to support each other.

《喜福会》刻画了四个移民旧金山的华裔家庭。他们为了互相扶持,成立了“喜福会”俱乐部。

The book is structured somewhat like a mahjong game, with four parts divided into four sections to create sixteen chapters.

本书的排布方式就像一桌麻将,分为四部分,每部分四节,共十六章。

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2018-08-17 07:45:43
<![CDATA[HAVEN FOR LITERATURE LOVERS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781443.htm The capital's book lovers are in for a treat once again as the city prepares for the 25th Beijing International Book Fair from Aug 22 to 26. And the organizers are going all out to ensure its success with the integration of the publishing sector with the cultural and the technological spheres.

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This year, the Beijing International Book Fair - the world's second-biggest such event after Frankfurt - will have an exhibition area of 97,700 square meters, the largest in its history, Mei Jia reports.

The capital's book lovers are in for a treat once again as the city prepares for the 25th Beijing International Book Fair from Aug 22 to 26. And the organizers are going all out to ensure its success with the integration of the publishing sector with the cultural and the technological spheres.

"Besides the new features this year, we are also looking at the fair to boost international exchanges as well as to ensure that Chinese publishing goes global," says Lin Liying, deputy general manager of the China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corp, which is also part of the fair's organizing committee.

The 16th Beijing International Book Festival will also be part of the fair for the fourth time. And the festival will showcase Beijing's culture through its publications, according to Wang Yefei from the Beijing municipal bureau of press, publication, film, radio and television.

This year, the Beijing fair - the world's second-biggest such event after Frankfurt - will have an exhibition area of 97,700 square meters, the largest in its history. And the fair's eight exhibition halls will host a total of 2,500 publishing organizations from 93 countries and regions, including 1,520 from overseas.

Four countries and regions will join the Beijing book fair for the first time.

The number of British publishers has increased sharply. They've booked the largest exhibition booths. And the number of Australian publishers has increased to 12 from five in 2017, and they say that they were quite satisfied with the last fair and the results.

More than 300,000 titles will be exhibited at the fair, and the event will host about 1,000 book events.

The Kingdom of Morocco is the guest of honor at this year's fair. Said Kasmi, the counselor at its Chinese embassy, says Moroccan publishers and cultural organizations will bring 800 titles to Beijing.

Morocco will hold three talks during the fair to explain Moroccan literature and culture; discuss translations of Chinese works; and shine a spotlight on Sino-Moroccan relations with regard to the Belt and Road Initiative. A Moroccan trio will showcase Al Andalous, a type of music passed down from the 12th century.

"Many Moroccans know about Confucius and Sun Zi, and their thoughts, but we would like to enhance exchanges," Kasmi says.

Writers from the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia and Poland will attend the event.

Fifty Sinologists, translators and experts in China studies will take part in writers' events and publisher-agency meetings, including a roundtable with writer Yu Hua.

Lin says the aim of the exchanges is to enhance understanding about China and promote more publishing links so that more Chinese titles gain global appeal.

"We will also offer orientations on Chinese publishing to newcomers, and pick 10 international copyright managers or literary agents, selected from 100 candidates globally, as publishing fellows," she says.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television's latest report on the country's press-and-publication sector, released earlier this month, says that China sold 13,816 copyrights to overseas buyers in 2017, an increase of 24.1 percent compared with 2016. "It is a big stride," says an official with the administration, who was quoted by a newspaper affiliated with the administration.

Most of the copyrights were sold to mainstream Western markets, as well as countries involved with the Belt and Road Initiative.

The report also says that China's publishing market was worth 1.8 trillion yuan ($264 billion) in 2017, an increase of 4.5 percent from 2016. And digital publishing was worth 707 billion yuan in 2017, up 23.6 percent from the previous year.

The report says that works which accounted for more than 1 million copies each in 2017 comprised 17 categorized as Party/leadership/political thoughts, seven from literature and 18 children's works.

Lin says: "Children's publishing is a growing sector. And one sees a deeper involvement with technology, like cloud services, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality.

"Also, there are now various platforms and ways to read digitally. And there is a call for better reading experiences, like better bookstores."

Asked about the industry's response to the trends, she says: "The fair offers its answers and reactions."

The event's eight halls have been redesigned. There will be more space for children's sectors, and technology/education companies are offering book-related services and creative cultural products.

"A book is a gateway to infinite possibilities. We want visitors to experience them and to interact," says Lin.

A cafe will serve literary masterpiece-related drinks and cakes to go with the writers' events. And you can even meet British author Rachel Joyce at one of the fair's venues, besides attending more than 30 literary talks.

Even underprivileged children have something to look forward to at the fair. Writer Liu Zhenyun, the "reading ambassador" at the event, is hosting a special summer camp for 16 kids from Fujian province's Chuxi village.

"I spent five days last year in the village, teaching them writing and reading. And I'm going to keep my promise of bringing them to see Beijing and a book fair," says Liu.

Typically, the fair runs from 9 am to 5 pm but, this year, the hours have been extended to 6 pm.

Contact the writer at meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

9 am-6 pm (Aug 22-25); 9 am-3 pm (Aug 26). The main site of the book fair will be at the China International Exhibition Center in Shunyi district of Beijing. There will be some offsite events in the city. Check its official website for more information: www.bibf.net.

 

Chinese writer Liu Zhenyun's poster draws attention in a European bookstore. Liu is the "reading ambassador" of the upcoming 25th Beijing International Book Fair. The annual event aims to enhance international cultural exchanges and Chinese books' global appeal. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA[Some key events around BIBF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781442.htm Aug 21: The 12th Special Book Award of China. A government award honoring foreign translators, writers, Sinologists, publishers, agencies and researchers for their contributions in taking Chinese works and ideas to the world. It is often given out a day before the Beijing International Book Fair officially opens. The award has been given to 108 experts from 44 countries and regions since 2005.

Aug 21: Beijing Publishing Summit. An upgrade of the BIBF International Publishing Forum, the summit will focus on international cooperation.

Aug 22-26: Exhibition on publications about 40 years of reform and opening-up. Some 5,000 works have been chosen for display.

Aug 22-26: International Children's Books Exhibition. The event covers 20,000 square meters and will feature publishers of children's books from various countries.

Aug 22: Writer Liu Cixin's talk on Chinese imagination and sci-fi literature. The author of the Three Body trilogy will meet fans.

Aug 22: Writer Yu Hua's roundtable meeting with 30 Sinologists. The author of To Live and Brothers will hold discussions with translators and researchers.

Aug 23: Belt and Road Initiative: International Publishing Summit. It includes keynote speeches, book launches, dialogues and signings of copyright deals.

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA[Chinese classic gets new English translation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781441.htm A new translation of the celebrated historical epic, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, has been completed.

The novel, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is based on real-life historical figures and events. The story dramatizes the lives of feudal lords and their retainers toward the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).

Martin Palmer, whose work includes the English adaptations of The Book of Chuang Tzu and The Most Venerable Book, was tasked with translating the Chinese classic.

"The reason why it's such an amazing novel is not so much the descriptions of the battles, but it is the personalities and the way Luo makes these figures come alive," Palmer says. "What I wanted to do was capture the intrigue, the plots and the narrative."

Part historical, part legend and part mythical, the novel comprises more than 800,000 words, more than 1,100 characters and 120 chapters.

For Palmer to translate and abridge one of the greatest classic Chinese novels, filled with complex stories and characters, was an ambitious project.

He had to cut down the hundreds of minor characters as well as sub-plots, repetitions and minor incidents from the original and transform it into one seamless narrative.

"I had to decide what the absolutely central moments in the novel are, as they needed to be translated in full," Palmer says.

He says translating the poetry was also a challenge.

"Almost every chapter has poetry and every so often you come across these amazing poems by great poets," Palmer says. "I relied upon a poet friend of mine, Jay Ramsay, who worked with me to translate them."

Luo's epic novel has also been compared to the works of William Shakespeare, such as Richard III and Henry IV.

Palmer is director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture and secretary-general of the Alliance of Regions and Conservation. It took him three years to complete the translation of the book, which he did in his spare time.

Palmer says that, as more people are taking an interest in China, Chinese culture is becoming more popular.

"Chinese novels, such as Legends of the Condor Heroes by Louis Cha (Jin Yong), have sparked interest from people, who are now looking at earlier books," he adds.

Palmer is currently working on a new translation of another Chinese classic, The Water Margin, and hopes to work on Shijing - also known as the Book of Songs - which has a collection of Chinese poetry.

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA['Freedom to think' theme of UK publishing event]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781440.htm

LONDON - The 2018 Edinburgh International Book Festival that opened on Aug 11 calls upon authors, participants and audiences to consider the importance of freedom in a world where democracy and capitalism are being brought into question.

The festival this year welcomes over 900 participants from 55 countries and regions to its tented village in the heart of Edinburgh and runs through Aug 27.

The theme of this year's event is "freedom to think", as topics like free speech, freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of identity are going to be discussed in a diverse and wide-ranging program of talks, debates, workshops and readings taking place at the Charlotte Square Gardens and on George Street.

"The book festival in Edinburgh is an unbeatable place for meeting inspiring people and sharing big ideas," says festival director Nick Barley.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop says the EIBF has long been a highlight in the Edinburgh festival's calendar, bringing together the world's finest authors, including the best of Scotland's creative talent.

"This year's program, with its focus on freedom and its wide-ranging offer of compelling talks and events, is sure to stimulate debate and intrigue audiences, raising Scotland's cultural profile on the international stage," she says.

The Scottish government has provided over 1 million pounds ($1.27 million) to the book festival over the last 10 years, enabling writers to push the boundaries of creativity and make international connections.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. The book festival welcomes his daughter, Zindzi, and great-grandchildren, Zazi and Ziwelene, to talk about his life and legacy, according to the festival schedule.

As an important international cultural event held annually alongside the Edinburgh International Festival, the EIBF welcomes around 1,000 authors to over 900 events for adults and children each year, featuring award-winning writers, poets, scientists, philosophers, sports people, illustrators, comic creators, historians, musicians, biographers, environmentalists and economists.

Xinhua

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA[WINE DOWN THE TRACK]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781439.htm All aboard! All aboard! The train departing for Yinchuan at 8 pm has one notable addition - an extra boutique carriage that houses a bespoke wine-tasting room and six luxury sleeping compartments.

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Vino lovers can now embark on voyage of discovery to Ningxia's vineyards while sampling the region's flavors along the way, thanks to a new luxury-train service, Li Yingxue reports.

All aboard! All aboard! The train departing for Yinchuan at 8 pm has one notable addition - an extra boutique carriage that houses a bespoke wine-tasting room and six luxury sleeping compartments.

A night on this train is something out of the ordinary, as passengers in the upscale carriage can enjoy a meal paired with wines produced in the Helan Mountains' East Foothill Wine Region, followed by a wine facial mask before bed.

Launched on July 31, it's the first moving winery in China and the first overnight luxury-rail service between Beijing and Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

The carriage can accommodate 14 passengers through its combination of two single ensuite bedrooms, two double bedrooms with a shared hand sink, and two four-person rooms - all featuring complimentary toiletries and towels.

The mobile-winery project is the brainchild of the Ningxia bureau of grape industry development, while the China Railway Lanzhou Group operates the service.

Two hundred journalists from around the country have been invited to experience the project over the course of August. It'll then run as a passenger service for the next three years, according to the project's coordinator, Yang Yang.

"We have a separate kitchen in the carriage, and we invite chefs from different wineries in the Helan Mountains' East Foothill Wine Region to take turns to cook for the passengers," says Yang.

Sommeliers pair wines with the dishes and pass on their wine knowledge to the passengers.

"After the train arrives in Yinchuan the next morning, the passengers can visit the vineyards in the region, pick grapes and sample different wines," says Yang.

The Helan Mountains' East Foothill Wine Region was recognized as a national geographical-indication protection-product area by the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in 2002.

In 2013, the region launched its first winery classification system to improve the regulation of the production of quality wines in China.

The area now has 86 wineries growing grapes over some 38,000 hectares with an annual production of about 100,000 tons of wine. The wineries have created about 120,000 job opportunities and attract more than 400,000 tourists each year.

Shao Qingsong, a winemaker at Lilan Winery, says Ningxia is an ideal location for grape growing. "We don't have much rain in Ningxia, and if we need water, we can transfer it from the Yellow River," says Shao.

Lilan Winery is located in Yuanlong village in Minning town, 30 kilometers southwest of Yinchuan, in the heart of the Helan Mountains' East Foothill Wine Region.

The water from the Yellow River is rich in organic matter that benefits the grapes, and the soil releases an energy at night that helps the fruit mature.

"We make our own organic fertilizer to use on our grapes instead of using chemical ones, which helps to lower costs while increasing the quality," says Shao.

Unlike other wine regions, the grapevines in Ningxia have to be buried in the soil in winter and dug up again the following spring to prevent them from dying in the extreme and arid conditions. Shao and his teammates are working on creating ways to tackle this problem moving forward.

"From our 107-hectare area for grape growing, we can produce about 500 tons of grapes, which can be made into about 400,000 bottles of wine," says Shao. "We are now selling our wines to France and England."

Shao believes Ningxia is capable of producing highlevel wines, but it needs time to improve. "If you plant grape seeds this year, you will only get grapes that are good enough to make quality wine five years later. Our winery has only been producing wines for three years, so there is still some way to go."

Set up in 1997, Chateau Hedong does not suffer from the same problem. Their vineyards have more established vines, some of which date back more than a century.

After taking over the winery in 2010, owner Gong Jie studied business administration at Tsinghua University to learn more about how to manage his vineyards.

"I used to be in the mining business, so I had to learn about making wines from scratch," says Gong. "But life has been getting steadily better since I started to work with the local farmers to develop the soil, from the first shoots of spring to the harvest in autumn.

"The government is also supporting us by rewarding winemakers with 500,000 yuan ($72,600) for every award they win at the most-influential wine competitions. So far, we have won three."

Gong is building a "wine town" alongside his winery, which he hopes will be a AAAA-level tourism site. (AAAAA is the highest national designation.) By offering classes about vini-culture and setting up a comfortable hotel, Gong hopes tourists will stay longer at his vineyard and learn more about his wine.

"Each day we have to limit the number of tourists visiting our winery to around 200, because more people in the wine cellar could affect the temperature and quality of our wine," says Gong.

Most wineries in the eastern foothills region also operate as tourism sites.

The region is now working with a cruise company to build a winery on a ship, as well as a train.

The Ningxia wine region was included in The New York Times' "46 Places To Go" list in 2013, as "the local government has reclaimed desert-like expanses, irrigated them profusely, planted them with cabernet sauvignon and merlot and started a campaign to transform this rugged backwater into China's answer to Bordeaux".

So now, for the price of a train ticket, wine lovers can embark on an odyssey of discovery - sampling the tastes of Ningxia's wine country along the way - to take in the European style of Chateau Changyu Moser XV or the traditional Chinese desert architecture of Yuanshi Vineyard.

 

Visitors can board an overnight luxury-rail service between Beijing and Yinchuan to visit vineyards and chateaus in the Helan Mountains' East Foothill Wine Region in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region for the new mobile winery project. Photos by Li Yingxue / China Daily and Provided to China Daily

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA[Izu Yasaimura opens new brunch outlet in Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781438.htm Izu Yasaimura, a pioneer in pairing hotpot with sashimi, unlimited sushi and Japanese desserts in Beijing, recently launched its seventh brunch place in the capital, after its first foray abroad - a brunch outlet in Sydney in May.

The latest Beijing outlet, a Japanese-style hotpot sukiyaki buffet, created by Japanese interior designer Ryota Kotani, is spare but exquisite.

Ten soup bases are available, including the most popular sukiyaki, which uses a traditional Japanese recipe that requires carefully stewing of 13 vegetables and grilled marrow bone for at least seven hours.

Sukiyaki's fresh, sweet and mellow flavor is a delight to the taste buds.

Collagen soybean milk is another favorite because it brings out the freshness of the vegetables, as Izu Yasaimura uses collagen from deep-sea fish believed to benefit people's skin.

The other broth flavors are kelp, tomato, miso, tangy curry, Japanese-style spicy and Taiwan-style wulao spicy.

For the meat selection, Izu Yasaimura has two kinds of beef from Australia - high rib and shoulder - besides mutton and pork shoulder, all served in square boxes.

According to Tommy Song, general manager of its Sydney brunch, diners at Izu Yasaimura consumed over 100 tons of beef last year.

"All our beef is carefully selected - we only choose meat with even patterns and a bright red color," says Song.

A sushi-and-sashimi platter is served alongside the hotpot, featuring thick cuts of Norwegian salmon among other delicacies.

Seasonal snacks include lotus with linseed oil and needle mushrooms with crisp bamboo shoots.

 

The Japanese-style hotpot in Izu Yasaimura offers various broths, vegetables and meat selections. Provided to China Daily

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781437.htm Lots in store for oyster fans

Oyster Talks, one of the first restaurants in Beijing to focus only on the mollusk, brings in more than 20 different types from abroad by air each day. For Chinese Valentine's Day, or Qixi, on Aug 17, chef Simon Chan has designed a special set menu for 1,280 yuan ($186) per person, including three French oysters.

4th Stand, Workers' Stadium, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6552-6065.

Master prepares Japanese feast

Midorikawa, which is named after Japanese master chef Midorikawa Yoshiteru, who has 40 years of experience, has offered top-class sushi in Beijing since 2009. Midorikawa always finds the best ways to cut and season the ingredients based on their condition. Each day, Midorikawa cooks according to the ingredients and guests' choices. But for Chinese Valentine's Day, he has a special menu (1,999 yuan for two people), including a bottle of plum wine, grilled wagyu beef, sashimi, sushi, boiled abalone and wasabi octopus.

No 4 Gongtibeilu, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6416-4861.

Lovers can enjoy ice-cream treat

Pantry's Best is serving a special cake gelato called "Coronation of Love" for Chinese Valentine's Day. The cake comprises ice cream balls decorated with fondant daisies arranged to look like a crown of love. The ice cream flavors are blackberry, raspberry, green apple, peach, strawberry, mango and milk. The milk ice cream has strawberry crispy rice, and the cake base is adorned with fresh sweet-and-sour cherry puree.

92-93, 3rd Floor, Ritan Shangjie, No 39 Shenlu Street, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8562-6670.

Anniversary special offered

As Hilton Beijing Wangfujing marks its 10-year anniversary, its Chinese restaurant, Chynna, has two special menus from executive chef Wang Hao. They include popular dishes from the past 10 years, such as Chynna Peking Duck; Grilled Tan sheep from Yanchi in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region; handmade noodles with Australian beef; three-time grilled steak; and chocolate cake.

8 Wangfujing East Street, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-5812-8888.

China Daily

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA[ADAPTING TO A NEW IDIOM]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781436.htm China Idiom Stories is one of the most popular shows produced by the China National Theatre for Children. Launched in 2014, each production in the series features three short plays based on traditional Chinese idioms.

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Beijing is due to host a major international summit for children's theater managers and artists, Chen Nan reports.

China Idiom Stories is one of the most popular shows produced by the China National Theatre for Children. Launched in 2014, each production in the series features three short plays based on traditional Chinese idioms.

On August 18 and 19, the Children's Theatre of Charlotte, a theater company from the United States, will perform their own version of the latest edition of the China Idiom Stories at the China Children's Theatre Festival in Beijing.

Ten US student actors will perform in three plays: Ban Men Nong Fu (Show Off Axe Skills Before Lu Ban, the Master Carpenter), Dong Shi Xiao Pin (Ugly Dong Shi Apes the Famous Beauty) and Ye Gong Hao Long (Lord Ye Loves Dragons). One of the pieces, Dong Shi Xiao Pin, will see the overseas actors perform in Mandarin.

"Chinese idioms, or cheng yu in Chinese, usually contain four Chinese characters. They are mostly born from ancient Chinese literature and tell traditional Chinese stories, which are usually moral tales," says director Yang Cheng, who is also the director of the Chinese version of the latest China Idiom Stories. The 37-year-old director who graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, joined the China National Theatre for Children in 2004. Yang spent two months at the Children's Theatre of Charlotte last year as part of a cultural exchange program organized by the China National Theatre for Children.

"When the American student actors learned the Chinese idioms and brought those stories alive onstage, it was a process of learning traditional Chinese culture," Yang says. "These stories are simple and easy to understand. The American students worked very hard on learning Mandarin during the 18-day rehearsals before we came to Beijing."

Thomas Kejin Huo, who is 15 years old, plays the role of painter Fan in the piece, Dong Shi Xiao Pin. Born in the United States to a Chinese immigrant family, Huo joined the Children's Theatre of Charlotte eight years ago as an amateur actor.

"My parents speak Cantonese. Mandarin is new language to me," says Huo in Beijing. "I practiced the way painter Fan walks and speaks. He is an artist and he greatly admires the beauty of Xi Shi."

Huo adds that he has watched Chinese movies by Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow, but ancient Chinese stories were something quite new to him.

"It's an interesting way to learn about Chinese culture and the country where my family came from," he says.

Will Joseph, 15, plays the role of Lord Ye in the play, Ye Gong Hao Long. He joined the theater nine years ago also as an amateur actor.

"All of the three plays in the China Idiom Stories are comedies. I like comedy and these stories are short and simple, yet dramatic," says Joseph. "I had never learned Mandarin or read Chinese idioms before. It's been amazing."

According to Michelle Long, education director for the Children's Theatre of Charlotte, she first came to Beijing along with the theater group in 2016 to take part in the sixth annual China Children's Theatre Festival held in the capital. Since then, the two theaters have built up connections and now plan to co-produce a play.

"It's about exploring language and the culture. The director has stayed with us and answered the actors' questions about the play, which has been very helpful," says Long. "The ways of thinking and acting are quite different in the two cultures. The process is progressive. We perform one piece as our own adaptation, then we perform one piece in English as a literal translation from the Chinese. We perform the final piece in Mandarin."

The Junior League of Charlotte established the Children's Theatre of Charlotte in 1948. It is now home to a fully professional touring company, which has traveled across North and South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia, and offers a wide range of education programs.

The performance of the Chinese Idiom Stories by the Children's Theatre of Charlotte will open the annual artistic gathering of the ASSITEJ, the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People, which will be held in China for the first time in the capital from August 18 to 24.

One of the largest international delegations of artists, theater managers and children's theater researchers - around 500 people from 46 countries - will gather in the capital for the event. According to Yin Xiaodong, head of the China National Theatre for Children, 17 productions from 10 countries, including China, the US and Poland, will be staged in more than 50 performances in Beijing.

Besides the many live performances on offer, many theater workshops, seminars and dialogue sessions will also take place, exploring issues such as exchange programs, developing child acting talent and enhancing creativity in youth theater.

 

American student Will Joseph is a student actor of the Children's Theatre of Charlotte, which will perform during the China Children's Theatre Festival in Beijing. Photos by Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA[Shanghai event showcases China's progress in ballet]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/17/content_36781435.htm The recently concluded 6th Shanghai International Ballet Competition showcased the progress that Chinese ballet has achieved over the past few decades.

The competition, which took place at the Shanghai International Dance Center from Aug 3 to 11, featured 95 dancers from 15 countries and regions.

Chinese dancer Shi Yue, 22, from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada and Ao Dingwen, 24, a ballerina from the Liaoning Ballet, won gold in the senior division; while 17-year-old Li Siyi, also a ballerina from the Liaoning Ballet, took gold in the junior division.

The top prize, the grand prix, however, was not awarded this year.

This year, 40 overseas dancers featured in the quarterfinals that took place in Shanghai over Aug 3-11, and 45 of the 95 contestants had previously won international awards for dancing.

Shi, for example, was a student at the school attached to Liaoning Ballet when he won a prize at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2014.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the oldest ballet company in Canada, then offered him a job, and he is now a second soloist with the company.

Speaking about his award, he says that winning in Shanghai was like "an affirmation for my future, and testimony to my improvement".

Shi aims to be a principal dancer at the Canadian company. Eventually he hopes to become an international star like his idol Daniil Simkin, a principal with the American Ballet Theatre.

Speaking about Chinese dancers, he says they have outstanding technique, but they need to work on their artistic expression and performance skills.

Frank Anderson, the former artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet, was chairman of the jury this year, which comprised established ballet dancers, ballet company leaders and officials from other international ballet competitions.

Anderson has been following Chinese ballet for the past 23 years. And there was a time when he believed that Chinese dancers were the "best-kept secret" on the international ballet scene, but now things have changed, he said.

"Now Chinese dancers are being invited ... to go abroad. They learn a lot of things, get knowledge, experience and know-how.

"Then they return to China, and they pass on their experience to the next generation."

He also says he found that Chinese dancers at the competition were bringing to the stage a lot of the things that they had learned from the West.

"It is wonderful to see that they are taking the tradition of Western classical ballet, and using it as a language for Chinese ballet.

"They have integrated the Western ballet tradition into the ballets they produce today, even those with revolutionary themes."

Anderson and his colleagues judged the dancers on talent, potential, musicality, artistry, and most importantly, whether they were dancing with heart.

One of the jury members, Andris Liepa, a former principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia, says that the jury was looking at more than just the 50-second performance of the contestants.

"We wanted to see a role and use the dancer later on in a company, or in a production. Such is the difference between art and sport," he says.

Liepa, who has judged the SIBC in two consecutive events, says he found that the level of the dancers had improved this time, especially the Chinese dancers.

"They were jumping higher, and doing the pirouettes better. However, we haven't had a personality," he says, explaining why the top prize was not awarded this year.

"When you have a strong personality, it just knocks you down," Liepa explains.

"The audience, the jury and the competitors, they all realize that he or she beats everyone. There will be no discussion."

But finding such a personality is often a matter of luck, he says.

"Maybe one will show up at an event in Beijing, or maybe next year."

 

Chinese ballerina Li Siyi takes gold in the junior division of the 6th Shanghai International Ballet Competition. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-08-17 07:45:17
<![CDATA[Here's wishing the first space tourists many happy returns]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777017.htm I am old enough to have witnessed, at an impressionable age, the moment when the evolution from dog to chimpanzee to man orbiting the Earth occurred, when "reaching for the stars" went from a figurative to a literal pursuit.

To this day I am haunted by the sad plight of Laika the space dog, who was sent into orbit (but never returned) just days before I officially became an earthling.

I could not have imagined, while watching on live TV as Neil Armstrong placed his oversized boot onto the surface of the moon, that even I could one day buy a ticket to venture into space.

But that day is rapidly approaching, possibly within the next year, according to front-runners in this new space race. A few fortunate "space tourists", yours truly not likely to be among them, will go where no common man or woman has gone before (and, we hope, will fare better than poor Laika).

Thrilling though the prospect is, there's a small detail about one such plan for space tourism that might give pause. But more on that in a moment.

First, it's lamentable that tickets for the inaugural space tourism trips will probably be snapped up by rich customers seeking to boost their bragging rights.

Wouldn't it be a far nobler way to mark such a grand occasion if, instead of sending the pampered elite skyward for a joy ride, we filled the spaceship with promising creative minds who, upon their presumed return, could reap a rich harvest of the imagination?

What might happen, for example, if the likes of a Stephen Hawking or a William Blake, the English poet of yesteryear who argued that imagination IS existence, were among those first few lucky rocket riders? Maybe as they floated giddily against the backdrop of the galaxy, they'd have ideas that could jump-start how we view our own small world.

A tantalizing thought, but there's still that little glitch mentioned earlier.

To wit, among those jumping aboard the space tourism bandwagon is the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, where, according to a recent China Daily report, engineers are "designing a new spacecraft to send anyone willing to pay $200,000 to $250,000 on a suborbital journey to get a magnificent view of the stars and experience weightlessness".

A mere half-hour flight aboard the reusable spacecraft envisioned by the Chinese academy will reach an altitude of more than 100 kilometers, offering around 20 lucky (and presumably wealthy) travelers the adventure of a lifetime. So what's not to like?

The devil, as they say, is in the detail: The spacecraft will operate without a pilot or controllers aboard. No comforting voice from the cockpit saying, "So sit back and enjoy your flight". No one to heroically steer the ship back on course if, say, it inexplicably makes a beeline for Betelgeuse.

Then again, I'm American, and we're not so trusting yet of autonomous vehicles, big or small. According to a survey by AAA, 73 percent of US drivers say they would dread riding in a self-driving vehicle, up from 63 percent late last year.

Chinese, on the other hand - who presumably would be the target customers for these autopilot space flights - are increasingly confident of such technology. A recent Deloitte study found that 74 percent of Chinese consumers expressed full confidence in the safety of autonomous vehicles, compared with 38 percent last year.

But those surveys regarded cars operating on terra firma. For a good number of people, getting comfortable aboard an autonomous spaceship hurtling toward the stars might require not just one small step for a man (or woman), but a giant leap of faith for mankind.

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2018-08-16 07:34:43
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777016.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy.

An item from Aug 15, 1984, in China Daily showed tourists taking a break after sailing on Nanhu Lake in Yueyang, Hunan province.

Founded by 20 locals from Yueyang, the Nanhu Tourism Service Co was one of the first private tour companies in China, providing tourists with fishing boats and yachts.

With more Chinese willing to pack their bags and travel within the country, village tourism is becoming a new trend.

Last year, about 2.5 billion visitors went to the countryside, spending a total of 1.4 trillion yuan ($203 billion), according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

To boost countryside tourism, the cental authorities allocated a total of 550 billion yuan in improving rural facilities, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Thanks to the policy support and surging investment, many villages are becoming tourist magnets, boosting their economies.

More than 12 million rural people are expected to benefit through village-themed tourism before 2020, according to the ministry.

China has 14 regions classified as poverty-stricken, including the mountainous Liupanshan region in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region. A major attraction of the area is the lifestyles of the Hui ethnic group - they live in compact communities with pristine environments and a rich cultural heritage.

As countryside tourism booms, officials are also trying to balance economic development with heritage preservation.

They are planning to train 1,000 villagers every year before 2020 to work in the industry.

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2018-08-16 07:34:43
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777015.htm China Daily takes you on a tour of 3D museum

The 3D Printing Cultural Museum in Baoshan district, Shanghai, is the country's first museum highlighting that technology. The museum, which opened last year, houses thousands of exhibits manufactured using 3D printing technology, as well as various interactive facilities. Baoshan district was once renowned for its heavy industry.

Teen recites 127 poems in five minutes

He Liran, 13, recently became a household name for reciting 127 poems with the character hua (flower) in five minutes on a TV show. The high-school student, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, said her love of poetry helped her to face 100 contestants on the TV show and win the competition. She has a broad range of interests, such as dancing and playing pipa, the Chinese lute.

Goose receives 'admission letter' from university

A goose went viral on social media after Shanghai Maritime University agreed to take it. On Aug 10, its owner asked the university via its Weibo account if could accommodate the bird, named Gugu, as she would like to move to a new home. The university replied that it would like to have poultry on campus and pledged to take good care of it, along with others it is looking after. Netizens applauded the move and even helped design an "admission letter" for it. The university has set up a Sina Weibo account for its adopted geese, and it has more than 6,000 followers.

Check more posts online.

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2018-08-16 07:34:43
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777014.htm Society: Twin brothers admitted to MIT

Twin brothers - Dong Zhihuan and Dong Zhiyu, 23, made headlines recently as they share several similarities in their academic prowess. Both graduated from Shanghai's Fudan University and will continue their studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on full scholarships. Their father said that they displayed a talent for science and engineering since they were children. He also noted that he has never forced them to study anything they are not interested in.

Culture: Old Summer Palace to be researched

A center for researching Yuanmingyuan has been established at the China Agricultural University in Beijing. Yuanmingyuan, also known as the Old Summer Palace, was a resort for Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors and their courts in the early 18th century, until it was sacked and burned by invading Anglo-French forces in 1860. Covering an area of about 350 hectares, it was considered to be the greatest examples of Chinese gardens and horticulture. The new institution will combine expertise from the university's College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering and College of Horticulture, providing in-depth studies on the landscape gardening, vegetation and water ecology. The project will help to improve the maintenance of the site's historical heritage and natural environment.

Film: Disney releases photo of Liu as Mulan

Disney ramped up the excitement for the long-awaited live-action Mulan film by releasing the first official photo of actress Liu Yifei, who stars as the famed warrior princess. The film will be based on the 1998 animated film of the same name about a woman in ancient China who disguises herself to take her father's place in the army. Liu stood out from the nearly 1,000 candidates who auditioned for the role. The film is set to hit the big screen in 2020.

People: A 38-year labor of love pays dividends

In the past 38 years, Gao Jijie has helped 3,530 people find the right partner and he has never charged anyone for this labor of love. "In the 1980s, I noticed that lots of my colleagues didn't have a boyfriend or girlfriend although they had reached marriage age," said Gao, 67, a retired railway worker in Harbin, Heilongjiang province. "So I began my second job as a matchmaker." After retirement in 2006, he became a full-time matchmaker.

Travel: Asia's largest yacht sails for Monaco

Asia's largest yacht Illusion Plus set sail from its home port of Yantai, Shandong province, for Monaco via Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Sunday. Built by Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore Limited, Illusion Plus is 88.5 meters long and 15.4 meters wide. The six-deck yacht has a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 17 knots. According to the shipbuilder, the luxury yacht can be operated by a single person.

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2018-08-16 07:34:43
<![CDATA[经典外文好书(上)]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777013.htm 中国日报双语新闻

暑假已经过去一个月啦,双语君带大家浏览下经典外文好书,做个爱学习的乖宝宝吧!

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

The world's most popular detective-Sherlock Holmes. Elementary, you could say.

夏洛克·福尔摩斯是世界上最有名的侦探,可以说在人们心中树立了侦探的基本形象。

The book is the very foundation stone of crime fiction.

《夏洛克·福尔摩斯全集》为犯罪推理小说的创作奠定了基础。

Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Bronte

This first-person narrative goes through five distinct stages.

《简·爱》以第一人称的叙述方式讲述了女主人公人生的五个阶段。

The novel provides perspectives on a number of important social issues and ideas, many of which are critical of the status quo.

这部小说针砭时弊,对当时的许多社会问题和人们的思想意识提出了独到的见解。

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Stephen Chbosky

The novel details the main character Charlie's unconventional style of thinking as he navigates between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood.

《壁花少年》刻画了主人公查理从青春期过渡到成年期所产生的各种奇思妙想。

The book attempts to deal with poignant questions spurred by interactions with both his friends and family.

作者试图帮助查理解决与朋友和家人相处中产生的尖锐矛盾。

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro

This dystopian science fiction novel revolves around the close but complicated friendship and romantic relationship between Kathy, Ruth and Tommy.

《别让我走》是一部反乌托邦科幻小说。它讲述了凯西、露丝和汤米三人复杂的友谊及爱情故事。

Into the Wild

By Jon Krakauer

In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness.

1992年4月,一名家境优渥的年轻人一路搭车来到阿拉斯加,只身闯入荒野。这就是《荒野生存》讲述的故事。

He abandoned most of his possessions, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.

他抛弃了财物,开启了超脱物外的新生活。但是四个月后,打鹿的猎人却发现了他已经腐烂的尸体。

Walden

By Henry David Thoreau

Walden is Thoreau's autobiographical account of his Robinson Crusoe existence.

《瓦尔登湖》是梭罗的自传体散文,也被看作梭罗版的《鲁滨逊漂流记》。

Quiet

By Susan Cain

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

《内向的力量》不仅颠覆了我们对内向者的看法,也完全颠覆了内向者对自己的认知。

It does mean that solitude matters and that for some people it is the air that they breathe.

它揭示了独处的重要意义。对于一些人来说,独处就像是必不可少的空气。

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By Stieg Larsson

This book is a psychological thriller novel about a publisher and journalist named Blomkvist.

《龙纹身的女孩》是一部心理惊悚小说,讲了记者兼出版商布隆克维斯特的遭遇。

After losing a libel case he was ordered to pay hefty costs but is then offered a huge sum of money by entrepreneur Henrik Vanger to find his missing grand niece.

由于在一场诽谤案中败诉,他被判了高额赔偿金。此时一位大企业家亨利·范耶尔突然找上门来,开出不可思议的天价,请他寻找自己失踪的侄孙女。

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

By Cheryl Strayed

This novel is a memoir by US author Cheryl Strayed and reached No 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

《走出荒野》曾荣登《时代周刊》畅销书榜首,是美国作家谢丽尔·斯特雷德的自传体回忆录。

The book described her 1,800-kilometer hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 as a journey of self-discovery.

此书讲了1995年作者徒步1800公里的太平洋山脊步道的自我发现之旅。

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2018-08-16 07:34:43
<![CDATA[Local heroes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777012.htm US comic book giant Marvel has launched its first two Chinese-superhero comics, Sword Master and Aero. They feature art by Guangzhou-based artist, Gunji. Xu Fan reports.

While most of the stories that Marvel has told during its 79 years center around larger-than-life superheroes, the company's long-standing principle - which reflects that of founder Stan Lee - is that the settings and characters in the Marvel universe, for the most part, should reflect the world outside fans' windows.

Now, that window has opened a little wider to include China, a relatively young market for Western, adult-oriented comic content.

The comic-book giant released its first two Chinese superhero comics, Sword Master and Aero, under the stewardship of NetEase Comics in May.

To date, the two tales, which are rooted in Chinese myth but depict the country's modern urban life, have accumulated 32 million and 20 million "clicks", respectively.

Chen Xiaoyun, who's perhaps better known by her pseudonym, Gunji, recalls the "incredible" feeling she experienced when she was asked to participate in the creation of Sword Master, in an email interview with China Daily.

"It was a regular day, and I was busy drawing drafts of Guiyi Qitan (The Collection of Weird Things, an online comic series about supernatural creatures like mermaids and a man who transforms into a dog). Surprisingly, I got a call from an editor at NetEase, who asked if I would be willing to draw a Chinese-superhero story for Marvel," recalls Gunji.

Feeling excited, but anxious, she agreed to take the new job, which has breathed fresh life into the artist, who jokes that her record for staying home without going out is more than a month.

In the past, the Guangzhou-based artist would finish a comic on her own, doing all the work from start to finish, including writing, storyboarding, drawing the panel images and uploading the new content online.

Sword Master, however, relies a lot more heavily on teamwork.

After collaborating and finalizing the plotline with her editor and the scriptwriter, Shui Zhu, Gunji draws drafts and sends every new chapter to Marvel. She then has to wait for the United States-based team members to agree on the plan.

Besides the language barrier, the time difference also adds challenges. Drawing the comics consumes a lot more time than her usual work.

Inspired by ancient myths about Fu Xi, Nyu Wa and Shen Nong - three ancient demigods, who emerged from chaos to bring civilization to Chinese tribes - Sword Master centers on the fictional role of Lin Lie, a chosen hero who is a descendant of Fu Xi.

Lin is the son of an archaeologist. He discovers an ancient artifact that gives him incredible powers but also unwittingly unleashes an evil tied to his own family's past.

"If we want to create a Chinese superhero, we have to explore our own history and culture deeply. That's how the Sword Master tale was spawned," explains Gunji.

"The core of the work is built on highlighting Chinese elements. It reflects normal, everyday Chinese life and the look of our rapidly evolving cities, as well as the trendy pastimes enjoyed by Chinese youngsters," adds the artist, who was born in the 1980s and is a graduate of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.

She says she hopes the work will act as a window into China for overseas comic-book fans and will help them learn more about, and update their views of, this fast-developing country.

Speaking about the reason Marvel picked her for the role, the cartoonist attributes much of the credit to her 10-volume comic series, Paomian Chaoren (Instant-Noodle Superman).

Published between 2009 and 2010, the series revolves around a boy who can possess super powers after eating the eponymous food. As one of China's first superhero-themed comics, Paomian Chaoren won a Golden Dragon Award, the top honor at the China Animation & Comic Competition, in 2012.

Gunji is a fan of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange and Captain America. Her knowledge of Marvel superheroes comes mainly from the company's cinematic universe.

Over the past 10 years, 19 Marvel films were imported to Chinese-mainland theaters and raked in nearly 13 billion yuan ($1.9 billion).

"I'm really looking forward to the day when I might see the characters that come from my pen appear on the big screen to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with other Marvel superheroes," says Gunji.

The second of the two series, Aero, recounts the story of an architect, who possesses the ability to control air currents. Along with Sword Master, an English language version of the comic series will be published in the US next spring.  

 

 

Sword Master, which is rooted in Chinese mythology, is one of Marvel's first two Chinese-superhero comic series. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

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2018-08-16 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Shark thriller stands out in sea of new releases]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777011.htm NEW YORK - Adding to Hollywood's sizzling summer, the shark thriller The Meg opened well above expectations with an estimated $44.5 million in ticket sales, while Spike Lee had his best debut in a decade.

The Meg had been forecast by some analysts for closer to half that total. An American-Chinese coproduction between Warner Bros and China's Gravity Pictures, it also debuted well overseas, taking in $50.3 million in China and totaling $96.8 million internationally, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

With an international cast led by Jason Statham and featuring Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson and Winston Chao, The Meg cost at least $130 million to make.

Following hits like The Shallows and 47 Meters Down, the shark movie - 43 years after Steven Spielberg's Jaws - has been showing surprising bite at the box office.

Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros, says late summer was ideal timing for The Meg.

"This was a fun, dumb popcorn movie that just looked interesting to the public everywhere around the world," Goldstein says.

"We dug our heels in and said: This is the right time to go. The last movie, as kids are going back to school, all the big blockbusters have played off. We're in a space by ourselves."

Traditionally a sleepy time at the box office, August has helped cement a comeback summer for the movie business. Weekend business was up 25 percent from last year, and the summer is up 11.3 percent, according to comScore.

For Warner Bros, which on Wednesday released the highly touted Crazy Rich Asians, The Meg is the studio's best opening this year, besting even Spielberg's own Ready Player One.

After two weeks at No 1, Mission: Impossible - Fallout slid to second place in its third weekend with $20 million. The Paramount Pictures release starring Tom Cruise has pulled in $162 million in three weeks.

Lee's critically acclaimed BlacKkKlansman also opened strongly with $10.8 million in 1,512 theaters.

The Focus Features release, which took the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in May, was timed to the anniversary of the violent clashes between white nationalists and anti-racism counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Lee's film, produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out), is a true-life tale of African-American police detective Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington, son of Denzel), who in 1979 infiltrated a Colorado Springs, Colorado, cell of the Ku Klux Klan.

"The anniversary of Charlottesville was something that was very key to Spike," says Lisa Bunnell, Focus' president of distribution. "It's obviously a very emotional film that reflects the times. When audiences respond to that, it's what cinema is all about. The state of the country is such that we're all feeling really conflicted and alone. This movie is a call to action, and a movie that brings people together."

It's Lee's best debut since 2006's Inside Man.

Sony Screen Gem's PG-13-rated Slender Man didn't catch on the way some horror releases have this year. The film's 15 percent "rotten" Rotten Tomatoes rating probably didn't help. Audiences also gave it a seldom-seen D-minus CinemaScore. But with a $10 million budget, the tale of an internet-famous boogeyman has a quick path to profitability for Sony.

But the overall box office continues to be a roll, one that could continue next week with the landmark Crazy Rich Asians.

"People are loving going to the movies right now, and I think the diversity of the content is really fueling a lot of enthusiasm," says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for com-Score. "There are so many different types of movies that you can see from every genre, for every audience."

Associated Press

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2018-08-16 07:34:22
<![CDATA[The Italian job]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777010.htm As Hong Kong's answer to the enduring James Bond franchise, the third Raiders movie sees Tony Leung Chiu-wai team up with Kris Wu for a new mission, Xu Fan reports.

For many fans of Hong Kong cinema, Tony Leung Chiu-wai was born to be an actor whose "eyes can speak".

But the top performer, who has earned five best actor prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards and taken three top honors at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, is recognized for more than just action.

 

Awards-winning actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai (right) teams up with Kris Wu, a fashion icon followed by 34 million fans on Sina Weibo, in the upcoming action comedy Europe Raiders. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

That makes the upcoming action-packed comedy Europe Raiders something of a surprise.

In the new film - the third installment of the 18-year-old hit Raiders franchise - Leung reprises the lead role of Lam, a secret agent who has free reign to engage in any type of law enforcement he chooses.

Co-starring in the film with singer-actor Kris Wu, actress Tang Yan and model-turned-actress Du Juan, the latest flick directed by Hong Kong veteran Jingle Ma Chor-sing is set to open across mainland theaters on Friday.

"My character will take on the rival CIA in Italy," said Leung, with a smile at a promotional event in Beijing on Monday.

Centering around a powerful high-tech device that can control satellites in outer space, the new film, which was shot predominantly in Milan, Venice, Rome and Florence, follows a team of special agents led by Leung's character who try to prevent an evil scheme from unfolding in Europe.

Leung, 56, recalls how he had to shoot a lot of action sequences for the film.

During one scene set in a snowfield, he was wrapped in a thick ski suit that had around 7,000 LED lights set into it before he was filmed crashing through a giant glass window.

"Some sections of the electrical circuit were wrongly connected and overheated, burning a hole through to my underwear. It was pretty sore - I could even smell smoke," recalls Leung.

In another sequence filmed on location in Italy that featured a rooftop chase and fight, actors had to jump from building to building.

"Many of the stunts were pretty dangerous. We had to practice them over and over again to get the best effect," says Leung.

Tang, who stars as a special agent who has a crush on Leung's character, faced similar challenges. She traveled to Europe two months ahead of filming to receive firearms training and to practice high-wire stunts.

In what might come as a surprise to fans, fashion icon and pop idol Wu - who has over 34 million followers on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo - plays a role quite unlike his normal onstage persona.

Something of a nerd but also a genius hacker, Wu's character is the creator of the satellite-controlled device which they call the "hand of God".

For the director, Ma's biggest challenge was to bring a fresh approach to the movie in an market that is dominated by special effects-laden blockbusters.

Traveling to Europe on at least seven occasions, Ma finally settled on Italy as a location in the hope that the country's picturesque scenery and historic sites would provide the ideal backdrop to attract new audiences.

But one key chase scene in the film, which cost more than $1 million to make, was actually shot in the United States' northwestern state of Alaska, adds Ma.

Originally planned as Hong Kong's answer to the enduring James Bond franchise, Ma's Raiders series began in 2000 with the first Tokyo Raiders installment, the second highest-grossing film in Hong Kong that year, followed by Seoul Raiders in 2005.

The latest installment of the franchise will face some stiff competition at the Chinese box office as it faces off with seven other new releases scheduled for Friday, including Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.

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2018-08-16 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Zhang Yimou to receive top honor]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/16/content_36777009.htm ROME - Celebrated Chinese director Zhang Yimou will receive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award at this year's Venice Film Festival, organizers announced recently.

The prize is dedicated to "a figure who has left a particularly original mark on contemporary cinema", the statement said.

The award will be conferred on Zhang on Sept 6, before the world premiere of his new film Ying (Shadow), a martial arts movie about the conflict between two feudal groups in China during the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280).

The director, who was born in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, in 1950, has won the Venice Golden Lion twice: in 1992 with The Story of Qiu Ju - which also garnered Gong Li a Coppa Volpi prize for best actress - and in 1999 with Not One Less.

He also won a Silver Lion in 1991 for Raise the Red Lantern.

"Zhang Yimou is not only one of the most important directors in contemporary cinema, but with his eclectic productions he has represented the evolution of the global language of film, and at the same time, the exceptional growth of Chinese cinema," Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera said in a statement.

"Zhang Yimou has been a pioneer thanks to his capacity to translate authors, stories and the richness of Chinese culture in general into a unique and unmistakable visual style."

Barbera cited the Chinese master's "talent in combining the elegance of form with a universal type of narrative structure" and his "unforgettable debut", Red Sorghum, which was adapted from the writing of Nobel Prize-winning author Mo Yan, and which "brought him international recognition as one of the most important directors of the Fifth Generation (of Chinese filmmakers)".

Zhang Yimou is the only director to have won all the important prizes of the Venice Film Festival in less than 10 years, organizers said.

The festival now is its 75th edition, will run from Aug 29 to Sept 8.

Xinhua

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2018-08-16 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Chip labor]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766167.htm A restaurant in Shanghai has replaced its waiters with robots and, as digital payments via mobile phones already rival cash for many purchases in China, many more automated eateries are expected to open

The little robotic waiter wheels up to the table, raises its glass lid to reveal a steaming plate of local Shanghai-style crayfish and announces in low, mechanical tones, "Enjoy your meal."

The futuristic restaurant concept is the latest initiative in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's push to modernize service and retail in a country where robotics and artificial intelligence are increasingly being integrated into business.

 

A robotic waiter delivers a bowl of noodles to customers at a restaurant in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Zhang Xiuke / For China Daily

 

Raising efficiency and lowering labor costs are the objectives at Alibaba's Robot. He diners, where waiters have been replaced by robots about the size of microwave ovens, which roll around the dining room on table-high runways.

"In Shanghai, a waiter costs up to 10,000 yuan ($1,500) per month. That's hundreds of thousands in cost every year and two shifts of people are needed," said Cao Haitao, the Alibaba product manager who developed the concept.

"But we don't need two shifts for robots and they are on duty every day."

The diners are attached to Alibaba's new Hema chain of semi-automated supermarkets, where grocery shoppers fill their "carts" on a mobile app and have the merchandise brought to them at checkout via conveyor tracks on the ceiling, or delivered straight to their homes.

Alibaba now has 57 Hema markets in 13 Chinese cities, all of which will eventually feature the robotic restaurants.

Industry experts say they serve more as showcases of Alibaba's tech prowess than a serious business model in a country where labor costs are relatively low.

But the restaurants also typify the rapid adoption of new technologies in the country.

Automation nation

With digital payments via mobile phone already now rivaling cash for many purchases, growing numbers of pharmacies, bookstores and other retailers have dispensed with cashiers, allowing customers to order and pay for their desired merchandise, which is often handed over by a robot.

Alibaba's e-commerce rival JD.com has announced plans to open 1,000 restaurants by 2020 in which food will be prepared and served by robots.

JD.com and others are also working to incorporate airborne drones into their delivery networks.

The movement could help companies reduce costs as growth rates in China's e-commerce boom begin to plateau.

"Before, everyone was all going for rapid expansion. Now the growth is gone and everyone has to focus on improving their operations," said Jason Ding, a China retail expert with Bain & Company.

"Operation is all about cutting costs and providing better service.

"So these automated machine technologies, in the right place, can play a role there."

At Robot. He, customers book tables and order dishes via apps, and the diner's novelty often draws long queues.

Ma Yiwen, 33, brought nearly a dozen colleagues with her.

"We are all foodies and we use our lunchtimes to try good food near our office. The idea of a robot delivering food to our table is very innovative so we wanted to see it for ourselves," she said.

The restaurant says automation helps keep costs down, an additional lure for 20-year-old customer Ma Shenpeng, who comes once a week.

"Normally for two to three people, a meal costs about 300-400 yuan, but here, this table of food is just over 100 yuan," he said.

Chinese AI advocates predict robots will someday perform a range of mundane duties as living standards rise, from delivery to sweeping floors and providing companionship.

But it's a delicate issue for Chinese policymakers due to the potential for human job losses, and the government is in the midst of a long-term push to develop the country's service industry partly as a job creator, as manufacturing increasingly becomes mechanized.

Wang Hesheng, a robotics professor at Shanghai's Jiao Tong University, said the cost of robots remains too high for widespread consumer use and that many companies are merely jumping on the government's high-tech bandwagon.

However, Wang noted that the use of robotics could spread if China's labor costs continue to grow, concluding: "Maybe when labor costs rise higher and higher, robots will balance out humans".

Agence France-Presse

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2018-08-15 07:29:57
<![CDATA[China's AI industry set to post 75% growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766166.htm BEIJING - The market value of China's artificial intelligence industry reached 23.7 billion yuan (about $3.5 billion) in 2017, with the growth rate expected to reach 75 percent in 2018, according to a recent report.

Titled China's AI Development Report 2018, released by Tsinghua University, the report focuses on China's AI development regarding technology output, talent, market application and policies.

According to the report, China has become the most attractive country for AI investment and financing, with China accounting for 60 percent of the global total spending in that area from 2013 to the first quarter of 2018.

China published the largest number of AI-related research papers as well as ranking first in the number of AI-related patents applied for, most of which focus on AI application, the report said.

By the end of 2017, China had a talent pool of 18,232 people working in AI technology research, accounting for 8.9 percent of the world's total - second only to the United States, which accounted for 13.9 percent, said the report.

Xinhua

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2018-08-15 07:29:57
<![CDATA[Prince of fantasy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766165.htm An animated series adapted from Ma Boyong's popular novel, Beyond the Ocean, is set to capture the imagination of a new generation of fans, Wang Kaihao reports.

It is difficult to define which genre he belongs to - scifi, historical, adventure, fantasy, or even others. All these elements are usually found intertwined throughout his works.

Nicknamed "Prince" by his fans, author Ma Boyong is renowned for his skill in creating grand, majestic worlds in his novels.

The 38-year-old writer repeatedly insists he knows nothing but "how to write characters" during an interview with China Daily in Beijing on Aug 10. But his recent change of tack has shown that this "prince" is happy to embrace change and expand his horizons with his recent foray into animation.

An animated series adapted from his popular adventure novel, Beyond the Ocean - or Sihai Jingqi (riding whales across the seas) in Chinese - will be released on the video-streaming platform iQiyi on Aug 16, with new episodes airing each week.

"I grew up watching animations," Ma says.

"You can imagine how excited I was when my works were turned into animations for the first time.

"I even wanted to join the dubbing cast," he says with a giggle. "It's pity that the producers refused my offer and asked me to focus on what I do best."

The 3D series will also mark the maiden voyage of a Chinese animated production that centers around a naval battle.

The story, which is set in a fictional dynasty in ancient times, follows Jianwen, a timid crown prince who is haunted by his fear of being killed. He has an adventure with a group of whale riders, who undertake a journey in search of a lost, mythical Buddhist island.

Of course, he is accompanied by several maverick friends of different nationalities. He grows stronger through the long voyage, just like Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise or Monkey D. Luffy in the Japanese manga series, One Piece.

"Ancient China is traditionally known as a terrestrial civilization, which has led to many legends about our oceans being marginalized in our culture," Ma says. "I wrote the story because I wanted to create a chemistry between our terrestrial and maritime civilizations."

Internet origins

It will come as no surprise that the story translated readily into an online animated franchise, given that it was originally launched on the internet. Beyond the Ocean was initially released on Sina Weibo in 2016. It wasn't published in print until 2017.

The franchise has attracted more than 200 million clicks on the social-network platform to date.

"Chinese people are able to not only play supporting roles in Pirates of the Caribbean (like Sao Feng and Mistress Ching)," Ma says. "They can be heroes, who lead their own adventures."

When it comes to developing his ideas, Ma was keen to borrow any interesting cultural elements he could conceive of - whether from China or abroad, ancient or futuristic - to create the myriad hybrid worlds that occupy his books.

In his previous novels, he sent a fleet from China's Shang Dynasty (c.16th-11th century BC) to a rendezvous with the Mayan people of South America. He also playfully saw to it that the ancient Chinese inhabitants of Chang'an (today's Xi'an in Shaanxi province) rode underground dragons as part of their daily commute, just like taking the subway.

His unrestrained imagination has earned him a strong fan base among younger generations. An analysis of search engine Baidu's results shows that more than 40 percent of Ma's fans are ages 15 to 24.

Call to action

"To be popular with young people, a successful historical story has to easily connect with modern life," he says. "Jianwen was born into a royal family. He is indecisive and weak. He doesn't know what to do in the future.

"These problems also bother many young people today. I'll be glad if Jianwen can inspire them to find their own solutions."

Ma's knowledge of history is proven. Even though he is often labeled as a maverick, he won the People's Literature Award - one of China's highest and most orthodox book awards - in 2010, through his work exploring An Ode to the Goddess of Luo, a well-known poetic prose from the Three Kingdoms period (220-280).

In Beyond the Ocean, the lead role of Jianwen and its back-ground story make it easy for contemporary audiences to connect with the events of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In the early Ming era, the young Emperor Jianwen was overthrown by his uncle Zhu Di (later known as Emperor Yongle) in a civil war, but his whereabouts after the war remain a mystery.

One theory suggests that the reason Yongle sent mariner Zheng He on a long voyage overseas was to search for his long-lost nephew.

"But I can only say it's about ancient China," Ma says of his novel. "I will keep drawing a conscious line between actual historical events and my own fiction."

For example, many cultural elements from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) also get mixed into the plot of the book. In his story, Empress Wu Zetian built the Buddhist island.

"The purpose of my books is not to tell young people what happened and in which year, as you would in a history book," he says.

"Instead, I want to raise their interest in our traditional culture, like ancient music or hanfu (a form of traditional Chinese clothing dating back thousands of years)."

He cites the case of one reader, who was so inspired by the book that he felt compelled to study Zheng He's voyages in detail.

"He is now something of an expert on ancient Chinese ships," Ma says. "That's what I want. Readers should be inspired by the stories to study the real history behind them.

"And they will spread this knowledge through ways that are accessible to young people."

Ma says he is also confident about receiving positive feedback for the animated version of Beyond the Ocean. After all, he has been a kind of "animator" for a long time. The difference is that he "draws" through his use of highly descriptive words.

"My novels are often exaggerated fantasies," he explains. "I am always thinking that the power of words is sometimes limited, so people also need scenes with a strong visual impact."

Picture perfect

But it is no easy feat to turn a few words into a breathtaking 3D scene. And Ma jokes that he also worries his imagination had run too wild to be portrayed in simple pictures.

"Say I write 'The fleet blocks out the sky and the sun, and swarms over the horizon,' in the novel," he explains. "It may take a month's work to realize this one sentence on screen."

It took animators 15 months to make the first 12-episode season of Beyond the Ocean.

"It was really tough to make the first episode, for example," Liu Weicong, a co-director of the series, says. "I had to quickly introduce the characters to the story, make the details vivid and portray the big scenes from the novel all at once. But it's worthwhile to take on such a challenge."

Yang Xiaoxuan, vice-president of iQiyi in charge of animation, says that 15 months is a short time frame for adapting a story that contains such complex worlds. But she believes the end result is a meaningful attempt at raising the bar for production levels in the Chinese animation industry.

"We initially considered making it in the 2D format, but we finally chose 3D because we thought it was better to get the whole animation industry to adopt this technique," Yang says.

Although Beyond the Ocean was initially planned to run for two seasons, Yang aims to make more.

"If we want our own influential animation brand in China, we will have to make it a long-running franchise like Disney," she says.

Yang also says many derivative products will be developed after the animation is released as a way to promote traditional culture.

"Maybe our first highlight will be hanfu," she reveals.

As Ma is often hailed by the media as "one of the most lucrative authors in China", will he prolong cooperation with internet giants like iQiyi to make more tailored scripts for online viewers?

His answer is tactful: "Only if I really like what I write and if it really resonates with people.

"You never try to second-guess the commercial angle when you begin to write something. I will keep making my stories attractive. As for any follow-up plans, I'll leave that to Yang."

 

Scenes of the 3D animation, Beyond the Ocean, which follows Jianwen, a timid crown prince in a fictional dynasty, who's haunted by his fear of being killed. He undertakes an adventure with a group of whale riders in search of a lost Buddhist island. Photos Provided to China Daily

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2018-08-15 07:29:57
<![CDATA[Musical makeovers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766164.htm A reality show is giving bands a chance to rework pieces by their rivals in the business, Chen Nan reports.

In June 2017, one year after they graduated from the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan, Hubei province, the pop duo Landlord's Cats - comprising two 24-year-old female members: singer-songwriter Wang Xinyi and guitarist Wu Peiling - released a song online called Next Stop, Chashanliu, which was inspired by their campus life.

Now, the pair, who started singing as a duo in their second year of university, has built a fan base with their easy-listening original material, and among their fans is Guo Beibei, who is lead vocalist and songwriter of Beijing-based band, Sir Deer.

 

The Sir Deer band is taking part in the second season of NetEase Cloud Music's reality show, Music Friends. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Guo, who graduated from Beijing Forestry University and majored in horticulture in 2006, adds that the song reminds him of his days in university.

"I am impressed by their lyrics, especially when they sing, 'My bus is stuck in a traffic jam for an hour and I have spent an amazing hour doing nothing'," says 35-year-old.

"This is exactly what I did as a student traveling between my home and university.

"During that one hour, I listened to various kinds of music and used to daydream."

In early June, the two bands - Sir Deer and Landlord's Cats - were invited by the Chinese music streaming service, NetEase Cloud Music, to participate in the second season of reality show Music Friends, which pairs 12 Chinese singer-songwriters and bands into six groups and gets them to create a new version of each other's songs.

For the current season, Guo picked Next Stop, Chashanliu and Landlord's Cats went for one of Sir Deer's most popular hits, Chunfeng Shili (10 miles of spring breeze).

In their version of the Sir Deer song, Landlord's Cats have added violin and cajon to the music arrangement, which gives it a soft and sensitive female touch.

Speaking about Landlord's Cats, Guo says: "We had not met before recording the show in Beijing, but like their songs, the two young musicians are very straightforward and easygoing. We worked well together."

Reflecting on the encounter, Wang of Landlord's Cats says: "We discussed the songs we chose, and the process was inspiring since Sir Deer offered us a different perspective about our song."

Sir Deer's first single, Chunfeng Shili, which was released in October 2015, received more than 200,000 hits online and comments on the NetEase Cloud Music website and app.

Also, in 2015, the band made its live debut at Beijing's Jianghu Bar.

Fans dote on the band so much that in 2016 they pitched in to help it produce its first album through crowd-funding - more than 7,000 netizens raised a total of 300,000 yuan to cover the cost of the project.

Since then, Sir Deer, with two albums, has become one of the most popular bands on the country's live music scene, touring and performing at outdoor music festivals across China.

Unlike other Chinese bands, all six members of Sir Deer, who were born in the 1980s, have regular jobs, so, they rehearse after work and perform on weekends.

Guo, who worked for a year at a local wild animal protection center in his hometown, Zhengzhou, Henan province after graduation in 2006, became an entrepreneur in 2008, starting a company in Beijing. He is also the initiator of School Through Music, an organization that connects Chinese universities through music, which has offices in seven cities and holds events at about 100 universities.

The organization also functions as a promoter for young Chinese singer-songwriters, offering them opportunities to release albums and perform live shows.

Speaking about his band's experience in the reality show, Guo says: "We (both the bands) became good friends after recording the show.

"While going to live shows is great for the audience, it's the same feeling for singer-songwriters to collaborate onstage, especially adapting each other's songs."

The second season of Music Friends opened on July 22, featuring Chinese pop singer-songwriter Yu Jiayu and Chinese electronic music producer, singer-songwriter Panta.Q.

So far, the first two shows of the second season have received about 1.4 million views.

Meanwhile, the reality show's director, Yang Liu, a senior video director at NetEase Cloud Music, says the idea for Music Friends arose through her interactions with Chinese singer-songwriters in 2013 and 2014 for another show, titled The Backstage, also aired by Net-Ease, for which she spoke to nearly 100 Chinese musicians.

Recounting those experiences, she says: "I learned about the interaction between singer-songwriters off the stage, and that's why I wanted to do such a show.

"Most of these singer-songwriters are good friends in real life, so, when they adapt each other's songs into a new version, the chemistry is unpredictable and exciting.

"The collaboration also gives the songs, both popular hits and lesser known work, another chance."

Yang also found out that both singer-songwriters and audiences are getting younger and seem to be open to more diverse music styles.

Giving an example, Yang says: "When we watched a live show by Landlord's Cats at Yugong Yishan, a popular live music venue in Beijing, we didn't expect to see high school students, who had traveled from cities like Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, to be watching the show.

"Social media gives young talented Chinese musicians a platform to showcase themselves and grab the attention of young fans. It's a joy to see how music connects singer-songwriters and their audiences."

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2018-08-15 07:29:57
<![CDATA[Fans have fond memories of Western pop series]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766163.htm In 1995, then 12-year-old Wang Guan received a parting gift from his music teacher when he graduated from primary school. It was a cassette called Now That's What I Call Music (Asia series), which was a compilation album comprising 16 English pop songs.

It was the first time that the Beijing native had heard songs by Western pop stars, such as Jon Bon Jovi, Janet Jackson and boy bands like Boyzone and Boyz II Men.

"At that time, I had no access to pop music from the United States and Europe. I enjoyed the beat of the songs even though I couldn't understand a word," says Wang, 36.

Later, he began buying cassettes, CDs and magazines on Western pop music and became a big fan of US rock band Bon Jovi and its eponymous frontman.

Now That's What I Call Music is one of the most well-known pop music compilation series in the world, according to a report by BBC News on July 18.

More than 2,000 artists have been featured on the Now compilations and they have thrived through multiple changes in music consumption - from vinyl, cassette and CD to mini-disc and digital downloads, the report said.

Launched in 1983 in the UK by Sony Music and Universal Music, the series entered the Asian market, including China, in 1995.

Recently, when Wang read about the release of Now That's What I Call Music's 100th edition on July 20, he ordered a copy online.

The latest edition features 44 songs from young artists, such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and established bands such as UB40, which was featured in the first edition of the series in 1983.

"It (the series) mixes the latest sounds and nostalgia," he says.

"Now I listen to various styles of music online from all around the world, but the Now compilation still means something quite different to me."

Like Wang, Shanghai-based freelancer and music critic Cai Zhexuan acquired a copy of Now That's What I Call Music (Asia series) in 1995. He also got hold of copies of two other editions of Now That's What I Call Music (Asia series) released in 1996 and in 1997.

"At that time, we had no access to the internet, so it was hard for us to obtain music from the West.

"This compilation offered us some of the most popular songs," says Cai, adding that the song lists of the Now compilations show the changes and development of music styles.

According to the BBC News report, music genres on the Now compilations have moved from being dominated by soul in the 1980s and rock and electronic music in 1990s, to hip-hop and R&B in 2000s, and pop, dance music after 2015.

Irish rock band, U2, has had the longest run with the series, as their songs have featured regularly on Now compilations from 1984 to as recently as Now 99.

As for what the collections mean to fans, Cai refers to an online comment which says that "if you look through the volumes and find one where you know or remember 75 percent of the artists featured, that is the moment when you stopped being young".

Giving his take, Cai says: "I totally agree with this view. The Now compilations mark changes in music trends, and also remind fans about their age.

"They (the albums) are significant because they are more than just compilations. They are about music history and connect with listeners."

Thanks to the success achieved by the Now compilations, other record companies also release similar compilations, such as The Hits by the Sony BMG and Warner Music groups, says Danny Sim, the vice-president of international marketing at Universal Music China.

"They function like a radio, offering you a playlist, which caters to most fans. It also reaches people who don't normally buy records, and the amazing thing is, it resonates with people."

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2018-08-15 08:01:01
<![CDATA[Playlist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766162.htm Music

All boys

CTO, a six-member boy band, released its debut album in Beijing on Aug 5. The band, whose members hail from across China, has six dance pop songs on the album, including Burn It Up and Dream of Love. CTO is the brainchild of Taiwan singer-actor, Show Lo. The 39-year-old Lo, who was one of the four members of boy band Four Heavenly Kings, began work on creating his own group in 2015. For that purpose, he selected six musicians from more than 400 young male competitors over three years.

Rapper Vinida

Weekend, the latest song written and performed by Chinese rapper Vinida, was released by Modern Sky, one of the biggest indie music labels in China, on Aug 4. She announced the new single via her social media Sina Weibo account, which has 1.2 million followers, saying: "New single out now and enjoy your weekend." The song will be on her new album, which is scheduled to be released later this year.

The 24-year-old, whose real name is Weng Ying, decided to become a rapper at 13 when her parents bought her a MP3 player with an image of Mickey Mouse on it. She made her debut on Sing! China, a popular variety show aired by Zhejiang Satellite TV in 2016 and released her debut album in 2017. This summer, she joined The Rap of China, a reality show on streaming platform iQiyi.

Cai's debut EP

Chinese pop star Cai Xukun released his debut EP, entitled 1, on his 20th birthday. It features three songs, including Pull Up, You Can Be My Girlfriend and It's You, written and performed by Cai, and recorded in an R&B and hip-hop style. The EP sold 430,000 copies within 24 hours of its Aug 2 release on Kugou, a major music streaming platform under the Tencent Entertainment Music Group. Cai rose to fame after participating in iQiyi reality show, Idol Producer, early this year. He won with more than 47 million votes and made his debut with the pop group Nine Percent this April. Now, Cai has about 12 million followers on his Sina Weibo account and is one of the most popular young pop stars in the country.

Untitled

Chinese singer-songwriter Xu Jun is touring the nation in support of his latest album Untitled. It features 13 new songs written and performed by Xu, including Nobody Says a Word, Rocket Boy and Lunatic. The album is produced by Arai Soichiro. Xu, 30, came into the limelight after participating in Chinese reality TV show Sing My Song in 2015.

In 2016, Xu released his debut album Million Songs Hill, which was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Mandarin Album at the Golden Melody Awards in 2017. On July 31, he won the Newcomer of the Year award at the second China Music Industry Committee Music Awards.

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2018-08-15 07:29:57
<![CDATA[Strength in numbers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766161.htm The burgeoning popularity of Sudoku in China is not only improving youngsters' logical thinking, but fueling success at international competitions, Xing Wen reports.

It's Friday, and 500 primary school and junior high school students sit in a hall in Xianghe county, North China's Hebei province, each using a pencil to fill in the empty squares of a grid that is divided into nine blocks of nine squares each.

These young finalists have been selected from the preliminary contests of this year's national junior Sudoku competition which were held in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and 15 other cities across the country. Some of them are hoping to gain entry into the 2018 China Sudoku Championship on Saturday, where they will fight for the opportunity to represent the country at this year's World Sudoku Championship in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.

 

From top: Ming Letian, a junior high school student from Dalian, gives a demonstration after winning at a national junior Sudoku contest held on Friday in Hebei province; students from primary schools and junior high schools solve Sudoku puzzles at the national junior event; parents watch a monitor to track their child's performance in the contest hall. Photos by Xing Wen / China Daily

The numerical puzzle, first created by a Swiss mathematician in the 1780s, is now gripping China.

The country boasts 20 million Sudoku lovers and, according to Xu Yan, deputy secretary general of the Beijing Sudoku Association, the craze can be traced back to 2007 when a Chinese squad debuted in the World Sudoku Championship after China was granted membership of World Puzzle Federation - the organizer of the competition.

Xu, being among the first group of Chinese participants in the WSC, says her experience at the international event gave her great confidence for the development of Sudoku in China, which she believes has a promising future.

"The intellectual pursuit was introduced relatively late in China," says Xu. "I hope that, with a few years of systematic training, we can continue to send excellent players to compete on the global stage."

In the years following the foundation of the Beijing Sudoku Association in 2012, Xu and other Sudoku lovers spared no effort in promoting the puzzle, delivering speeches in communities and schools, organizing events for various age groups and even designing Sudoku teaching materials and courses for different levels.

"Children are in need of an extra class that can improve their logical thinking skills. The puzzle is an alternative avenue for them," says Xu, adding that further cooperation with schools is underway.

Will Shortz, chairman of World Puzzle Federation, says it was impressive to see China develop children from a very young age to solve Sudoku puzzles and become enthusiasts, especially given their outstanding performances in both team and individual events at the WSC in recent years.

"Our mission is to increase the interest of people around the world in intelligent puzzles and bring puzzle lovers together socially," says the chairman. "That's happening here, as this event has a much bigger base than any other country."

"The players get younger," Xu says, recalling that when she attended the WSC in 2007, she was 36 years old and the only juvenile player in the national team was 15 years old. Last year, however, the average age of the members of the national team was just 17.

"In many domestic Sudoku events, the under-8 group usually turns out to be the largest one," Xu says.

Luan Xiaozhou, a Sudoku teacher from Dalian, says the main appeal of the intellectual game is that it is accessible to most people because it does not require any formal education or linguistic ability and needs only a small amount of mathematical skill.

"It's a good pastime for the whole family," he says. "What we gain from figuring out the fastest way to complete the puzzle is how to become better problem solvers."

Luan encourages his followers to attend domestic and overseas Sudoku events, as these provide young Sudoku players a platform to flex their muscles, test themselves and learn from their role models.

Arguably, one such role model is 18-year-old Chen Shiyu, considering that she ranked fourth at the WSC in 2016 and received an offer to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earlier this year.

Chen grew stronger with the puzzle's burgeoning popularity in China, regularly attended Sudoku events held by the Beijing Sudoku Association since 2013 and, as a result, fought her way onto the national junior Sudoku team.

She says what appeals to her is the logic behind the digits and the variation of the question types in Sudoku.

As a soon-to-be applied math major at MIT, the Beijing native says the game helps her stay focused on study, because solving the puzzle requires 100 percent concentration and allows no room for error.

Ming Letian, who failed to get full marks in mathematics by just 0.5 point in his senior high school entrance examinations this summer, agrees that Sudoku is conducive to lifting academic ability.

As the winner of this year's junior event, he says that Sudoku contests offer him an opportunity to position himself among his peers and communicate with Sudoku masters.

"I'm obsessed with the sense of achievement after I have worked out a solution," says the rising star who also competed in Saturday's China Sudoku Championship.

He has never concealed his ambition to be a Sudoku star, concluding: "I want to represent China on the international stage as a national team member."

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2018-08-15 07:29:57
<![CDATA[Train fan takes the online route]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766160.htm BEIJING - David Feng is not a train worker nor a frequent business traveler. However, in the first five months of 2018, he made 166 train journeys, traveling 53,000 kilometers across China.

The Chinese-Swiss train aficionado has become an online celebrity for his livestreaming of Chinese railway lines, stations and trains of various kinds.

Over the past decade, Feng has visited over 2,300 Chinese railway stations out of the more than 3,000 spread across the country. And he is now making a documentary called Next Station: China, where he plans to capture more than 2,200 stations around the country.

So far, he has filmed more than 300 stations.

Feng, who was born in 1982 and grew up in Switzerland, completed his undergraduate, master's and doctorate degrees in broadcasting and communications in China, and is now an associate professor at the Communication University of China.

His interest in China's railway system began 10 years ago when he first took the Beijing-Tianjin intercity train, China's first high-speed railway line inaugurated on Aug 1, 2008.

The train's top speed of over 300 km per hour surprised him, as it was 50 percent faster than the trains he took in Germany.

"It was like stepping into the 22nd century," he recalls.

Since then, Feng has taken numerous trains in China and posted what he saw and thought on websites.

"China's railway system is advanced, and there is nothing wrong with bragging about it," he says.

China had 25,000 km of high-speed railway lines by the end of 2017, accounting for 66 percent of the world's total.

So far, Feng has livestreamed in English to netizens all around the world, on topics ranging from the opening ceremonies of new high-speed railway lines to the Spring Festival travel rush, the world's largest seasonal migration.

His broadcasts have drawn the attention of netizens from Asia, Europe and the United States.

"An Indian netizen said the new high-speed railway stations in China are like airports, calling them 'railports'," Feng says.

He also likes correcting the English translations at stations.

"Chinese high-speed railways use the best trains, so naturally, they should use correct English too," he says.

He once saw a ticket machine with a sign that said "buffet ticket office", and a ticket counter called "artificial ticket office".

So, Feng decided to start a column called "Railway English" on his Sina Weibo microblog to bring attention to the incorrect translations. And it was not long before a railway bureau noticed his microblog and invited him to give a lecture.

He is now a regular visitor to several bureaus for English instruction.

His book, 1,000 Sentences for Passenger Service, was published in 2017. And without any promotion, the first batch of 3,000 books sold out in two weeks, purchased mainly by employees of China's railway system.

So, the publishing house soon printed 10,000 more books.

Separately, he has also helped to compile a handbook of everyday English terms for Beijingers to prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Recently, Feng visited the construction site of the new airport in Beijing, which will be a major transportation hub not only for airlines, but also for railways, metros and highways.

Speaking about his visit, he says: "There is no word in English that can describe the magnificent view of this new airport."

Meanwhile, Feng likes offering advice to the railway authorities. And in 2013, he came up with 100 suggestions, such as developing train coaches with transparent roofs to allow for sightseeing.

Feng's Chinese wife, who he met during their doctorate studies, supports his passion and they sometimes take trains together.

According to current Chinese regulations, Feng will qualify to apply for permanent residence in China in 2020.

"I will definitely apply for it and continue to spread the word about Chinese railway culture," he says.

Xinhua

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2018-08-15 07:29:57
<![CDATA[BRICS helps build youth ties]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/15/content_36766159.htm XIAMEN - To Strauss' Radetzky March, Marianna Donner, a Russian ballet teacher, instructs three girls at the Banlam Grand Theater in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province.

Donner, who started learning ballet as a 7-year-old, has been a dancer for 24 years before she left her Russian hometown of Yaroslavl last April to work as a ballet teacher in Xiamen.

Since then, Donner has taught more than 50 students. "Ballet to Russia is what Peking opera is to China," says Donner. "I am honored to act as a cultural ambassador in Xiamen."

Donner says she came to China because the country is relatively unknown to her and has many opportunities, and she fell in love with Xiamen thanks to its good weather, nice environment and friendly people.

Xiamen hosted the BRICS summit in September 2017, which showcased cooperation between the world's major emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In her opinion, BRICS has helped to promote people-to-people exchanges and to embrace cultural diversity.

"I am interested in China's kung fu tea and I would also like to learn yoga," says Donner. "With closer ties between BRICS countries, we can understand each other much better."

Wilma Hugo, a South African student at Xiamen University, has spent more time than usual on the internet looking at news about the BRICS summit recently. After studying how to teach Chinese at the university for more than two years, she is about to start an internship as a Chinese teacher in her hometown of Worcester, a city 1,000 kilometers south of Johannesburg.

Hugo has been interested in Chinese kung fu movies since childhood and, in 2010, she started to learn Chinese at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

In 2016, Hugo won a scholarship offered by the Chinese government to study at Xiamen University.

"The more Chinese I learn, the better I get to know China," says Hugo. "The country is developing quickly and is more open than ever. In addition, it has developed good bilateral relationships with many African countries."

Hugo was happy to see the recent BRICS Summit being held in South Africa this year.

"The event will help more Chinese people to learn about Johannesburg, just as South Africans learned about Xiamen last year. People from both countries will gain a closer insight into each others' cultures, and the event is like an incentive to do so," she says.

In 2016, South Africa's Department of Basic Education announced that they planned to open Chinese classes in 500 primary and high schools in five years.

"There is a fervor for learning Chinese in South Africa. However, more Chinese teachers are needed," says Hugo. "I paid a great deal of attention to the discussions on educational exchanges at this year's BRICS Summit. I hope we can have more trained Chinese teachers from both countries."

In May, Hugo passed the HSK 6, the highest level Chinese language test designed for non-native speakers.

"I was glad that I passed such a difficult exam, and it makes me more confident about starting my career teaching Chinese," she said.

Hugo reads ancient Chinese classics, including The Analects of Confucius.

"The stories teach us many principles on how to conduct ourselves. They are meaningful even today," said Hugo. "I will introduce them to my students in South Africa to show them the charming Chinese culture."

Xinhua

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2018-08-15 07:29:57
<![CDATA[DRAWING INFLUENCES]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/14/content_36760032.htm It can become a lifelong battle for some when they are born in families of eminent artists and have to not just take the legacies forward but also make their own mark.

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Oil painter Pang Tao has aided the modernization of Chinese art over the past 40 years, Lin Qi reports.

It can become a lifelong battle for some when they are born in families of eminent artists and have to not just take the legacies forward but also make their own mark.

But that has not been a problem for 84-year-old Pang Tao, who has inherited an innovative spirit to incorporate cultural traditions into modern art. She has also developed a distinct art vocabulary.

In 1956, her father, Pang Xunqin, who was a painter and graphic designer, co-founded the Central Academy of Arts and Design that later became Tsinghua University's arts and design department. Her mother, Qiu Di, studied in Japan and was among China's first generation of female oil painters emerging in the early 20th century.

Pang Tao's artistic evolution epitomizes the modernization of Chinese art since the 20th century, heralded by her parents and their peers. The process began with the introduction of Western art and then was dominated by a realistic approach under the influence of Russian art. But it gradually diversified in style as China launched its reform and opening-up in 1978.

The ongoing exhibition, Dancing Notes, at Beijing's Inside-Out Art Museum gives viewers a glimpse of both Pang Tao's individual progress in painting - dozens of her works dating from the 1940s to more recent years are on show - and the country's changes in artistic orientation. The display runs through Nov 11.

Pang Tao's career began after her graduation from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in the 1950s. She worked as a teacher there until her retirement in 1989.

Her 93-year-old husband, Lin Gang, who retired from the same school, used to teach oil painting.

But her talent as an artist was spotted in childhood. She was 4 years old when she won a prize at a national children's painting competition. At age 13, she held her first exhibition with her younger brother, Pang Jun, in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. A year later, they again exhibited works together at a gallery in Shanghai.

Two still lifes that Pang Tao painted in her teens are being shown at Dancing Notes, from which one can recognize a natural painter with a sense of color.

Besides good artistic taste, more importantly, Pang Tao's parents implanted in her a disposition to improve through change.

In the late 1920s, Pang Xunqin attended the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, an art school well known for leading students to break away from strict academic conventions and think independently and create freely. He co-founded Juelan She, a vanguard art society in Shanghai, in 1932. Members sought to revive Chinese art by developing oil painting.

Qiu joined after returning from Japan a year later.

Pang Tao's attempts with abstraction did not fully take off until the 1980s, when Chinese art circles started to shift from socialist realism to a variety of contemporary approaches.

Lu Yinghua, director of the Inside-Out Art Museum, says Pang Tao is an "outstanding artist of her generation" - her explorations in the 1980s led to changes in the composition, color schemes and mediums of Chinese art.

Pang Tao's reinterpretations of natural landscapes freed the audience from the established viewing of familiar scenery, providing imaginative experiences. For example, her works in the early 1980s depict Xiangbi Mountain, a landmark riverside attraction in Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, which is named for its physical resemblance of an elephant's trunk. She skips detailing the landscape that surrounds the mountain and highlights its geometrical structure and rough texture by adding sand to the oil paint.

Some of these works are on show in a series titled Travels in Lijiang.

Another shown painting created in 1986, titled Treasure, depicts a gold circle against a vast black background.

"People ask what the circle stands for," Pang Tao says. "It can be viewed as a metaphor for the glitter that indicates treasures buried deep."

There is no need to identify a specific object in abstract paintings, she adds.

"It is like the feeling of a thunderstorm, say, through music, without having to actually see or hear a real storm."

Her endeavors extended to modernizing visual elements of ancient culture. The bronze ware of the Shang (c.16th century-11th century BC) and Zhou (c. 11th century-256 BC) dynasties are two examples. She became interested in the intricate patterns on the archaic items in the late 1930s, when her father began categorizing traditional Chinese patterns for his own work and publication.

Pang Tao was in the middle of a yearlong stay in Paris as a visiting scholar when Pang Xunqin died in 1985. The exposure to the diversity of Western art ignited her thinking on how to adapt traditional Chinese culture to a modern context. And while remembering her father, she was drawn to the bronze ware that he'd invested much energy in researching.

Her Revelation of Bronze series of paintings, also on display at the ongoing exhibition, shows the addition of vibrant colors to render a rhythmic touch.

In many of Pang Tao's works, including the Change of Color Graduation series she created last year, rhythm is a rule for her while arranging shapes, lines and colors in harmony.

The Dancing Notes exhibition also displays her old recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach's compositions. She says her father, Pang Xunqin, used to buy a lot of CDs.

"At times, our father asked my brother and me to sit down and do nothing but listen to Bach's music," she recalls. "Our mother wondered if we understood. But our father said that, if we kept listening, we would."

Pang Tao says abstract art and music are alike because the lines and spaces are like the "notes and dots that correspond". Abstract art was introduced to China from the West, and Pang says what she produces are "post-abstract" works. Rather than simply copying a Western model, she creates to enliven her home culture.

Contact the writer at linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

11 am-6 pm, Wednesdays through Fridays; 10 am-6 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, through Nov 11. 50 Xingshikou Road, Haidian district. Beijing. 010-6273-0230.

 

Dancing Notes, an exhibition at Beijing's Inside-Out Art Museum, traces Pang Tao's artistic evolution by showing her works dating from the 1940s to more recent years that transform from a figurative style to an abstract approach over time. Photos provided to China Daily and by Lin Qi / China Daily

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2018-08-14 07:51:14
<![CDATA[Returning Chinese athletes honored]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/14/content_36760031.htm The Beijing Summer Olympic Games in 2008 arguably pushed Chinese sports to a pinnacle - and while the legacy of those Games lives on, the contribution to the country's sporting success by overseas Chinese is equally unforgettable.

A special exhibition running at the Overseas Chinese History Museum of China not only honors the 10th anniversary of the Beijing Olympics but also cheers for sports heroes who sail across the sea and bring glory to their homeland.

Through the display of 60-odd exhibits, plus 216 pictures, Overseas Chinese and Chinese Sports unpacks an album of exciting moments.

"Overseas Chinese were exposed to modern sports earlier (than people in China)," Qi Degui, deputy director of the museum, says.

He adds that many schools in overseas-Chinese communities in the early 20th century also included sports in their syllabuses and thus helped nurture influential sports teams.

"After the founding of New China (in 1949), a large number of overseas-Chinese athletes came back to China," Qi says.

"They brought advanced training methods and techniques. They accelerated the development of the country's sports in many fields.

"And overseas-Chinese entrepreneurs have invested in infrastructure in their hometowns and have also helped sports grow in China."

That explains why some places in southeastern China - areas with a large number of Chinese emigrants - are the cradles of some modern sports in the country. Taishan, Guangdong province, is nicknamed the "home of volleyball in China"; Meixian, Guangdong, is referred to as the "home of soccer", while Jinjiang, Fujian province, is known as the "home of basketball".

Among the figures featured in the exhibition, Chinese people are probably more familiar with Tan Kah Kee (1874-1961), an overseas-Chinese tycoon with a wide range of business in Southeast Asia, who donated a huge sum of money to Fujian, improving education facilities, including sports arenas.

However, visitors may also be surprised to find some famous Chinese athletes are of overseas origin: Rong Zhixing, who's considered one of the all-time greatest Chinese soccer players, returned from India when he was a child.

Many overseas Chinese returned from Indonesia in the 1950s and created the foundations of sports like badminton.

For example, Fang Dingxun (1906-2006) visited China in 1953 and later chose to settle down, promoting badminton nationwide. He organized the first national badminton team of New China.

And Hou Jiachang and Tang Xianhu, who were both born in 1942, swept the world's badminton circuit by beating a number of former and incumbent world champions in the 1970s. Although they were unable to participate in the Olympic Games (because China only returned to the International Olympic Committee in 1979), they were often hailed as "champions without crowns". The duo later became coaches of China's national badminton team and cultivated superstars like Lin Dan.

Tao Jinhan, a former fencing athlete, returned to China from Indonesia in 1953. The 83-year-old became emotional when he introduced some of his sports equipment that's part of the exhibit.

"When I saw the Chinese national flag raised on the arena," he recalls, "it was difficult to describe how excited I was. It's great to have such an exhibition introducing the history to more people."

Tao became the first Chinese fencing athlete to win a gold medal in an international competition in 1966, before becoming the first international-level fencing judge from China eight years later.

"I want to persuade more schools to open fencing classes so that it's more widely practiced in China," he says.

Tao started a fencing course at Peking University and soon after helped the students to form a fencing association. He only retired from tenure earlier this year.

One section of the exhibition also looks at the close emotional connection overseas Chinese have with the Beijing Olympics.

A wall of Chinese newspapers from abroad reveals overseas-Chinese people's pride when Beijing won the 2001 bid to host the Olympics and successfully held it seven years later. Huge banners also reflect their best wishes and solid support.

"Many Chinese people also move abroad to improve the communication between different cultures and the development of sports in other countries," Qi points out.

For example, former Chinese gymnast Qiao Liang, who relocated to the United States, coached a large group of US gymnasts, including Shawn Johnson. Chen Longcan and Wei Jingguang, the men's double table tennis athletes who won gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, moved to Japan after retirement and promoted sports communication between the two countries. They are among many examples listed at the exhibition.

All exhibited items have been donated by individuals. Overseas Chinese and Chinese Sports will run until Oct 14(closed on Mondays). Qi also hopes that the event will inspire more overseas Chinese to donate their collections and share their stories in the future.

 

Above: Tao Jinhan, 83, an overseas Chinese who has returned from Indonesia, is among the first generation of fencing athletes of New China. Right: A Tshirt signed by Lin Li, a Chinese Olympic champion and the first torchbearer in San Francisco, during the torch relay of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photos by Wang Kaihao / China Daily

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2018-08-14 07:51:14
<![CDATA[OLDER CHINESE BLAZE NEWER TRAILS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/14/content_36760030.htm Zhang Mengyun has been living life in motion since she retired five years ago.

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A growing number of retirees are hitting the road. And the travel industry is maturing to serve this emerging market, Yang Feiyue reports.

Zhang Mengyun has been living life in motion since she retired five years ago.

The former accountant from Beijing has spent the past half-decade on the road, traveling throughout the country.

"My son has a job and is independent," says Zhang, who's in her 50s.

"So, I don't have much to worry about at home. I figured: Why not go out with my friends and have fun?"

Her appreciation of landscapes and Buddhism led her to such destinations in western China as Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, and the Tibet autonomous region.

She enjoys snapping and sharing photos of ordinary life in the places she visits.

Zhang is among a growing number of elderly Chinese who are using their time and money to travel.

China is home to 241 million people older than 60. They account for over 17 percent of the country's population, according to National Bureau of Statistics data.

Over 80 percent of them expressed an interest in travel in a 2016-20 market study about older tourists by the Shenzhen-based company, China Investment Consulting.

Domestic online travel agency Lvmama, which is headquartered in Shanghai, reports that 32 percent of its customers in the first four months of the year were over 50 years old, a rise of 5 percentage points over the same period in 2017.

Most spend six or seven days on trips, compared with an average of three days for younger travelers.

That's largely because they have more time since they have fewer responsibilities, Lvmama official Zou Qingling explains.

They can go slower so they don't overexert themselves, Zou adds.

They are keen on rail travel, especially aboard tourist trains.

"Tourist trains offer large activity spaces," Zou says.

"They allow old friends to chat freely. It makes trips easy and fun."

Routes connecting the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Gansu province and Chongqing municipality are popular with retirees.

Rail travel from Shanghai to Kazakhstan received many bookings in May. Over half of the passengers are ages 60 or over. Their children often accompany them, the company reports.

The government and travel businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the market potential and are working to tap into it.

The government introduced guidelines covering services, safety and healthcare for elderly tourists in September 2016.

It requires that schedules shouldn't be too hectic.

It suggests that sightseeing trips shouldn't exceed three hours at a time and should include meal breaks. And travel to reach attractions shouldn't exceed two hours at a time.

Packages should be all-inclusive and no extra fees should be added en route.

Products targeting elderly travelers have since diversified.

A booth shared by several agencies specializing in the sector was a hit at the three-day Beijing International Tourism Expo in mid-June.

One of the agencies, Yada Tourism, has engaged exclusively in travel packages for older people during the last three years.

"We found the market is huge," the agency's deputy general manger Shi Xiaoran says.

"There isn't much competition at the moment."

Shi chose to work in the sector partly because he used to book trips for his parents. He discovered most products were geared toward young people. Travelers around his parents' age had few options.

The company operates according to the 2016 guidelines. It prepares wheelchairs, first-aid kits and walking sticks for every trip. It also employs health and fitness specialists and nutritionists design meals.

Yada Tourism serves people up to the age of 85.

Its bookings by elderly customers have increased by nearly a third annually over the past three years.

"Most hear about us through word-of-mouth from their friends, who've booked with us before," he says.

The company offers long stays at a more than 300-hectare resort in Zhejiang province's water town, Wuzhen, and a series of village tours in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area.

"The Wuzhen facility is equipped with learning aids, apartments and medical facilities for elderly tourists," Shi says.

"Activities make their experiences more fun."

Yada Tourism plans to develop overseas trips for senior citizens in the future, Shi says.

Beijing Xiyanghong Travel Agency has developed 30 routes for elderly tourists in recent years.

The company serves travelers between the ages of 50 and 80, and doesn't require family accompaniment, deputy general manager Pan Di says.

Yantai International Travel Service began to serve older travelers 40 years ago.

Nearly all of its customers are 60 or older, general manager Li Jun says.

Shandong province's Yantai city has long been a popular getaway among the elderly, who enjoy its hot springs and forests. It received 12.88 million visits by retirees in 2017, the local tourism authority reports.

"The elderly tourism market has been on the rise since the '80s," Li says.

The agency has added local folk customs and intangible heritage to its itineraries, Li adds.

The city has developed special study and health tours for older tourists. It plans to develop international art, spice, food and liquor museums to serve them, it announced at the World Senior Tourism Congress in Yantai in late May.

The National Working Commission on Aging estimates elderly Chinese travelers' spending will hit 106 trillion yuan ($15.5 trillion) by 2050.

Indeed, older Chinese are presenting new opportunities for the travel industry, especially as the market matures.

 

A family visits the Yalu River Broken Bridge in Dandong, Liaoning province.

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2018-08-14 07:51:14
<![CDATA[Ghost town: A tiny English village abandoned during WWII]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/14/content_36760029.htm Explore Britain's southern coast carefully enough and you can still find relics of the dark years when the country awaited Nazi invasion: abandoned radar stations; tanktraps lost in farmers' fields; half-hidden concrete bunkers overlooking wide, shingle beaches.

Then there's Tyneham.

The first glimpse of this tiny Dorset village is from the long, steep road that takes you from sweeping views of the coast down into a small, wooded valley. At its bottom, Tyneham peeps out from behind a cloak of trees.

Or rather, what's left of it.

"This is like Pompeii!" my young son exclaims, as we stand in front of what had once clearly been a row of cottages.

But now only the shells remain. No doors. No windows. No roofs. He's right. Baking in a Mediterranean-like heatwave, the ruins do have the feel of an archaeological site, an ancient settlement that had met an apocalyptic end.

And, in a way, that's exactly what happened to Tyneham.

Its roots stretch back before that great watershed of British history, the Norman Conquest of 1066. For more than a thousand years, its residents had eked out a precarious living from the land and nearby sea.

Then, one day, its long, unremarkable history stopped dead.

It was late 1943 and the tide of World War II was turning. D-Day was barely six months away. The British military urgently needed more land for tank training and maneuvers. With a large base nearby, already, its eyes quickly and easily fell on the quiet settlement by the sea.

In November, that year, residents received letters from the War Department ordering them to leave within a month. The note assured them this was "in the national interest" and hoped they would make this "no small sacrifice" with "a good heart".

Within weeks, they had packed up and left their lush Dorset valley. They'd lived with the dread of German invasion for four years, but the army that actually made them refugees was their own.

As they departed, one of them pinned a note to the church door: "Please treat the church and houses with care ... We will return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly."

Since then, the roofs and upper floors have collapsed; the doors and windows fallen out. Trees, grass and weeds reclaimed the land.

But the people never did. What was said to be temporary became permanent. The land still belongs to the Ministry of Defense - signs on the road leading there remind you of that - but, most weekends, the tanks and guns fall silent, and the public is allowed in.

It may be small - more hamlet than village - but a visit is utterly absorbing. As you pass down the rows of hollowed-out cottages, unobtrusive display boards show sepia photographs of how they used to look and who lived there, and tell you what they did - postmistress, farmer, gardener - allowing your mind to people the ruins with flesh and blood.

The schoolhouse has been restored to look exactly as it would have in the early 20th century, and St. Mary's church has been carefully maintained. But everything else has been laid low by time, and that's what draws you in.

We wander down shaded village tracks, from The Row to Rectory Cottages, then picnic beside a sun-bleached, stone skeleton that was once home to the Taylor family, who washed the village's clothing until the fateful letter landed on their doormat. Butterflies flit from thistle to nettle, and the blinding sunshine throws deep shadows across the ruins.

"It makes you realize how hard life was in those days," says 70-year-old Dorset resident, Linda Bryan, looking at Laundry Cottages.

"How sad they had to move out. I wonder where they went?"

Her 60-year-old niece, Lesly-Anne Meader, who's from nearby Hampshire, is on her first visit.

"It's very evocative. You can see all the people living here," she says. "I like ghost stories."

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2018-08-14 07:51:14
<![CDATA[AFTER THE HAMMER FALLS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/14/content_36760028.htm This past year witnessed a steady increase in sales for the Chinese auction market, with the global sales volumes of art and antiques hitting $7.1 billion. However, the problem that has long plagued the market still exists: less than half of the lots sold were actually paid for by bidders.

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China's art market saw record sales of works valued at 100 million yuan, but auctions continue to be hampered by bidders who fail to pay up in full, Deng Zhangyu reports.

This past year witnessed a steady increase in sales for the Chinese auction market, with the global sales volumes of art and antiques hitting $7.1 billion. However, the problem that has long plagued the market still exists: less than half of the lots sold were actually paid for by bidders.

According to the Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report 2017 issued on Thursday at an art forum held at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, global auction sales of Chinese art and antiques rose by 7 percent, with 38 individual sales of works valued at more than 100 million yuan ($14.2m) - a new industry record. In 2011, when the Chinese art market reached its peak, the number of artworks sold valued at 100 million yuan or over stood at just 11.

The report was compiled by the China Association of Auctioneers, which assembles data for China's domestic market and Artnet, an online source for information on the art world.

Zhang Ran, director of Artnet China, says that the strong demand for high-end artworks with an established provenance is being driven by the burgeoning number of private museums ever more hungry to acquire blockbuster works to enhance their collections.

The most expensive lot last year was master painter Qi Baishi's set of ink panels Twelve Landscape Screens auctioned at the Poly Auction Beijing's fall sale, which fetched 931.5 million yuan and set another record for the Chinese art market. It was the first time that a Chinese artist broke into the $100 million club, joining the ranks of Western masters such as Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Francis Bacon and Edvard Munch.

According to Zhang, all the buyers bidding for Qi's work came from private museums in China.

Last year alone, more than 10 private museums opened to the public, mainly in Shanghai and Beijing. The bulk of their owners are entrepreneurs, such as Chinese movie mogul Wang Zhongjun, who set up the Song Art Museum in Beijing to display his collection of works by artists such as Picasso and Vincent van Gogh.

Although blockbuster works at auction last year were embraced by buyers, their willingness to pay for them after placing a successful bid lacked as much passion. As of May, only two pieces of the 18 artworks sold on the Chinese mainland for more than 100 million yuan have been paid for in full.

According to the report, of all the lots sold in 2017, the percentage of the total payment received as of May stood at just 49 percent, the lowest figure since 2011.

Li Xiaojie, a former deputy minister at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, pointed out at the Shanghai forum that the problem of nonpayment and fake bidding has persisted in China's art market for some time. He appealed for etorts from the art industry to find a solution to the problem that has continued to plague the market and block its development.

He also said that the environment in the art market as a whole has been improving steadily, especially in terms of policy. For example, tarrifs imposed on artworks and antiques sales have dropped sharply over the years. As of the end of May, the tax rate levied on art fell to 1 percent from the 12 percent imposed just a few years ago.

Apart from improvement in taxes, the world's biggest bonded art warehouse is due for completion in the fourth quarter of the year in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, according to its general manager Hu Huanzhong. The six-floored warehouse, which was developed with the Ministry of Public Security, aims to provide a comprehensive storage space for the China art market.  

 

 

The ink-painting set of modern master Qi Baishi's Twelve Landscape Screens fetched 931.5 million yuan at the Poly Auction Beijing's fall sale last year, setting a new record for Chinese art. Provided to China Daily

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2018-08-14 07:51:14
<![CDATA[Cambridge garden marks city's strong links with poet Xu Zhimo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/14/content_36760027.htm The first formal Chinese garden in the English city of Cambridge has been unveiled in celebration of the growing cultural ties between China and the University of Cambridge.

The China-UK Friendship Garden, also known as Xu Zhimo Garden, memorializes the late Chinese poet Xu Zhimo (1897-1931), who was an associate member of King's College for 18 months in 1921-22.

The King's College held the opening event for the Xu Zhimo memorial garden on Friday, during the fourth annual Cambridge Xu Zhimo Poetry and Art festival.

Xu wrote the famous poem Second Farewell to Cambridge in 1928, after his third visit to the university city. Filled with his longing for Cambridge as well as thoughts about his first love affair, the poem has been learned by millions of schoolchildren in China.

The poem's first and last lines have been carved into a granite stone that has become one of Cambridge's most popular tourist attractions.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the memorial stone placed in his honor next to a bridge about which he had fond memories, at the back of King's College. Visitors approaching the King's College Bridge from the front of the College first see the willow trees as portrayed in Xu Zhimo's Second Farewell to Cambridge, followed by the white marble memorial stone.

Dozens of poets from China and Britain gathered in the garden, reading their own works on the theme of "birds and gardens".

Xu Shanzeng, the oldest grandson of Xu Zhimo, was invited to Cambridge and read his grandfather's best-known poem in the garden.

The garden is the first Chinese one built on any college campus in Cambridge.

The space behind the enclosure of the stone was selected for the garden.

Alan Macfarlane, chair of the Cambridge Xu Zhimo Poetry and Art festival, says that the garden is not only designed on Taoist and Buddhist principles, but also to represent a fusion of the East and the West, according to Xinhua News Agency.

"Here we have English trees around the garden and also Chinese plants native to Xu's home region in Haining (East China's Zhejiang province).

"So it is a fusion of East and West, just as Xu Zhimo was trying to bring the cultural treasures from China to England, and from England to China. I think in a world which is filled with conflicts and threats of war, this is a peaceful resolution of some of the conflicts of civilizations," Macfarlane says.

Macfarlane hopes that through both poetry and the garden, cultural links between the United Kingdom and China can be further enhanced.

"I hope Chinese guests will experience the beauty and friendship of King's College which so delighted Xu," he adds.

The idea to create the memorial garden, which took three years to plan and build, was initiated by Steven Coghill, the senior horticulturist at King's College.

Speaking about how the idea took shape, Macfarlane, who is also chairman of the Cambridge Rivers Project and a professor at the University of Cambridge, says: "As Xu is an alumnus of King's College, we wanted to express our admiration for him, and to increase (the) understanding of the links between China and Cambridge.

"The garden celebrates the shared culture of East and West. It is a fusion between philosophies and cultures, which contains special calligraphy by famous Chinese, including Mo Yan (author and winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in literature) illustrating the poem."

The celebration of Xu in Cambridge has grown to become increasingly important.

"Ten years ago, when the memorial stone arrived, nothing was known of Xu Zhimo in the West," Macfarlane says.

"Now, many people, both in Cambridge and the UK, and increasingly from Europe, America, and elsewhere, are learning about Xu Zhimo and Chinese culture. This is part of a cultural bridge of music, painting, poetry, calligraphy which is being built through this garden and through many other events."

This year's festival, which took place on Friday and Saturday, brought well-known poets and artists to King's College, as well as some of Xu's relatives.

The festival included a concert staged by the King's Men, the Choral Scholars of the Choir of King's College, during which several songs were performed, including two Chinese songs - Second Farewell to Cambridge and Jasmine Flower.

Queen Elizabeth sent a congratulatory letter to mark the opening of the garden, in which she expressed an interest to learn more about the garden and poet Xu Zhimo.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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2018-08-14 07:51:14
<![CDATA[TREK DOWN THE TRACKS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/13/content_36753693.htm A photographer from Beijing goes on an epic journey to retrace the steps of the thousands of Chinese workers who built the First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States

When the "golden spike" was driven to join the tracks of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States in 1869, Chinese workers - who did much of the most dangerous and backbreaking work - were kept away from the widely publicized event.

Almost 150 years later, efforts are underway to give faces to those nameless workers who played such a key role in the completion of the railroad.

"The history of Chinese rail workers remains largely unknown to both Americans and Chinese," says Li Ju, a photographer from Beijing. "People should be reminded of the Chinese workers' contribution to the US economy."

Inspired by 19th century American photographer Alfred Hart who took images of the railroad's construction, Li has traveled the route at least once a year since 2012 to shoot the same sites as Hart.

With the help of a geographical location system, Li managed to identify all the sites captured in more than 360 photos taken by Hart in the 1860s.

"Some of the sites were very difficult to locate because there were no landmarks in the photos," says Li, who is also a computer engineer.

"History and geography are closely connected. In another 150 years, with the changes in landscapes, it will be impossible to identify those sites," he says.

Li says he plans to donate his photos to the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University, which aims to create an online archive and digital visualizations of the era.

Two photo exhibitions featuring Li's images paired with Hart's photos are currently on display at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City and the Museum of the San Ramon Valley in Danville, California. Both exhibitions are sponsored by the Stanford project.

"The railroads connected commerce between the west and the east. People should know who built the railroads - it was the Chinese workers," says Paul Fong, a professor of political science at the Evergreen Valley College in San Jose and a former member of the California Assembly.

The First Transcontinental Railroad, originally known as the Pacific Railroad, was a 3,069-kilometer-long continuous track completed on May 10, 1869, linking the Pacific west coast with the Atlantic east coast for the first time in US history.

Fong's great-grandfather worked on the railroad from 1897 to 1898 before he fell ill and returned to China.

"It was hard work. There was no labor protection - you had to work long hours and workers were easily exploited back then," he says.

Fong only learned about the role of Chinese workers in the railroad when he attended an Asian-American studies class in college.

"I was surprised that we had such a long history," he says. "People need to know they sacrificed a lot, including their lives, to build the railroad. It's a significant part of history."

The railroad, which took six years to build, was one of the most remarkable feats of engineering in the 19th century.

Chinese laborers joined the workforce for the western section, the most arduous phase of the construction, because workers from Ireland were reluctant to undertake such hazardous work.

The Chinese workers set a record for laying 10 miles and 56 feet (16 km) of track in 12 hours and were considered indispensable by their foremen.

As California Governor Leland Stanford reported to congress in 1865, "Without them (Chinese workers), it would be impossible to complete the western portion of this great national enterprise, within the time required by the Acts of Congress."

Desperate for work to support their families, Chinese workers left their towns and villages in Guangdong province, which were then blighted by poverty and unrest, and boarded ships bound for California.

Historians estimate that at any one time as many as 10,000 to 15,000 Chinese laborers were working on construction of the railroad between 1865 and 1869.

The hardest and most hazardous sections of the railroad route included the construction of tunnels at high elevations through the mountains of the Sierra Nevada range.

At Cape Horn, a 5-km roadbed curving along steep slopes some 400 meters above the American River east of Colfax, Chinese workers were lowered down the cliffs in baskets to plant explosive charges.

In winter, fierce blizzards would often block tunnel entrances and trigger avalanches that swept away the worker's camps - carrying many of them to their deaths, according to the Stanford project.

It's estimated that nearly 1,200 Chinese railroad workers died from work-related accidents, avalanches and explosions while toiling through the Sierra Nevada.

In honor of the Chinese workers and their sacrifices, the California Assembly passed a resolution last year to designate May 10 as California Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Day.

"As a fourth-generation Chinese American, I think it is very important for all Americans to commemorate the historical significance of the experiences of Chinese railroad workers," says Evan Low, California Assembly member and author of the resolution.

He says the resolution was an important step not only to address racism in American history and society, but also to emphasize the railroad workers' contribution to the country's economy in general and the development of Silicon Valley.

Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Many celebrations have been planned to mark the occasion, including a commemorative ceremony at the Chinese American Memorial Museum in San Jose History Park.

The Stanford project also has received several requests to host photo exhibitions across the US to commemorate the 150th anniversary, according to Li.

He has produced four sets of panels to be exhibited, each containing around 100 photos, with the help of the project and Chinese volunteers.

"More and more people in China are taking an interest in the history of the Chinese railroad workers. The 150th anniversary will be a great opportunity to promote the history and the friendship between the two countries dating back as far as 150 years ago," says Li.

 

Traversing mountains and deserts, Chinese photographer Li Ju retraces the footsteps of 19th century American photographer Alfred Hart, who chronicled the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States.

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2018-08-13 07:55:20
<![CDATA[Season of mushrooms]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/12/content_36750877.htm Editor's note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

An ingredient closely associated with Chinese cuisine is the dried mushroom, intensely fragrant and instantly recognizable.

Oddly enough, it is soft, spongy and a lot less aromatic when fresh, but the dehydration process concentrates its flavors and turns it into a hard, shriveled, easily stored pantry basic - even if it does look like it has been mummified in the process.

 

It is a rare Chinese kitchen that does not have a packet or two of dried mushrooms tucked away on the shelves.

The Chinese mushroom, also known as the shiitake mushroom, is an extremely versatile ingredient.

Thinly sliced, it adds instant flavor to any stir-fry of meat and vegetables. Wok-blasted in hot fat and then slowly braised whole in a rich stock, it is valued as a main dish, and a favorite pairing is with chicken feet.

In vegetarian cuisine, the Chinese mushroom is used to make stock and a host of culinary creations limited only by the chef's imagination.

Quality often decides how this mushroom is used.

The smallest mushrooms, thin and black, are known as "gold coins". They are widely used in everyday cooking as an affordable flavor enhancer and, despite their size, they are very aromatic and tasty.

Larger black mushrooms are also divided according to where and when they are grown. The better ones are harvested in the cold season and known as donggu, winter mushrooms.

These slowly grow on the rotting wood of deciduous trees, and in winter they take a long time to mature. The extended growing period makes them more flavorful.

The best type of donggu are those with significant cracks on the surface, so that the creamy flesh is exposed beneath the black cap. These mushrooms are known as huagu, or flower mushrooms, after the blooming pattern on the caps.

Huagu also tend to be thicker, and are valued for their fleshy caps and velvety texture. The most expensive are those from Hokkaido in Japan.

In recent years, however, better production processes have helped China catch up, and the country is now the largest exporter of the Chinese mushroom, of every grade and quality. Major producers are Henan and Zhejiang provinces, with quality flower mushrooms coming from the deciduous forests of the northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin.

Mushroom cultivation was recorded in China more than 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Evangelical monks from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) took the art of mushroom cultivation to Japan.

Shiitake mushrooms are not the only dried mushrooms available in China.

Straw mushrooms have long been dried for keeping, and again, the drying makes them intensely fragrant. More exotic mushrooms that are dried include cepes, morels, porcini, and the uniquely Chinese zhusun, the bamboo pith bridal veil mushroom.

Fresh mushrooms are harvested every year during the rainy season in southwestern China. There is a street filled with specialist mushroom restaurants in Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan.

Every year from July to September, the normally quiet restaurants bustle with diners lining up for a taste of Yunnan's famous mushrooms.

In fact, mushrooms are a major attraction for tourists and locals, especially when cooked in the hotpot with its parade of endless fungi in all shapes and sizes.

This southwestern region in China boasts the most varieties of mushroom in the world concentrated in one area, with both edible and nonedible mushrooms and fungus.

In the village markets, early shoppers can seek out freshly foraged mushrooms, including precious matsutake or pine mushrooms and even the occasional truffle.

Bright yellow chanterelles, known as jiyoujun, have been likened to the rich golden fat of local chickens. Deeply colored boletus mushrooms of the porcini family are described as niuganjun, beef liver mushrooms. Morels, with their tripe like markings on the caps, are called yangdujun, goat stomach mushrooms.

There are also mushrooms that are found only in Yunnan, like the ganbajun. This is deeply scented and very dense and is a local favorite. Shredded and fried in plenty of oil, garlic and chili, it becomes a dish to be enjoyed with rice or Yunnan's famous rice noodles.

In appearance, it resembles clusters of hen-in-the-woods mushrooms.

Local gourmets also seek out a green-tinged mushroom known as qingtoujun, green-headed mushroom. It is slightly toxic and has to be very well cooked before it is eaten. But it is so delicious that people risk hospitalization, or even death, just to enjoy it.

Less potent but equally popular is the bamboo mushroom, or zhusun, a beautiful mushroom that starts life egg-shaped. The egg "hatches" and sends out a little spongy phallic column that is, in turn, demurely draped by a lacy veil.

This mushroom is valued for its crunchy texture, which it retains even when dried and rehydrated. For this reason, it is valued as an ingredient for the stock-based Chinese soups.

In the cooler regions of northern Yunnan, there grows a musky-tasting mushroom that the locals used to feed to pigs that were reluctant to mate. It grew in pine needle beds under the trees, and so the name for it was songrong, pine mushroom.

The Japanese call this matsutake.

This previously unappreciated mushroom now commands very high prices and is a major income for local foragers. Yunnan matsutake is now a major export, especially to Japan.

Mushrooms are nature's gift to the gourmet, but it is a gift that has to be savored carefully.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipe

Braised Chinese mushrooms

20 rehydrated Chinese mushrooms

50g chicken fat, finely diced

3-4 cloves whole garlic

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Mushrooms need fat, which they absorb. Searing the mushrooms in chicken fat is a good way to turn them into velvety morsels.

Heat up a wok and render the chicken fat over low heat. Turn up the heat and rapidly add the whole garlic cloves and the mushroom caps. When the mushrooms are all sizzling, add the oyster sauce and enough water to just cover the ingredients.

Turn down to a simmer and braise until the liquid is reduced and the garlic is soft. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of fresh lettuce.

Mushrooms, chicken and chestnuts

1 chicken (about 1.5kg)

20 Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated

500g chestnuts, shelled and peeled

2-3 shallots (or half a brown onion), diced

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Dress the chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces. Rinse and dry.

Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a wok and add the diced onion. Add the chicken pieces and brown the meat.

Add the mushrooms and chestnuts.

Drizzle over the soy sauces, stir to mix and then add enough water to cover the ingredients. Boil until the stock is reduced by half, then simmer till chestnuts are soft.

Adjust seasoning after tasting, and add the sesame oil. Bring back to a boil, then turn off heat. Serve.

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2018-08-12 20:51:16
<![CDATA[China inspired Liberia's new media pioneer]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/12/content_36750876.htm His company's livestreams of election activities have helped push African country's digital migration

More than four years ago, a young Liberian embarked on a journey to China that would inspire him to become his country's leading new media pioneer.

Randall Jackson, 37, participated in a 10-week training course in digital migration at China Central Television's English-language news channel, now known as China Global Television Network, or CGTN.

Although it was a short study course for Jackson and many of his colleagues who also attended, he still savors the skills he acquired and continues to use them for the success of his own media company.

His trip to Beijing came at the time when Liberia was lagging in digital or new media, so he was among those who felt obliged to help push the West African nation into a new epoch of media convergence.

"I learned a lot of good things that I'm using today. I also had the privilege to visit the garden city of Dalian and get to see some of China's innovative technologies and how they were impacting that country," Jackson recalls during an interview in his studios in downtown Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.

"My specific interest was in digital media, because I wanted to bring that idea to Liberia," Jackson says.

Jackson is now credited with being a pioneer in Liberia's new media television, after setting up a small company, Kreative Mindz Television, or KMTV.

His crew of 10 uses portable but sophisticated equipment to disseminate on-the-spot news and information to the company's audience on the popular social media platform - Facebook.

He sees his innovation as a complete breakaway from traditional news reporting.

Jackson's KMTV made a breakthrough when it entered the country's media landscape late last year by livestreaming almost every political event held in Monrovia.

Online television became the go-to place for coverage of election activities and also reached hundreds of thousands of Liberians living abroad.

His company was later recognized by international election observers at the end of the country's election for its outstanding coverage.

He made another massive inroad to the country's media landscape when KMTV livestreamed a major regional soccer competition hosted in Liberia.

Viewership and the number of subscribers are increasing weekly. In July, KMTV had more than 773,000 viewers, with 2,000 new subscribers.

Jackson is now opting to turn KMTV into a full-time online television network by producing content to serve diverse audiences.

He's optimistic about Liberia's prospects in the new media industry within the next decade. "Every Liberian will start to own a good (smart) phone which is not expensive, and it might even get cheaper," he says.

According to the Liberian government, the country has mobile internet penetration of around 16 percent.

"I think it's (new media) going to grow fast, based on how internet is increasing in the country, and later on we could work with GSM (global system for mobile communications) companies, use their towers," says Jackson.

Jackson says sharing "Chinese wisdom" with his team is also an obligation. He says more opportunities for young Liberians to study in China would help expand his country's new media sector.

Jackson says his Beijing memories are still fresh, including his visits to CCTV studios and to facilities of the companies Huawei and Dayang.

These Chinese tech companies triggered his passion for smart devices, he says.

"One thing that caught (my attention) was the time it takes for information to get to people who need it," he says of Chinese new media, adding that he became fascinated by broadcasting audio-visual news content as it happens.

Jackson says he loves the Chinese language and philosophy as well as the country's technology and innovation.

"I still want to know more about digital media, especially to take it a step further. I still believe that there is a lot more to know about new media and what it's all about. ... China, to me, is the best place to learn more about new media.

"Things I saw there are coming to Liberia," he adds. "I think my going there was one reason I was able to innovate so that Liberians can have social media TV today."

 

Randall Jackson (left) chats with his co-worker on air on KMTV. Photos Provided to China Daily

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2018-08-12 20:51:16
<![CDATA[Caught up in the crossfire]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/12/content_36750875.htm Tactical masterpiece from Tencent is gaining global appreciation

The success of China's pro e-sports players on the international stage is spurring phenomenal growth of gaming innovations here at home.

Hot on the heels of Chinese team Royal Never Give Up being crowned world champion at the LOL Mid Season Invitational in Paris, France, in May, Chinese club OMG claimed the championship at the PUBG Global Invitational on July 28 and 29 in Berlin, Germany.

 

A lavish ceremony and invitational competition marked the 10th anniversary of Chinese-owned hit CrossFire in Shanghai on July 29. Tencent, which released the game, aims to extend the first-person shooter's shelf life by building an international e-sports tournament around the game.

But to become a world e-sports powerhouse and dominate games like League of Legends and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) requires not only top players, but the ability to develop and operate top titles.

Tencent's online tactical first-person shooter CrossFire has emerged as a one of China's most potent not-so-secret weapons.

Since CrossFire's launch in China in 2008, the game's PC version has attracted 560 million registered users and its e-sports broadcasts have been viewed 10 billion times, according to data released on July 29 at a ceremony in Shanghai to mark its 10th anniversary.

The game also launched a mobile version in 2016 to catch up with the global mobile e-sports trend, which has attracted upward of 250 million mobile players.

The life cycle of e-sports games is relatively short, so CrossFire's continued popularity after 10 years is testimony to innovations that focus on player experience. From its constant upgrades to the quality of the mobile version, the game has maintained superior innovations.

"Innovations and improvement are the key factors of our success," says Gram Xu, a Cross-Fire senior general manager.

"We have created many new patterns for players and maintained a pace of upgrading more than 10 versions a year, while we keep launching new content and we keep optimizing old patterns of experience. We attach great importance to players' feedback to adjust our operational strategies.

"Being creative is very important for Cross-Fire. Today's new gaming patterns are all based on the original. Compared with other PC first-person shooter games, we have created many new models and patterns to adjust to the new trends and new platforms. We still have more potential to be discovered."

One of the best ways to extend the life cycle of a video game is to make it an e-sports title. CrossFire has made that a priority, especially given that the e-sports league for Tencent's homegrown mobile hit King of Glory has attracted tens of millions of spectators, and its international version will be featured as a demonstration event at the upcoming Asian Games.

"Since the day we launched the game, creating CrossFire's e-sports system was one of our priorities," says Joses Zhu, general manager of Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group.

"CrossFire's mobile version was launched in China in 2016 and achieved great success, and now we are launching it in 56 other countries. Also, we are building an e-sports tournament around the game. It will be a huge step forward for Chinese e-sports.

"For the PC platform, we will launch a more refined HD version of the game to build the e-sports system.

"From players' experience to the game's quality, the new version is a great advance and a brand new battlefield with better visual impact, fairer models and more diversified patterns. Based on the new HD version, we will try our best to build a top CrossFire tournament."

The ultimate goal is for e-sports to be included in the Olympic Games. At an executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, last fall, the International Olympic Committee concluded that e-sports "could be considered a sporting activity".

"The players involved prepare and train with an intensity comparable to athletes in traditional sports," the IOC said in a statement.

The Asian Games made the first move by including e-sports as a demonstration event in the two-week Jakarta competition, which opens in Indonesia on Aug 18.

The competition list features three individual games: real-time strategy classic StarCraft 2 and collectible-card hits Clash Royale and Hearthstone.

There are also three team games: Pro Evolution Soccer, the multiplayer online battlefield arena game LOL and Arena of Valor, an international version of King of Glory.

"Adding e-sports to the Asian Games was much tougher than we thought," says Wei Jizhong, the Chinese Olympic Committee official who successfully pushed for the inclusion. "After long negotiations, we agreed on three principles: no violence, making sports games a priority and guaranteeing fairness."

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2018-08-12 20:51:16
<![CDATA[Cashing in on big picture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/12/content_36750874.htm According to tech giant Tencent's 2018 China E-sports Development Report, the nation's e-sports market value reached 5 billion yuan ($750 million) last year, and this will grow to 8.48 billion yuan this year.

A huge portion of that has been contributed by other business sectors, like fast-food chains, logistical services and even automobile companies.

CrossFire's crossover cooperation offers a great example.

"Since 2016, CrossFire has been cooperating with many other partners, including the fast-food giant KFC, Buick automobiles, China's SF logistics services and consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble," says Joses Zhu, general manager of Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group.

"We have established many great examples of e-sports crossover cooperation with other sectors, which actually is a very interesting experience for fans. We will have more such cooperation with other iconic brands to benefit not only ourselves, but also the e-sports industry."

Luxury car brand Buick announced the launch of a CrossFire-themed sedan during the game's 10th anniversary ceremony last week in Shanghai. In 2016, CrossFire announced its cooperation with Chinese delivery-service giant SF Express.

The partnership allowed airdrop supply crates and care packages bearing the SF Express logo to be included in game action.

Apart from business cooperation, the game is also focusing on putting its name, logo and stories in shows and comics.

CrossFire's first TV series, movies and comics have all been created, with more to be released.

"The influence of CrossFire has been increasing not only in the e-sports industry, but also in the movie and other entertainment sectors," says Zhu.

"We never stopped exploring the way to make our brand famous in all aspects of people's lives."

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2018-08-12 20:51:16
<![CDATA[Going star crazy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/12/content_36750873.htm Impassioned fans of celebrities and pop idols have been cautioned about causing chaos in public spaces

For Wang Yuanyuan, being a big fan of Taiwan pop icon Jay Chou not only means going to his concerts and keeping up with the latest news about him - it also means sleepless nights and missing meals.

The 24-year-old can still recall the first time she got close to her idol - four years ago when Chou performed in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Wang, along with several other fans, bought one of the most expensive tickets for the concert and waited hours in the parking lot, hoping to get just a glimpse of her idol.

 

"When he finally walked out of the elevator, my heart was beating really fast. There were some other girls running to him, who were stopped by Chou's bodyguard. I saw him waving to us and I cried," recalls Wang, who was born and lives in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

One of the girls told Wang that Chou would leave Nanjing the next morning, so they headed for the airport at once.

"To my surprise, a large group of fans were waiting at the airport like us. Because we didn't know the exact flight information, we just waited there," Wang says. "When Chou finally arrived the next morning, fans went wild. I tried to take photos of him but the security guards were very aggressive."

Besides seeing him in cities near her home, Wang joined some of Chou's fan clubs and traveled to bigger cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, to see him.

"There are always chaotic scenes at the airport because the number of fans there could be over 100," she says.

Excited fans like to get close to their favorite celebrities and to show their affection, but some have become a threat to airport security.

According to a CCTV report on July 14, about 20 reported incidents of impassioned fans creating chaos took place at Beijing Capital Airport's Terminal 3 last year. In one incident, more than 20 fans bought flight tickets in a bid to see their favorite star, blocking the boarding gate and delaying the flight for about two hours.

At a media conference held by the Civil Aviation Administration of China in June, Guo Rengang, deputy head of the administration's policy, law and regulation department, said that those who unduly disrupt flights would be given a demerit on their social credit record and could face being banned from flying for up to a year.

People's Daily said on its official Sina Weibo account on July 24, "Unruly fans causing chaos at the airport disrupt social order and security. Selling and paying for celebrities' flight information also breaks rules on personal privacy."

In May, when Taiwan pop singer Hebe Tian, a member of Taiwan pop group S.H.E, was welcomed by dozens of her devoted fans at the airport of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, she told them to keep safe and clear the way. Later, on Sina Weibo, she described her experience at the airport as "too much".

In a public letter, fans of Chinese pop singer Cai Xunkun said in May: "Out of respect and protection for Cai Xunkun, please don't obtain any information about his private schedules. It will cause trouble for him and disturb social order."

The 19-year-old Cai rose to fame after participating in the reality show Idol Producer, launched by China's online streaming service iQiyi early this year. He won more than 47 million votes and made his debut with the pop group Nine Percent this April.

Now Cai has about 12 million followers on his Sina Weibo account and is one of the most popular young pop stars in the country.

"I became a big fan of his after I watched the live performance of the final competition of Idol Producer on April 6. He is so talented and so cute," says Qi Qi, a 20-year-old woman from Beijing, who says fans of Cai are nicknamed "ikun", meaning "love kun".

"Since Nine Percent started touring nationwide, I have traveled with them. I only go to the concerts, fans' meetings and other public events. I don't want to disturb his life."

Qi also says that she has seen other fans following their idols through the airport, which "just looks so crazy".

"Some fans shove their phones in the stars' faces, which is not polite. It also causes some of the fans, and the stars themselves, to be pushed and even injured in the process. Security is necessary to protect both the celebrities and other people," she adds.

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2018-08-12 20:51:16
<![CDATA[Ming matters]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/12/content_36750872.htm This year marks the 650th anniversary of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644, 明朝,míng cháo), founded in 1368 by Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋), a monk-turned-rebel general-turned, and the first commoner in almost 1,500 years to be crowned emperor.

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On the 650th year of this famous dynasty's founding, a leading historian examines why its legacy endures

This year marks the 650th anniversary of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644, 明朝,míng cháo), founded in 1368 by Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋), a monk-turned-rebel general-turned, and the first commoner in almost 1,500 years to be crowned emperor.

The Hongwu Emperor's (洪武皇帝, hóng wǔ huáng dì) descendants were a decidedly mixed bunch. Despite its uneven roster of rulers, the Ming era saw considerable achievements in the arts, letters, and philosophy. It was also a time of economic and commercial development which, in turn, created new challenges between the state and society.

Michael Szonyi is a professor of Chinese History and director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, and a social historian of late imperial and modern China. His most recent book, The Art of Being Governed: Everyday Politics in Late Imperial China, published last year by Princeton University Press, looks at how ordinary people interacted with the state during the Ming era through the ways in which families fulfilled their obligation to provide soldiers for the army.

The World of Chinese interviewed Szonyi about all matters Ming, and what those in the modern era can learn from this history:

The Ming Dynasty is 650 years old this year. But why should we care? What's so special about the era?

One reason the Ming matters is that Chinese people think the Ming matters. Today, they continue to consume Ming history voraciously - in books, movies, and TV serials. One of the bestselling works of history in the last decade is a series of stories about the Ming, Those Happenings of the Ming Dynasty (《明朝那些事儿》, a book series penned by Shi Yue), which spawned a host of imitators. I speculate that one of the reasons the Ming is fascinating to Chinese people today is that they perceive parallels with their own time. The Ming also matters today because it is being used to make claims about the present and future.

One of the most celebrated episodes in Ming history was the Zheng He (郑和) voyages. Zheng He has taken on new significance in recent years in light of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Moving from popular history and historiography to history itself, I think the Ming is significant as having been one of the most powerful empires of the early modern period, with the largest standing army in the world (after the collapse of the Mongols), and a highly sophisticated political apparatus. In the 16th century, China was at the heart of the global economy - it produced the high-tech goods that people throughout Eurasia wanted to have. At the time, China probably accounted for about a third of global GDP - just about the share that it should have later this century.

In the past few years, overseas scholars have been dragged into a "tempest in a Qianlong-era teacup" with some members of Chinese academia, particularly over issues relating to ethnicity, frontier studies, and other subjects, all very loosely cobbled under the heading of "new Qing studies". What's the relationship like among foreign and domestic Ming scholars?

My sense is none of the scholars in the New Qing school set out to be deliberately provocative. But their discoveries in the archives, and using Manchu sources, led them to conclusions that turned out to undermine conventional wisdom and to have significant implications for contemporary China. While I am sometimes jealous of the attention these scholars get in the popular media, I'm certainly glad not to bear the brunt of scurrilous attacks in the State media.

There are big debates in Ming history, but they tend to be more academic and less heated. For example, there was clearly a big economic downturn in the 14th century in China. Was it caused by the disruption of the Mongols (蒙古人, měng gǔ rén) and their Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368, 元朝, yuán cháo), or by the autarkic policies of the early Ming? Chinese nationalists would like it to be the former, but there's a lot of evidence it was the latter. Some scholars see in the public debates of the late Ming the emergence of a proto-civil society; their opponents think this is wishful thinking. In a sense, this is a debate about whether the late Ming can be described as liberal.

Another big debate is about demography. We used to think that there was a population explosion in the early-to-mid-Qing, and this was a big factor in the domestic turmoil of the 19th century. Some demographic historians now believe that late Ming population data was systematically under-reported. This would suggest that the demographic increase began under the Ming and was therefore much slower in coming. If you accept this, then it calls into question the conventional wisdom about Qing decline.

One of your students comes to you and says: "I want to be a scholar of the Ming era. Point me toward the cutting edge of research currently being done in Ming studies." What would you tell them?

Well, I hope it won't come across as immodest, but the first thing to read would be my new book, The Art of Being Governed: Everyday Politics in Late Imperial China. What I am proudest of in the book is that I am able to show how ordinary people in Ming times were able to devise amazingly complex and sophisticated strategies to deal with their obligations to the Ming state.

Two other wonderful historians I recommend reading are Sarah Schneewind and David Robinson. Both also have forthcoming books. Sarah's is a study of living shrines - shrines to worship men who were still living. She uses this subject to explore the idea of political participation in Ming; supporting and worshipping at these shrines, she argues, was a way people could make their political views known.

David sets the Ming in the larger Eurasian context, exploring its relations with the Mongols, Korea, and other states. He shows how Ming's foreign policy may have been largely isolationist, but this did not mean the Ming was isolated.

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2018-08-12 20:51:16
<![CDATA[PLEASURES BY A LAKE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36748007.htm Breeze greets us as we ride the tour bus along the bank of Guyu Lake in Longchang city, southeast of Sichuan province, in early August.

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An irrigation project southeast of Sichuan province is drawing visitors thanks to its natural beauty

Breeze greets us as we ride the tour bus along the bank of Guyu Lake in Longchang city, southeast of Sichuan province, in early August.

Lush trees surround the lake area, offering a natural shield from the smoldering summer heat.

Wooden pavilions and pedestrian lanes allow for a close look at the lake around which people are skating, cycling, or simply sightseeing.

"It's a little bigger than the West Lake in Hangzhou," says Huang Yong, director of the Longchang tourism bureau. But Guyu Lake holds much more water, he says.

The lake covers an area of 5.4 square kilometers, and contains 56 million cubic meters of water.

Its depth is 15 meters on average, going up to 27 meters at its deepest point.

Guyu Lake came into being when the local government decided to draw water from the Tuojiang river, one of the tributaries of the Yangtze River, back in the 1970s.

Then, Longchang was short of water, because it is at a higher level than the surrounding areas, and it did not have any big rivers or lakes.

"So, most of the time, we were dependent on the weather (to survive)," says Huang.

As the Guyu Temple is at the lowest point of the lake, the water body is named after it, says Huang.

The creation of the lake began in 1976 and it took two years to fill it up.

The lake helps irrigate roughly 100,000-mu (66.7 square kilometers) land in Longchang, says Huang, adding that later the local government in 2003 allowed fish breeding in the lake.

"The fish breeding took place in roughly one fifth of the lake's area," Huang says, adding that it carried on for more than a decade before being stopped due to water shortage issues as the population of the area grew from 50,000 to 200,000 in the 1980s.

In 2009, work on improving the lake's environment began and more than 3,000 mu of farmland around the lake has since been changed into a green zone where trees have been planted.

As a result of the improvements the lake has now begun to attract visitors. And the numbers could hit 400,000 a year.

"They go boating in the summer and watch migrating birds in the winter, besides enjoying local food," says Huang.

Tens of thousands of birds fly to the lake over November-April, creating quite a sight.

Then, one can see 90 varieties of birds, including white and gray cranes, as well as egrets and cormorants.

Now, the local authorities have set up dozens of birds feeding and observation sites for the public.

Guyu Lake was designated a national 4A scenic spot in 2016. And growing tourism has helped the local agri-tainment businesses to flourish.

Currently, more than 35 agri-tainment facilities are up and running, and they cater to 2,000-3,000 visitors per day, says Huang, adding that some of the facilities earn as much as 200,000-300,000 yuan ($29,279-43,918) a year.

Tang Wenyi was the first local to open a restaurant in the area, 500 meter from the lake, in 2000.

"Business has been good, especially in recent years," says the 43-year-old.

"More visitors now come to see the lake and the surrounding environment is improving."

Tang, who can serve 400 people at a time, has employed 11 locals, each of whom receives a salary of 2,000-5,000 yuan a month.

Like Tang, many other locals are also engaged in the tourism business with homestays and boating facilities.

For now, there are approximately 40 sightseeing boats. And a total of 100 beds are available for those who want to spend the night.

Meanwhile, the local government is planning to further develop the area. And a water town costing 3 billion yuan - a few hundred meters to the south of the lake - is to be set up within five years.

"We plan to use 3 million cubic meters of water from Guyu Lake (for the water town) and recycle it," says Huang.

Separately, Longchang is to work with top cosmetic and healthcare facilities and encourage them to open outlets in the water town.

A film facility is also likely to take shape in the area.

As for transport, high-speed rail connects Longchang to Chengdu and Chongqing within an hour. So, Guyu Lake could soon see even more visitors.

yangfeiyue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-11 07:33:38
<![CDATA[Cool mountain retreat offers a respite for urban dwellers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36748006.htm It's like you have entered an air-conditioned world when you set foot on Tiantai Mountain in Qionglai, west of Sichuan province's capital Chengdu.

About two-hour drive from Chengdu airport, the mountain resort offers serenity.

The forest closes in on us as we drive up the mountain road.

A waterfall cascades right next to a stone bridge and wets our faces as we cross the bridge.

I can't help but take a deep breath.

"The temperature averages 16 degrees all the year round," says Xiao Longmin, a local official.

The mountain covers an area of 192 square kilometers, and has facilities for tourists to play mahjong in the river.

"It's very relaxing to play the game while soaking your feet in running river water," says Xiao.

Fireflies are another big draw.

The local authorities have banned the use of pesticides, and feed the fireflies with snails, both of which make the mountain an ideal home for the small insects.

One can see sparkling fireflies all over the place from April to October, says Xiao.

The local government has invested approximately 460 million yuan ($67 million) to improve Tiantai Mountain's environment starting in mid-2016, and tourist numbers hit 670,000 a year after the project started.

"Most visitors spend two days at the mountain resort," says Xiao.

About 70-80 percent of tourists come from Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces.

The number of visitors from Xi'an, Shaanxi province has also significantly increased since the high-speed rail line connecting Chengdu and Xi'an began operations at the end of last year, says Xiao.

The business prospects for locals has also improved since tourism took hold in the area.

Now, street peddlers selling local snacks, such as fried fish and baked sweet potatoes can earn up to 1,000 yuan on a good day, says Xiao. And those who run family hotels can make 100,000-200,000 yuan a year.

Gao Siqiong, 50, who was born and raised in the area, has turned her house into a restaurant and private inn since 2008.

Speaking about the business in the area, Gao, who makes 60,000 yuan in profit a year, says: "All hotels here are fully booked during peak seasons."

Currently, the Tiantai Mountain authority plans to launch an online parking lot booking system for self-drive tourists. There are 1,700 parking lots, and tourists can make reservations in advance.

"This is to avoid traffic congestion during peak season," says Xiao, adding that the scenic spot once received 140,000 tourists in a day.

For those who fail to get a parking spot, a bus service will be available, says Xiao.

For now, the mountain is striving to be a national 5A scenic spot. So, in addition to tourism development, the local authority is also focusing on environmental protection.

As a result, rare plant species are monitored and pest control is implemented.

Also, a pollution treatment system has been put in place for restaurants and hotels.

Gao believes that the future is bright, adding: "Even more people will come if the mountain becomes a national 5A tourist attraction."

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2018-08-11 07:33:38
<![CDATA[CHINESE ARTIST PAYS TRIBUTE TO LEGENDARY HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36747995.htm Fifty-four photos by Chinese artist Wang Xiao Hui, including her two portraits of legendary actress Audrey Hepburn, were on display till Thursday at 503 BEA building at Lujiazui in Shanghai.

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Fifty-four photos by Chinese artist Wang Xiao Hui, including her two portraits of legendary actress Audrey Hepburn, were on display till Thursday at 503 BEA building at Lujiazui in Shanghai.

Wang is an international award-winning artist, author and professor with Tongji University who splits her time between Shanghai and Munich. The exhibition featured her most iconic works over the past decades. All the portrait images on display were showcased for the first time.

The portraits of Hepburn were taken in Munich in 1992, one year before the film star died. Wang was then studying filmmaking in the German city. The British actress is the only celebrity Wang has ever photographed.

"In 1992, the Chinese film Ju Dou was featured at an international film event in Munich, and the director couldn't make the trip to Germany," recalled Wang, who ended up being the representative from the Chinese film industry to introduce the film on German TV.

"It was at that occasion that I was introduced to Audrey Hepburn, and a mutual friend recommended me to take pictures of her. I loved her for her striking beauty inside and out, unhampered by wrinkles or other signs of aging. To me she was not a goddess but more like an angel," she added.

Wang took about two dozen photos of Hepburn but only the two showcased at the exhibition were printed because most of the slide films were damaged during the development process.

"The pictures were cut in the middle by accident," she recalled. "Now we have Photoshop, and it is very easy to fix a simple problem like that. You couldn't have imagined something like this at that time."

Wang was born in Tianjin in 1957. She graduated from Tongji University in Shanghai, majoring in architecture, and went to Germany in 1986 with her husband Yu Lin as visiting scholars. There, Wang became intrigued with photography and filmmaking, resulting in her making the switch from architecture to art.

Her husband was supportive, helping her with the logistics and chauffeuring her on her shooting trips. It was during one of these trips to Prague in 1991 that they encountered a car accident. Wang was severely injured. Her husband died.

After awakening from a coma, Wang took out the camera and turned the lens at her broken face She went on to take pictures of herself, the hospital, medical staff and friends who visited. Art accompanied her recovery and helped her live through this difficult time of loss.

Wang later said that this experience marked a turning point in her life as she found new meaning to her existence and was determined to become a professional artist. She has since made several documentaries, art films and taken pictures that are internationally published and exhibited.

German art critic Manfred Schneckenburger once said that Wang is "an icon of progress for the younger generation despite the Chinese consciousness of tradition".

Gu Zheng, a Chinese critic, described her self-portraits as "most brutally honest" while contemporary art curator Victoria Lu compared Wang to the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo because of her "continuous record of her life".

In 2001, Wang published an autobiography titled My Visual Diary which was highly popular among readers. The book is still available in print now. That same year, Wang became a professor at Tongji University. She later founded the Xiao Hui Wang Art Center in 2003.

Throughout her career, Wang has worked with international brands and local governments in China on art projects as well as cross-over initiatives. In 2012, the government of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, invited her to turn a historical residence into the Xiao Hui Wang Art Museum. The museum features a 400-year-old courtyard that occupies a space of 1,600 square meters along the historical Pingjiang Road.

Wang recalled how a lot of work had to be done to set up the museum.

"There were very strict regulations on the protection of vintage buildings. You couldn't knock down any of the walls and you couldn't even hammer a nail into them," she said.

As part of the redesign of the property, Wang added a glass roof to a part of the garden which made new media projection possible. She also changed the main gate to face the pedestrian street. The project was such a success that it was named by a German institution as one of the 15 most beautiful private museums in China.

For five years, the center hosted art events, performances and exhibitions before it was returned to the Suzhou city government.

In 2016, the CEG Xiao Hui Wang Art Space opened in Shanghai, showcasing her creations as well as those from young emerging artists and designers.

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-11 07:32:02
<![CDATA[Archway set to be new tourist magnet in NYC]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36747994.htm NEW YORK - A grand and distinctive Chinese-style archway to be installed in the fast-growing Chinatown of Brooklyn, New York City's largest borough, is set to become a new tourist magnet in the cultural capital of America.

The arch, 12 meters tall and 3.65 meters wide, will span the 60th and 61st streets along the 8th Avenue in Sunset Park of Brooklyn, an area which has grown into one of the biggest hubs of New York's vibrant Chinese-American community over the past decades.

A legacy of the Chinese community

"The project of the archway is so important for the Chinese community in many ways," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"It's sending a clear and loud message that it is continuing expansion of the strength of the power and the respect that the Chinese community has in this city," he said.

The archway, the first of its kind in New York City, is going to be not only a "permanent edifice" that represents "a legacy of the Chinese community not only in the city, but in America," Adams said.

The first Brooklyn Chinatown was originally established in the Sunset Park area. Now it has expanded into neighborhoods such as Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay, as evidenced by the growing number of Chinese-run fruit markets, restaurants, beauty and nail salons, small offices, and computer and consumer electronics dealers.

"That (Chinatown's expansion) is causing a great level of excitement and energy," Adams said. "A lot of small businesses are opening, many things have been done to encourage the continued expansion of the Chinese community in the borough."

The number of Chinese in Brooklyn is 210,801, second only to Queens among NYC's boroughs, overtaking Manhattan's Chinatown (110,756) as the main residence of Chinese in the city, according to Generating Economic Opportunity in New York City's Predominantly Chinese-American Neighborhoods, a report released by Airbnb in March this year.

The annual Lunar New Year Parade in Brooklyn, which began in 1988, has become one of the biggest and most anticipated events for people of diverse ethnic backgrounds in New York City.

Friendship bridge

The classical but solar-powered arch also stands as a friendship bridge between Brooklyn and its sister district of Chaoyang in Beijing, and between Beijing and New York as well.

A gift from Chaoyang district, the nine-roof, two-pillar archway, called the Friendship Archway, will have blue indigo glazed tiles with sculptures of mythical creatures including a golden dragon, similar to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is another major gift from a foreign government received by the city after the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from France. The arch will also feature two inscriptions on it - one will read "One Family over Four Seas" in Chinese and the other will be "Brooklyn-Beijing Chaoyang" in English.

In Chinese culture, archways traditionally mark the entry into major urban streets. They are also often placed at significant sites like temples, parks and government offices.

Many American cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco, have similar archways marking their own Chinatowns.

"Some people will say, well, what's so important about having a structure such as an archway, the only nine-roof archways in America," Adams said.

"That is a great symbol to have and it's a great sense of pride for Brooklyn," he said.

Brooklyn, which also has a sister city agreement with Yiwu, Zhejiang province in eastern China, attaches great importance to its cooperation with Chinese partners, Adams said.

"The goal that we would like to accomplish with all of our sister cities is to exchange cultural ideas," he said. "A better understanding of each other's culture will allow us to have a better understanding of the people that are involved."

The second is education, he said. "We would like our children to communicate with the children of China, give them an opportunity to learn from each other and communicate with each other."

The third is business, he added. "We want to encourage business ... and see how we can continue to learn best practices and how we continue to exchange in business ideas."

"That (the arch) is a powerful statement and it should not be placed in a lower level our acknowledgment of what is going to represent," Adams said. "People are going to be able to come here and see this item. This is a place of recognition for the Chinese community. My children, my children's children will be able to reflect."

Gravitation pull

The arrival of the archway is a beautiful dream coming true after almost 10 years of persistent efforts on the part of Winnie Greco, president of the Sino America New York Brooklyn Archway Association, and many elected officials as well as Chinese community members involved.

Like the borough president said, Greco noted that for too long there was no symbol that represents the Chinese community in New York City which boasts the largest Chinese population in the United States. There were attempts to place archways and other areas of the city but they all fell short.

"It's exciting we're close to accomplish the task," she said. "If everything goes smooth, the arch will be installed in October," Greco told Xinhua.

It is believed the arch will help stimulate economic growth for local businesses and further develop its entertainment, cultural, and tourism industries as well.

"By having an archway in Sunset Park, it becomes a magnet with the gravitational pull that will allow a large number of Chinese visitors, tourists and residents to go deeper into the heart of Brooklyn," Adams said.

"It would infuse a great deal of capital and resources into not only the borough of Brooklyn, but into the city. A large number of Chinese tourists... will now have a reason to go to see one of the largest archways in the country," he said.

Xinhua

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2018-08-11 07:32:02
<![CDATA[CAT MAN]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/10/content_36742366.htm Marcel Heijnen, a Dutch photographer, has been living in Hong Kong for almost six years. As a foreigner in China, he is always surprised, he says.

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A Dutch photographer explores Hong Kong to snap images of his feline subject, Xu Haoyu reports.

Marcel Heijnen, a Dutch photographer, has been living in Hong Kong for almost six years. As a foreigner in China, he is always surprised, he says.

He walks out from his home near Sheung Wan, one of the city's oldest neighborhoods in its northwest, with a camera in hand, always prepared to capture the moments that touch him.

As a frequent visitor to a nearby traditional market and a daily shopper at grocery stores there, he is getting used to the noisy streets, where people bargain with vendors in Cantonese.

Through his lens, he has also captured cats in different moods there: in the stocky arms of a meat seller, staring at fish being eaten by a person, sitting on a box of dried abalones next to a porcelain cat and lying on their paws in a quiet corner.

Heijnen, 53, describes the cats that live in shops as "Zen-like".

"They are quiet and relaxed, especially the ones living in the stores. They are used to so much noise around them, including the sound of boxes being moved in and out, and a busy street nearby."

When Heijnen was working as a graphic designer earlier, he switched cities every three or five years, he says.

And when he decided to move to Hong Kong in 2015, he left the cat he was raising in Singapore with a friend. In Hong Kong, it was for the first time in about 40 years that he was without a cat.

At first, he just took a few photos with his smartphone and posted them on social media. A big response drove him to show more. He published a picture book titled Hong Kong Shop Cats toward the end of 2016. A thousand copies or so sold out in three weeks in Hong Kong, he says. In June, it was listed as one of the 11 best books set in Hong Kong by Time Out magazine.

Heijnen owes his success to a combination of interesting images and an understanding of traditional customs in Hong Kong.

"Young people care about these things because it's the reflection of their identity. And I think they like it when somebody presents their culture in a kind of nostalgic way."

He says he saw cats at modern convenience stores such as 7-Eleven as well, but he chose to focus only on cats in settings with an olden-day charm.

"It's a tradition to raise cats in grocery shops to keep away the rats in Hong Kong," says a 60-year-old male resident of the city whose surname is Ho.

A friend of Heijnen, who's not willing to reveal her name, says: "The streets in Hong Kong are so crowded and noisy, but the cats look so peaceful and beautiful in his photos."

Heijnen says many local residents have told him that they saw what he saw every day, but they didn't realize that "anybody could do something so beautiful" with such views.

Heijnen feels the same about his hometown, Amsterdam, where he wouldn't pick up his camera to shoot daily life. "Too familiar," he says.

Hong Kong, on the other hand, has offered him a totally different culture.

He recently asked his local friend, Aki Leung, to give him a Chinese name after he decided to publish his third book. But he still finds the name, Ma Yixiu, a bit difficult to pronounce.

Heijnen is studying Chinese at a Hong Kong language school, and uses an app to practice daily.

"I like the (Chinese) culture, and I think I'm different enough that I can keep noticing things and getting inspired," Heijnen says.

In November, Heijnen published his second book, Hong Kong Market Cats. He is now working on two others. One's called Hong Kong Garage Dogs, which is scheduled to be released by the end of the year.

"It is similar to Hong Kong Shop Cats in the sense that the common element in all photos is an animal, a 'functional' animal. My larger aim is to feature the environment these dogs live in - gritty, messy places."

Dogs and cats help people. Hence, they are useful in society.

The other book he's working on is China Shop Cats that extends the phenomenon to the mainland, where he says he is traveling and exploring old neighborhoods in modern cities.

Contact the writer at xuhaoyu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-10 07:26:44
<![CDATA[Taiwan bookstore bets on mystery thrillers to revive business]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/10/content_36742365.htm TAIPEI - A human skeleton hangs on the wall above a creepy plastic baby head. A smiling doll stares down at the customers from a high shelf. A gramophone blasts eerie music.

In Tommy Tan's Murder Ink bookstore, everything exudes a mysterious vibe. The store is located in a quiet alley in downtown Taipei and is one of the few bookstores in Taiwan that focuses mainly on detective novels.

"I launched the bookstore because I wanted to help the detective genre take root in Taiwan," Tan, 47, says. "I have always loved detective books, and it makes my life more meaningful if people can share the joy of literature with me."

Tan says he hopes the bookstore can enrich people's lives. His "dream bookstore" would be a place where readers can communicate and make friends with each other, and authors can share their ideas and draw inspiration from each other.

But his idea comes at a time when brick-and-mortar bookstore businesses in Taiwan are struggling in an increasingly digitized era. According to a report by the People's Daily in May, on Taiwan's South Chongqing Road, where there were once more than 100 bookstores, now, only 10 remain.

Tan says - even with all the classic books he has collected from around the world, the carefully decorated reading room and the book discounts - public interest in traditional bookstores seems to be diminishing in today's digitized world. He says these days, his bookstore sometimes receives only one or two customers a day.

But despite the setback, Tan is determined to hold on to his store.

"I think brick-and-mortar bookstores are unique and irreplaceable," Tan says. "It's a place where you can be inspired and enlightened, and create something special."

Tan says bookstores give people an experience that e-books will never be able to replace.

Detective books

Before Tan started Murder Ink, he was an independent online-documentary editor. His real passion, however, has always been detective books.

"I have always loved experiencing the craziness in detective books and mystery novels," Tan says. "You learn about compassion, and you can find comfort in books.

"Every time I read the mystery genre, I feel like a detective myself."

Tan has translated many detective stories, which further inspired him to create a detective-themed bookstore. When he launched Murder Ink, he only had a small collection of secondhand books but he wanted more. An elderly woman in Taiwan heard about the store, contacted Tan and donated her collection of some 600 detective books to him.

He also decorated the store to attract more people, with items such as plastic dolls, a skeleton and a gramophone.

But despite his efforts, business has been "tepid", he says. The store only made about 400 Taiwan dollars ($13) in two days at its worst point.

"I remember we were making ends meet, and I had to sell a piece of the store's antique furniture to pay rent," Tan says.

He says at this point of his life, it's no longer about making big bucks, but about living a meaningful and worthwhile life. The bookstore allows him to do that. "I would not be doing this if I wanted to make money," Tan says. "Plus, the bookstore helps preserve culture."

New page

Tan says that, at first, he just wanted to focus on selling books, but discovered only selling books was not enough to keep the store together. To help the store survive, he studied how to make beverages for some extra money.

"We also rented our store to people making films or advertisements," he says.

"We are also coming up with novel ways to promote the bookstore to attract more readers.

"I often go on radio (shows) to talk about the latest books I read."

He has invited authors and readers to the store to share their ideas as well.

The store also sells some other items, such as calendars, fedora hats and nail polish. He is thinking about transforming the bookstore into a homestay that offers accommodation, food and books to tourists, he says.

"Essentially, the store is all about bringing people back to the world of books and enjoying a moment of life," Tan says, adding that he believes literature is powerful.

Xinhua

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2018-08-10 07:26:44
<![CDATA[A FINE FEAST]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/10/content_36742364.htm Having worked in the kitchen for 26 years, Yang Jie has decided to embark on a new adventure - the 44-year-old has teamed up with two other chefs to create a "vegetarian concept restaurant" in Beijing.

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Three acclaimed chefs are teaming up to bring a whole new vegetarian concept to Beijing's culinary landscape, Li Yingxue reports.

Having worked in the kitchen for 26 years, Yang Jie has decided to embark on a new adventure - the 44-year-old has teamed up with two other chefs to create a "vegetarian concept restaurant" in Beijing.

Located at Wanda Plaza, the newly opened restaurant - named Feast - offers a highend interpretation of vegetarian dining that seeks to create a balance of taste, temperature and rhythm throughout the meal.

Besides Yang, who is an expert in traditional cuisine, Feast is also the brainchild of renowned vegetarian chef, Zhao Bin, and Western cuisine specialist, Liu Peng.

"We all have cooked for more than two decades, and this time we want to do something different," says Yang.

After some trial and error, and six versions, they have finally created a menu that is an expression of their diverse experiences, combining Chinese vegetarian traditions with cutting-edge Western cooking techniques.

"We create a new menu for each season, offering only the most seasonal ingredients to our clients," Yang says, adding that the best part of opening the new restaurant is so that "the three of us can sit together and brainstorm new dishes".

Eggplant puff pastry with mashed potatoes, morel mushrooms, asparagus, vegetable sauce and chive mayonnaise is a result of one such discussion. They tried many different fillings for their veggie version of beef Wellington, before finally deciding that eggplant provided the best flavor.

In Yang's opinion, there are three rules in cooking - to eat the right ingredients at the right time, to cook skillfully and to plate perfectly.

"Ingredients are the most important elements of cooking," says Yang. "For the best ingredients, we don't need to over cook them, just let them shine."

For instance, on the menu is a snack of garden tomato, gazpacho and tomato sherbet that is a result of Yang's exploration of the fruit - he even uses a sugar refractometer to test when is the best time to eat the tomato.

Yang spends 50 percent of his time searching for the best ingredients in China, and he aims to catalog all of the best places to find each vegetable.

"I found good Chinese yams in a small village in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, several years ago, but shipping them from the village was difficult back then," says Yang, who has since managed to stock them in his restaurant.

"The Chinese yam was sold abroad the fourth year after I found it. It was fun and I enjoy exploring a lot," Yang says.

From the tricholoma gambosa that grows in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to the sweetest golden-silk jujube from Shandong province, Yang has written down around 50 ingredients that he believes deliver the best flavor.

"Of all 5,000 ingredients, there are about 700 that can be made into vegetarian food, so there is still a long way for me to go," Yang says.

As for cooking techniques, Yang thinks that mastering the duration and degree of heat is the most important skill that a chef should practice every day.

"Unlike Western cooking methods, Chinese cuisine asks the chef to especially master the heat," says the 44-year-old. "One important thing is the temperature of the pot, which I only started to understand after 10 years' experience."

The plating of all the dishes at Feast is Western style, and the food is served banquetstyle, taking diners on a culinary journey that evolves course by course, like the movements of a symphony.

After a main course of rich bamboo shoots with tofu and bolete, Yang offers fresh corn, corn puree and maple sugar to adjust the flavor.

"The corn is refreshing, so I just smoke it with a bit of olive oil and add a bit salt," he explains.

He then produces a tangerine-flavored red-bean paste with red-bean ice cream as a dessert to freshen the palate after a bowl of delicious handmade noodles with marinated mushroom and bean sauce.

Zhao, 44, has been specializing in vegetarian cuisine for nine years, and Feast is his second vegetarian restaurant.

"Vegetarian restaurants are getting more popular in China, and, for Feast, we want diners to eat healthily and comfortably," says Zhao.

Yang, Zhao and Liu cook each dish under the rules of the Michelin Guide and hope to pick up a star in the future.

"We all have dreams of cooking," Zhao says. "So, it's a happy thing that all three of us get to cook together".

Contact the writer at liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

Three chefs, (from left) Liu Peng, Yang Jie and Zhao Bin, have embarked on an adventure to launch their vegetarian concept restaurant, Feast, in Beijing, that seeks to create a balance of taste, temperature and rhythm throughout the meal. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-08-10 07:26:44
<![CDATA[Japanese food gets a new twist in China's capital]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/10/content_36742363.htm Tianjin's jianbing guozi is a traditional snack that involves using a pancake to wrap fried-dough sticks dipped in a sauce, but Gu Yansheng has now given it a Japanese twist.

In his version, Gu uses a thin piece of wagyu beef grilled for 10 seconds, shallots, mashed radishes and a special sauce.

Gu used to work for the Japanese restaurant Sushi Yotsuba in Beijing, but now he is the manager of its new branch Manyo in the Beihai area of the capital.

Gu, who has two decades of experience with Japanese cuisine, and his master chef Hirobe Tomoyuki have been working on the menu for Manyo for almost a year.

"When it comes to Japanese cuisine, people usually eat sushi, sashimi or sukiyaki," says Gu. "But yakiniku is also classic Japanese food that Manyo wants to popularize."

From the appetizers to the dips for the grilled meat, Gu has created dozens of sauces, all of which have to be made freshly each day.

"I create sauces to highlight the flavor of each ingredient. For instance, for the snowflake-wagyu beef wrap, I added a bit of apple juice to the sauce to make the sweetness stand out," says Gu.

Gu moved to Beijing from Baoding, Hebei province, 20 years ago, when he was 19. And he has stuck with Japanese cuisine since.

"Japanese cuisine has become more popular in Beijing over the years," says Gu.

"When I started in a Japanese restaurant in 1998, there were only a few in the city, but now it's easy to find one."

Gu, who joined Yotsuba in 2013, says: "As a Japanese chef, you have to keep learning new things and create new dishes all the time, or you will be eliminated.

"It's a laborious business," says Gu. "You have to cook with feeling."

Each day, Gu starts at around 10 am to prepare the ingredients and sauces.

All the beef is cut by him.

"You have to know the beef, observe its patterns and decide on its thickness depending on the fat."

The snacks are the most time-consuming items to prepare.

Winter bamboo shoots take about eight hours to cook. The shoots have to be boiled with rice to make them taste sweet.

One of the outlet's top favorites is steamed rice with crabmeat. The crabs are shipped to the restaurant each day for the dish.

When it comes to beverages, Manyo features limited-edition wines from Kanazawa in Japan, which has more than 400 years of history.

The Kagatsuru Junmai Daijingo has a light fragrance of honeydew melon and snow pear, while Maedatoshiiekou Daijingo is fruity and a bit spicy - but both go well with the yakiniku food.

Besides meat, Gu is also good with Japanese desserts.

He now serves a free dessert to his customers each day according to the weather.

"On hot days I'll prepare some ice cream. And, if it's raining, it's good to have tea desserts," says Gu.

Gu Yansheng, who specializes in Japanese cuisine, has brought Chinese snacks with Japanese twists to his new restaurant, Manyo, in Beijing. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-08-10 07:26:44
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/10/content_36742362.htm Scallops at midnight

Near D Lounge, Infusion and Scandal - three popular bars in Beijing's Sanlitun area-Shinya Shokudo (Midnight Canteen) is a restaurant that provides a place to enjoy gourmet food late into the night. It combines Japanese cuisine and Western cooking methods to offer up calorific delicacies and craft beer to satisfy late-night cravings. Their signature scallop dish involves placing live scallops in the oven with garlic and olive oil and grilling them until the juices begin to boil.

No 4 Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6500-7939.

Jiangnan classics

First established in Singapore in 1991, Crystal Jade now has 120 restaurants across the world and has been extensively recommended by the Michelin guide. It has now landed in Beijing with its new brand, Crystal Jade Jiangnan Restaurant. The food at Crystal Jade transports clients to the dreamy "homeland of fish and rice", China's southeastern Jiangnan region, with the first bite. Classic dishes include chopped celery with dried bean curd, steamed fish from Taihu Lake, and sweet-and-savory stir-fried eel.

L4, North Zone, China World Mall, No 1 Jianguomen Avenue, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8595-0956.

Mexican food safari

Q Mex's third Beijing branch, focusing on a California-style interpretation of Mexican cuisine, has recently opened. The Q Mex Bar& Grill Shuangjing boasts a brand-new design concept, leveraging Latin-inspired interior design to complement and enhance the food. The new menu has been created by executive chef Marcus Medina and his kitchen partner, Peter Zhang. Every year, the two travel around Mexico on a "food safari", exploring the local cuisine and finding inspiration for their menus. Their must-try Taco Burger was a winner at the 2017 Beijing Burger Cup.

L1-06, Space 3, Yuecheng Center, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8770-0668.

Fresh takes

The Shuangjing area of Beijing recently became home to a new Japanese restaurant, Hexing, that brings experienced Japanese-cuisine chefs together with the best ingredients from around the world. Two chefs cook in front of the diners while explaining the ingredients and cooking methods to interested customers. They update their menu each week, adding the most seasonal ingredients to their dishes.

Building 19-3, Shuanghuayuannanli, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8770-4542.

China Daily

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2018-08-10 07:26:44
<![CDATA[UNITED BY MUSIC]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/10/content_36742361.htm The Eurochestries Festival is returning to Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, for the second year in a row, as it aims to promote orchestral practice among musicians aged 15 to 25.

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The second Eurochestries Festival in China is offering a truly international experience, as 500 musicians from 9 orchestras in 15 countries take to the stage, Chen Nan reports.

The Eurochestries Festival is returning to Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, for the second year in a row, as it aims to promote orchestral practice among musicians aged 15 to 25.

Founded in 1989 by French composer and chorus conductor Marcel Corneloup to encourage international music exchanges, the program first came to the Chinese coastal city last summer.

This year's event, which runs through Saturday, has attracted over 500 musicians from nine orchestras in 15 countries, to stage a total of 14 concerts at different venues in Qingdao.

The festival opened at the Mangrove Tree Convention and Exhibition Center on Aug 3 with performances by Spain's orchestra Jerez Alvarez Beigbeder performing The Barber of Seville Overture by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, and the Ritual Fire Dance by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla - led by conductor and vice-president of the festival, Angel Luis Perez Garrido.

Other highlights at the opening ceremony included French symphony orchestra Cote d'Opale's overture to Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, and Estonia's Symphony Orchestra of the Nomme Music School performing Eduard Tubin's Dance Suite on Estonian Themes.

The event will close with a concert featuring seven symphony orchestras, including Norway's Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Strasbourg de France Youth Orchestra.

In early 2016, violinist and conductor Liu Zheng, who lives in Beijing, made a proposal to the festival committee to bring it to China every year. Having participated in several Eurochestries festivals held across Europe, Liu, who studied music at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna from 2000 to 2003, wanted to organize a festival in his home country with the aim of giving wider international exposure to young Chinese music students.

"I was impressed by the atmosphere at the music festival when I went there for the first time in 2000. The musicians from different countries not only performed together but also lived together, like a summer camp," recalls Liu. "I took some Chinese symphony orchestras to Eurochestries events but I wanted more young Chinese musicians to experience the festival and benefit from it."

As with the first Eurochestries Festival in China, Liu wanted to showcase young musicians playing music from their own countries this year. During the nine-day event, Liu also drew up schedules for musicians from different countries to perform together under the baton of a conductor from another country entirely.

"Music unites people. We communicate in the language of music," adds violinist Kang Lu, who performed with musicians from the Beijing Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, which was founded by conductor Liu last year. Kang has been performing with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra since graduating from the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in 2009.

"Some of the orchestras are making their debut performances in China. Some of them have never been to China before. It's a great opportunity for those musicians to explore China and for Chinese audiences, it is a chance to enjoy music they've never heard before," Kang says.

Among the orchestras making their China debut is the Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, which gave four concerts at this year's festival. They brought to the stage repertories by several European composers, including Shostakovich's Festival Overture, Jean Sibelius' Ode to Finland and Edvard Grieg's Two Elegiac Melodies.

"It's great to meet people from around the world through music, especially the young Chinese musicians," says conductor Kjell Seim, Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra's main conductor, who graduated from the Norwegian Academy of Music in 1986.

Seim, 62, performed at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing with the China Film Orchestra in a concert themed on Norwegian music in 2008.

Young Estonian composer and conductor Riivo Jogi adds, "When people from different cultures play music together, it offers a unique experience to the public as well as the performers. We perform music from different countries, which allows us to experience other cultures."

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

Angel Luis Perez Garrido, who is also the vice-president of the Eurochestries Festival, leads Spanish orchestra Jerez Alvarez Beigbeder during a concert at the opening ceremony of the event in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, on Aug 3. Provided to China Daily

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2018-08-10 07:26:44
<![CDATA[BBC orchestra to do 5 concerts in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/10/content_36742360.htm LONDON - BBC National Orchestra of Wales will tour China over Dec 15-21, performing five concerts in four cities aimed at fostering creative collaborations between China and Wales, the orchestra announced on Tuesday.

Led by Chinese principal guest conductor Zhang Xian, the orchestra begins its tour with two concerts in Beijing followed by shows in Changsha, Wuhan and Shenzhen. According to the BBC orchestra, the visit marks the first time Zhang will tour her home country with a European symphony orchestra.

"I conduct a number of the Chinese orchestras on a regular basis, but this is the first time I am touring China with a European orchestra. I am very much looking forward to introducing the musicians of the BBC orchestra to my country, and I think that the cultural cooperation with my musicians and the musicians in Shenzhen will be extremely interesting for us all," says Zhang.

The tour is the result of a visit by a Welsh cultural delegation to China in early 2017. And it is being supported by the British Council in China, the Wales Arts International and the Arts Council of Wales.

During the visit, Zhang and members of the orchestra will share their experiences with aspiring female leaders and musicians in a series of activities in the host cities.

Michael Garvey, the director of the BBC orchestra, says: "This tour offers a wonderful opportunity to build creative links with our partners in China, enhancing the close relationships that already exist between our two countries."

Nick Marchand, director, Arts China and North-East Asia, at the British Council, says: "The British Council is delighted to support the orchestra's tour with Zhang Xian, Chinese principal guest conductor and the first female to hold that role in a BBC orchestra.

"With BBC NOW having first been part of a Welsh cultural delegation visit to China in early 2017, it is fantastic to see this UK-China cultural exchange come to fruition this year.

"We know it is going to be an inspiring visit, for both musicians and (the) audience alike."

Xinhua

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2018-08-10 07:26:44
<![CDATA[Fierce competition ahead]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/09/content_36736115.htm

Top left: Actor and director Xu Zheng and his wife, actress Tao Hong, who is a coproducer of the animated film,The Wind Guardians, promote the film in Beijing. Top right: English actor Jason Statham and Chinese actress Li Bingbing at a promotional event in Beijing for the upcoming film The Meg. Above: The Wind Guardians is based on the popular franchise Painting the Martial Arts World, an animated series.

With a host of new films set for release this month, viewers will be spoilt for choice, Xu Fan reports.

As the summer approaches its end in parts of China, the battle for eyeballs at cinema theaters is getting hotter with 50 new movies set to hit screens in August, up 61 percent since July.

Latest figures show that last month was the highest-grossing July of all time, raking in 6.96 billion yuan ($1.02 billion) at the box office, 38 percent up from 5.04 billion yuan in the same period in 2017, according to live box-office tracker Maoyan.

Dying to Survive, a social drama that sparked nationwide discussion on high-priced medicines, is the winner for July.

The film, starring Lost franchise star Xu Zheng, which was released on July 5, earned 3.04 billion yuan to top the box-office charts of last month.

In second place raking in 1.3 billion yuan in five days, was top comedian Shen Teng's Hello Mr Billionaire.

Dwayne Johnson's high-rise action thriller Skyscraper came in third, and director Jiang Wen's martial arts epic Hidden Man followed.

But the two films earned less than half of Hello Mr Billionaire, loosely based on the 1985 American comedian Richard Pryor's film Brewster's Millions.

Meanwhile, many industry analysts were surprised by the relatively poor takings for Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings, which was considered by some as the best visual feast in a decade by Hong Kong maverick filmmaker Tsui Hark.

It earned just 380 million yuan in July.

With many new flicks lining up to flood the theaters, the movie about a 7th-century detective will most likely find it hard to reach its goal of crossing 1 billion yuan.

As for whether we will see a monster hit to match Wolf Warrior 2, China's all-time highest-grossing film, which hauled in 5.68 billion yuan last summer, we need to wait.

On Aug 3, nine new movies simultaneously hit mainland theaters, unveiling the "battle" for the month.

But the peak will come on Aug 24, as 13 films - including Marvel's latest superhero movie Ant-Man and the Wasp; Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Fallout, and Bollywood star Salman Khan's sports drama Sultan - will be out that day.

For now, The Wind Guardians, with a score of 9.1 points out of 10 on Taopiaopiao, one of China's largest online ticket services, has the potential to become a hit.

The domestic animated film, the first feature-length work on the popular franchise Hua Jiang Hu (Painting the Martial Arts World), a 250-episode animated series, had 11.2 billion "clicks" online.

In the movie, Lang Ming, a hooligan who was born blind and regains his sight accidentally, embarks on an quest to find his mother.

Cao Xiaohui, deputy head of the animation institute at the Beijing Film Academy, says the movie's potential success will be a boost for China's animators who have spent years trying to attract adult audiences, starting with the 2015 film Monkey King: Hero is Back, the 2016 blockbuster Big Fish& Begonia, and the dark cult tale Dahufa in 2017.

International film cooperation is also entering a new phase, exemplified by The Meg, a Sino-US production, which releases on Friday.

The movie directed by American Jon Turteltaub and starring English action star Jason Statham, marks the first time for Chinese A-list actress Li Bingbing to co-headline a Hollywood tentpole.

In the film, two of the major characters are Chinese scientists and the movie's key sequences take place in the sea near Sanya, South China's Hainan province.

Looking ahead to the year's box-office takings, some industry insiders say a good summer show could see the year's total box-office figure crossing last year's takings.

"The first seven months have grossed 38.9 billion yuan. If the rest of this year can have some hits, this year's total box-office could reach 65 billion yuan," says Rao Shuguang, secretary general of the China Film Association.

Last year's box-office takings were 55.9 billion yuan, and the figure for the first seven months of 2017 was 32.2 billion yuan.

"Domestic films accounted for 63 percent of the market share in the first half of this year," Rao says.

"Chinese audiences seem to be fed up of action-studded Hollywood blockbusters. And this change is giving more opportunities to local filmmakers."

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-09 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Documentary week shows interest in real-life stories]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/09/content_36736114.htm When the second Beijing Documentary Week kicked off at the China Millennium Monument last week, 97-year-old translator Xu Yuanchong arrived in a wheelchair.

As the first Asian winner of the Aurora Borealis prize, the world's highest honor in the field of translation, Xu is the "protagonist" of My Legacy and I: Xu Yuanchong, a documentary that opened the annual event.

The documentary is part of the 10-episode TV series My Legacy and I, which recounts stories of 10 celebrities, including actor Pu Cunxin, dancer Yang Liping, artist Cai Guoqiang and Demos Chiang, a great grandson of former Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek.

Xu attended the premiere for a simple yet emotional reason - to see his late wife Zhao Jun again on the big screen. Zhao, who married Xu in 1959, passed away on June 15 in Beijing.

In the 40-minute documentary, a series of trivial moments between the couple were captured on camera to reveal the lesser-known side of the world-renowned translator.

One scene shows how he fell from his bicycle and got injured after a night of hanging out in Peking University. Even though he had to stay in hospital for two weeks, Xu depicts the fall as poetically beautiful, because the accident occurred in an alley flooded by moonlight.

Held by Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the seven-day event runs through Thursday. Over the course of the week, nine cinemas and five art venues screened 52 acclaimed documentaries, which were selected from more than 1,000 entries.

Highlights included Still Tomorrow, a biographical documentary about Chinese poet Yu Xiuhua; Chinese Heavyweight, about a boxing coach and his two students from rural China; The Verse of Us, which follows six working class poets; and Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guoqiang, which documents the works of the eponymous artist.

Additionally, an exhibition has broadcast 40 documentaries, one produced each year from 1978 to 2018, to reflect the strides China has made, thanks to its reform and opening-up.

Aside from the screenings, the event also hosted a string of forums to look into the history of documentary production in China and the future of documentaries in the digital era.

Thanks to the rapid expansion of the Chinese film industry, documentary - a somewhat marginalized genre - has also seen a rise in audience interest, and with it, market share, in recent years, says Wu Wenfeng, editor-in-chief of the documentary channel on streaming service iQiyi.

"Up until 2015, documentaries released online relied on pre-run advertisements to make some profit, but now viewers are willing to pay to see the content," explains Wu.

However, for Zhang Zhaowei, a documentary director known for the series, Who Are Singing Their Songs Over There, budding documentary makers need to polish their skills. He suggests that they spend time reading novels or viewing art in order to hone their aesthetic taste, which he believes is an essential part of storytelling.

"What happens today will become history tomorrow," says Gao Changli, director of the publicity department with the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. "Documentaries are very important in the recording of history."

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2018-08-09 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Tom Cruise movie continues to lead North America rankings]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/09/content_36736113.htm LOS ANGELES - Paramount's action film Mission: Impossible - Fallout continued to lead North American box office with an estimated $35 million in takings for the second weekend in a row.

The film, starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, is the sixth installment in the franchise. The movie, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, also stars Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin, all of whom reprise their roles from previous films.

McQuarrie is the first director to helm two films in the franchise. The film brought in $124.5 million in North American theaters by Sunday, according to studio figures collected by comScore.

Falling short of expectations, Disney's fantasy comedy film Christopher Robin opened in second place with an estimated $25 million.

Directed by Marc Forster, the film is inspired by A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard's book Winnie-the-Pooh.

It's a live-action extension of the Disney franchise of the same name.

The plot follows Christopher Robin as he grows up and loses his sense of imagination, only to be reunited with his old stuffed bear friend Winnie-the-Pooh.

Christopher Robin received a positive review with a strong "A" rating from moviegoers on CinemaScore. But it only received a 68 percent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Families made up 60 percent of moviegoers.

Another newcomer, Lionsgate's action comedy film The Spy Who Dumped Me opened in third place with an estimated $12.35 million in its debut weekend.

Directed by Susanna Fogel, the film follows two 30-year-old best friends who are thrust unexpectedly into an international conspiracy and get chased through Europe by assassins after one of their ex-boyfriends turns out to be a spy.

Universal's musical romantic comedy film Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again came in fourth with an estimated $9.09 million in its third weekend. The female-led film is a follow-up to 2008's Mamma Mia! which was based on a musical of the same name.

It earned $91.33 million in North America through Sunday.

Starring Denzel Washington, Sony's action movie The Equalizer 2 finished fifth with an estimated $8.83 million in its third weekend.

Xinhua

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2018-08-09 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Cheers for spirit of science]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/09/content_36736112.htm The new season of CCTV's education quiz show will feature a gravity-defying goal by a Brazilian soccer star, and an aspiring 12-year-old tech entrepreneur, Wang Kaihao reports.

Former Brazilian footballer Roberto Carlos was famous for his powerful free kick. Perhaps his most famous goal came in a game against France on June 3, 1997, when he scored by curling the ball so heavily that a ballboy on the touchline instinctively ducked to avoid it.

Yet, within an instant, the ball swung back on target and arched into the back of the net, leaving the dumbfounded French goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

Clockwise from top: Xu Chenge (middle), 12, the youngest competitor in the upcoming third season of Cheers Sciences, is in the show with hosts Sa Beining (left) and Nigermaidi Zechman (right); an egg being incubated in a transparent jar, as shown in the new season; the two hosts of the show do a scientific experiment in the second season. Photos Provided to China Daily

This video clip has been broadcast so many times over the past two decades, that it's often hailed as a goal that most appears to disobey the natural laws of physics.

And when Roberto Carlos took to the stage of China Central Television variety show Cheers Sciences to relive his proud moment on screen, he was asked a question by the host.

"What forces affected the football when it flew through the air like that? Gravity? The force of the kick from your foot- or both?"

The Brazilian star who was so skillful when it came to handling the ball didn't appear to have a full mental picture of the physics behind the kick - and promptly offered up the wrong answer.

"Many people have an inaccurate impression that a football flies in a straight line due to TV broadcasts," Cao Zexian, a physics researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, explains. "However, a curling trajectory is more common, and Roberto Carlos' goal is a perfect example of physics in action.

"Football is also a science," Cao adds. "It shares some similarities with how rockets work. It's good to take a broad view when we observe this phenomenon."

And with the heat of the FIFA World Cup still lingering over the summer, Roberto Carlos is helping to introduce the world of science to young people through the latest series of the show.

Season three of Cheers Sciences is due to return to CCTV on Aug 12. The previous two series scored 8.8 and 8.2 points out of 10 respectively on Douban, a popular Chinese review site.

The host duo from season two, Sa Beining and Nigermaidi Zechman, will continue to compere the new series, which sees ordinary members of the public mixing with celebrity contestants as they compete in the quiz, where follow-up scientific experiments prove the answers on set.

Many of the country's national-level scientific institutions, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, are also on hand to provide support and ensure the accuracy of information.

"Our children spend too much time learning from books," says Cao. "Hands-on experience is crucial in building up a good understanding of the world."

He notes that people have long been forced to divide knowledge into two different camps - the fields of natural science and the liberal arts. This, in turn, has led people to become defensive about their lack of understanding in either field to cover up the gap in their education.

"But there should be only one criterion: Those things you know and those you don't," Cao continues. "It's better to get rid of any prejudice and always be prepared to gain new knowledge."

In the first season, people were surprised to find that soft chewing gum could be used to cut open a coconut. And, in the second season, leading Chinese sprinter Zhang Peimeng had a 100-meter race against a J-10 fighter jet as it took off.

Zhang may have lost that particular race, but he won a 50m dash against a training aircraft.

Celebrities often appear larger than life when they appear in the spotlight, but the joy of this show is to see them behave like wide-eyed children when they are genuinely amazed by the scientific explanations behind certain phenomenon.

In the third season, they will witness how a chick is incubated inside a glass jar in an experiment performed by a professor from the China Agricultural University, which aims to show how an embryo develops.

"Science is essentially something fun, not something we're forced to learn by teachers," Zhang Guofei, supervisor of CCTV 1, says. "It has two supportive wings: scientific research and popular science. However, our knowledge of popular science is still not deep enough.

"Shows about popular science are intended to trigger young people's interest and help motivate them about their future studies," he continues. "This will also be the key to China's revival."

A China Association for Science and Technology survey in 2015 showed that only 6.2 out of 100 Chinese people had "basic scientific literacy". However, a similar survey undertaken in the United States in 2000 showed the number to be 17 out of 100, according to Guo Tong, a producer of Cheers Sciences.

"It's essential to build up the spirit of science among the young," Guo says. "If children are exposed to TV programs that raise their consciousness, there will be more people like Chen-Ning Yang, Tu Youyou (a female Chinese medical scientist and Nobel Prize winner), and Elon Musk among them."

The production team behind the third season of Cheers Sciences is attempting something quite unprecedented: It aims to send an artificial satellite into space on the first rocket launched by a privately owned company in China.

The satellite will be exclusively used for scientific experiments, and all the experiment undertaken on board will be chosen by the public.

"I don't expect Cheers Sciences to become a viral success like other variety shows designed purely to be entertainment," Ren Xue'an, a marketing director of CCTV, says. "But I believe this kind of program will gradually nurture a solid fan base and be discussed more widely."

"The country's TV producers need to insist on looking for what is truly valuable," he says.

Contact the writer at wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-09 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Film focuses on heroic efforts of one man to fight drought]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/09/content_36736111.htm More than 100 people walk near the edge of a cliff, and some of them are extremely frightened.

They are the cast of the upcoming film Sky Stream, based on the story of Huang Dafa, Party chief of the village of Caowangba in Zunyi, Guizhou province.

Huang, who turns 83 in November, spent more than 30 years leading locals to chisel an irrigation channel measuring 9,400 meters long into the sides of three karst mountains.

The project was initiated in the 1960s, but the first 13-year effort ended up in vain due to torrential rain and a lack of expertise. Then, Huang decided to learn about water conservation before restarting work on the project.

The project was finally completed after 36 years, ending Caowangba's hard times caused by frequent droughts.

To mark Huang's contribution, villagers named the project after Huang, who won one of this year's 10 "Touching China" awards, an annual honor by state broadcaster China Central Television, which pays tribute to role models.

"Simplicity and sincerity were the guiding principles for those of us working on this film," says director Bo Lin at a promotional event in Beijing on Aug 3.

"From my perspective, Huang is a small figure who achieved something great.

"We didn't want to overstate how great Huang was, in case the audience didn't like it. We just wanted to tell the story in a simple way," adds Bo, who decided to make the film in November 2017.

In the film, the audience can see how Huang puts his heart into his work. Even though his daughter falls ill, Huang delays taking her to see a doctor. Finally, his daughter dies at the age of just 23.

When the project is finally complete, Huang takes a bowl of clean water from the ditch to his daughter's grave, sits on a rock and cries.

In another scene from the film, when a person has to be lowered from the top of a mountain to perform a delicate operation, Huang bravely volunteers to do it.

Then, when he gets tired, he tells his son to continue, saying: "If you do this, I do not have to seek compensation even if something happens to you."

Speaking about the film, Zheng Qiang, the actor who plays Huang, says: "As a father, I was shocked to read this in the script."

According to Bo, when Huang was invited to watch the film for the first time he found it rather emotionally demanding. The film will be released in mainland theaters in September.

"I hope the spirit of Huang will be passed on through this film," says Bo.

Contact the writers through wangru1@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-09 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Qing era art set to wow US]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/09/content_36736110.htm

NEW YORK - An exhibition to explore the role of empresses in China's last dynasty - the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) - will be on view from Aug 18 in the Untied States.

The Empresses of China's Forbidden City, which runs through Feb 10, 2019, at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, includes nearly 200 artworks such as imperial portraits, jewelry, garments, Buddhist sculptures and decorative art objects from the Palace Museum in Beijing.

The exhibition is being organized by the Palace Museum in conjunction with the 219-year-old PEM and the Smithsonian's Freer and Arthur M. Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC, to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of US-China diplomatic relations.

The exhibition focuses on three key figures - Empress Dowager Chongqing, Empress Xiaoxian and Empress Dowager Cixi - who shaped the long history of the dynasty. Their life experiences revolve around six core themes: imperial weddings, power and status, family roles, lifestyle, religion and political influence.

An international team of experts spent four years in the Forbidden City to investigate the largely hidden world of the women inside. Some of the rare treasures showcased in this exhibition have not been on view in the United States before, while some have never been publicly displayed at all.

Visitors will also discover in-gallery interactive experiences, such as being able to create an empress's robe. Other programs include immersive videos and opera performances, as well as English and Chinese language labels, text and guided tours.

In November 2018, halfway through the six-month exhibition at PEM, an additional 30 artworks from the Palace Museum will be introduced in the galleries, including magnificent paintings and imperial robes.

Founded in 1799, PEM, located just north of Boston, is the oldest continuously operating museum in the nation. Its architecture collection of 22 noted historic structures includes Yin Yu Tang, the only complete antique Chinese house located outside China.

The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located on the National Mall in Washington, together comprise the nation's museums of Asian art. The Freer/Sackler is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum, education and research complex.

Established in 1925, the Palace Museum is located in the imperial palace of the consecutive Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties. The magnificent architectural complex, also known as the Forbidden City, and the vast holdings of paintings, calligraphy, ceramics and antiquities of the imperial collections make it one of the most prestigious museums in China and the world.

In 1961, the State Council designated the former imperial residence as one of China's foremost-protected cultural heritage sites, and in 1987 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Xinhua

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2018-08-09 07:34:22
<![CDATA[Court of appeal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728742.htm A new star-studded reality TV show is tapping into young Chinese people's love of basketball, Chen Nan reports.

Chinese-American basketball player, Jeremy Lin has added a new string to his bow, landing his first role in a Chinese reality show, Dunk of China.

"Tipping off" on Aug 18, the reality show, a co-production between video streaming platform Youku and Zhejiang Satellite TV, gathers more than 160 young Chinese amateur basketball players, who compete in rounds of 3-on-3 until one group is named the victor. The show will be aired weekly on both Youku and Zhejiang Satellite TV.

Lin, the former LA Laker and current point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, along with Chinese celebrities including pop megastar Jay Chou from Taiwan, singer-actor Li Yifeng and national basketball team player Guo Ailun, will serve as one of the team captains in the reality show. The four celebrities will be divided into two groups and will lead the participants in their on-court showdowns.

The 29-year-old Lin is among the NBA's most popular players among fans in China.

"We've been seeing many talented and passionate young people in China who love basketball. They share my passion and dream about the game," says Lin in Beijing.

Born to Taiwan immigrants and growing up in San Francisco, Lin earned himself the title of Northern California player of the year as a senior in high school.

With no athletic scholarship offers, he attended Harvard University where he was an all-conference player in the Ivy League.

Before the trappings of fame and NBA stardom found him, Lin was undrafted after college and slept on the couch in the living room of his brother's small apartment.

"In my career, I've experienced some bad moments but I always remind myself of my dream about playing basketball as a young boy," says Lin, adding that through the reality show, he not only wants to showcase the basketball playing techniques but also demonstrate the power of persistence.

Lin says that he agreed to join in the show because of his friendship with Chou.

In 2016, Lin appeared in Chou's music video for his song Turkish Ice Cream, which was recorded for Chou's 14th studio album, Jay Chou's Bedtime Stories.

The music video, which has Lin playing the piano and even showing off some dance moves, received over 5 million views on You-Tube.

Chou, 39, who wears many hats as a singer, songwriter, movie director and businessman, has displayed his love for basketball since high school.

Back in 2000, on his debut album, Jay, he wrote and sang a song about a 3-on-3 basketball game, titled Basketball Match.

He also starred in Chinese action-comedy movie, Kung Fu Dunk, in 2008. He made his Hollywood debut in 2011 with The Green Hornet, starring alongside Seth Rogen and Christoph Waltz as the eponymous hero's sidekick, Kato. In 2016, he played a role in the Hollywood movie, Now You See Me 2.

In 2013, Chou played one-on-one with NBA legend Kobe Bryant in Shanghai.

This June, he co-launched JYB League, a 3-on-3 competition, which offers amateur players a platform to play the game.

"I'm not a professional basketball player, but I have been playing since I was a teenager. I was one of the members of my school team," says Chou in Beijing. "I dreamed about getting off the bench and into the game. Though I didn't have the chance, I still love the game and continue to play recreationally.

"I can still recall the screams of the girls when the school team played on the basketball court and the music was loud. When we shot the reality show, it reminded me of my school years."

This summer, Youku offered comprehensive coverage of the FIFA 2018 World Cup with live streaming of all 64 games, which attracted about 200 million viewers, as well as a number of programs produced exclusively to celebrate one of the world's most-watched sporting events.

Dunk of China is one of the reality shows under the This Is... series by Youku, aimed at showcasing Chinese youth culture. Other shows include This Is Fighting Robots and Street Dance of China.

According to Yi Hua, producer of Dunk of China, the reality show will offer the audience professional basketball knowledge, music and youth culture.

"We have been preparing the show for over a year and carried out more than 10,000 surveys on basketball culture in China. We found out that it is one of the most popular sports in the country, catering to people of different ages, occupations and regions," says Yi in Beijing.

"This show is aimed at showcasing the vitality of young Chinese people rather than producing stars like many other Chinese reality shows."

She also mentions that besides the NBA, young audiences, especially those who were born after 1980, grew up reading Slam Dunk, a sports-themed manga series written and illustrated by Japanese artist Takehiko Inoue, which is a from-failure-to-success story of a Japanese high school basketball team.

"Dunking is always the most amazing moment on the basketball court," Yi says.

"It's about courage, confidence and teamwork."

Besides being broadcast online, the show is set to visit more than 200 universities in China this summer, to offer a wider platform to young Chinese basketball lovers, Yi adds.

The producer says that the 3-on-3 game is gaining in popularity in China, which is why the reality show is based on the format.

Last June, the International Olympic Committee approved the addition of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo.

Moreover, in January, the Chinese Basketball Association announced it would stage another national 3-on-3 tournament in the buildup to the Tokyo Olympics, which will be open to amateurs and professionals alike.

The winning team will also have the chance to play at the Games.

CBA president Yao Ming said at a news conference for the Road to Olympics - National 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament in Beijing this January, that he believes 3-on-3 has opened a new window of opportunity for Chinese basketball, because it is an emerging form of basketball that is new to almost every country in the world.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Sharing a capital idea]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728741.htm Chinese students, who study overseas or plan to, are eager to learn as much as they can when they visit Beijing's museums so they can present historical anecdotes to friends abroad, Xing Wen reports.

Zhu Zuxi, an 80-year-old scholar of historical geography, asked several teenagers, "What do you think about Beijing?" at the opening ceremony of a summer program initiated by the Capital Museum and the China Children and Teenagers' Fund. Their responses varied.

From July 16 to Aug 3, the summer program helped 50 Beijing students, who are studying or plan to study abroad, to develop a deeper insight into their hometown by offering them diverse courses in Beijing's history and culture.

Clockwise from above left: A group of middle school students, who are studying or plan to study abroad, take part in a summer program launched in mid-July by the Capital Museum and the China Children and Teenagers' Fund, to help them learn more about traditional Chinese culture and arts in a series of workshops. Topics include ancient architecture, paper-folding, sunmao woodwork and learning about Beijing's history in Jingshan Park. Photos Provided to China Daily

"Beijing, as well as the whole nation, is like a big book that should be read and understood. The more you know about it, the more you'll love it," Zhu says.

On the first day, Zhu led the teenagers to the top of the hill in Jingshan Park to get a panoramic view of the Forbidden City. There, he recounted stories about the formation of the city's axis.

"The program opened a window that allows me to see Beijing more clearly," says Chen Yuxiao, a 15-year-old senior middle school student. "I walked across the axis every day on my way to school, but I didn't realize there were so many interesting stories about it."

Yang Hongli, a mother who plans to send her 11-year-old twins to study abroad next year, says she wants to provide them with a solid grounding in local history before they leave by taking them to as many museums in the capital as possible.

She encouraged her children to register with the program, hoping that "they would learn more about the history of Beijing and have many interesting topics to talk about with their foreign friends abroad".

Yang Dandan, a spokesperson for the Capital Museum, says she found that when many of the Chinese students return home from overseas during summer vacations, they are eager to digest information about the city when they visit the Capital Museum so they can share historical anecdotes with their foreign friends.

"These students are anxious to travel abroad but still lack knowledge about their hometown," says Yang. "So we designed a program that will help young people learn more about their own culture and history in a short period of time.

"I hope they can be a bridge for cultural exchanges between China and the outside world."

Li Qirong, who used to serve as a volunteer guide at the Capital Museum when she was a student at Beijing No 4 High School, has answered Yang's expectations.

The 20-year-old, who's in her junior year at Dartmouth College in the United States, has been working as an assistant Chinese-language teacher, introducing the origins of tea and kung fu, as well as exploring the many stories behind the poetry written during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

In 2013, she joined her high school's archaeology club and received training with her peers at the museum, before working as a guide in the porcelain exhibition hall one afternoon a week.

Li found that she benefitted a great deal from her experience as a museum guide. And there has been no shortage of things for her to talk about with her foreign friends in the US, especially during their visits to museums and galleries.

"Museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have exquisite pieces of porcelain brought from China many years ago," Li says. "I'm able to share my knowledge of the relics I gained at the Capital Museum with my companions."

Connections with the past

According to Yang, the summer program provided the students with an interactive learning experience, such as the Q&A sessions that gave leading museum practitioners, artisans and artists a platform to share and discuss their work.

During the three-week event, participants tried their hands at making a wooden stool by using the traditional Chinese sunmao method (by which the joints are assembled without nails or other couplings) and fold sheets of paper into artistic patterns. They also learned how to run a museum and become a qualified guide.

High school graduate Jiang Taihang from Xicheng district made a piece of woodwork at a workshop organized by the museum.

"The essence of our traditional woodwork is the sunmao technique," says the 18-year-old. "It's easier to grasp the principle behind it when you compare the stool with the Chinese puzzle, the Luban lock, both of which use sunmao," he says.

Jiang enjoys traveling to other cities and countries to attend exhibitions. "Visiting exhibitions gives me a new perspective on how to understand a city and its history," he says.

He says he is becoming increasingly sensitive to the layout of cities, classical architecture and exhibition designs due to the immersive experiences he's had while visiting museums.

"I apply what I learned at the museum when I visit new cities," he says.

For instance, Jiang says he suddenly noticed the axis of Washington DC and researched its background after visiting the city last year.

When he was a child, his parents often took him to local amusement parks or shopping malls during their trips to foreign cities.

"Now, I find it more worthwhile to visit museums and get a taste of the local culture," he says.

Tradition in his veins

Zhan Leqi, a 24-year-old participant in the program who returned home from the United Kingdom last year, shares many of Jiang's views.

Zhan studied in Melbourne for three years from 2010 and then studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for four years.

He enjoys tracing the history of both cities by going to museums and libraries, and he even wrote an essay about the connection between music and Manchester.

Zhan was born into a family that embraced his long-standing obsession with history. He started to read historical records in primary school and in 2016 he started a history column on the public WeChat account of his father, who is an educator.

As a pianist, he loves to display his Chinese roots and perform traditional folk songs at events.

When he was invited to perform in front of a foreign audience, he chose to open with the famous Chinese song, Jasmine Flower. Zhan is only too happy to oblige with an explanation when audiences ask about the stories behind the songs he performs.

The emerging musician also created a series of music pieces based on Chinese mythology.

He is currently composing melodies for the 305 poems in the Book of Songs to pass down the Chinese classic to future generations through music.

Zhan says the skills he acquired from museums have reaffirmed his decision to produce more Chinese-style works.

"I never deliberately try to integrate traditional Chinese culture and history into my music because it's already in my veins," Zhan says.

"What do I think about Beijing?" asks Jiang.

"Instead of defining it with phrases like 'a metropolis with 20 million people', I would prefer to describe it as a place that brings us a strong sense of closeness.

"I believe anyone who has been living here and learning about its culture and history at its museums understands my feelings toward the city."

Contact the writer at xingwen@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Volunteers teach teens about history in a novel program]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728740.htm In a celebration event of the Capital Museum's summer program in late July, 50 young participants bowed to 18 museum guides, who have helped them broaden their horizons during the three-week program.

These guides, who've retired from various walks of life, were recruited by the museum as volunteers in the spring. They have been trained to explain the cultural relics in eight exhibition halls.

According to the museum's spokeswoman, Yang Dandan, the move to involve these middle-aged volunteers in the summer program for teenagers - who are studying or will study abroad - is a bid to pass down intangible heritage through a direct teacher-pupil experience. Each guide was assigned two or three young students during the three weeks.

Middle-aged volunteers of the Capital Museum learn how to make wooden stools to better guide visitors. Provided to China Daily

Liu Yuyun, a retired reporter, is a volunteer involved in the program. She was responsible for 13-year-old Zhang Kexin, who went to primary school in Britain.

Liu says the program is a forward-looking one that deserves to be carried on in the future, adding that it's useful for students who had gone abroad in their early years.

"Zhang even didn't know some common Beijing customs, let alone the traditional classics," says Liu. "So, the summer program helped her fill in the blanks in a short period.

"The girl told me that she would like to come back next year, and that's what I'm looking forward to."

Meanwhile, some of the volunteers say that they also have benefited from the experience.

Liu, for example, says the 11-year-old twins she instructed can play several musical instruments and model, too.

Liu says one of the twins impressed her with his self-discipline as he "always chose to sit in the front row in class and focused on the teachers' lectures".

"Their talent and attitude encouraged me to try to catch up with the young generation."

Du Haixia, who retired from an administrative and law-enforcement institution, says she chose to volunteer because she wants fresh challenges.

"I had to dig out interesting anecdotes since nowadays visitors want more than just information about the displays," says Du.

Another volunteer, Zhao Jingrong, sought the museum role as soon as she retired from her job in finance in March. She had wanted to be a narrator when her son became a volunteer at the Capital Museum during the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"I used to accompany him to the training courses on jade ware, porcelain and bronze ware," she says.

Then, she saw her son's eagerness to study. Zhao also saw that her son's experience exerted a positive influence on his development.

"Though he is now a materials science major, he still has strong interest in Chinese literature and history," she says.

Zhao is proud of her volunteer work. And she pays special attention to children, trying to transmit knowledge in a way that these young visitors can absorb.

"To educate a child is to influence a whole family," says Zhao, adding that she hopes that her efforts can help more people to appreciate the relics and their history.

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Turning design into a game]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728739.htm An online platform is giving budding talent and seasoned professionals a new way to interact with industry, Li Yingxue reports.

Peng Xiangbin started his first job as a graphic designer in Beijing at the end of July, after moving to the capital a few days earlier. What helped Peng, a fresh graduate from Heilongjiang University, land the job after a week of job-hunting were two logo design projects that impressed the interviewers.

The projects, one for a financial institution and one for a social app, are being used by the companies.

Top: Wang Simin (third from right), founder of Whale Design, at a meeting with colleagues. Below: Some of the winning designs (from left) - logo applied on name cards, digital invitations, and packaging. Photos Provided to China Daily

"As a college student, it's difficult to have a design portfolio," says Peng. "I've done internships during summer vacations, but only had the chance to do some basic work."

Peng bagged the two design projects by winning open competitions on Whale Design, an online platform that brings together companies and designers.

Whale Design, which launched in 2017, takes companies' design requests and floats competitions for designers, with the winner being allowed on work on the company's project and earning a bonus as well.

Peng's first win came on his second attempt when he took part in a contest and won a prize of 20,000 yuan ($2,933), which gave him the chance to work directly with the clients.

"I had no experience of talking to clients before, and the staff at Whale Design helped me," says the 24-year-old.

Besides taking part in Whale's design contests, Peng also uses the platform to see other designers' works. "I learn from them, comment on their work (on the platform) and discuss ideas," Peng says.

Designer Luan Peng's talent was spotted by a friend who suggested he participate in the Whale Design competition, which he did, and later he got a job there.

He likes the platform as the background of the designers does not matter.

"It is a place that gives young designers a chance to show their talent," says Luan, who won a contest to design a logo for a children's education company on the platform.

"They sent our work to the kids who studied at the educational institution, which makes the result more credible."

Luan, 24, moved to Beijing just before Peng, after he graduated from the Dalian Neusoft University of Information this June.

"As design straddles art and science, and a designer's work is not regular, Whale Design is a way for the best designers to be selected for a project," Luan says. "The platform is quite new and I want to see how far it can go. Besides, I can join competitions at the same time."

Whale Design has competitions in various categories, including graphics, illustration, clothes, space and products, so Luan says he can learn from his colleagues - professional designers in other fields. One of those is Wang Simin, founder of Whale Design.

"He is good at balancing design and presenting it which I need to work on," says Luan.

Before he came back to China in 2015, Wang, 31, used to work at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, an architecture, urban planning and engineering firm in New York. Wang studied civil engineering at the University of Michigan, and then went on to study architecture at Cornell University, where he gained his master's degree in 2014.

He set up an institute of design in 2013, to teach designers online. Then he found that while there were many good designers in China, they could not find proper projects to display their talent. Equally, companies struggled to find qualified designers.

"China has about 20 million designers, and my intention was to find out a way to match good designers with companies," says Wang.

Whale Design is like a game, says Wang. "So, all the registered designers are gamers who join open competitions and gain points. Then, members with more points can take part in invitational tournaments and closed competitions."

Wang says they don't look at the backgrounds of their designers. "Only work talks."

So far, more than 3,000 designers are on the platform, with about 80 percent of them in full-time jobs.

The platform is also a place for designers who want to change fields. For example, if an architect wants to do graphic design, he or she can take part in a logo competition to see how it goes.

Meanwhile, Wang and his team are developing the platform to provide a whole service chain for companies, so that "the designers can focus on design, and we will help companies complete their projects".

Wang Xiaoyu, the winner of the sign design contest for Peking Academy, is working with Wang Simin's team to complete the design.

"I've taken part in many design competitions; Whale Design has the most categories. It gives me a chance to bring what I learned in the US back to China, and let me understand how projects work here," says the 28-year-old, who completed his master's degree in architecture at Columbia University in 2016.

As for Whale Design founder Wang Simin, he feels it is a bit of a loss that he does not have much time to design. "I wish I could be a designer on the platform," he says.

Contact the writer at liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Pack all these hot picks for the beach]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728738.htm

Ah. Sunscreen-scented days and nights spent cuddling over a good book, a soundtrack of ocean waves and kids' laughter playing in the background. Nothing beats a summer road trip to the beach - a much-anticipated outing for so many families that can only be enhanced by tossing a few choice travel goods into the back of the car.

Stake your claim to a stretch of sand with the Beachbub All-In-One Beach Umbrella System ($139.85). Beachbub is a snap to set up: Insert the pole upright through the Build-A-Base; attach the two wings to form a pouch and fill with sand; attach the third wing and stuff sand against the sides for stability. Voila! Cooling shade and sun protection.

It comes complete with durable and lightweight umbrella, the base kit, sturdy oversized carry bag, sand scoop shovel, towel hook and a tool to help create a compact hole to easily push the pole into the sand. The whole beach-ready kit and kaboodle is very manageable and weighs less than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms). No need to bake in the sun or rent an umbrella. Base colors include yellow, blue and green.

You've created a comfy shelter from the sun's bright rays; now add a piece of luxury with a sand-free beach mat. It's paradise found with the patented Sandlite Mat ($49.99), a soft and comfortable woven mat that stays sand-free. It may look just like any other towel or picnic blanket spread out on the beach, but it won't get all gritty with sand, nor will it fly up with a good wind, whipping sand all over your lotioned-up legs.

Spill your tall cool one? No worries. The liquid will bead on the mat's surface and wipe off easily. Sand doesn't hide in the folds of the mat, either, so you won't drag sand home with you. Offered in a variety of summer-fun colors and patterns, the mat is quick-drying and lightweight, and it folds neatly into a small carry bag.

Capture all the fun of a beach getaway with the Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Print Digital Camera with Touchscreen Display ($179). Point, shoot, print, share: Smudge-proof 5-by-7.6-cm prints are ready in under a minute, thanks to the "Zink" zero ink print technology. Pics can be posted to most surfaces with peel-back adhesive paper and also saved to the Snap Touch for uploading to computer and social media platforms.

No digital screens, convoluted menus or sluggish uploads to deal with. Peer through the viewfinder, snap the button - have print in hand. Blending the nostalgia of the old Polaroid Instamatic with a tech-savvy instant-print digital camera, the Snap Touch lets you take selfies with a built-in selfie mirror and group shots with a self-timer feature.

Download the free Polaroid mobile app and have fun creating with access to stickers, filters, borders and other easy photo editing options. Best of all: No computer connections are needed. You simply send photos to a smartphone via Bluetooth connectivity. It is all the fun of a photo booth, but in a compact size that tucks neatly into purse or pocket.

Pack a book or, in this case, a book series the whole family can get engrossed in to pass the time in the car, on the beach or before bedtime.

The Nocturnals is a critically acclaimed series that introduces three animal pals: Dawn the fox, Bismark the sugar glider and Tobin the pangolin, and their many adventures, plus enough plot twists to keep everybody hooked through all four books: The Mysterious Abductions, The Ominous Eye, The Fallen Star and The Hidden Kingdom ($15.99 each).

Authors Tracey Hecht and Sarah Fieber have created a nighttime landscape filled with strange and mysterious happenings, danger and drama, and humor (and cliffhangers) aplenty, as the unlikely and endearing trio test their mettle against disappearing animals, giant beasts, poisoned fruit and vanishing watering holes.

But the fun doesn't stop when the books are closed; there is an entire summer reading kit, all based on the characters in its series and perfect for middle grade readers and younger siblings, that extends reading fun to games and activities, including word searches, matching games, face painting and other arts and crafts, and more.

Tribune News Service

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Playlist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728737.htm Books

Mao's mottos

Kong Dongmei, the late chairman Mao Zedong's granddaughter, was at the 28th National Book Expo in late July in Shenzhen to meet the readers of the paperback and hardcover editions of her book, Mao Zedong Mottos, printed by People's Publishing House. The book contains 360 quotes, covering four themes, offering a shortcut to Mao's thoughts. Kong says the original sources of the quotes are stated for further reference. Work on an English version of the book is in progress.

Lessons for the 'now'

Israeli writer Yuval Noah Harari has made a big name for himself in China with Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.

The Chinese version of Harari's latest book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by China Citic Press, which was translated as A Brief History of the Present, explores neither the past nor the future, but focuses on the 21st century, and its challenges, like artificial intelligence and climate change.

Food matters

In his four-volume book, Tastes, published by Qingdao Publishing House, Chua Lam, the Singapore-born, Hong Kong-based gourmet and food writer, focuses on food stories and anecdotes from China, Japan, Europe and South America. The series is a collection of his latest articles. For Chua, 77, it is not only food that matters, but the attitude to life.

Better beings

Ted Dintersmith, an American education philanthropist who has won awards for his education-themed documentary, Most Likely to Succeed, spent a year in 2015 exploring 200 schools in the United States. In the Chinese version of his book, What School Could Be, recently released by Zhejiang People's Publishing House, Dintersmith says that both Chinese and American people value the betterment of their future generation.

In the book, he uses more than 70 anecdotes, to offer solutions to problems faced by educators. His solution is called PEAK which stands for "purpose, essentials, agency and knowledge".

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Robotic hand learns how to juggle]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728736.htm Milestone research that trained a robot in a virtual environment may one day have real-world applications

SAN FRANCISCO - How long does it take a robotic hand to learn to juggle a cube?

About 100 years, give or take.

Top and above: Dactyl, a system for manipulating objects, uses a robotic hand to hold a 3D-printed block at OpenAI, a nonprofit artificial intelligence lab. Reuters

That's how much virtual computing time it took researchers at OpenAI, the nonprofit artificial intelligence lab funded by Elon Musk and others, to train its disembodied hand. The team paid Google $3,500 to run its software on thousands of computers simultaneously, crunching the actual time to 48 hours. After training the robot in a virtual environment, the team put it to the test in the real world.

The hand, called Dactyl, learned to move itself, the team of two dozen researchers disclosed this week. Its job was simply to adjust the cube so that one of its letters - "O", "P", "E", "N", "A" or "I" - faces upward to match a random selection.

Ken Goldberg, a University of California, Berkeley robotics professor who is not affiliated with the project, said OpenAI's achievement is a big deal because it demonstrates how robots trained in a virtual environment could operate in the real world. His lab is trying something similar with a robot called Dex-Net, although its hand is simpler and the objects it manipulates are more complex.

"The key is the idea that you can make so much progress in simulation," he said. "This is a plausible path forward, when doing physical experiments is very hard."

Dactyl's real-world fingers are tracked by infrared dots and cameras. In training, every simulated movement that brought the cube closer to the goal gave Dactyl a small reward. Dropping the cube caused it to feel a penalty 20 times as big.

The process is called reinforcement learning. The robot software repeats the attempts millions of times in a simulated environment, trying over and over to get the highest reward. OpenAI used roughly the same algorithm it used to beat human players in the video game Dota 2.

In real life, a team of researchers worked for around a year to get the mechanical hand to reach this point. But the question is - why?

For one, the hand in a simulated environment doesn't understand friction. So even though its real fingers are rubbery, Dactyl lacks the human ability to form the appropriate grip.

Researchers injected their simulated environment with changes to gravity, hand angle and other variables so the software learns to operate in a way that is adaptable. That helped narrow the gap between real-world results and simulated ones, which were much better.

The variations helped the hand succeed putting the right letter face up more than a dozen times in a row before dropping the cube. In simulation, the hand typically succeeded 50 times in a row before the test was stopped.

OpenAI's goal is to develop artificial general intelligence, or machines that think and learn like humans, in a way that is safe for people and widely distributed.

Musk has warned that if AI systems are developed only by for-profit companies or powerful governments, they could one day exceed human intelligence and be more dangerous than nuclear wars.

The Associated Press

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Sinologists bring new perspectives and offer advice]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728735.htm Sinologists from 24 countries took a close look at China's development at a recent five-day symposium in Beijing.

The event, which featured 28 Sinologists and 11 Chinese scholars, was an annual symposium jointly organized by China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The annual event, which has been held since 2013, is a platform for academic exchanges and cooperation among overseas and domestic experts.

Speaking at the symposium, Xie Jinying, the director of the bureau for external cultural relations of China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said: "As this year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy, I hope the Sinologists can offer advice from diverse perspectives.

"We want to push forward communication and collaboration between the academic institutes in China and Sinologists from other countries."

The sessions at the event covered topics like prospects for international cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Speaking at the event, Ole Doering, a professor at the Free University of Berlin, said that Europe and Asia should unite to build proper conditions for globalization by introducing a polycentric framework featuring cultural diversity.

"We can liberate the resources of creative humanism, as powerful narratives about truth, beauty and goodness beyond artificial boundaries," he said, adding that human values could be integrated through educating labor around the globe.

Huang Ping, the director of the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that European and Chinese cultures emphasize the significance of people-to-people bonds, and that the Belt and Road Initiative could help to promote connectivity between Asia, Europe and Africa.

Lious Kamwenubusa, the general director of Burundi's Press and Publication Bureau, said that China could play a role in building a world economic order and a global governance framework by using its status as the world's second largest economy.

"The Chinese government's proposal of a community with a shared future for all mankind has great significance for the global community, especially for my country Burundi," said Kamwenubusa. "Both peace and prosperity are what my nation and its people need."

The symposium also had participants from the ongoing Beijing and Shanghai classes of the 2018 Visiting Program for Young Sinologists, which is also being run by the ministry.

Lobzang Dorji, an associate lecturer from the Royal University of Bhutan, who is part of the program, said that the topics at the symposium could help his research on Sino-Indian relations and its impact on Bhutan because the basic prerequisite for his research is understanding China from a cultural and economic perspective, its social and political system and its foreign policies.

"I want to thank the organizers for accepting me, although China and Bhutan have not established diplomatic relations," he said. "I think this kind of program is a catalyst for bridging the Sino-Bhutan relationship."

xingwen@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Expo in Shanghai seeks out sci-tech stars of tomorrow]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/08/content_36728734.htm The Shanghai Exhibition Center was crowded with students, professors, scientific researchers, visitors, and exhibitors, on July 21. A delegation of more than 250 teachers and students from different countries and regions gathered to share their creative projects and ideas.

At the venue, the first booth was manned by two 10th grade students from the American Community School in Athens introducing their "grid community" project to visitors.

According to Iason Stavros Somoglou, the designer of the community, as well as one of the team members, the "grid community" is a sustainable and eco-friendly community in which every building acts as a substation and can analyze consumers' habits in order to reduce energy use to the minimum requirement.

Left: Iason Stavros Somoglou (right), a student of the American Community School in Athens, explains a creative project to another participant at the seventh Shanghai International Youth Science & Technology Expo 2018 on July 21. Right: A "grid community" project designed to save energy by the ACS wins the Most Popular Project Release Prize at the expo. Photos Provided to China Daily

And each building can save energy through automation, including ultrasonic sensors that help turn off the lights when the occupant leaves the room, light sensors that allow the lights to operate only after sunset and touch sensors that turn off water taps after a certain time or if the tenant leaves the room.

Visitors were attracted by the models and listened carefully to their explanations.

The "grid community" project was one of the prizewinners at the seventh Shanghai International Youth Science & Technology Expo 2018 and "Science & Technology Stars of Tomorrow" Invitational Tournament.

Organized by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and the city's Science and Technology Commission, the expo, themed "Science, Innovation and Dreams", featured 39 teams from 13 countries and regions and their innovative science projects across different subjects.

Besides the "grid community" project that won the Most Popular Project Release Prize, the project by the Dwight School team from the United States exploring the prevalence of microplastic and its impact on the environment won the Most Popular Exhibition prize.

Other winners projects involved different aspects of life including the technology to enhance social skills by Korowa Anglican Girls' School from Australia, a fire hazard control system designed by Zunyi No 1 High School from China's Guizhou province, and assistive applications for the visually impaired developed by Tagore International School from India.

"We really enjoy the process of communicating and exchanging ideas with other participants and visitors," said Somoglou. "We learned a lot from other teams and their innovations inspire us to improve our designs."

Besides the exhibition, the expo also held a tournament in which the teams competed to create an innovative model bridge by using materials provided by the organizer.

Each team had three to five students, and they were judged on the science, innovation, appearance and weight capacity of the bridge.

The Shanghai International Youth Science & Technology Expo was founded in 2005 and has been held every two years.

Zhang Zixin, a professor at the School of Architecture and Construction of Tongji University, and a jury member at the invitational event, said: "It is essential for Shanghai to hold such high-level international youth technology and innovation events.

"It not only inspires their interest in science and cultivates their inquisitive spirit, but also promotes science education in Shanghai."

heqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-08 07:31:25
<![CDATA[Going a bit beyond the bitcoin buzz to cash in on reality]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720347.htm Tucked away amid the hustle and bustle of traffic, people and buildings in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, are small kiosks that hardly merit a second look. After all, in a city that sports automated teller machines and currency exchanges at virtually every nook and corner like mushrooms after a cloudburst, why would these ordinary looking terminals which do not even offer the privacy of cubicles merit any attention? Little wonder, one would find them deserted most of the time.

A closer look, however, tells a different story altogether. These are no ordinary ATMs, but machines that allow you to trade and dabble in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoins and Ethereum, Ether, etc, the new-age currencies that hold young and old alike in thrall. And considering that there are already 21 of these machines, it is only a matter of time before more sprout and multiply.

For many like me from a bygone era, the idea of investing in something that is only notional and does not exist physically is beyond comprehension. But at the same time the promise of unparalleled returns has also been tantalizing. Though fraught with risks, millions of investors, have already jumped onto the bandwagon that promises a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The motto seems to be "speculate if you want to accumulate" in a market that already has a valuation in excess of $800 billion and counting.

My quest for a better understanding of the cryptocurrency universe led me to two interesting studies. The first was a white paper on the role of India and China in cryptocurrencies prepared by M. Chandra Shekar, an assistant professor, and R. Kumaran, a researcher at the Institute of Public Enterprise in Hyderabad, India, while the second was a recent article by William Zuo, a blockchain expert from China and the founder of Gingkoo, a Chinese fintech company.

Zuo says that the Chinese government has already embraced the development and deployment of blockchain technology, while being very cautious about cryptocurrencies. It has put restrictions on Initial Coin Offerings due to fears of fraud, in order to protect consumers. However, it has also publicly endorsed blockchain technology. "To put it simply, China prefers blockchain to Bitcoin. The Chinese government is showing its support by investing heavily in next-generation technologies, including AI, blockchain, cloud computing, and big data."

Shekar and Kumaran in their paper say that investing in crypto coins or other similar instruments is highly speculative as the market is largely unregulated. "Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment," he said. He mentioned that while countries like China, South Korea, France and Singapore took quick decisions to stop cryptocurrency trading, many others like India delayed their decisions, until early this year.

C. K. Vijaya Prasad, an independent currency trader in Hong Kong, is a devotee of the medium. "Though it is largely used as an investment tool, cryptocurrencies will find vast applications in daily transactions. The day is not far when one will be able to purchase items of daily necessity using cryptocurrencies rather than common currencies."

Shekar and Kumaran, however, add that as long as countries such as China and India do not permit trading, bitcoins will not result in yields even after they are listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Guo believes that rather than promote cryptocurrencies, the Chinese government will help bolster a new generation of blockchain giants the same way it has done with the internet giants, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.

"Once this is achieved we may see a new dimension in the Belt and Road Initiative - the addition of One Chain."

Prasad believes that one area where cryptocurrencies would be really useful is in currency markets. "When people travel across international borders, they need to exchange their country's currency into that of the country that they have entered. This becomes a very troublesome task, and one often loses a significant amount of money due to exchange rate fluctuations. Sooner or rather than later, the majority of countries will be carrying out transactions using digital currencies, he predicted.

While the jury is out on the subject, there is one thing that I fail to understand and one that will prevent me from investing in them. Serious doubts linger about the tradability of such currencies and their valuations. Can something that has only an intrinsic value give huge returns? Maybe my Monopoly board has the answers!

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2018-08-07 07:45:36
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720346.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy.

The item from Aug 7, 1988, in China Daily showed that the Capital Taxi Company in Beijing kept a fleet of 40 Red Flag limousines to rent to foreign visitors.

Hongqi, or Red Flag, is China's flagship sedan.

The first Red Flag limousine rolled off the assembly line in July 1958.

The brand made its debut as a parade sedan at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing during the 10th National Day celebrations in 1959.

Since then, the Hongqi sedan has long been featured in parades during major national celebrations.

The sedan has also been regarded as China's prime protocol car. It was frequently used by top leaders such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping in State celebrations and receptions for important foreign guests, including US president Richard Nixon during his landmark visit in 1972.

However the brand did not sell well in the consumer market. Currently it only sells the L5, which costs over 5 million yuan ($732,000), and H7 sedans.

However, the brand has recently experienced a resurgence.

In January, FAW released its new Hongqi branding strategy, aiming to become a leading brand in China and a renowned marque in the world.

The carmaker will roll out its first electric car model this year and in the years leading up to 2025, it will introduce another 14 electric car models to meet market demand.

It set an annual sales target of 100,000 units in 2020, 300,000 units in 2025 and 500,000 units in 2035.

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2018-08-07 07:45:36
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720345.htm Running gives your brain an excellent workout

Running is not only good for your body, but also boosts your brainpower, according to a new study. Researchers from the United States found that aerobic exercise increases the neuron reserves in the hippocampus area of the brain, responsible for learning. They found that physical exercise (in the form of running and other aerobic activities) won the day, on the basis of brain scans showing a lower rate of brain shrinkage and cognitive decline in elderly test subjects who were physically active. If you're feeling stressed out, lace up those running shoes and take them for a spin.

Ice cream festival serves up a treat in Tianjin

The first International Ice Cream Festival was launched at Wudadao (or Five Avenues) in Tianjin, on Friday. The famous tourist hotspot will host the event until Sunday. Visitors can taste different-flavored ice creams of leading brands from home and abroad. The event is expected to attract about 200,000 tourists every day.

Networking privacy tips will help your security

People tend increasingly to post photos of their daily lives on social media platforms. But such postings may come at a cost through online fraud. These key tips may help secure your data. On WeChat, use caution when using a third-party app. Review the privacy policy and terms of service for the app and consider pruning your friends' list on a regular basis. Set your moments as "Only three days available".

Check out more posts online.

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2018-08-07 07:45:36
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720344.htm World: Art turns Greek ruins into rainbow

A new installation from German artists Thomas Granseuer and Tomislav Topic, known collectively as Quintessenz, has given 400-year-old Greek ruins in the town of Kagkatikas a colorful temporary makeover. Located on the Greek island of Paxos as part of the Paxos Contemporary Art Project, Kagkatikas Secret features spray-painted textiles hung in the ruins. Gransaur and Topic's work is inspired by graffiti art and chromatics, among other sources, and their overarching aim is to produce art that "makes/creates space for its color," according to their website.

People: Granny stops young cybergamers

A granny in Sichuan province has been labeled a "busybody" after volunteering to patrol internet cafes in order to dissuade youngsters from playing online games. Jiang Yongxiu, 66, lives in Yibin, Sichuan province. After she retired in 2005, she joined the local residents' committee as a volunteer, often taking part in service activities caring for children. In 2013, she offered to be a member of the newly established internet cafe supervision team and since then has insisted on patrolling the cafes in her community every day.

Rankings: Top popular overseas destinations

This summer, Ctrip, a major online travel agency, saw bookings for overseas luxury hotels surge nearly 50 percent year-on-year. Tokyo tops the list of the most popular overseas destinations, with the number of bookings for hotel rooms in the city expanding by nearly 100 percent over the same period last year. Meanwhile, customer bookings for rooms at child-friendly hotels witnessed significant growth as young families are traveling more, Ctrip found. Visit our website to have a look at the top 10 overseas destinations that received the largest number of hotel bookings from outbound travelers from China.

Fashion: Bitten lips, ancient yet popular

A costume drama set in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Story of Yanxi Palace, has become a hit on the small screen this summer. Apart from the plot, the makeup in this TV series has drawn much attention, especially the lips of the concubines. To those unfamiliar with ancient Chinese women's makeup, the "bitten lips", with heavy lipstick in the middle, look modern. In fact, decorating lips in such a way is not a new thing and dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220).

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2018-08-07 07:45:36
<![CDATA[STICKING WITH TRADITION]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720337.htm There is a reason why handwritten letters have not be entirely replaced by their digital counterparts yet - postage stamps. And while they are small, they display a kaleidoscopic world. Beijing's Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, and China Post jointly released a set of special stamps inspired by Landscape Across the Four Seasons, a painting that is 69 centimeters long and 40 cm wide and over 800 years old. Created by Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) artist Liu Songnian on silk, the painting has four sections, showing human activity and landscapes throughout the four seasons.

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China Post and the Palace Museum jointly release a set of stamps inspired by an iconic Song Dynasty painting, Wang Kaihao reports.

There is a reason why handwritten letters have not be entirely replaced by their digital counterparts yet - postage stamps. And while they are small, they display a kaleidoscopic world. Beijing's Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, and China Post jointly released a set of special stamps inspired by Landscape Across the Four Seasons, a painting that is 69 centimeters long and 40 cm wide and over 800 years old. Created by Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) artist Liu Songnian on silk, the painting has four sections, showing human activity and landscapes throughout the four seasons.

Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, describes the piece as a representative work of the imperial painting academy during that dynasty because of its elegant facade and technique.

"The image is centered on people," Shan says. "They look small but are vividly portrayed.

"Realistic and highly expressive approaches are naturally mixed in the artwork."

The four new postage stamps, which are themed on the four sections of the painting, have a 4 yuan (59 US cents) value in total. A souvenir sheet that includes them all is also available.

Li Pizheng, deputy managing director of China Post, says high-tech printing technology was used to ensure the different layers of landscapes in the painting were clearly depicted in the stamps.

The Forbidden City was China's royal palace from 1420 to 1911. It now houses nearly 2 million cultural relics, including 53,000 ancient paintings from the collections of emperors. The old collections provide inspiration for Chinese modern designers to develop cultural products such as postal stamps.

The museum signed a cooperation agreement with China Post to better share resources and develop more products from the cultural relics in 2014.

Bathing Horses, a signature painting by 13th-century artist Zhao Mengfu, was the first masterpiece to be printed on stamps.

Last year, the two organizations jointly released stamps inspired by the 11-meter-long rolling-scroll painting A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains by Song Dynasty (960-1279) artist Wang Ximeng, which is among the most prominent works in Chinese fine-art history. The piece was printed on nine stamps in a row. It is also the first set of stamps to completely display an ancient scroll painting.

According to Li, images of the Forbidden City and some of the museum's cultural relics have been depicted on postage stamps many times since New China was founded in 1949.

"Stamps are like a country's business card," Li says. "They enable people to get a closer look at the finest works in our traditional culture."

Shan says that the stamps are also a kind of precious heritage of the Palace Museum.

"We're planning to launch a big exhibition displaying them."

The exhibition will likely show the blueprints of the designs and the cultural relics that appear on the stamps, he adds.

The release of the postage stamps also marked the beginning of the 2018 China Philatelic Week that started on Aug 4.

More than 1,500 activities, including fairs, symposiums and exhibitions, have been or will be held nationwide during the week - especially to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the release of China's first postage stamp, widely known as the "large dragon".

 

The four new postage stamps are themed on the four sections of the painting, Landscape Across the Four Seasons, by Southern Song Dynasty artist Liu Songnian. Provided to China Daily

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2018-08-07 07:45:11
<![CDATA[China stall draws many visitors at Brazil book fair]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720336.htm

SAO PAULO - Sao Paulo kicked off its 25th biannual international book fair with a stand dedicated to Chinese literature and culture on Aug 3.

The fair, which runs through Aug 12, showcases foreign and Brazilian authors, and offers 1,500 hours of cultural activities, debates, seminars and book launches.

The stand that drew the most attention on the fair's opening day was China Book, where Chinese books were on display.

"The fair can be an opportunity for exchanges between the two countries to better understand Latin America and Brazil, and for them to understand China's editorial production in general," says Yu Yang, head of the Chinese delegation to the fair and editor of the People's Publishing House.

"Brazilians have shown an interest in China's culture and economy," Yu says.

Books on Chinese culture are in demand, since the country's evolution as a global power is feeding a demand for books on its political and economic development, he says.

China is Brazil's leading trade partner, and both belong to the BRICS bloc of emerging economies, along with Russia, India and South Africa, which helps to promote literary exchanges, Yu says.

"Being part of BRICS helps Brazil and China. And literature, history and reading in general can help countries develop closer ties," Yu adds.

A total of eight Chinese publishing houses are exhibiting 200 kinds of books, 50 of which are written in Portuguese or English.

Luis Torelli, president of the Brazilian Book Chamber, says the fair is taking place at a tough time for the publishing industry due to economic uncertainties. And this year's fair features 197 exhibitors, 83 fewer than in 2016.

Among the special guests at the event were British author A.J. Finn, whose best-selling The Woman in the Window is being adapted into a feature film, and Victoria Aveyard, the US author of the Red Queen series.

Xinhua

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2018-08-07 07:45:11
<![CDATA[Dance show adds unique touch to artist's installations]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720335.htm At the opening of Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson's solo show at the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing, he says he hopes visitors will immerse themselves in the natural world he has created.

"You can sit, lie down and even dance here," he says.

Four months later, his words have come true.

A modern dance show is being staged in four of Eliasson's large installations at the art museum.

The dance, performed by the Beijing Modern Dance Company, comprises four parts. Each presents a different work of Eliasson under the themes of light, shadow, wind and water.

The themes match Eliasson's installations that create and amplify these natural effects.

According to Gaoyan Jinzi, director of the Beijing Modern Dance Company, half of each dance is improvised.

She performs a solo for the Wind section, moving her body in sync with a revolving water tunnel.

Water drops from the tunnel shine and whirl and twinkle, creating a movie-like effect.

At the start of Light, modern dancers from Gao's troupe walk among visitors lying on the ground, with big rings hanging over their heads, reflecting in a mirror on the ceiling.

The troupe performed its dances for five days at the end of July. And it attracted film directors, musicians, movie stars, poets and writers, many of whom say the show was their first time visiting the museum.

The cooperation between the dance troupe and the museum is the result of a visit to the museum by Gao in May.

She says she was very impressed by the world created by the artist during the visit.

She says a voice told her: "Let's dance. Let the universe see it. I feel the artist has created a universe."

Gao established her modern dance troupe in 1995 and has staged performances across the world.

Her dances often combine traditional and modern elements, revealing the power of nature.

In the dance's last section, Eliasson's rainbow installation, Gao and her dancers fall to the ground repeatedly, which Gao says aims to let audience feel her pain.

Cui Jian, an established rock 'n' roll musician, says: "It was more impressive than rock 'n' roll. I felt the beauty of dance and art."

Cui also says he is considering working with the museum.

The current work with Gao is not the first time that dancers have collaborated with Eliasson. The artist's iconic show, Weather Project, at the Tate Modern Museum in London, started his interaction with modern dancers.

In 2017, Eliasson was invited by Wayne McGregor to produce abstract scenes for his ballet, Tree of Codes, by using mirrors and colored screens.

Meanwhile, Yan Shijie, director of the Red Brick Art Museum, says that Eliasson wants his audiences to interact with his works and modern dance offers a perfect way.

The dance at the museum was very popular.

During the five days at the end of July, tickets sold out quickly, despite costing 580 yuan ($85).

The last dance shows will be on Aug 9, 10 and 12. They'll mark the ending of Eliasson's solo show, which opened in March.

 

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2018-08-07 07:45:11
<![CDATA[A STROLL THROUGH TRADITION]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720334.htm A visit to Lijiang's Najie Street is a journey through the ethnic cultures of Yunnan province.

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A street in Lijiang city enables visitors to discover ancient charms, ethnic culture and folk art. Pei Pei reports in Lijiang, Yunnan.

A visit to Lijiang's Najie Street is a journey through the ethnic cultures of Yunnan province.

Visitors can meet national-level intangible-culture inheritors in person to see how they live and learn how to create local handicrafts.

Duan Guoliang, who's in his 70s, is one of the inheritors who hosts visitors and answers their questions. He's known for creating wood carvings according to the tradition of the ethnic Bai people of Jianchuan county.

His masterpieces include a wooden bed and a dresser he made for the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II's use during her 1986 stay in Yunnan's capital, Kunming.

He has put a lot of effort into decorating his shop with his works.

"I think the shop is a good platform to show our woodcarving skills and promote the art form among more travelers," he says.

"I enjoy teaching tourists how to do some simple techniques."

Li Xu, who's a chief marketing officer of a cultural-tourism business, was impressed by Duan's instructions.

He paid 180 yuan ($26) for an hour long lesson and spent half a day sculpting a wooden spoon.

"It's a basic procedure, but I found it to be really difficult," he says.

Li's job requires him to travel to destinations around the country to learn about their character. He believes that intimate contact with traditional ethnic cultures is Najie's unique feature.

Nearly 40 shops line the 800-meter-long street. Buildings are constructed in the ethnic Naxi style, which is actually an amalgam of the architectural conventions of several local ethnic groups. The wood-and-stone structures are capped with tiled rooftops.

Nearly 100 top craftsmen and artists work on the street.

They practice such folk arts as paper-cutting, embroidery, tambourine playing and pottery.

Some make traditional Dongba paper, which is one of the world's oldest type of paper made by Dongba people. Others paint thangka, traditional Tibetan Buddhist paintings, on cotton or silk.

Tom Tate, mayor of the Australian city of Gold Coast, who was visiting Lijiang to attend the opening ceremony of the adjacent Snow Mountain Town holiday complex, was impressed by the street. "For me, it is relaxing but I'm also learning about the history of Lijiang at the same time," he says.

Najie, which the city government has recognized as a culture park, also offers picturesque views of the surrounding natural scenery.

It's located in a 930,000-square-meter resort complex 25 minutes from the 5,600-meter-high Yulong Snow Mountain. The route from the street, which sits at an altitude of 2,400 meters, to the peak hosts rich biodiversity.

A 400,000-square-meter park en route features a sea of flowers - including lavender, roses and tulips that bloom year-round - a circus and a tent hotel under decoration. The complex also contains a 24-hour food court with 20 specialty restaurants that offer local cuisine. Yunnan Cross-Bridge Rice Noodles is a popular eatery that's said to serve the province's most-representative dishes.

The downtown bar street hosts a musical fountain that's best viewed from The Summit, a lounge belonging to Libre Resorts Lijiang, which opened in July. Libre has proven popular, and guests should book in advance, especially if they visit during the peak season from spring to autumn.

Indeed, Najie's ancient traditions are giving Lijiang new allure, as visitors who make the journey discover.

 

Najie offers picturesque views of the surrounding natural scenery.

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2018-08-07 07:45:11
<![CDATA[Chile's rock-art llamas divulge desert culture's secrets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720333.htm Open-air rock paintings in the world's driest desert testify to the importance of the llama to the millennia-old cultures that have traversed the inhospitable terrain.

Conservationists working in Chile's Atacama Desert want UNESCO to recognize the Taira Valley drawings as a heritage site so they can develop sustainable tourism in the region.

Taira is "a celebration of life", says archeologist Jose Bereguer, describing the site as "the most complex in South America" because of its astronomical importance as well as the significance to local shepherds.

The rock art was a "shepherd's rite" needed to ask the "deities that governed the skies and the Earth" to increase their llama flocks.

First rediscovered by Swedish archeologist Stig Ryden in 1944, the Taira rock art is between 2,400 and 2,800 years old.

It is made up of a gallery of 16 paintings more than 3,000 meters above sea level on the banks of the Loa River that traverses the desert.

The jewel in the crown are the Alero Taira drawings some 30 meters from the Loa in a natural shelter, in which the importance of the llama becomes abundantly clear.

Not just the principal source of wealth for desert dwellers over thousands of years, the llama has been used in ritual ceremonies throughout the Andes for just as long, such as in the Wilancha, or sacrifice to Pacha Mama, or Mother Earth.

'Possible to delve'

"No one can understand the things done 18,000 years ago because the cultures that did them have disappeared," says Berenguer, curator at Santiago's Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.

"Here, it's possible to delve into the meaning because we have ethnography and because there are still people living in practically the same way as in the past."

According to Rumualda Galleguillos, one of around 15 indigenous people still raising llamas in the Atacama Desert like their ancestors, these pictures are a "testament" to forefathers who could neither read nor write.

Around 90 percent of the engravings, painted mainly in red but also ochre and white, depict llamas of various sizes. Some are pregnant. Others are nursing their young.

But the remaining 10 percent depict the desert's biodiversity with images of such creatures as foxes, snakes, ostriches, partridges and dogs.

The few human figures that appear are tiny, as if those painting them "wanted to go unnoticed in front of the greatness of animals that were so important to their economy", Berenguer says.

What the paintings also demonstrate is that, 2,500 years ago, people were already studying the stars in an area that has more recently become the astronomy capital of the world with some of the most powerful telescopes ever built.

A book written in conjunction with the Atacama observatory called The Universe of our Grandparents claims that the ancient inhabitants of this area studied the stars to help learn how to domesticate the inhospitable desert and survive its dangers.

Seeing llamas

In this vision, the universe is made up of the skies and Earth as one whole, with the skies forming the horizon of life. What is seen in the skies is a reflection of what there is on Earth.

Unlike the Greeks, though, ancient Atacama astrologists didn't see Orion, Gemini or Cancer.

They saw llamas, their eyes, corrals, a loaded slingshot and a shepherd standing with his legs spread wide and arms in the air, worrying about foxes, says Silvia Lisoni, a professor of history and amateur astronomer.

Taira is located on an axis that aligns the sacred Sirawe "sandy eye" quicksand from where locals would pray for rain, the San Pedro volcano, the Colorado hill and the Cuestecilla pampas, another sacred spot.

Volcanoes, like springs, were considered deities by the Atacama natives, while llamas were thought to have been born of springs.

The Alero Taira is positioned so that it is completely illuminated by the sun on both the winter and summer solstices.

"There's evidence that this site was built here for specific reasons," Berenguer says.

Taira is not the oldest example of rock art in this part of Chile, though.

To the north in the copper-mining Antofagasta region lies Kalina, which is around 1,000-1,200 years older than Taira, and Milla.

This style of art has been found also in the Puna de Atacama plateau in neighboring Argentina, but Taira "has few equals in terms of beauty and complexity", Berenguer says.

One day, he hopes that Taira will be afforded UNESCO World Heritage Site status like the rock art in the Cave of Altamira in Spain or France's Lascaux caves.

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2018-08-07 07:45:11
<![CDATA[History, Hollywood and voodoo in a New Orleans cemetery]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720332.htm

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - If you've heard about New Orleans' famous cemeteries with their above-ground tombs, chances are you've heard about the gravesite of the so-called voodoo queen.

Her name was Marie Laveau, and she's buried in St. Louis Cemetery No 1.

Since 2015, tourists have been allowed into the cemetery only on guided tours.

"We were having so much vandalism in the cemetery, in addition to panhandlers saying they were tour guides and handing visitors markers to mark up the tombs," says Sherri Peppo, executive director of New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries. "It got out of hand."

The cemetery still gets some 200,000 visitors a year on authorized tours. And unlike the sprawling 19th-century garden cemeteries found elsewhere in the country, St. Louis Cemetery No 1 is tiny and crowded, not much bigger than a square block.

Laveau's story is just one of many fascinating tales connected to this place.

St. Louis Cemetery No 1, the city's oldest graveyard, dates to 1789. Two explanations are offered for why its burial vaults are built above ground: because of the high water table and flooding, and because it was a European cultural custom.

The vaults are laid out like little houses in mazelike aisles that feel like tiny streets. Many are surrounded by black iron fences.

"There is no architecture in New Orleans, except in the cemeteries," wrote Mark Twain in his book, Life on the Mississippi. He described the crypts as "graceful and shapely ... their white roofs and gables stretching into the distance", giving new meaning to "the phrase 'city of the dead'."

A marker on Laveau's tomb calls her the "notorious voodoo queen ... the most widely known of many practitioners of the cult". She died in 1881.

If you're a serious chess fan, you'll want to pay your respects at the burial site for Paul Morphy. He was a child prodigy and the greatest player of his era, dying in 1884.

An important name from US civil rights history also appears on a tomb here: Homer Plessy. Plessy was born in New Orleans to Haitian parents and was of mixed European and African descent. Because of his light complexion, he was able to pass for white, but he chose to be the Rosa Parks of his time, purposely breaking a law that segregated passengers on trains. Plessy sat in a car reserved for whites while making his race known to challenge segregation, contending that it violated the 13th and 14th amendments of the US Constitution.

Plessy was found guilty by a Louisiana judge, and in 1896, the US Supreme Court upheld that decision in a notorious 8-1 ruling supporting "separate but equal" accommodations. That decision stood as a legal justification for segregation until the 1950s.

Actor Nicolas Cage is alive and well, but he's built a roughly 3-meter-high tomb shaped like a pyramid as his future resting place in St. Louis No 1. The white structure bears the words "omnia ab uno", which means "everything from one".

Fans of the 1969 cult classic movie Easy Rider will recognize the elaborate Italian Benevolent Society tomb as the backdrop for a scene where actors Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda dropped acid while cavorting with women.

Associated Press

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2018-08-07 07:45:11
<![CDATA[THINKING OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720331.htm With Shanghai stealing the spotlight in China's contemporary art scene with its new museums and art fairs in recent years, the city that's home to the largest number of artists and galleries in the country is trying to win back its place as China's art capital with a slew of art events.

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An upcoming exposition aims to appeal to a new generation of art lovers as well as established collectors and industry insiders, Deng Zhangyu reports.

With Shanghai stealing the spotlight in China's contemporary art scene with its new museums and art fairs in recent years, the city that's home to the largest number of artists and galleries in the country is trying to win back its place as China's art capital with a slew of art events.

The first Beijing Contemporary Expo, the fourth major art fair to be held in Beijing within a year, is opening its doors to the public from Aug 31 to Sept 2.

According to Bao Dong, art director and one of the organizers of the event, the aim of the new art expo is to attract a much wider audience rather than limit its scope to art circles.

"Many people ask me why I'm holding an art fair. For me, the question is more about what kind of art fair I want to present," says Bao, a professional art critic and an independent curator.

Art expos are often seen as an effective platform for galleries to sell artwork directly to collectors. But Bao wants to create something far more accessible, and aims to attract people outside the art world to visit the show by adding elements of fashion, pop culture and entertainment into the mix.

And this is the reason why two out of the six sections at the fair have been designed to appeal to people curious about art rather than to established collectors with a knowledge of the industry.

The "energy" area of the exhibition will host a pop-up store organized by the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing to display its creative products based on the works by Xu Bing, an established artist who is known for his print making and installation works. It will also hold workshops where celebrities from the music and film industries will create their own works.

Shi Yan, who is in charge of this segment of the expo, says that she regards fashion as a link between art and life. Shi has worked in the fashion industry for decades.

"Contemporary art may appear to be far removed from the lives of ordinary people. But in fact, many contemporary fashion designs draw inspiration from art," adds Shi.

To promote discussion about the art fair on social media, the "wonder" hall will invite installation artists and public art specialists to produce large pieces, with the aim of attracting visitors to take photos with the art pieces.

As well as generating public interest, the key aspect in creating a successful art fair is attracting the right participants - namely the galleries and artists themselves.

Altogether, 32 galleries from across the globe including the United States, Japan and Europe will take part in the event. As well as stands that display the artists' works represented by each gallery, the art fair will devote the majority of its exhibition space to putting on a group show.

Entitled Painting Map, the show curated by Bao will feature 60 Chinese painters and offer a comprehensive insight into the development of contemporary Chinese painting. In it, visitors will be able see works by key Chinese artists such as Liu Xiaodong, Mao Yan, Xu Lei and Liu Wei.

As an independent curator, Bao says the group show will appeal just as much to visitors with little art experience as to collectors with a wider understanding of Chinese art history.

"It's like a map without any navigation. Visitors can wander about freely and confront the works on their own terms," he adds.

Talking about the increasing number of contemporary art expos in China - more than 10 international art fairs are held across China every year compared to the 100 or so major events in the rest of the world - Bao says China needs to develop such fairs.

Compared with the West, where modern art has been developing for more than a century, the concept is still regarded as something of a novelty by many in China despite having been first embraced by Chinese artists during the mid-1980s.

In Bao's opinion, these fairs provide an ideal platform for promoting art beyond industry circles. From March to May, Beijing played host to three major art expos: Gallery Weekend Beijing, Jingart Beijing and Art Beijing. Some industry insiders have raised the concern that frequent art fairs may increase competition and waste time and money for art dealers. For Bao, frequency is not the problem.

"They're only looking at the market in terms of art circles. They're ignoring the bigger market outside this. There are still a lot of people who don't know anything about contemporary art."  

 

Xu Lei's ink-and-color work Interact Mountains will be presented at the Beijing Contemporary Expo from Aug 31 to Sept 2. The painting will be displayed at the expo's "story" section, which features 60 Chinese painters, to offer an insight into the development of contemporary art in the country.

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2018-08-07 07:45:11
<![CDATA[Old photos give a new perspective of Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/07/content_36720330.htm

CANBERRA - In Wei Shuge's eyes, Beijing is a city with many stories, some of which are told in the 26 pictures hung on the walls of his exhibition.

Wei is curator of the exhibition Newly Discovered Photographs of Beijing, 1900-1902, which runs through Aug 30 at the Australian Center on China in the World in the Australian National University.

On display are photocopies of pictures taken in the early 1900s, shortly after the end of the Yihetuan Movement and the invasion of the Eight-Nation Alliance - when troops from Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Austro-Hungary entered Beijing.

The pictures show destroyed gate towers, booths where people sat for civil service exams, a railway station, items the emperors used for worship, barbers as well as a funeral procession.

The original photos are in an album in the possession of Svetlana Paichadze, an assistant professor at Hokkaido University. The album was given to her by a historian impressed by her strong interest in East Asia. Wei saw the photos during her visit to Hokkaido University in 2016.

"We decided then that we could not have them hidden away in an office forever," she tells Xinhua.

She then uploaded the photos online, and photocopied some of them for the exhibition.

"With this exhibition, I hope that people can learn more about the old days and how people in Beijing lived through those unsettling times."

Xinhua

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2018-08-07 07:45:11
<![CDATA[FINDING A NEW VOICE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/06/content_36714216.htm At a recording studio in a remote corner Beijing on July 31, hundreds of music industry insiders - record company managers, critics, celebrities and other high-flyers - gathered for a banquet to celebrate the second China Music Industry Committee Music Awards.

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This year's CMIC Music Awards were more about restoring the credibility of China's music scene and recognizing the work of industry insiders than providing entertainment, Chen Nan reports.

At a recording studio in a remote corner Beijing on July 31, hundreds of music industry insiders - record company managers, critics, celebrities and other high-flyers - gathered for a banquet to celebrate the second China Music Industry Committee Music Awards.

At the end of the night, one of the main awards was announced by Wang Ju, secretary-general of China Audio-Video Association and Rob Schwartz, the Asia bureau chief of Billboard magazine. When Pu Shu's name was read out as winner of Album of the Year, the hall rang out to the cheers and applause from the audience.

The Chinese singer-songwriter picked up the award for his latest album, Orion, after receiving nominations in 9 other categories, including Song of the Year and Male Singer of the Year.

"You cannot imagine how much effort I put into this album. This award is a huge recognition of hardworking and honest people," he says in his acceptance speech.

"These days, the way we consume music is quite different. Many singers release singles rather than albums. But a full-length album is much more like a complete book, which speaks for the singer-songwriter," says Wang.

Pu, 45, is one of the most popular singer-songwriters in China. Born in Nanjing, he grew up in Beijing and rose to fame with his debut album, I Went to 2000, released in 1999. Before the release of Orion, he had produced only one other album, Life Like A Summer Flower, in 2003.

Released in April 2017, Orion took Pu seven years to finish. He wrote and performed all 12 of the songs on the album, including the title track, The Fear in My Heart and Baby Good Bye.

Pu coproduced the work with longtime friend, songwriter and producer Zhang Yadong. The album includes the song Ordinary Road, which was used in Chinese writer-director Han Han's 2014 movie, The Continent. The song soon became chart-topper and built up anticipation among Pu's fans about when his next album would be released.

"I write songs in response to my intuition. They're totally self-expressive and spontaneous," Pu says. "So I never plan an album as I never know where things are going."

"I just repeat the process of creating a new song then dismantling it," he adds.

At the ceremony, Pu and his band performed two songs from the album, the title track Orion and a song called Years of Innocence.

That night, 37 awards were announced. Singaporean singer-songwriter JJ Lin, or Wayne Lim Jun Jie, won the award for male vocalist of the year, while Taiwan singer Kulilay Amit, who is better known by her stage name A-mei, picked up the award for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Singer-songwriter Xu Jun was awarded Newcomer of the Year, while Beijing-based pop duo Mars Radio were named Group of the Year.

"It's been my dream to launch such a music award ceremony like the CMIC Music Awards, which aims to restore the dignity of China's music industry," says Song Ke, chairman of the China Music Industry Committee, a nonprofit organization which has more than 100 members belonging to record labels and distributors.

Song, the former head of Warner Music China and now the CEO of Ali Music Group, a division of e-commerce giant Alibaba, launched the CMIC Music Awards in 2017.

"There are many music awards in China which have celebrities, screaming fans and generous sponsors, but they are more about entertainment - they have nothing to do with music," says Song. "We want to recognize talented people in the music industry and encourage young musicians. More importantly, we seek to regain our industry's dignity, which we had lost."

In the early 2000s, due to rampant online piracy, record companies didn't consider it worthwhile to release albums and turned instead to managing artists' performances and advertising to provide their main source of revenue. And Song left the industry to open a restaurant since, as he put it, "people were willing to pay for their food but not the music they listen to".

The awards honor a diverse range of genres including pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz and classical music. It also recognizes the technicians, engineers and designers behind each album and song.

According to Xu Yi, the former CEO of Sony Music Entertainment China, president of the CMIC Music Awards committee, the jury panel consisted of 101 members from the China Music Industry Committee, all hailing from record labels and distributors. Veteran Taiwan songwriter and producer Jonathan Lee was invited to be their chief consultant.

"Before launching the CMIC Music Awards, we studied how prestigious music awards such as the Grammys and the BRIT Awards operate, because what we needed was to create a music award that was fair and had authority," Xu says.

For the first time, the CMIC Music Awards has two new categories: Best Children's Album and Best Original Soundtrack for a Video Game.

The winner of Best Children's Album is Rhyme of Ancient Poetry, which combines children's choirs with songs based on ancient Chinese poems. The album has seven songs composed by Chinese musicians, including Zhao Jiping and Zhao Lin.

"There are few songs written for Chinese children. The songs my daughter is listening to today are the same ones I listened to as a child. So, I'm glad to see that there is a music award to honor artists creating children songs. I hope it will influence more Chinese songwriters to fill this gap in the market," says Chen Danyang, the publisher of the album.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

Song Ke (left), the chairman of the China Music Industry Committee, and Chinese singer-songwriter Ding Wei at the second CMIC Music Awards. Photo provided to China Daily

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2018-08-06 07:48:17
<![CDATA[Kenyan singing strikes right note]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/06/content_36714213.htm

NAIROBI - The second edition of a Chinese singing competition was held on July 27 in Kenya's second largest institution of higher learning, Kenyatta University.

More than a dozen contestants performed a rich collection of contemporary Chinese music in front of dignitaries, including the counselor at the Chinese embassy in Kenya, Wang Xuezheng.

"The promotion of China-Kenya relations requires us to further enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples," said Wang.

"As a comprehensive and high-level university, Kenyatta University has been doing a lot in this regard," he added.

Kenyatta University's Confucius Institute, which was established in 2008, organized the second installment of the competition that showcased the local students' grasp of Chinese music and dance.

"Today's singing competition is a good way to allow more people to enjoy the good voices of Kenya and the good voices of China-Kenya friendship and cooperation," said Wang.

Kamau Wango, the Kenyan director of Kenyatta University's Confucius Institute said the school has become a hub for cross-cultural exchanges that are bearing positive results.

"We have been hosting many events to promote Chinese culture to young learners. The majority of them find Chinese music, language and folklore interesting," Wango remarked.

The contestants, who performed songs covering diverse themes like patriotism, romance and harmonious coexistence, demonstrated a high degree of proficiency in vocals, rhythm and tone.

Judges noted that this year's Chinese singing competition had improved remarkably in all aspects.

"The contestants demonstrated a remarkable degree of confidence and ability to connect with the audience. Their vocals were refined, and their stage presence was captivating too," said Pricilla Gitonga, a music lecturer at Kenyatta University.

Nyambura Githaiga, a female contestant, scooped the top prize of $150 for her rendition of the patriotic song, Me and My Country.

Xinhua

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2018-08-06 07:48:17
<![CDATA[Picture books feature 24 Chinese solar terms]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/06/content_36714212.htm A set of picture books featuring the scientific principles and customs related to the 24 Chinese solar terms has recently been published.

The ancient Chinese used to divide the sun's annual circular motion into 24 segments, with each measuring around 15 days, to represent a "solar term", which indicates the seasonal climate changes and the consequent life cycle events of plants and animals.

The terms originated in the Yellow River area and the names of the solar terms reflect the observation of the heavens, temperature, rainfall and other natural phenomena in this region.

For more than 2,000 years, Chinese people have used the solar terms as guides for their agricultural practices.

The Twenty-Four Solar Terms, knowledge in China of time and practices developed through observation of the sun's annual motion, was listed as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in November 2016.

The set of picture books, titled The Twenty-Four Solar Terms, comprises four volumes, separately introducing the solar terms - six in each of the four seasons.

The knowledge and stories are told by two cartoon characters - Yangyang (the sun) and Yueyue (the moon) - dressed in traditional Chinese clothes.

According to Chen Xuehui, the chief editor of the book set and deputy general manager of the China Animation Comic Game Group, the books follow the traditional Chinese principle of harmony among heaven, Earth and man.

The position of the Earth when a certain solar term is used, as well as its climate features, are considered the elements of "heaven", while those of "Earth" are represented by animal activities, plant growth and farming.

The roles of "man" are represented by regional customs and folk festival celebrations, related ancient poems, as well as diet.

The principle is also seen in the design of the book covers, with patterns showing the sun's orbit, typical plants of the seasons and representative human activities.

Chen says that the solar terms represent the Chinese people's respect for nature and expectations of a good harvest.

"It is the natural laws that are behind the folk customs," Chen says, adding that the environmentally-friendly theme reflected in Chinese solar terms is consistent with the spirit of the current times.

Meanwhile, Chen wants to change the impression of traditional Chinese culture being monotonous and relatively hard to understand.

Yu Zhenyue, the illustrator of the picture books, says that the internet era provides more opportunities for cartoonists to create works with their painting skills, animation techniques and narration.

According to Chen, it took the team working on the books more than a year to complete the project, and he added that it is also working on a TV anime series on the 24 solar terms.

fangaiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A set of recently released picture books feature the 24 solar terms which guide Chinese people's work and life. Provided to China Daily

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2018-08-06 07:48:17
<![CDATA[Succulent pigeon on the table]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/05/content_36709182.htm Editor's note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

If you slowly stroll through the old Beijing alleyways, you can sometimes hear a whistling high overhead. Look up, and you may see a flock of pigeons whirling, flying in synchronized circles as they swoop above the hutong. There's the source of the whistling.

These are pet homing pigeons, and their owners often attach little bamboo whistles to their legs so they make music while in flight.

They are often entered in competitions, and a good homing pigeon is as valuable as a pedigreed canine, if not more so.

My grandfather, too, had a dovecote in the backyard, and his birds would perch on the ledges, grooming their gray feathers and sunning their metallic blue and green collars. Occasionally, they would be released so they could fly for a few hours in freedom.

They always came home. Grandfather gave them clean nesting cubicles, and the best imported maize. He would name them, too, but he never forgot these were birds reared for their meat, squabs and eggs.

As a child, I was asthmatic, and grandfather had learned that squab soup could help prevent the wheezing. Baby pigeons were harvested and steamed with Chinese herbs in soup.

Thankfully, I was too young then to associate this delicious broth with the downy pigeon chicks.

Pigeon eggs, hard-boiled, were also dipped into crushed rock salt. Unlike chicken eggs, pigeon eggs stayed translucent even when fully cooked, their whites retaining a slight jelly wobble.

Perhaps it is this novel quality that makes them one of the ingredients in that decadent, luxuriously tasty Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, the Fujianese soup-stew that is the highlight of so many Chinese banquets.

The gourmets also believe pigeon eggs are a lot more nutritious than chicken or duck eggs. For that reason, they cost several times more, if and when you can get them.

Neighboring Guangdong province loves its pigeons as well, and one of the region's most well-known signature dishes is Cantonese roast pigeon.

In Hong Kong's New Territories, a very famous hillside restaurant has built its entire menu around this little bird, and it is probably the world's most famous pigeon restaurant, according to its collection of tourist reviews.

Lung Wah Restaurant started life as a hotel in the 1950s and was immortalized in many of the old Cantonese movies starring grandma heartthrobs such as Patrick Tze Yin. Kungfu legend Bruce Lee also reportedly stayed at the hotel before it closed its rooms in the mid-1980s.

What stayed behind was the restaurant and its famous roast pigeons. It is still doing a roaring business to this day, and until the SARS scare in 2003, it had a pigeon farm on the premises.

The roast pigeon is marinated thoroughly and deep-fried to perfection. The gaminess of the bird is masked by a recipe of herbs that includes musk. It is a secret blend that is jealously guarded by the family, of course.

The deep-fried bird has a papery skin that is crisp and brittle, while the meat retains all its succulence. And, surprisingly, it is not at all fatty.

Pigeon is a lean bird with very little subcutaneous fat, and that is another reason why it cooks so well.

Another famous pigeon dish is a soup made from its minced meat, steamed in a bamboo cup. Stock made from the bones helps the soup take shape. The result is an intensely flavorful consomme that captures the essence of the bird.

Pigeon floss in lettuce wrap is another signature dish. Finely minced pigeon meat is stir-fried with tiny cubes of bamboo shoots, carrots, beans and mushrooms.

Crisp iceberg lettuce cups become edible receptacles. This dish is ideal for those who dislike having to navigate tiny bones.

Pigeon eggs are soft-cooked before being deep-fried and served in a crisp and savory string potato nest. The result is a beautifully textured egg with a slightly chewy golden crust, tender egg white and a still-liquid yolk.

Another way to cook the eggs is to bake them in rock salt.

Pigeons are regarded as pests in many urban centers, where those who dislike them regard them as rodents on wings.

In Singapore's housing estates, for example, the pigeon population has expanded prodigiously - so much so that there are signs everywhere discouraging people from feeding them because they build flimsy nests on window ledges and on top of air-conditioning units.

But in a country like China where pigeon is regarded as a tasty meat, there does not seem to be any problem. Perhaps it's time to look at solutions from a new angle.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipe

Soy-sauce braised pigeon

4 pigeons, dressed

1 cup top quality soy sauce

2 cups water

4 tablespoons rose-scented Chinese wine, Meiguilu

50g rock sugar, crushed

2-3 slices galangal

1-2 sticks cinnamon

1-2 star anise pods

6 shallots, roughly chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Add a little oil to a pan and fry the chopped shallots and garlic till fragrant. Add cinnamon, star anise, galangal slices. Fry till the cinnamon releases its aroma.

Add the soy sauce, sugar and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the rose-scented wine.

When the braising liquid is bubbling merrily, lower the cleaned pigeons into the mixture. After five minutes, cover the pot with a tightfitting lid and switch off the heat. Do not open the lid, but allow the whole pot to cool. The residual heat will complete the cooking, and the pigeons will be soft and tender.

Chill, quarter and serve.

(You can substitute with spring chickens.)

Pigeon consomme

2 pigeons

1-2 slices young ginger

1 teaspoon ginger juice

1 teaspoon quality Chinese wine, huadiao

1-2 stalks spring onions

Salt and pepper to taste

First, get as much meat off the pigeons as you can, scraping the bones clean. Set aside the meat.

Crush the pigeon carcass and chop into smaller sections.

Heat up a liter of water and add the ginger slices and spring onions. Add the pigeon bones and bring to a boil. Simmer till broth is flavorful.

While the stock is brewing, finely mince the pigeon meat, sprinkling the ginger juice over.

Divide the minced pigeon into four.

Place each portion into a Chinese rice bowl (or large bamboo cup if you can get them). Top with the cooled pigeon stock and seal the top with foil. Steam the soup over high heat for 15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Pigeon eggs in rock salt

10 pigeon eggs

1 kg rough rock salt

Fry the rock salt in a heavy-bottomed pan until it is too hot to touch. Make a well in the middle and add the pigeon eggs. Cover the eggs again with the salt. Keep the wok on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Switch off the heat and let the salt cool.

Place the cooked eggs in a nest of lettuce and serve.

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2018-08-05 14:29:38
<![CDATA[Plan hatched to protect turtles]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/05/content_36709181.htm Chinese company links with local Ghanaians to safeguard hatchlings facing threats from man

On a quiet night in the dry season, as several stray dogs wander the beach on the Gulf of Guinea, a leatherback sea turtle suddenly sticks its head out from the soft sand and looks around discreetly.

For six months each year - from October until March - sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach. As the creatures that have been living on Earth for more than 150 million years reproduce along the Gulf of Guinea, millions of baby turtles will hatch and then crawl into the Atlantic Ocean.

However, along the coastline of Tema, Ghana, the normal, quiet life of sea turtles has been disturbed. In addition to poachers who take the turtle eggs, stray dogs eat them.

The sea turtles' species and hatchability have been decreasing in recent years. Although around 10 types of such turtles once lived along the Tema coastline, only leatherback, olive ridley and Chelonia mydas sea turtles are now commonly seen on the beach, and the numbers are decreasing.

Liu Wei, a Chinese engineer working for China Harbor Engineering Co's Ghana Tema New Container Terminal Project, says: "Our project site is located just beyond the beach. When we walked on the beach, we found there were a lot of broken turtle egg shells, most of which were damaged deliberately.

"A lot of baby turtles did not have a chance to see the world before their lives ended."

Liu and CHEC engineers first set foot on the beach in November 2016 with the aim of building a new container terminal in Tema.

During the project launch on Nov 16, 2016, then Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama said the $476 million project would take engineers 51 months to construct. He said the project would change the shape of Ghana's shipping industry over the next 100 years, bringing the country a complete maritime industry system.

The Port of Tema is on the Gulf of Guinea in southeastern Ghana, around 30 kilometers east-northeast of Accra, the country's capital. Tema is one of two deep-water ports in Ghana and is the country's largest seaport, accounting for around 80 percent of the African country's port logistics capacity. The expanded Tema Port is expected to turn Ghana into an important trade and investment center of West Africa.

Yang Jianchong, the project's manager, says: "When we first arrived here, we found the eco-environment near the project to be very fragile. Fish and other aquatic life, such as sea turtles, are very sensitive to water and environmental conditions.

"Once the natural environment of aquatic creatures is hurt, it will eventually destroy the ecosystems of the Gulf of Guinea. If we did not protect biological diversity during our construction, some damage would be irreversible."

Chinese engineers formulated detailed plans to immediately protect the local biodiversity. They introduced special equipment to monitor marine animals and plants, created a team of volunteers and carried out activities to urge local people to pay more attention to the environment.

Their efforts were productive, though the broken sea turtle eggs on the beach saddened the engineers. "We have to figure out a way to protect our little neighbors," Yang says.

One day, Yang had an idea: Why not build a sea turtle hatchery on the beach and release baby turtles to the sea after they're hatched?

The idea gained support from Ghana Meridian Port Services Limited, as well as local turtle conservation organizations. The project management team quickly established a plan, including building a turtle hatchery, forming a turtle protection group and employing a local turtle conservation expert to lead the work.

One day in November last year, a long shelter made of green and orange sunshade net was set up on the beach. Inside the shelter, the sand formed many hills, some of which were surrounded by small bamboo cages. Each hill was numbered with a tag. A sign at the site says: "Sea turtle hatchery site. Personnel only."

A local man, Amen Abu, is among local staff members employed by the project management. With five years' experience working to protect turtles, he knows how to help turtles breed, and has been dubbed "the sea turtles' obstetrician".

One day, Amen Abu found a female sea turtle groaning on the beach. The 1-meter-long turtle was preparing to lay eggs, but a blockage in her body made the process difficult and painful. "The turtle needed some help, or both the mother and the eggs would be in danger," he said.

So he put on gloves and carefully moved close to the turtle and helped it until, finally, a big egg slid down onto the sand, followed by several more in sequence. Watching the mother turtle crawl toward the ocean, Amen Abu gave a sigh of relief.

Members of the turtle conservation collect eggs and send them to the hatchery site, where more than 10,000 turtle eggs can be hatched together. Newborn baby turtles like dark places, but the light of the port could make them lose their way to the sea, Amen Abu said. So conservation staff members escort the baby turtles to the ocean once they are hatched and free of their shells.

"It normally takes 45 to 60 days for a baby turtle to be hatched," he said. "We collected turtle eggs and buried them in the sand in sequence. We also made a record of the hatching time and monitored the eggs during the whole process."

Under his guidance, each member of the turtle conservation group learned how to protect turtles. More than 4,000 baby turtles have been hatched at the site and released to the sea.

The turtle conservation effort is just one example of Chinese construction personnel taking care of the environment, Yang says, adding that creating a green channel for marine life reproduction is part of building a better world.

For China Daily

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2018-08-05 14:29:38
<![CDATA[A taste of Chinese culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/05/content_36709180.htm Students from Confucius Institutes overseas get a flavor of the country through summer camps in Beijing

On a Thursday night, laughter reverberates in a classroom at North China University of Technology in Beijing, where dozens of foreign teenagers sit in rows, learning to play the hulusi, a traditional musical instrument used by China's Dai ethnic group.

The music class is a part of this year's You and Me summer camp in the capital. It is organized by Beijing Foreign Studies University for students of Chinese from Confucius Institutes in Hungary, Belgium, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Italy and Bulgaria.

 

Teenagers from Europe learn to play the hulusi, a traditional musical instrument of the Dai ethnic group in China, at a recent summer camp in Beijing. Xing Wen / China Daily

The teacher, Sun Yanan, shows the foreign students how to play Auld Lang Syne on the flutelike instrument.

"With the folk instrument, they get a basic knowledge about China's ethnic groups and some idea of Oriental music," says Sun.

She adds that everyone is also given an instrument to take back home so they can spread Chinese culture after the camp.

Gergana Slavcheva, a Bulgarian student who is in China for the first time, says: "I really like it. And though it is confusing for me because I'm bad at music, I will practice at home and maybe get the hang of it."

The 16-year-old, who registered as a student at the Confucius Institute of Sofia two years ago because she wanted to get exposure to the language, says she feels that Chinese is the base of other languages in Asia.

"That's why I decided to join this summer camp, to get to know China better and establish contact with people who share an interest in the country," she adds.

For Austrian Leonie Sajdik, the tour to Beijing is a reminder of the four and a half years she spent here when her parents worked in the city.

And that probably explains why she speaks Chinese like a Beijinger.

"I really like Beijing, as it boasts a rich heritage," says the 15-year-old. "And the camp is a perfect chance for me to be in a city where I grew up."

Leonie says she may apply to a Chinese university, since her family thinks highly of Chinese education.

The camp, a 10-day event initiated in 2008, offers foreign high school students an opportunity to visit museums, historical sites and Chinese families, practice calligraphy, paper-cutting or Chinese martial arts, and sample local cuisine like Peking roast duck.

Speaking about the camp, Mark Van Couwenberghe, a board member of the Confucius Institute in Brussels, who served as the leader of the Belgian group at the camp for the second time, says, "The schedule is very diverse."

He believes the summer camp is better than a traditional class environment, since the students get hands-on experience of traditional arts and crafts and can build friendships with people of their age group from different cultural backgrounds.

"Their social skills also develop because they learn as a group," says Van Couwenberghe. "So everyone goes back home not only with knowledge, but friendships that they can maintain for the rest of their lives."

This year, about 60 households in Beijing volunteered to be host families for the program.

Jin Yu, a Beijing resident and mother of a 17-year-old, has hosted four foreign students over the past two years.

As part of her duties, she has driven the students from the camp's site to Liulichang Culture Street, where stores sell Chinese paintings and calligraphy.

Speaking of how she got involved in the program, she says, "I volunteered in 2016 because I wanted my daughter to communicate with her foreign peers in a relaxed way, and show the visitors the lifestyle of a Chinese family."

Jin says she hopes the exchanges will also prepare her daughter for possible overseas studies in the future.

The BFSU summer camp is just one of a series of activities sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters, or Hanban.

On July 18, a bigger summer camp of 760 foreign students, organized by Hanban for Confucius Institutes from central and eastern European countries, kicked off in Beijing.

xingwen@chinadaily.com.cn

(

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2018-08-05 14:29:38
<![CDATA[Dolphins back from the brink]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/05/content_36709179.htm An award-winning conservationist, whose life was once saved by marine mammals, repaid the debt of honor by setting up a biodiversity research center for a rare species. Yang Feiyue and Shi Ruipeng report.

Increasing awareness of environmental issues and the protection of biodiversity has helped restore the population of Chinese white dolphins in Sanniang Bay.

The beach, sea and splendid sunshine might make the bay in Qinzhou, in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, look like nothing more than a typical coastal resort, but Sanniang has, in a way, always transcended its counterparts by being a natural home to the white dolphin, the importance of which has long been regarded as being on a par with that of the giant panda.

 

With bettering protection measures, the number of Chinese white dolphins in Sanniang Bay of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has increased from 100 in 2006 to around 230 today. Xu Zhigan and Zeng Kaihong / For China Daily

The ancestors of the white dolphin can be traced to roughly 10 million years ago. Some of the ancestral population departed from Australia approximately 8 million years ago and headed northwest toward Indonesia's Sunda archipelago, before continuing onward to the South China Sea.

Evolution has given the white dolphins in Sanniang Bay unique physical features and genes.

Their age can be determined by their skin color, which changes as they grow older.

While calves are usually dark gray, juvenile dolphins turn a lighter shade of gray and develop white spots. Adults take on an off-white hue, while elderly members of the species turn snow-white.

"White dolphins are a flagship species (in the ocean), and if we protect them we are practically protecting tens of thousands of other creatures in the area," says Peking University Professor Pan Wenshi.

Pan has long been committed to bioscience studies and played an important role in protecting the giant panda and the white-headed langur - one of the rarest primates in the world. His work has won him awards both at home and abroad, including the J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership from the World Wildlife Fund.

Pan became aware of Sanniang Bay's marine mammal population after attending a seminar about them in Guangxi in 2004.

"Expert opinions varied when it came to estimating the number of white dolphins in the area," the 81-year-old professor recalls.

Some said there were 200 of the mammals in the Sanniang Bay area, while others put the figure at more than 1,000.

"I could only spot the ones between the ages of 9 and 11 with my own eyes at that time," Pan says.

This inconsistency - and the memory of a life-changing childhood encounter with the mammals - spurred Pan to settle down in the area and study the dolphins in more detail.

One summer, when he was swimming off the coast of Shantou, Guangdong province, Pan, then 10 years old, found himself tiring and out of his depth, beginning to drown.

On the verge of death, Pan was suddenly rescued by two dolphins that kept his head above water as they carried him back to shore.

As his skills improved, Pan continued swimming in the sea, where he often encountered a gray-white dolphin.

"I could see its beady black eyes and the rows of cone-shaped teeth in its mouth," he recalls.

"It didn't seem to object when I held my hand out to touch its slippery, tight skin."

However, things were rough at the beginning when Pan began to study Chinese white dolphins, as little was known about their subaquatic life and funding for research was not readily available.

"I had to go out to sea with local fishermen when they went out in their small fishing boats," Pan says. "The ride was bumpy and I threw up a lot."

Pan only caught a glimpse of his first dolphin after three days at sea.

To prove Sanniang Bay was a base for Chinese white dolphins and secure funding from Peking University to set up a biodiversity research center in the area, Pan had to come up with an idea.

He asked local officials to help him locate trawlers in the area, as he knew the contents of their nets would attract the dolphins.

However, once he had proved his point and built the research facility, Pan immediately called a halt to the proceedings.

"Trawlers damage the structure of the sea floor, which adversely affects marine life," he says.

By a process of trial and error, Pan gradually got other means of locating dolphins down to a fine art.

Immediately before, or just after, the tide rose to its peak, shoals of fish would move closer to the coast and white dolphins would follow them, making them easier to spot, Pan says.

He would go to sea for a couple of hours a day, around 10 to 15 days a month, and used digital cameras to take thousands of photos of the marine mammals.

"You have to catch the moment where the dolphins take a breath, when their backs emerge from the water," Pan says.

Each Chinese white dolphin is unique, from the color of its skin and its markings down to the shape of its dorsal fin.

The task of processing the photos was as huge as it was painstaking, says Wei Meijiao, a worker at the local white dolphin research center established by Pan.

Differences between the whiter dolphins are relatively easy to spot. The gray ones, however, are often so difficult to tell apart that scientists rely on software to identify them, Wei adds.

They also have to keep track of every dolphin to accurately calculate population numbers. At the same time, Pan has also suggested to the local government that industrial projects be moved west of the bay to help keep the shallow coastal waters where the white dolphins live intact.

The local government has also prohibited large-scale trawling and excessive fishing in the area.

These arrangements have helped increase the number of white dolphins from 100 in 2006 to around 230 currently.

Before Pan received sufficient funding to purchase a yacht for the research facility in 2012, his team relied on local fishermen to keep track of dolphin numbers.

Locals had long come to realize that Pan's work ultimately benefited their own lives, and regularly took Pan out to sea for free. Perhaps more important, their awareness of white dolphin protection has risen significantly, thanks to his work.

"All of us fishermen have realized that we should protect the dolphins," says Lin Sange, who has been helping Pan to keep tabs on Chinese white dolphins for more than a decade.

"If the dolphins leave, it means there are no fish left here - and we will suffer," he adds.

Lin usually goes fishing in deeper waters with a couple of fishermen two or three times a week, depending on the weather.

His work includes recording the sounds the dolphins make and taking pictures of them, as well as measuring the depth of the sea.

"I see the dolphins nine times out of 10," Lin says.

Lin used to be in the business of taking tourists out to see the dolphins, and readily joined Pan's cause when he saw how big trawlers, sand digging and other activities had started to affect the creatures' habitat.

Currently, Lin and three other fishermen are part of Pan's team, and the job has been a labor of love for all of them.

"We see different things each and every time," Lin says.

Sometimes, they see dolphins carrying their calves, while on other occasions they can be seen taking part in affectionate rituals with their mates.

"Things can also turn violent when they fight each other during courtship," Lin says.

The fishermen have all developed a very close bond with the marine mammals over the years and believe that some of the dolphins even recognize them.

"They will approach our boat as if they are looking for our protection when they are the underdog in a fight," Lin says.

"Our hearts broke when we saw some of them bleed during fighting."

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2018-08-05 14:29:38
<![CDATA[Chifeng aims to lure more self-drive tourists]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/05/content_36709178.htm Open roads beckon visitors to drive through vast and picturesque landscapes of Inner Mongolia

Chifeng in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region aims to lift its profile as a tourism destination by hosting international events, says Yang Guang, vice-director of the local commission of tourism development.

On July 14, more than 600 travelers departed from a square in downtown Chifeng to take part in the city's second self-drive festival - a four-day trip to stone forests, lakes, meadows and grasslands using bikes, motorcycles, automobiles and recreational vehicles.

 

More than 600 travelers departed from a square in the downtown of Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, to take part in the city's second self-drive festival on July 14. Xing Wen / China Daily

Wang Yongsheng, 47, a Beijing motorcyclist, says self-driving tours are a practical way to travel on the vast expanse of grassland. This allows him to fully enjoy the special landscape of Inner Mongolia, he says, adding that it's relatively safe to travel with such a big group.

The past year has witnessed 50 self-drive clubs organizing group tours to Chifeng.

More than 60 percent of the 9.4 million tourists to the area in the first half of this year chose self-drive tours, according to the local tourism bureau.

That's why the local government is sparing no effort to develop the city into a resort for self-drive travelers.

Besides the increasing popularity of self-drive tours, recreational vehicles capable of accommodating a family are also finding favor.

Wu Xianglin, 57, joined an RV-sharing platform in May and later drove to Ordos, Inner Mongolia, as well as Beijing and Shanxi and Shandong provinces, with her husband.

"Nowadays, traveling by trains or planes is not novel, so we are eager to get some other experiences," says the Baotou native.

"With an RV, we can sleep and cook in the vehicle, so there's no need to waste time and money on restaurants and hotels during the trip.

"Also, China has abundant tourism resources for us to explore, which is perfect for RV tours."

Wu also says the platform has 2,800 RVs across the country and travelers can rent one for 1,000 yuan per day.

"To purchase an RV may not be feasible for many families, but sharing one is affordable," she says.

Shi Yongjun, an RV seller in Chifeng, says local people seldom get a chance to use an RV. So the self-drive festival is a good way for them to be exposed to this mode of travel.

"Last year, we sold over 10 RVs in Chifeng, and most of the buyers were middle-aged people who have money and time on their hands." says Shi, an RV enthusiast who drives to Hainan province every November for an annual RV exhibition.

"Hainan has constructed advanced camping sites for RV travelers, which are lacking in Chifeng," says Shi. "I hope enough camping sites and parking spaces can be built for this emerging form of transportation in China."

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2018-08-05 14:29:38
<![CDATA[Belt and Road Brand Expo showcases regional wares]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/05/content_36709177.htm Exquisite products such as chalcedony from Madagascar, ebony carvings from Ghana and brands used by the British royal family were featured at the recently concluded Belt and Road Brand Expo in Shanghai.

A platform for companies to explore China and the global market, the expo was held in Shanghai from June 29 to July 1.

Co-organized by the Shanghai branch of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the Chamber of International Commerce Shanghai, the event attracted more than 200 companies.

This year's event occupied an area of 15,000 square meters at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, and presented national specialties and folk culture products from 43 countries and the regions of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The products and services featured at the exhibition included food and beverage, lifestyle, tourism and culture, sports and health, as well as investment and trade.

"We hope to export more products to the Chinese market, and also hope to have a closer relationship with China, not only in trade but also in tourism and other sectors," said Ulugbekov Azizbek, consul of the Consulate General of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Shanghai.

Lin Hui, a Chinese representative for a French wine brand, said the expo was a good platform for participants to enter the Chinese market.

"I want my compatriots to have the chance to taste the delicious, safe and cost-effective wine through the platform. Chinese people now have a higher acceptance of foreign products than before," he said.

The expo also featured cultural performances including traditional song and dance, and instrumental performances from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Serbia.

In addition, about 20 promotional roadshows and more than 130 trade interactions among exhibitors took place during the event, including crystal appreciation, food and wine tasting, and hand-painting activities.

Ren Xiangyu, 18, said she visited the expo after reading an article on WeChat.

"I love these featured products from different countries and want them all, but some of them are not cheap," she said.

Shao Qiufang, 60, attended the event with her friends and bought beef jerky from Brazil and fruit jams from Bulgaria for about 300 yuan ($45; 38 euros; £34). She said people of her age were focusing on food and other daily products, while younger people seemed more attracted by fashion products and handicrafts.

heqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-05 14:29:38
<![CDATA[Close to you]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/05/content_36709176.htm From kin to kindred spirits, a character that connects people and brings them together

If 同志 (tóng zhì, comrade) was the ubiquitous form of address in the revolutionary past - and has since been appropriated by the LGBT community - then 亲 (qīn) may be the modern equivalent, at least among young urban women. Often used by Taobao merchants chatting with customers online, it is short for 亲爱的 (qīn ài de), or "dear, beloved, cherished". In the United Kingdom or United States, a similar term might be "love" or "hon", respectively - a platonic term of endearment, often used by co-workers or new acquaintances, to help close distances and facilitate communication.

The character's evolution followed a similar path as to how we form social connections in life: We are born with blood ties and, from there, make friends and build various relationships. First and foremost, 亲 refers to one's parents, or双亲 (shuāng qīn): 母亲 (mǔ qīn, mother) and 父亲 (fù qīn, father). Confucianism views blood kinship as the foundation of society, and over the years, various adherents have promulgated exemplars of filial piety, but not all are exactly shining models to follow. One tale concerns an old man in his 70s who often dressed flamboyantly and jauntily to appear young for his parents' sake - so they could take their minds off their own age. The story coined the term彩衣娱亲 (cǎi yī yú qīn, wear colorful clothes to please parents, or simply, "to entertain one's parents").

One's biological offspring and siblings are definitely 亲, such as in 亲兄弟 (qīn xiōng dì, biological brothers). To stress the biological bond, use 亲生 (qīn shēng), such as in 亲生子女 (qīn shēng zǐ nǚ), biological children). Similarly, biological parents are 亲生父母 (qīn shēng fù mǔ), while adoptive parents are called 养父母 (yǎng fù mǔ).

Mostly referring to blood relations, 亲 sometimes can also mean relations through marriage, as in姻亲 (yīn qīn) or "in-laws". Though the phrase 相亲 (xiāng qīn) is roughly translated as "blind date" today, it actually started as an arranged meeting in which a man's parents would assess and hopefully approve a prospective wife for him.

In other phrases, 亲 also refers to relatives in general, such as亲戚 (qīn qi, relatives), 亲属 (qīn shǔ, kinsfolk), 亲友 (qīn yǒu, family and friends). The warm and loving feelings one shares with relatives are 亲情 (qīn qíng). Sometimes, however, we also say远亲不如近邻 (yuǎn qīn bù rú jìn lín, "a close neighbor means more than a distant relative"), since one's neighbors may be better able to extend a helping hand in times of need, compared with distant kin.

To some, guanxi (关系, "connections" or "relationships") is regarded as a "mysterious" Chinese cultural element, though, in fact, nepotism or favoritism are hardly phenomena unique to China or Asia. Although there are elements of guanxi that are arguably exceptional, the term is rarely understood that way, and nor does guanxi always guarantee special treatment, such as in the phrase六亲不认 (liù qīn bù rèn, "refused to acknowledge one's closest relatives"), which means the person does not play favorites with anyone.

Another folk saying goes, 亲兄弟,明算账 (qīn xiōng dì, míng suàn zhàng, "even between biological brothers, financial matters should be settled clearly"). A fair and impartial attitude is always to be encouraged in matters of justice, as the phrase 大义灭亲 (dà yì miè qīn, "punish one's own relatives in the cause of justice") describes.

 

Of course, in real life, it's often the case that 任人唯亲 (rèn rén wéi qīn, "appoint people by favoritism"), but there also exists its equal and opposite, at least in ancient history: According to a legend of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), when the lord of the Jin state asked his official Qi Huangyang to propose a candidate for provincial chief, Qi recommended someone who was his enemy. The lord later asked him to find a general for the army, and Qi recommended his own son. In both cases, Qi explained: "You asked for an appropriate candidate for the position, which has nothing to do with whether they are my enemy or my son." The tale gave rise to the phrase 举贤不避亲仇 (jǔ xián bù bì qīn chóu), which means "recommend whoever is capable, family or foe".

Later, 亲 came to mean people who are close to you, but not necessarily related by blood, such as in亲如手足 (qīn rú shǒu zú, "as dear as a brother"), and 亲近 (qīn jìn, "be close to"). It is also used to describe sentimental feelings, as in 亲热 (qīn rè, affectionate) and 亲切 (qīn qiè, warm and kindly). Along the same lines, as a verb, 亲means "kiss," short for 亲吻 (qīn wěn). For instance, 她亲了小猫一下. (Tā qīn le xiǎo māo yī xià. "She gave the kitty a kiss.")

Finally, 亲 can also refer to oneself, meaning "personally, in person," as in 亲自 (qīn zì). For example, 这是他的亲身经历. (Zhè shì tā de qīn shēn jīng lì. "This event was his personal experience.").

Whether it's family or friends, 亲is about those who are, in some way, close to you. Hopefully, the meaning of this character will keep expanding, because, in the end, we are all in this life together.

Courtesy of The World of Chinese; www.theworldofchinese.com.cn

The World of Chinese

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2018-08-05 14:29:38
<![CDATA[NATURE GETS A HIGH-TECH HELPING HAND]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706320.htm Nature and technology are often thought to be polar opposites, but the launch of a new wildlife project in China has shown that this is just a false dichotomy.

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The WWF and US tech company Intel form a partnership to use artificial intelligence to help with the conservation of endangered Amur tigers in China, Wang Kaihao reports in Changchun, Jilin province

Nature and technology are often thought to be polar opposites, but the launch of a new wildlife project in China has shown that this is just a false dichotomy.

On Global Tiger Day on July 29, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and US technology company Intel signed an agreement in Changchun, the capital of northeastern China's Jilin province, to use artificial intelligence technology to monitor and protect the country's wild Amur tigers, which are also known to the locals as Northeast tigers.

The Amur tiger, the largest of all wild cat species in the world, used to be found in many places across northeastern China. However, increasing human activity in the region has resulted in a loss of tiger habitats and subsequently, a decline in its population, according to Liu Peiqi, the head of the WWF's Northeast China program.

As it is rare to see tigers in the forest - Liu has not witnessed one since he started his career in wildlife protection in the 1980s - WWF researchers have to rely on infrared cameras to determine their whereabouts. There are presently about 1,200 cameras set up in the Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces where tiger activity is thought to be likely.

According to the researchers, about 47 individual wild Amur tigers were detected in China between 2013 and 2017, including nine reproductive families and 16 cubs. Liu noted that the numbers are estimates because traditional tracking methods are fraught with technical limitations.

"It's not like counting tigers in enclosed zoos. We used to analyze footprints and identify different tigers based on their size and stripes. But this procedure is very energy-consuming as we have to compare the myriad pictures one by one," says Liu.

"Some cubs grow faster than others and some pictures we have are not clear enough for us to tell whether it is a new subject. A large part of data we have collected is thus redundant."

AI technology is expected to lend researchers a helping hand in this matter. According to the new agreement, the WWF and Intel will explore a model of sustainable development in wildlife conservation which aims to overcome the limitations of traditional field monitoring, such as the manual collection of data, the long processing and identification process, the inability to obtain important data in a timely manner and the restoration of fuzzy images.

"The protection of tigers is a combination of natural sciences, sociology and economics. We expect AI technology to be used in big data analysis of more fields and offer more references in policy-making and the roles we can play," says Liu.

Alyson Griffin, Intel's vice-president of global marketing, says that the company's technology would be able to enhance the challenging and tedious process of gathering information on the tigers.

"At the front end, the Intel Movidius-based infrared camera will be set up using motion detection to trigger data capture for an always-on system. This will generate a higher volume of more reliable data and reduce the need for collection labor," she explains.

Movidius, a California-based company, is known for its leading vision processing unit. It was acquired by Intel in 2016. Griffin adds that AI algorithm and data analysis at the back end would scan and analyze images from hundreds of cameras, tracing the path of the Amur tigers from multiple dimensions.

"I'm still very excited about the future of technology. Some people are afraid of artificial intelligence for many reasons, like how jobs might be lost. But, when we do a program like this, it's a technology for good," she says.

"The enormous value of AI technology is best demonstrated by its proven ability, through constantly expanding applications, to solving major challenges regarding human development and social progress."

During the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, heads of states and senior government representatives of tiger range countries agreed to the goal of doubling the world's wild tiger population by 2022, the next Year of Tiger according to the Chinese zodiac.

The global population of tigers has been growing since the summit. In 2016, the WWF estimated that there were about 3,890 wild tigers around the world, 21.6 percent more than the number in 2010. There was more good news last year too - as many as 24 Amur tigers were detected by cameras in China, the highest number since the WWF launched its conservation program on the country's tigers in 2006.

As part of its efforts to achieve the global goal, the WWF and the Chinese government have been using innovative approaches to effectively manage and conserve the wild tigers and their habitats.

In August 2017, the Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park, China's second national park after the Sanjiangyuan on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, was established, covering 14,900 square kilometers (71 percent in Jilin and 29 percent in Heilongjiang).

According to Zhang Shanning, deputy director of administration of the national park, rangers patrol the park daily to deter poaching activities. AI technology could play a part in this as it could be used to track suspicious people who enter the national park.

The technology could also help with the restoration of habitats as it allows researchers to determine the corridor through which Amur tigers move. Liu estimates that the national park only has enough habitats to support between 20 and 40 tigers. In contrast, there were 526 Amur tigers, including cubs, across the border in Russia in 2016, according to estimates. Liu says this is because there are more complete and larger habitats in Russia.

Constructing habitats is an important step in the conservation process, says Meng Xianlin, executive director general of China's national management office of the endangered species of wild fauna and flora. He points out that 95 percent of tiger habitats in the world have disappeared over the past century.

"Diminishing habitats for large cat species is a global problem. The tiger crisis indicates that the environment they live in is not ideal enough. It also means there is a crisis in the eco-system," says Meng.

"To protect the tigers, we need to develop their concomitant species as well as offer a complete food chain. We also need to improve the lives of the local people as this would decrease the conflicts between humans and animals."

Intel's AI technology has in recent years been used to track polar bear activity and research how whale blows could reflect the state of the ocean environment.

Griffin states that different AI algorithm would be tailored for each program, and if the project in China works well, it could be slightly modified to suit similar research efforts in other parts of the world.

Contact the writer at wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-04 07:05:33
<![CDATA[Herders on the frontline in protecting snow leopard]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706319.htm

XINING - Herders in the Sanjiangyuan area in northwest China's Qinghai province have always resented the snow leopard which lives in the region, but a new pilot insurance program could mitigate the situation and help with the protection of the animal.

Sanjiangyuan, the source of China's major rivers, is a major habitat for the snow leopard, a Class-A protected animal in the country. Its population in the area is estimated to exceed 1,000.

But while the growing population of the snow leopard gives environmentalists something to cheer about, local yak herders do not share the same sentiment. In 2015, for every household in a village in the area, an average of 4.6 yaks were killed by wild animals including snow leopards. The biggest loss suffered was 23 yaks.

"Conflicts between local people and wildlife are a threat to the long-term protection of wildlife," said Justine Shanti Alexander of the Snow Leopard Trust, a non-governmental organization based in Seattle, United States.

This year, the management committee of the Sanjiangyuan national park partnered with Beijing-based Shanshui natural protection center to launch a pilot insurance project in the area that pays herders up to 1,500 yuan in compensation for each yak killed by wild animals.

Besides providing compensation, the committee and Shanshui also enrolled local herders in a program that educates them on the benefits of protecting snow leopards.

"Herders from 15 households have been selected as guides for visitors. The proceeds will be shared by local households, a community fund and a fund dedicated to protecting the snow leopard," said Tashi Dongdre, secretary of the Ngong Township committee of the Communist Party of China.

"It is great fun to make friends with nature observers worldwide. They are experts who have taught us a lot about wildlife protection," said Yonthar, one of the guides.

"We are trying our best to strike a balance between the ecotourism and environmental protection," said British environmentalist Terry Townshend, an advisor to the program. "We provide nature lovers with opportunities to observe the wildlife and at the same time benefit the local community."

Xinhua

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2018-08-04 07:05:33
<![CDATA[Empowerment that transcends a pancake]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706318.htm Linyi in Shandong is one of those Chinese cities that seems forever destined to play the role of bridesmaid to its provincial city siblings as they bask in fame and importance.

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The inhabitants of a village in Shandong are tasting the fruits of a government drive to raise rural living standards

Linyi in Shandong is one of those Chinese cities that seems forever destined to play the role of bridesmaid to its provincial city siblings as they bask in fame and importance.

About 150 kilometers to Linyi's west is Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius, a further 100 kilometers or so away is the capital, Jinan, and about 300 kilometers to the northeast is Qingdao, renowned for its spectacular coastal setting among other things.

Yet Linyi, a city with more than 11 million inhabitants - making it bigger in population terms than New York or Paris - has made its mark on China and the world in other more subtle ways.

First of all there is that fried pancake called jianbing that is renowned throughout the country. It is made with maize flour, usually topped with eggs, green Chinese onion, crunchy wafer and sesame powder and is a staple breakfast food in northern China, and is said to date back to the Three Kingdoms period (220-280).

Four years ago jianbing was given a starring role in the China Central Television food documentary series A Bite of China, meaning that Chinese were given an insight into where the pancake originated. The location chosen as the backdrop for the story was Chunshugou village in Mengyin county, part of the Yimeng Mountain area and about 90 kilometers north of Linyi.

However, Linyi's repute in China runs much deeper than a pancake topped with egg and other things. During the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) and the War of Liberation (1946-49), the Yimeng Mountain area served as a strategic stronghold and was the location of one of several revolutionary bases in the region.

In 1947 in the Menglianggu campaign during the civil war, an estimated 12,000 PLA soldiers died, and six years earlier, in the Daqingshan campaign, about 1,000 Chinese soldiers died while fighting the Japanese.

The area thus carved out a name for itself as a valiant stalwart of the revolution, but the very geographic characteristics that made it so valuable in conflict conspired against it in times of peace, its lack of infrastructure in particular acting as a brake while other parts of the country surged economically as the era of reform and opening up began to unfold at the end of the 1970s.

After A Bite of China splashed a spotlight on this long overlooked area with revolutionary credentials, Mengyin county authorities decided to seize the opportunity to put Chunshugou at the center of a push to stimulate economic development and thus raise living standards in the area.

As part of those efforts, money was poured into upgrading roads, villagers were encouraged to open farm houses for tourist accommodation in addition to a general push to encourage tourism and the growing of chestnuts and peaches was encouraged.

Last year Chunshugou's 1,180 inhabitants relished the fruits of this effort, with annual per capita income of 12,900 yuan ($1,920) compared with just 6,200 yuan in 2013.

One of the beneficiaries of this economic fortune has been Liu Yingqi, 57, who used to run a restaurant before being drawn into what has been called the agritainment businesses.

Liu's home, surrounded by chestnut trees, has four standard rooms and four single rooms for rent.

The price for a standard room is 228 yuan a night and for a single 180 yuan a night, prices common to all 60 farm hotels in the village.

Local government funding accounts for 40 percent of the investment in this industry, Liu says.

Soon after A Bite of China episode was shown in 2014, Chunshugou's authorities invited a company from Zhejiang province to remodel the whole village, and the uniform pricing for accommodation and catering is a vestige of that planning.

Liu regards running rural farm houses collectively under the government guidance as positive, reducing the possibility of competition and contention among the village's families. The government also ensures that guest rooms, kitchens and toilets are in good order and are hygienic, he says.

Liu is a leader of the local tourism cooperative, and in December 2014 he went on a local-government organized tour of Taiwan to find out about how agritainment businesses are run there. Taiwan serves as a good model because it is a pioneer in developing rural tourism, Liu says.

The village's online presence is very limited, and it relies for customs mainly on word-of-mouth referrals. During the low season, from January to April, villagers switch their commercial attentions to their peaches and chestnuts and to beekeeping and rabbit breeding.

Liu's son and daughter-in-law work in downtown Linyi, an hour's drive from Chunshugou. Thanks to better roads and newfound wealth - almost every household owns a car - parents who were once cut off from their adult children can now have frequent contact.

Rural vitalization is part of the central government's mission to reduce the gap between development in the city and in the countryside, and thanks to the humble jianbing, a well thought-out tourism strategy and better infrastructure the inhabitants of Chunshugou and Linyi have been given the chance to benefit from that drive.

yezizhen@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-04 07:04:56
<![CDATA[Innovation leads to brighter future for Taiwan lantern]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706317.htm TAIPEI - The pastime of flying lanterns goes back centuries in China, where they are symbols of peace and good fortune, but that tradition is now under attack.

Traditional sky lanterns are made of paper and bamboo frames. After rising 300 to 500 meters, the flame suspended at the bottom goes out and the lantern falls.

This makes them "flying garbage" and a "safety threat", say critics who want them abolished.

Taiwan entrepreneur Shao Ai-Ting, 26, however, argues the lanterns can be made so they burn up in the air and no remains fall to the ground.

"The sky lantern is an important cultural attraction of Taiwan," said the woman entrepreneur. "If we just stand by and do nothing, they could really be banned. It would be a great pity, wouldn't it?"

Blessing or blemish

Also known as Kongming lanterns, they are believed to have been invented by renowned military strategist Zhuge Liang during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280) as a means to pass military information in war.

In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), migrants from East China's Fujian province brought them to Taiwan. Some settled in Pingxi, a hillside town in the north of the island. Threatened by bandits, they often fled to the mountains. Those left in the town would use lanterns to signal safety and call their families back. They were also called "safety lanterns" or "blessing lanterns".

Sky lanterns are arguably a symbol of Taiwan. The Taiwan Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo was built in the shape of a huge sky lantern and during holidays, the number of visitors to Pingxi would rise to 100,000.

Pingxi's annual Lantern Festival in the Lunar New Year has been a spectacle with thousands of lanterns rising in the darkness.

The next day, however, is another scene: fallen lanterns scattered on roofs, treetops, in streams and everywhere. They have become garbage.

Most local dealers make lanterns with waterproof paper and adhesive tape or iron wire, but these materials cannot easily degrade in nature. It has been reported the iron frames have hurt or trapped wild animals. In some cases, lanterns caused fires or traffic accidents.

"Don't let the lantern with your dreams become a nightmare for locals," says a petition calling for a ban by Pingxi villagers.

"I really don't encourage releasing sky lanterns. I have seen a falling lantern kill an owl," said Youtube user "Afengxueping".

In the 2014 Lantern Festival, environmentalists criticized the mayors of three Taiwan cities for releasing sky lanterns together. Local authorities were required to re-evaluate the risks and tighten the controls.

"Rather than the lantern itself, it is the garbage the lantern produces that should be banned," said Shao.

Economically friendly

In 2016, Shao founded a company called "Cultural Bank" to record, protect and innovate Taiwan's traditional culture. Since then, her team has begun to make lanterns more environmentally friendly.

They once thought of making them with rice paper, so if they dropped in the mountains, the paper would dissolve in rain.

In February, Shao crowdfunded online for their latest lanterns and raised NT$1.6 million ($52,000) in about three months. They replaced the bamboo frame with a paper structure so the flame burns out the whole lantern in the air, "with nothing falling on the ground," said Shao.

She planned to price an eco-friendly lantern at NT$350 to NT$450, two or three times the price of a common lantern. She had confidence that people would pay more for environment.

However, some locals have cast doubt on her eco-friendly materials as too complex and likely to produce more pollution in the making process.

Lin Guohe, 71, one of the few traditional lantern craftsmen in Pingxi, supported Shao, but proposed that lanterns should be friendly not only to the environment, but to the economy.

Since 2013, the local government has offered cash rewards to people who bring lanterns to a recycling station.

Most lantern collectors are elderly. If the eco-friendly lanterns become popular, they would lose that income, said Lin.

Pingxi people once relied on coal mines, but after they were closed, the lantern business gradually became a pillar of the economy.

"Without lanterns, who will come to this remote mountainous area?" asked one resident.

One Facebook post suggested the lantern rubbish indicated Pingxi has been overrun by visitors.

Shao said the lanterns could save the local economy.

"If they are really banned for polluting the environment, the local economy will definitely be hit hard," she said.

Finding a balance

Many other traditional customs have already given way to environmental concerns.

Mainland cities like Beijing and Shanghai have banned fireworks during the Spring Festival in light of heavy air pollution and injuries. In Taiwan, some firework shows at popular temple blessing ceremonies have also been canceled in recent years.

On the other hand, many people like Shao are trying to keep traditional customs alive through innovation.

Culture Art and Nature (CAN), a Taiwan company, made scraps of firework paper into red envelopes or blessing charms.

Amber Chen, activity manager of CAN, said the idea of recycling firework paper explores new connections between believers and Matsu, the Chinese sea goddess.

"Traditional beliefs and customs should not be prohibited due to environmental concerns. The two are not in contradiction, but could be balanced," said Chen.

Shao is planning a green fund, using part of the revenue to plant trees, which may absorb the carbon emissions caused by burning lanterns.

"Protecting culture is something that everyone can contribute to," she said.

Xinhua

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2018-08-04 07:04:56
<![CDATA[GALLOPING AWAY]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706316.htm Yihuang in Fuzhou, Jiangxi province, is a small agricultural county dominated by mountains. People here raise cattle and dogs, but horses are rarely seen.

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A unique program for 'left-behind' children involving horses is giving them the chance of a brighter future

Yihuang in Fuzhou, Jiangxi province, is a small agricultural county dominated by mountains. People here raise cattle and dogs, but horses are rarely seen.

However, at the county's Sunshine Equestrian School, a group of teenagers are dreaming of becoming knights on the field.

In 2015, the Sunshine Equestrian School was founded with the support of the local government to train children free of charge through school-enterprise cooperation.

The school has more than 90 students, the vast majority of whom are "left-behind children" from rural areas, whose parents are working in the big cities.

These children entered the world of horses by happenstance.

And in order to get familiar with the animals, they first began to bathe them every day and fix their horseshoes, besides cleaning the stables.

And soon, with their coach's instructions, they began to learn and master the various movements needed for equestrian events.

At present, most of the 90 students are admitted to well-known equestrian clubs in Beijing and Shanghai.

"This has given the rural children an alternative.

"I believe that by learning this skill they can change their fate themselves.

"At the same time, they have become more self-disciplined, confident and strong," says Wu Qingde, a teacher at the equestrian school.

Photos by Zhou Mi

Xinhua

Student Bator in a training session.  

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2018-08-04 07:04:18
<![CDATA[On the Wall]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706315.htm When Michael Jackson took the stage at the Motown 25 anniversary show at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in 1983, he gave a baptismal performance of Billie Jean on live television in what would become his trademark look - the sequin-covered black jacket, rhinestone gloves, white socks and black Florsheim loafers. Something seismic shook the pop and dance world ever after.

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A landmark exhibition explores the influence of Michael Jackson on some of the leading names in the contemporary art world

When Michael Jackson took the stage at the Motown 25 anniversary show at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in 1983, he gave a baptismal performance of Billie Jean on live television in what would become his trademark look - the sequin-covered black jacket, rhinestone gloves, white socks and black Florsheim loafers. Something seismic shook the pop and dance world ever after.

Four minutes and five seconds into the song, Jackson "moonwalked" - and the world gasped in awe. The move, in which the dancer slides backward but appears to be walking forwards, marked the biggest musical moment in American pop culture since Elvis Presley graced the stage.

Michael Jackson would have been 60 years old on Aug 29; he died of cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009 at his Los Angeles home following a medication overdose administered by his personal physician. Nonetheless, almost a decade after his death, the King of Pop's legacy shows no signs of diminishing. His record sales, now in excess of one billion, continue to grow, his short films are still watched and his global fan base remains ever loyal.

But there's a little known aspect of the performer's history - Jackson has become the most depicted cultural figure in visual art by an extraordinary array of top artists since Andy Warhol first used his image in 1982. Despite Jackson's significance being so widely acknowledged in matters of music and music videos, dance, choreography and fashion, his singular impact on contemporary art is prodigious, and yet, an untold story.

"It is rare that there is something new to say about someone so famous," says Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, which stages the exhibition Michael Jackson: On the Wall over the summer through Oct 21. "It opens up new avenues for thinking about art and identity, encourages new dialogue between artists, and invites audiences interested in popular culture and music to engage with contemporary art."

On the Wall, produced with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson Estate, brings together the works of more than 40 artists, which are drawn from public and private collections, including new works made especially for the exhibition. And extraordinarily for someone so publicly exposed and examined as Jackson, the majority of the pieces, both old and new, will be little known to their audience.

The tantalizing roster of featured artists includes some of the most important contemporary figures along with emerging talent. They range from Andy Warhol, Isaac Julien, Candice Breitz, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Isa Genzken, Gary Hume, Rashid Johnson and David LaChapelle to Yan Pei-Ming, Kehinde Wiley, Catherine Opie, Rita Ackermann, Hank Willis Thomas and Jordan Wolfson.

Warhol, who had several chance meetings with the singer, wrote of his depiction, Michael Jackson 23, in his diaries. He created the portrait for a Time magazine cover in March 1984, marking the release of Jackson's album Thriller. "I finished the Michael Jackson cover," he writes. "I didn't like it, but the office kids did. Then the Time people came down, about 40 of them, and they stood around saying that it should increase newsstand sales. The cover should have had more blue, but they wanted this style."

Genzken, on the other hand, sees Jackson as a modern-day equivalent of David by Michelangelo. "David is what Michael Jackson always wanted to be like - all these cosmetic operations," she says. "He wanted to be the most beautiful man in the world." Her work is like an homage to Jackson, she explains. "It's the whole package, the whole thing. The way he talks, the way he moves, the way he does things. It's the admiration I have for him. It's the whole that is attractive to me."

On the Wall does not only explore why so many artists have been drawn to Jackson as a subject, but why he continues to loom so large in our collective cultural imagination. The project will also be accompanied by a scholarly publication with essays by Cullinan, Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson and British author Zadie Smith.

As befits a man who toured the world, On the Wall, which finishes its stint in London on Oct 21, will travel to the Grand Palais in Paris (November 2018 to February 2019), the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, Germany (March to July 2019) and the Espoo Museum of Modern Art in Espoo, Finland (August to November 2019). Get ready to leave that nine to five up on the shelf - and just enjoy yourself.

Michael Jackson: On the Wall runs through Oct 21 at the National Portrait Gallery. (npg.org.uk/michaeljackson)

 

1. Michael Jackson (1984) by Andy Warhol, from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, a gift of Time magazine. 2. Wind (Michael/ David) (2009) by Isa Genzken, from the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, New York. Courtesy of Neugerriemschneider, Photo by Jens Ziehe 3. An Illuminating Path (1998) by David LaChapelle. Courtesy of the artist 4. Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II (Michael Jackson) (2010) by Kehinde Wiley, from the Olbricht Collection, Berlin. Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

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2018-08-04 07:03:48
<![CDATA[TAI KWUN GO]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706314.htm The new Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts in Central has finally been unveiled. Encompassing a former police station, prison, magistracy and living quarters, director Timothy Calnin thinks "for most visitors, the big reveal will be how extensive it is"

What does Tai Kwun hope to achieve overall by blending heritage tours, contemporary and performing arts, F&B and retail?

It's an extraordinary combination where our primary focus is on heritage and the arts, as well as giving audiences wonderful experiences, but supported by a great range of commercial businesses including food and beverage styles at a range of price points. The idea is that we want people to come here frequently, which we would regard as a great indicator of whether we've really captured the imagination of the Hong Kong public.

For example, the Parade Ground is this generous space surrounded by a wonderful collection of different architectural styles from the 1850s to the 1920s. It's a beautiful space for people to wander through - something that's really unexpected in the heart of Central. Around it are three very casual and affordable places with outdoor seating: a Chinese tea house, a Hong Kong canteen and a French cafe. However, if you feel like something at the other end of the spectrum, there's Statement, a fine-dining restaurant operated by Aqua Group.

How is Tai Kwun funded?

From the commercial relationships we have with the tenants - a lot of which will be self-funding - and from our Jockey Club programming budget. The long-term goal is to cultivate knowledge and appreciation of arts and history in Hong Kong.

How did you end up choosing the commercial operators?

The tendering process was quite involved because we were trying to make sure every commercial operator had a distinctive reason for being here. Among the retail outlets, for example, there's a family tailor shop called Eunice Tailor, which used to make the ceremonial uniforms for the police. They were looking to find a new space in Central, so they're moving into the Barracks Block. It's a nice way of keeping that connection with when the site was a fully functioning police station.

What other nightlife will there be and how does it fit with the artistic programs?

We have Madame Fu, a restaurant with lounges, bars and private dining, on the top floor of the former Barracks Block, creating quite funky events involving performances or celebrities. Then there's Dining Concepts' Dragonfly, which is a live music club enclosed within the old Superintendent's House. They have an indoor space and a relaxed outdoor space with tables for live music. We hope they will bring a different kind of visitor again.

The late-night scene has so many possibilities. Music artists who may be doing a performance in the auditorium can go and do a late-night gig in one of the restaurants or bars, so there's a sense of an after-party or a late-night event.

In the galleries themselves, as part of our push to give new experiences to audiences, we're bringing Art After Hours on a Friday night - extending beyond the usual 9 or 10 pm - with some informal entertainment like live music or a relevant film screening, or you might be taken around by the curator or artist. I think that'll have a following of its own. It's that whole "night at the museum" concept - a little bit privileged.

Is symbiosis between art and commerce one of the goals?

We ask what each of these individual businesses can bring to the cultural life of the site to provide a deeper level of public activation. So there's a ceramics company that will hold workshops. There will be chefs holding cooking classes. There's a beautiful Taschen bookshop that will open in the Police Headquarters Building with a great wealth of art publications. They'll host talks by authors or artists as part of their program and we'll factor that into ours as well.

An exciting prospect is visitors coming in with the expectation that they're going to see a heritage site and getting distracted. It might be a film screening at the Laundry Steps' casual semi-outdoor cinema; they might drop into the galleries and see something unexpected; or somebody going to dinner might join a tour and hear some of the extraordinary stories told through the heritage interpretation around the site. It's those sorts of things that I think will make it a place that people will come back to, time and again.

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2018-08-04 07:03:48
<![CDATA[GOING STAR CRAZY]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706313.htm For Wang Yuanyuan, being a big fan of Taiwan pop icon Jay Chou not only means going to his concerts and keeping up with his latest news, but also sleepless nights and starvation.

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Impassioned fans of celebrities and pop idols have been cautioned about causing chaos in public spaces

For Wang Yuanyuan, being a big fan of Taiwan pop icon Jay Chou not only means going to his concerts and keeping up with his latest news, but also sleepless nights and starvation.

The 24-year-old can still recall the first time she got close to her idol - four years ago when Chou held a concert in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Wang, along with several other fans, bought the most expensive ticket for the concert and she waited hours in the parking lot, hoping to just get a glimpse of her idol.

"When he finally walked out of the elevator, my heart was beating really fast. There were some other girls running to him, who were stopped by Chou's bodyguard. I saw him waving to us and I cried," recalls Wang, who was born and lives in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

One of the girls told Wang that Chou would leave Nanjing the next morning so they headed to the airport at once.

"To my surprise, a large group of fans were waiting at the airport like us. Because we didn't know the exact flight information, we just waited there," Wang says. "When Chou finally arrived the next morning, fans went wild. I tried to take photos of him but the security guards were very aggressive."

Besides cities nearby her home, Wang took part in some of Chou's fans clubs and traveled to bigger cities, like Beijing and Shanghai to see him.

But she also expressed concern, noting that "there are always chaotic scenes at the airport because the number of fans at the airport could be over a hundred."

Excited fans may want to get close to their favored celebrities, and to show their affection, but some have become a threat to airport security.

According to CCTV's report on July 14, about 20 reported incidents of impassioned fans creating chaos took place at Beijing Capital Airport's Terminal 3 last year. More than 20 fans bought flight tickets in their bid to see their favorite star, blocking the boarding gate, which led to the flight being delayed for about two hours.

In a media conference held by the Civil Aviation Administration of China in June, Guo Rengang, deputy head of the administration's policy, law and regulation department, said that those who unduly disrupt flights will be given a demerit on their social credit record and could face being banned from flying for up to a year.

"Unruly fans causing chaos at the airport disrupts social order and security. Selling and paying for celebrities' flight information also breaks rules on personal privacy," wrote People's Daily on its official Sina Weibo account on July 24.

This May, when Taiwan pop singer Hebe Tian, a member of Taiwan pop group S. H. E, was welcomed by dozens of her devoted fans, at the airport of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, she told fans to be safe and to clear the way. Later, she described her experience at the airport as "Too much" on Sina Weibo.

In a public letter written by fans of Chinese pop singer Cai Xunkun early this May, they say that "out of respect and protection for Cai Xunkun, please don't obtain any information about his private schedules. It will cause trouble for him and disturb social order."

The 19-year-old Cai rose to fame after participating in a reality show, Idol Producer, launched by China's online streaming service, iQiyi, early this year. He won a total of over 47 million votes and made his debut with the pop group, Nine Percent, this April.

Now, Cai has about 12 million followers on his Sina Weibo account and is one of the most popular young pop stars in the country.

"I became a big fan of him after I watched the live performance of the final competition of Idol Producer on April 6. He is so talented and so cute," says Qi Qi, a 20-year-old woman from Beijing, mentioning that fans of Cai are nicknamed "ikun", meaning "love kun".

"Since Nine Percent started touring nationwide, I traveled with them. I only go to the concerts, fans meetings, and other public events. I don't want to disturb his life."

Qi also notes that she has seen other fans following their idols through the airport, which "just look's so crazy."

"Some fans shove their phones in the stars' faces, which is not polite. It also caused some of the fans, and the stars themselves, to be pushed and even injured in the process. Security is necessary to protect both the celebrities and the other people," she adds.

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-04 07:03:27
<![CDATA[ART OF MAKING MUSIC]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706312.htm The then 18-year-old artist Wang Ximeng from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) painted A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, one of the most important pieces in China's fine art history. Centuries later, an 18-year-old singer, Chinese singer-actor Yiyang Qianxi, one of the members of the Chinese boy band TFBoys, pays tribute to him in a song.

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A songwriting contest focuses on paintings at the Palace Museum, Chen Nan reports

The then 18-year-old artist Wang Ximeng from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) painted A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, one of the most important pieces in China's fine art history. Centuries later, an 18-year-old singer, Chinese singer-actor Yiyang Qianxi, one of the members of the Chinese boy band TFBoys, pays tribute to him in a song.

The lyrics of the song, Magnificent Landscape in Painting, are written by Taiwan songwriter Vincent Fang and the music is composed by Beijing-based songwriter Zhang Yadong.

The song, features contemporary melodies and traditional Chinese musical instruments, such as the bamboo flute played by Tu Huabing; the guzheng played by Chang Jing and the pipa by Ma Ling and Li Zongli.

The music video of the song was released online on July 25, and it was viewed more than 10 million times within three hours.

Reflecting on the song, Yiyang says on his Sina Weibo account: "I want to share this painting through music with today's young people."

Meanwhile, the release of the song also marks the start of a songwriting competition jointly launched by Tencent Music Entertainment Group's online streaming platform QQ Music and the Palace Museum.

The contest, Ancient Painting Can Sing, is open to songwriters between 17 to 35, and they have to write songs based on 10 ancient paintings at the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City.

The paintings that the songwriters have to focus on include A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains; Night Revels of Han Xizai by Gu Hongzhong, a painter of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960) and Nymph of the Luo River by Gu Kaizhi, a painter of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420).

The songwriters must submit their works online by Sept 1, and 10 winners will be picked through online voting.

The winners will have to perform the songs along with pop singers, including Huo Zun, Hu Yanbin and Yuan Yawei, at a concert held at the Palace Museum this October.

Speaking about the contest, veteran songwriter Zhang says: "Music is abstract, but with those ancient paintings, they resonate with each other and produce visual 'chords' that have influence on listeners.

"It (the song) is also a contemporary way to pay tribute to the paintings."

According to Dennis Hau, group vice-president of Tencent Music Entertainment Group, this collaboration between QQ Music, which has about 800 million registered users, and the Palace Museum, aims at promoting originality and creativity among young Chinese musicians as well as drawing young audiences to traditional Chinese art forms.

"The 10 paintings were done in a time span stretching from the Eastern Jin Dynasty to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and represent China's fine art history," says Hau, adding that blurring the line between music and the other arts has become a part of popular culture.

Shan Jixiang, the director of the Palace Museum, says: "The crossover between traditional Chinese art, music and technology, is what appeals to young audiences."

And the competition is part of a "creative experiment", which was launched by the Palace Museum and the Chinese internet giant Tencent last December.

The two sides began working together in 2016 when Tencent launched a project called "Next Idea" for young designers to develop games, emojis and other cultural products inspired by the Palace Museum.

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2018-08-04 07:03:27
<![CDATA[History, health, hot springs]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706294.htm Angsana Xi'an Lintong resort mirrors city's ancient glories, modern allure, Wang Jinhui reports from Xi'an.

The enchantment of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, lies in the collision and fusion of its historical and modern characteristics.

From its grand city walls, pseudo-classical architecture and cultural relics to the high-tech economic development zones, booming Qujiang New District and entrepreneurship incubator centers for startups, Xi'an has become a unique soul that combines its past glory with modern-day advancement.

 

From top left: A guest room at Angsana Xi'an Lintong is decorated with diverse traditional cultural elements. A performer dressed in a Tang-style costume plays a traditional Chinese musical instrument at the hotel. A desert served at the hotel in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. Hot springs are among the hotel's features. Photos Provided to China Daily

A capital of 13 dynasties including China's first feudal empire the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and the prosperous Han (202 BC - 220 AD) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, Xi'an has long been beloved by travelers, traders and treasure hunters for its history and enduring cultural diversity dating back thousands of years.

It serves as a gateway to the ancient Silk Road where merchants once unloaded and traded goods before heading west to Central Asia and countries in the Mediterranean region.

As a birthplace of human civilization, the city includes the 6,000-year-old Banpo Ruins which reveal a matriarchal clan society in the Neolithic age in the middle reaches of the Yellow River.

Some 20 kilometers northeast of the Banpo Ruins stands today's Tang-style Angsana Xi'an Lintong resort, where the city's lasting history, cultural heritage and modern touches mingle in a unique way.

At the foot of Lishan Mountain in Lintong district, the 15.65-hectare resort is built with ancient architectural structures and styles, gardens, pavilions, bamboo forests, stone sculptures, lotus ponds and natural hot springs.

It is next to the excavated three-century-long Terracotta Warriors and Horses and the Huaqing Palace constructed by the Tang emperor Li Longji for his favorite concubine Yang Yuhuan.

As the first hotel in northwest China under the Singapore-based Banyan Tree brand, Angsana Xi'an Lintong resembles the layout and design of a royal palace of the great Tang Dynasty.

The historical temperament of the resort makes guests feel as though they are traveling through time with diverse, traditional cultural elements including ancient Chinese musical instruments such as lute, liuqin, and zhongruan in every guest room, black braziers carved with mythical animals outside the lobby and freehand brushwork paintings on the walls.

The colored-glazed eave tiles at the main hall tell a story of the country's four ancient beasts - the azure dragon, vermilion bird, white tiger and black tortoise - coming to man's world to bring about happiness, good luck and health.

The Dunhuang frescoes in the main restaurants are reminiscent of the scenes along the ancient Silk Road, such as the Huoyan Mountain in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the incessant stream of horses and carriages, and the flourishing bazaars of old times.

Wang Zhanghua, general manger of Angsana Xi'an Lintong, said that in addition to the historical and cultural facets, the resort's uniqueness also depends on its hot springs.

"We are the only five-star luxury hotel to have natural hot springs in Northwest China," he said.

Situated near the northern slope of Lishan Mountain, once an active volcano and the wellhead for hot springs starting from the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), the resort has a total of 29 outdoor vitriol hot-spring pools including a family pool and five Chinese herbal baths.

Due to the fault rocks and igneous landform of Lishan Mountain, the hot springs in the area were formed by the magma movement of the lithosphere when the waterbearing stratums met with the heat from the uncooled magma. Its temperature stays at about 43 C for the whole year.

Wang said that the resort's hot springs pools are designed by Hiroshi Ebisawa, a renowned Japanese stylist who integrates the traditional concept of the "nourishing of life" into the ancient architectural style of the Tang Dynasty.

The hot springs cover some 9,400 square meters in the resort.

Angsana Xi'an Lintong also has 24 spa rooms that offer guests various techniques, such as traditional Thai massage, European treatment and Asian style. It chooses endemic plants including pomegranate to provide essences for hydrotherapy.

Contact the writer at wangjinhui@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-04 07:02:19
<![CDATA[New Marriott to join attractions at northern Beijing leisure park]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/04/content_36706293.htm

Beijing Marriott Hotel Changping, scheduled to open this month, will comprise part of a new landmark leisure facility - Fun Capital Complex - in the north of the city.

The complex, also containing a shopping outlet center and a theme park, is a center for business, culture, tourism, education and technology. It provides an ideal leisure venue serving Beijing residents and visitors from other regions.

Fun Capital Complex fills what had been a gap in the market in the Beijing suburbs, which lacked large-scale tourist and cultural projects, and an upgrade of the capital's overall leisure tourism industry, officials said at the opening ceremony of the complex last Saturday.

"Marriott hotels are devoted to creating innovative travel experiences for guests through transformation and upgrade efforts," said Mike Fulkerson, vice-president of brand and marketing for Marriott's Asia-Pacific region.

Fan Wei, director of marketing at Beijing Marriott Hotel Changping, said: "Compared with other Marriott hotels, this one can meet the different demands of both businesspeople and leisure travelers."

As an important part of the mix-use Fun Capital Complex, the 34th Marriott property in China aims to attract family tourists traveling around Beijing suburbs, because of its unique geographical advantages.

The hotel is close to natural and cultural attractions, including the Juyongguan and Badaling sections of the Great Wall and the royal tombs built for 13 emperors and their families during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The hotel will offer 424 rooms and six stand-alone executive villas. There are also specially designed family suites for travelers with childlike decorations, bedding and cartoon-themed tents to provide younger guests with a unique and memorable stay.

The overall design of the hotel integrates the natural tourism resources of Changping district, making guests feel as though they're surrounded by mountains and forests, Fan added.

The new hotel will also be the only Marriott in Beijing equipped with hot spring facilities, with both indoor and outdoor springs covering more than 6,500 square meters.

There will be private pavilions and 13 different themed pools, creating a one-stop integrated destination offering accommodation, entertainment, shopping and leisure for customers.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 08/04/2018 page7)

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2018-08-04 07:02:19
<![CDATA[Charting China's changes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/03/content_36701543.htm When asked why he was moving to China nearly two decades ago, Hugh Peyman said it was because "it was the greatest show on Earth".

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Following the nation's story from the ancient text of I Ching right up to Xi Jinping's new era, Hugh Peyman's new book plots the country's rapid rise, Andrew Moody reports.

When asked why he was moving to China nearly two decades ago, Hugh Peyman said it was because "it was the greatest show on Earth".

The author and consultant says the phrase used to promote the 19th-century Barnum & Bailey Circus in the United States just sprang to mind when he was planning to relocate his investment-research business from Singapore to Shanghai in 2002.

"I couldn't tell them it was because my son was 18 and we could now leave Singapore, which would have sounded rather pathetic," he says.

Having been based in China ever since and witnessing something of the country's economic miracle, Peyman realizes now that his response at the time has proved prophetic.

And he has now written a book, China's Change: The Greatest Show on Earth, which examines why what is now the world's second-largest economy has been so successful over such a relatively short period of time.

"I flew especially to see a friend's literary agent in New York with an outline of the book, and he said some of the subheads were really good. I asked him which ones, and he replied: 'The Greatest Show on Earth. I really like that'," he says, laughing.

The book, which took three years to write and has just been published by the Singapore-based World Scientific Publishing, is far removed from any ordinary business book about China.

It follows China's story right up until the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last October and the launch of Chinese President Xi Jinping's new era. It also encompasses Chinese philosophy, including the almost 4,000-year-old concept of weixin, or constant renewal, as well as many personal anecdotes.

"The idea for the book actually started with a friend of mine asking me five years ago why China was able to do all this. There is a view that it just gets things done, that the political system is decisive unlike, say, that of the United Kingdom, currently. I take the view, however, that it is much more complicated than that," he says.

Peyman, a tall bear of a man in his late 60s, believes China's ability to manage change is one of its "X-factors" and he draws from the ideas of the 2,000-year-old text I Ching (Book of Changes).

"China has fallen and emerged again at least three times in its history, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and then the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is only really since 1820 that China hasn't been the leading economy in the world," he says.

Arguably China's biggest revival has been since Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening-up, the 40th anniversary of which is being marked this year.

Peyman says China had reached a point after the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), where it had to change.

He points out that, according to the British economic historian Angus Maddison, China had plunged from being the world's biggest economy in 1800 to become 64th out of the 65 countries then measured by 1913. By 1975, it was ranked as the 65th.

"It got to the point where the whole economic system was completely bankrupt and that was the major turning point. This was essentially the leadership's view at the time," he says.

Peyman says the real turning point for China came in 1992 after Deng's now-famous southern tour when he visited cities such as Shenzhen, which were to play a major role in China's manufacturing revival.

"It was the first time there was an understanding that the economy needed a functioning banking system. The economy was becoming too complex for the system of allocation then to function properly."

It is one thing to recognize the problem before putting in place the policies to solve them.

Peyman says he drew on his experience in business to understand how China has actually managed to do this.

"I am essentially a consultant, so I have to have my 20 ideas. So I came up with the 20 approaches that China has taken to deal with its problems," he says, laughing.

These 20 ideas include pragmatism (summed up by Deng's phrase: "It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice"), long-term thinking, a 360-degree view (thought should not be stuck in silos), harmony, education, pilot schemes and sequencing.

According to Peyman, sequencing was particularly important to the development of the Chinese banking system from the 1990s onward.

"I think that the Western approach would have been more adversarial, with people on different sides of the argument as to what to do," he says.

"In China it was more a matter of deciding on the best policy and then working out how to make it work through essentially sequencing what needed to be done."

Peyman says that it would be wrong to think that China, which has set major goals right up to 2049 when the People's Republic marks its 100th anniversary, had a monopoly on long-term thinking, as many in the West assume.

"There are many examples of long-term thinking in both the US and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Abraham Lincoln's move to abolish slavery had no short-term advantage. The British electorate threw Winston Churchill out of office after winning World War II because they didn't want a return to the unemployment of the 1920s and 1930s. Helmut Kohl pressed ahead with German unification in the 1990s, despite many people being against it."

Peyman, who was partly brought up in rural Herefordshire in the UK, read philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford, after which he spent time in Africa.

This led to him writing a book, The Great Uhuru Railway: China's Showpiece in Africa, with Richard Hall on the China-built Tanzam Railway from Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which opened in 1975.

"I met Dick Hall in early 1974. I did all the travel and he did all hard bashing, dealing with the politics, which supplied the most interesting part of the book," he says.

He started working as a journalist with Reuters in London before moving to Hong Kong, which has led him to spend more than 40 years in Asia.

Peyman eventually moved into investment research, working in senior positions for both Merrill Lynch and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson before founding his own research company, Research Works, in 1999, which he moved to China three years later.

Peyman says a lot of research now is based on algorithms and done through computers.

"There is less human input but you still need that. When you are in an 'up' cycle, for instance, you really need to know when to get off the roller coaster. And it is those calls people want to hear."

So what does he think is next for China? As China has had an almost unprecedented period of sustained growth since the reform and openingup, Peyman does not expect any major reversal.

"In terms of urbanization, China still only has between 24 and 25 square meters per person, which is less than that of the average of between 31 and 35 square meters per person in Northeast Asia, so there is still room to grow," he says.

He says the argument of his book - influenced as it is by the ancient text of the Book of Changes - is that China will be able to respond to what is thrown at it.

"Managing life is accepting the fact that nothing stays quite the same," he says.

Contact the writer at andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

 

British author and consultant Hugh Peyman's book, China's Change: The Greatest Show on Earth, examines the country's economic miracle. Zou Hong / China Daily

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2018-08-03 07:12:11
<![CDATA[New work on Tang poet set to hit stands]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/03/content_36701542.htm NEW YORK - Chloe Garcia Roberts, managing editor at Harvard Review, has completed her translation of the works of Chinese poet Li Shangyin (813-58) and the book will debut this month.

This is the second time she has translated Li's works.

Her previous book of the poet, Derangements of My Contemporaries: Miscellaneous Notes, was marketed in June 2014 as part of New Directions Poetry Pamphlet Series and awarded a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. It takes dual perspectives to translate Li's works: representing his Chinese metaphors and embodying the visual effects and sensuality of his original writing in English, the major Chinese daily newspaper, The China Press, quoted her as saying.

Li was a poet in the late Tang Dynasty (618-907), excelling in political satire and odes to love. The obscure meanings paralleled with effusive emotional depiction imbued in his works intrigued Roberts to find the truth, igniting her desire and sustaining her efforts to complete the two books in a span of half a decade.

In the fall of 2017, between the publication of these two books, her translation of Chinese writer Cao Wenxuan's children's book, Feather, was printed by Archipelago Books. She is also the author of the book of poetry, The Reveal (Noemi Press, 2015), which was published as part of the Akrilika Series for innovative Latino writing.

Chloe received her Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of Oregon where she was awarded a FLAS fellowship from the US Department of Education. She lives in Boston and is a contributing editor for The Critical Flame besides serving Harvard Review.

Xinhua

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2018-08-03 07:12:11
<![CDATA[Shanghai book fair spreads the word across the city]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/03/content_36701541.htm The 15th Shanghai Book Fair will take place from Aug 15 to 21 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, as well as 100 other venues all over the city.

"In the past few years, we have witnessed the rapid increase in the number of lectures, book signings and other reading events taking place at the Shanghai Book Fair," Xu Jiong, director of the municipal administration of press and publications, told a news conference on July 25. He found that "a lot of people go to the book fair not only for the books on display but also for these reading events".

The Shanghai Exhibition Center consists of a cluster of historical buildings in the former-Soviet style. "The vintage grandeur of the architecture has provided an ideal environment for the Shanghai Book Fair - the annual festival has become one of the largest celebrations of reading and publications in the country," he says.

However, the venue space - at around 23,000 square meters - is limited. "Authors will be coming from all over the country, even other parts of the world, and we wish to provide as many opportunities as possible for them to meet with readers in Shanghai," he says.

The 100 "branch venues" of the book fair will consist of libraries, lecture halls and community centers, as well as 78 brick-and-mortar bookshops all over the city.

Brick-and-mortar bookstores in Shanghai are recovering from a low period, Xu says. Dozens of stores, each with its own distinctive aesthetic and specialty, have blossomed in Shanghai, even in such suburban areas as Zhangjiang and Lingang.

"Most of these stores have special spaces reserved for book signings and reading events," he says.

"It is our mission to make sure authors and resources are allocated to different parts of the city and offer the widest possible access to the reading public."

More than 30 overseas writers will be in Shanghai to participate in the International Literary Week, a festival that has been a regular part of the book fair since 2011. This year, authors will share their understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative at about 40 lectures, dialogues and other events, under the theme of "Why We Travel".

Additionally, more than 500 new titles will be launched during the Shanghai Book Fair this year, according to Peng Weiguo, deputy director of the municipal administration of press and publication. Among them are heavyweight academic publications of national impact, as well as new novels from celebrated authors.

This year, for the first time, a Chinese-studies pavilion will be set up at the book fair, Peng says. Classical Chinese books from more than 50 specialized publishing houses will be showcased at the pavilion. And a scholar will give a lecture on Chinese studies there every day during the book fair.

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

 

People visit a previous Shanghai Book Fair. The annual event has become one of the largest celebrations of reading and publications in the country. Gao Erqiang / China Daily

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2018-08-03 07:12:11
<![CDATA[Chinese cinema gets Japanese flavor]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/02/content_36694020.htm Increased cinematic exchanges between China and Japan will be bolstered by the release of the coproduced animated film, Flavors of Youth, this month, Xu Fan reports.

With China and Japan signing a treaty on film coproduction earlier this year, the two countries - now the world's second-and third-largest movie markets, respectively - have seen a rise in cinematic exchanges.

From January to August, eight Japanese films - including the Palme d'Or-winning Shoplifters, set to open on Aug 3 - have been imported to the Chinese mainland, equaling the total of 2016 and 2017 during the same periods, according to the China Film Distribution and Screening Association.

 

Shoplifters' actor Masaya Nakagawa, who's better known by his stage name, Lily Franky, alongside 6-year-old actress Miyu Sasaki appear at the film's premiere in Beijing on July 31. Photos Provided to China Daily

A bittersweet story about a family of petty crooks, Shoplifters won Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda the top honor at this year's 71st Cannes Film Festival, making it one of the most-anticipated arthouse films for Chinese fans.

The movie also marks the second Kore-eda work to be released in China this year, following his court-themed drama, The Third Murder, which has been screened by China's Nationwide Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas since March 30. Founded in 2016, the alliance consisting of more than 400 theaters specializes in screening art films.

A source close to Road Pictures, the Beijing-based distributor of Shoplifters, tells China Daily that the company acquired the movie's screening rights for at least 50 percent more than the price they offered before Cannes unveiled it was the big winner.

The source also says the company will be interested in buying more Japanese films if the stories are high quality.

Usually, Chinese distributors import theatrically released foreign films in one of two ways.

One is a box-office revenue-sharing system, which is limited by an annual quota of 34 films and gives the foreign producers 25 percent of its total earnings in China. Such films are mostly Hollywood blockbusters that are released simultaneously or around the same time in both China and North America, and often the stars fly in to promote their movie in China.

The second way is through one-off purchases without sharing profits. These are mainly imports of comparatively low-budget, independent films that have run outside China for several months - or possibly even years. Directors and actors usually won't come to China to promote them as their contracts for the films' marketing have expired.

Although Shoplifters has been brought to the mainland through the latter channel, the movie's leading actor, Masaya Nakagawa - who's better known by his stage name, Lily Franky - appeared alongside 6-year-old actress Miyu Sasaki at the Beijing premiere on July 31, signifying an effort to raise recognition of the film during the competitive summer season.

During the event, Franky says Japan's film industry is less than 10 percent of China's, and he hopes Shoplifters will share a minor slice of China's huge market.

Aside from importing acclaimed Japanese movies, industry insiders are also seeing more cooperation between the two countries.

Following Shota Sometani, Hiroshi Abe and Masaharu Fukuyama, pop idol Yamashita Tomohisa has become the latest Japanese star to join the cast of a Chinese film. Co-starring singer-actor Han Geng, Chinese-British actor Rhydian Vaughan and actress Li Yuan, the crime thriller Reborn will hit domestic theaters on Aug 4.

The story is about a trio facing off against an international criminal gang, headed by the film's villain, played by Tomohisa.

The Japan-China Cultural Industry Exchange Association, the first of its kind to create a bridge between filmmakers from the two nations, was launched in Tokyo on March 16.

Zhang Jin, founder of the Beijing-based film company, Joy Pictures, and head of the association's Chinese arm, says the association has so far signed up more than 10 members, including Alibaba Pictures, Wanda Pictures and China Film Archive.

Zhang says he began to seek cooperation with Japanese counterparts in 2016 but found the neighboring country's film industry was a little conservative toward foreign newcomers.

The association established an office in Tokyo and rented a cinema in the Japanese metropolis to exclusively screen Chinese-language movies, hoping to raise Japanese filmmakers' interest in Chinese movies.

"Over the past few years, Chinese filmmakers have produced some remakes of Japanese hits or have made movies adapted from popular Japanese novels, such as Chen Kaige's Legend of the Demon Cat," says Zhang, noting that few Japanese films seek to adapt Chinese stories.

Flavors of Youth, a Sino-Japanese coproduction, is an animated anthology of three short stories and is the association's first film to change the current dynamic.

Respectively set in three Chinese cities, director Li Haoling's fable recounts an enduring romance in Shanghai, while Yi Xiaoxing's segment revolves around a Beijing immigrant's yearning for his grandmother in his remote hometown. The third tale, told by Japanese animator Yoshitaka Takeuchi - one of the major creators behind the Japanese hit animated feature, Your Name - is about two sisters in Guangzhou.

Flavors of Youth will open simultaneously in China and Japan on Aug 4.

Adachi Masashi, deputy director of the association, says Your Name once boosted tourism as a lot of fans traveled to the picturesque settings featured in the film. He hopes Flavors of Youth will also raise Japanese audiences' interest in touring the Chinese cities depicted in the movie.

He also says the Japanese film industry, which earned less than 230 billion Japanese yen ($2.06 billion) in 2017, has been lackluster for a long time.

He says he hopes China's booming film industry will team up more filmmakers from the two countries, creating opportunities for top Japanese talent to have access to bigger budgets and a larger market to produce more international works.

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-02 07:38:15
<![CDATA[Answering a higher call]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/02/content_36694019.htm Health professionals working in remote Gansu province have found that altitude and lack of health awareness are factors that aggravate congenital heart disease, Fang Aiqing reports.

Medical experts taking part in a volunteer program in remote Northwest China are working with the local government and doctors to treat patients with congenital heart problems, an illness that continues to afflict many children and their families in the region.

A pair of twins under 2 years old were brought to the clinic of one local hospital.

One of the girls was plump and eagerly explored the room with her big eyes. The other child, however, was much thinner. Her lips and skin were visibly empurpled, and she stared into the distance with dazed eyes.

The latter was diagnosed with a complex congenital cardiac abnormality, for which the chances for corrective surgery seemed slim.

While a heart transplant remained a possibility, the procedure for a child was deemed so risky by doctors that it appeared to be "clutching at straws", says Chen Hao, a volunteer doctor.

Chen found it difficult to predict how long the sick infant would live. Even a common cold could deprive her of life.

"Assuming there were no other physical problems and with the correct daily medical care, the infant could live for up to a dozen years," says Chen, who was visiting the county hospital in Zhugqu, Gannan Tibet autonomous prefecture, Northwest China's Gansu province.

As the director of the cardiovascular surgery department at Chongqing General Hospital, one of the top-tier hospitals in Chongqing, he was one of more than 100 doctors from all over China taking part in the "China-hearts" volunteer medical program in the rural county from July 9 to 11.

According to the organizers, the program was initiated in 2008 following the Wenchuan earthquake by a group of high-end medical experts in Beijing. Since 2010, the program has been under the guidance of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee. And it has been organizing short-term volunteer health services for the past 10 years, mainly in the Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Gansu, Yunnan and Qinghai provinces, as well as in the Tibet autonomous region.

During the two-and-a-half day program, Chen and three other volunteer doctors saw around 50 children with congenital heart problems at the county hospital, says Li Wenjuan, a local health department official.

Two of the sick children were deemed in urgent need of surgery. Eight were identified as requiring surgical treatment as soon as possible, in order to make the best recovery. Some of the other patients had already gone through surgery and were having a follow-up consultation.

Another three young patients with congenital heart problems were diagnosed at Zhongzang Hospital in Lianghekou township of Zhugqu county, according to Yu Cuirong and Ma Shurong, two other volunteer doctors participating in the program.

The condition of one of the patients had progressed beyond the point where surgery could offer a cure.

Health awareness

Zhugqu county in Gannan Tibet autonomous prefecture is located in southern Gansu province, about eight hours' drive from Lanzhou, the provincial capital.

Lying amid lofty mountains and with the Bailong River winding through, the county seat is frequently shrouded in mist. The rural county is familiar to the majority of the Chinese population after deadly landslides claimed more than 1,700 lives there in 2010.

It's still hard to identify whether the incidence rate of congenital heart problems in Zhugqu is higher than in other areas of China, Li says.

Chen Guocai, a volunteer doctor at the county hospital, believes the general trend is that the incidence rate is higher in western China than in central and eastern China, and that it is more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas.

However, as a doctor with around 10 years' experience of working in volunteer medical missions in rural areas around China, Chen Hao admits that the situation in Zhugqu is more pronounced.

Congenital heart problems, contrary to the common view held by many locals, are not necessarily hereditary.

The high altitude in Zhugqu, ranging from around 1,000 meters to more than 4,500 meters, may partly account for the phenomena. A lack of oxygen in the air may contribute to a higher risk of fetuses suffering from a lack of oxygen in the womb and the arrested development of their cardiovascular systems, according to Chen Guocai.

In Chen Hao's view, pregnant women in rural areas like Zhugqu may not be able to gain adequate levels of nutrition as they are also not aware of how to properly take care of themselves during pregnancy.

For example, catching a cold during the first three months of pregnancy significantly raises the risk of infants developing congenital heart disease.

There also are hundreds of specific types of congenital heart problems. A few can spontaneously heal themselves, while the majority of them can be treated with major surgery.

For some certain complex cases where no effective radical cure is possible, palliative operations are able to relieve the pain, prolong life and greatly improve the patients' quality of life.

To this end, the country's civil affairs department has been supportive in treating congenital heart problems. In Gansu province, a considerable part of the costs are being covered by the serious illness insurance plans offered under the province's social insurance system.

As for impoverished patients, the local civil affairs department is offering its support to ensure patients pay no more than 3,000 yuan ($440) each year for the treatment of serious illnesses.

The department will cover the extra medical costs beyond 3,000 yuan after the reimbursement of serious illness insurance and other commercial insurance policies.

However, as local hospitals in Zhugqu have neither the doctors to perform the surgery required for serious heart problems, nor the necessary operative facilities, patients have to leave the area to receive surgery, incurring extra costs for transportation, accommodation and food.

And as more patients and their families attend top hospitals in cities like Beijing for the treatment of complex cases, the amount of money that can be covered by insurance drops considerably and the procedure of reimbursement becomes more complicated.

According to Li Xiaojuan, director of the local health department, 12.3 percent of the county's poor population have some form of serious illness, while 19 percent suffer from a disability.

Postoperative care also has the potential to bring down a family's living standards.

Li Wenjuan says the local health system has been actively publicizing basic information about congenital heart problems via the local media and social network platforms like WeChat and QQ.

Some family physicians and government officials also visit patients' homes to suggest possible solutions to their conditions face-to-face.

In general, as patients in families with children become increasingly aware of congenital heart problems, more of them are actively seeking treatment - which in turn is leading to an improvement in the situation.

And this trend is likely to continue as access to free consultations and treatment grows from a variety of sectors such as hospitals, related health enterprises and philanthropic organizations.

According to Zhao Tao, secretary-general of the organizing committee of "Chinahearts", they have sponsored more than 1,300 children patients with congenital heart problems to receive surgical treatment during the past decade and around 100 more will be funded this year.

Contact the writer at fangaiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-02 07:38:15
<![CDATA[Volunteer doctors offer advice on how to boost medical services]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/02/content_36694018.htm A shortage of medical professionals is one of the key problems that is holding back the development of healthcare in Zhugqu county, Gannan Tibet autonomous prefecture, in Northwest China's Gansu province.

And possible solutions came from experts from around China who took part in a volunteer medical program from July 9 to 11.

More than 100 doctors were recently there as part of the "China-hearts" program, which has been organizing them for 10 years, especially in the Tibetan areas of the Sichuan, Gansu, Yunnan and Qinghai provinces, as well as in the Tibet autonomous region.

And, this year, a total of more than 1,000 doctors and volunteers from more than 200 medical institutions around China visited eight counties of the Gannan Tibet autonomous prefecture in southern Gansu to provide free medical services and Zhugqu was one of the bases.

According to Feng Lei, the Party secretary of the county hospital, the main one in Zhugqu, there are no more than 20 college graduates among its 200 or more regular employees. And 55 percent of the key personnel are over 45 years old. The hospital also has a dire need for more pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists.

Zhugqu county, located in a mountainous region, has poor transport links. So, moving patients to hospitals in larger cities is not possible. Reaching out to patients living in rural areas can be time-consuming.

Duan Zhongping, the vice-president of the Beijing You'an Hospital, suggests local hospitals should make use of the internet and build up remote consultation mechanisms.

Wang Shusheng, a urologist from the Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, wants local doctors to update their professional knowledge, as well as use WeChat, a popular Chinese social media platform, to reach other medical professionals.

To show how communication helps, Li Xiuhui from the Beijing You'an Hospital, who specializes in treating liver diseases with Chinese and Western medicines, shares how she dealt with a difficult case which she encountered in the course of her volunteer work.

She says she posted the case details on a WeChat group of medical professionals from Beijing, and received replies from three professionals within minutes, telling her how to deal with the situation and prevent it from getting worse.

Li says that hypertension and biliary calculus are common in the county, based on her observations.

And, in her opinion, another problem is that grassroots hospitals are especially short of general practitioners, a view shared by Chen Hao, the director of cardiovascular surgery at Chongqing General Hospital.

So, Li and Gao Zhaowang from the Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of TCM, think that TCM can help combat the shortage because TCM focuses more on integrated inner pathogenesis rather than specific outward symptoms.

Separately, Liu Ping, a veteran TCM doctor from Shanghai Shuguang hospital, believes that the rich resources of Chinese medicinal herbs in Gansu province can also provide a solution.

Liu Sandu, the vice-president of the People's Hospital of Qiannan (Bouyei and Miao autonomous prefecture) in Southwest China's Guizhou province, focuses on the training of local talent, especially graduates from vocational colleges, as a priority.

"The training of vocational school graduates will encourage them," says Liu, adding that improving the capability of nurses is also important.

As for the current state of medical facilities in the area, much has changed since landslides in Zhugqu claimed more than 1,700 lives in 2010.

Now, a lot of advanced facilities are in place thanks to outside help, but the lack of well trained personnel is an obstacle, says Liu Ping.

So, according to Lai Ruixiang, the deputy director of the county, Zhugqu has opened its doors to medical personnel, even with a polytechnic background, and is endeavoring to improve the incomes of these professionals.

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2018-08-02 07:38:15
<![CDATA[Palatial groundings]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/01/content_36685764.htm Beijing's Palace Museum's summer-intern program is proving a draw for students from southern China, who have an interest in cultural conservations, Wang Kaihao reports.

Not every college intern has the good fortune to bypass a mundane clerical job to make a former imperial palace their "office". But for 24-year-old Kong Ka-ian from Macao, the prospect of spending the summer in Beijing's Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, was certainly enviable.

Barely visible to passing tourists, an enclosed courtyard deep in the palace is where she gets to spend her time cleaning nearly 250-year-old paintings on the beams of a pavilion.

"I am able to experience every step of the process," Kong says with excitement. "It is like a dream come true."

Built in 1772, the Xiefang Ting ("pavilion taking blossom") in the garden of the Palace of Tranquility and Longevity was Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperor Qianlong's personal retreat after his retirement.

The garden is also one of the most private places in the Palace Museum complex and has never been open to the public. Renovation work will continue until 2020, when the garden will open to visitors to mark the 600th anniversary of the Forbidden City.

The chirping of cicadas, scorching heat and swarms of mosquitoes may be an annoyance, but it's easy to ignore the uncomfortable conditions in the courtyard and instead feel joy.

Kong first visited the Palace Museum as a tourist two years ago. And as a graduate student at the University of Melbourne majoring in the conservation of cultural materials, Kong had long been looking forward to her return.

"It has been a well-kept secret for some time as to what kind of materials were used in the renovation of the Forbidden City, and it has always remained something of a mystery to me," she says. "So, it's great to finally see them unveiled now."

The foundations of the columns in the Xiefang Ting were rotten and had to be repaired. However, experts in ancient architecture worried that the paintings adorning the beams would simply crumble if the columns were moved.

Consequently, the paintings had to be consolidated first.

"I really admire the detailed division of labor and the in-depth planning that takes place before any restoration work begins," Kong says. "People cooperate very closely."

Kong is one of three students staying with the ancient architecture department this summer as part of their internship program.

The ongoing six-week program includes 48 college students from Hong Kong and Macao, as well as Guangdong province - 16 from each place - and runs until Aug 25.

"It's worthwhile to be able to communicate with students from different places and nurture a diverse range of ideas," Kong says. She had previously taken an internship on architecture renovation at the ruins of St Paul's in Macao, another UNESCO World Heritage site.

"We can see the similarities and differences by comparing the materials they used," she explains.

"In Macao, they used pig's blood, sticky rice and even grass in the original construction. I found these materials were also used in the Forbidden City."

For Lam Hoi-ting, an undergraduate from Hong Kong who is another intern in Kong's group, the internship offers much wider horizons for studying the original patina of ancient buildings.

"The Forbidden City is even more splendid than it appeared on TV," she says, smiling.

And, since it covers an area of 720,000 square meters, the Palace Museum is also the world's largest palatial-construction complex.

"We don't have many ancient buildings to study in Hong Kong," says Lam, an architecture major at the City University of Hong Kong.

"This experience at the Forbidden City tells me that learning architecture involves a lot more than drafting plans and viewing examples on a computer. Field research is so important."

Hundreds of students from Hong Kong and Macao applied for the internship. Those awarded the opportunity stood out for their excellent resumes and performance during their interviews.

Each intern had to select their five preferred positions just as if they were applying to university. Their academic backgrounds were a crucial reference point in the process of assigning positions.

Luckily, the ancient architecture department was the first choice for both Kong and Lam.

"We will take the interns to investigate the architecture of different palaces and go through the whole process of conservation," says Chen Hong, their tutor.

"For each restoration, we have to look for references in historical files and leave new logs for future generations to refer to.

"I want them to get a full picture of the methods and ideas behind our country's cultural-heritage conservation," Chen says.

"It's brilliant to see they have such a keen interest."

Educating more people

Nevertheless, the process of learning about cultural conservation still has to be man-aged in a structured way - not everyone can be permitted access to cultural relics every day.

As the world's most visited museum annually, the Palace Museum received about 16.7 million visitors in 2017. So, managing the human impact on the complex is another key factor to consider.

In 2016, Masters in the Forbidden City, a three-part documentary about the conservators working on cultural relics in the museum, went viral online, making the behind-the-scenes heroes celebrities overnight - and none more so than Wang Jin, an antique clock restorer.

This series was widely hailed as a huge success by the museum in its efforts to educate the wider public about its work. And this is just another facet that some of the interns need to learn more about.

Lou Si-man, 21, is an undergraduate majoring in education at the University of Macau. She is currently an intern at the Palace Museum's department of publicity and education.

"The biggest achievement since coming here is that I met Mr Wang Jin in the canteen," Lou jokes. "Everyone in our group lined up to take pictures with him."

Now, under the guidance of her tutors, she is exploring her own ways to promote the culture and work of the Palace Museum to a wider audience.

One of her current projects is to develop a course for sixth-grade elementary school students that explains the meaning behind the auspicious statues found on the roof ridges of the palace buildings.

"We're still discussing ways to make these cultural elements easier for children to understand," Lou says.

"Some people may go to work in a mansion every day, but we have these ancient buildings in which to 'work'. This environment provides us with a lot of inspiration."

And sometimes, inspiration pops up in the most unexpected places.

For example, the extraordinarily heavy rainy season in Beijing this summer provided undergraduate Ho Ka-hou, a history major from the University of Macau, with a new idea for a project.

The Palace Museum has a complex sewage system. When heavy storms hit, hundreds of statues in the shape of chi (a kind of Chinese dragon) heads channel water from the terraces. Since the southern section of the Palace Museum sits on lower terrain, the falling rain flows southward and drains into the surrounding moats.

"Within six weeks, I will draft a plan on how to explain this interesting but less-discussed part of the Forbidden City to young students," Ho says.

"History has many facets. It's better to use smaller concepts to help paint the bigger picture. This kind of course, with its narrowed-down topic, will be interesting."

He also wants to bring this style of learning to Macao.

"Macao has many attractive historical stories that haven't been clearly explained to local people," he says.

"I'll be either a teacher or promoter of culture in the future. I can use the experience I gain here to help pass on more knowledge about our local culture to the public."

Lasting benefits

According to Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, the institution has received about 100 interns from Hong Kong and Macao since 2005.

Last year, a large-scale internship program was launched to recruit 30 students from Hong Kong and Guangdong. This year, it expanded its scope to include Macao.

"The Cantonese-speaking region is the southern gate of our country," Shan says. "It has a different character and atmosphere from the north. These exchanges, spanning thousands of kilometers, make this connection even more meaningful."

Interns this year were assigned to 11 different departments of the museum. They have also been invited to attend lectures and visit other landmarks in Beijing, including the Great Wall and the ruins of the Old Summer Palace.

Shan says the program also benefits the museum, as its employees can learn about the social development of Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong through the exchange.

"Cultural relics carry our country's spirit," he says. "It's our duty to gain wisdom from the relics we hold in our museums. This duty now also falls on the shoulders of the younger generations."

These internships can help the students find the path of their future careers.

"The public's understanding of cultural-heritage conservation is still lacking," says Kong, from the University of Melbourne.

"Sometimes, they wonder why it's so costly. I think I will choose this field as my career to help improve public awareness about conservation and history.

"What I see in the Palace Museum is something I've always wanted to do. I'd like to work here in the future, if possible."

While not every intern expects to work in a museum later, the summer program still represents a worthwhile endeavor.

"I applied to the ancient architecture department because I thought climbing out onto the roof would be fun," says 23-year-old Gao Yi, a recent graduate from the School of Automation Science and Engineering at the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, Guangdong.

"Ancient architecture may not be directly linked to my academic studies, but these conservators have taught me an attitude," he says.

"They treat heritage as their own life. That devotion is also something I need to learn."

Li Cho-wing graduated as an accounting major from the University of Hong Kong this summer and plans to work for an auditing firm.

"Before I walk into office life, it's meaningful for me to sample this kind of experience," the 23-year-old says.

"No matter which major we are studying or what kind of job we plan to take, it's necessary to get to know our country better.

"The Forbidden City is a place where I can absorb national pride and feel a greater sense of belonging."

Contact the writer at wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-01 07:26:49
<![CDATA[Good teamwork through music]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/01/content_36685763.htm More young musicians get a chance to show off their talent through the National Youth Orchestra of China program, Chen Nan reports.

One week after their training at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, young musicians from the National Youth Orchestra of China showcased their skills at the Yale Center on July 23.

Among the students was Shanghai native Wang Yixiang, who performed the fourth movement of Mozart's String Quartet No 14 in G major.

 

Female violinists of a string band of NYO-China plays in Beijing on July 23.

 

Wang, who started playing the violin at the age of 5 and graduated from the Music Middle School Affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, will go to the United States this August for further training under Nicholas Mann, who is the chair of the string department at the Manhattan School of Music.

"I missed the chance to apply for the NYO-China program last summer," says Wang. "So, when the program admission process opened this year, I applied."

As this year's focus was chamber music, 21 young musicians from China were taught by three teachers: violinist Li Qing, who is the principal second violin of the Baltimore Symphony, as well as a faculty member for violin at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University; Ma Yong, who is the principal flute at the China National Opera; and Chen Guang, a professor of trumpet at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

For two weeks in July, the young musicians gathered at the Central Conservatory of Music to rehearse a selection of works in the chamber music repertoire.

Students and teachers performed together at a series of concerts, including the NYO-China concert at the Central Conservatory of Music on July 28, and the NYO-US concert at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Some members of the NYOChina and NYO-US also performed a chamber concert at the US embassy in Beijing. The US students played Chinese folk song Jasmine Flower and a piece for the string quartet composed by Chinese pipa player Wu Man.

Speaking about the training and the performances, Wang says: "I am interested in chamber music because it's a totally different way of thinking and performing, compared with playing as a soloist.

"Before, I used to focus on my own performance, but now I think more about the music itself rather than solely about technique."

NYO-China, which launched last summer and gathered 100-odd musicians from ages 16 to 19, was inspired by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States, a free program which started in 2013 by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.

Last year, NYO-China made its debut at the Carnegie Hall in New York. Under the baton of French conductor Ludovic Morlot, the orchestra performed Chinese-American Zhou Long's The Rhyme of Taigu and Dvorak's Symphony No 9 (From the New World).

Commenting on the performance, that featured Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, music critic Anthony Tommasini said in the New York Times that if the performance was a test run for the new venture "these Chinese musicians scored big".

Unlike last year, which saw 105 young Chinese musicians between 14 to 21 performing together, this year, the program has narrowed down the number of participants to 21.

"We want to offer students a kind of intimacy which enables them to get close to their teachers with one-on-one training," explains Nicholas Brown, NYO-China's director of project development.

As for the aims of the program, Vincent Accettola, the managing director of NYO-China, says: "Our goal is to provide young student musicians from China access to superior instruction, performance opportunities and a platform from which they can represent their country and their generation to the world."

Accettola moved to initiate the program last year after seeing young Chinese watching their performance during the NYO-US China tour in 2015.

As for the response to the program, Chinese composer Ye Xiaogang who is the director of NYO-China says that he is happy to see young Chinese musicians of NYO-China this year hailing from not only music conservatories, but also non-conservatories, such as Beijing Bayi School and Shandong Jinan No 13 Middle School.

"This is exactly what our mission is. We are not only open to professional musicians, but also young people who love music. With this program, students learn more than how to play an instrument," says Ye, who is also chairman of the Chinese Musicians' Association and vice-president of the Central Conservatory of Music.

Robert Blocker, senior adviser for global artistic affairs, NYO-China, who has served as the Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music at Yale University since 1998, says: "There are skills that the students learned in the program that are transformative.

"In chamber music, they learn independence, discipline and the skill of being able to work collaboratively.

"For example, a string quartet from Yale has four people from four countries, speaking four languages, but they share one common language, the language of music.

"And through that language, they communicate with each other, they tell each other their dreams, they share with each other the reality of life, and from that they build a bridge of understanding."

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-01 07:26:49
<![CDATA[BRICS theater treat for children]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/01/content_36685762.htm Twelve theater groups from the five BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are staging 12 original shows (36 performances) in Beijing until Aug 20, as part of an ongoing children's theater festival.

The opening show is The Man Who Loved Boxes by children's theater group Artesanal Cia de Teatro from Brazil. The play, directed by Gustavo Bicalho and Henrique Gon?alves, has no dialogue and features actors, puppets, masks and music.

"This is the first time that the show is in China," says Edeilton Medeiros from Artesanal Cia de Teatro about the performance. "I can see the cultural influence on children and the younger generation, and though there is no dialogue, audiences from different cultures feel the emotion delivered in the play.

"We also hope to work with artists from the other four countries in the alliance."

Among the other performances are Sandpiper, Clam and Fish by the China National Theatre for Children; The Circle of Life by theater Ranga Shankara from India and AHA! by Magnet Theatre of South Africa.

Besides live performances, open lectures and workshops will also be held.

According to Yang Fan, vice-president of the China National Theatre for Children, the 32-day children's theater festival, which began on July 20, is a result of the BRICS Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Culture (2017-2021), which was signed by BRICS ministers of culture on July 6, 2017, in Tianjin. The idea of establishing the BRICS Alliance of Theatre for Children and Young People first arose last May during a world congress of the International Association of Theater for Children and Young People in Cape Town, South Africa, when BRICS delegates discussed it.

The agreement covers areas of cultural cooperation, such as cultural heritage preservation and mutual exchanges.

Yang says that artists from the BRICS alliance of theater for children and young people will "share resources to open a new chapter of people-to-people exchanges among BRICS countries".

And Bandaru Wilsonbabu, an Indian diplomat in Beijing, says: "The establishment of the association of children's theaters of the BRICS Alliance opens the doors of communication among the younger generation and artists from the BRICS countries. Half of India's population are young people under 25. It's important to influence them with artistic communication."

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2018-08-01 07:26:49
<![CDATA[Painting helps youngsters heal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/01/content_36685761.htm Sorrow and magic overlapped at Camp Shine, as the father of a slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas student joined teens who survived the school shooting and used spray paint to fill a blank wall with messages of love, hope and peace.

"I lost my son, but I got all of you here," Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin "Guac" Oliver, told the 20 or so students at the summer camp, which uses art, drama and music to help students cope with grief that lingers after the shooting on Feb 14, 2018.

Oliver, an artist who turned toward activism after his son's murder, guided students during a therapeutic graffiti session at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Florida. He encouraged them to focus on a theme, and "give ourselves that gift of being happy while we paint". Love, hope, peace and equality were the themes, they said.

"This is one chance to make your statement and be a rebel and demand the things that you want," he said. "You're going to take care of this wall."

And that they did. Students who appeared timid as they brainstormed, rushed to the wooden fence panel, grabbed spray cans and filled the blank space with color. Affirmations were made: "arms are for hugging", "spread love", "be kind" and "equality".

The mural included the sun-shaped logo of Shine MSD, the non-profit that is hosting the camp, and its halo of 17 dashes representing each of the lives lost.

Jessica Asch, a licensed creative arts therapist based in New York City, helped run the camp and used drama to reach students.

"I want them to have an opportunity to be still and just create. It expands their heart capacity, it expands the capacity for compassion," Asch said.

As the students' art was nearly complete, a therapy German shepherd that has been helping kids at the school joined in by dipping its paw in white paint and creating a print on the wall.

For Oliver, it's a way to connect with children who can now use art to find their voice.

"I'm an artist. ... I just have a new mission, an important mission," Oliver said. "I have to make sure Joaquin is still able to talk to us, and art is the perfect tool that can make that happen. Because of art, I can still be a father. Feb 14 didn't stop me from being a father. I'm not going to let that happen."

Tribune News Service

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2018-08-01 07:26:49
<![CDATA[OUT OF THE DEPTHS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/31/content_36678604.htm The search for hidden treasure has been one of the most intriguing, dramatic stories in human history. Rumors of the locations of buried fortunes have inspired countless film and TV dramas over the years, and have even acted as a reference point for archaeologists.

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Archaeologists were caught up in a race against time as they tried to unearth sunken treasure ditched in the Minjiang River by a 17th-century rebel leader, Lin Qi reports.

The search for hidden treasure has been one of the most intriguing, dramatic stories in human history. Rumors of the locations of buried fortunes have inspired countless film and TV dramas over the years, and have even acted as a reference point for archaeologists.

In the historical town of Jiangkou, Sichuan province, a rumor has circulated for centuries among the locals about how a 17th-century rebel leader sank caskets of treasure into the Minjiang River, which runs across the town, at a critical point during one battle.

Historical records also briefly mention that treasure was abandoned by Zhang Xianzhong, a rising leader in the peasant revolts amid the collapse of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who occupied Sichuan - but no details of the exact location were ever given.

One widely spread tale says that the valuables were buried in a section of the river near to "a stone tiger and a stone dragon", and that anyone who recovered them could buy all the land covering Chengdu, the provincial capital, a short distance from Jiangkou.

After interviewing residents in Jiangkou, archaeologists tracked down the crouching tiger and hidden dragon at a village called Shilong (stone dragon) in the district of Jiangkou, which was connected to the Minjiang River by a ditch that ends at a cliff bearing a carving of a flying dragon.

While their efforts fell short of pinpointing the precise location of Zhang's lost fortunes. Armed with the latest technology, the archaeologists spent 98 days in early 2017 unearthing more than 30,000 artifacts from the river.

Their discovery verified that when Zhang's fleet battled an army led by a Ming general on the river, he was forced to relinquish the wealth on board. Furthermore, it was clear that the items dragged up from the depths would help modern-day researchers examine further the social, political and military situation during the late Ming to early Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

Their surprising findings immediately ranked in the top 10 Chinese archaeological discoveries of 2017. And now a selection of the artifacts from the same excavation and a subsequent dig earlier this year are being shown at the National Museum of China until Sept 26.

The exhibition, titled Sunken Treasures in Jiangkou Battlefield, opened a series at the national museum dedicated to recent important archaeological findings. A second exhibition is currently displaying a plethora of jade objects and pottery found at a neolithic site belonging to the Dawenkou culture near the city of Jinan, Shandong province. A third exhibition shows an impressive range of artifacts from the Sanxingdui, Jinsha and Qingyanggong sites in Chengdu, which will shed light on the mysterious ancient State of Shu, an era that spanned from the 18th century BC to the second century BC.

When archaeologists began work at Jiangkou in January 2017, a cofferdam had been built to enclose an area of nearly 10,000 square meters where the river water had been pumped out.

"Many people living nearby said it was the first time they ever had seen the riverbed," says Gao Dalun, director of the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, who oversaw the excavation. "They said the excavation seemed more interesting than the treasures to be found."

Archaeologists were keen to solve this historical riddle, but found themselves in a race against time as they had just three months to complete their work while the water levels of the Minjiang River were at their lowest. They also had a hard time fending off thieves attempting to steal the relics.

While most of the objects on display were unearthed during excavation work, other items were retrieved from a crackdown on organized artifact smuggling months before digging began.

Police smashed a well-equipped gang who made several dives in the Minjiang and recovered hundreds of gold and silver objects. Historians identified them as part of Zhang's sunken treasure trove, including a gold stamp with a tiger-shaped handle that weighed several kilograms.

The stamp's impression reads "yongchang dayuanshuai yin" (seal of the general of long prosperity). It confirms Zhang's self-proclaimed title a year before he established the short-lived Great Xi dynasty in Chengdu in 1644. He later abandoned the title and proclaimed himself king.

The dynasty lasted just four years. Zhang was later killed by Manchu armies of the Qing empire.

The stamp has been designated a first-class cultural relic of the State and is currently on show at the Sunken Treasures exhibition.

It was not until a month after they started digging that archaeologists began to make significant headway. Among the hundreds of objects they unearthed were a handful of gold and silver ingots and coins bearing Zhang's insignia, as well as a gold-embossed certificate from Zhang conferring titles on his concubines. These objects are also on display at the National Museum.

According to Gao, the conditions for such a large-scale excavation in Minjiang improved in 2017, not just because new technology was available but also because of the falling water levels.

He says climate change has caused a drop in rainfall in the area, which has affected the water levels in several of the Sichuan cities it passes through, including the provincial capital, Chengdu. And since the river has become a major source of water and sand for the region's increasing urban population and construction industry, this has also had an impact on the water levels - providing archaeologists with easier access to the treasures that lie below.

Besides the ingots and coins that reflect the economic situation of the late Ming era, the exhibition also has dozens of elegantly crafted gold and silver ornaments and jewelry on show.

Gao says these objects offer the audience a glimpse into the simple, refined lifestyle of the Ming Dynasty's upper classes. "They may look less sophisticated than the Qingperiod objects. But people will find in them an enduring, classic charm."

Gao adds that there may be more of Zhang's sunken treasure under the stones and sand at the bottom of the Minjiang.

Zhang, who hailed from Shaanxi province, assembled a powerful peasant army. His troops raided many developing towns and cities in provinces including Hunan and Hubei before reaching Sichuan. They robbed dignitaries along the way - including the wealthy governing princes in these prosperous places - enabling Zhang to amass an "immeasurable" fortune, according to Zhou Yuanlian, a senior expert in Qing history.

When Zhang felt his grip over Sichuan slipping in 1646, he loaded up dozens of boats with his collection of valuables and withdrew from Chengdu. His fleet sailed across Jiangkou when they were caught in an ambush set by Yang Zhan, a general who was still loyal to the overthrown Ming court. The treasure boats he ordered to be scuttled now lie deep underwater in a fast-flowing section of the river.

"All together Zhang made five attempts at conquering Sichuan," Gao says.

"He succeeded in the last attempt to declare himself a king. Also it was at that point his failure was inevitable."

Contact the writer at linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

9 am-5 pm, closed on Mondays, through Sept 26. 16 East Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-6511-6400.

The ongoing exhibition, Sunken Treasures in Jiangkou Battlefield, at the National Museum of China, features a selection of artifacts excavated from the Minjiang River in Sichuan province that are believed to be the site where 17thcentury peasantuprising leader Zhang Xianzhong abandoned treasures while losing the war. Photos By Jiang Dong / China Daily and provided to China Daily 

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2018-07-31 07:56:09
<![CDATA[Beijing show aims to lessen market influence on young artists]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/31/content_36678603.htm "Breathing needs no explanation, neither does art." This is one of many declarations at this year's Art Nova 100 Opening Exhibition in Beijing.

The annual event, which was launched in 2011, brings together the latest artworks in different styles and mediums by Chinese artists age 40 and younger. The exhibition aims to create a "promising and vanguard group" in China's art scene and invites viewers to think about the future of art where technology is increasingly used to tell social stories.

The ongoing exhibition, which is being held at the city's Guardian Art Center through Aug 1, examines the scope and scale of the work of more than 100 emerging artists from different parts of China, as well as the works of established artists, who have been featured in previous editions of the event.

Viewers are sure to find a personal connection with the show, whether through the quiet beauty of a painting, a sculpture or a photograph. Those looking to find something strange or with a strong visual effect are unlikely to be disappointed either. Dozens of works had already found buyers at the show's opening on July 29.

But at a time when art fairs are booming in China and allowing young artists to promote their work, Art Nova 100, the Beijing-based institution that organizes the exhibition, is seeking to not just connect potential collectors with the artists but also to get their work properly critiqued through the display.

"When we started the exhibition eight years ago, we hoped to build a launch pad for people who are talented," says Peng Wei, director of Art Nova 100.

But now she says her institution has come to realize that, to help artists grow, the exhibition needs to show both their strengths and weakness, and that the artists need to hear different opinions despite the market influence that they may be under. This is another reason why works shown at this year's exhibition have so far received divided reviews among eminent artists, curators and gallerists.

Xiang Jiang, a prominent sculptor who visited the exhibition, says some works show the artists "lack the passion to keep learning from their surroundings".

"China is one such vivid scene where dramatic changes are taking place, which, however, are not discussed well in some works. To be a good artist, one needs to react to the changing realities of one's life and think independently," Xiang adds.

She says some works have used images and cultural symbols other artists adopted earlier, and still others show the makers focusing on individual feelings rather than on wider society.

And that is why Peng and her team set up an "art clinic" at the exhibition on July 31. At this booth, artists and curators from China and abroad receive artists, view their works and provide career advice.

Lu Zhengyuan, a teacher at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and an artist in his own right, says artists living in the information age have access to more resources and opportunities, and that exposure to developments in the international art scene will also provide Chinese artists a "more open way of thinking".

But some have lost themselves to profit-seeking. Lu says some are "solely driven by the so-called art trends" and don't capture what's around them.

History has shown that famous artists worked hard and experimented with their art even if it meant being commercially unsuccessful at times.

linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Artist Wang Ziling's oil painting, Found in Between. Artist Wang Ziling's oil painting, Found in Between and Li Linlin's installation, Unusual Existence (above), are among the works on show at the annual event that brings the latest artworks by Chinese artists age 40 and younger. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-07-31 07:56:09
<![CDATA[CANADA CALLING]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/31/content_36678602.htm Viewing Niagara Falls from a helicopter was a highlight of Guan Jing's recent visit to Canada.

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The ongoing bilateral tourism year is poised to boost travel between China and North America's northernmost nation, Xu Lin reports.

Viewing Niagara Falls from a helicopter was a highlight of Guan Jing's recent visit to Canada.

He also enjoyed seeing the cascades from below, aboard a cruise ship.

"I could feel the water splashing," the 31-year-old Beijing resident recalls.

"A lot of passengers were screaming excitedly."

Guan is among a growing number of Chinese visiting North America's northernmost country. And Chinese arrivals seem likely set to increase, following the launch of the China-Canada Tourism Year in Toronto in March. The closing ceremony will be held in China.

The year features a slew of new initiatives and activities in both countries to boost mutual tourism.

Canadians paid over 800,000 visits to China in 2017, a nearly 9 percent increase over the previous year, People's Daily reports.

Chinese arrivals reached a record of over 680,000 in 2017, a 12 percent increase over 2016, Destination Canada reports. China is the country's third-largest source of inbound tourists.

Most Chinese visit during the peak period in July and August.

Ontario province - especially the national capital, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls - are their favorite destinations, the tourism body reports.

Expanded air capacity, favorable economic conditions and visa liberalization bode well for an increase in arrivals this year, Destination Canada forecasts.

Eight airlines flew directly to four Canadian cities, including Montreal and Vancouver, last year.

China Southern Airlines recently increased its direct Guangzhou-to-Toronto flights from three weekly to daily.

Both countries offer reciprocal 10-year visas.

Canada opened seven visa-application centers in China last year, bringing the total number to 12.

Chinese can use UnionPay - China's largest payment provider - when applying for visas online since June 22.

China's largest online travel agency, Ctrip, recently signed memorandums of understanding with Destination Canada and Canadian provincial tourism bureaus to promote Canadian destinations in China.

"The tourism year is seeing a jump in Canada's offerings to catch up with Chinese demand," says Yu Wenjun, who's in charge of Ctrip's North American business.

The company now offers tours with themes like autumn maple and aurora viewing.

Tourism Toronto's overseas media relations manager, Michelle Simpson, says: "The tourism year will help Chinese tourists be aware of Canada as a destination."

Toronto - the country's largest city - is about an hour and a half by car from Niagara Falls. It offers such diverse offerings as heritage, art galleries and icewine tours.

Destinations include the historical Casa Loma mansion and the old Distillery District, which is packed with restaurants and shops.

Graffiti Alley is popular on Instagram as the area is adorned with murals by various artists, including local graffitist Uber5000's classic yellow bird.

A large proportion of Chinese visitors come on group tours, but individual travelers have been increasing in recent years, Simpson says.

She adds that the city's hotels are working to better accommodate Chinese tourists. Some, such as the Chelsea Hotel, offer Chinese-style breakfasts.

Chinese visitors are seeking more adventurous activities. One attraction that has been gaining popularity is the Edge Walk on the CN Tower's 356-meter-high roof.

Toronto, Canada's capital, is an hour's flight from Ottawa, which hosts Ontario's only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal. The Canadian Museum of History is also popular.

"Many Chinese like to visit the capital to see government institutions, museums and cultural programs," Ottawa Tourism communications director Jantine Van Kregten says.

"The city offers a relaxed way of exploring a new destination."

Ottawa hopes to use the tourism year to improve Chinese travelers' experiences and to strengthen relationships with Chinese tour operators to encourage more Chinese to visit and to stay longer.

Ottawa Tourism signed an agreement with the local company Motion Pay in May to enable visitors to use the popular Chinese payment platforms WeChat Pay and AliPay.

The tourism bureau offers training sessions to member businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and attractions, to promote the service.

"It's an education ... to make them aware there is a different payment system in China. Also, it makes it easy for tour operators to bring tourists and easy for regular individual tourists," Van Kregten says.

"Chinese tourists are more adventurous than before. They want to paddle a canoe or skate in winter and try authentic Canadian food. I think it's more of a true desire to learn how our lifestyle is different from Chinese."

Van Kregten also says 2019 will also be an important year for tourism from China, since it's the 20th anniversary of the sister city agreement Ottawa signed with Beijing.

The Canadian Tulip Festival's theme, "China-Canada Tulip Friendship", will mark the anniversary. And the featured species will be named the "China-Canada Friendship Tulip". Bulbs were available at this year's festival and will be planted in Beijing and Ottawa.

The annual event, held in May, claims to be the world's largest tulip festival.

Chinese tourism bureaus set up booths and promoted popular Chinese destinations in the Lansdowne Park Tulip Gallery, which features artworks inspired by the flower, at this year's event.

"(The 2019 edition) will be a great opportunity for our visitors to learn about China's tulip festivals and gardens," Van Kregten says.

And it seems likely the tourism year will provide more chances for Chinese to visit and learn about Canada, in general.

Contact the writer at xulin@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-31 07:56:09
<![CDATA[ALL FIRED UP]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/30/content_36671404.htm Li Renping wipes the sweat from his forehead as he walks in from the sweltering interior of the Nixing Pottery Museum in early July.

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Li Renping has come a long way-from an apprentice to an established artist, thanks to Nixing pottery that he lives and breathes, Yang Feiyue and Shi Ruipeng report.

Li Renping wipes the sweat from his forehead as he walks in from the sweltering interior of the Nixing Pottery Museum in early July.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Qinzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the museum that Li and his friends set up in 2007 features the history, culture and production of Nixing pottery that has a history dating back more than 1,300 years.

The pottery uses two types of local clay that are mixed to a certain ratio, which ensures a hard and compact texture combined with a smooth-looking surface.

Wearing a casual outfit and a pair of brown plastic sandals, the 72-year-old has an unadorned earthy quality that doesn't do justice to the many honors piled on him over the years, including a national applied arts master and an inheritor of national intangible culture.

Li was evidently more in his element when he sat down and talked to China Daily about Nixing pottery, an art form he has committed more than four decades of his life to developing.

One of the charms of Nixing pottery is that the colors emerge during the firing process without any additional pigment, he explains.

"You can see many colors in transition, from a black-green to bronze and then to a purplish red," Li says.

The pottery has no toxins, doesn't require glazing like porcelain and retains its natural small pores that can allow the air to permeate while still holding water.

"You could use it as a flowerpot and it wouldn't smell for years," Li adds.

A love of painting and sculpting predisposed Li to learn the art of Nixing pottery-making back in the 1970s.

"The clay is ideal for precision sculpting," Li says. "You can sculpt the tiniest characters and such delicate patterns that require a magnifying glass to appreciate."

As a boy, Li used to swim across a river to see experienced artisans making their pottery, and he would play with the clay and try to follow suit.

He started working at a local Nixing pottery plant in 1973, where he managed to master all pottery modeling and decoration methods within the space of a year.

The training was supposed to take three years to complete.

"I loved pottery so much that I put a lot of extra effort into it," Li says.

It didn't take long before Li made his way up to become a workshop director.

In 1981, opportunity knocked on Li's door, helping him to grow from being an employee in a pottery plant to an artist later in life.

His hardworking attitude and knowledge of exquisite Nixing pottery techniques then impressed visiting experts from the Central Academy of Art and Design, the predecessor of Tsinghua University's Academy of Arts and Design.

The Beijing institution took him in and systematically taught him about the art of pottery.

Li didn't waste a minute during his stay at the academy and completed the four-year curriculum in two years.

"Working at the plant made me better understand the theories behind pottery and how to put them into practice," Li says.

He returned to the Qinzhou plant after he finished his studies in Beijing to work in pottery design and development.

He would make several items on a daily basis.

"If you love the industry, you won't have any distracting thoughts," Li says.

Li managed to produce more than 20 Nixing pottery products that won national awards by the end of the first year back then and helped the plant to raise its annual output from 2 million yuan ($294,600) to 6 million yuan.

"My designs focus on practicality," Li says.

For example, teapots should be not just pleasing to the eye, but also user-friendly, he explains.

"It should be easy to hold and keep the water flow on track, and its price should also be well within a consumer's budget."

Despite Li's feat, the Qinzhou plant faced trouble in the late 90s when China's State-owned businesses went through a period of restructuring.

"Production was halted due to a lack of innovation (in management) and debts," Li recalls.

So, Li took money out of his own pocket and set up a small workshop with several people from the business.

In the beginning, they had to trek tens of thousands of kilometers to find brick kilns to fire up the raw clay models they made.

In 2000, Li brought in electric kilns from Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces, and conducted technical renovations to make them suitable for Nixing pottery production.

Through a process of trial and error, Li managed to raise the yield rate of their high-end products to more than 90 percent.

From that point on, Li never looked back when it came to dreaming of new creations.

He has designed more than 600 Nixing pottery pieces to date, and more than 60 have received awards both at home and abroad. Several pieces have been collected by national museums in more than 20 countries.

In particular, the piece gaoguhuazun (high drum flower vessel), which artistically integrated ethnic Zhuang and Yao elements with a modern touch, received a UNESCO Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts award in 2006.

Moreover, Li's efforts have helped to popularize Nixing pottery culture and given the local pottery industry a shot in the arm.

To date, the number of Nixing pottery plants in Qinzhou has grown from a handful to more than 500, employing over 10,000 locals.

"More than 30 employees from our plant have set up shop themselves," says Xiao Wensheng, head of office of the Guangxi Qinzhou Nixing Pottery Art Co, of which Li is a shareholder.

The company now sells 50,000 to 60,000 Nixing pottery pieces a year and makes 8 million yuan annually.

And more people are warming to the ancient art form. About 200 to 300 people visit the Nixing Pottery Museum at Li's factory every day, according to Xiao.

Visitors are able to study every aspect of the pottery process and how a Nixing piece is made from start to finish. They can even try their hand at making one of their own at the end of a tour.

"For us, the design is the most difficult part, and it all derives from traditional Chinese culture," says Yang Huanbin, who has been working at Li's company since 2008.

He was carving fish out of a surface of giant clay pot that was intended to preserve tea earlier this month.

"We draw cultural elements that can fit the purpose of modern use," the 40-year-old says.

The artists shape Nixing pottery pieces as tall as a two-meter vase and as small as a delicate teacup.

The Qinzhou city government has also invested more than 1 billion yuan in developing a Nixing pottery cluster, and many artists have already moved to the area.

Li has now placed his focus on the development of the Nixing pottery industry as a whole. He has been helping local pottery businesses to better inherit traditional pottery making techniques and introduce modern management systems since 2007.

Product design and functionality are becoming more detail-oriented as the digital era evolves, he says.

Li also gives regular lectures at local pottery schools.

"Young people have better ideas, and take in things more quickly," Li says, adding that they will be the key to carrying forward the ancient art.

Zhang Li contributed to this story.

Contact the writers through yangfeiyue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-30 07:42:28
<![CDATA[Pop singer's new store to promote culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/30/content_36671403.htm Sun Nan, one of China's most popular singers, fell in love with traditional art and culture and established the Sun Nan Life brand in Shanghai to share his passion with the public.

The Sun Nan Life boutique store opened on the Bund on July 19. The event featured calligraphy artist Zhang Guoqiang, who created inscriptions on ceramic objects.

"We plan to present a work of art or craft from China's intangible cultural heritage here every month, such as purple clay pottery, tea culture and so on," says Fu Yong, the company's CEO.

Sun Nan Life also introduced its boutique hotel chain on the same day, where the decor will feature traditional aesthetics and offer Chinese-style service.

Sun couldn't attend the launches in person as he was performing on tour. The singer and songwriter has been active in China's pop music scene since the 1990s, with millions of albums sold, and is a frequent performer at the Chinese New Year gala shows on State broadcaster CCTV. He shared his stories of falling in love with traditional art via a video link with the media.

Sun has four children from two marriages. The kids previously attended international schools in Beijing where the emphasis was placed on freedom, but they needed to learn more about other aspects of life, he says.

"The nourishment from classical Chinese culture made an impact on their understanding of life," Sun says of a summer camp on traditional culture his children attended last year.

Sun then made the decision to move his home from Beijing to Xuzhou in East China's Jiangsu province, where his children joined Huaxia Xuegong, a school that focuses on traditional art and culture. His children have now developed an interest in Chinese literary classics, traditional paintings and musical instruments.

"My children attend the school, my wife teaches handicraft there and I am a volunteer, teaching two music classes every week."

With his youngest daughter Aibo, who will turn 7 in September, Sun is making a cartoon series on Chinese literary classics.

Many of China's ancient crafts are dying gradually, but he says he hopes they won't disappear entirely.

"I hope more people will learn about them and pass them on to future generations."

The first artist to be exhibited at the new Sun Nan Life boutique store, Zhang has been practicing calligraphy for 40 years. A few years ago, he moved to Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, also in the country's east. Zhang began his new life in the city, which is known as the "ceramics capital" of China, by working his calligraphy on porcelain.

"It is a traditional craft with more than 1,000 years of history, and it is more colorful today and the experience more enriching, thanks to modern tools and techniques," Zhang says.

Hard metallic knives have made it possible for him to create different curves on the surface of ceramic items.

"I can also make inscriptions in the clay before it is baked," he says. "But whatever new technique is used, the core values of Chinese calligraphy remain the same."

Xu Mingsong, a Shanghai-based art critic, says Zhang has created calligraphy primarily on small objects such as teacups and paperweights.

"These everyday items have been a precious part of ancient cultural traditions," Xu says. "They have inspired artists and scholars."

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-30 07:42:28
<![CDATA[Ode to a fish head]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666372.htm Editor's note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

While some may say the Chinese will eat anything, I'd rather suggest we are totally honest in appreciating our food. We do not camouflage our ingredients.

Take fish, for instance. The best and freshest fish are almost always served whole on the Chinese table, bones and all. Only very large fish are cut up, mainly because they cannot fit on a plate.

 

Steamed fish head with plenty of minced chili. Provided to China Daily

Even so, nothing is wasted. While the meat is filleted and sliced for a variety of dishes, the bones are carefully saved and used for milky soups or stock. And the best part of any large fish is, of course, the head.

Wherever fish is eaten, you will inevitably find a few recipes using only the head.

The Chinese diner will expertly dismantle cartilage, skin and bones, extracting every last bit of meat. Meat nearest the bone is always sweeter. We all know that.

Large fish heads are full of tasty morsels that range from the gelatinous lips, mouth parts and jaws to the coveted cheeks. Contrary to belief, there is plenty of meat - among the deep grooves of the forehead, along the collar, and at the back where the head joins the backbone.

The juiciest parts are around the eyeballs, where tender muscles inside the sockets deliver a unique mix of textures, from chewy tendons and delicious fat to gelatinous skin.

Cheeks and eyes are always reserved for favored guests.

There is no hurrying the dish, which must be rapidly cooked, but slowly enjoyed. And there are many ways to appreciate this delicious delicacy.

In northern China, deep in winter, enormous carp are harvested from under the frozen lakes. Fish that are fully six kilograms or more are hauled up in nets that have very wide mesh, allowing smaller immature fish to escape.

Villagers cart the huge fish home and this becomes a feast cooked on the earthen stoves that also heat the room through flues. The fish heads are stewed with dajiang, the fermented soy bean paste that is often homemade.

Leeks, garlic, chili, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise and ginger all contribute to the strong flavors that the northeastern provinces are known for. Often, dough cakes made from corn flour are pasted by the side of the iron cauldron as the fish head cooks.

This is classic yingcai, the hard cuisine of the northeast that often combines very hearty ingredients in one pot.

There is also fish head hotpot, and depending on the region, the cut-up head may be cooked in a base broth that can be simply flavored with nothing more than scallions or ginger, or a hellishly spicy broth with a thick layer of red oil floating on top.

In the southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan, tamarind and fermented or pickled vegetables are used to flavor fish head. The tartness is a natural pairing for the heavy fish oils in the head. Pickled minced red chili, hand-cut and slowly fermented to take the edge off the heat, and the spicy hot bean paste so famous in the region, are used for an innocuously named shuizhuyu, or hot water fish.

Not all fish heads are cooked in a lot of water. The Cantonese master chefs prefer to steam their fish heads, concentrating the flavors and showcasing the natural harmony of textures.

Here, the fish head is split in half and placed on a plate ready for the steamer. It is then topped with a variety of sauces before going on the stove.

The most common is salty fermented black beans with plenty of minced garlic and chili, a combination that adds deep flavor while removing pungency.

A blanket of finely minced ginger may be all that's needed if the fish head, normally a grass carp, is very fresh.

The Chinese fondness for fish head has followed them wherever they chose to settle.

In my country, fish head is a coveted ingredient that often costs more than fish steaks. Singapore's iconic curry fish head is world famous, with its tart and spicy sauce, lots of eggplant, okra and tomatoes and a huge red snapper head.

It is also a marriage of cultures on a platter, something that can be seen throughout local cuisine. In this case, it is a fusion of Indian spices, Malay vegetables and a Chinese ingredient.

That's not all. We also love pieces of fish head deep-fried and then cooked in soup with plenty of tender tofu and Chinese greens. We eat thick fat rice vermicelli with this to soak up the sweet soup.

Honesty with food is important to the Chinese and it does away with the hypocrisy of dressing up food so that it doesn't look anything like the animal it comes from. If we are to be on top of the food chain, the least we can do is to look it in the eye, and thank it for its sacrifice.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipe

Steamed fish head with ginger, garlic and chili:

I large grass carp head

100g ginger

100g red chili pepper

3-4 cloves garlic

Salt

Sesame oil

Vegetable oil

4 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds

Prepare the fish head by removing the gills and cleaning out any coagulated blood. This will reduce the fishiness. Split the head into two, rinse and let it drain. Place on a large plate suitable for steaming.

Prepare the sauce.

Peel and cube the ginger, then finely mince. Cut the red chili peppers and mince with the ginger.

Smash the garlic cloves and add to the chili-ginger mixture. Salt to taste. Carefully spread this over the fish head. Steam the fish head over rapidly boiling water for 20 minutes, or longer, depending on the size of your fish head.

This is one dish you cannot overcook, and it's very forgiving if you choose to steam it an extra five or 10 minutes.

Remove the fish head from the steamer. Heat up a tablespoon each of vegetable and sesame oil and sizzle it over the chili and ginger mixture. Scatter sesame seeds over and serve.

Fried fish head soup with vermicelli:

1 fish head, cut up

2-3 slices ginger

Corn starch

Salt

Chinese greens or caixin

Rice vermicelli

This is good with sea fish like snapper or bream. Get your fishmonger to cut up the fish head for you. I have even cooked this with large salmon heads.

Rinse and drain the fish, then coat each piece in corn starch.

Deep-fry the pieces until golden brown. The main thing is to seal the pieces to lock in the juices.

Heat up a pot of boiling water and drop the fish into it, with the ginger slices. Keep the water boiling so that the calcium and collagen break down and the soup turns milky. Add the vegetables. Salt to taste.

Scald the rice vermicelli and place in bowls. Pour the fish soup over, and top with pieces of fish head and green vegetables.

Garnish with more ginger, finely sliced and deep-fried.

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[Unveiling the past]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666371.htm The new season of hit series Every Treasure Tells a Story is about to unearth the stories behind the artifacts from one of China's most culturally innovative eras

When documentary director Pan Yi visited Hebei Museum in 2016, she saw the Changxin Palace Lamp for the first time. The gilded bronze lantern - unearthed from a tomb in 1968 after having been buried with a vassal king and his wife over 2,000 years ago - is one of China's most renowned artifacts.

"For a moment, time seemed to have stopped. The lamp really looks like a young maid in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) who is kneeling down to serve her master," she says.

 

 

Chief director Xu Huan (second left) alongside other directors behind the TV documentary Every Treasure Tells a Story reveal their stories about filming the artifacts. Jiang Dong / China Daily

"I was very curious about what 'she' had seen in the palace and what she would think about the modern world if she could come alive," recalls the director, 34, who was speaking to China Daily during a news conference in Beijing on July 13.

It was this captivating, bold idea that provided the inspiration for Every Treasure Tells A Story, the hit documentary series filmed by more than 10 directors including Pan, which tells the stories of 100 artifacts selected from 3.8 million exhibits from nearly 100 museums across China.

The documentary series, which saw its first season of 25 episodes air on China Central Television's documentary channel in January, will start its second season - also consisting of 25 episodes with each running for five minutes - on the same channel from July 23. Each episode focuses on a single artifact, and the series will eventually run to 100 episodes.

Thanks to its lighthearted tune and breezy narration style, the first season proved a hit with younger audiences, scoring a rating of 9.5 points out of 10 on popular review site Douban.

Compared to the first season, where the oldest artifacts dated back between 5000 BC and 3000 BC, the second season is slightly closer to the present day, covering the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).

"It's a very creative and imaginative era," says Xu Huan, head of the directors' team, speaking about the characteristics of these dynasties.

"You can see a lot of innovation across multiple fields, from their political systems, to their cultural products and technology. They laid out the foundations of civilization for the following 2,000 years."

Aside from pottery, jade and bronze - the main materials used for making artifacts in the first season - the forthcoming season will cover the rapid expansion in the development of products during this era, such as lacquerware, stone sculptures, bamboo scripts and brocade, adds Xu.

She also believes the documentary will act as a reference point that will help guide the audience through the different periods of Chinese history and civilization.

Aiming to appeal to younger audiences used to more entertainment-based content, the series employed some advanced techniques during the production process, such as three-dimensional scanning techniques and 8K-resolution filming, the latest technology for capturing ultra-high-definition sequences, says Zhang Ning, deputy editor-in-chief of China Central Television.

Zhu Jie, who directed several of the episodes, was the first filmmaker to innovatively use stop-motion animation techniques to unfold the backdrop stories behind The Gold Crown with an Eagle Perched on Top, the subject of the first episode of the second season.

Unearthed in the Inner Mongolian autonomous region in 1972, the centuries-old symbol of power was buried with a nomadic tribal ruler in China's northern prairies. Weighing 1,394 grams, it is the only crown of its kind ever to be discovered by archaeologists.

During the centuries between the Qin and Han dynasties, the emperors in the Central Plains fought wars with the northern tribes, causing innumerable deaths and injuries.

Unwilling to recreate this dark chapter in history in a realistic, bloody way, Zhu asked a friend at a fine arts school to create puppets to shoot scenes about the conflict in the form of an animated short tale.

Up to 20 centimeters tall, the puppets were painted like nomadic warriors. "It took us more than two months to finish the episode, making it the longest one I've made for the series," recalls Zhu.

Also a fan of Chinese culture, Zhu says he has been frequently amazed by the depth of ancient Chinese civilizations during the shoot.

One of the items that impressed him the most was an ancient plain silk gauze garment, the subject of the 17th episode. Weighing just 48 grams, the light and transparent robe was discovered in Changsha's Mawangdui Tombs, which date back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24). The garment was buried with Xin Zhui, the wife of a prime minister of the Changsha Kingdom, a vassal state under the rule of the Han court.

"I was told the garment could fit into a matchbox. Experts nowadays have spent many years trying to make a replica of the robe. It's incredible to imagine that Chinese craftsmen had mastered such intricate silk-weaving skills more than 2,000 years ago," says Zhu.

Jointly produced by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, China Central Television's documentary channel, and the team behind the reality show The Voice of China, the documentary is set for international release.

According to Xu, the first season has already been translated into eight languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian and German.

xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[Plugged in to China's e-sports cause]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666370.htm National pride at stake as players brace themselves for their Asian Games debut

The stakes are rising in the e-sports world as China's best gamers put their reputations on the line for the sake of national honor.

Their patriotic pride is taking on an extra edge as the newly assembled Team China readies for the heat of international battle at the forthcoming 2018 Asian Games, which kicks off in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Aug 18.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Yan Junze - aka 'Letme' - a League of Legends player on Team China, revealed he is sticking to an exhausting training regime for the national cause.

 

Yan Junze, aka Letme, is determined to bring back gold for Team China at the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta, which for the first time includes e-sports as a demonstration event. Provided to China Daily

"It's never an easy job to be a professional e-sports player, for we have to train at least 14 hours a day to stay in peak condition," says Yan, who is also a member of world-renowned Chinese club Royal Never Give Up, or RNG.

"We have to sit in front of a computer for a very long time every day, so we can easily get injured."

To the uninitiated, that might sound odd, but Yan's teammate Jian Zihao is proof of the toll that e-sports can exact on the top pros.

The player, commonly known as 'Uzi' and widely considered the world's best LOL player, has been forced to take time off because of injuries caused by the high intensity of training and competition.

His recent exertions have not been in vain, however, with RNG crowned world champion at the LOL Mid-Season Invitational in Paris in May - lifting Chinese e-sports to new heights.

But victory rarely comes easy.

"We have to travel a lot to compete with other teams from different places, and it's pretty tiring," Yan says.

"When we landed in Paris for the MSI, we had to prepare for the competition the next day. To be honest, for the first couple of days, we were not in good condition, which led to some disappointing losses.

"However, we were not about to give up. We adjusted everything and started to win and then we got it."

The triumph was a milestone for China in a sector South Korea has dominated for years.

Two months later, China again flexed its muscles, with the country's League of Legends Pro League (LPL), featuring the RNG, Edward Gaming, Rogue Warriors and Invictus Gaming clubs, beating their South Korean counterparts to win Asia's Rift Rivals championship in Dalian, Liaoning province.

An even grander stage awaits China's elite at the Asian Games.

"When I heard the news that e-sports is now a part of Asian Games, I was thrilled," says Yan.

"You have to understand all the difficulty we've been through all these years. It's a great chance for more people to understand us and learn the positive value of e-sports.

"I was so proud of myself when I was selected to the national e-sports team. I'll try my best to compete for our country at the Games and bring back more honor."

Medals are up for grabs in six e-sports competitions at the games, also know as Asiad: three individual events (real-time strategy classic StarCraft 2, collectible-card hits Clash Royale and Hearthstone); and three team events: Pro Evolution Soccer, multiplayer online battlefield arena romp LOL and Arena of VaIor, an international version of King of Glory.

Team China will compete in three games in Indonesia - LOL, AOV and Clash Royale.

And with hotshot Uzi and three other RNG world beaters on board, including Letme, the LOL unit of Team China has its sights firmly set on gold.

Helping the players in their quest will be a team of physicians, fitness trainers and psychologists.

"I've been working with traditional sports teams and the requirement and ability of e-sports players go beyond my imagination," says Huang Jing, head of RNG's psychology crew who also works with the Chinese women's basketball team.

"The requirements for their reaction speeds, multi-tasking ability and imagination in the three-dimensional gaming world are even higher than traditional athletes to some degree. Any small psychological change can influence their performance."

Having helped secure the debut of e-sports at the Asiad, Chinese Olympic official Wei Jizhong is hopeful it will be given full status in time for the next staging of the games in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 2022.

"Adding e-sports to the Asian Games was much tougher than we had initially thought," says Wei.

"After a long negotiation we all agreed on three principles - no violence, making sports games the priority and guaranteeing fairness," he adds.

"Now, it's only a demonstration sport, but we're trying to make it an official medal sport for the 2022 Asian Games.

"E-sports is a trend that is very popular among young people worldwide. We can never cut the connection with the young people."

shifutian@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[Linkin Park's Shinoda to perform in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666369.htm One year after the passing of Chester Bennington, the vocalist for the American rock band Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda, who used to share the band's vocal duties with the late musician, has embarked on a tour across Asia to promote his first solo album, Post Traumatic.

Shinoda is scheduled to perform on Aug 12 in Beijing, Aug 14 in Shanghai and Aug 18 in Chengdu, Sichuan province, before heading to Japan and Singapore. On June 21, Shinoda interacted with Chinese fans via online streaming service Tencent Video, attracting around 100,000 fans.

"It was a great success because the shows were packed and we had a wonderful time with the fans," says the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter in a phone interview with China Daily, adding that fans can expect to hear songs from Post Traumatic as well as other Linkin Park hits.

Linkin Park, the multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning rock band that has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide, first performed in China in 2007 in Shanghai. They returned to Shanghai in 2009 before touring five Chinese cities to promote their sixth album, The Hunting Party, in 2015.

Shinoda says he experienced a difficult period following Bennington's death. In a March interview with UK-based rock magazine Kerrang, Shinoda said "the idea of the studio was scary".

"It wasn't just the idea of attempting to make a song and being overwhelmed by those memories," the 41-year-old told Kerrang. "There's another layer of fear for artists in this situation that is, 'What if I can't make anything good (without that person)?'"

Shinoda chose to immerse himself in art as a way of healing. He turned to the writing, recording and painting in his Los Angeles home.

He describes the process of making Post Traumatic as "a kind of diary" and autobiographical. The process started with a three-song EP and was later developed into a 16-song album, including Place to Start, Watching As I Fall and Over Again.

"I'm always creating stuff. So that's just normal for me. I sat down with a song on this album, started with one verse, and one week later I tried to come back to that song," Shinoda says about the writing process.

"The past year was crazy, and my outlook on life was changing so often and so rapidly. I think you hear that on the album."

Besides writing songs, Shinoda, who started painting as a toddler, also designed the cover for the album.

"I wasn't forcing too many concepts into the work because I thought that the emotions behind the work were obvious. In the beginning, it was just very abstract. As time went on, characters started to materialize and became more figurative," he says of his paintings for the album.

Born and raised in southern California, Shinoda, who is half-Japanese, started learning classical piano at a young age before meeting his Linkin Park bandmates Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon in high school. They formed the band in 1996, and vocalist Bennington joined three years later.

Shinoda graduated in 1998 with a major in illustration and obtained a job as a graphic designer. When the band took off, painting became a background for him to express his thoughts.

When asked about some of his best moments with the band, Shinoda points to the performance with Jay-Z and Paul McCartney at the 48th Grammy Awards show in 2006, which he describes as "a defining moment", as well as the three-hour concert that Linkin Park gave at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in October last year to pay tribute to Bennington.

When asked about the future of Linkin Park, Shinoda says that "there's no timeline", noting that he keeps in close touch with the other band members.

"I just think that there's a lot of blue sky, and I'm willing to take my time in investigating where the path may lead," he says. "It's more about the journey than the destination."

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[Why Chinese students flock to Britain for holiday learning]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666368.htm Summer camps offer welcome break from the heavy academic burden of students

On a warm summer day in the ancient, peaceful and hallowed English university city of Cambridge, a group of teenage Chinese students is hosting a charity barbecue lunch to raise funds for the East Anglia Children's Hospice.

Big smiles appear on their faces as they see weeks of preparation turn into a meaningful and enjoyable gathering, which also raised more than £1,000 ($1,300; 1,115 euros) for the charity they got together to support.

 

Students gather at a summer school in the UK. In recent years, overseas summer study camps have become very popular among Chinese students. Provided to China Daily

That scene took place in August last year at a summer camp hosted by the Cambridge Centre for Languages. The program, spanning a month, offered students intensive training in English and understanding of British culture. Daily academic lessons were balanced with fun activities including dancing, singing, sports and weekend trips to well-known UK attractions.

"We craft the program to give students an authentic glimpse into quintessential British culture, which is rich in history, arts, literature, technology and a lot more," says Laura Chen, principal of the center.

For Chinese students, such experience-based summer camps are a welcome break from their heavy academic burden and exam-results-driven classes at home. Many are also, for the first time, encountering tasks that enhance social skills, creativity and teamwork. Organizing a charity lunch is one such example.

Many Chinese students are away from home for the first time, and the experience of taking care of their own schedules, food, laundry and other life requirements in an unfamiliar country - while also being in a foreign-language environment - is quite a coming-of-age experience.

"The kids come home transformed," says Qian Jingjing, head teacher of the Wuhan Foreign Languages School in Hubei province, which sends secondary school children to Britain, the United States, Japan, France and Germany every year.

"Ninety percent of parents tell us that their children become more grateful for their parents' love and care. They realize that no matter how much their homestay parents love them, it is only their own parents who would bother to cook them a bowl of egg noodles in the middle of the night when they say they are hungry," Qian adds.

In recent years, overseas summer study camps have become very popular among Chinese students. In July and August, crowds of Chinese students gather at popular tourist attractions, including the British Museum, the Tower of London, the Palace of Westminster and the Globe Theatre.

Such a trend is perhaps not surprising, considering that the UK and US are the two most popular summer camp destinations, together hosting about 60 percent of outbound Chinese students, according to estimates by New Oriental Education & Technology Group.

On the surface, such summer school programs differ little from what British students receive in school during term time.

But in reality, such programs can be eye-opening experiences for Chinese students coming to the UK.

"For the first time in a long while, I felt that I could forget exam results and piles of homework. I loved sitting on the grass, looking at the sky and reflecting about life," says Wu Jiaming, a 14-year-old girl from Fujian province.

In drama class, she played Romeo in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and eventually discovered a passion for acting. "That was my first time trying out acting. It was such a magical experience. It allowed me to see the world from a different perspective," Wu says.

Han Yuxuan, a 15-year-old boy also from Fujian, says he learned to appreciate life's little surprises.

"One day, we received a little assignment, which tasked us with taking a picture together with someone from Cambridge. I approached the owner of a pop-up food stall outside Cambridge City Hall and asked in English if I could take a photo with him. He replied 'yes' in Chinese, and I was pleasantly surprised," Han says.

Han exchanged contacts with the pop-up store owner on WeChat, and the two friends still send each other greetings during such holidays as Spring Festival.

For students such as Wu and Han, such experiences are treasured memories in their journey to adulthood. Similar experiences are sure to be shared by many more Chinese students for years to come.

Chinese travel agency Ctrip forecasts that the number of overseas study trips made by Chinese students this year will reach about 1 million, and these trips will together trigger 30 billion yuan ($4.5 billion; 3.9 billion euros; £3.5 billion) in spending. This forecast represents a 50 percent rise on the number of overseas study trips last year.

Ctrip, which released these figures in April in its 2017-18 Study Tour Market Report, said China has 180 million students from kindergarten to high school, and about 5 percent of them are expected to take part in summer schools, domestically and internationally.

Ctrip forecasts that in three years 10 percent of these students will join summer camps.

Some summer camps are organized by Chinese secondary schools and universities for their students.

Others are hosted by third-party education organizations, such as New Oriental Education & Technology Group, EF Education and Pearson Global Study Tour.

Meanwhile, many niche players are also emerging in the market, offering tailor-made programs with the focus on music, drama and sports, among other trips.

Debrett's, the authority on British etiquette, runs a summer camp program focusing on teaching young children. The camp regularly attracts Chinese students.

UK-based CC Education runs an all-girl luxury camp in the English county of Hampshire, offering activities such as horse riding, cooking, painting, flower arrangement, dancing, music, arts and crafts.

CC Education is also launching a new program next year called Mum and Me to target Chinese and other Asian students who have limited experience of being away from home. The program allows mothers to enjoy their own activities, such as shopping, and to join their daughters after they finish class.

On average, an overseas summer camp trip costs about 29,000 yuan, significantly higher than the average cost of 4,200 yuan for a domestic study trip, according to Ctrip.

Wang Qingsu, a parent, says he feels overseas study trips are more attractive for parents who can afford to pay for them. His 11-year-old daughter Angela attended a UK summer camp last year.

"The trip allowed my daughter to improve her English, broaden her vision of the outside world, and develop an ambition to apply for university overseas later," Wang says.

Booming business opportunities, however, also create challenges. One big issue is the emergence of many different summer camps on the market, and many parents and students can be confused about which camp to pick.

Some camps are hosted by tour operators, meaning they are dominated by tourism experiences with few academic components.

"In China, this market is difficult to regulate. The existence of tourism-based study trips is not a problem because some students may prefer such trips. But these trips should not be marketed under the guise of learning-based camps," says Qian, head of the Wuhan Foreign Languages School.

Students signing up for British summer camps will find the market easier to navigate, as the British Council, a government agency, keeps a list of accredited summer schools, which it monitors regularly for quality.

Summer camps without official accreditation can still operate, but they have a harder task in convincing customers about their quality.

Most students return home with sweet memories and everlasting friendships, but some disappointments are unavoidable.

Zhang Shuji, a Shanghai University student who attended a summer camp hosted by King's College London, says she was disappointed when she realized her classes were not taught by the college's faculty members.

"I was slightly disappointed, because originally I wanted to interact with King's professors so I could gain a better understanding of whether I wanted to apply to this university for my master's degree," says Zhang.

"It was later that I realized our classes are taught by academics freelanced by the school to teach the summer program. In the end I didn't mind too much, because the teachers were very professional, too," she adds.

In most cases, summer school programs in the UK are not taught by the host institute's teachers, because these teachers take breaks in the summer during school holidays.

Another common complaint is the lack of flavor and diversity of British food.

"We ate potatoes almost every day in the school canteen, and I could hardly taste any flavor in the potatoes," says Fujian province student Wu Jiaming.

"In the last week of the camp, we really couldn't endure the boring food anymore, so we ended up going out to a Chinese restaurant every day."

cecily.liu@mail.chinadailyuk.com

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[Sins of 'the flesh']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666367.htm In the name of justice, vigilantes go online to punish miscreants - often with devastating real-life consequences

Police arrived at He Xingli's door ready to make an arrest. The married homeowner was accused of holding hostage a lost Corgi named Lion, and sending the dog's 21-year-old owner Xiao Wu demands for money, along with threats to eat the animal. When Xiao went to meet He, though, accompanied by reporters, the panicked woman had apparently thrown the dog to its death.

But the cops weren't coming for He. They were there for the six strangers who had just shown up at He's apartment in Chengdu to seek justice for Lion. "You human trash," one female activist had already sprayed on He's door. "Go die. Die already." She was detained for six days, according to Chengdu Business Daily.

 

He Xingli had fallen victim to China's unofficial, extrajudicial court of public opinion - the "human flesh search engine" (人肉搜索引擎, rén ròu sōu suǒ yǐn qíng). The strange term has existed since at least 2001, though it is only in the past decade that it has become a recognized phenomenon, certain to strike fear in the hearts of any Chinese whose misdeeds make their way online.

Put simply, the "flesh engine" is, to borrow from US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' term, a "high-tech lynch mob". Each day, there are thousands of attempts by web users to initiate searches; most fall on deaf ears, but others have ignited nationwide campaigns for justice, as well as online witch hunts. For while flesh searches certainly empower ordinary netizens, and have been successfully used to expose hundreds of notorious, corrupt or indecent individuals, critics say they are simply a form of vigilante justice that undermines China's judicial system.

The origins of the phenomenon are relatively innocent, dating to the halcyon pre-Weibo or WeChat days of the bulletin board, or BBS. Dominated by sites such as Mop.com (猫扑, māo pū) and Tianya.cn (天涯社区, tiān yá shè qū), BBS offered Reddit-style communities and conversations to a new class of young web users, or netizens (网民, wǎng mín). One Mop.com BBS, "the human-flesh search engine", allowed its members to crowd-source answers to questions - the somewhat alarming term is simply a literal English translation of 人肉搜索, meaning an offline search by a collective of human resources, or "flesh".

In 2001, when Mop's Q&A service (问答服务, wèn dá fú wù) was launched, the subjects were usually of a trivial or entertainment nature. In an early example of what was to come, though, one user posted a photograph of someone he claimed was his girlfriend. In fact, the "girlfriend" was actually a model, whose personal information was then posted on Mop to refute the user's boasts.

This innocent model, Chen Ziyao, was one of the first victims (受害者, shòu hài zhě) of the early engine. Soon, though, the technology would be applied to the guilty. In 2006, a user called "BrokenGlasses" posted a despairing message on Mop, attached to it an "inhuman" short film. "I have no interest in spreading this video," he wrote, "nor can I remain silent. I just hope justice can be done." The video showed a slim woman cradling a kitten by a riverbank; she then places the kitten on the ground and crushes the helpless creature under her high heels.

The response to BrokenGlasses' video was immediate and indignant: "Let's kick her to death, just like she did the kitten" was one of the most popular suggestions. Then Mop's army got down to business, starting with the task of tracking down the woman who would soon be known across China as the Hangzhou Kitten Killer.

Their first clue was a watermark that showed the video was the work of a Hangzhou-based fetish site, specializing in DVDs of women abusing small pets. Once the story was picked up a few days later by the mainstream media - a near universal phenomenon in the most popular flesh searches - the well-dressed woman was identified as Wang Jue, a 41-year-old woman from northeastern Heilongjiang province.

As Wang's contact details began appearing online, her response was initially defiant. "Suddenly hundreds of people are on my QQ and cursing me," she wrote. "What's the problem if I crush cats? It's a type of experience. You wouldn't understand." But as the growing fury spilled over into real life, Wang's life began to fall apart.

She published a mea culpa, blaming divorce and depression for why she agreed to film the animal abuse. Too late: Wang lost her "iron rice bowl" (铁饭碗, tiě fàn wǎn) job, which had come with a State pension and other lifelong privileges. It was then reported that she had fled her hometown (Wang has not been heard from since). Meanwhile, the cameraman was fired from a provincial television station, while Crushworld was eventually shut down.

The flesh engine had established itself, almost overnight, as a national phenomenon with a distinct agenda: to identify and shame alleged miscreants. No longer just a search by "flesh", but for flesh, the engine had become a mass-mobilized manhunt.

Song Zheng, managing editor of Tianya.cn, saw the flesh engine as a "natural" product of the digital age. "It's essentially a self-repair mechanism," he said in 2008. "Flesh searches act as a constraint to the loss of morality in the virtual world, like the 'viral antibody' dynamic in nature."

Yet major injustices have also been averted by the intervention of crusading netizens, most famously in the case of pedicurist Deng Yujiao, who fought off a pair of attempted rapists with a knife. Deng was initially charged with murder, despite acting in self-defense, but the flesh search kept the news cycle turning, and the public pressure grew until Deng was eventually given a suspended sentence and released.

Courtesy of The World of Chinese; www.theworldofchinese.com.cn

The World of Chinese

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[Ronaldo sees China's amazing soccer potential]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666366.htm Portuguese icon says children are the key to realizing national sporting dream

Global soccer megastar Cristiano Ronaldo expects China one day could very well produce a better player than himself.

"Give opportunities to the children because they are the future," Ronaldo said when asked what he thought of the nation's soccer dream ahead of taking part in a scrimmage at Beijing's Haidian Minzu Primary School on July 19.

 

From left: Cristiano Ronaldo takes a selfie with hundreds of Chinese fans during a branding event organized by sponsor Nike at Beijing's Solana shopping mall on July 19; five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo shows off his ball skills during a visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing. Provided to China Daily

 

"Open the doors for the kids, give them good facilities and good pitches in schools and everywhere. I hope one day to see a Chinese player like me or even better than me. It's not going to be easy, but it's possible."

Ronaldo's interaction with students during his two-day visit to the capital underlined his commitment to help raise soccer's profile among Chinese youth.

Born to an impoverished family on the Portuguese island of Madeira, Ronaldo defied long odds to reach the pinnacle of his sport - and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner never hesitates when it comes to helping facilitate the dreams of children coming from tough upbringings.

The Portuguese icon made the effort count in Hekou Primary School in northwestern China's Gansu province, where dozens of poor students formerly played with shabby soccer balls on a rough pitch hewn from the mountainous terrain.

With 2.9 million yuan ($433,000; 360,000 euros; £320,000 ) raised by auctioning 49 pairs of his signature soccer boots, Ronaldo helped transform the school's old playground into a sparkling new all-weather pitch covered with an eco-friendly artificial surface.

The fundraising was part of the charitable Active School initiative from Ronaldo's sponsor, Nike, which has brought him to China during the offseason two years in a row.

Although China has failed to qualify for the World Cup four consecutive times over the past 15 years, the nation is ambitiously rolling out a school soccer promotion plan aimed at introducing specialized physical education curriculums to 50,000 primary and secondary schools by 2025.

The lack of infrastructure and training expertise in some of the nation's remote areas poses some challenges, but such high-profile support from arguably the world's best player is strong enough to fight the odds.

Lyu Shaowu, a physical education teacher at Hekou Primary School, says meeting Ronaldo in the flesh was "a dream come true" and an inspiration to keep working at changing the lives of underprivileged kids through the power of sport.

"I feel like all the hard work teaching sports with poor facilities has paid off," Lyu says. "Although not seeing him play in person, our students are extremely happy to now have such a great facility, which they never dreamed of."

Boasting the star power of Ronaldo, homegrown Grand Slam tennis champ Li Na and Olympic gold medalist hurdler Liu Xiang, the Active Schools program is part of Nike's long-term partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Education to encourage more than two million children to embrace sports as an educational tool by providing facilities, tailor-made PE curriculums and training for teachers.

At a Sunday ceremony at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, 100 outstanding PE teachers across China were honored at the Active Schools Innovation Awards and received certificates from Li and Liu.

Hot on the heels of his world-shocking transfer from La Liga giant Real Madrid to Serie A side Juventus, Ronaldo's presence in Beijing was the icing on the cake.

From the airport to a downtown shopping mall and all points in between, he was cheered by fans from every corner of the country. In addition to signing jerseys and snapping selfies with the adoring crowds, Ronaldo showcased his ball skills during a visit to the Forbidden City.

"You should love what you do. I always love playing football and I love to make people happy," said the 33-year-old, who won four UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid and one with Manchester United.

"They want to see nice things and I want to make that happen."

sunxiaochen@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[The world through his eye]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663901.htm Twelve years after he first learned photography, Trey Ratcliff is today one of the most influential travel photographers in the world. The former programming engineer, who is blind in one eye, commands a massive following of over 16 million followers across all social media including Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest while his blog, Stuck In Customs, is viewed about 170,000 times daily.

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Famous photographer Trey Ratcliff might have a visual impairment, but he says this shortcoming has been more of a boon than impediment to his creative pursuits

Twelve years after he first learned photography, Trey Ratcliff is today one of the most influential travel photographers in the world. The former programming engineer, who is blind in one eye, commands a massive following of over 16 million followers across all social media including Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest while his blog, Stuck In Customs, is viewed about 170,000 times daily.

Currently based in Queenstown, New Zealand, the Texas native runs a million-dollar business by selling his artworks as exclusive prints which cost between $50,000 and $100,000 each.

Besides his unique post-processing techniques, Ratcliff is also known for his generosity when it comes to sharing for free how he edits his photos. The American is the developer of Aurora HDR, the winner of the Best Mac App in 2017.

In June, Ratcliff was in China as part of a world tour in partnership with luxury hotel Ritz - Carlton. During his stop in Shanghai, he shared his views on photography, editing, and his thoughts about China where he shot some of his most popular photos.

Among the four Chinese cities (Beijing, Tianjin, Chengdu and shanghai) you have visited, which one impressed you the most?

Photographically, Shanghai is my favorite. I really like all the buildings, and I also take lots of street photos of people. The people here are interesting, with crazy outfits and doing crazy things. I think when you are a photographer, you see things differently, like a vulture instead of a tourist.

Why do you say that being blind in one eye is a gift?

I call it a gift because I see the 3D world in a 2D way, which is exactly the way we are experiencing the world more and more, on our laptops and mobile screens. So that makes me very good at positioning things so that they make sense. When you look at a photo on a screen, it represents a 3D world in a 2D way, which means you have lost an entire dimension.

How do you decide which photo to post on your blog and social media platforms?

I don't do lots of things that are generally considered popular. I don't take food photos or selfies. I don't care if I don't get enough likes or comments. I have my own definition of interesting photos. It turns out that lots of people like my photos. I am glad they like them, but that's not the reason I do it. I mostly do it for myself. And I ind that if I am being pure and true to myself, other people can feel it. That may be one way to stand out in social media. There is an element of truth in there.

What's your definition of an interesting photo?

I think there are two reasons people take photos. The first is about showing off so that people might think they are cool and living a great life. I personally don't think that's a good reason to take photos.

I firmly believe that if you produce high-quality and unique content, and have a little bit of a voice, people will be drawn to your work. It's not about what is popular out there, but what you think is interesting.

You are famous for heavily editing your works, something that is controversial in the industry. What is your opinion about this?

I have mixed feelings about it. There should never be over-processing for areas such as journalism. As for fashion and beauty, too much processing might depress people. It gives the impression that you have to be beautiful to be valuable.

But if you are making art, "photoshopping" your images is acceptable because it's just one of your tools. It's a creative process. There is a saying that the use of artifice in your craft is noble.

Does it ever worry you that people might be disappointed when they realize the difference between your works and reality?

What I show is the potential in places, such as when the weather is good or when light is ideal. I think that's what real art does - it brings out the potential of places or people.

Was switching professions at 35 years old to become a full-time photographer a difficult decision to make?

I can see how it's a hard decision for many people. But not for me. I am the type of person who gets comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I didn't hate my life as a programmer. I made good money, had some decent friends, but there was always a little throb at the back of my head warning me that I was meant to do something greater in my life, though I didn't know what exactly.

I have always enjoyed creative stuff but I had never taken a photo. So I gave it a thought and bought an expensive camera while traveling in Kuala Lumpur. The photo was terrible, the worst photo ever. It made me wonder how a sunset can be so beautiful in real life and so ugly on my camera.

Then I put on my computer science hat, thinking of the photo as a bowl of data that I can manipulate. Then I sought to determine the differences between the camera sensor and the human retina.

I think I am a very romantic person, so I want my photos to look like this rich cinematic universe as well. I am still figuring it out. But that is my incentive - to make the photo as beautiful as my imagination of the world.

How did the partnership with Ritz-Carlton differ from your other globe-trotting experiences?

I am happy sleeping under a tree in a park. But the great thing about staying at the Ritz-Carlton is the people working here. They are so nice that it's like they wake up and take a happy pill. That's something I would like to have, cause I always want to make people happy.

What's your happy pill?

I don't take myself seriously at all. I have no ego, which is the greatest creative gift that anyone can give to themselves. When you stop taking yourself seriously or worrying about what everyone else is thinking about you, you have a quietness in your mind that levels out to a natural, happy state.

What's the next plan in your photography career?

I am opening a series of art galleries around the world, in Queenstown and probably in Shanghai. In a world where everything is digital, people may appreciate something that is real and rare.

xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Clockwise: A young couple has their wedding photo taken at the Bund in Shanghai. Water pipes belonging to different families are pictured above a toilet bowl. In old houses where there are communal toilets, residents are expected to lush using water that lows through their designated pipes. A night view of the Bund in Shanghai. Photos By Trey Ratcliff / For China Daily

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2018-07-28 07:17:16
<![CDATA[MISA festival kicks off in city]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663900.htm

A concert by the New York Philharmonic (NYP) under the baton of Jaap van Zweden marked the opening of this year's Music In the Summer Air (MISA) festival at Shanghai Symphony Hall on July 1.

Founded by Yu Long, the artistic director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO), MISA is a festival of classical music with a youthful twist. The festival program consists of 24 concerts that took place from July 1 to 16 at the Shanghai Symphony Hall and Urban Music Lawn. This year marks the ninth installment of the festival.

According to Liu Shuyun, a spokesperson with SSO, tickets of the opening concert were sold out five minutes after the box office opened last month, a reflection of the enthusiasm for the NYP.

This is the fourth year the NYP is the orchestra in residence at the MISA festival. The US symphony and the SSO have been collaborating in performances, education and management for almost 10 years.

Dutch conductor van Zweden is the 26th music director for the NYP, and this is his first time collaborating with the orchestra in Shanghai. Because of the stable partnership forged between the NYP and the SSO, coming to Shanghai "felt like a homecoming", said the 57-year-old conductor.

This year, NYP will put up four concerts at MISA as well as an open rehearsal with members of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, which is a joint project by the NYP, the SSO and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music since 2014. The opening concert program consisted of Leonard Bernstein's Serenade, featuring violinist Renaud Capucon, and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 5.

Founded in 1842, the NYP is one of the leading orchestras in the United States and is often referred to as the "Big Five". Bernstein, who was the music director of NYP from 1958 to 1969, brought a distinctive American characteristic to the company and eliminated the gap between classical and pop music.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Bernstein's birth, and the orchestra presented a memorial concert on July 6 featuring parts of Bernstein's most celebrated works, such as Candide, West Side Story and On the Town to honor his contributions.

On July 2, the orchestra joined hands with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and presented Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky. The US cellist played the piece during her debut when she was just 13. It has since become her most famous repertoire.

The third concert on July 3 featured Symphony No 5 by Beethoven and Sergei Prokoiev respectively.

During the festival, the Shanghai Symphony Hall had 5,000 katydids exhibited in the lobby. The SSO first introduced these singing grasshoppers to the MISA festival last year, hoping that the sound of these insects would evoke memories of a summer night.

]]> 2018-07-28 07:17:16 <![CDATA[Belt and Road Brand Expo showcases regional wares]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663899.htm

Exquisite products such as chalcedony from Madagascar, ebony carvings from Ghana and brands used by British royal families were featured at the recently concluded Belt and Road Brand Expo in Shanghai.

A platform for companies to explore China and the global market, the expo was held in Shanghai from June 29 to July 1.

Co-organized by the Shanghai branch of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the Chamber of International Commerce Shanghai, the event attracted more than 200 companies.

This year's event occupied an area of 15,000 square meters at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, and presented national specialties and folk culture products from 43 countries and the regions of Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The products and services featured at the exhibition included food and beverage, lifestyle, tourism and culture, sport and health, as well as investment and trade.

"We hope to export more products to the Chinese market, and also hope to have a closer relationship with China not only in trade but also in tourism and other sectors," said Ulugbekov Azizbek, consul of the Consulate General of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Shanghai.

Lin Hui, a Chinese representative for a French wine brand, said that the expo is a good platform that allows participants to enter the Chinese market.

"I want my compatriots to have the chance to taste the delicious, safe and cost-effective wine through the platform. Chinese people now have a higher acceptance of foreign products than before," he said.

The expo also featured cultural performances including traditional song and dance, and instrumental performances from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Serbia.

In addition, about 20 promotional roadshows and more than 130 trade interactions among exhibitors took place during the event, including crystal appreciation, food and wine tasting, and hand painting activities.

Ren Xiangyu, 18, said she visited the expo after reading an article on WeChat.

"I love these featured products from different countries and want them all, but some of them are not cheap," said Ren.

Shao Qiufang, 60, attended the event with her friends and bought Brazilian beef jerky and fruit jams from Bulgaria for about 300 yuan ($45). She said that people of her age were focusing on food and other daily products while younger people were more attracted by fashion products and handicrafts.

heqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-28 07:17:16
<![CDATA[Best bets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663898.htm

Dua Lipa 2018 Live in Shanghai

Date: Sept 12 - 8 pm

Venue: Shanghai National Exhibition & Convention Center

UK Superstar singer-songwriter Dua Lipa is bringing her much-anticipated debut tour to Guangzhou and Shanghai in September 2018. Dua is the No 1 most streamed female artist on Spotify and has just spent 8 weeks at No 1 in the UK this summer with her hit "One Kiss" - the most weeks at number one for a female artist this century. Born in London to Albanian parents from Kosovo, Dua Lipa attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School until she was 11, when she and her family moved back to Kosovo. Encouraged by her teacher, Lipa convinced her parents to let her move back to London when she was 15 to follow her aspirations to become a singer and songwriter. She recorded songs and covers, posted them on social media and was discovered by Lana Del Rey's management team, who recognized her incredible talent and signed her.

Escaping From the Temple

Date: Aug 18-19 - 7:30 pm

Venue: 1862 Theater, Shanghai

Escaping From the Temple was derived from two famous plays from Chinese Kunqu Operas: Longing For the Mundane and Going Down the Mountain. Zhao Liang presents the Kunqu Opera singing and dance performances simultaneously on the stage, featuring both the natural beauty of the former and the avant-garde dynamics of the latter. Such approach to incorporate "drama within drama" is very challenging. The role of the young nun is played by two people, among whom Dong Fei has been trained under the lineage of the great Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang. She will play the role of Empty and sing Kunqu alive on the stage. On a beautiful spring day, a young nun met a young monk and they fell in love with each other. Eventually, both of them left their temples and went down the mountain together. The ending is the climax of the story. However, is it an illusion of the young nun or a projection of the audiences for a "happy ending"?

The Night of Flamenco - Suite Sevilla by Ballet Nacional de Espana (Spanish National Ballet)

Date: Sept 27-29 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai International Dance Center

Ballet Nacional de Espana is one of the main cultural ambassadors of Spain to the world, with an understanding of how to preserve the interest for all the styles of Spanish dance throughout its history. The national ballet was founded by the Ministry of Culture in 1978, under the direction of Antonio Gades. Throughout the years, it has evolved to meet the times, interpreting highly diverse choreographies for flamenco, stylized Spanish dance or the Bolera School, among others. The institutions works excel in the coexistence of traditional and modern styles. The Spanish National Ballet also maintains an active commitment to education. The success of its performances has brought the ballet to interpret in the most prestigious theaters worldwide with emblematic works such as "Medea" by Jos�� Granero, "El Concierto de Aranjuez" by Pilar L��pez or "Fuenteovejuna" by Antonio Gades. Furthermore, the Spanish National Ballet is widely acclaimed by both critics and the public, obtaining numerous awards.

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

Date: Aug 16-25 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai Culture Square, Shanghai

Following the sold-out and critical success of The Red Shoes New Adventures returns with one of our most popular and beloved productions, Matthew Bourne's Cinderella - a thrilling and evocative love story, set in London during the World War II. Matthew Bourne's interpretation of the classic fairy tale has, at its heart, a true wartime romance. A chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz. With Lez Brotherston's sumptuous costumes and sets, which won an Olivier Award for his original designs, lighting by Olivier Award-winning Neil Austin and video and projection designed by Duncan McLean, Cinderella will be performed in Surround Sound, designed by Paul Groothuis and featuring a specially commissioned recording played by a 60 piece orchestra.

Mariah Carey: World Tour 2018 Live in Shanghai

Date: Oct 24 - 8 pm

Venue: Shanghai Expo Culture Center

Mariah Carey, the one and only best-selling female artist of all time, is coming to China to perform her number ones and more for her Chinese fans. Mariah Carey is the best-selling female artist of all time with more than 200 million albums sold to date and 18 Billboard Hot 100 No 1 singles (17 self-penned), more than any solo artist in history. Mariah is a singer/songwriter/producer recognized with multiple Grammy Awards, 21 American Music Awards, Billboard's "Artist of the Decade" Award, the World Music Award for "World's Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium," and BMI's "Icon Award" for her outstanding achievements in song writing, to name a few - with her distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific song writing, and producing talent, Mariah is truly the template of the modern pop performance. Mariah's ongoing impact has transcended the music industry to leave an indelible imprint upon the world at large.

Colin Currie Percussion Quartet

Date: Aug 24 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Hailed as "the world's finest and most daring percussionist", Colin Currie is a solo and chamber artist at the peak of his powers. Championing new music at the highest level, Currie is the soloist of choice for many of today's foremost composers and he performs regularly with the world's leading orchestras and conductors. A dynamic and adventurous soloist, Currie's commitment to commissioning and creating new music was recognized in 2015 by the Royal Philharmonic Society who awarded him the Instrumentalist Award. From his earliest years, Currie forged a pioneering path in creating new music for percussion, winning the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2000 and receiving a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2005. Currie has premiered works by composers such as Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, HK Gruber, James MacMillan, Anna Clyne, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Jennifer Higdon, Kalevi Aho, Rolf Wallin, Kurt Schwertsik, Alexander Goehr, Andrew Norman, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Julia Wolfe and Nico Muhly. Looking ahead, in the coming seasons Currie will premiere new works by Andy Akiho, Helen Grime and Simon Holt.

 

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2018-07-28 07:17:05
<![CDATA[A pancake with no-trump topping]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663897.htm

W.C. Fields said, "The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves." The first time I went to a movie in the United States, in Chicago in 1971, I remember only one thing: the constant background noise of people eating popcorn. That was something no one did in England, where I was born and lived until 1985. In bridge we have pancake hands - those with 4-3-3-3 distribution. They tend not to be good for suit play, because the losers stay losers forever. They are better either in no-trump or on defense.

With that hint, look at the North hand in today's deal. South opens two no-trump; what should North respond? With a pancake, do not use Stayman to hunt for a 4-4 spade fit; just raise to three no-trump. Against that contract, West will probably lead his fourth-highest heart seven. South can run that to the nine, giving him eight top tricks: one spade, three hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. By cashing the spade ace and playing another spade, South will shortly establish a ninth trick in spades. Give that declarer some popcorn! Suppose North does use Stayman, and South ends in four spades. West again leads the heart seven. What happens? If South wins with his heart nine, then tries to enter dummy with a heart, East ruffs. So South cashes the spade ace, then plays another spade. West wins two spade tricks and exits with a heart. South will be unable to avoid losing one trick in each minor to go down one.

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2018-07-28 07:17:05
<![CDATA[Shows]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663896.htm

Can't stop the feeling - Ball in the House - A Cappela

Date: July 29 - 3 pm

Venue: Guangzhou Opera House

Following in the path of classic harmony groups like Boyz II Men, The Temptations, and Take 6, while incorporating the pop and neo-soul influence of artists like Bruno Mars, Daft Punk, and Pharrell Williams, five member veteran vocal band, Ball in the House, will move audiences with their music. With their extensive tour schedule (averaging over 200 dates a year), Ball in the House reaches millions and is arguably one of the hardest working, most successful indie bands today. Over the years, they have performed with several artists including The Beach Boys, Gladys Knight, Kool & the Gang, KC & The Sunshine Band, Jessica Simpson, and Smokey Robinson. A review from the Boston Globe put it very succinctly - "Ball in the House has everything you would expect to find in a successful pop/rock band ... the one thing it doesn't have is instruments."

The Children Choir of Austria: The Sound of Music

Date: Aug 19 - 10:30 am

Venue: Shanghai Center Theater

The musical The Sound of Music tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun.

She falls in love with the children and their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria decide to flee from Austria with the children.

In the year 1966, when the Salzburger Musikschulwerk took measures to promote choirs, the teacher Hans Laimer started the "Kindersingschule Maxglan". The members came from the primary school for boys in Maxglan in Salzburg. On the occasion of the choir's first significant journey abroad, it was renamed "Salzburger Chorknaben". Some years later the school was also opened for girls and the choir boys followed this example and the choir was renamed "Salzburger Chorknaben und Chormaedchen" (Salzburger Boys Choir and Girls Choir).

Wolf Alice China Tour

Date: Aug 16 - 8:30 pm

Venue: Modernsky Lab Shanghai

An evocative North London alt-rock outfit led by vocalist Ellie Rowsell, Wolf Alice deftly mixes folk, grunge, and electronic elements with vintage '90s indie rock. Formed in 2010 by Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie, the duo issued an eponymous EP independently before expanding into a four-piece in 2012 with the addition of drummer Joel Amey and bassist Theo Ellis. The newly minted quartet released a flurry of singles before putting out a proper debut EP, Blush, in 2013. The EP garnered positive reviews, with some critics comparing the group to Elastica, Garbage, the Duke Spirit, and the Pixies. The band's sophomore EP, Creature Songs, followed in 2014. A pair of singles, "Giant Peach" and "Bros," arrived before the Mercury Prize-nominated full-length My Love Is Cool in June 2015.

Mermaid Theatre: Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny

Date: Aug 4-5 - 10:30 am/4:30 pm

Venue: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Goodnight Moon is a celebration of familiar nighttime rituals, while The Runaway Bunny's pretend tale of leaving home evokes reassuring responses from his loving mum. Both tales feature endearing rabbit characters, and the soothing rhythms of bunny banter and dream-like imagery never fail to infuse young readers with a reassuring sense of security. Mermaid's staged adaptation will bring a new sense of appreciation to stories that have delighted several generations.

More Than Love: Chinese Valentine's Day Concert

Date: Aug 16 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Beijing Concert Hall

Let us enter this season of love by enjoying a romantic classical music concert and instantly turn back the time. Specially elected Oscar-winning theme songs will be played together with nostalgic harmonies. Through their exquisite live performances, the Music Fans Classical (MFC) will play both popular and classic melodies. "More Than Love" is a moving story about pain and love. If you have ever loved, you have also lost. The beautifully melodic and innocent melody will flow gently from your ears into your heart. Often, when a familiar piece of music is played, unforgettable pictures will come to mind making people warm. French writer Proust said, "I want to know if music has ever been invented. Is it possible that music will become the only way for spiritual communication?"

D Lab Dance: Mirage

Date: July 28-29 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

When it comes to financing business, people tend to describe it as unfathomable. Financial practitioners seem to wear mysterious masks all the time. They perform wonders in the suit, just like the magicians. The advocates always keep curious and keen to see the truth. But who knows the real them underneath their gleaming appearances. Are they perverse and eccentric? Or are they only trying to look cheerful? The office has become a "battlefield" where they fight for every penny in the world of money. Sometimes they are very cautious, but sometimes they fight without any fear. When darkness fell, and battle was over, all the struggles seemed to be disappeared. There was only one sigh left. At this very moment, the victory doesn't matter anymore. On the choice of themes, D Lab challenges the "financial world", a field with an aura of "Elite" this time. The collision between this field and dance induces fantastic reveries, and the chemical reactions would happen between them based on marked disparity also make people more interested in.

Vienna Girls' Choir

Date: Aug 9 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

The Vienna Girls' Choir is a choir of girls who are between ten and fifteen years old. Formed in 2004 in Vienna, Austria, the choir is a part of the Wirth Music Academy. Gerald Wirth, the Artistic Director of the Vienna Boys' Choir, assists in the management of the girls' choir, which meets in the historic Josefsstockl on the grounds of the Vienna Boys' Choir, which was established in 1498. The choir performs traditional Austrian folk songs as well as traditional and contemporary pieces from many nations. In February 2007, the Vienna Girls' Choir traveled to India to perform with a children's choir from New Delhi. This was the premiere of the World Peace Choir. Ravi Shankar hosted the meeting with rehearsals at the Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts.

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2018-07-28 07:17:05
<![CDATA[Nightlife & Activities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663895.htm

WWE Live 2018 China in Shanghai

Date: Sept 1 - 7 pm

Venue: Shanghai Expo Culture Center

Fans will be able to see WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey make her in-ring debut in the country, as well as Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Finn Balor, Jinder Mahal, Matt Hardy, Bray Wyatt and many more. "We are excited to return to Shanghai, demonstrating WWE's commitment to our passionate and growing fan base in China," said Jay Li, Vice President & General Manager, WWE Greater China. "Fans can look forward to seeing an action-packed night of family-friendly entertainment that will create lifelong memories." WWE programming, including Raw and SmackDown, airs live on PP Sports every Tuesday and Wednesday. Fans can also subscribe to WWE Network on PP Sports which showcases WWE's monthly live events and groundbreaking original series, including NXT and 205 Live; reality shows, such as Total Divas; documentaries; and classic matches from WWE's storied history.

Stars on Ice World Class Figure Skating Show

Date: Sept 16 - 3 pm

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai

Stars on Ice, The most popular figure skating show in the world, was founded in 1986, USA. There are over 1500 shows played globally for 32 years. 14 world class athletes and more than 6 Olympic medalists participated in each performance, which with superb skating skill and artistic expression. Evgeni Plushenko, the most popular ice star in the world. Zhenya Medvedeva, the Russian figure skating goddess. Yuzuru Hanyu, the super figure skating star of Japan. Nathan Chen, the most talented American born Chinese, Chen Lu, Chinese first world champion, Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo, the first Olympic champion of pair in China, and Pang Qing/Tong Jian, the Chinese figure skating couple stars. They had been invited to show on the stage of Stars on Ice globally. To respect the 3rd anniversary on success of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The show of Shanghai will be specially set up for the Olympic classic programs, the stars will present the splendid Olympic classics they have shown.

The Alfredo Rodriguez Trio

Date: July 28 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Blue Note Beijing

The Little Dream, the title track of Cuban pianist and composer Alfredo Rodri guez's fourth studio album, gently builds into an uplifting statement - one that reflects the hope children hold in building a brighter future, where tiny dreams manifest into grandiose realities. There is no better example of this than Rodri guez's own personal journey: from his humble beginnings in Cuba to being discovered by Quincy Jones, ultimately leaving his family behind to immigrate to the United States and pursue his own dream. Rodri guez has become a Grammy-nominee with three critically acclaimed releases. Over the years, Rodri guez's worldwide tours have shaped his diverse global point of view. "I believe people are more similar than different. We live in a time where we have so many ways to inform ourselves, and yet some places - and people - choose to remain isolated. As a result, the world can lack peace and empathy, instead of showing unity and tolerance."

Kashmere China Tour 2018

Date: July 29 - 9 pm

Venue: Yuyintang Livehouse, Shanghai

Straight out of Stockport, England, Kashmere merges anthemic, stadium-sized indie rock, with a cut of melodic brooding synth pop to create their own unique form of sonic worth. Formed by Joey Newey and Andy Law, on vocals/guitar and drums, as well as lead guitarist Charlie Cole and bassist Freddie Hughes. The band gained recognition after long-awaited debut single "Blow Your Mind" springing the band into the limelight in the summer of 2016. Followed by a string of successful singles including 2017 festival favorite "Porcelain". Kashmere have made their mark on 2018 from the start with their epic and ridiculously catchy release "Codeine".

Abstraction as Painterly Rhetoric: A Case Study Between Germany and China

Date: July 28-Sept 2 - 10 am

Venue: PIFO New Art Gallery, Beijing

PIFO Gallery is delighted to present the annual exhibition Abstract Art already in its 11th iteration. This year the gallery brings together artists from China and Germany. Germany has an extraordinarily strong tradition in painterly abstraction, since its founding moment after 1945, leading up to the founding of documenta, Kassel and beyond. Consequently artists from Germany have been a source of reference for many Chinese artists. The highly influential artist Tan Ping studied in Germany in the early 1990. His paintings are juxtaposed with works by Bernard Schultze and Karl Fred Dahmen, who are to be found in all major museums and private collections in Germany. PIFO Gallery is proud to be the first gallery to present their paintings in China. In essence, the exhibition can be understood as a pilot of sorts for an ongoing investigation into abstraction as contemporary artistic practice on a global scale.

National Theater Live: The Leading Man Returns

Date: July 28 - 2 pm

Venue: Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

Following the Sing and Dance series, UCCA presents screenings of four National Theatre Live productions in July and August. Hamlet features Benedict Cumberbatch as the protagonist of Shakespeare's classic tragedy. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time has been hailed by The Times as "a phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle." The great playwright Arthur Miller confronts the American dream in the dark and passionate tale A View from the Bridge. The London National Theatre calls the National Theatre's production of the Follies "not only a triumph, but a transcendence."

Rap Battle Vol 7 Ft Ember Swift

Date: July 28 - 8 pm

Venue: Soi Baochao, Beijing

Ember Swift is a Canadian musician and songwriter who has released 12 albums and one DVD project since 1996 through her own independent label Few'll Ignite Sound. Her most recent album Sticks & Stones in 2017 is a collection of work in three categories: Songs for Adults, Songs for Kids, and finally Songs for Adults with Kids, a community she feels deserves some separate recognition. This new body of work culminated over the past five years since becoming a mother of two in 2012 and 2013, respectively. This is Ember's third release since moving to Beijing in 2008 and it demonstrates how music can serve as a bridge between the two divergent cultures. Fluent in Mandarin and French, Ember sings in all three languages, including English. With the inclusion of the Chinese traditional instrument erhu alongside of Western contemporary instruments, the performance and sound are both entertaining and unique.

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2018-07-28 07:17:05
<![CDATA[A TRIBUTE TO A LEGEND]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663894.htm Starting in August, a concert tour featuring Taiwan singers Chyi Yu and Michelle Pan Yueh-yun will make it rounds in the Chinese mainland.

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Two Taiwan singers to present songs with lyrics written by acclaimed late author Sanmao, Chen Nan reports

Starting in August, a concert tour featuring Taiwan singers Chyi Yu and Michelle Pan Yueh-yun will make it rounds in the Chinese mainland.

The concert, which commemorates the life of legendary writer Sanmao, will take place in Shanghai on Aug 11, Beijing on Aug 17 and Wuhan, Hubei province on Sept 8. It had taken place earlier in June at the Taipei Arena.

Born in Chongqing, Sanmao, whose real name is Chen Maoping, published dozens of books before committing suicide in 1991 at the age of 47. Her books include the 1976 bestseller Stories of the Sahara which talks about her experiences living in the Sahara with her Spanish husband Jose Maria Quero.

The writer had worked with Chyi and Pan to produce the lyrics to the songs in the 1985 album Echo. The album also gathered some of the best-known songwriters from Taiwan to compose the songs, including Jonathan Lee Chung-shan and Li Tai-Hsiang (1941-2014). It was the first original album produced by Taiwan record company Rock Records and it is one of the most popular albums released by the company.

Chyi, 60, withdrew from the limelight after releasing her last album Camel-Flying Bird-Fish in 1997. She has since been focusing on Buddhist music compilations instead.

"Pan called me to join the concert and I am very interested," says Chyi during a recent interview in Beijing. "I was one of the producers of the album Echo and the process of making the album was unforgettable."

The veteran singer, who rose to fame in the 1970s with her easy-listening songs and sweet voice, is one of the most famous singers of Taiwan and is credited as the one who started the trend of singing "campus folk songs". A self-confessed diehard fan of Sanmao, Chyi didn't meet the writer until the latter arrived in the Rock Records office to discuss about Echo. Sanmao had previously written Chyi's 1979 hit The Olive Tree.

Chyi and Pan also visited the writer at her home in Taiwan to listen to her personal stories and ideas about the lyrics for the album. One of Chyi's favorite photos was taken at Sanmao's home. The black-and-white photo depicts the three long-haired women sitting on a tatami mat with a set of giant bullock cart wheels leaning against the wall behind them.

"She was a mysterious woman before we met. She talked softly and sounded like a little girl. She liked Bohemian style," recalls Pan, 60, who is the first singer signed to Rock Records in 1980 and has released hits such as Blue Skies Everyday in 1982, Spring Comes For Wild Lilies Too in 1983 and Am I The One You Love Most in 1989.

Chyi says she would describe Sanmao as "an adventurous and brave woman" for she travelled around the world and her books "brought me to exotic places I had never been to".

As a producer for the album, Chyi adds that it was a bold idea to release an album based on the lyrics by such an acclaimed writer, and that it was a good example of how a record company could focus on art rather than appeal to the market.

"The album represents the golden era of the Taiwan music industry," Chyi says, adding that the name of the album was given by Sanmao herself.

Sanmao was said to have derived inspiration for the album title when she was watching an Indian movie while writing songs for the album. In that movie, a little girl was listening to the echo of a bell ringing in a temple. Sanmao's English name also happens to be Echo.

Chyi and Pan say that audiences of the concert will get to see handwritten letters and photos of Sanmao through the use of multimedia technology. Some of the conversations they shared with Sammao will also be heard as voiceovers during the concert.

"People can now listen to fantastic music on high quality and keep sounds in digital formats. But what we had back in 1985 was totally analog so the audience could listen to her voice in a very real and natural manner," Chyi says.

Chyi thinks that telling stories in new and immersive ways can be liberating for a concert. She reveals that she had to hold back her emotions while performing onstage because "so many memories flood back". She once cried during a rehearsal when she performed the song Don't Say Goodbye, which was written by Sanmao and Li Tai-Hsiang.

"I think many people, either readers of Sanmao or not, will love this theaterical space they enter - it's not quite like any other show," says Chyi.

"It's not only about music but also the life story of Sanmao. In that case, the audience comes in and watches something like a traditional story on stage told through music."

 

Taiwan singers Chyi Yu (right) and Michelle PanYueh-yun will tour Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhanfor a concert dedicated to late writer Sanmao in August. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-07-28 07:16:33
<![CDATA[Cartoon 'Teen Titans' goof across DC universe]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663893.htm

When it comes to superhero movies, there's a perception that you've got to choose between DC's gritty, dour offerings or Marvel's winking humor. But five cartoon wannabe heroes armed with fart jokes are trying to change that.

Warner Bros. has elevated its "B" level DC superheroes in Teen Titans Go! from basic cable to the big screen in hopes they can do what so many of its A-list films cannot - add a dose of surreal and goofy humor to its universe. Think of it like "Deadpool" for the middle school set.

Teen Titans Go! to the Movies might be aimed at fans of the manic and underrated Cartoon Network show but any parent who tags along will likely chortle as the film gleefully skewers the world of superheroes and the film industry itself.

Jokes take on Apocalypse Now, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Lion King. There's a scene when Shia LaBeouf gets beaten up and an appearance by Stan Lee, the Marvel icon, who, yes, makes fun of himself in a cameo in a DC film. This is a film that adores mocking itself: One of the original songs features Michael Bolton singing the exquisitely cheesy Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life that features colorful unicorns, dolphins and jet skis.

The film's central premise is mocking the endless supply of tights-and-cape wearing flicks out there. The Teen Titans - Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven - want one, too, but they're not considered famous enough to warrant their own franchise. So they band together to force Hollywood to take them seriously. "Having a movie is the only way to be seen as a real hero," intones Robin.

They decide they need an archnemesis to legitimize them and find one in Slade (a sort of DC version of Deadpool, which proves a rich vein of jokes). Part of the reason they decide on Slade is his name is "fun to say in a dramatic way". He's voiced by Will Arnett, who played Batman in the two LEGO movies, and is happy to break the fourth wall: "Don't you know anything about arch-villains?" he asks when he seems to be defeated. "We always have a backup plan."

Some of the other guest voices include talk show host Jimmy Kimmel as Batman, singer Halsey as Wonder Woman, rapper Lil Yachty as Green Lantern, actor Wil Wheaton as Flash, comedian Patton Oswalt as Atom, and actress Kristen Bell, as a film mogul. You'll also get to hear Nicolas Cage voice Superman - a role he famously almost played in a live action film in the late 1990s. But most of the celebs have very few lines so don't go just for the guests.

Do go for the world created by the writers and directors Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic and Peter Rida Michail, who have been collaborating on this screwball world since 2013, going from mocking Napoleon Bonaparte to the film A Few Good Men. Their transition to the big screen is admirable - taking a 22-minute TV show into an hour-and-a-half movie can't be easy - but it never lags.

The filmmakers are brimming with ideas, from explosive diarrhea jokes to time-travel montages accompanied by Huey Lewis & The News' Back in Time. They also supply some of the songs (but might not win any lyrical awards for rhyming "booty" with "movie"). And they're also not afraid to bite the hand that feeds them - much of the shenanigans take place on the Warner Bros. back lot.

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies is the sort of silly film you and your kids can both enjoy, a slice of pure escapist fare in these divisive days.

The kids will come away with life lessons - friendship is more important than fame, teamwork is always worth the effort - and the adults will laugh about watching Green Lantern admit that "we don't talk about" the disastrous Green Lantern movie - in a DC flick, at that.

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies, a Warner Bros. Pictures release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for "action and rude humor." Running time: 88 minutes. Three stars out of four.

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2018-07-28 07:16:33
<![CDATA[Urban Utopia]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663892.htm The creation of livable cities is increasingly about the holistic design of an innovative urban ecosystem that helps connect, activate and transform the city, its people and the environment for an improved quality of life. Building the cities of tomorrow is a work in progress, engaging with individuals, businesses and governments to co-create and codesign, with the ultimate aims of shaping and investing in a better shared future.

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Hong Kong's Knowledge of Design Week convenes a group of cultural influencers who are paving the way for the cities of tomorrow

The creation of livable cities is increasingly about the holistic design of an innovative urban ecosystem that helps connect, activate and transform the city, its people and the environment for an improved quality of life. Building the cities of tomorrow is a work in progress, engaging with individuals, businesses and governments to co-create and codesign, with the ultimate aims of shaping and investing in a better shared future.

"The way we live, work, and play is very different today than it was just a few decades ago, thanks to a network of connectivity that encompasses most people on the planet," explains Carlo Ratti, a director at the Senseable City Laboratory, a research initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is among a large group of luminaries speaking at this year's Knowledge of Design Week (KODW), which run in mid-June in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

"Today, we are at the beginning of a new technological revolution where the internet is entering the physical space - the traditional domain of architecture and design - and becoming an 'internet of things', or IoT," says Ratti. "As such, it is opening the door to a variety of applications that, in a similar way to what happened with the first wave of the internet, can encompass many domains: from energy to mobility, and from production to citizen participation."

Data is often referred to as the new oil, but does this mean there are vulnerabilities in terms of smart cities and sustainable designs for the future? Anne Kerr, the global head of urbanization for Mott MacDonald in Hong Kong, has specific concerns about data. "Who holds the data when designing a digital twin for a city or components thereof, and then who owns the data once the city infrastructure is built?" she asks. Should smart cities be open-source and available to all - will this drive better city designs for the future? Kerr believes these questions about the digital century will affect the development of sustainable and green city design.

Meanwhile, former lawyer Markus Shaw called for Hong Kong to have its politics aligned with the aspirations of its citizens, especially younger people, for a healthier and more inclusive city.

At KODW, he discussed urban planning, the need to reduce road traffic, and the measures needed to address obesity, mental health, pollution and climate change. And through the partial pedestrianization of Des Voeux Road Central, the Walk DVRC initiative (which Shaw chairs) maintains that a decaying Central can be revived and a sense of neighborhood regenerated - all of which will bring about economic gain, as well as create a place where Hong Kong's vibrant culture and heritage can be showcased.

Finally, David Yeung, an environmental advocate and the founder of Green Monday, a social venture that addresses healthy living and food insecurity, shared his views on the forces that are set to disrupt the industry and the opportunities for a livable future.

 

 

1 Tongva Park in Santa Monica, California was designed by James Corner, who spoke at KODW on June 13. Images: Images: Tim Street Porter (Tongva Park) 

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2018-07-28 07:15:12
<![CDATA[Vine Art]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663891.htm Pont des Arts, the acclaimed Hong Kong-based wine company, participated for the first time in Vinexpo Hong Kong. The company is the first high-end French wine brand to build a bridge between art and wine, Bordeaux and Burgundy, East and West, and collectors and newcomers. Pont des Arts connects the best from the art world - including artists such as Zao Wou-Ki, Yue Minjun, Miquel Barcelo and Yan Pei-Ming - and the wine world, with French wine experts such as Paul Pontallier and Etienne de Montille.

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Wine-and-spirits company Pont des Arts connects a creative trio of artists with its new limited-edition offerings

Pont des Arts, the acclaimed Hong Kong-based wine company, participated for the first time in Vinexpo Hong Kong. The company is the first high-end French wine brand to build a bridge between art and wine, Bordeaux and Burgundy, East and West, and collectors and newcomers. Pont des Arts connects the best from the art world - including artists such as Zao Wou-Ki, Yue Minjun, Miquel Barcelo and Yan Pei-Ming - and the wine world, with French wine experts such as Paul Pontallier and Etienne de Montille.

Pont des Arts aspires to merge the worlds of art and wine into a unique concept, bringing a limited-edition collection of wine and spirits to life, created in collaboration with world-renowned winemakers and artists.

Every Pont des Arts bottle is adorned with a carefully selected work of art, chosen together with the artist, to match the flavor profile of each wine. At Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018, the company presented an exclusive experiential booth for professionals and wine lovers, immersing visitors in the connected realms through a guided presentation of Pont des Arts' limited-edition collections and the latest releases.

The impressive portfolio featured a group of limited-edition items. On day one, it was a Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Abbaye de Morgeot" 2014 and a Corton Grand Cru "Les Marechaudes" 2014, with a label rendered by Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming called Wild Game: Second Way of the Tigers. Day two featured a 50-year-old Armagnac dubbed "Beyond Life", created in collaboration with Samalens and with a painted label by Zao Wou-ki. And finally, on day three, guests marveled at an 18-year-old single malt Japanese whisky created in collaboration with the Fuji Gotemba distillery, with a painted label by Marie-Laure Viebel.

All of this was a reminder of how seriously Pont des Arts takes its craft - a point not lost on any of those who have visited the company's Norman Foster-designed vineyard in France and the more-than-500-year-old house of Chateau Margaux.

China Daily

Lifetyle Premium

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2018-07-28 07:15:12
<![CDATA[VIETNAMESE DRAMA ARTISTS, FANS BEWITCHED BY CHINESE PLAYS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663890.htm

HANOI - Whenever curtains went down on the stage after each episode of The Wilderness, one of the most famous plays by Chinese playwright Cao Yu and performed by Vietnamese artists, the audience would clap their hands enthusiastically.

Cao Yu (1910-1996), one of the greatest playwrights of China, is best-known for such works as Thunderstorm (1933), Sunrise (1936), The Wilderness (1937) and Peking Man (1940).

Last Sunday night here in the Vietnamese capital, the Vietnamese adaption of The Wilderness made debut on the stage with a new name Kim Tu (Jinzi - the leading female character in the play), with the presence of officials from the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam, and audience from all walks of life.

"This is the first time Vietnamese people have known the Vietnamese version of The Wilderness by Cao Yu. Being professional drama artists, we cannot miss such a great work by Chinese playwright Cao Yu. We want to show that great work on our Vietnamese stage," Nguyen The Vinh, former director of the Vietnam National Drama Theater, told Xinhua after the play ended.

"We want the Vietnamese people to know about another famous play by Chinese famous playwright Cao Yu," Vinh said, noting that among the three most well-known plays by Cao Yu, namely Thunderstorm, Sunrise and The Wilderness, local audience have now enjoyed two adaptions.

"Vietnamese people know Thunderstorm some 30 years ago when the Vietnam Youth Theater made the Vietnamese version of it with the same name," he explained.

Works by Cao Yu in general and The Wilderness in particular have drawn great attention of both Vietnamese artists and audience due to their profound and humane content and stage performance.

"For me, the play is very meaningful. Watching the play, viewers can know how to live better, how to behave better in their families, sacrifice more and become less selfish," Lam Cuong, actor of the Vietnam National Drama Theater, who played Jiao Daxing in Kim Tu (The Wilderness), told Xinhua last Sunday.

One of Cuong's colleagues, actress Thu Ha, told Xinhua that she is deeply impressed by the family matters and ways of living raised by Cao Yu decades ago, but they remain relevant and meaningful in the present day.

Ha and Cuong's remarks were echoed by Kim Tu's director, Chua Soo Pong, a stage director from Singapore.

"The play of Cao Yu highlights the severe fight in people's mind and heart, so the audience can drawn valuable lessons for them," the Singaporean director told Xinhua in Chinese.

"With the Vietnamese adaption, we have added some Vietnamese elements in the clothing and dialogue, as well as focusing on the self-struggling and emotional contradictions of characters," stated the director.

Chua Soo Pong came to Vietnam and met Vietnamese famous actress Le Ngoc, founder of the Le Ngoc Drama Club, and they jointly developed the adaption of The Wilderness.

"When I made Thunderstorm, I was determined that I had to make the Vietnamese version of The Wildness at any cost ... When meeting Dr Chua Soo Pong, he advised me to make a great play which is influential. So I decided to make this play (Kim Tu)," said Le Ngoc, who played the mother of Jiao Daxing.

Efforts of the artists have borne fruits. After rehearsals and the first official show, many viewers remained in the theater to offer them flowers, talk to them and take photos.

"Before watching this play tonight, I had no information about it. But after watching it, I was really impressed. This is a play performed by Vietnamese people but it maintains many Chinese characteristics," said Nguyen The My, a specialist at Hanoi-based medical equipment company Vinamedical.

"This play helps the Vietnamese people, especially youths, have a new view about the Chinese culture. In the past, we mainly knew the Chinese culture through movies and songs. So this new view should be further developed," he added.

Like him, many Vietnamese artists and audiences said that Vietnam and China should beef up cultural exchanges and cooperation, especially in performing arts.

"To contribute to the cultural exchanges between Vietnam and China, we will bring this adaption to the China-ASEAN Drama Festival in China. And we also plan to bring this play to the Cao Yu International Theater Festival in China next year," said Nguyen The Vinh.

Regarding the drama festival in China, Le Ngoc said she has attended it five times and will make it sixth in September.

"I am deeply interested in the Chinese culture, especially television films. I have watched most of the Chinese television films, especially historical ones. I have been determined to make this play to serve the Vietnamese audience and I will bring this play to the world to spread its impact to the world," the actress said.

Nguyen The My suggested that delegations of artists of Vietnam and China should visit the respective country to perform works of both guest country and host country.

"Even artists of the two countries can jointly perform in the same play. I think this is a marvelous form of cooperation. After such performances and other cultural exchanges, the friendship between the people will be strengthened a lot," My said.

Xinhua

 

Vietnamese adaption of The Wilderness made debut on the stage in Hanoi with a new name Kim Tu. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-07-28 07:14:48
<![CDATA[Actress cultivates young talent at art camp]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663889.htm

TAIPEI - A renowned Taiwanese actress has been cultivating young talent at an art camp.

Sylvia Chang, 65, is in Taipei to promote the ten-year anniversary of the "Artistic Creation Camp" launched by the Gosh Foundation she helped found in 1988. At the camp, students learn acting, design, and other artistic skills. At the very end of the training, they put on a show for their parents and the public.

"I have always wanted to provide opportunities for underprivileged children with dreams of making it in the art field," Chang said. "They need a platform to chase their dreams."

Chang has won countless awards and accolades as an actress and a director, including best actress at the coveted Golden Horse Award in Taiwan and a nomination for a Golden Bear at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival.

In 1988, Chang, who had declared that she would never do any commercials, was persuaded by a friend to make one for sanitary pads developed by the friend's company.

"My friend said that if I made the commercial, he could arrange a foundation to help young people, so I made an exception," she recalled. "With the money from the commercial, we created the Gosh Foundation." Gosh was translated from the pronunciation of the Chinese phrase guo shi, or fruit.

Chang said that, at first, she did not know what the foundation could do to help people, so she started by repairing old films, publishing books about deceased artists and building libraries, things that made her feel she was doing something for art. Meanwhile, she was trying to find ways to help young people willing to enter the art circle but not financially able to.

"I remember in the early days, information about AIDS was starting to get attention in Taiwan, so we decided to do a competition among art students," she said. "We called on college students to make designs about AIDS information, and the winner would receive professional advice and have their designs shown via various media forms."

For the first 20 years, the budget was tight, and Chang regularly poured money from her commercials, acting gigs, and public speaking events into her project. As her influence grew, more people took notice and many started donating money to the foundation. Many stars, including Andy Lau and Maggie Cheung, gave a helping hand by promoting the foundation's activities.

In 2008, Chang cooperated with an art university in Taipei to launch the Artistic Creation Camp. Professional coaches were recruited to help underprivileged students study acting and design. The theme of the first camp was "Listen to My Story".

"I thought the theme was quite vague, so for the second year, I decided to gave them a more detailed and interesting topic: tomatoes," she said. "I even took the students to a tomato farm and asked them to taste every kind of dish made with tomatoes." Chang said that she wanted the students to learn that "art comes from daily life."

"I hoped they could create something interesting from their personal observations and their experience with tomatoes," she said.

So far, her camp has had more than 300 students, many of whom are already working in artistic fields or in other walks of life.

"Many of them often come back to the camp to help, either designing the activities or coaching new students," Chang said. "It is a very sweet thing."

Chang hopes that the camp will help more people follow their dreams in the art field.

"I hope that in the future more people will join us in the event so that young people can truly taste the sweet 'fruit' of their efforts, as the name of our foundation indicates," she said.

Xinhua

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2018-07-28 07:14:48
<![CDATA[Chifeng aims to lure more self-drive tourists]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663888.htm

Chifeng in Inner Mongolia aims to lift its profile as a tourism destination by hosting international events, says Yang Guang, vice-director of the local commission of tourism development.

On July 14, more than 600 travelers departed from a square in the downtown of Chifeng to take part in the city's second self-drive festival - a four-day trip to stone forests, lakes, water-meadows and grasslands using bikes, motorcycles, automobiles and recreational vehicles.

Wang Yongsheng, 47, a Beijing motorcyclist says self-driving tours are a practical way to travel on the vast expanse of grassland. And that this allows him to fully enjoy the special landscape of Inner Mongolia. He adds that it is relatively safe to travel with such a big group.

The past year has witnessed 50 self-drive clubs organizing group tours to Chifeng.

And Over 60 percent of the 9.4 million tourists to the area in the first half of this year chose self-drive tours, according to the local tourism bureau.

That's why the local government is sparing no effort to develop the city into a resort for self-drive travelers.

Besides the increasing popularity of self-drive tours, RVs capable of accommodating a family are also finding favor.

Wu Xianglin, 57, joined an RV-share platform in May and later drove to Ordos, Beijing, Shanxi and Shandong provinces with her husband.

"Nowadays, traveling by trains or planes is not novel, so we are eager to get some other experiences," says the Baotou native.

"With an RV, we can sleep and cook in the vehicle, so there's no need to waste time and money on restaurants and hotels during the trip.

"Also, China has abundant tourism resources for us to explore, which is perfect for RV tours."

Wu also says that the platform has 2,800 RVs across the country and travelers can rent one for 1,000 yuan per day.

"To purchase an RV may not be feasible for many families, but sharing one is affordable," she says.

Shi Yongjun, a RV seller in Chifeng says that local people seldom get chance to use RVs. So, the self-drive festival is a good way for them to be exposed to this mode of travel.

"Last year, we sold over 10 RVs in Chifeng, and most of the buyers were middle-aged people who have money and time on their hands." says Shi, an RV enthusiast who drives to Hainan province every November for an annual RV exhibition.

"Hainan has constructed advanced camping sites for RV travelers which is lacking in Chifeng, says Shi.

"I hope enough camping sites and parking space can be built for this emerging form of transport in China."

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2018-07-28 07:14:48
<![CDATA[READING THE FUTURE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/27/content_36657926.htm In the past 20 years, Shenzhen has continuously been the top buyer of books in the country in terms of the annual amount of books bought per capita, the city's Party chief, Wang Weizhong, said at the opening ceremony of the 28th National Book Expo on July 19.

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The National Book Expo recently returned to Shenzhen after a gap of around 20 years, rekindling memories, Mei Jia reports.

In the past 20 years, Shenzhen has continuously been the top buyer of books in the country in terms of the annual amount of books bought per capita, the city's Party chief, Wang Weizhong, said at the opening ceremony of the 28th National Book Expo on July 19.

In 1996, when the 7th National Book Expo was held in the city, people flocked to buy books and the venue got so crowded that it had to be closed. And an old photo shows the glass door of the venue with a poster which says "Please come tomorrow" even as the crowd lingered on, unwilling to leave.

Veteran publishers remember that year's session as a very successful one.

After that, Shenzhen became the first Chinese city to hold Reading Month events to promote reading, leading the way for other cities.

The recent four-day event featured more than 800 publishers, 1 million copies of books and 427 events, including the China Publishing Group Corp's Readers Conference with writers like Cao Wenxuan and Lu Nei, as well as Hong Kong-based designer and writer Ouyang Yingji in attendance.

The expo attracted 450,000 visitors and saw retail business totaling 81 million yuan ($11.97 million) as it became the first national book expo to sell books directly to visitors.

At the expo, readers were seen paying with their smart phones. And a prototype of a smart bookstore was showcased.

The smart bookstore comes in many sizes that can be customized, and it's unmanned, says a staff member from the Shenzhen Publication and Distribution Group.

Zhuang Rongwen, director of the State Administration of Press and Publication, says: "The main site of the expo was turned into a grand reading room of some 50,000 square meters.

"And the expo is a vivid example of how far we've come and how successful we have become in the past 40 years."

Zhuang also spoke about innovation and integration in publishing with regard to content, channels, platforms and management. Now it's common to see some of the new titles released in print, digital and audio versions.

"But content is the core, and it is where the competitiveness in publishing really lies," he says.

Meanwhile, besides the new developments, the expo also focused on traditional books.

Book designer Zhang Xiaodong from the Begonia Season Bookmaking Studio showcased an ancient book-binding technique and exhibited his work in the main hall of the expo.

"It (the technique) is called dragon-scale binding. And we lost track of it for many years until we saw it in one book stored in the Palace Museum," says Zhang, adding he and his team spent three years to make all the 217 pages of Diamond Sutra flow and dance like a dragon.

Contact the writer at meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Kong Dongmei, late chairman Mao Zedong's granddaughter, presents at the Shenzhen expo for the release of her book, Mao Zedong Mottos. The cartoon character Kumamon promotes books at China Citic Press' stall. Photos By Mei Jia / China Daily and provided to China Daily

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2018-07-27 07:29:46
<![CDATA[Some titles at the event]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/27/content_36657925.htm The Liang jiahe Village

The book is about President Xi Jinping's years in the village in Shaanxi province where the 15-year-old lived and worked with the villagers.

The publisher says the book is a result of more than 20 trips to Liangjiahe, and 45 revisions of the draft, based on interviews and files from archives.

Yan Xiaohong, a senior publishing official, says he discovered how Xi walked to neighboring Sichuan province to learn how to build a marsh-gas tank.

The book has 40 photos, and has sold 3.5 million copies since its launch in May. An English version will be released soon.

China's 40 Years of Reform and Opening-up

The China Party History Press has launched a new series of seven volumes on the country's economy, politics, culture, society, international relations and Party building during the 40 years of reform and opening-up.

Yang Fengcheng, a professor with Renmin University, says that, besides the achievements, the authors also look at the problems the country faces.

The book is a historical narration from many witnesses, says Yang. All material is from files that have been made public.

Let's Read: For the Rural Libraries in the Mountains and Fields

Zhang Shusen gives up a doctor's job to stay in his hometown, a village deep in the grassland in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, to manage a small reading house.

Han Xieyu, a 12-year-old boy who uses a wheelchair, finds escape in the books he borrows from his village library.

Writers Li Donghua and Xu Lu feature 17 stories like this about people whose everyday lives are brightened by 587,000 rural libraries in the country.

Xu Zechen Novellas and Stories

Xu Zechen, who was born in 1978 - the year when the reform and opening-up began - is a representative writer of his generation. And the 35 stories in his three-volume collection record his writing career of 21 years.

"A great work is the one that focuses on core emotions and problems of a certain era with core language," says Xu, adding he finds his "hometown", "Beijing" and "the world" are three of his major channels to explore the core literature of the time.

Where's My Home

The book - about penguins and global warming - uses a technology that is typically not used in printed books.

The Penguin Frozen Book is printed with a type of special ink that melts and disappears when the temperature is more than 20 C.

A touch can change the color on the book. And the interaction reminds readers - children and adults - about the environment.

The Chinese book has caught the attention of foreign publishers.

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2018-07-27 07:29:46
<![CDATA[SOMETHING TO CHEW ON]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/27/content_36657924.htm When it comes to street food in China, chuan'er (kebab-like snacks) are among the most common.

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A documentary series looks at one of China's most popular street snacks. Li Yingxue reports.

When it comes to street food in China, chuan'er (kebab-like snacks) are among the most common.

As a popular snack among young people, chuan'er can be made using a variety of ingredients like meats, vegetables and tofu. And even though for most people the most delicious chuan'er stall is usually just around the corner, a newly released documentary on chuan'er leads its viewers a bit further.

Chen Yingjie, the chief director of The Story of Chuan'er, has visited more than 500 chuan'er eateries with his team and shot thousands of hours of video.

But only 30 of the restaurants were selected for six 30-minute episodes of the documentary, which is now being broadcast on videostreaming site Bilibili, with one episode being put out each Wednesday.

All the episodes are already online: Meat: We Love More; Darker Than Night; Have Some Antidote; Teeth Rebellion; Gnaw & Bone; and Barbeque Pilgrimage.

According to Wang Hailong, the main producer of the documentary, the episodes are about meat, vegetables, chewy chuan'er, bones and stories of chuan'er chefs.

"It took a lot discussion for us to decide the topics of each episode, as chuan'er in each place in China has its own characteristics, and we wanted each episode to be rich with different flavors," says Wang.

"The documentary is also about the way to order when you have a meal at night with your friends.

"Chuan'er is a food in our daily life, and many probably think that there should already be documentaries about it, but there are none. Maybe this is because it's only a small snack, or it's just too common."

For Wang, chuan'er is related to time - it's vanishing as urbanization swallows the chuan'er culture.

Of the 500 chuan'er restaurants Chen's team visited, nearly half of them are closed or moving to other locations.

"It (the documentary) offers happy memories for those born in the 1980s and '90s, and even the 2000s in China, no matter where you are from," says Wang.

"But we may not have the chance to enjoy it (this food) in the future."

When Chen and his team did their research, they eliminated all the fancy outlets.

Chen started to explore chuan'er in January of 2017 with his wife and 6-year-old son.

"Our first stop was Huludao, Liaoning province, where we met a chuan'er bar owner who told us about the secrets of barbeque," says Chen.

He has not put this story in the documentary, but is planning to do so in season two.

"Without them (his family), many chuan'er bar owners would think I'm a fraud because they would not believe that people would come and film them.

"They were never paid attention to or interviewed by filmmakers before."

Zhang Yueming, the producer and director of the third episode, gained a lot of weight after exploring and filming all the chuan'er restaurants. So did all the other directors and camera people.

The most difficult thing for camera people working on the documentary was capturing the smoke, light and fire.

Each day, Zhang and his team would start to film after sunset and finish at midnight or even later.

"We did not interrupt the business," says Zhang.

The documentary focuses on chuan'er eateries across China except Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Jiangxi province.

"We didn't film in major cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, as we wanted to focus on chuan'er flavors that are hidden in small villages," Wang says.

The voice in the documentary is another feature of the film worth noting, says Wang.

"We wanted the voice to feel like a chat on your balcony, or when you are eating outside at a chuan'er bar."

The episodes have been watched around 20 million times on Bilibili, receiving 400,000 danmu (bullet-words), or short live comments.

For Chen and his team, reading the danmu is a new way to communicate with viewers.

"Unlike TV broadcasts where you receive feedback long after it's released, danmu gives us immediate reviews," Chen says.

Chen also says that viewers on live-streaming sites often watch the same video over and over again, which means that they often pick up on things they may have missed earlier.

Wang believes documentaries shown on live-streaming sites enjoy advantages.

And he says producers in the future will have to do just 80 percent of the work with the rest done by the viewers.

"They will dig up the content that you do not put in the films, which is a new concept for producing."

Contact the writer at liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A popular snack among young people, chuan'er can be made using a variety of ingredients like meats, vegetables and tofu.

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2018-07-27 07:29:46
<![CDATA[Stunning stunts]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/26/content_36649183.htm Jackie Chan's annual film festival recently concluded in Datong with a Chinese action hit topping the awards, Xu Fan reports.

Top Chinese actor Jackie Chan, who has performed perilous scenes in more than 200 films over the past four decades, entertained his guests with stunts at a recent film event he has founded.

At the closing ceremony of the International Jackie Chan Action Movie Week held in Datong, Shanxi province, on Sunday, the 64-year-old superstar used a rope to alight from a helicopter that was hovering around 70 meters above the ground, thrilling his audience. The annual festival, in its fourth edition this year, was held in Shanghai for the past three years.

 

From top: Jackie Chan waves to fans at the closing ceremony of fourth annual International Jackie Chan Action Movie Week; Chan with stunt performers at the movie week; Chan recalls his early years of struggle as a stuntman during a forum in Datong; Operation Red Sea's actress Jiang Luxia (second left) and Dangal's actress Fatima Sana Shaikh (center) jointly win the best action actress award at the movie event. Photos Provided to China Daily and by Feng Yongbin / China Daily

This year's event screened a dozen action blockbusters and honored industry talent.

For Chan, who ranked 59th on US magazine Forbes' 2018 highest-paid celebrity list, the festival is a recognition of stunt performers in the movie business. Chan, who's also a martial arts expert, began his film career as a stuntman in Hong Kong in the early 1970s. He wasn't paid much at the start, but the action scenes that included a lot of jumping, rolling and falling were risky.

"I was once slammed down hard against a cement floor, six times in a week. Every day I clenched my teeth to stand up. I was paid just HK$5 ($0.64) a day," Chan told his audience in Datong.

Chan has had a successful career, from the golden era of Hong Kong martial arts films to his foray into Hollywood and through more recent years when he switched to the Chinese mainland market. But most others in the field have not achieved similar success. The work of stunt performers and action stand-ins is undervalued, he says.

With the festival, Chan is using his star power to bring more attention to such actors and actresses.

"It's (the festival) still young, but I hope it will enjoy a popularity similar to some top events such as the Hong Kong Film Awards in the future," he told reporters on the sidelines of the action movie week in Datong.

Chan has an event to raise public awareness about environmental protection and at least seven new films on his busy schedule. "I don't dare to sleep. I have so many things to do."

Aside from an expansion in scale and size, the festival he founded has gathered more celebrities. Presided over by Hong Kong filmmaker Ng See-Yuen, the seven-member jury includes Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, Chinese mainland director Lu Chuan, actor Huang Xiaoming and actress Bai Baihe.

Operation Red Sea, an action-packed blockbuster based on the Chinese navy's real evacuation of more than 800 people from Yemen during a civil war in 2015, was the top winner in Datong, with awards for the best picture, stunts and actress.

The award for the best actor was given jointly to Wu Jing and Duan Yihong for the crime thriller Explosion. Wu also got the best action director award for Wolf Warriors II.

The best actress award was also given jointly to Jiang Luxia for Operation Red Sea and Indian actress Fatima Sana Shaikh for the Hindi film Dangal, based on the real-life story of a wrestler and his daughters, which was a hit in China.

During the festival week, Chan visited some underdeveloped areas in rural Datong to promote local products. He says he was among an early group of top celebrities to launch a campaign targeting poverty alleviation. The Chinese government is aiming to eliminate absolute poverty by 2020.

The festival saw many industry insiders, film scholars and critics discuss the future of Chinese action movies, which are among the most popular Chinese cultural exports in the modern world.

"Action is one of the most influential genres in the history of Chinese cinema. Superstars such as Bruce Lee and Chan have made 'kung fu' a buzzword across the world," says Li Wei, president of 1905.com, the site of China Central Television's movie channel and a major sponsor of the film festival.

The highest-grossing Chinese films in North America are still martial arts titles, such as Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Zhang Yimou's Hero (2002) and Fearless (2006), starring Jet Li.

Still, the genre has struggled in recent years and needs better storytelling for today's audience, says Yin Hong, a professor of Tsinghua University.

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-26 07:34:52
<![CDATA[Grave Robbers 'Chronicles' sequel released to fanfare]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/26/content_36649182.htm As one of China's top-earning authors, Xu Lei - perhaps better known by his pen name, Nanpai Sanshu - recently revealed his bestselling tomb-raiding franchise will expand to a new generation of teen adventurers.

This is reflected in The Sea of Sand, a sequel series to Grave Robbers' Chronicles, the ninebook collection centering on the underground adventures of Wu Xie, the descendant of a mysterious family of grave robbers, and his best friends.

The Grave Robbers' Chronicles books have sold more than 12 million copies and have been adapted into a star-studded movie and two highly rated series, paving the way for their creator, Xu, to evolve from a popular writer into a successful businessman.

With his own company, NP Entertainment, as one of the producers, the 55-episode online series, The Sea of Sand, debuted on Tencent Video last week, accumulating 70 million clicks within five minutes of being uploaded.

The other producers include Penguin Pictures, Tencent's online TV and film producing arm, and Shanghai Shili Film and Television Production Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the TV drama production and distribution company, Ciwen Media Group Co Ltd.

The series picks up a decade after the end of Grave Robbers' Chronicles. In this fantastic new story, set in a fictional northern Chinese city, high-school student Li Cu is drawn into a series of mysterious incidents originating at a mausoleum in the Inner Mongolian autonomous region's barren desert. Teaming up with his two teenage friends and a female doctor, Li discovers he is the key to solving a thrilling conspiracy.

Wu, the protagonist of Grave Robbers' Chronicles, is no longer a lead character, but still remains a key figure in the story, as his family is one of the fictional nine clans that have dominated the tomb-raiding business for centuries.

But for Xu, who also wrote the script and acts as executive producer of The Sea of Sand, the new series marks his effort to seek a change.

"I've written nearly 10 books for the nine clans in the Grave Robbers' Chronicles franchise, which have been adapted into several on-screen productions. New adventures need new heroes, who will be more appealing to audiences," explains Xu during a recent promotional event in Beijing.

Unlike the old generations who view tomb raiding as a family business, this new group are protectors of ancient treasures, adds Xu.

Wu Lei, a rising star who shot to fame in the hit period drama Nirvana in Fire, headlines the cast in the role of Li, while actor Qin Hao, known for his performance in the Berlin International Film Festival's Silver Bear-winning Blind Massage, stars as the veteran grave robber, Wu.

Speaking about the two characters' mentor-student relationship, Qin says it's like a Chinese version of the relationship between Colin Firth's agent Galahad and Taron Egerton's "Eggsy" in the British espionage-action comedy, Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The cast also includes pop stars Yang Rong, Ji Chen and Zhang Ming'en, as well as veterans Liang Tian, Yao Lu and Yu Hewei.

Bai Yicong, one of the producers, reveals that the series has a big budget in order to recreate some of the fantastical creatures - such as a mystical black-haired snake that can transfer the memories of people from the past to characters in the present, or some human-eating trees - as well as the spectacular desert scenery described in the original books.

The series was shot in the Ningxia Hui, Inner Mongolia and Tibet autonomous regions, and Jiangsu province.

"The biggest challenge was filming in the desert," recalls Bai. "Every reshoot required the sweeping of footprints to make the sand look untouched."

As of Tuesday, The Sea of Sand had obtained 6.8 points out of 10 on the popular review site Douban, which is higher than all the previous titles adapted from Xu's franchise.

xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-26 07:34:52
<![CDATA[Hark back to the old days with Dee]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/26/content_36649181.htm Known for decades as the master of the visual feast, maverick director Tsui Hark is returning to our screens with his take on 7th-century China as the backdrop for his latest Detective Dee epic.

As the third installment of the franchise about the titular sleuth, Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings will hit Chinese theaters on Friday.

Something akin to the Chinese version of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, the role of Dee has been reprised by Taiwan actor Mark Chao, who faces off unprecedentedly powerful rivals in the new extravaganza.

Picking up from where Rise of the Sea Dragon left off, Tang emperor Li Zhi presents Dee with the dragon-taming mace, a token of supreme supervisory power that gives its owner the power to fend off anyone who covets the throne.

Regarding the gift as a threat to her ambitions to become the country's top ruler, the emperor's wife, Wu Zetian, assigns her top aide and a team of five sorcerers to steal the mace. But what instead unfolds is an even more thrilling conspiracy about an exiled rebel force from India which is plotting to take over the Tang empire. Wu is again played by award-winning actress Carina Lau.

The major characters are loosely based on real historical figures. Wu was China's first and only empress who reigned around 1,300 years ago, and Dee (Di in Mandarin - but Dee in English as per Dutch writer Robert van Gulik's 1940s book Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee which was translated from an ancient Chinese novel) was a well-known politician revered by the empress.

But being faithful to history has never been a goal for Hark, who is famous for reshaping Chinese martial arts films since the late 1970s through his use of fantasy scenes set in ancient China.

From his directorial debut The Butterfly Murders to Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, the first Chinese Imax 3D movie, up to his recent blockbuster Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, Hark has established his status as an iconic figure behind the rise of lavish homegrown special-effects-driven films - a sector that Chinese filmmakers have long hoped to shrink the gap with the world's top movie player, Hollywood.

"As a filmmaker, I always hope to bring something new to the audience," says Hark, during a recent interview.

Speaking about his formula to entertain and excite the audience with the 8-year-old Detective Dee franchise, Hark says he has tried to seek inspiration from some yet-to-be-explained mysteries from ancient times.

In the movie, the masters of the exiled rebel force have a host of magic tricks at their disposal to create complex illusions, such as making victims believe they are seeing a sculpture of a dragon come alive or being besieged by giant monsters.

"People might wonder what would happen if the monsters from the Godzilla or Jurassic films could coexist with us in our world," Hark says of his inspiration behind the monsters and supernatural creatures in his movie.

Aside from the protagonists, the cast also includes Feng Shaofeng starring as empress Wu's top aide, Lin Gengxin playing a doctor, Ma Sichun as a swordswoman, while the tale's mysterious hero is a Buddhist monk played by Taiwan actor Ethan Juan - who summons a gargantuan white-haired gorilla to ultimately solve the crisis.

In one of the most dazzling scenes in the film, the monk rides on the gorilla to fight a multi-eyed avatar of one of the four heavenly kings from the film's title on top of a building housing the Tang empire's top judicial body.

"There are many weird creatures on the planet. For me it makes sense to have these creatures in my movie," explains Hark, adding that some of the monsters in the film symbolize the darkness of humanity.

In the tale, Detective Dee's most difficult mission is not to find the criminals, but to survive the deadly suspicions of empress Wu and the bloody conflicts arising from her power struggle.

But one of the biggest challenges on the other side of the big screen is undoubtedly the fast-evolving Chinese market and the developing tastes of the domestic audience, who is becoming pickier amid the flood of increasingly diverse viewing options.

The world's second-largest movie market has an annual output of nearly 800 feature-length films, but it is widely reported that only 10 percent of them turn a profit.

"I love making films and I also love watching films. I often think like a viewer. I believe an interesting, cool story will always be fancied by audiences," Hark adds.

xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-26 07:34:52
<![CDATA[Laying paths for villages]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/25/content_36642391.htm Students from many countries participate in the 2018 Youth Innovation Competition on Global Governance in Shanghai, and share their ideas on sustainable development, Xu Xiaomin reports.

With the rapid progress of urbanization globally, rural life is becoming increasingly foreign to many young people.

According to the UN World Urbanization Prospects 2018 report, 68 percent of the global population will reside in cities in 2050, a big jump from the current 55 percent.

In light of such circumstances, 73 students from 44 countries gathered in Shanghai earlier this month for the 2018 Youth Innovation Competition on Global Governance, where they shared their ideas on sustainable development in rural areas.

Organized by the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University and sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme in China, the week-long annual event - it was launched in 2007 by Fudan - is a platform for youngsters from various countries to discuss pressing global issues and how the world can tackle the challenges.

This year, the competition took place on Shanghai's Chongming Island, the largest estuarine alluvial island in the world, and featured a theme that echoed China's strategy for rural revitalization that was put forward in the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Wu Hongbo, president of the China International Public Relations Association, reiterated during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the competition on July 15 that now is the time for young people to think about sustainable development models for rural areas that can be reproduced around the world.

"Of the nearly 800 million people worldwide who suffer from extreme poverty, most live in rural areas in underdeveloped countries," said Wu, who is also a former under-secretary-general of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. "Villages are among the most underdeveloped areas and the people living there are those that urgently need help from the international community."

Of the various proposals and projects prepared by the students, connectivity was a common focus.

One group of students proposed the development of an app to help rural residents share and find information regarding tools and education opportunities.

Another group that included Andreea-Cristina Gusta and Anastasiia Barabash from the University of Hamburg proposed a similar approach, suggesting that the authorities in rural areas can take reference from smart cities to develop an app that strengthens communication about the needs and problems of residents, in turn allowing the government to respond quickly. They added that the app can also be used as a platform for people to share their agricultural experiences.

"After analyzing the problems that exist in rural areas, we have found that there is a need for greater collaboration between the local government and the people to improve the quality of rural life," said Gusta.

"If the cost of connectivity is high, the village leader can be the one who is responsible for using the app and sharing information. Not everyone needs to have internet access," Barabash added.

Richard Alan Boucher, former deputy secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, pointed out that bolstering connectivity in rural areas would also attract more people to live and work in such places and enjoy benefits such as lower land cost and better air quality. The key to achieving this lies in providing urban features such as fast connectivity, education opportunities, convenient transportation and efficient services in rural areas, he added.

A proposal by Alina Abdisheva and Adilbek Sultanov from Kazakhstan revolved around the "endowment effect", a theory in behavioral economics, which hypothesizes that people are likely to pay more to retain something they own than to get something they do not.

The Kazak students' proposal includes promoting a green and healthy lifestyle and water purification in rural areas, noting that the government should provide free water facilities in the early stages of development.

"According to the 'endowment effect', residents will learn of the benefits of these water facilities after getting to use them for free in the first month or so. This would thus increase their willingness to pay for it," said Abdisheva, who just graduated from Nazarbayev University.

"Even if subsidies are reduced, it is possible that people would still be willing to pay for such facilities," Sultanov added.

In another proposal, students from the Maldives recommended that farmers in their country use biodegradable fertilizers to solve the problem of a lack of nutrients in the soil, a major challenge faced by rural residents in that country.

To create this biodegradable fertilizer, students mixed crushed banana peels, eggshells, matches and a vegetable broth that contains potassium, calcium, phosphorus, nitrogen and magnesium - essential nutrients needed by plants.

"This is what we learned from gardeners and farmers during our research. It is an easy and green solution to the problem," said Fathmath Shihama from Maldives National University, who has decided to return to her home in the rural areas after graduation to help with its development.

After the competition, two teams were rewarded for the "most innovative" proposals on Friday. One proposal was about taking advantage of nopal, the cactus, to solve the soil problems in dry regions, while another was about connectivity in rural China.

"Young people's ideas may seem unconventional to some, but I appreciate them, as their thinking represents our future needs. Thinking ahead is important," said Xi Jianchao, a professor at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Contact the writer at xuxiaomin@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-25 07:37:26
<![CDATA[Solitary refinements]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/25/content_36642390.htm Long hours, low pay and little in the way of recognition, the life of a literary translator was once as exacting as it was precarious - but all this looks set to change as the industry continues to bloom, Yang Yang reports.

At 7 am, He Yujia, a 32-year-old freelancer from Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, gets out of bed. She immediately goes to her study, and sits in her Okamura chair to translate a book for two hours before breakfast, and after that, for another six to 12 hours.

Earlier this year, three of her translations were published: the first volume of The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power by Robert Heinlein; Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper by Fuchsia Dunlop and Michael Bird's Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories. She is now working on the second volume of Johnson's biography.

 

Clockwise from top: Translators Zhang Yujia, Chen Yikan and He Yujia are book lovers who also take great pride in their profession. Photos Provided to China Daily

At 7:30 am, Chen Yikan, a 33-year-old book reviewer and translator from Jiashan, East China's Zhejiang province, is woken up by his 3-year-old son. After feeding him and changing his diaper, he quickly grabs his bag and walks out. In a nearby cafe, he orders breakfast as he takes out his laptop, books and electronic dictionary before starting on six to eight hours' work.

Chen returns home at 5:30 pm to spend the evening with his son. He is currently working on Somerest Maugham's Collected Short Stories: Volume 3, after translating the previous two editions. His translation of Edward Aubyn's Dunbar: A Novel is due to be published in August.

At 8:30 am, Zhang Yujia, 32-year-old freelance translator from Guangzhou, Guangdong province, begins her work day. Unlike He and Chen, she prefers to keep flexible working hours and often works until midnight.

She has been translating reviews and books on films since 2004 in her spare time. She became a full-time translator in April this year when she finished translating HG Wells' A Slip Under the Microscope. She is currently working on a children's book.

In 2016, China published over 23,000 book titles from overseas, compared to 8,200 titles in 2012, recent data shows.

As early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Chinese monk Xuanzang translated Buddhist classics from Sanskrit into Chinese, helping to promote the development of Buddhism in ancient China. But translations did not really take off until the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when patriotic Chinese scholars and officials sought to save China from imperial interference from countries like Britain and Japan, which were much more advanced in terms of science, technology and social development, through translation.

Over the last century, generations of translators have contributed enormously to the advancement of China's culture, society, economy, politics, science and technology.

"You have to know about others before you can really understand yourself," says Teng Jia-wan, a literature translator from Taiwan.

For Chen Yikan, an important driving force for a nation's development is to embrace ideas from foreign cultures, and encourage people to explore new territory.

"The history of fiction is a process in which different cultures are stimulated by translations. Without translation, modern novels couldn't have developed in such a way," says Chen.

Chinese novelist A Yi says that reading translations of foreign literature has helped him develop his style. His favorite translated works include Fan Ye's version of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Li Wenjun's interpretation of William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

"I didn't start looking for nutrition from ancient Chinese literature until relatively recently. Foreign literature offers me a way to measure how far my writing has progressed," says A Yi.

Contemporary topics

"China is a country that translates literature from many different languages and countries to a high standard, including work from the Americas, Australia, Japan, India, and Europe, and even from countries with a small population like Iceland," says A Yi. "But comparatively, Chinese literature has not been translated as much into other languages."

Yet the identities of these translators remain invisible to readers, as the names of the authors and titles take precedence. Notoriously underpaid, many of today's translators suffer from backache, neck pain and even depression after years of struggle with the written word.

Dan Hansong, a professor of English at Nanjing University, recently said that it would take at least seven years to translate Thomas Pynchon's postmodernist works Against the Day or Mason& Dixon.

"If you have never read Pynchon, you may not know that Pynchon has reached the extremities of the human thought process. His books are not just works of literature, but cover politics, history, chemistry and mathematics within their magnificent, epic structures."

When he agreed to translate Pynchon's Inherent Vice, Dan said he knew his fee would be low but he wanted to demonstrate that he was one of the few people around who could "understand each sentence of that novel".

"Sales were poor - just a few thousand copies. All the others were pulped," he said.

In terms of fees, a translator in the Chinese mainland normally receives 70-100 yuan ($10-14.8) for every 1,000 English words.

But despite the anonymity and low pay, these keen translators are grateful "to be paid for reading and learning" as Zhang puts it, and "eager to share with more people the happiness they gain from reading". As their talent glitters in the text, sooner or later, Zhang says, they will get their due recognition.

In May, Teng Jia-wan met with Dan and Fan at a translators forum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

And she says that when she was asked if she wanted to produce the sixth Chinese version of The Lord of the Rings, she set out to create a translation that was worthy of the original.

"For people who speak other languages and are able to read the Chinese version, they will find it just as splendid as any of the other versions," she says.

Many translators share that sense of mission, but He Yujia confesses she is not one of them.

"For me, translation is an enjoyable process. I don't think I am particularly underpaid because my job is not as exhausting as working in finance," she says.

Zhang says that translating great writers is an interesting learning process. She feels a sense of satisfaction when her film reviews appear on Douban, a popular Chinese review site.

Chen may find translation work more onerous but it's a process that provides him with a learning curve and a structured work schedule.

"Compared with writing, in translation, you never find you wake up worrying that you won't be able to write a single word that day. Working for six to eight hours each day, you know that after a few months you will see your translation published. I find that reassuring," he says.

Sharing their experiences

As the Chinese public have become increasingly willing to pay for knowledge, the literary world has begun to embrace the rise of star translators as a way to promote new titles.

Having recently completed a tour of cities like Suzhou, Chengdu and Changsha for his book Collected Short Stories: Volume 2, Chen says he "gained a lot from these fresh experiences".

"It's great to share with readers as a reviewer rather than as a translator on these occasions," he says.

Separately, He says: "Translators tend to have a deeper understanding of the work than most readers due to the amount of research they had to undertake to perfect every word."

She says that though she read The Old Man and the Sea many times, it was not until she read an introduction by Wu Lao, one of her favorite translators, that she realized how good the book was.

"They (good translators) help the readers to understand the works more easily," He says. "And if the books sell well with the help of a charming translator, it will also help to improve translator's incomes."

"If people gain a better insight into our work they will probably discuss our translations more fairly," she says.

"Some readers use terrible language to criticize translators online, which is unfair. This leaves many translators feeling a sense of frustration," He says, adding that she has been translating books for eight years after having broken her leg during a car accident.

"Not long ago, my husband didn't think translation could be a lifelong career for me, even though I'd been telling him for years that I loved my job. And until recently, neither my husband nor my mother considered translation as a serious profession, as did many other people," she says.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, He applied to a study program in the United States using a reference from Michael Mayer, whose books The Last Days of Beijing and In Manchuria she translated.

"They (the US authorities) asked me why I chose such an invisible profession. So, I explained the reasons and why it still left me a little depressed. If translators appear more often in public, maybe people will have a better understanding of them," she says.

Contact the writer at yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-25 07:37:26
<![CDATA[On a ring and a prayer: the quest to translate Tolkien's classic]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/25/content_36642389.htm For readers on the Chinese mainland, the name of Teng Jia-wan, a translator from Taiwan, is closely related to British writer JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, whose latest Chinese version was released in 2013 to a good reception from readers and critics.

Teng contributed 80 percent of the translation to the 1 million-character Chinese version, leaving the rest - poems and appendices - to two other fans of the fantasy, Tu Yun-Tzu and Shi Zhongge.

However, few people know that when Teng first took her college entrance examinations in Taiwan, she got only 2 points in the English test and, in total, she spent four years studying to pass the examinations.

Born in 1962 in the south of Taiwan, Teng went to a vocational middle school to study children's education after failing her high school examinations. After graduation, 18-year-old Teng then wanted to continue with higher education, but her parents had planned a life for her: working to make money for the family, blind dates and marriage by 21.

However, she started work at a factory. And using the money she managed to save, one year later, she left home for Taipei and started preparing for her college entrance exams. But her vocational education meant that she had to study all the courses normally taught at high school on her own.

So, she rented a bed at a Catholic women's dormitory, went to work at a factory during the day and studied in the evening. And, despite always performing badly in examinations, after four years of working and selfstudy, at 23 she was finally enrolled at a Christian university, which offered only three majors: the Bible, English and music. Teng wanted to study the Bible, but that year, few students were enrolled, so Teng had to study English instead.

"As a Christian, I obeyed God's will to study English even if I didn't really like it," she says.

With a weak foundation of the English language, Teng had to work very hard to catch up, so she devoted all her time to learning and study, meaning that she had no time to follow her passion: writing fiction.

"Compared to translation, I am more enthusiastic about creating stories. And even before college, I already had some work published," she says.

After graduating from university, Teng became a Chinese teacher for English speakers in Taipei, and later worked in a company as an interpreter, translator and secretary, but her health began to suffer so she quit. Translation then became the only thing that she was capable of, she says, so she started translating books.

In 1997, a heartbreak saw her rethink her life and explore new territory. So, she went to Newcastle University in Britain to study sociolinguistics, which was indeed life-changing.

During the Easter holiday in 1998, Teng and her British roommate traveled to Greece, where they visited the roommate's Greek classmate. When the two got into an enthusiastic discussion about something called The Lord of the Rings, Teng asked about it. And they strongly recommended that she read it, so upon her return to Britain, Teng went to buy the novel immediately.

Once she started reading it, she couldn't put it down, considering it to be "the best story that I ever read", she says.

"I love Tolkien's story about Middle Earth because it's vast, beautiful, profound and melancholy. It makes you really sad, but at the same time evokes an extreme longing for it.

"Reading it became a reward for me during my thesis writing. So, after I produced 500 words, I would take a break to read The Lord of the Rings."

Enchanted by the fiction, Teng aspired to translate it into her native language, only to find there were already five Chinese versions.

Later, in 1998, after Teng returned to Taiwan, she decided to translate The Silmarillion into Chinese. And in 2002, it was published in Taiwan. But since there was no authorized print edition, fans of Middle Earth on the mainland spread The Silmarillion online.

Meanwhile, Teng frequented those online forums both on the mainland and in Taiwan, and that's where she met Shi and Tu.

In 2012, when Teng turned 50, like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, who started his adventure at 50, or Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, who destroyed the ring at age 50, Teng got the job to create a new translated version of the epic tale, itself a great adventure and mission after 20 years of diligent translation - and much like the tale's Hobbit protagonist, she invited her friends to join her on the quest.

Teng has been a full-time translator since 2004 and is popular among publishers for her high-quality work.

Shen Yu, one of the editors of The Lord of the Rings, with the publisher Beijing Horizon, says that Teng's translation is more literary and accurate than the other versions.

Although she does not have the passion for translation that she has for writing stories, she works extremely hard and quite enjoys the independence and solitude that translation offers.

"You don't have to face people or talk, which I like a lot. But still it's a job that requires perseverance, endurance and self-discipline," she says.

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2018-07-25 07:37:26
<![CDATA[Four new Pokemon games on the way]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/25/content_36642388.htm

Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, Game Freak and Niantic have new Pokemon experiences coming to mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch system. One of them, Pokemon Quest, is available now for free on Switch and is coming soon to iOS and Android devices.

In Pokemon Quest, gamers can venture out on expeditions across Tumblecube Island in search of loot. Players can modify their Pokemon buddies with discovered Power Stones to make their expedition team. Afterward, they can head back to base camp and use the loot they found during their adventure to befriend more Pokemon. Players can attract various Kanto Region Pokemon to their base camp by cooking up dishes made with collected ingredients or even decorate their base camp with fun items that provide helpful bonuses that make their expeditions more beneficial. This game introduces a new cube-shaped art style that's unlike any previous Pokemon title.

Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee! is scheduled to be launched on Nintendo Switch in mid-November. Taking place in the diverse and vibrant Kanto region, the games let players partner up with either Pikachu or Eevee and embark on an adventure where they will catch and battle Pokemon, meet other Trainers and discover the region of Kanto.

There's also a new way to play these games on Switch through the Poke Ball Plus. This controller was specially designed to enhance the gameplay experience for aspiring Pokemon Trainers by replicating the look and feel of an actual Poke Ball. Alongside motion controls, Poke Ball Plus also lights up with a variety of colors, vibrates and plays sounds. The games feature cooperative play on a single system, too.

Nintendo is connecting its Switch and mobile Pokemon experiences in a number of ways.

Tribune News Service

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2018-07-25 07:37:26
<![CDATA[PAINTER WITH A PULSE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/24/content_36634117.htm While Qi Baishi (1864-1957) is a household name in China, an exhibition of his paintings was last held at the Palace Museum in Beijing, or the Forbidden City, 64 years ago.

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Qi Baishi's works are on display at the Palace Museum, in a rare show of a modern Chinese artist at the venue, Wang Kaihao reports.

While Qi Baishi (1864-1957) is a household name in China, an exhibition of his paintings was last held at the Palace Museum in Beijing, or the Forbidden City, 64 years ago.

The museum, which was the seat of the royal court in imperial China from 1420 to 1911, is hosting Prosperity in Tranquility: The Art of Qi Baishi, a show on the modern artist, with some 200 of his paintings and seals exhibited at the Meridian Gate Gallery since last week. The exhibits are both from the museum's own collection and that of the Beijing Fine Art Academy.

For the general public, Qi's best-known works are his paintings of shrimps, due to the many legends on how he created them. As a result, many of his paintings of shrimps, crabs and fish are on display at the ongoing exhibition.

In 1960, Baby Tadpoles Look for Their Mother, China's first ink-and-water animation film that was inspired by Qi's other paintings, won praise abroad.

"In his early years, Qi drew shrimps to mostly learn from ancient painters," Xue Liang, a researcher with the Beijing Fine Art Academy, says. "But he later developed a personal style by using shades of dark ink to reflect the texture of a shrimp's body, giving its antennas an almost real-life feel."

Nevertheless, Qi's works went beyond aquatic life.

"Qi Baishi is the representative artist of Chinese art in the 20th century," says Wu Hongliang, deputy director of the Beijing Fine Art Academy.

Be it landscapes, birds, flowers or figures, Qi's paintings are high on expression and detail, Wu says. He is also known for his seal carvings, poems and for setting art school trends.

Qi was prolific even in his 70s. In a group of paintings that are now on show, Qi drew some insects in the corners, leaving parts of the images blank. According to Lyu Xiao, another researcher at the Beijing Fine Art Academy, Qi did so because he wanted to fill in the parts later while focusing on the finer details first, before his eyesight became weaker.

"He had planned to fill these spaces with flowers later on, when he thought he wouldn't see as clearly as he did while painting the insects," Lyu explains.

After New China was founded in 1949, Qi was widely hailed as a "people's artist".

Wang Yamin, curator of the ongoing exhibition, says: "He was not only diligent, but also had a taste that was close to the grassroots."

A native of Xiangtan, Hunan province, Qi used to be a carpenter. He first learned painting from folk artists and later sold paintings for a living in Shanghai and Beijing during the period of great social upheaval in the country. That was also a time when he met some influential painters. Such life experiences made him understand different social strata, rather than catering to only high tastes.

Among his other paintings exhibited are flowers with blessings for prosperity, vegetables indicating harvests and farming tools to express his nostalgia for his hometown.

"People love these paintings because they remind us of the mountains and waters in the countryside, and remind us where we come from," Wang says.

The words on more than 100 displayed seals at the museum also reflect Qi's introspection of his own life: He started as a carpenter and became a famous artist but kept looking for larger goals, especially as he got older. When many other Chinese artists retreated from social life at an old age, Qi wanted to take on more social responsibilities.

In his painting, Qingping Fulai (prosperity in tranquility), which is a source of the exhibition title, an old man is seen holding a vase, with a fruit bat hovering over him. The vase symbolizes "peace" in Chinese culture and the bat "happiness", following the Mandarin pronunciations of the words.

"That painting reveals he expected a stable and harmonious life," Wu says. "That's a common Chinese person's wish, too."

After World War II had ended, Qi also called for global peace.

"Actually, his art echoes a modernist trend in the world at the time. Yet he expressed it in a typically Chinese way," Wu explains.

The pigeon is another common theme in Qi's art during his later years, showing his wish for world peace, just as Pablo Picasso did. In 1956, the World Peace Council bestowed the International Peace Prize on then-nonagenarian Qi.

In his message to the awards ceremony, Qi said: "I love my hometown, the beautiful and prosperous lands of my country and all lives there. I've spent my lifetime integrating the ordinary Chinese people's emotions into my paintings and poems. In recent years, I have realized that what I pursue is world peace."

In the past, many people focused on Qi's paintings because of their high values at auction, Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, says.

"We want to show his spirit and cultural significance through this exhibition, especially at a time when mutual learning and coexistence of different civilizations are advocated."

Though the Palace Museum is dedicated to housing ancient art, it also has about 6,000 pieces of modern art, including 400 of Qi's works, most of which have rarely been exhibited before.

Earlier this year, the museum held an exhibition for Wu Changshuo's (1844-1927) work, with one calligraphy piece promoting Qi's paintings as a highlight.

Still, the museum needs more space to hold exhibitions for eminent individual modern Chinese artists.

Shan, the director, reveals that a new branch gallery of the museum will soon be established near the Forbidden City, which will be used entirely to display modern art.

Contact the writer at wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

Prosperity in Tranquility: The Art of Qi Baishi

Central gallery (through Aug 12) and western wing (through Oct 8) of the Meridian Gate Gallery, Palace Museum, 4 Jingshan Qianjie, Dongcheng district, Beijing (entry via southern gate only).

60 yuan ($8.9) for tickets to the museum; online reservations through en.dpm.org.cn.

 

One of Qi Baishi's paintings on show features fish and chicks.

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2018-07-24 08:10:52
<![CDATA[Museum of Cycladic Art a fine first stop on a tour of Athens]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/24/content_36634116.htm Like every summer, Athens makes an ideal historical starting point for tourists before they set off to explore the white-washed houses and sunsets of the Cyclades islands.

Set in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece, the group of around 220 islands is also the birthplace of the unique Cycladic civilization, best known for its idols carved out of the islands' pure white marble. The name Cyclades was coined in Greece's Archaic period (800 BC-480 BC) as the islands form a rough circle (kyklos) around Delos, the central and most sacred island of the time.

As the locals abandon Athens for their own vacations, visitors who want to explore Greece would do well to stop off at the Museum of Cycladic Art and take a look at the civilization which left an important mark on the world's cultural heritage.

The museum is dedicated to the study and promotion of the ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus, with special emphasis on the Cycladic Art of the third millennium BC.

It was founded in 1986 and has since grown in size to accommodate new acquisitions. Over 3,000 artifacts are currently on display at the museum, making it one of the largest collections of Cycladic Art in the world today.

The three major permanent collections (Cycladic Culture, Ancient Greek Art and Cypriot Culture) have been formed through generous donations by important collectors, public and private institutions and anonymous benefactors, and attract thousands of visitors every year.

"Among the great civilizations of the world... Greek culture has one specifically unique feature: the development of the human form at its center, whether they be gods or people," says Nikolaos Stampolidis, director of the Museum of Cycladic Art and professor of classical archaeology at the University of Crete.

"They are depicted on the white marble of the Cyclades and are masterpieces of this civilization, dating back from between 3200 BC to 2000 BC.

"They are mostly of female figures since women represented the source of life, and were the most dominant beings who not only passed on language but also culture," Stampolidis says.

On the strip of ancient sights in the center of Athens that stretch from the Acropolis to the Ancient Agora, the Museum of Cycladic Art next to the Greek parliament has another defining feature, according to Stampolidis.

"On the fourth floor, visitors can find scenes from everyday life in classical antiquity depicted in a unique way, starting from the family home, to the birth of a child through to its death in war."

 

A visitor looks at an exhibit at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, Greece. The museum attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. Lefteris Partsalis / Xinhua

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2018-07-24 08:10:52
<![CDATA[SEEING RED]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/24/content_36634115.htm A group of people dressed in the uniform of the Chinese Red Army are marching down the street. One of the "officers", Dong Yafei, proudly walks in step with a red flag draped on his shoulder.

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Red tourism - both at home and abroad - is finding favor among young Chinese. Xu Lin reports.

A group of people dressed in the uniform of the Chinese Red Army are marching down the street. One of the "officers", Dong Yafei, proudly walks in step with a red flag draped on his shoulder.

They're not extras for a TV drama, but tourists at the Jinggang Mountain on the border of Jiangxi and Hunan provinces.

"It feels different to tour revolutionary sites in an army uniform. I choose my words more carefully and I find myself acting differently - such as in the way I walk - because I want to show my respect," says Dong, 28, an office worker from Beijing.

In May, he visited Jinggang Mountain, where China's first rural revolutionary base was established in 1927. It's a popular red tourism site with the Chinese, especially those who like to enjoy experiences like Dong's.

In 1928, Mao Zedong, Zhu De, Chen Yi and He Long joined forces at the Jinggang Mountain, making the place a key site for the Red Army and one of huge historical significance for tourists.

"I had only read about it in textbooks, but when I visited, the descendants of the Red Army soldiers told us the story with details that you can never get in a book," says Dong, adding that, as time passes, there will be fewer people to recount the stories of the revolution.

Dong also says that while red tourism attracts many visitors to Jinggang Mountain, it's also a very picturesque place, carpeted with green bamboo. And there are also different souvenirs available, made from the ubiquitous plant.

Speaking about the significance of the place, Dong says: "These revolutionary pioneers endured great hardship to win the final victory. It's similar to building a career - there are many difficulties. Those who run, or work at, startups can learn from it."

Meanwhile, according to the China Tourism Academy, 2017 saw more than 800 million tourist visits to 109 classic red tourism sites in 18 Chinese cities, an increase of 13.3 percent over 2016. And the average age of the tourists was 35.

According to online travel agency Ctrip, from January to May, 32 percent of their Chinese customers visiting red tourism sites were born in the 1960s and '70s. And 39 percent were born in the '80s and '90s.

Summer is always a peak season for travel. It's estimated that over 30 million users of Ctrip are visiting red tourism sites in China this summer.

"Such change is worthy of attention. It means that more young Chinese are getting to know about the country's history during their travels," says Shao Jihong, senior director of Ctrip's airline business department.

"Young Chinese prefer personalized itineraries, so it's important to enhance their travel experience."

She says red culture such as performances and festivals and dining can attract more young Chinese tourists. Also, scenic areas should adopt new technology, such as virtual reality.

"Red tourism is more diverse than before, and it can be combined with natural scenery, culture and countryside tourism. It's not just about visiting bronze statues, museums and former residences of famous people anymore."

She also adds that in China, many scenic red tourism areas are enhancing their interactivity. For instance, in Shanghai, tourists can role play and take part in escape room games in some scenic spots. And in Chongqing, there are souvenirs related to red tourism.

"China boasts plenty of scenic red tourism sites, with more traveler focused resources being developed in surrounding areas. These destinations are suitable for the patriotic education of young people," she says.

Additionally, Chinese tourists are also enjoying outbound red travel.

Ctrip's data shows that popular overseas destinations are Russia, Germany and the British Museum and Hyde Park in the United Kingdom.

According to Ctrip, about 100,000 Chinese soccer fans went to Russia to enjoy the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and many took the opportunity to tour the country. Equally, many Chinese travelers may choose to embark on their Russian adventure after the World Cup, when accommodation is cheaper.

Moscow and Kazan, both cities that hosted World Cup games, boast popular red tourism spots.

The China International Travel Service provides several itineraries for Russia that include the two cities and promote Kazan as an emerging destination.

In Moscow, the Chinese like to visit Lenin's Mausoleum, Victory Park and three nearby religious buildings - an Orthodox church, a mosque and a synagogue.

The Lenin House Museum in Kazan was, in 1888, a former residence of Lenin's family. The rooms are modestly furnished and showcase their daily lives through items such as Lenin's chess set and his mother's piano.

At the Kazan Federal University, visitors can take a photo in Lenin's classroom, even sitting in the revolutionary and political theorist's seat - said to be in the second or the third row.

Also, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, the German National Tourist Board has designed a 12-day itinerary in memory of the German philosopher.

In his birthplace, the city of Trier, a tour guide who speaks Chinese takes tourists on a journey to trace Marx's early life there, including a visit to the Karl Marx House museum, his former residence.

Other destinations on the itinerary include Wuppertal, the hometown of German philosopher Friedrich Engels, and Chemnitz, which was formerly called Karl-Marx-Stadt.

Located on the border of Jiangxi and Hunan provinces, the Jinggang Mountain attracts numerous Chinese tourists due to its historical significance as a revolutionary base and picturesque views. Provided to China Daily 

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2018-07-24 08:10:52
<![CDATA[On a wing and a prairie: All roads lead to scenic Chifeng]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/24/content_36634114.htm Chifeng has launched six driving routes for visitors to soak up the charms of the city's prairie setting. By integrating scenic spots such as geological parks, forests, traditional villages, homestays and camping sites, the city in the southeast of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region offers surrounding landscapes that include mountains, deserts, grasslands, lakes and hot springs - as well as seven national natural reserves and over 7,300 historical sites.

With its glacial landscape and granite stone forest, Chifeng's Dalinor Lake is home to hundreds of thousands of wild birds that flock to its rich waters that shimmer under the summer sun.

By the end of the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), the ethnic nomadic Qidan tribe had left behind a profound historical and cultural legacy in Chifeng - a key point on the ancient Silk Road.

In 2017, Chifeng received 16.36 million tourist visits, an increase of 12.5 percent compared to the previous year, according to the local tourism commission.

Tourism income reached 26.2 billion yuan ($3.92 billion), a rise of 15 percent over 2016.

Over the years, the city has developed a range of mature tourism products - from prairie sightseeing tours to cultural experiences featuring folk customs - to draw in more visitors.

"Modern transportation is pulling Chifeng increasingly closer to Beijing," says Zhou Jinzhuang, Chifeng's vice-mayor. Located 400 kilometers away from Beijing, visitors can reach Chifeng by air in an hour or drive there in about four hours.

The high-speed rail connection between Beijing and Chifeng will be completed in 2019 and is set to trim travel time down to around two hours.

"You could be busy in Beijing during the daytime, and be sitting in a yurt on the prairie that night, savoring milk liquor and listening to the melodious tunes of a horse-head fiddle," Zhou says.

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, Chifeng is home to the vast Gongger Grassland, where visitors can enjoy Mongolian nomadic culture, herding and horse races.

On the Wulan Butong Grassland lies the preserved site of the ancient battlefield where Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperor Kangxi fought the Mongolian rebels, and is the location of many well-known films and drama series.

In Ar Horqin Banner in northeastern Chifeng, travelers can experience primitive nomadic life and visit areas where locals still use old-fashioned Mongolian oxcarts.

In addition to its abundant grasslands, Chifeng is also home to the Hunshandake and Horqin deserts, where sightseeing routes, cross-country race courses and camel-riding tours have been set up to let tourists sample the sandy charms of these regions.

The region also provides culture lovers with the chance to visit one of the largest and best-preserved Mongolian imperial mansions from the Qing Dynasty. A museum dedicated to the ethnic nomadic Qidan tribes is also currently under construction.

To spice up the visitor experience, various prairie festivals and folk performances are being prepared, according to the city's tourism authority.

 

Chifeng's prairie is a key attraction for visitors who also spend time in its geological parks, deserts, forests and traditional villages. Provided to China Daily

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2018-07-24 08:10:52
<![CDATA[HISTORY OF CHINA'S EARLY MUSEUMS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/24/content_36634113.htm An ongoing exhibition at the Shanghai History Museum offers a glimpse into one of China's first museums, dating back to the 19th century.

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Exhibits in a Shanghai show include animal specimens dating back a century, reports Zhang Kun.

An ongoing exhibition at the Shanghai History Museum offers a glimpse into one of China's first museums, dating back to the 19th century.

Centurial Collection - Early History of Museology in Shanghai is jointly hosted by the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai History Museum.

A large proportion of the 151 objects on display belonged to the original collection of the Museum of North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (NCBRAS). Among the exhibits are animal specimens dating back 100 years, bronze and ceramic items from ancient China, as well as the first reproduction of the skull of the Peking Man. The original piece of the cranium of the primitive human was lost in the World War II.

"We have not only brought out the original specimen and objects from the former Royal Asiatic Society, but also arranged the exhibition according to historical documents and pictures," says Huang Ji, curator of the exhibition, and a scholar with the Shanghai Museum of Natural History.

For example, the first specimen of the giant panda is exhibited in a "scenic box" that imitates the original dwelling environment of the animal, just like it was displayed in the original museum of NCBRAS.

"The exhibition has been designed to create an experience reminiscent of the original NCBRAS museum," he said. Visitors can also download mobile applications to their smartphones to enjoy an interactive experience to learn about the exhibits and museum history.

"The original building of the Asiatic Society museum is now occupied, so we can't have the exhibition in the original location," says Wang Xiaoming, director of Shanghai History Museum. "A historical piece of architecture built in the 1930s, our museum is an ideal venue to reproduce the original environment."

The museum of NCBRAS "was one of the first museums in China," says Yang Zhigang, director of Shanghai Museum. "The basic functions of a proper museum, which were exhibition, research and collection, had all been realized at that time."

It started from the Shanghai Literary and Scientific Society, which was founded by 18 expatriates led by E.C. Bridgman (1801-1861), America's first missionary to China, in 1857. Two years later, the society joined the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, to be its North China branch.

In 1872, the NCBRAS clubhouse began to open to the public, and in 1874, the Museum of the NCBRAS was officially open at No 5 Yuanmingyuan Road (now 20 Huqiu Road in Huangpu district) in Shanghai. During the same period, another museum was founded by the Catholic priests in Shanghai, which later became part of the Aurora University Shanghai.

Both museums closed in 1952, and the collections were given to the Shanghai Municipality, later joining the public museums of the city, mainly the Shanghai Museum of Natural History, a branch of the Shanghai Museum of Science and Technology.

Yang shared stories of the first museums of Shanghai at a forum on July 17, and said that these museums wrote an important page in the urban history of Shanghai.

In 1905, the Nantong Museum was established in Jiangsu province, as the first public museum founded by the Chinese. Museums sprouted in other parts of China around the same period. Together they marked the rapid development of museology in China, Yang said.

The forum, The spirit of natural history in the metropolis, took place at Shanghai Museum over July 17-19, when museum directors and administrators, from both home and abroad, discussed the history of museology, and how museums impact urban culture in the contemporary world.

China's museums have seen rapid development in recent decades, said Guan Qiang, deputy head of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. There are currently 5,136 museums in China, 230 times the number in 1949, he noted.

In 2017, more than 20,000 exhibitions took place in these museums, with some 900 million visits recorded.

Centurial Collection - Early History of Museology in Shanghai is free of charge and open to the public at the Shanghai History Museum. It runs through Oct 21.

Contact the writer at zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

Centurial Collection - Early History of Museology in Shanghai

9 am-5 pm (admission stops at 4 pm), Tuesday-Sunday, July 17-Oct 21 Shanghai History Museum, West Hall, 325 Nanjing West Road, Huangpu district, Shanghai People's Square Station, subway lines 1, 2 and 8

 

Top: The specimen of an Asian lion is unveiled at the opening of the exhibition. Middle left: A tripod with an animal face decoration from 13th11th century BC, from the original collection of the NCBRAS, is now in the collection of Shanghai Museum. Middle right: The specimen of a geometrid moth was collected and prepared by Jean Pierre Armand David in Sichuan province in 1870. Above: An Asiatic golden cat collected in Fujian province in 1920.

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2018-07-24 08:10:52
<![CDATA[Veteran Korean artist debuts work in Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/24/content_36634112.htm Lee Kun-yong, hailed as one of the foremost figures of performance art in South Korea, is known for fusing the act of painting with his own body movements, creating works that examine the interactions between the human body and its external space.

His performance is simple, yet engaging and thought-provoking, often overturning the audience's preconceptions that performance art is absurd and incomprehensible.

At a recent performance, the 76-year-old artist stood in front of a wall, facing a blank piece of paper side on. He swung a paint brush around his body to draw several curves on the paper. Then he stopped to pick different colors, turned his other side to the paper and repeated the previous steps. While still swinging the brush, he asked the audience, "How does it look? Am I doing good?"

The performance was staged to open Lee's debut exhibition in China on July 14. The eponymous show is being hosted at Pace Gallery in Beijing's 798 art district through Sept 1.

Lee tried to engage his audience by creating a relaxing, interesting atmosphere and he made his interactions with people a part of his creation. The artist is an honorary professor at Kunsan National University in South Korea's Gunsan city, where he now lives and works.

Before his recent performance in Beijing, Lee asked people at the front to crouch down so that those at the back could see; and he joked that he would not pay the laundry fees if anyone's clothes got stained by his paints.

When he turned around to see what his flailing arms had created, he saw the shape of a colorful heart, he cried out in surprise. He squatted to ask a little girl sitting on the ground what she thought of the drawing, before finally turning to his wife, allowing her to decide whether the work was a success.

Lee's Body Drawing series of paintings form an important part of his exhibition at Pace, sharing the spotlight with a display of installations, as well as photos and videos of his performance work - including the iconic pieces that he drew from behind a paper board by reaching around it to leave marks on the front.

Lee says he is not painting with his brain but his body.

He thus produces paintings of unsophisticated beauty, while showing to his audience the physical limits and possibilities of the human body, and how that can influence the relationship between a person and their surroundings.

Lee's works often render meaning to everyday movements, while his thoughts and methods are derived from many years of studying philosophy, logic and history. His path to pioneering South Korea's avant-garde and performance art scene started when he was in high school and would search for things to read in his father's study.

Lee says, because his father spent a lot of money on books, his family sometimes had to go without meat, clothes or jewelry; but he remembers the books at home stacked up from the ground to the ceiling.

"When my mother got angry with father, she just picked a costly book and threw it out of the house," he recalls. "When we moved after my father died, the books filled five freight cars."

Among his father's collection, Lee was most interested in philosophical texts, such as books introducing the musings of ancient Chinese thinkers, Laozi and Zhuangzi - leading him further toward his artistic philosophy.

"I was often viewed at home and school as a 'trouble maker'," Lee recalls. "But the trouble I made was (my work). I wanted to find the answer to the question, 'What is art?'"

In an essay titled Artist's Note, Lee writes: "Art rises as steam on the surface of water, makes a rainbow in the sun, disappears in the wind. It passes through the subway tunnel to stay among people waiting on the platform, and sparkles between their fingers, holding a tea cup, to disappear."

Lee says these days there have been various discussions about art, and no matter what, he believes that art is ultimately a way for people to communicate with themselves, each other and the world.

If you go

10 am-6 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, through Sept 1. 798 art district, 2 Jiuxianqiao Road, Beijing. 010-5978-9781

 

South Korean artist Lee Kun-yong stages a performance before his debut exhibition in China on July 14. Provided to China Daily

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2018-07-24 08:10:52
<![CDATA[THEATER TREATS IN THE CAPITAL]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/23/content_36628871.htm About two decades ago, when Ban Zan was a student at the Central Academy of Drama, one of his favorite playwrights was Ding Xilin (1893-1974). The renowned playwright's major works were written between 1923 and 1940 and concentrate on comedy.

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Three Comedies by Ding Xilin is part of a Beijing theater festival, that will see 20 original Chinese plays performed between Aug 1 and Sept 1, Chen Nan reports.

About two decades ago, when Ban Zan was a student at the Central Academy of Drama, one of his favorite playwrights was Ding Xilin (1893-1974). The renowned playwright's major works were written between 1923 and 1940 and concentrate on comedy.

"I was amused by the humorous dialogue, which is witty and implicit. That unique way of being humorous, I believe, belongs to the Chinese people," says the 40-year-old actor-turned-director Ban, who joined Beijing People's Art Theatre after he graduated in 2003.

Since then, Ban has played roles in plays, such as Teahouse and The Top Restaurant.

In 2016, Ban, who also has starred in movies and TV dramas, chose three one-act comedies by the playwright and adapted then into a play.

The work, entitled Three Comedies by Ding Xilin, which premiered in Beijing in April 2016, tells three stories - A Wasp, After Drinking and Blind in One Eye.

In the play, three actors from Beijing People's Art Theatre perform nine roles.

Now, after touring the country for the past two years, the play returns to Beijing and is being staged at the Beijing People's Art Theatre through Aug 6.

"The three comedies by Ding showcase different stages of romance: young lovers, newlyweds and elderly couples," says Ban, who made his directorial debut in 2015.

"I have been married for nearly eight years, and when I read the three comedies with my wife, we both relate to them and want to share them with the audience.

"Ding's comedies are easy to understand and the plots are simple. So, watching his comedies, you get a wonderful taste that lingers," says Ban.

Ding, who was born in Taixing, in Jiangsu province, graduated from the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, with a master's degree in physics.

During his stay in the UK, Ding became interested in theater and started writing plays.

In 1919, after returning to China, Ding taught physics at Peking University, and from 1924 to 1926, he was the dean of the physics department there.

As a playwright, Ding published 10 works.

In 1923, he published his first comedy, A Wasp, which tells the story of two young lovers, whose relationship was objected by the young man's mother.

Then, in 1925, he published After Drinking, which was inspired by Ding's friend Ling Shuhua's novel with the same title and follows a newlywed couple who get drunk.

Blind in One Eye, written in 1927, portrays an old couple's reflections on their marriage.

Speaking about the plays, Ban says: "Though the three comedies were written in the 1920s and 1930s, they still connect with a contemporary audience.

"We fall in love, get married and deal with being a husband, wife, father-in-law and mother-in-law.

"The language pioneered by Ding became a defining characteristic of spoken drama of the 1920s, and he still inspires people working in theater and audiences."

Three Comedies by Ding Xilin is part of the 2018 Story in Beijing, a theater festival, which features 20 original Chinese plays and runs between Aug 1 and Sept 1.

The highlights include a romantic play, Love is Brave, which has been staged more than 3,500 times since its premiere in 2015; Kunqu Opera Epiphyllum by the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater; and a tragic play, Injustice to Tou O, directed by Ding Yiteng and based on Dou E Yuan, a Chinese play written by Guan Hanqing (1241-1320) during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

According to Guo Zhuqing from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture, the organizer of the theater festival, the 20 plays will be staged at small theater venues in the capital: The Star Theater, Beijing National Pioneer Theater and the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center.

"The scope for plays created for smaller theaters is growing fast in China. We've seen a big spurt of creativity and originality from Chinese theater artists," says Guo, adding that since the theater festival was born seven years ago, 110 plays have been staged.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

After touring the country over the past two years, the play Three Comedies returns to Beijing and is being staged at the Beijing People's Art Theatre through Aug 6. Photos provided to China Daily

 

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2018-07-23 07:13:09
<![CDATA[Stage sirens take to the silver screen]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/23/content_36628870.htm The National Centre for the Performing Arts' International Opera Film Exhibition will take place at 17 cinemas in 10 Chinese cities - including Beijing, Dalian, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu - from Aug 4 to Oct 13, and will see 265 screenings of 13 opera film productions by four of the world's leading theater companies.

The NCPA's 2015 production of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Simon Boccanegra, which was conducted by Chun Myung-Whun and features Placido Domingo, will open the exhibition.

The NCPA initiated the opera film project in 2013 and of the 76 operas the NCPA has produced since it opened in 2007, nearly 30 have been turned into opera films.

Audiences will be able to watch another three opera films produced by the NCPA, including the musical drama The Beautiful Blue Danube - The Story of Johann Strauss' 1872 US Tour based on the composer's visit to the United States in the late 19th century; The Long March, a work based on the two-year tactical retreat of the Red Army to evade Kuomintang forces in 1934, and the Peking Opera film, You and Me.

According to Zhao Jiachen, vice-president of the NCPA, the International Opera Film Exhibition has brought nearly 500 screenings to 10 Chinese cities since 2016, attracting a total audience of around 380,000 people.

"Theaters worldwide are using more alternative content, such as opera films, to appeal to customers. So, combining the latest technology with opera is a great way to attract audiences," says Zhao.

Tenor Wang Haitao, who plays a commander in the NCPA's production of The Long March, says that unlike most opera performances in theaters, the film production gives the opera a more "cinematic" look and requires the actors to modify their performances and look at the cameras rather than the conductor or audience.

"For the audience, it's a different way of appreciating the art form, which is easier," Wang says.

The upcoming exhibition also invited the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House and the Teatro Real to showcase their opera film productions.

Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti's tragic masterpiece, and Francesco Cilea's tragic opera Adriana Lecouvreur, both by the Royal Opera House, will be screened in China for the first time.

Two works by the Metropolitan Opera, The Pearl Fishers by French composer Georges Bizet and The Sleepwalker by Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini, which were screened at last year's exhibition will return to China this summer.

The Teatro Real, the Spanish opera house that was founded in Madrid in 1818, will bring Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Verdi's La Traviata, two of the world's most widely staged operas.

"It has become a hot trend to watch opera films at the cinema in recent years. Opera films have undoubtedly become an important way to link the theater with its audience and to enlarge their market influence," says music critic Wang Jiyan, who introduces the opera films to the audiences before they are screened.

Joint organizers of the exhibition, Broadway Cinemas, are offering various forms of set-stamp purchase, which will allow opera fans to watch the films for the affordable price between 50 ($7.4) and 100 yuan.

The NCPA's production of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Simon Boccanegra, which was conducted by Chun Myung-Whun and featured Placido Domingo, will open the International Opera Film Exhibition. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-07-23 07:13:09
<![CDATA[Fish that soothed an angry army]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622500.htm Editor's note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

It was 1900 and armed forces from the Alliance of Eight Nations swept through Beijing and down into Tianjin.

As Tianjin became the unwilling host to foreign soldiers, its restaurants were flooded with marauding guests demanding food. They often had only rudimentary, if any, knowledge of Chinese and they commonly misread the menu.

 

From left: Deep-fried Zengbeng carp and silky chicken salad in a yellow pepper. Photos Provided to China Daily

One mistake resulted in the creation of a classic, zengbeng carp.

It was the invention of a chef fearful of his bullying guests. If they wanted fried fish, they were going to get the best fried fish they would ever taste.

A whole carp was artfully sliced and deep-fried. Then, as the fish crisped in hot oil, a savory brown sauce dotted with gems of garlic was prepared. The waiter brought the deep-fried fish to the table and poured the hot sauce over it. A final garnish of shredded scallions completed it with a flourish.

The sizzle that rose from the plate also wafted the fragrance of fish around the table, and the meal was consumed in relatively peaceful contentment.

Restaurant and chef were so relieved that the crisis had passed that they kept the fish on the menu. It soon spread to other establishments.

More than 100 years later, zengbeng carp is enjoying a revival in Tianjin and has become a signature dish of this port city, with its former foreign concessions.

The name is derived from the zengwang, or Chinese fishing net, a cross-levered square net that is suspended from the river banks and dropped into the water. As it is raised, the caught fish bounce wildly around on the net.

Zengbeng carp is served so that it looks as if it's ready to bounce off the plate, too.

There is both skill and artifice to its creation.

First, the chef has to do some pretty nifty knife work. The fish is semi-filleted so the meat is still attached to bone. The whole fish is carefully slid into oil on medium heat and slowly but thoroughly deep-fried till even the bones are crisp.

All its scales are left intact. A lot of tasty fat is stored under the carp scales, which are soft and gelatinous. Deep-frying means the scales can be eaten, and they add to the tactile attraction,

Next, the sauce is a masterly combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, vinegar and Chinese wine with garlic, ginger and scallions.

The sauce is normally poured on at the table for best effect, as sauce meets fish in a mist of aromatic steam.

The fish is then carved into individual portions, each a marriage of tender flesh, gelatinous skin and crispy scales, all blanketed in savory sauce.

Tarly Dong is the executive chef of the Wanda-Vista Hotel in Tianjin. The 38-year-old runs all the hotel's restaurants, especially the five-star Pingzhen Chinese Restaurant, which specializes in Tianjin and Cantonese cuisines.

The chef himself is Tianjin born and bred, but his culinary adventures have taken him to Beijing and as far away as Kunming, Yunnan province.

When he heard we were researching the signature dishes of his beloved city, he decided to show us what they were.

First to appear was a trio of appetizers.

A large yellow pepper held velvety silky chicken meat tossed in a tart spicy dressing of lemon and chili. Whole mint leaves added a cool refreshing touch. This must have been a part of the chef's Yunnan journey.

The Yunnan silky chicken is a delightful bird, with black skin, meat and bones, but the bird is clad in downy white feathers from top to toe.

A light salad of fruit and vegetables came next, with an extra virgin olive oil and Modena balsamic vinegar reduction. Immediately, visions of the old Italian concession came to mind.

The chef's playful reminders of Tianjin's history continued with his German-influenced final appetizer - pickled pork knuckle, boned and sliced thin, with sauerkraut sandwiched in between.

It was time for the classics. A hot and sour soup appeared, made with tofu julienne seasoned with hot white pepper and vinegar. Unlike the Sichuan hot and sour soup, the Tianjin version has a much lighter clear broth.

Next up were the heavyweights - chicken, beef and, of course, that famous carp.

The chicken ... oh, the chicken. A full-sized bird is allowed to steep in a 10-year old braising liqueur, slow-cooked until its skin is burnished a glistening chocolate hue. The attraction of this bird is an intense savoriness that penetrates right to the bone. Chef Dong's playful presentation gives new appeal to a time-tested classic.

I usually prefer my beef with pink juices but the slow-cooked Tianjin braised beef converted me. I could pull it apart with my chopsticks, but the cubes were, again, deeply savory and with just enough bite to make them interesting.

Both chicken and beef suited those with heavy palates, and I was told that this is generally indicative of Tianjin taste preferences. Much of Tianjin cuisine has its roots in Shandong or Lu cuisine, known for its heavy seasoning and thick, sticky sauces.

But I am glad Dong has moderated the spices and seasoning, and his approach leans toward a healthier cooking style.

A stir-fry of julienned vegetables was the final dish, and this had a spicy overtone of Sichuan peppercorns, which gave the vegetarian dish much-needed body.

As is usual with meals in China, our Tianjin sampler ended with a spectacular spinach noodle in a classic broth of egg and tomatoes.

This simple bowl of spinach noodles is probably one of the most common staples in the north. Usually it is a messy sludge of eggs and tomatoes, hastily put together.

Yet, it can be a thing of beauty when the chef puts a little heart into the dish.

The tri-colored bowl shone like a Christmas tree when it arrived at the table. Bright green hand-made spinach noodles had just the right amount of resistance, and the flavorful broth had golden scrambled eggs and tender tomatoes swimming in it.

All the tomatoes had been carefully skinned, with their seeds removed. Attention to details such as these was what made the bowl special.

Regional cuisine reflects the history of the place of origin, and signature dishes all have interesting stories of how and why they were created.

While Beijing was too preoccupied with serving the emperors of the past to develop significant representatives on the dining table, neighboring Tianjin took time to please itself and fully exploited its rich reserves from the river, sea and hinterland.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[Bus odyssey by Germans celebrates Belt and Road]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622499.htm Epic journey from city of Hamburg covered a total of 13,000 km through six time zones

Fifty-six Germans in two buses, which took them through eight countries in 53 days, arrived in Shanghai on July 6 as a unique way to celebrate Hamburg and Shanghai having been sister cities for three decades.

They set off from Hamburg and traveled a total of 13,000 kilometers through six time zones in the countries, including Poland, Russia and Kazakhstan, all of which are involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

 

German visitors traveling from Hamburg by bus arrived at Shanghai on July 6. Zhou Wenting / China Daily

They arrived in China at Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region three weeks before and visited 11 cities with rich history, such as Dunhuang in Gansu province, Xi'an in Shaanxi province, and Nanjing in Jiangsu province, before moving on to Shanghai.

"I visited Shanghai 31 years ago, and it's like the city has gone through magical changes," says Helga Kayser while visiting China's tallest skyscraper, Shanghai Tower, their first stop after arriving in the city.

Claus Kilpert, another member of the bus tour, says: "We were surprised to see that all the western and eastern regions in China have benefited from impressive development. I've never taken so many pictures during a trip as I did in the past weeks."

It was the first visit to China for many on the tour, who came from various professional fields. They applied for the bus trip through Die Zeit, a German weekly newspaper, one of the organizers.

Shao Zhuqing, deputy Party chief of the Shanghai Tower Construction and Development Co Ltd, said: "The term 'ancient Silk Road', which inspired the Belt and Road Initiative, was first used by a German geographer."

He said it was a vivid example of China and Germany being brought together "marvelously" through the Silk Road.

Lars Anke, chief representative from the Hamburg Liaison Office Shanghai, says the sister cities are both important bridgeheads in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"The tour helps our people better understand what such an initiative has brought to the two countries and some others involved," he says.

Monika Cura, a tour member, says she recorded the people, scenes and cultures along the route with photos and videos and never expected she would also be an object of photo taking by locals during the trip.

"People were always interested in the route map of our bus and asked about our experience wherever we arrived," she says.

"We enjoyed such sincere people-to-people cultural exchanges."

She was also touched by Chinese people's friendliness and openness to foreign visitors.

"We saw happy faces, new technologies and a vibrant social atmosphere in China, which used to seem very far from our world," says Cura, a modern art collector.

Kilpert says he is fascinated by Chinese food and has mastered the use of chopsticks.

Most of the tour members flew back to Germany after staying in the city for two days. Some planned to stay longer or travel to other Chinese cities, such as Beijing, on their own.

One of them was Almut Pfluger, a lawyer, who spent another three days in Shanghai, visiting museums and old buildings.

"I'm also interested in watching an original folk music performance and having a taste of vivid life in the old Shanghai alleys," Pfluger says.

zhouwenting@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[Hungarian helps to bridge gap between continents]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622498.htm Levente Horvath, head of the education department at the central bank of Hungary, considers his journey living in China as an achievement, due to his love of Chinese films and cartoons during his childhood in Hungary.

"I love Chinese films and novels, such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a famous historical novel which tells the lives of feudal lords and their retainers, who tried to replace the dwindling Han dynasty and restore it," says Horvath, who was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1988.

Cao Cao, a Chinese warlord and the chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty in the novel, is the 30-year-old's favorite, because of the character's bravery and intelligence.

During his high school studies, Horvath won a scholarship to study in Nanjing Jinling Senior High School in Jiangsu province.

"My two brothers, who also won the scholarship, chose to study foreign languages in South America, while my passion to learn Chinese inspired my decision to go to China to explore traditional Eastern culture," he says.

Horvath lived with three Chinese families during the one-year exchange program in Nanjing.

"I was moved by the hospitality shown by Chinese families. They taught me how to speak Chinese, through various Chinese storybooks or textbooks that are used by their children at my age at school," says Horvath, who can now speak Chinese fluently.

"Chinese food is delicious, and my favorite dish is fried eggs with tomatoes, which is a little tart blended with sweet."

It's been 12 years since he left Nanjing, but the Hungarian still keeps in touch with the host families, and calls the families' hostesses his "Chinese mothers".

After the exchange program, Horvath decided to apply immediately for a Chinese university.

In 2008, he became the only Hungarian undergraduate enrolled at Fudan University in Shanghai that year, after learning Chinese language in preparatory courses at the university for a year.

"I am grateful for Fudan University, where I met my wife, Niu Shan, a postgraduate at Fudan, in addition to acquiring knowledge and becoming familiar with this great country," says Horvath.

"My marriage is somehow an excellent example of cross-cultural communications," he adds, smiling.

They have been married for three years, and his wife is expecting a baby.

After graduating from Fudan University, Horvath was appointed as consul general of the Hungarian consulate in Shanghai. Thanks to his efforts, tourism in Hungary is becoming popular among Chinese, and many Chinese scholars have given lectures at Hungarian universities in the past two years.

While he was consul general, he met with Xu Ningsheng, president of Fudan University, in 2016, and Xu encouraged him to give full play to his expertise and continue to contribute to the cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and Hungary.

Horvath says: "Hungary is a country included in the Belt and Road Initiative, a development strategy proposed by China focusing on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries. I hope to further promote the Hungarian financial sector's collaboration with Fudan University."

Horvath promoted the cooperation between the Hungarian National Bank, the country's central bank, and Fudan University during the Shanghai Forum in 2017, at which Gyorgy Matolcsy, the central bank's governor, gave the keynote speech.

In June last year, Horvath became the director of the central bank. In August, a delegation from Fudan University was invited to visit the central bank. During the meeting, Matolcsy said Hungary, as a key participant in the Belt and Road Initiative in Europe, is responsible for a better understanding of China by Central and Eastern European countries.

Last year, the governments of China and Hungary signed 11 bilateral cooperation documents in the fields of politics, economy, trade, finance and humanity.

According to Horvath, China Eastern Airlines is expected to launch a direct flight to Hungary in 2019, "which will greatly facilitate better communications between the two countries".

caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[Timeless attractions]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622497.htm A Swiss watchmaker puts money into restoring old Chinese films

The Swiss fine-watch maker Jaeger-LeCoultre is dedicated to the restoration of Chinese films.

And for eight consecutive years now, Jaeger-LeCoultre has had a fine watch auctioned at an annual gala dinner in China, donating the proceeds to the Shanghai International Film Festival to be used for film restoration.

 

The restored film Painting Soul starring Gong Li. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

This year, the restored film Painting Soul, starring Gong Li, premiered at the Shanghai Grand Theatre on June 17.

The 1994 biographical film, directed by Huang Shuqin, is about Pan Yuliang, an artist from China who faced huge obstacles and built her career in France.

"Jaeger-LeCoultre started to support film restoration in China in 2011," said Catherine Renier, the CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, at the premiere of Painting Soul.

This is because the watchmaker with a history of 185 years believes "it is important to conserve the cultural heritage for the future generations," she said.

According to Fu Wenxia, the managing director of the SIFF, Jaeger-LeCoultre has helped restore more than 10 Chinese films, which have been shown as a regular part of the festival in the past eight years. "And we hope to keep working with Jaeger-LeCoultre to protect the heritage of Chinese filmmaking, and provide an optimized viewing experience of these immortal films."

Pierre Millereau, the managing director of Jaeger-LeCoultre China, said that "to restore a movie, you need to be very precise, and work with lots of hand manipulation, just like the way we make our watches".

"Also, the very basis of our business is how a watchmaker transmits knowledge from one to another, generation after generation," said Millereau.

The Swiss brand first got involved with cinema in 2004 when it started a partnership with the Venice Film Festival.

Then, Jaeger-LeCoultre set up the Glory to the Filmmaker Award at the festival.

Now, each year the company gives the prize to a member of the film industry "with values of creation, savoir-faire, and people whom we feel close to as well," said Millereau.

This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the award to the SIFF, which was awarded to Joan Chen.

The 56-year old, who played a deaf-mute girl in the 1977 film Youth, has since become an international award-winning actress and director.

Speaking after receiving the award, Chen talked about what it takes to create a movie, and how emotionally wrenching it can be.

Millereau said: "We are very proud to give the prize to her, and we will continue to give this award every year."

Watchmaking and moviemaking are very similar, he said, adding that both share the same dynamic, in which all the technique and knowledge are meant to create not only a product, but an emotion.

Millereau said people attach lots of emotion to a watch, which is worn close to the skin.

"You vividly recall when you bought it, for what occasion, or whether is it a gift from someone special," said Millereau. "Once you have a watch, you keep it for a long time, or save it for a loved one, such as your child, or spouse.

"What's important for us is the emotion, the dream and the service that we bring to our customer. All the work our watchmakers do in a remote valley in Switzerland is very meaningful," he said.

"For us, it is the highest accomplishment we can achieve in China, and also in the rest of the world."

Jaeger-LeCoultre has done very well in China in the past few years, Millereau said, adding that Chinese customers "have a very definite taste; they know what they want".

The Chinese digital ecosystem is strong and dense, and large amounts of information are available, he noted.

"Chinese customers do a lot of research about the brands. They know all about the history, the heritage. ... So they understand what a brand stands for, and then they look at the products and look for the value."

This is a challenge for Jaeger-LeCoultre, because "we have to make sure that we are a relevant brand, an appealing brand. Everywhere in the world, online and offline, we carry the values that illustrate what the brand is," Millereau said.

He added that people believe watchmaking is mostly about technique, but actually it is exclusively about the human element.

"This is what we want to convey. When you go to the manufacturer, you see all these watchmakers working with their hands.

"It is about skills, about transmitting your knowledge to your son, or your neighbor, who's going to be doing the job for as long as 45 years," he said.

Millereau has been managing director for Jaeger-LeCoultre in China for about a year, though he worked in Shanghai 17 years ago at the Jinmao Tower in Pudong.

At that time Jinmao was the third-tallest building in the world, "and today it is the third-tallest building in Shanghai," he said.

Millereau does not speak Mandarin. So he watches Chinese films for "visual expression rather than the dialogue.

"The way I experience it ... it is always very vibrant and emotional. All the feelings are very strong, which is quite different from Western movies."

Millereau, who grew up in France, added: "We know more about Chinese actresses than actors, and Gong Li is one of those who has left a strong mark."

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[Deaf student's struggle helps inspire kids to defy disabilities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622496.htm Tsinghua PhD candidate spends spare time visiting special schools in her native Hunan

Jiang Mengnan's story is one of triumph over adversity. Deaf almost since birth, she has overcome myriad obstacles to achieve her dream of studying for a PhD at one of China's most prestigious schools.

More importantly, she is helping inspire disabled children in her native Hunan province and beyond to strive for success and defy the low expectations some in society still place on them.

Born into an ethnic Yao family in Yizhang county, Jiang's world has been silent since she was 6 months old, when medicine she was given irreparably damaged her hearing. Through perseverance, however, she excelled at school and university. In the fall, she will start studying for a doctorate in pharmacology at Tsinghua University.

 

Jiang Mengnan attends a meeting at Jilin University in Changchun, Jilin province. Provided to China Daily

"I've received so much help from others over the years. The best way to repay them is for me to do something good for society," she says.

"Because of my hearing loss, I couldn't be a doctor. Instead, I chose pharmacy so I can help reduce people's pain and hasten their recovery."

Another crucial way the 26-year-old aims to contribute is by teaching children in similar situations not to be defined by their disability. As often as she can, Jiang returns to her hometown to visit special education schools and meet with students.

"I tell them to do their best to achieve as much as a so-called healthy person," she says.

"We don't need to feel inferior because of our flaws. Once they try, they'll find things aren't much more difficult than for other kids. And sometimes they'll even do better."

It is not only the children's attitudes she hopes to change. She emphasized how support from others was essential on her own journey.

"I'm always grateful for the respect I receive from my parents, teachers and friends," she says.

"They never give me special attention for my 'imperfection', which means I've never seen myself as different from anyone else."

When Jiang was a toddler, her parents began showing her how to understand people by reading lips. They also taught her vocalization by putting her hands on their throats, so she could feel the vibration of their vocal cords.

It was a slow and laborious process, but her parents did not give up, and soon Jiang began to speak.

"My mother says she'll never forget the day I said 'mama' for the first time. I was 16 months old," she says.

"I don't have standard pronunciation. I just try my best to say every word clearly so people understand me. And when it comes to new acquaintances, I need a few days to get acquainted with their mouth movements."

When she was old enough, Jiang was enrolled at a standard primary school, not a special school as was common for most disabled children.

She said it was difficult at first. During lessons, teachers would often write on the blackboard with their back to the students, so Jiang missed much of the content. She had to copy down everything on the blackboard and study alone after class to keep up with her classmates.

"My parents never told me the answers directly when I asked questions, which helped me develop an ability to think independently," she says.

After graduating from primary school, Jiang asked to attend No 6 Middle School in Chenzhou, a city about 50 kilometers away. At first her parents refused, "but I told them they couldn't protect me all my life", and they agreed.

In 2011, she achieved an impressive score on the national college entrance exam and was admitted to Jilin University in Changchun, Jilin province. In college, she won several awards and scholarships for her outstanding performance and volunteered for numerous public benefit activities. She visited special schools during her vacations.

After graduating in 2015, she became a researcher at the university, studying the computer-aided design of new drugs.

"After careful consideration, I advised her to lean toward a computer-based research career," Professor Yang Xiaohong, Jiang's former tutor, says.

"It has promising development potential and she wouldn't need to carry out lab experiments, which could be dangerous for someone who can't hear."

Jiang eventually finished her master's degree and was accepted as a PhD candidate at Tsinghua University's School of Life Sciences.

"My teachers and classmates have helped me immensely during my studies," she says.

"When I started my master's, it was really hard for me to understand new terminologies by just reading lips, so my tutor would write down the words for me.

"I want to continue scientific research in pharmacology and contribute real value to society," she adds.

"I also hope I can help more people who have the same experiences as me."

Contact the writers at zhouhuiying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[Out of place: One artist's story of aboriginal life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622495.htm After spending half a lifetime with Australia's indigenous people, a former art teacher from Anhui is eager to share his journey with society

It's nothing new that an artist might be inspired by indigenous art from other lands - considering Pablo Picasso's masterpiece Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), reputedly influenced by African sculptures. However, it is rare for an artist to spend half a lifetime living with aborigines in the wilds of a foreign land just to learn the essence of their traditional art and use it as the seedbed for his own work.

But former art teacher Zhou Xiaoping, 60, from Hefei, Anhui province, did just that.

 

Artist Zhou Xiaoping has observed and experienced life with an aboriginal community in Australia for nearly 30 years. Photos Provided to China Daily

He went on to observe and experience aboriginal life for nearly 30 years after becoming captivated by aboriginal rock paintings during one of his first trips to Australia in 1988.

"I came across some aboriginals and their artworks in Alice Springs, a town in central Australia," recalls Zhou.

"I was extremely curious about these people, who looked so different from my stereotypical image of Australians and seemed to be out of place in the midst of so-called mainstream Australian society."

After that, his curiosity led him to explore the outback in Arnhem Land, a remote region some 500 kilometers from Darwin, the capital of Australia's Northern Territory, where he tried to integrate into the aboriginal community there.

He had to change his daily routines and lifestyle from being an urban dweller, adapting to hunt and fish for food during the daytime and bedding down for the night in the open.

"When we caught our prey, we threw the animal into the fire, and ate its meat without any flavoring. It was always mixed with sand," says the Chinese-Australian painter, adding that the eating habits of his aboriginal friends didn't bother him, despite being so unfamiliar initially.

He tried to put behind him the rules and social trifles of urban living and wholeheartedly embrace the daily life of a bushman, which later transformed his understanding of the essence of aboriginal culture and increasingly influenced, both implicitly or explicitly, his art.

Zhou has traveled extensively throughout Australia and been to almost every main aboriginal community in the country.

In the early 1990s, he met an indigenous Australian artist named Jimmy Pike in an aboriginal stronghold in Western Australia.

"We lived under a tree for three weeks, during which he told me the folklores of the region and taught me how to survive in the wild," says Zhou. "And we painted together as a pastime."

Their friendship grew through their shared interest in art and mutual respect for each other. In 1996, Zhou returned to his hometown in China with Pike, and held a joint exhibition at the Hefei-Kurume Friendship Art Gallery, which is believed to have been the first exhibition of Australian aboriginal art in China.

In 2009, Zhou and another aboriginal artist, Johnny Bulunbulun from Arnhem Land, painted a work called From Art to Life, which he brought to an exhibition at the Capital Museum in Beijing two years later.

Ocher and ink were used in the collaborative painting by the two artists of different races, with traditional Chinese painting occupying the left side of the canvas and a design typical of indigenous Australian art taking up the right. In the artwork, images of fish swimming from right to left symbolize the communication between the artists' two cultures.

Most of Zhou's earlier paintings focused on directly portraying aboriginals.

As he gained a deeper insight into their spirituality over the years, Zhou began to express his feelings through his own abstract works, which usually include aboriginal symbols.

The artist says he has developed his own style of art in recent years.

While he initially took aboriginal culture as his muse, he later began to meld cultural elements from aboriginal life into his works and discover his own sense of individualism.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised Zhou's work for its integration of elements from Chinese, Western and indigenous creative traditions.

According to Turnbull, Zhou's comprehensive body of work explores an array of important themes such as identity and belonging, connections between people and the land, and the continuing renewal of ancient cultures in today's world.

Zhou says, "I grew up in China, spent years with the aboriginal Australians, and was once educated in Australia for a postgraduate program.

"Something cross-cultural has been internalized and should be embodied in my paintings."

His journals and photo albums are piled high in his studio in Melbourne, which help him recall his countless experiences with aboriginals.

Eager to show Australian mainstream society what he has witnessed over the past three decades, Zhou is writing a book that records his firsthand experience of aboriginal communities and is planning to film a documentary based on the book.

"Anyway, I am a painter, not a scholar or a storyteller - but I suppose I do have lots of stories to tell," says Zhou.

"What I really wanted to pursue was the ability to express myself in my paintings in an original way that derives exclusively from my own experiences."

xingwen@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[Classical text gets novel treatment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622494.htm A child-friendly version of A Dream of Red Mansions has just been released, reports Mei Jia.

For those Chinese who want to find their cultural roots, there's nothing better than classical traditional texts.

And Liu Xinwu, 76, a writer and renowned expert on A Dream of Red Mansions, says the novel is the best gateway into traditional Chinese culture, not only because of its literary merits, but also because of the many cultural aspects contained in the novel like poetry, culinary traditions, tea culture, costumes and architecture.

On July 16, Liu released a six-volume series of his guide to the ancient novel for young readers, ideally ages 5 to 9.  

 

Author Liu Xinwu has released a six-volume series of his guide to A Dream of Red Mansions for young readers, featuring hand-drawing illustrations by Zheng Qinyu. Photos Provided to China Daily

   

The novel, one of the country's four greatest ancient classical texts, was written by Cao Xueqin (circa 1715-63), and is loved by millions of Chinese readers, among whom was the late Chairman Mao Zedong.

Mao was known to have read through the original text many times, according to Party history researcher Chen Jin.

"You can talk about it (the novel) only after reading through it at least five times," Mao had said.

Liu's publisher, Yang Zheng from Tiandi Press, says a recent reader survey found that 92 percent of Chinese parents would love to give the novel to their children, but 51 percent of them were not sure if the novel was suitable for children under 10, in terms of content and language.

As for Liu, he says: "It (the novel) isn't that easy to understand. It is quite sophisticated, and different readers see different things. But for me, its charm lies in its depth of questing for the ultimate meaning of life and the significance of survival, which also makes it unique in a sense."

What Liu does in the 50 chapters of the six books is to avoid the sophistication and instead focus on the characters, the scenes and the related stories, like Daiyu burying the petals, drunk Xiangyun sleeping in the flower garden and Miaoyu serving tea.

"I try my best to bring the beautiful, the pleasant and the interesting from the novel to young readers," says Liu.

"I'm giving the kids a glimpse of the light and joy that the book brings, which will stay with them as they grow older and can explore the original novel themselves."

Liu's new series was inspired by the stories he told his 6-year-old granddaughter.

The author, a former editor with a literary magazine, is known for his works of fiction and lectures on China Central Television about A Dream of Red Mansions.

In 2011, Liu raised public interest in the novel by releasing his own version of the work, because the existing 80 chapters by Cao Xueqin are believed to be unfinished.

For years, Liu has been promoting the novel to adult readers, but now he is responding to demands that he take the classical novel to even younger readers.

He has begun to act. As part of this outreach, he has produced audio lectures for children and turned them into a series, besides offering cultural references in the books to festivals, customs, toys, tales and even legendary swords.

For publisher Yang, Liu has made the classic approachable and his books are a boon to Chinese parents who are anxiously pushing to introduce the classics to their children.

But some people doubt if Liu's take is the best way, or if people should stick to presenting the original texts of the classics to the younger generations.

Zhu Yongxin, the vice-president of the Chinese Society of Education, says it's common practice in many countries to provide children with access to literary classics as early as possible.

"In the United States there's a Core Knowledge curriculum with Core Classics, while in Britain, kindergarten kids are encouraged to perform Shakespeare's plays, elementary school students are recommended abridged versions of the Bard's works, and students ages 11 to 14 read at least one of his works," Zhu says.

"The versions or forms don't matter too much. If the classics suit the children, it's fine to read them, and better if parents can read them together with their children," adds Zhu.

Wang Zhigeng of the Kids Library of the National Library of China says he sees Liu's series as a way to bridge the transition from picture books to reading more texts.

Zheng Qinyu, the illustrator of the series, spent months on the pictures in the books to help young readers.

"I chose watercolors, colored pencils and fine-pointed technical drawing pens to create the works, instead of using a computer," says Zheng.

While the series may be meant for children, there are also adults who could use Liu's latest work.

Columnist and blogger Li Ling, better known as San Chuan Ling, says she reads A Dream of Red Mansions once a year, but she knows some adult readers who need help in getting through the novel, and Liu's version could be a handy option.

"It (the novel) is like crab in the autumn, and tea collected right before Tomb Sweeping Day in the spring. Reading the novel is something the Chinese appreciate very much," she says.

Liu's book will also soon be available in foreign languages, coming first to Southeast Asia, says Yang.

"Liu's version offers easy access for foreign readers who are interested in the book," he adds.

Contact the writer at meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[ONE CHINESE FAMILY'S LEGACY IN PARADISE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619941.htm When US writer Mark Twain visited Mauritius in 1896, he quoted a resident on the island saying that "Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius".

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Donald Ah-Chuen, a descendant of Chu Wei Chuen, recalls of his family's contributions to the island nation of Mauritius, Dong Jidong reports in Port Louis, Mauritius

When US writer Mark Twain visited Mauritius in 1896, he quoted a resident on the island saying that "Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius".

The tropical paradise attracted many immigrants from around the world, and among them was 14-year-old Chu Wei Chuen. Born in Meizhou, Guangdong province, the boy's dream was simple - start a business, make a fortune and return home.

He did start a humble grocery business and made a small fortune. But little did he know that he and his future generations would go on to become prominent personalities on the exotic island.

Chu's second son, Jean Moilin Ah-Chuen, went on to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Mauritius and the Minister of Local Government after the country became independent in 1968. The Ministry of Local Government is responsible for local government matters in Mauritius. More than a century after his arrival on the island, Chu's eldest granddaughter, Marie Madeleine Lee, become the Mauritian ambassador to China.

Thanks to the precedent set by Jean Moilin and Marie Madeleine Lee, it has become a customary practice that the Cabinet of Mauritius would include a member of Chinese descent and the country's ambassador to China would be an ethnic Chinese, says Donald Ah-Chuen, 84, son of Jean Moilin and the CEO of ABC Group, during an interview in the family's former residence on Reverend Lebrun Street in Rose Hill.

"Our family is very proud of these achievements," Donald says. "It was a great honor for the family when my sister Marie Madeleine met with the then Chinese premier Zhu Rongji in 2000. Zhu was so happy to have an ambassador from an African country who could converse fluently in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka and Shanghainese, aside from English and French."

Founded in 1931 by Jean Moilin, the ABC Group is today one of the top 25 conglomerates in the country and employs more than 1,300 people. The company's extensive portfolio includes food, automobiles, banking, insurance, shipping and logistics. And it all started from a humble grocery store in Port Louis called ABC, which stands for Au Bazar Central.

In the 18th century, the period when Mauritius was colonized by French and British settlers, sugar plantations were the country's core industry. Many Indians flocked to the sugar cane farms in the country to work and this soon led to the start of a special relationship between them and the Chinese.

"The sugar planting season lasted only six months, so there was no work for the workers in the other half of the year. But although the workers didn't get paid, the Chinese shopkeepers still supplied them with food for free," says Donald.

In 1942, Jean Moilin became the youngest president of the Mauritian Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and this marked the start of his political career. Under his charge, the chamber later played an important role in providing food to the Chinese community in Mauritius during World War II when Japanese warships and submarines disrupted the food supply to the nation. He also played a pivotal role in rallying the Chinese against Japan.

"Besides rallying overseas Chinese youth to raise funds to help China fend off the Japanese invaders, my father also organized a small group of Chinese shopkeepers to form a defense force for Mauritius. The force, with him as its captain, had a few hundred members," says Donald.

According to the Changsha Evening News, one of the members of this defense force was Lan Binggang, who was in 2015 awarded a medal at a ceremony in China to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45). The report said that Lan had arrived in Mauritius in 1936 before returning to the Chinese mainland in December 1939 to join the fight against the Japanese invaders.

In recognition of his contributions during the war, Jean Moilin became the first Chinese representative on the Legislative Council in Mauritius in 1948. He continued to climb the ranks in the local government when he was appointed the Minister of Local Government in 1968 after Mauritius became an independent nation. This historic appointment brought much pride to the Chinese community in the country as Sino-Mauritians, most of whom were Hakka, accounted for only 2 percent of the country's population.

One of the notable things that Jean Moilin did was to persuade the Parliament to make the Chinese Spring Festival a public holiday in Mauritius. He succeeded, and Mauritius is today the only African country that celebrates this major Chinese festival.

In 1972, the Mauritian government, in which Jean Moilin held the post of minister, established diplomatic relations with China. In the early 1970s, the slump in sugar cane prices in the international market dealt a heavy blow to the country's economy. As a result, unemployment in the country rose at an alarming rate.

After the Mauritian government passed the Export Processing Zone Act in 1970 to provide incentives for foreign trade, Jean Moilin played a crucial role in building the export processing zone, which led to the creation of more than 60,000 jobs. With the help of his daughter, Madeleine, who was living in Hong Kong with her husband, Jean Moilin also invited delegations of textile entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Macao to invest in Mauritius.

"Not enough credit has been given to Jean Moilin for the success of the export processing zone. It must be said that it was the zone that saved Mauritius after independence," says Edouard Lim Fat, a close friend of Jean Moilin and one of the pioneers of the zone.

In appreciation of his dedication and contribution to the country, the then prime minister of Mauritius Seewoosagur Ramgoolam recommended Jean Moilin to Queen Elizabeth II of England for the honor of knighthood in 1979. Jean Moilin was made Knight Bachelor of the British Empire in January 1980.

Jean Moilin died in 1991 at the age of 90. In honor of him, his portrait was printed on the 25-rupee banknotes in 1998. Three years later, a commemorative stamp marking the 100th anniversary of his birth was issued in the country.

In her book The Portrait of My Vivid Life, Marie Madeleine Lee paid tribute to her father, writing: "You have unquestionably elevated the status of the Chinese community in Mauritius."

"The Chinese community today is not only well-respected, but also held in high regard by other racial groups, whether they are black, Indians or Muslims, because of my father," said Donald.

The family's old residence on Reverend Lebrun Street was turned into a memorial center and museum for Sir Jean Moilin in August 2009. Donald says that the family members still gather at the site occasionally to relive their growing up days.

Till this day, Jean Moilin's contributions to the country are still an inspiration to many Chinese Mauritians.

"Sino-Mauritians are proud of his dedication to improving the welfare of the community, and the community also serves as a bridge between Mauritius and China," says Jin Lian Qiu, 46, who moved to Mauritius 17 years ago and teaches Chinese at the Royal College Port Louis and Greenwich University Mauritius.

Qiu is currently compiling a Chinese textbook for the Mauritian Ministry of Education and Human Resources.

"I found that great changes have taken place in China when I was attending the World Chinese Language and Culture Education Conference in Beijing in December," she adds.

"China's rapid development makes overseas Chinese very proud. I will play my role as a promoter of Chinese culture in helping more Mauritians better understand China and its culture."

Li Kook Tseung, director of the China Times newspaper in Mauritius and vice-president of the Heen Foh Lee Kwon Society, also spoke of Jean Moilin's impact, saying: "Although we were born in Mauritius, we still have strong ties with China. Chinese-Mauritians prefer to travel to China rather than other places such as Europe and the United States. China is where our heart is."

 

Donald Ah-Chuen shows visitors around the family's former residence on Reverend Lebrun Street in Rose Hill, now a memorial center for his late father Sir Jean Moilin. Photos By Dong Jidong and provided to China Daily

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2018-07-21 07:08:46
<![CDATA[Wuhan-born author releases debut novel]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619940.htm NEW YORK - Chinese-American writer Iris Yang's debut novel Wings of a Flying Tiger, a heart-wrenching story about local Chinese who risk their lives to save a downed US pilot during World War II in China, is now on sale in the United States.

According to Yang, the book is based on the true experiences of Tex Hill, a member of the Flying Tigers who was rescued by Chinese villagers. The Flying Tigers, also known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG), was a group of about 300 pilots and ground staff who volunteered to help China fend off the invading Japanese troops before the United States officially entered the war.

The novel is set in the summer of 1942 when pilot Danny Hardy bails out of his fighter plane in a remote region of western China. Suffering from multiple injuries and malaria, the US pilot's odds of survival are slim as he tries to evade capture by the Japanese.

Jasmine Bai, an art student who has been saved by Americans during the Nanking Massacre, is the unlikely heroine in the rescue efforts of the wounded Flying Tiger. Daisy Bai, Jasmine's younger cousin, ends up falling in love with the American.

With the help of Daisy's brother, an entire village sets out to help Hardy but as a result shatter the serenity that their community has enjoyed.

"I like fiction writing, especially historical fiction. It allows me to create characters in a historical setting. I enjoy the process - learning the history and producing likable or hateful characters," Yang was quoted by BookGlow, the leading website on book promotion.

It took Yang three months to finish the first draft, and two more years to hone the work.

Printed in June by Open Books, the 254-page English novel has been well-received by readers and book reviewers. It currently holds a five-star rating on Amazon.

"My heart sank just a little deeper with every passing scene," said a reviewer named Paul Falk. "At times the anguish was almost unbearable. It was all I could do to keep my composure to the chilling end. I recommend this heartfelt read with no hesitation to any admirer of historical fiction."

Born and raised in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, Yang relocated to the US in the 1980s to study before settling down in North Carolina. Though she holds a PhD in biology, Yang's flair for literature can be said to be hereditary - her grandmother used to be one of the most respected translators in China.

"The process of writing has changed my life and made me better all the way through," Yang was quoted as saying by The China Press.

"Writing is hard. If you don't have a burning desire, don't do it. But if you are passionate about it, don't let anything or anyone stop you," said Yang on BookGlow.

A sequel titled Will of a Flying Tiger will be published at the end of this year.

"I'm working on a story based on my grandmother. My grandma's life was a mix of triumphs and tragedies. I'll try my best to write it down," said Yang.

Xinhua

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2018-07-21 07:08:46
<![CDATA[Best bets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619939.htm Teatro alla Scala Ballet: Don Quixote

Date: Aug 31-Sept 2 - 7:15 pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, Shanghai

With its sparkling energy and the bright colors of the staging by Raffaele Del Savio and Anna Anni, Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote, in repertoire at La Scala since 1980, will transport audiences with freshness, joy and choreographic splendor to an enchanting Spain, with gypsy dances, fandangos, matadors, windmills and the airy candor of the Garden of the Dryads. Set to Minkus' accessible music, the adventures of Don Quixote and his trusted squire Sancho Panza interweave; or rather, they act as a pretext for a love story and for an evening of sizzling dances, scintillating and full of temperament, with funny supporting characters and virtuoso lead roles. Between fleeing, deceptions and disguises, Don Quixote will dance with his Dulcinea, and the young Kitri and the barber Basilio's dreams will come true.

Trinity Boys Choir

Date: Aug 5 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Trinity Boys Choir is one of the busiest and most successful in the world. It has enjoyed a high professional profile, both at home and abroad for over fifty years. The boys are especially well known for their part in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream in which they have appeared in over 150 professional performances, and they feature in both the Warner DVD and on the Virgin Classics CD of the opera.

On the concert platform, the Choir is regularly invited to perform at the BBC Proms, and was honored to perform in Her Majesty the Queen's 80th Birthday Prom Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006 and at Sir Neville Marriner's 90th Birthday Prom Concert in 2014. The boys have performed with all the major London orchestras, with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir, and with Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort in Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK. Trinity Boys Choir has also been invited to perform in Vienna with the Vienna Boys Choir, and in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the USA.

Sam Smith The Thrill of It All World Tour Shanghai

Date: Oct 23 - 8 pm

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai

Sam Smith is recognized as one of the most impressive musicians for his unique soul and sensibility. He received his first Guinness World Record by scoring his 2014 debut album In the Lonely Hour on British Official Albums Chart Top 10 for 69 consecutive weeks and left the world in the grip of fever by selling over 14 million records worldwide. In 2015, he ranked on the list of top artists by winning four Grammys including "Song of the Year" and "Record of the Year" while receiving three BMAs and two Brit Awards in the same year. Songs from this debut album including "I'm Not The Only One", "Stay with Me", and "Lay Me Down" were also favorites of fans in China. In 2016, he scored two Best Original Song awards from Golden Globe Awards and Academy Awards with "Writing's On The Wall", the original soundtrack form famous James Bond sequel Specter.

His second full album The Thrill of It All combined by western pop, pop-soul and blue-eyed soul was released last November and was ranked Top 1 on both Billboard and UK Official Chart.

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

Date: Aug 16-25 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai Culture Square, Shanghai

Following the sold-out and critical success of The Red Shoes New Adventures returns with one of our most popular and beloved productions, Matthew Bourne's Cinderella - a thrilling and evocative love story, set in London during the World War II. Matthew Bourne's interpretation of the classic fairy tale has, at its heart, a true wartime romance. A chance meeting results in a magical night for Cinderella and her dashing young RAF pilot, together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz. With Lez Brotherston's sumptuous costumes and sets, which won an Olivier Award for his original designs, lighting by Olivier Award-winning Neil Austin and video and projection designed by Duncan McLean, Cinderella will be performed in Surround Sound, designed by Paul Groothuis and featuring a specially commissioned recording played by a 60 piece orchestra.

Munich Boys Choir in Guangzhou

Date: Aug 12 - 8 pm

Venue: Xinhai Concert Hall

The foundation of the Munich Boys Choir by the conductor Ralf Ludewig demonstrates how he rose to the challenge of realizing a long term dream he and many friends of music and culture in Munich have in common: a top level boys' choir whose very name epitomizes the rich variety of culture the Bavarian state capital continues to offer. In the past citizens and representatives of the City of Munich frequently approached the then Music Director of the Tolzer Knabenchor and announced their wish to see a new name in the music world, one that would signal to all just how success, quality and fame can be attributed to a boys' choir comprising Munich's own children the City of Munich has, after all, a child in its famous coat of arms. Inspired by these requests Ralf Ludewig decided to establish a choir of his own. Many boys were inspired by this idea of a new musical adventure and followed their long time choir leader, supporting him in forming a new choir that would be associated with music-making of the highest level.

Escaping From the Temple

Date: Aug 18-19 - 7:30 pm

Venue: 1862 Theater, Shanghai

Escaping From the Temple was derived from two famous plays from Chinese Kunqu Operas: Longing For the Mundane and Going Down the Mountain.

Zhao Liang presents the Kunqu Opera singing and dance performances simultaneously on the stage, featuring both the natural beauty of the former and the avantgarde dynamics of the latter. Such approach to incorporate "drama within drama" is very challenging. The role of the young nun is played by two people, among whom Dong Fei has been trained under the lineage of the great Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang. She will play the role of Empty and sing Kunqu alive on the stage. On a beautiful spring day, a young nun met a young monk and they fell in love with each other. Eventually, both of them left their temples and went down the mountain together. The ending is the climax of the story. However, is it an illusion of the young nun or a projection of the audiences for a "happy ending"?

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2018-07-21 07:08:17
<![CDATA[When much younger, bid weirdly]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619938.htm Hunter S. Thompson, the founder of the gonzo journalism movement, said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Young bridge players experiment with weird bids, usually before they turn pro. In 1974, I partnered Dennis Spooner, a former scriptwriter, in a one-day pair event, when this deal occurred.

I opened the South hand with one heart, promising a four-card or longer suit in the Acol system we used across the pond. If partner had four-card heart support and gamegoing values, he had to bid his own suit, then jump to four hearts, what was called the Delayed Game Raise. Instead, Spooner (North) bid his own three-card suit, then, after I rebid two no-trump, promising 15-17 points, he jumped to six hearts, the Delayed Slam Raise, as he explained afterward. I beat a retreat to six no-trump.

West led a club. East won with his ace and returned the suit. I was confident that East had the club queen, but I did not need to finesse, because either spades would be worth four tricks, or I would have a squeeze. After winning with the club king, I played a heart to dummy's ace, took my two top diamonds and ran the rest of the hearts. Everyone came down to four cards. I had my spades, and dummy held three spades and one diamond, but West could not keep the diamond queen and four spades. Plus 990 was a top.

I turned pro six years later.

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2018-07-21 07:08:17
<![CDATA[Shows]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619937.htm Mermaid Theatre: Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny

Date: Aug 4-5 - 10:30 am/4:30 pm

Venue: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Goodnight Moon is a celebration of familiar nighttime rituals, while The Runaway Bunny's pretend tale of leaving home evokes reassuring responses from his loving mum. Both tales feature endearing rabbit characters, and the soothing rhythms of bunny banter and dream-like imagery never fail to infuse young readers with a reassuring sense of security. Mermaid's staged adaptation will bring a new sense of appreciation to stories that have delighted several generations.

French Opera Romeo and Juliet by NCPA

Date: July 21-22 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

The five-act opera, Romeo et Juliette is a French romantic opera masterpiece by Charles-Francois Gounod. Many of the opera's characters have exquisite arias, and the two lovers' many duets are exceedingly beautiful and worthy of the classic. On the occasion of the bicentennial of Gounod's birth and 125th anniversary of his death, the NCPA has invited Stefano Poda, factotum of the opera stage, to handle the direction, set design, costume design, lighting and choreography. The renowned opera is presented in his novel design and unique style. The French opera conductor extraordinaire, Patrick Fournillier returns to the NCPA after Thais, and reproduces the romantic spirit of French music for a broad audience.

More Than Love: Chinese Valentine's Day Concert

Date: Aug 16 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Beijing Concert Hall

Let us enter this season of love by enjoying a romantic classical music concert and instantly turn back the time. Specially elected Oscar-winning theme songs will be played together with nostalgic harmonies. Through their exquisite live performances, the Music Fans Classical (MFC) will play both popular and classic melodies. "More Than Love" is a moving story about pain and love. If you have ever loved, you have also lost. The beautifully melodic and innocent melody will flow gently from your ears into your heart. Often, when a familiar piece of music is played, unforgettable pictures will come to mind making people warm. French writer Proust said, "I want to know if music has ever been invented. Is it possible that music will become the only way for spiritual communication?"

D Lab Dance: Mirage

Date: July 28-29 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

When it comes to financing business, people tend to describe it as unfathomable. Financial practitioners seem to wear mysterious masks all the time. They perform wonders in the suit, just like the magicians. The advocates always keep curious and keen to see the truth. But who knows the real them underneath their gleaming appearances. Are they perverse and eccentric? Or are they only trying to look cheerful? The office has become a "battlefield" where they fight for every penny in the world of money. Sometimes they are very cautious, but sometimes they fight without any fear. When darkness fell, and battle was over, all the struggles seemed to be disappeared. There was only one sigh left. At this very moment, the victory doesn't matter anymore. On the choice of themes, D Lab challenges the "financial world", a field with an aura of "Elite" this time. The collision between this field and dance induces fantastic reveries, and the chemical reactions would happen between them based on marked disparity also make people more interested in.

Vienna Girls' Choir

Date: Aug 9 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

The Vienna Girls' Choir is a choir of girls who are between ten and fifteen years old. Formed in 2004 in Vienna, Austria, the choir is a part of the Wirth Music Academy. Gerald Wirth, the Artistic Director of the Vienna Boys' Choir, assists in the management of the girls' choir, which meets in the historic Josefsstockl on the grounds of the Vienna Boys' Choir, which was established in 1498. The choir performs traditional Austrian folk songs as well as traditional and contemporary pieces from many nations. In February 2007, the Vienna Girls' Choir traveled to India to perform with a children's choir from New Delhi. This was the premiere of the World Peace Choir. Ravi Shankar hosted the meeting with rehearsals at the Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts.

The Children Choir of Austria: The Sound of Music

Date: Aug 19 - 10:30 am

Venue: Shanghai Center Theater

The musical The Sound of Music tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children and their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria decide to flee from Austria with the children. In the year 1966, when the Salzburger Musikschulwerk took measures to promote choirs, the teacher Hans Laimer started the "Kindersingschule Maxglan". The members came from the primary school for boys in Maxglan in Salzburg. On the occasion of the choir's first significant journey abroad, it was renamed "Salzburger Chorknaben". Some years later the school was also opened for girls and the choir boys followed this example and the choir was renamed "Salzburger Chorknaben und Chormaedchen" (Salzburger Boys Choir and Girls Choir).

Wolf Alice China Tour

Date: Aug 16 - 8:30 pm

Venue: Modernsky Lab Shanghai

An evocative North London alt-rock outfit led by vocalist Ellie Rowsell, Wolf Alice deftly mixes folk, grunge, and electronic elements with vintage '90s indie rock. Formed in 2010 by Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie, the duo issued an eponymous EP independently before expanding into a four-piece in 2012 with the addition of drummer Joel Amey and bassist Theo Ellis. The newly minted quartet released a flurry of singles before putting out a proper debut EP, Blush, in 2013. The EP garnered positive reviews, with some critics comparing the group to Elastica, Garbage, the Duke Spirit, and the Pixies. The band's sophomore EP, Creature Songs, followed in 2014. A pair of singles, "Giant Peach" and "Bros," arrived before the Mercury Prize-nominated full-length My Love Is Cool in June 2015.

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2018-07-21 07:08:17
<![CDATA[Nightlife & Activities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619936.htm Abstraction as Painterly Rhetoric: A Case Study Between Germany and China

Date: July 21 - Sept 2 - 10 am

Venue: PIFO New Art Gallery

PIFO Gallery is delighted to present the annual exhibition Abstract Art already in its 11th iteration. This year the gallery brings together artists from China and Germany. Germany has an extraordinarily strong tradition in painterly abstraction, since its founding moment after 1945, leading up to the founding of documenta, Kassel and beyond. Consequently artists from Germany have been a source of reference for many Chinese artists. The highly influential artist Tan Ping studied in Germany in the early 1990. His paintings are juxtaposed with works by Bernard Schultze and Karl Fred Dahmen, who are to be found in all major museums and private collections in Germany. PIFO Gallery is proud to be the first gallery to present their paintings in China.

Binge Joking

Date: July 21 - 3 pm

Venue: The Bookworm

Sisley Wilson is an Virtual Artist created by a group of chaps whom are artists, comic playwright, animation artists and scientists. "Her" opus Binge Joking will be shown the very first time in Beijing on July 21. We shall see "Her" talk the talk as well as joke the joke. You probably won't see Her the way as you might have seen other artists. Nonetheless, from her jokes and words, surely you will perceive her character, humorous and witty. And of course she has a distinguishing feature that all girls have, changeable. Paolo De Grandis, the curator of this exhibition, who was the curator of La Biennale di Venezia, who also have been working with many well-known contemporary artists, such as Keith Haring, Yoko Ono, Emilio Vedova, Mimmo Rotella, and so on. This time he chose to collaborate with an Virtual Artist in Beijing, because "She" is such a lark. This exhibition will last one day, the opening ceremony contains a stand-up comedy show and a performance art.

NYO-China Performance and Discussion on Chamber Music Education in China

Date: July 23 - 6 pm

Venue: Yale Center in Beijing

This July, the National Youth Orchestra of China presents a concert series dedicated to the art of chamber performance which features twenty of China's finest young musicians. What unique qualities will these student artists bring to their performances? What challenges will they face in preparing advanced works? How might chamber performance foster connection across divides of age, geography, and nationality? Robert Blocker, the Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music at Yale University and Senior Advisor for Global Artistic Affairs to the NYO-China, hosts a discussion of chamber music education and outreach within China. NYO-China's students, instructors, and administrators will join him in reflection and also present a selection of highlights from their upcoming concert tour.

National Theater Live: The Leading Man Returns

Date: July 28 - 2 pm

Venue: Ullens Center for Contemporary Art

Following the Sing and Dance series, UCCA presents screenings of four National Theatre Live productions in July and August. Hamlet features Benedict Cumberbatch as the protagonist of Shakespeare's classic tragedy. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time has been hailed by The Times as "a phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle." The great playwright Arthur Miller confronts the American dream in the dark and passionate tale A View from the Bridge. The London National Theatre calls the National Theatre's production of the Follies "not only a triumph, but a transcendence."

Comedy Club China Presents: Mohammed Magdi's "Brown Mirror"

Date: July 21 - 8 pm

Venue: Salud

Comedy Club China's summer of laughs continues with our good friend, Mohammed Magdi, as he performs his latest comedy show: Brown Mirror! He is from Egypt and has performed this show (and other shows) all over the world, with recent stops in Singapore, Korea, Japan, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and now Beijing! Mohammed is also the winner of the Bangkok International Comedy Festival, finalist in the 2017 Hong Kong International Comedy Competition, was the first runner-up in the 2016 China International Comedy Festival, has performed on Comedy Central, and is a manager of Kung Fu Komedy Club in Shanghai.

Rap Battle Vol 7 Ft Ember Swift

Date: July 28 - 8 pm

Venue: Soi Baochao

Ember Swift is a Canadian musician and songwriter who has released 12 albums and one DVD project since 1996 through her own independent label Few'll Ignite Sound. Her most recent album Sticks & Stones in 2017 is a collection of work in three categories: Songs for Adults, Songs for Kids, and finally Songs for Adults w/Kids, a community she feels deserves some separate recognition. This new body of work culminated over the past five years since becoming a mother of two in 2012 and 2013, respectively. This is Ember's third release since moving to Beijing in 2008 and it demonstrates how music can serve as a bridge between the two divergent cultures. Fluent in Mandarin and French, Ember sings in all three languages, including English. With the inclusion of the Chinese traditional instrument erhu alongside of Western contemporary instruments, the performance and sound are both entertaining and unique.

Dispel an Resetting

Date: July 22 - 10 am

Venue: EGG Gallery in Beijing

EGG Gallery is delighted to present a new body of works by Chinese artist Bai Jingsheng. In her first solo exhibition with EGG Gallery in 2018, viewers are able to see how Bai uses her brush to record light, time and life in the abstraction of colors, lines, and patterns. Bai who was born in the mid-fifties shows her love for painting since childhood. Although she is not good at words, she can express herself freely while she is painting. For her, painting is a kind of spiritual practice. In that process, the negative emotions in the common life are calmed down and relieved. The works have their own self-examination. Therefore, she is more willing to call her work as "Journal" which has her most true and prime vision and portrays the beauty that eventually settled after years' lives.

Kashmere China Tour 2018

Date: July 29 - 9 pm

Venue: Yuyintang Livehouse in Shanghai

Straight out of Stockport, England, Kashmere merges anthemic, stadium-sized indie rock, with a cut of melodic brooding synth pop to create their own unique form of sonic worth. Formed by Joey Newey and Andy Law, on vocals/guitar and drums, as well as lead guitarist Charlie Cole and bassist Freddie Hughes. The band gained recognition after long-awaited debut single "Blow Your Mind" springing the band into the limelight in the summer of 2016. Followed by a string of successful singles including 2017 festival favorite "Porcelain".

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2018-07-21 07:08:17
<![CDATA[BRIDGING THE GAP]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619932.htm A road that crosses the Taklimakan Desert, the world's second-largest desert, is being built by hundreds of workers from all over the country work day and night.

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A 330-km road is being built to connect northern and southern Xinjiang, which is separated by a desert

A road that crosses the Taklimakan Desert, the world's second-largest desert, is being built by hundreds of workers from all over the country work day and night.

The first thing the workers face when building a desert road is the harsh natural environment. The cold, the heat, the sand storms and other factors are all challenges. Engineering equipment can only be transported from outside the desert, which adds a lot of difficulty to the construction process.

In order to prevent the sand from burying the roadbed, the workers have to build a "reed sand fence" and a "reed square" to prevent wind and sand from sabotaging the road.

In order to minimize the impact on the desert environment, China Communications Construction Company, which is in charge of the Urumqi-Yuli Road project in Xinjiang, has formulated a number of regulations for water intake, garbage disposal and wildlife protection. At the same time, they have also taken in lots of the local labor to help the southern Xinjiang area to alleviate poverty.

This road stretches from Xinjiang's Qiemo county to Yuli county through the desert, and is more than 330 kilometers long. More than 100 kilometers of the road is now complete. And when it is ready, it will link Qiemo county on the southern edge of the desert to Urumqi, creating a passage between northern and southern Xinjiang, which is separated by the desert.

Photos by Hu Huhu

Xinhua

 

A construction site of the desert road from Qiemo county to Yuli county, Xinjiang.

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2018-07-21 07:07:23
<![CDATA[Ronaldo leaves a Real big void]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619925.htm Superstar's exit exposes many challenges for Spanish giant

As Cristiano Ronaldo begins a promising new era with Juventus, a period of uncertainty starts for the team he left behind.

Real Madrid, Europe's most successful club, will need to find a way to reinvent itself after seeing one of soccer's greatest players say goodbye.

Ronaldo joined Italian champion Juventus last week, leaving Madrid without its biggest star - and the 50-plus goals he averaged per season in his nine years in Spain.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo connects with an overhead kick during a La Liga match between Real Madrid and Granada in 2014. Many experts predict Madrid will struggle to adequately replace the forward following his departure to Juventus. Andres Kudacki / AP File

"Ronaldo will forever be one of Real Madrid's biggest icons," the club said in a message on its website.

Life without Ronaldo certainly won't be easy for the Spanish powerhouse.

Here's a closer look at the challenges ahead for Real Madrid:

Replacing an icon

Replacing the Portugal forward - voted the world's best player for the past two years - will be practically impossible. The only other player on a similar level is Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who will not even be considered an option to switch to rival Madrid.

The third-best player in the world is probably Neymar, who last season transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a record $264 million. Neymar would give Madrid a high-profile name comparable to Ronaldo's, but not everyone thinks the 26-year-old Brazilian is capable of consistently delivering the same results on the field.

Also, fans' unease with Neymar increased during the World Cup as he occasionally made more headlines for play-acting than his performances as Brazil was eliminated by Belgium in the quarterfinals.

Madrid fans' preference seems to be Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, the 19-year-old who helped France win the World Cup in Russia.

Mbappe would give Madrid a top name to attract headlines and sell shirts, and is a promising talent who some pundits reckon could thrive at the highest level for years to come.

Even before Ronaldo sealed his transfer to Juventus, there were rumors Madrid was looking at the possibility of signing either Neymar or Mbappe.

Last week, though, the club released official statements denying having made any offers to sign either player, calling media reports "completely false" and "absolutely untrue".

Other options

If Neymar and Mbappe are not options, Madrid could look to other players who did well at the World Cup, including Belgium's Eden Hazard and England's Harry Kane.

Kane plays in a similar position as Ronaldo, and would theoretically make more sense than Hazard, who is more of a playmaker and an attacking midfielder.

Kane, at 24, is three years younger than Hazard, and his full potential remains largely unknown.

Juventus paid $131.5 million for Ronaldo - not an enormously high fee by recent standards - and Madrid club president Florentino Perez has not spent much on highprofile signings in recent seasons.

Madrid is focusing its money on youngsters to try to build a base for the future.

The club recently signed 22-year-old Spain rightback Alvaro Odriozola, and spent a total of $105 million for a couple of talented 17-year-old Brazilian players - Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior. Vinicius Junior is joining the club this season, while Rodrygo is expected to arrive next year.

Who's left?

Madrid's current options for the attack are 28-year-old Gareth Bale and 30-year-old Karim Benzema. Both have spent a lot of time on the bench under coach Zinedine Zidane.

New manager Julen Lopetegui, who arrived amid his stunning dismissal from Spain's national team on the eve of the World Cup, will also look to 27-year-old Lucas Vazquez and 21-year-old Borja Mayoral, a regular on Spain's youth squads.

Other attacking options for Lopetegui include Spain internationals Isco and Marco Asensio, who have both played in the false No 9 position in the past.

The team's midfield will remain the same, with Casemiro protecting the defense behind Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.

The defense also should remain solid, with Sergio Ramos playing alongside Raphael Varane, flanked by Dani Carvajal and Marcelo.

Keylor Navas will remain in goal, although rumors about the club wanting to replace him will likely continue for another season.

Madrid recently signed 19-year-old Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.

No matter who comes to the attack, it will be a tough task to even get close to Ronaldo's success with Madrid.

He left as the Spanish club's all-time leading scorer with 451 goals in 438 matches, helping it win four Champions League titles, including the past three in a row.

Ronaldo said his time with Madrid was probably the happiest of his life. Now it remains to be seen how Madrid and its fans will cope without their brightest star.

Associated Press

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2018-07-21 07:20:58
<![CDATA[Liverpool lands Alisson as world's priciest 'keeper]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619924.htm LIVERPOOL - Liverpool on Thursday signed Brazil goalkeeper Alisson from Roma in a world record deal valued at (72.5 million euros) $84.5 million by the Italian club.

"The 25-year-old signed a long-term contract with the Reds after undergoing a medical and completing the formalities of his switch at (training center) Melwood today," said the Liverpool website.

Roma confirmed the value of the transfer for Alisson, who backstopped Brazil at the World Cup in Russia.

"AS Roma can confirm that Alisson Becker has completed his move to Liverpool in a deal that could be worth up to $84.5 million," the Serie A club said on Twitter.

Alisson is a key signing for Jurgen Klopp, who was desperate for a new goalkeeper to replace Loris Karius following his calamitous Champions League final performance against Real Madrid.

Chelsea was also linked with Alisson, who began his career with Internacional in Brazil before moving to Roma two years ago.

"I'm really happy; it's a dream come true to wear such a prestigious shirt for a club of this size that is used to always winning," Alisson told liverpoolfc.com.

"In terms of my life and my career, it's a huge step for me being part of this club and this family. You can be certain that I'll give my all."

Alisson said Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah - also a former Roma player - had encouraged him to join the Anfield giant.

"Yesterday, he sent me a text message saying: 'Hey, what are you waiting for?' As the negotiations were at an advanced stage, I replied to him straight away, saying: 'Calm down, I'm on my way!'

Alisson becomes Klopp's fourth summer signing after Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri.

The fee beats the previous record for a goalkeeper of $62 million paid by Juventus for Gianluigi Buffon in 2001 and the $55 million Manchester City forked out to sign Alisson's compatriot Ederson from Benfica last year.

"At one point in the last few weeks it came up, the opportunity to sign one of the world's best goalkeepers - then it's not a long thought, to be honest, it's only that you need to have a little talk with the owners! They were quite excited, so we did it," said Klopp.

"I think it's something we have to do. He has nothing to do with the price, we have nothing to do with the price - it's the market. That's how it is and we will not think a lot about it.

"It shows the value of goalkeepers, of course, in this moment. It will happen a lot in the next few weeks I guess and that's it, so we are really happy to have him here now.

Klopp also lauded Alisson's character.

"His English is surprisingly good and he is a real personality. He has meanwhile a lot of experience in the last few years, in Europe and in Rome, he's played there on an outstandingly high level and he did the same at the World Cup."

Klopp was quick, however, to warn fans that Alisson will need time to adapt to life in the Premier League and can still improve further.

"The full package is just good... and will get better," the coach added.

Alisson has already experienced the famous Anfield atmosphere, playing there for Roma in last season's Champions League semifinal - which Liverpool won 5-2.

"Yes (the atmosphere) in part it did influence the decision," he said. "When you make an important decision like this it's not just a decision to change clubs, it practically changes your entire life, my family's life."

Agence France-Presse

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2018-07-21 07:20:58
<![CDATA[Next senior World Cup sneaking under the radar]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619923.htm MOSCOW - The "next" World Cup got plenty of hype in Russia.

A massive cube was alight with video images of "Qatar 2022" in Gorky Park, while the ground floor of the high-end shopping mall at Red Square was devoted to displays touting the event.

But apart from a social media campaign, there was little attention on the (actual) next senior World Cup: the women's tournament next year in France.

That was surprising.

In the past several years since scandal enveloped soccer's governing body, FIFA has made a point of proclaiming that it aims to raise both the role of women in the organization and the profile of the women's game.

President Gianni Infantino appointed Fatma Samoura as the first female secretary-general of soccer's international governing body in 2016, while also announcing the creation of a women's soccer division.

The men's World Cup in Russia could have provided an opportunity to address equality in the sport while also pointing to the women's tournament next year. But France 2019 wasn't promoted much at all - no signs, events or displays in tourist areas.

Samoura made some appearances, but was not visible during the awards ceremony following France's victory over Croatia last Sunday.

Venezuelan forward Deyna Castellanos was deemed the women's soccer ambassador in Russia and she starred in a social media campaign anchored by the hashtag #DareToShine.

But while the 19-year-old is considered a rising star in the women's game, Venezuela failed to qualify for France so the selection seemed odd.

Infantino acknowledged more could be done for the women's game at his wrapup media conference in Moscow.

There's no doubt that the men's World Cup every four years is FIFA's financial juggernaut, but the women are the governing body's second-biggest commercial asset.

"We have to invest in women's football. We are thinking of a new women's world league, because 50 percent of the world population, the ladies, need to be treated in the right way as well in a sport which is said to be macho like football," Infantino said.

"We have to invest in women's football, we have programs and we have ideas."

The call for greater equity in soccer is not new.

In the run-up to the last women's World Cup in 2015, a group of international players, led by US star Abby Wambach, protested because the tournament would be played on artificial turf, which is considered by many to be inferior to real grass and tougher on the body. The men's tournament is always been played on grass.

Once the point was made about the turf, the tournament in Canada turned out to be a rousing success, attracting the biggest crowds of any FIFA tournament outside of a men's World Cup.

It also broke TV ratings records in North America, with the final drawing more viewers than any other prior men's or women's match in the United States.

Following their victory over Japan for the trophy, the US women went on to bargain for, and receive, a better contract with US Soccer that brought them closer to the salary level of their male counterparts.

The Americans were not alone. National teams from other countries won more equitable contracts with their federations, including Australia and Ireland.

France could provide FIFA an opportunity to showcase concrete change at the highest level, and the timing is perfect: France won a World Cup, and now will host one.

Two issues stand out. It remains to be seen how much prize money will be increased in 2019. The US women took home $2 million in 2015. In contrast, France's men earned $38 million for their victory in Russia.

And there's no word yet whether video assistant referees (VAR) will be used just as it was for the men for the first time in Russia.

US women's coach Jill Ellis was in Moscow the final week of the tournament and said she'd like to see an increase in prize money and the use of VAR.

"I don't know what the ramifications were in other countries, but you look at our own team, in our own country and the viewership and the attendance - there's no difference (with the men)," Ellis said.

"FIFA 100 percent should look at our game as just a game - not as a women's game or a men's game."

Associated Press

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2018-07-21 07:20:58
<![CDATA[Yuan in four-way tie at top]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619922.htm HAIYANG, Shandong province - Chinese amateur Carl Yuan Yechun fired nine birdies en route to a 6-under 66 and a share of the lead after Thursday's opening round of the Qingdao Championship.

Yuan's score was matched by Singapore's Jesse Yap, England's Michael Skelton and Charlie Netzel of the United States.

The tournament is the eighth event on this year's PGA Tour Series-China.

England's Callum Tarren, who has five runner-up finishes on the tour since his debut in 2016, fired a 67 at Tiger Beach Golf Links, a sister course to Carnoustie, host of this week's British Open.

The 21-year-old Yuan, who tied for third at last week's Yantai Championship, started with two birdies before adding two more on the front nine against two bogeys to make the turn at 2-under.

On the back nine, he picked up birdies on Nos 11, 12, 14, 15 and 17 before closing with a bogey.

"I feel great about today. I took my chances on the four par-5s and birdied three of them," Yuan said.

"My strategy was pretty solid. I hit the ball to the right spots and didn't give myself any hard times in the long grass, which was huge for me." I've played quite a lot of links courses, maybe 15 or 16 rounds, in Scotland, Wales and England, so I've got a lot of experience and it definitely helped me a lot here.

"I know how to hit the ball low, how to hit the ground and how to judge the wind."

Yap, 26, was bogey-free in his first event on a links course, carding six birdies in tricky conditions to match his lowest score on this year's tour. He shot a closing 5-under 66 in last month's Kunming Championship to finish 11th and last week tied for 29th in Yantai, and said he enjoyed the rub of the green at Tiger Beach.

"I played really well and got a bit lucky, finding a couple of balls that missed the fairway," said Yap, who attended California Polytechnic State University after serving his mandatory two-year military service in Singapore.

"This is probably the first links course I've played, but it's a lot of fun. It's a good test and different to what we've been playing so far."

Netzel continued his fine debut season, having not missed a cut in seven events and not shot over par in his past 16 rounds.

Despite not having much experience on links-style courses, the 23-year-old from Illinois carded seven birdies and one bogey.

"I haven't played many links courses and I've never been over to Europe, but my course at home in Chicago is very firm and there are no trees, so I'm used to the sightline they have out here and I feel pretty comfortable," said Netzel, who graduated from Michigan State University last year.

"It's a great course, I love it. It's different to what we've seen all year, so it's really fun to try your game on a harder course."

Agencies

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2018-07-21 07:20:58
<![CDATA[Lending support from the shadows]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619921.htm ROUBAIX, France - Mouth gaping, his huge body bent over the bike, Tim Declercq is doing the dirtiest job at the world's most prestigious cycling race.

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From fetching water to rescuing the team leader, 'domestiques' do it all

ROUBAIX, France - Mouth gaping, his huge body bent over the bike, Tim Declercq is doing the dirtiest job at the world's most prestigious cycling race.

The 29-year-old Belgian cyclist is riding at the front of the pack, his 6-foot-2 frame taking the full brunt of headwinds, mile after long mile, day after day on the Tour de France.

And he's loving every moment.

Declercq is what in cycling is called a "domestique," French for "servant," which means a support rider who knows he isn't fast enough to reach the finish line first.

Instead, he and his kind are tasked with humbly helping their more talented teammates win the day's stage and compete for the glory of the Tour title.

"It's what I was made for," Declercq told Associated Press this week. "I know I am not explosive enough to be a team leader. But I don't think that is a shame. I have found what I am best at. I still do what I love to do."

During the Tour's first week, Declercq could regularly be seen leading a peloton of more than 160 riders as they rolled through the green hills and wheat fields of northern France.

Slow in sprints, but good at the steady, long haul, Declercq's job is to make sure the daily bunch of breakaway riders doesn't get too far ahead. By setting the pace, his Quick-Step team can also test the fitness of rivals and try to wear them down before unleashing their top riders at the end of the stage.

"When you start at kilometer zero knowing you are going to go almost 150 kilometers, and if you are going to do it alone, it's mentally hard to keep pushing, keep pushing," Declercq said.

For Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels, having a rider like Declercq is key to a balanced team.

"You don't build a team with all good riders, you build a team with riders with different qualities," Steels said.

"You always have to have somebody to do the dirty job."

That job sometimes includes joining a breakaway so the team has a rider in the front bunch, or using one's body - like Declercq's - to shield the team's top riders from winds that make them spend valuable energy.

Then there are the inglorious chores of dropping back to the team car to load up on water bottles, food and, in rain or cold, jackets to distribute to the rest of the team.

If a team leader has a mechanical problem like a punctured tire, the domestique must be ready to give him his own bike.

"For the worker you have to do your job all the time and there is not much glory in it," said Tom Scully, a New Zealand rider for EF Education First said. "You have to know where your leader is at all times. If he stops, you stop."

Scully jumped into action to make sure that Rigoberto Uran, the 2017 Tour runner-up behind Chris Froome, didn't lose time when he crashed near the end of Stage 2, and Scully quickly led him back.

Spanish rider Imanol Erviti does more work than most of his brethren.

While the Tour's eight-rider teams normally designate one man as their leader, Movistar says that Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa are all free to go for the overall lead.

Erviti's hustle was key in helping Landa recover lost time after a fall on the cobblestones of Stage 9.

"It changes things. You do the same job to help and protect, but you have three guys to keep an eye on," Erviti said.

"It gives more options for the team, but it is a bit more stress for us."

Beyond their work ethic, many domestiques share the common story of young riders who had to set aside dreams of becoming stars and accept that laboring in the shadows was their way to be a professional cyclist.

The payoff comes when a teammate climbs onto the podium.

Declercq has twice been able to enjoy stage wins by sprinter Fernando Gaviria at this Tour after spending many a mile keeping Quick-Step in charge of the race.

"That makes the final victory even sweeter," Declercq said.

"I really killed myself two or three times, and if then you can bring home the bacon, then that's a really, really nice."

Associated Press

 

Belgium's Jelle Vanendert hands a water bottle to teammate Jasper De Buyst during the 181-km eighth stage of the Tour de France from Dreux to Amiens, France, last week. As a 'domestique', or support rider, Vanendert is tasked with helping more talented teammates win the day's stage and compete for the glory of the Tour title. AP

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2018-07-21 07:05:52
<![CDATA[Joshua 'would rather lose' than be a doper]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619920.htm LONDON - Anthony Joshua believes he would be forced to quit boxing if the unified heavyweight champion ever endured the kind of doping scandals that have engulfed Alexander Povetkin.

Povetkin's standing as the mandatory challenger for British star Joshua at Wembley on Sept 22 has infuriated fans, who feel the Russian shouldn't be allowed back on the big stage after his drug issues.

In May 2016, the 38-year-old tested positive for meldonium - the same banned substance compatriot Maria Sharapova was suspended from tennis for taking.

The failed test led to Povetkin's scheduled fight against Deontay Wilder being scrapped before the WBC accepted the explanation that he stopped taking the drug before it was on the banned list that year.

That wasn't the only black mark against Povetkin. In December 2016 he was found to have taken a banned muscle-building drug called ostarine.

He was suspended from WBC-sanctioned fights after the second failed test, but appealed and was allowed back into the sport with a yearlong ban and a $250,000 fine.

Both Joshua and Povetkin have signed up to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association's (VADA) program ahead of their Wembley date and have been tested twice.

Reigning WBA, IBF and WBO champion Joshua - who has never been linked with doping - said a fighter of his profile would be made to pay a heavy price if he was found to be involved with substance abuse.

"I would never be able to box again because I would be made an example of. If I missed a drug test or I'm an hour late, people will say 'Oh, he must have been doping'," he said at Wembley on Wednesday.

"I am not the lawmaker on that stuff. I would rather lose than be done for doping. Being done for doping is far worse for your legacy than taking a loss.

"I don't see doping as a way of making yourself better - if a person is better than you then work harder, train harder. You don't need to dope.

"Weigh it up; doping, being banned, legacy damaged. Or if someone is better than you on the night, give them the respect and bounce back.

"I would rather stay clean and give it my best every time.

"If I got done for doping - it would never happen - then they would deal with me."

Povetkin is adamant he did nothing wrong on either occasion and therefore shouldn't be regarded with suspicion when he faces Joshua.

"First of all, I have been cleared of that suspension. I have been justified. And the court case that was ongoing with the team of Wilder has finished in our favor," Povetkin said.

"For me it was very, very suspicious. I know that I am clean. I know that I was clean back then. All I can say is that I was accused of wrongdoing when I wasn't.

"After the first time I was caught I signed up on a secondary anti-doping testing program. Then what did I do? Right before the fight I licked some meldonium or some ostarine to have no effect and be caught with it right before the fight?

"Does it sound realistic to you? The amount they found doesn't give any effect, so why would I ever want to do that.

"I have nothing to do with it, and I am very well deserved of the fight I am getting."

Povetkin isn't the only Russian to have been tarnished by allegations of doping in recent years.

Forty seven Russian athletes and coaches were banned from this year's Winter Olympics after an investigation into state-sponsored doping during the 2014 Games in Sochi.

But Povetkin doesn't believe the problem of doping in Russia is as bad as claimed.

"I don't think that our sportsmen in Russia consume all those things they are accused of. It's a bit annoying, to be honest," he said.

Agence France - presse

 

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (left) and challenger Alexander Povetkin pose at Wednesday's media conference in London. Andrew Couldridge / Action Images Via Reuters

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2018-07-21 07:05:52
<![CDATA[Digest]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/21/content_36619919.htm Rafting

World's best are coming to Yushu

Yushu of Qinghai province will host the World Rafting Plateau Championship from Aug 9-12.

In 2016 the city was the site of the World Cup, becoming the first to host an international rafting competition at 4,000 meters above sea level.

Next month's event will follow IRF race rules in all four disciplines: Sprint, H2H, slalom and downriver. Race categories will only be in Open Men and Open Women, and teams of other ages are welcome to apply and compete in the OM category.

Organized by the International Rafting Federation, the Water Sports Administrative Center of China State General Administration of Sports and Qinghai Provincial Sports Bureau, the competition will feature upwards of 27 teams from 17 countries and regions.

Hiking

Fitness combines with agriculture

The third edition of the International Great Wall Hiking tournament will be staged in Qian'an, Hebei province, on Sept 23.

Designed as a hiking extravaganza that combines the elements of sports and agriculture, the event takes place the same day as China's first agricultural harvest festival.

This year's tournament combines three levels of distance: 5 kilometers for rookies, 11 km as normal mode and a 25 km race as the hardest challenge. Multiple exhibitions of agriculture and local development achievement will be open for spectators throughout the course.

Chinese Olympic gold medalist gymnast Xing Aowei and Guo Dandan, the nation's first freestyle skiing world champion, were named as tournament ambassador to help promote a healthier lifestyle through sports.

Wushu

Nurturing next crop of masters

Tai chi is seen by many around the world as the ideal combination of spiritualism, healthier lifestyle and traditional Chinese culture.

The final of the third edition of the Chinese Junior Tai Chi Tournament, which attracted 148 primary school and middle school competitors, ended on Thursday at Beijing's Yuetan Gymnasium.

"We hope the younger generation continues to learn and promote tai chi," said Bai Shuping, a senior trainer. "They have to learn to follow discipline and the spiritual value of hard work and perseverance. Most importantly, they are the future of our tradition and culture."

Organizers are eyeing the possibility of welcoming young tai chi enthusiasts from foreign countries at future tournaments.

Table Tennis

China tops unified Korean team

China's Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling beat Kim Song I of DPR Korea and Suh Hyowon of South Korea in Thursday's opening round of women's doubles at the Seamaster International ITTF World Tour Platinum Korea Open in Daejeon.

No 3 seeds Wang and Zhu eventually edged the unified Korean duo 3-2 (10-12, 11-5, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9).

"Even though we lost, I don't mind because we will improve. If we get to play together in the future, I hope we do better and achieve our goals in the competition," said Suh.

China Daily - Xinhua

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2018-07-21 07:05:52
<![CDATA[UNUSUAL VISION]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/20/content_36612127.htm A visit to Beijing-born artist Shao Fan's spacious home and studio on the city's northeastern outskirts reminds you of the sophisticated lifestyle led by Song Dynasty (960-1279) scholars.

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An artist, who is preoccupied with the purity of Song Dynasty aesthetics, has become synonymous with his paintings of expressive rabbits, Lin Qi reports.

A visit to Beijing-born artist Shao Fan's spacious home and studio on the city's northeastern outskirts reminds you of the sophisticated lifestyle led by Song Dynasty (960-1279) scholars.

Shao, 54, has transformed his modern residence into a time capsule that embodies the aesthetic pleasures valued by thinkers a thousand years ago, by following some of the cultural routines practiced by the gentry back then. He likes to drink tea, and ceramic tea jars occupy several shelves in his study. He burns incense sticks and hangs paintings on his walls - including several of his own works.

He also collects antiquities and arranges them sparsely around the rooms of his house, such as ancient Buddhist figures and articles of furniture picked up at antique markets like Beijing's Panjiayuan. He tends to his plants and trees and has even built a small pavilion, turning one of his courtyards into a classic Chinese garden.

The Mandarin word for "pavilion" is ting, which sounds like the word for "stop". "Pavilions are designed to be a place for people to stop, not just to rest, but also to gaze and think," Shao says.

"As you admire the vista from the pavilion, you in turn become part of the landscape for people looking back at you. You can't help but wonder how you seem from this alternative point of view."

Such philosophical thinking about the exchange of perspectives and the relationship between an individual and his or her surroundings is central to Shao's creations, especially the shuimo (ink-and-wash) paintings he has been working on for the past five years.

If you visit Shao's ongoing exhibition, You, at the Ludwig Museum in the German city of Koblenz, it's clear that the artist has maintained his consistent preference for symmetrical composition over the decades. And whether he uses canvas or traditional Chinese rice paper as his medium, Shao also likes to place the single subject of his work front and center. It's also clear that Shao has shifted his focus from oil paintings to ink monochromes since 2013.

The exhibition, which runs through July 22, and shows Shao's paintings, installations and furniture designs since the late 1980s, is based on a collaboration between the Ludwig Museum and Shao's international collectors and sponsors - including the Uli Sigg Collection, the Galerie Urs Meile in Lucerne and the Erlenmeyer Foundation of Switzerland.

Whether he works with oil paint or Chinese ink, Shao endeavors to blend his yearning for the simple life with the unsophisticated beauty of Song-era artistry into his contemporary works. And through his layers of intricate strokes executed with ultimate patience, Shao prompts enduring questions about the nature of eternity and human existence itself.

One recurring motif in Shao's work has been a larger-than-life rabbit. The furry mammal that seems so vulnerable in the natural world is instead depicted as an imposing creature with upright ears and a fearless, almost confrontational stare.

The rabbit motif became the focus for Shao's painterly work years after a friend gave him one as a gift. He later found the rabbit a mate and has since raised several of their offspring at home.

The statuesque rabbit in Shao's paintings sits on the ground, as steady as a pyramid, exuding a sense of volume and momentum. Confronted with the image, the viewer "no longer feels the superiority of being human, but shares the vulnerability of a small creature being looked down upon by something much bigger", Shao says.

While the rabbit image tends to evoke reflections about human self-centeredness, Shao adopts the imagery of an old monkey to discuss the process of aging. Under his brush, Shao personifies the monkey, making it look like a peaceful monk deep in meditation, impervious to the passing of time and the changing world.

On one hand, the monkey symbolizes Shao's attitude of keeping his distance from the hustle and bustle of contemporary society. On the other hand, it conveys a view of eternity that embraces the ageing process and the calmness it brings, while gently contrasting this with the eternal pursuit of youthfulness through cosmetic surgery.

Old objects - with their refreshing, tranquil quality - form an important part of Shao's life. Besides the antiques he uses to decorate his home, Shao also keeps a large curved trunk of a camphor tree which he "saved" years ago from being sawed into pieces at a Beijing furniture workshop. And the centuries-old furniture in his collection have inspired him to create chair-shaped installations reminiscence of the purity and elegance of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) furniture.

Although Shao's interests mainly revolve around his cultural roots, people often misunderstand his work as a call to return to the past - or a refusal to acknowledge the present.

But what Shao conveys is a serious consideration of both the past and the present, to allow him to envision the future, according to German art curator and historian Ruth Noack in an article in 2016. "Someone is doing this by painting rabbits. And through his ink paintings, we can do it too," she wrote.

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2018-07-20 07:24:09
<![CDATA[Workshops promote craft in rural Guizhou]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/20/content_36612126.htm Fashion from Southwest China's Guizhou province impressed visitors at the 2018 International Women Sustainable Development Forum and Handicrafts Exhibition held in London recently.

The products, which feature a fusion of Western fashion and Eastern motifs inspired by ethnic Miao embroidery and batik fabric decoration by rural women of Zhijin county in the province, were the fruit of a poverty alleviation program.

At the Fourth World Internet Conference in China last year, online discount retailer Vipshop had signed an agreement to help the impoverished county.

Traditional Miao embroidery and batik craft are important parts of China's intangible cultural heritage. As handicrafts of the Miao ethnic group, local women often learn embroidery and batik work when young.

However, the art typically fails to bring them enough income, so they have to find jobs outside their hometown. Official data suggest there are 40,000 seamstresses in the county, of which 7,000 live below the national poverty line.

"The best method is to let people, especially the younger generations, understand and respect traditional craft techniques. Once recognized by the market, such items can sell more and also help sustainable development," says Huang Hongying, vice-president of Vipshop.

So, an embroidery and batik workshop was set up in November to encourage local women to begin their own business. The workshop helps them make a living at home by broadening their sales channels through e-commerce. Since its foundation, the workshop has brought 250,000 yuan ($37,780) to its employees.

"I used to think that Miao embroidery and batik works were just part of our traditional culture. I never imagined that they would be so popular among Westerners," says Yang Linxian, a seamstress in Zhijin.

She is currently a master seamstress at the workshop on the recommendation of the local women's federation and was invited to attend the exhibition in London.

Vipshop also set up another workshop and signed an annual production order with the county in May, which is expected to bring further income of 10 million yuan for the local women.

Additionally, seven well-known brands that use the platform have partnered with the county to place orders and raise the popularity of Miao embroidery and batik craft. According to the agreements, each brand will provide orders of at least 100,000 yuan to the local seamstresses.

Now, the workshops have become a new way of protecting and developing local cultural heritage, and to help alleviate poverty. A total of 66 handicraft cooperatives have been set up in 32 villages of Zhijin.

It is reported that over 30,000 women will engage in traditional handicraft production by 2020, aiming to lift up to 60,000 people out of poverty.

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2018-07-20 07:24:09
<![CDATA[Photography festival puts spotlight on ancient city]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/20/content_36612125.htm TAIYUAN - In September, the Pingyao International Photography Festival will celebrate its 18th anniversary in the ancient walled city of Pingyao in northern China.

Advocating diversity, internationalism and professionalism, the annual festival is considered an important stage for international photographers to display their talent.

Over the past 17 years, the festival has attracted 4.5 million visitors and exhibited over 220,000 works of 37,000 photographers from more than 100 countries and regions.

Cui Bo, 50, has attended a total of 15 festivals in Pingyao, over which time he grew from a photo editor into an acclaimed curator.

The festival is an excellent stage for photographers to open up to the world, Cui says.

"I am very grateful for the festival, both personally and professionally," he adds.

Wang Xiaojun opened her homestay on the first day of the second festival in 2002 when she gave birth to her daughter.

While taking care of her baby, she often spoke with foreigners at the festival.

Now, she not only speaks fluent English, but is a poet and an amateur photographer.

The ancient walled city of Pingyao was built in the 14th century, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, as "an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city".

The city boomed in the 19th century as China's financial center, as Shanxi merchants expanded their businesses across the country.

Now, the well-preserved compounds of these affluent merchants have made the town a unique site to hold exhibitions.

Song Linmao, a local resident, is devoted to protecting the residences of the Shanxi merchants. And he spent four years transforming three rundown compounds into a quaint guesthouse containing structures in the Ming and Qing styles.

"Famous French photographer Alain Jullien stayed here in the 1990s, and he told me to take good care of the local buildings," says Song.

While maintaining traditions and professionalism, the festival also pursues innovation and creation. This year's festival, which opens on Sept 19, will for the first time feature a multimedia exhibition of photographic works, according to Zhang Guotian, the festival's art director.

"We will transform an old diesel engine factory into a movie theater during the festival to give audiences a combined experience of video, sound and still pictures," says Zhang.

So far, this year's festival has received works from around 2,000 photographers from more than 30 countries and regions.

A highlight of the event will be an exhibition of works by Neal Slavin, an American photographer specializing in group portraits.

For his first exhibition in China, he will bring his magnum opus Neal Slavin: Group and Gatherings to the festival.

Xinhua

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2018-07-20 07:24:09
<![CDATA[FIVE OF THE BEST]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/20/content_36612124.htm Cao Cao, the emperor of the state of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-280) is now wearing a cardigan, plaid pants, sneakers and a pair of glasses.

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To ensure it offers up the authentic tastes of the Central Plains, a new Beijing eatery has recruited all its chefs from the same small village in Henan, Li Yingxue reports.

Cao Cao, the emperor of the state of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-280) is now wearing a cardigan, plaid pants, sneakers and a pair of glasses.

The image of the Chinese warlord who once conquered the Central Plains has now been redesigned as the logo for The Five, a newly opened restaurant at WF Central in the Wangfujing area of Beijing, which has the Chinese name of Zhongyuanshitang (Central Plains Canteen).

Co-founded by Gao Ran and Yu Yang, together with designer Patrick Yip and catering promoter Leo Wu, The Five focuses on food from the Central Plains, mostly Henan cuisine.

With colanders hanging from the ceiling and bamboo baskets placed artfully on the shelves, the design of Five is based on elements taken from everyday life for people in Henan province, albeit with a contemporary twist.

"Cao was also a gastronome who wrote a culinary book titled Sishishizhi, a book about ingredients and their places of origin which greatly influence Henan cuisine. So we picked him to appear on our logo," says Gao.

The logo also includes the image of a deer, which diners can find at the bottom of their empty soup bowls. "This is because one of Cao's poems mentions him hearing deer calls as he ate," says Gao. As Gao sees it, the concept behind The Five can be interpreted as either the five basic flavors - sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty - or the five elements that combine to make a dish, namely color, smell, taste, shape and texture.

Growing up in Henan until he moved abroad to study at the age of 18, Gao found he missed the flavors of home. The Five is Gao and Yu's second foray after opening a simple noodle restaurant in 2015 called Mianhetang, which also specialized in Henan cuisine.

Having turned down several investors, Gao and Yu decided to close the first restaurant and concentrate on developing the modern flair of The Five as a platform to promote Henan cuisine.

"We wanted it to be small and intimate, as people usually have the impression that Henan cuisine is not fashionable," says Gao.

All the chefs in the restaurant were recruited from the same small village in Henan province, Zhouzhuang in Xiuwu county. "Ninety percent of the people in that village are in the business of catering - most men work as cooks, while the women help with serving," Gao says.

"Around 70 percent of Zhouzhuang people share the surname, Xiao - and so do all our chefs."

As well as providing classic Henan dishes, The Five also serves up authentic Henan street snacks. Mudanyancai (radish soup with vegetables and Chinese ham) is a dish that has to be preordered because of its preparation time. It's one of the most important dishes served at the Luoyang Water Banquet (Luoyang Shuixi), a local custom that dates back more than a thousand years that is made up of 24 different soup dishes.

This sliced radish broth has a taste similar to bird's nest soup, and its rich flavor permeates the slices of carrot, ham, mushrooms and many other ingredients contained in the dish.

Mudanyancai is listed as one of the top 10 dishes from Henan. The Five also offers two other dishes from this list - stir-fried spicy and sour fish tripe and braised sea bass with crispy noodles.

Steamed vegetable cake is another dish that can only be found in Henan eateries. Made from sliced potato, carrot and crown daisies, they are covered in flour before being steamed.

Distinctive regional snacks like fried noodle pancakes, tripe skewers, stir-fried bean jelly, fried pork buns and steamed meat dumplings can also be found at The Five.

Lamb rock broth noodles is another signature dish. Made with goat's brains and bones and pork ribs, the soup is cooked for over four hours using more than 20 traditional Chinese herbs.

Traditional desserts like almond soup, osmanthus jelly and tofu pudding are a great finish to a meal at the restaurant, together with Maojian green tea from Henan's Xinyang.

Only one kind of baijiu (white liquor) is available at The Five, Du Kang, of which Cao Cao once poetically wrote: "What can unravel these sorrows of mine? Only by drowning in Du Kang wine."

Contact the writer at liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

11:00 am-9:30 pm, Monday to Friday; 10:30 am-10 pm, Saturday and Sunday. 401B WF Central, No 269 Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-8620-2401.

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2018-07-20 07:24:09
<![CDATA[Chinese eatery wows visitors]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/20/content_36612123.htm

USHUAIA, Argentina - The Chinese restaurant, Bamboo, located in the southern Argentine city of Ushuaia, is the southernmost Chinese restaurant in the world.

From its location at what can be considered the end of the world, its flavors delight locals and tourists alike who arrive here attracted by word-of-mouth recommendations.

Ushuaia, capital of Argentina's southernmost province of Tierra del Fuego, is celebrated for its exquisite gastronomy that draws its ingredients from the sea including king crab and hake.

Another of the area's specialties is Fuegian lamb. Thanks to the locals' work on the pasture that the animals graze on, and helped in a large part by the marine air, the meat from these animals is widely considered to be some of the most delicious - as well as lowest in fat - in the world.

These delicacies are available all year around and, although there are restaurants that specialize in their preparation, you can find the dish at any of the city's restaurants, including Bamboo.

Bamboo opened three years ago and holds the award for being the southernmost Chinese restaurant in the world.

Here you can sample international haute cuisine as well as the special of the day, which is prepared for the thousands of tourists who make their way to Ushuaia every year, many of them Chinese, on a layover on their way to the Antarctic Peninsula, located about 1,000 kilometers to the south.

Qu Guiqiu, the restaurant owner, known among friends as Daniela, says: "It is the only Chinese restaurant in the city at the end of the world.

"We are open nine months out of the year, except for April, May and June when the family goes on vacation to China," she says.

"During the summer we serve a lot of tourists and countrymen, and in winter it's more locals," Daniela says.

In the day to day work, she relies on the help and support from cook Xiao Huijun and her husband, Shang Jiabin, who strive to provide the best service to friends and strangers alike.

Although China may be geographically very far away from Argentina, the restaurant bridges the gap by merging the culinary tastes of Asia and mixing them with the local flavors.

So, nestled on a street corner in Ushuaia, where San Martin Avenue meets Argentina Antarctica street, in the southernmost reaches of South America, Bamboo offers the faraway flavors of Dalian, a Chinese city in the northeastern province of Liaoning - and a welcome taste of home for some visitors to this remote locale.

Xinhua

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2018-07-20 07:24:09
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/20/content_36612122.htm New ways to Meat Mate

Meat Mate threw its first Open Day at its Sanyuanqiao brunch in July, developing a new lifestyle around ice fresh Australian beef. Beef steak is no longer just grilled with salt and pepper. Chef Hoffmann Christian presents various ways of cooking beef depending on the different cuts - oxtail salad, beef tartar crostini, beef carpaccio filled with arugula and Parmesan cheese, beef tataki with pickled daikon, and tomahawk steak with Asian herb butter. Wine experts and cheese specialists are on hand to introduce the pairing of red wine and cheese with different flavors of beef. The Open Day will continue to show off more ways to enjoy the beauty of beef.

N29, Phoenix Shopping Arcade, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-5625-5588.

Simply tasty

From breakfast to dinner, the newly opened Cafe& Meal Muji aims to bring out the original, natural flavor of fresh ingredients. The set breakfast incudes three kinds of deli options with one Chinese, Japanese or Western style staple food - rice and miso soup, meat bun and soymilk, or bread and Americano coffee. Various salads are available at lunch, including chicken and konjac salad, mushroom rotini salad, soft beet and mushroom salad, grilled pumpkin salad and mixed nut Spanish salad. Their cooking strives for simplicity in a bid to get the best out of the ingredients and highlight their natural delicious taste.

West Building 2, Langfang toutiao, No 21 Yard, Meishi road, Xicheng district, Beijing. 010-6316-9199.

Seafood spectacular

With spectacular views of the capital's skyline, Sanwutang Kitchen focuses on serving up authentic Beijing cuisine and a flavor of Southeast Asia. From June 25, each Monday night, Sanwutang will present a special crawfish feast - signature crawfish seasoned with Fanye's special sauce, scallion and ginger crawfish, golden soup crawfish, and griddle cooked crawfish. Each weekend, chef Gao Ning provides a special seafood malatang (spicy hot pot) with conch, shrimp, Argentina red shrimp and many other ingredients. Gao has developed a special flavor of sauce that is both pungent and piquant. Jianbingguozi - a Tianjin snack consisting of deep fried dough sticks rolled in a thin pancake - is a must try with tuna, as it elevates the snack with a richer flavor.

No 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6505-2277-6620.

High quality brunch

Perched high above the city on the 80th floor of China World Tower, The Lounge provides an elegant setting to relax for a hearty brunch, including buffet, entree, starter and main course - costing 398 yuan ($60) with the option of free flowing house wine, Champagne and cocktails for an extra 100 yuan. Siberian sturgeon caviar with sago squid ink cracker, sour cream and the necessary condiments is a fresh entree, and the buffet area offers fresh seafood, salad, cheese and dessert. There are various choices of starters and main courses on the brunch menu, including lobster, wagyu beef, prawns and truffles, all of which are prepared with either a Chinese, Japanese, Southeastern Asia, or Western flavor.

No 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8571-6459.

China Daily

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2018-07-20 07:24:09
<![CDATA[BUILDING A BRIDGE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/20/content_36612121.htm When Gracious Masule introduces himself, he always remembers to mention his Chinese name "Ma Yinan" and his "Chinese hometown" - Changsha, the capital of Central China's Hunan province.

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A Botswanan Sinologist shares his story of how he gave up studying computers in favor of a language, Liu Xiangrui reports.

When Gracious Masule introduces himself, he always remembers to mention his Chinese name "Ma Yinan" and his "Chinese hometown" - Changsha, the capital of Central China's Hunan province.

The Botswanan Sinologist, who is a Chinese language teacher at the University of Botswana, speaks fluent Chinese and has good understanding of Chinese society.

Masule is one of the foreign scholars invited to the ongoing Beijing Class of the 2018 Visiting Program for Young Sinologists, which kicked off on July 6 in Beijing and will last for three weeks.

The program has brought together 38 Sinologists from 34 countries for research and study at several institutes in Beijing.

The program, which was started by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2014, aims to strengthen cultural exchanges and set up a platform for young Sinologists worldwide to communicate and learn more about Chinese culture and history.

Masule applied to the program after hearing about it at the Chinese embassy in Botswana.

Masule and other young Sinologists will attend lectures by Chinese scholars, and conduct research at academic organizations or universities, including Peking University, over the next two weeks.

They will then visit Guizhou province in Southwest China to learn about its ethnic culture and eco-civilization practices.

"I am very glad that I have been given this rare opportunity. For me, the main purpose of it is to learn more about Chinese culture and history," says Masule, 33.

Masule says his love affair with China began when he was a college student.

In 2009, he was working as a teaching assistant at the University of Botswana after graduating with a computer science degree.

"I thought I'd be a teacher, and then a professor, in the computer science department," he says. "However, all that changed after an encounter with Chinese."

At that time, the Confucius Institute based in his university started to recruit students in Botswana. And Masule, who wanted to better communicate with his Chinese friends and their families back then, signed up.

After less than half a year of study at the institute, Masule's Chinese language skills improved dramatically. And even his teachers were impressed by his ability to learn the language so quickly.

"I was encouraged then felt grateful when I received a certificate from the Chinese ambassador. I fell in love with Chinese and wanted to go to China to learn more," he says.

In 2011, he applied for a scholarship and came to study for his master's degree in computer science at Hunan University in Changsha.

Describing his experiences there, he says he found the local people friendly and was able to make friends easily. They were also curious about his ability to speak such good Mandarin.

He was even invited to visit and stay at his friends' homes in places outside Changsha.

When he later studied in Shanghai, he'd still go back to Hunan to spend the Spring Festival holiday with his "Chinese families" there every year.

"I feel Hunan is my hometown in China. And now I always tell people that I come from Hunan."

Masule also says that the three years he spent in Hunan changed his career path.

"Although I was busy studying computer science, I never gave up learning Chinese," he says.

And when he realized that it was impossible to do both computer science and Chinese as writing his masters' thesis for his major was too time-consuming, Masule finally decided to give up on computing and focus entirely on Chinese.

In 2013, he passed the level 5 examination for Chinese and was admitted to Shanghai Normal University to study international education in Chinese.

Then, in 2015, he was recommended by his department to participate in the "Confucius Institute Cup" Chinese teaching competition held in Beijing, where he won the first prize.

He returned to Botswana after graduating in 2016, and became the third Chinese teacher at the University of Botswana, which has a number of projects with China, including a department of Chinese set up in 2011.

"My dream of becoming a Chinese teacher has come true," he says.

"I enjoy sharing what I know with others."

Although his teaching schedule is packed due to a lack of teachers, Masule enjoys his work.

"I like Chinese and I also like teaching Chinese to students. Studying Chinese has opened a wonderful door in my life," he says, adding that he plans to return to China for further study and carry out more research on the Chinese language.

After returning to his home country, Masule sees himself as a bridge between China and Botswana.

"I hope that by studying the language, I can help the Botswanan and Chinese peoples grow closer and better understand each other," says Masule, who often hosts activities to spread Chinese culture in Botswana and is often invited to anchor events hosted by the Chinese embassy in Botswana.

Last year, Masule married a Chinese woman, whom he met when studying in Shanghai, and the two now live in Botswana.

 

Gracious Masule, a Botswanan Sinologist, is a Chinese language teacher at the University of Botswana. Provided to China Daily

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2018-07-20 07:24:09
<![CDATA[Chinese culture-centric Lotus Festival blooms in Los Angeles]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/20/content_36612120.htm

LOS ANGELES - In the beautiful Echo Park in the western US city of Los Angeles, two-headed tots and raven-haired toddlers ran giggling together along the grassy banks of the lake while saucer-sized lily pads bobbed as dragon boats raced by.

A stone's throw away, under a perfect summer sky, visitors snapped selfies in front of a Chinese-style moon bridge which arched over a motionless inlet skirted with nodding reeds.

This bucolic scene was not in the countryside, but right in the heart of Los Angeles, at the 38th annual Lotus Festival last Saturday.

The festival is a popular Angeleno celebration sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and brought 200,000 festivalgoers together last weekend to celebrate the diverse pan-Asian and Pacific Island communities and culture of Los Angeles.

"The Lotus Festival started small, but with the help of its passionate supporters, it has bloomed just like the Lotus flower to celebrate the beauty of our city and its people," enthused David Ryu, a member of the Los Angeles City Council.

Brightly-colored red, white, and gold lanterns danced on strings looped between the white-topped peaks of a hundred pop-up booths that were brimming with colorful clothing, ethnic handbags, hats, jewelry and trinkets of all kinds for sale.

Blowup bouncy slides entertained scores of kids, as did a variety of other kiddie booths offering arts and crafts workshops of all kinds.

Tasty treats were in abundance too, including a wide selection of Asian fare, like bean buns, Panda snacks and Chinese delicacies.

Each year the festival showcases a different country and culture, and this year it is honored China and the vibrant Chinese culture which has been an integral part of Los Angeles and California.

Los Angeles city councilman Mitch O' Farrell, along with the Chinese Consul General of Los Angeles Zhang Ping kicked off the festival.

"At the Lotus Festival, we celebrate our diversity and the multiculturalism that makes LA the greatest city in America. This year we honor China and their 5,000 years of civilization," Farrell said.

Zhang said the Lotus Festival provides an opportunity for Angelenos to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Asian and Pacific Island communities, and showcase the ethnic harmony and cultural diversity of Los Angeles, a vibrant city which many communities of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds call home.

"In today's world, we need more inclusiveness, better understanding, closer exchange and cooperation to make our community and world more harmonious and prosperous," added Zhang.

Elliot McDaniel, an American who took Asian studies in college and has spent time in China, told Xinhua, "I'm really happy this event is available. I feel like I have been exposed to a lot of China. This can expose other people that may not have the privilege that I've had to experience such a cool and unique culture."

The Chinese pavilion also offered lessons on Chinese culture and arts, such as the ancient arts of calligraphy and paper-cutting.

Enchanting traditional Chinese dances were performed on the main stage by brightly-garbed dancers in exotic headdresses, accompanied by ancient Chinese music played on traditional stringed instruments and flutes.

The gentler martial art of Tai Chi was also showcased, as skilled practitioners enthralled the crowd, moving in unison in slow motion.

"I love the music and dances of China. They are so unique, like nothing you've ever seen before," said one booth vendor, who gave her name as Virginia.

"These cultural events and people-to-people exchanges have a positive impact on bilateral relations and form the foundation of our strongest relationships. They can make people in both countries realize the importance of maintaining good, steady relations and promote world stability," Zhang said.

Xinhua

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2018-07-20 07:24:09
<![CDATA[Unveiling the past]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/19/content_36607267.htm The new season of a documentary series, Every Treasure Tells a Story, will show the stories behind the artifacts from three periods in imperial China, Xu Fan reports.

When director Pan Yi visited the Hebei Museum in 2016, she saw the Changxin Palace Lamp for the first time. The gilded bronze lantern - unearthed from a tomb in 1968 that was buried with a vassal king's wife over 2,000 years ago - is one of China's most well-known artifacts.

"For a moment, time seems to have stopped moving forward. The lamp really looks like a young maid in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) who is kneeling down to serve her master," Pan, 34, said during a news conference in Beijing on July 13.

 

Chief director Xu Huan (second left) alongside other directors behind the TV documentary Every Treasure Tells a Story reveal their stories about filming the artifacts. Photos by Jiang Dong / China Daily and Provided to China Daily

"I was very curious about what 'she' had seen in the palace and what 'she' would think about the modern world if 'she' could come alive," she added.

This interesting idea reflects the inspiration for Every Treasure Tells a Story, a documentary series helmed by more than 10 directors including Pan that tells the stories of 100 artifacts selected from 3.8 million exhibits from nearly 100 museums across China.

The series, which saw its first season of 25 episodes air on China Central Television's documentary channel in January, will start its second season - also consisting of 25 episodes with each running for five minutes - on the same channel from Monday. Each episode focuses on a single artifact, and the series will eventually run to 100 episodes.

Thanks to its lighthearted tune and breezy narration style, the first season proved a hit with younger audiences, scoring a rating of 9.5 points out of 10 on Douban, a popular review site.

Compared to the first season, where the oldest artifacts date back to between 5000 BC and 3000 BC, the second season is slightly closer to the present day, covering the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).

Speaking about the characteristics of these dynasties, Xu Huan, head of the directors' team, says: "Those were very creative and imaginative times. You can see a lot of innovation across multiple fields, from political systems to their cultural products and technology. They laid out the foundations of civilization for the following 2,000 years."

Aside from pottery, jade and bronze - the main materials used for making artifacts in the first season - the forthcoming season will cover the rapid expansion in the development of products during that era, such as lacquerware, stone sculptures, bamboo scripts and brocade, adds Xu.

She also believes the documentary will act as a reference point that will help guide the audience through the different periods of Chinese history and civilization.

Aiming to appeal to younger audiences used to more entertainment-based content, the series employed some advanced techniques during the production process, such as three-dimensional scanning techniques and 8K-resolution filming, the latest technology for capturing ultra high-definition sequences, says Zhang Ning, deputy editor-in-chief of China Central Television.

Zhu Jie, who directed several of the episodes, used stop-motion animation techniques to unfold the backdrop stories about The Gold Crown With an Eagle Perched on Top, the subject of the first episode of the second season.

Unearthed in the Inner Mongolian autonomous region in 1972, the centuries-old symbol of power was buried with a nomadic tribal ruler in China's northern prairies. Weighing 1,394 grams, it is the only crown of its kind ever to be discovered by archaeologists.

For the hundreds of years between the Qin and Han dynasties, emperors in the Central Plains fought wars with the northern tribes, causing innumerable deaths and injuries. Unwilling to recreate this dark chapter in history in a realistic, bloody way, Zhu asked a friend at a fine arts school to create puppets to shoot scenes about the conflict in the form of an animated short tale.

Up to 20 centimeters tall, the puppets were painted like nomadic warriors.

"It took us more than two months to finish the episode, making it the longest one I've made for the series," says Zhu.

A fan of Chinese culture, Zhu adds that he has been amazed by the depth of the ancient Chinese civilization during the making of the series. One of the items that impressed him the most was an ancient plain silk gauze garment, the subject of the 17th episode. Weighing just 48 grams, the light and transparent robe was discovered in Changsha's Mawangdui Tombs, which dates back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24). The garment was buried with Xin Zhui, the wife of a prime minister of the Changsha Kingdom, a vassal state under the Han court.

"I was told the garment could fit into a matchbox. Experts nowadays have spent many years trying to make a replica of the robe. It's incredible to imagine that Chinese craftsmen had mastered such intricate silk-weaving skills more than 2,000 years ago," says Zhu.

The documentary is set for international release. According to Xu, the first season has already been translated into eight languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian and German.

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2018-07-19 07:34:12
<![CDATA[When kangaroos help boost links between cultures]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/19/content_36607266.htm Bringing people together from different countries is no easy task, but one Australian native has made it her life's mission. Jocelyn Chey worked for more than 20 years on Australia-China relations in the Australian Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs, and she continues to speak about the importance of cultural interactions even after her retirement.

During Chey's recent visit to Beijing, she spoke at the International Conference of Australian Studies in China. Her talk was titled Chinese Kangaroos: Thoughts on Four Decades of A Bilateral Relationship.

In her speech, she addressed the progression of bilateral relations through a collection of kangaroo figures that sat on her desk for many years.

 

Left: Jocelyn Chey (center) attends the Australian Fauna Specimens Exhibition in China in 1977. Right: Chey has worked for more than 40 years on Australia-China relations. Photos Provided by Jocelyn Chey and by Olivia Sun / For China Daily

With over 40 years of experience, and only 30 minutes to speak, Chey decided that there were too many stories to tell without a theme - kangaroos.

Chey started collecting, what she calls "Chinese kangaroos", in the late 1970s after being given a figurine by the director of the pottery and porcelain bureau of then China's Ministry of Light Industry who she knew as Mr Chen.

"I was very touched, but to fit the kangaroo into the mold, he had to curl the tail around like a cat's tail. He did say to me that he had never seen a kangaroo sitting like that, but he hoped that sometimes they might," says Chey.

Chey took that as the first step to understanding another culture, where people tend to focus on the strange and exotic. By developing a greater understanding of a particular thing - in this case, a kangaroo - people can learn more about how it works in society.

She believes that diplomacy takes more effort than politics; collaboration is instead what creates a new sense of discovery. From working side-by-side with her Chinese counterparts, Chey feels that a new idea can be created only from combining two truly different thoughts.

"The most important thing about cultural exchanges is that they encourage creativity and innovation. Cultural exchanges should be about collaborating and creating new things. If you don't have outside contact with other cultures, you're not going to make progress," says Chey.

As a current visiting professor at the University of Sydney, Chey continues her cultural studies with subjects like Chinese humor and soft power.

The best things in life happen through chance, as was the case with Chey and humor studies. She got involved in this topic through her sister, Jessica Milner Davis, who spent time in this field at Stanford University in the United States, and the two pursued a project together upon their return to Sydney. This evolved into the sisters co-creating and editing a book titled, Humour in Chinese Life and Letters: Classical and Traditional Approaches.

This book is the first of two multi-disciplinary studies of humor in Chinese life and letters in which they aim to answer the questions: What is Chinese humor? Is it different from other kinds of humor? If it is the same, why is it the same?

Chey continues to look at the unique aspects of this topic; most recently she wrote a paper about riddles that are written for the Chinese New Year.

Chey continues to learn and appreciate new things, in addition to having many accomplishments in her career.

Her proudest achievement was working with a team to improve the quality of Chinese products in the world market while she was the director of the China branch of the International Wool Secretariat.

"That was a wonderful project, because for the first time, I found myself working hand-in-hand for a common goal. It was such a satisfying experience to be taken in and welcomed by my friends in China," says Chey.

She continues to educate herself and others on matters of culture diplomacy and understanding. Now back in Australia, she is working on building better ties.

For China Daily

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2018-07-19 07:34:12
<![CDATA[Life behind the scenes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/19/content_36607265.htm The official backstage photographer of the Victoria's Secret fashion show for the past 15 years speaks about his passion to Xu Haoyu.

The night before the final of Chinese talent show Produce 101, Russell James walks into the venue in Hangzhou, in Zhejiang province, wearing black flip-flops.

Clad in a white T-shirt with its lower hem peeking out from a thin blue sweater and similarly colored jeans, the man spends around half an hour surveying the scene and getting a feel for the environment.

Born in Australia, and currently based in New York, James has been the official backstage photographer of Victoria's Secret fashion show for the past 15 years.

While he has known many of the VS angels since they started modeling, he still has to get to know 10 or 20 new girls quickly every year, to try and bring out the best in them.

"I tend to approach people on a very personal level. I like to connect with people, and understand a little bit about what drives and what motivates them."

As for the scene backstage at Produce 101, he wants to show the emotion of the contestants through his photographs.

As James recalls, his love of photography started at 8 or 9 through his father, who had an old box camera.

He says that he would secretly sneak into his father's closet without his permission and look at everything upside down through the lens.

The curiosity and interest planted in childhood grew while he was traveling around Europe.

After visiting Italy and Paris, he moved to Stockholm in Sweden. And it was in the historic city that he began taking photos of landscapes as well as people from North Africa.

In 1996, he flew to New York after getting a call asking him to shoot for Sports Illustrated with African American supermodel Tyra Banks.

To date, James' works have been published in many well-known magazines including W, Vogue, Allure, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Photo, and French Photo.

Russell's photographic achievements range from working for brands such as Hermes in association with the Guggenheim, to breakthrough advertising campaigns for global brands such as Rolex, Evian and Revlon.

He has also photographed many big names, including former United States president Bill Clinton.

James has won many awards, including the Hasselblad Masters Award in 2007.

Speaking about his work, he says: "Some people say, 'you had overnight success'. And I say, where there is overnight success, there are thousands of nights that nobody saw."

It is not commonly known that James was told to leave school and try something else at the age of 14, because he didn't really fit in.

So, he got his first job making trashcans, and then training dogs. And he was also a police officer for several years.

James says he tried many different things before he found a way to make a living from photography, but he considers the process necessary.

"I think what is really important is for young people to realize that you don't need to know specifically what you want to do.

"You've got to keep following your instinct because what you eventually do is going to be a combination of all the things that you did earlier."

As for his philosophy of life, he says: "Don't be afraid to try something. If that's not the thing for you, you're going to take something from that into whatever it is you're doing."

He says that the key to success is to never forget your initial determination.

"I stayed persistent and passionate about what I wanted to do for many years before it started to pay off ... And I've always felt that if you pursue your passion, the business and other things will come."

As a professional backstage photographer, James jokes that now he has a job that millions of men envy, because he gets the chance to see beautiful women shine off stage.

And with the experience of working with people from all over the world, he thinks beauty is beyond nationality or the color of your skin.

As for his idea of beauty, James, who describes himself as 'color blind', says: "If you ask me what the definition of beauty is in this day and age, I think what is wonderful is it's becoming broader, and is becoming more diverse."

He says that Chinese models including Liu Wen and Ming Xi amaze him with their "absolutely beautiful skin".

Meanwhile, since the start of 2017, James has been busy working in China, shooting campaigns, besides being a judge on the Road to the Runway show, and helping the Chinese program select a winner to join the Shanghai VS event.

Separately, James, who says that this trip to China is about his 10th visit to the country, adds that he plans to bring an exhibition of his photographs to China, including Shanghai and Beijing.

"It (the exhibition) is really about my many years behind the scenes at Victoria's Secret fashion shows.

"I want it to be not just an exhibition, but an experience where people can become immersed in that world and see it through my work.

"I can't take everybody backstage, but I want to give them the closest thing to it."

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2018-07-19 07:34:12
<![CDATA[Decoding the language of the young]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/18/content_36598071.htm A new book tries to make sense of what the younger generation is saying, Mei Jia reports.

Peking University associate professor Shao Yanjun, 50, is not the first one to discover that the younger generation, growing up with smart devices and the internet, actually use a different language when they are online, and sometimes, offline too, which is not easy to understand for her and her peers.

Therefore she has become the first to direct and guide her doctoral and master's students to write a book about keywords in Chinese internet subcultures.

A pioneer and established scholar on internet culture/literature studies, Shao began to give lectures on the campus about web novels and online literature in 2011. However, outside class, she felt at loss.

"Their language differed from what they used in class, and I noticed jargon," she says.

"And sometimes the phrases seemed to be standard Chinese that you're familiar with, but referred to different things," she adds.

Shao tried to follow up by frequently checking on search engines before she reluctantly used the language herself when chatting with her students, while being "lectured" by the young people.

"Then when I could somehow speak fluently to my students in their language, my peers told me that they found me abstruse."

Giving an example, there's a phrase like "making a call" which would commonly refer to someone using a phone but to the younger generation means showing support for someone. Then, there are young people who say someone is "666", used to indicate that the person is very skilled at what he is doing. The term is originally thought to have come from people involved in gaming on the internet.

Now, this new language is the focus of The Book of Wallbreaking: Keywords in Chinese Internet Subcultures, published by SDX Joint Publishing Company, written by Shao and a group of her students.

The book focuses on 245 keywords from six genres.

Wang Yusu, a doctoral candidate and deputy compiler-in-chief of the book, says: "These terms are seen and heard widely, but it's hard to explain their meanings and usage even if you search on baidu.com.

"Among the new words, those we chose are the ones that will stand the test of time, and are representative of the internet subcultures."

Before the team released the book with a colorful cosplay (costume play) party in June, Shao and her students did eight years of work - the last three on compiling and editing.

On the day of the book launch, every member of the team dressed as their favorite characters from manga, animations, games and films.

Lin Pin, Shao's former doctorate student and now teaching at the Capital Normal University, dressed as Harry Potter.

Speaking about the book, Wang says: "The book, which is trying to break the walls between two worlds (a two-dimensional and a three-dimensional one), is more like an invitation to our world."

As for Shao, she says: "This signals that the book is from people who have experienced the subcultures, and are striving for their voices to be heard by mainstream society."

Mao Ni, a widely read author of many web novels, says he thinks the walls exist because of laziness and stereotypes.

The editor of the book Kuang Rui says the book is not only for the younger generation, who might know the words, but more for the older generation, including parents, bosses, teachers and scholars.

"It is to bridge the generation gap and, in a way, revitalize the publishing business as well."

Yang Zao from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says: "Language defines how we think, and is a footnote to our era, about its culture and values. To understand the young, is to understand their language."

For Singaporean translator of Chinese web novels, Jeremy Onn Hong Wen, the book helps foreigners gain better knowledge of the country's young minds.

And Morgane Gonseth, a doctoral candidate from the University of Geneva, who has been researching Chinese web novels for her thesis, says the book defines words she frequently encounters with an academic precision that is useful to her and peers.

Shao compares the book to A Dictionary of Maqiao by Han Shaogong as both the books, one nonfiction, and one fiction, talk about Chinese from a certain period in the form of dictionary entries.

She also refers to Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan's work about a global village and internet tribes.

McLuhan spoke of these things more than 30 years before they happened.

In his work, he said: "The new electronic independence re-creates the world in the image of a global village."

In her words, Shao says more people will join certain kinds of "tribes", with different cultures and languages, and the new book just grasps the moment.

In a related development, a recent survey by Tencent on the people born after the year 2000, says that 62 percent of those surveyed are willing to invest money and time into fields which they are interested in. What they crave is mainly peer recognition, and they care more about the groups they are with.

"Sixty-five percent of people born after 2000 say that when they disagree with others, their first reaction is to try to understand," the survey says.

This is very typical about the country's younger generation, say the authors of the book.

And Wang, who is from Peking University, says: "Personal hobbies and preferences have replaced geography and blood ties to be the basis of emotional connections, especially in cities."

So people in some of the internet circles/tribes may build their own identity on their perceived notions of superiority and contempt for other circles, says Wang. "But the process of producing the book by writers belonging to different 'tribes' shows that young people are open to dealing with differences."

Kuang, the editor, says: "Their wonderful academic attitude of avoiding jumping to judgment and just stating the facts is what makes the book especially valuable, readable and authoritative."

Contact the writer at meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-18 07:50:08
<![CDATA[Five books that won't fail to pique your interest this summer]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/18/content_36598070.htm It's summer vacation, which is not only a great time for travel, internship or watching the World Cup - but also one of the best times of the year to kick back and catch up on some reading.

One of my bookworm friends professes to reread Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time every summer, saying it's the best season to immerse yourself in the author's sultry tales of the past and the sweltering days of indolence, rendered in his distinctive dreamlike state.

After reading the first dozen pages last summer, I set aside the first volume of In Search of Lost Time and left it to gather dust on my night stand. Instead, I decided to finish Miguel de Cervantes' entertaining Don Quixote before opening Vladimir Nabokov's Lectures on Don Quixote.

Besides these bulky classics, my ambitious summer reading plan also includes many newly-published books, from which I've picked out a few of my favorites to recommend to you.

The Neighbor's Wife

US writer Gay Talese is one of the best-selling feature writers in the world. He used to write for the New Yorker and Esquire magazines, where he was known for capturing scenes and people that were usually overlooked by mainstream news reporting. Aspiring to write stories to rival the best novels by writers like F Scott Fitzgerald, Talese's writings are rhythmic, vivid, detailed and humorous.

In 1981, even before The Neighbor's Wife was published, news about the book that he spent nine years writing drew wide public attention. The copyright for the movie adaptation sold for a record $2.5 million, accounting for more than 60 percent of his total income for the book.

Talese was worried that the public would be misled by critical reviews, which broadly criticized the work for being lewd, as it focused on the increasingly liberal sexual behavior and preferences of Americans between the 1950s and 1970s, delving into men's entertainment magazine Playboy, massage centers that provided special services, nudist beaches, and so on.

However, the book itself was a serious work that examined changing moral attitudes in an increasingly secular society and the post-war rise of the free love subculture in the United States.

The Chinese translation has now been published on the Chinese mainland.

Rome: The Biography of a City

British historian Christopher Hibbert said in the foreword of the book: "Although this book is intended to be an introduction to the history of Rome and of the social life of its people from the days of the Etruscan kings to those of Mussolini, I have tried at the same time to make it, in some sense, a guidebook" for the "principal sights and delights of Rome".

Only recently translated into Chinese, the book was first published 30 years ago, and this is one reason why it offers an old-fashioned take on the Italian capital, especially compared to popular contemporary historical books that tend to highlight certain stories in order to widen their appeal.

In the last 3,000 years, Rome has not only been a city, but the capital of a country, an empire and a center for religion - involving countless events and numerous historical figures. Even after Hibbert's careful selection, key figures, after stepping onto the stage, are only given a few minutes to perform before they recede into the background, followed by many others. It reads like a collection of stories about Rome rather than a work that relies on the author's opinions.

The Story of the Lost Child

One of the biggest global best-sellers of the last couple of years, the final work in Italian writer Elena Ferrante's Naples quartet recently saw its Chinese translation released. As the title suggests, the book promises a heartrending read as the two leading female characters Lila and Lenu - or Raffaella Cerullo and Elena Greco - enter the third decade of their lives, and face the tumultuous experiences of Lenu's failed affair and the disappearance of Lila's daughter.

The main themes from the first three books consistently thread through this final piece of the jigsaw: feminism, female friendship, writing - and the epic backdrop of Naples.

The strong bonds of their friendship combined with their mutually competitive, and sometimes jealous, relationship help to fuel the two women's desire to avoid the same fate as the poor women trying to survive on the male-dominated streets of Naples - Lenu through her writing, and Lila by controlling the most powerful men in the neighborhood.

The last book also solves the mystery behind Lila's disappearance that takes place at the start of the first book, My Brilliant Friend.

Afraid to lose Lila completely as her boundary begins to dissolve as she claims, Lenu tries to give Lila a form by writing a "quartet" of books about their lives together. It's a compelling page-turner, which, although ends quite abruptly, keeps you thinking about the duo in the days that follow.

Xia Yin

Following the recent movie, Hidden Man, adaptation of the novel, written by Zhang Beihai, that was first published in China in 2007, a new version of the martial arts novel Xia Yin is available.

It tells the story of a chivalrous young man in the 1930s who recently returns to Peking after studying in the United States. He begins to explore the alleyways of the ancient city in a bid to find the identity of the murderer in a crime that happened five years ago.

Zhang spent years sifting through hundreds of both Chinese and English books about the era, in a bid to accurately portray the city where he was born as it was in 1936. The book has a special draw for readers who, like me, live in the capital.

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

The New York Times bestseller advocates a method for tidying up that ensures that "once you try it, you will never mess up your room again". The method sounds attractive, especially when you consider the claim of Japanese writer, Marie Kondo, that it will solve your psychological problems in the process.

Kondo started reading lifestyle magazines targeted at housewives at age 5. By 15, she started to study the methodology behind the art of tidying up. With her help, customers have thrown more than 1 million useless items away, including clothes, underwear, photos, ballpoint pens, newspaper clippings and samples of cosmetics.

The key is about keeping only the things that you actually care about while discarding everything else. Once people are surrounded onl