版权所有 - 中国日报�(ChinaDaily) China Daily <![CDATA[The new rules of modern power dressing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871414.htm Being stylish and well put together is more important than a suit

For all the political punditry and economic moves monopolising the election headlines over the last seven weeks, fashion analysts have been equally occupied by Theresa May's "strong and stable" style campaign - which may have dramatically de-stabilised at times, but has maintained an overall balance of strict tailoring and flourishes of personality. Whether or not it secures her a majority, it makes her look as though she's in control, even if her decisions aren't bearing that out.

When someone gets it right, it's called power dressing, and it's an art form that no one in politics or public-facing careers can ignore. Even the notoriously anti-fashion Jeremy Corbyn has stepped up his efforts in response, apparently seeking advice from a stylist. Twitter users have gamely applauded the individual who has "turned the Corbyn look from a freight train-jumping hobo into a vaguely credible-looking adult".

"With voters increasingly interested in the personality of their elected officials, it is important for high-profile figures to use the way they dress to connect with the electorate," says Laura Dunn, founder of the blog Political Style, who tracks May's every fashion move on the Instagram account @theresamaystyle.

"May's love of fashion can start a conversation with individuals who may not be so interested in policy, but who want to find out more about the woman who wants to be prime minister. For that, this is an authentic and powerful tool."

Along the trail, May has played some savvy sartorial tricks, subliminally connecting with the areas she has visited by wearing, for example, tartan in Scotland or a red jacket and Welsh brand Celtic Treasure's jewellery in Wales. She's also given a nod to Margaret Thatcher's iconic "Tory blue" ensembles, made modern in a cobalt Diane von Furstenberg cropped jacket, and teamed with a chunky chain necklace and leopard print Russell & Bromley flats.

These touches may seem a bit literal to some (see also The Duchess of Cambridge's overtures in this direction). "But, May's campaigning uniform is no fuss, no mess," says Dunn.

"She wears familiar favourites and gets on with the important job of meeting the public in a professional way. She shows her fun side through accessories and scarves, but displays strength through a structured handbag or tailored jacket."

This hard and soft approach is a tried and tested one among many of the world's power dressers and allows the wearer to control, to a degree, how much of their personality they want to give away.

Nicola Sturgeon reaches for her sharpest tailoring when there's a critical vote approaching, and her jackets are often edged with white piping to define the lapels and help her look more distinctive. She also plays the colour game, wearing red, white and blue, with the occasional splash of SNP yellow.

Moderators Julie Etchingham and Mishal Husain, meanwhile, both opted for putty coloured jackets with softer collars during the ITV and BBC debates respectively. Could a stronger statement have helped to stop the more graphically-dressed politicians from shouting over them?

Theresa May and Michelle Obama have also used cut, as well as colour and accessories, to reinforce the message of the day. Both have worn architectural shirts by British label palmer//harding to show their creative side at key work events, with Obama approaching the designers for the first time in March as she began plotting her new, post-White House career (and its accompanying wardrobe) with her stylist Meredith Koop.

"For professional women in the public eye, there's a lot of history and seriousness associated with the shirt," designer Matthew Harding considers. "But because of the flourish in this design [the asymmetric-hem shirt that Obama wore] you cut down a little bit of that barrier so, while people know you're serious, you're not too stiff."

Costume designer Kemal Harris has pushed the sartorial balance of power to the extreme in the new series of the Netflix political drama House of Cards, where she outfits the formidable TV First Lady Claire Underwood in dresses by Armani and Ralph Lauren. She says that defining the FLOTUS's strong physique is a particularly effective strategy, especially in work environments that are traditionally male-dominated, like politics.

"One of Underwood's key techniques is to intimidate and disarm whoever she's engaging with via her clothing," says Harris of her triple-threat approach; a killer fit, with expensive-sounding labels, and pale colour schemes that say, "I don't need to take public transport".

She adds: "Pencil skirts and very fitted sheath dresses throw off some of her male counterparts because they're thinking, 'You're gorgeous and scary and smart, how do I talk to you?'"

The fictitious Underwood exemplifies a new genesis of sensationally Hollywoodised, glossy career women. But what began as a celluloid concept is becoming a reality in some offices - call it the 'workebrity effect'. For Underwood's wardrobe, Harris considers every detail, right down to the military-style buttons and epaulettes on shirtdresses used to emphasise Claire's dictatorial manner.

"Every single piece that you see on the screen has been tailored to within an inch of its life," she says. "It's very sexy - but it's never revealing. Using your physicality in that way is subtle but so effective."

Stealth sheath dresses are also a fixture in both Melania and Ivanka Trump's new White House wardrobes, the former having undoubtedly altered her previous brand of glamour to be more "First Lady-like" since her husband was inaugurated in January.

It's a move that has seen critics accuse her of trying to copy elements of Jackie Kennedy's demure 1960s suiting, and indeed of becoming a "soap opera First Lady", like Underwood. She looks undeniably smart and polished. But is it too glamorous for the role of FLOTUS?

To further perfect their sharp silhouettes, the best power dressers now also employ personal tailors to fine-tune everything that they wear. Obama relied on seamstress Christy Rilling during her time in the White House, and is working with her again as she forges her new career path, campaigning publicly for women and children's health causes in the US.

"Everything can, and probably should, be tailored if you want to look amazing in your clothes," says Rilling, who will even alter high street items for her well-heeled clients, making things look vastly more expensive. "Many women don't know, or just forget, that sizes off the rack are vague."

Victoria Beckham perfects the trouser suit.

Cutting the right professional figure is now a priority for businesswomen around the world, with Amal Clooney, Victoria Beckham and other ultra-sleek, intensely groomed celebrities becoming workwear style pin-ups.

As such, there is now a host of great brands catering to the demand, meaning that we can all look a little slicker when we leave for the office in the morning.

"The workwear options were depressing, frumpy and masculine," says Polly McMaster a former management consultant who co-founded fashion label The Fold in 2012, offering style solutions for city girls around the country.

"There was definitely a gap for what women like myself wanted to wear to work in a demanding job where you might be meeting with a CEO one day, presenting to a senior team that's typically mostly male, or travelling for a five-day business trip.

"Just because I was in a corporate environment didn't mean that I shouldn't be stylish. I needed to be more elevated than what the high street could offer, and the designer choices were too pricey.

"Our brand, The Fold, delivers a more modern approach - we focus on key pieces; the perfect jersey dress, a statement dress with flattering details, and clean and modern tailoring that can be mixed and matched.

"Power dressing is now about confidence. Being stylish and well put together is more important than wearing a traditional suit."

That said, fashion can only take you so far. Is Melania's glossiness enough to convince you that she's got her new role sussed? And will a cooler jacket and a splash of leopard print really make you vote for May? Of course not - but they're right to think that looking the part will help.

 

Fromleft:Melania Trump arrives at theBrusselsAirport; TheresaMay leaves theConservative Party's Headquarters.Photosbyhannahmckayandpeternicholls/reuters

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2017-06-24 07:14:09
<![CDATA['I don't know why women have created such impossible standards for themselves']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871413.htm Alexandra Shulman on life after Vogue

Alexandra Shulman and I are discussing what she's going to steal from the stationery cupboard on her last day at Vogue later this month. You can never have enough Post-its, I tell her. Then again Tipp-Ex, paper clips: those Rymans bills can really add up. She nods - worried, all of a sudden. "Gosh, I haven't given nearly enough thought to what I'm going to steal. Pens, probably?"

We're in a Cond�� Nast meeting room because Shulman's 5th floor office is "so full of packing boxes you can hardly get in there" and beneath the jocularity there's a poignancy. Twenty-five years is a long time in a job, and when the 59 year-old steps down from her position as the second longest serving Vogue Editor-in-Chief in the world (Anna Wintour is the first), it'll be like a long-caged animal being forced to relearn how to live in the wild. "I had to go and get my first mobile phone in twenty-five years the other day," she laughs, "and actually I was quite proud of myself for negotiating a good deal."

She is realistic enough to accept that "it will feel wildly exciting on a good day but more like a bereavement on a bad one," yet Shulman is adamant that she has made the right decision. "I want a richer mix of life and a bit more control over my existence. I have worked very hard at editing Vogue, so right now I do not want another job. I'm going to take quite a bit of time doing nothing. Actually I'm rather excited about being able to walk around the streets of London at 3 pm."

I expect she'll find the midafternoon street world as humdrum as it was a quarter of a century ago, but the Vogue she hands over to new editor, Edward Enninful OBE and the current creative and fashion director for W magazine in New York, will be a very different publication to the one she took over in 1992.

Her appointment, at 34, may have raised eyebrows in the industry (much more seemed to be made of her untamed hair and non-emaciated figure than any lack of experience) but with her journalistic background (her father, Milton Shulman, was the Evening Standard's theater critic for over 40 years and her mother, Drusilla Beyfus, used to edit Cond�� Nast's Brides magazine) her patriotism (she has criticized British designers for not showing at London Fashion Week), and her levelheadedness Shulman has made British Vogue accessible whilst keeping it aspirational - and built up the magazine's circulation, which has consistently hovered around the 200,000 point in her tenure.

"I hope I've made Vogue a much broader magazine both in terms of the characters that are featured in it and the world that it's about," she muses. "I remember when I first did a high street issue some people were horrified, because Vogue wasn't meant to address that. But I always wanted to make it a magazine for every person rather than for the industry."

That meant putting Crossrail engineers in the features pages and Victoria Beckham - before her reinvention was deemed credible - on the cover. "Nobody else would have done that then because they didn't think Victoria was 'Vogue', whereas I just thought that she was really interesting to a lot of people."

Unlike US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, Shulman never bought into a Vogue-style private life. Ask Shulman whether she's ever had Beckham or any of the world's top designers and models over for supper to the Queen's Park home she shares with her journalist partner, David Jenkins, and she flings back: "No. Victoria's not a friend, but I like her and she likes me and I can pick up the phone to her if I need to."

Because there are now so few models "who really register in a commercial way" Shulman has developed different concerns to those she had in the 90s. "Back then you could be sure that if someone was famous and you had a reasonable picture of them, they would sell magazines. That's not necessarily true now."

When I ask how she feels about the likes of Kardashian and model Emily Ratajkowski stripping off on Instagram in the name of feminism, she grimaces. "Feminism has become one of those tricky concepts, because I think we all want to feel that women should have equal respect and absolutely equal rights. But just as I don't want to see a naked man on Instagram with the # 'alpha male', I don't want to see naked women with the # feminism. That's not what feminism is about. Feminism is about being proud of and happy with your body - particularly if you're leaving it absolutely as nature gave it to you.

She shakes her head: "I can't bear the whole 'empowering women' thing. It has become this catchphrase, but it doesn't actually mean anything. I particularly hate it when it is attached to anything commercial."

To remain as sensible and non-faddy as Shulman in an often whimsical, fad-peddling industry is impressive. And anyone mistaking either these comments or those made two years ago when she warned women not to expect their jobs to be reserved for them "in aspic" whilst they are off on maternity leave as unsisterly has got her wrong. A lot of the women at Vogue are the chief breadwinners, she tells me. As a single mother raising her now 22 year-old son, Sam - whom she had with her ex-husband, US citizen writer Paul Spike - "I didn't really feel that I could have a big job and not work full time," she admits. "My generation didn't, but I've noticed that many more women are prepared to sacrifice the full time aspect now and if you can sit down with your boss and have a civilized conversation about how to make that work, great."

One thing she will caution against is the notion that women "can have it all. Because of course men can't have it all either - but maybe they're not trying to," she sighs. "I don't know why women have created such impossible standards for themselves. Not just in their looks but in their whole lives. Maybe it's overcompensating: if you've come from being judged basically on your marriageability and emerged from that through a lot of fighting, maybe you think you can do everything. Well I'm a full believer that you can't. And I find it particularly depressing how perfectionist and judgmental so many women are about their own appearances. Because on the whole men aren't saying 'you're too fat and your legs are too hairy and you've got a double chin'. Women are doing that to themselves."

Although Shulman hasn't seen any evidence that women are worse at asking for raises than men in her tenure, she will point out one niggling Cond�� Nast discrepancy: "If you look at this company you'll see that the people at the top are almost all men. So that's not about asking for raises but something to do with the culture, whereby the highest paid people are all men - even though the company is basically aimed at women." Could this be, I wonder, her way of addressing rumors that Enninful - who will be Vogue's first male editor - has negotiated a substantial salary?

Whatever that figure may be, however, Shulman, does sound utterly confident that her successor will do a good job, adding that as a former GQ editor herself "it would be very hard for me to say that a man couldn't edit Vogue: I absolutely believe that a man can."

Shulman needs to get back to the September issue - her last. But I have one last question: will she manage to keep it together on her last day, as she and her packing cases exit the building? "I'm not a terribly weepy person but this is like leaving your family, so I'll almost definitely cry. But then I'll remember that lovely empty diary..."

And of course all that stolen stationery.

 

Alexandra Shulman poses in the winners room at the Fashion Awards 2016 in London.Neil Hall / Reuters

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2017-06-24 07:14:09
<![CDATA[Study: Why you shouldn't eat late at night]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871343.htm Poor meal times can increase the risk of diabetes, heart attack

As well as contributing to weight gain, a new study has suggested that snacking late at night could increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that eating late a night raises glucose and insulin levels, both of which are causes of type 2 diabetes.

They also found evidence that poor timing of meals can also affect cholesterol levels which can increase the risk of heart disease or suffering a heart attack.

The researchers asked nine adults of a healthy weight to eat three meals and two snacks between 8am and 7pm for eight weeks and then asked the same but between noon and 11pm for another eight weeks. To control for sleep, the researchers asked participants to sleep between 11pm to 9am for both of the eight weeks.

They found that when participants ate later at night not only did their weight increase, but so did their levels of insulin, glucose and cholesterol.

They also found that during the first eight weeks of daytime eating, participants produced a hormone which stimulates the appetite to help them feel fuller for longer.

Namni Goel, lead author of the study, said: "These early findings, which control for sleep, give a more comprehensive picture of the benefits of eating earlier in the same.

"Eating later can promote a negative profile of weight, energy and hormone markers - such as higher glucose and insulin, which are implicated in diabetes, and cholesterol and triglycerides, which are linked with cardiovascular problems and other health conditions."

This isn't the first time a study has suggested that late night snacking could be detrimental to your health. Here we round up five reasons why you should avoid eating late at night ...

1 It can affect your memory: According to American researchers, snacking late at night could negatively affect your memory. The study, from from the University of California, found that eating at irregular hours - such as late at night - had the potential to impact cognitive functions.

Over a period of two weeks, researchers fed one group of mice - nocturnal animals - during the day while the other group were fed at night like usual.

They then tested the ability of the mice to distinguish new objects in their cage. The mice with the disrupted eating habits showed a lesser ability to recognise new objects than the mice who continued to eat as usual. In addition, they also found that the ability to create long-term memories was damaged in the mice who were being fed during the day.

2 It makes you have weird dreams: In 2015, a pair of Canadian psychologists investigated whether people's eating habits can have a negative effect on sleep patterns and dreaming.

Tore Nielsen and Russell Powell asked almost 400 university students to fill in a questionnaire about the diet, sleep, and dream experiences and found that 18 per cent believed food has the ability to "render their dreams more bizarre or disturbing."

Alongside eating too much of certain kinds of foods (dairy products and spicy meals), Nielsen and Powell found that eating late at night was also to blame for the confusing dreams. They said this could be because late night snacking can often lead to gastrointestinal discomfort which in turn can cause difficulty sleeping.

3 It increases the risk of a heart attack: Experts have found that eating dinner after 7pm could increase the risk of suffering a heart attack. Researchers from Dokuz Eyl��l University assessed more than 700 adults with high blood pressure in order to find out whether different eating times made a difference to their health.

They found that eating dinner late at night had the most significant impact on overnight blood pressure while eating with two hours of going to sleep did more damage than indulging in a high salt content diet.

24.2 per cent of those who ate dinner within two hours of going bed suffered from high blood pressure which did not drop sufficiently overnight, compared with 14.2 per cent of those who ate their evening meal earlier.

Dr Ebru ozpelit, associate professor of cardiology, at the university said: "We must define the ideal frequency and timing of meals because how we eat may be as important as what we eat.

"Eating breakfast is important, we should have a strong breakfast, we shouldn't skip lunch. We must have a small dinner and it mustn't be later than 7 o'clock in the evening."

4 It creates acid reflux: According to experts, eating late at night (especially heavy foods) and going to sleep shortly after is a key contributor to acid reflux.

Because your stomach takes a few hours to empty after a meal, physician Jamie Koufman says when you go to sleep it allows for the acid to spill out of your still full stomach and leak into your esophagus, leading to acid reflux.

Speaking to The New York Times in 2014, Koufman said: "The drugs we are using to treat reflux don't always work, and even when they do, they can have dangerous side effects.

"My patient's reflux was a lifestyle problem. I told him he had to eat dinner before 7pm, and not eat at all after work. Within six weeks, his reflux was gone."

5 It makes you hungrier the next day: Eating late at night can have you feeling hungrier than usual when you wake up the next morning thanks to the insulin your pancreas releases after a meal.

This in turn produces more glucose which triggers a hormone called 'ghrelin', responsible for triggering hunger. Ghrelin usually uses the naturally occurring fast between around 8pm to 8am to reset itself, ensuring you only feel usual levels of hunger in the morning.

However, if you snack late at night, the cycle will still be ongoing and you will feel hungrier than usual, which could potentially lead to weight gain.

 

Science says you need to stop your late night snacking.Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-24 07:14:56
<![CDATA[Exercising for more than two hours is bad for your gut]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871342.htm Studies released recently show that, despite good intentions, those who regularly exercise for two hours or more could be doing more harm to their bodies than good.

The research, which comes from Australian sports journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, shows that intense physiological stress on the body can trigger Leaky Gut Syndrome - a condition in which the gut lining weakens, resulting in the passage of germs and toxins into the bloodstream.

It's believed that the resultant leakage of toxic waste is a primary cause of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Chronic Fatigue, and has a role to play in many other illnesses. With no immediate cure - though a gluten-free diet wouldn't go amiss - those putting in the hours at the gym might be better off putting aside some time on the sofa.

But it's not just your gut that could suffer from hard graft. There are a whole range of health risks associated with excessive exercise that the health and fitness industry would rather you didn't know.

Whilst the gym claims to hold the key to a happier, healthier you, science seems to be saying that there really can be too much of a good thing.

1 Abnormal heart rhythms: A long but gentle session on the treadmill can't hurt, right? Wrong. Those who regularly engage in endurance sports are at risk of causing permanent structural changes to heart muscles which scientists describe as "cardiotoxic".

Such changes are believed to predispose athletes to arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms), making them more prone to sudden cardiac death. For years, a handful of clean-living sports nuts have sat smug in the knowledge that tobacco, caffeine and recreational drugs are the main causes of an irregular heart beat. But studies released by the European Heart Journal in 2013 suggest that - especially for those with a family history of irregular heartbeats - overdoing the fat-burning workout can also contribute to poor cardio health.

The study, which measured the heart rhythms of over 52,000 cross-country skiiers during a ten year period, found that the risk of arrhythmia is increased with every race completed, and was up to 30pc higher for those who competed year-on-year for a period of five years. Exercise intensity also affected results: those who finished fastest were at higher risk for arrhythmia.

2 A shaky immune system: Cortisol - a hormone emitted by the adrenal gland during periods of physical stress - stimulates gluconeogenesis (the production of new glucose) in the liver and increases protein breakdown in the muscles.

It's essentially good. Keen to benefit from its inflammatory effects, professional athletes have been injecting their wearied muscles with the stuff for years (as have office workers who suffer from persistent RSI). But scientists recently came to the conclusion that the negative effects of cortisol can outweigh the benefits.

Whilst cortisol can decrease the swelling and reddening prompted by serious injuries, its immunosuppressive effects mean that those who endure high and consistent cortisol levels are at more risk of falling ill.

One way of understanding this is in terms of the 'fight-or-flight' instinct. Levels of cortisol increase dramatically during moments of intense stress - but these moments tend to be very fleeting. You fight, or take flight, and then the body's self-limiting response system returns to normal.

However, that doesn't happen so quickly when you over train. Essentially, your body doesn't have time to recover, so it stays in (or close to) fight-or-flight mode. Your immune system pays the price.

3 Weakened bones: Not only are those who over-exercise more at risk of illness but they're doubly as likely to end up bed-bound thanks to cortisol's interference with bone-building. When cortisol is in the bloodstream, more bone tissue is broken down than is deposited. This means that exercise addicts, whose bodies remains in a chronic state of stress, put themselves at higher risk of fractures and breakage.

The resultant loss in bone density can lead to serious conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis, which can haunt excessive exercisers in later life.

4 Mental ill-health: Pumping iron on a daily basis might be a fast-track to the baywatch body you've always craved - but relentlessly hitting the weights has proven detrimental impacts on mental health.

Studies into what is known as 'Overtraining Syndrome' show that those who over train portray the same biochemical markers as those with clinical depression - which is to say that the emission of serotonin and tryptophan are altered by both disorders. Behaviourally too, the clinically depressed and the over trained were perceived to share lowered motivation, insomnia and irritability.

Last year the Technical University of Munich found that young athletes who don't leave enough time to recover from stress and injury are 20pc more likely to suffer from depression.

Struggling to find the motivation to lug your unwilling body to the gym? It might be time to ease off the weights.

 

There are a whole range of health risks associated with excessive exercise.Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-24 07:14:56
<![CDATA[Was Vermeer A Copycat?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871341.htm The unsung artist who inspired the Dutch master

In 1635, a talented Dutch teenager, with dreams of becoming an artist, arrived in London. Not yet 18 years old, he joined the studio of his uncle, Robert van Voerst, royal engraver to Charles I. Soon afterwards, the youth's father, also an artist, sent him a trunk filled with clothes and art supplies, including a mannequin.

With it was a letter, offering instructions: "Use the mannequin and do not let it stand idle," his father wrote. "Draw a lot: large, dynamic compositions."

Evidently, the youngster took this advice to heart because, in time, he became one of the most renowned artists of the Dutch Golden Age. His work was sought after by the aristocratic elite of Amsterdam. And monarchs and rulers across Europe - including William of Orange and Cosimo III de' Medici - desired his services.

Yet, today, Gerard ter Borch, as he was called, is hardly a household name. This is, surely, one of the great injustices of art history, for Ter Borch (1617-81) was a suave and spellbinding artist, famous for his pictures of juffertjes (young ladies) that showcased his marvellous ability to capture the sheen and texture of sumptuous satin gowns.

Moreover, he was an essential influence upon his younger contemporary, Johannes Vermeer (1632-75). And while, today, Ter Borch is, if not forgotten, then recognised principally by specialists, Vermeer is, of course, universally celebrated.

"Without Ter Borch, there would be no Vermeer - that is clear," says Adriaan E Waiboer, the art historian responsible for Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting, a scintillating new exhibition of 60 paintings (including 10 by the master of Delft), which is about to open in Dublin, at the refurbished National Gallery of Ireland.

Unsung hero

Earlier this year, a version of the exhibition was staged at the Louvre, where it was visited by 325,000 people. Walking around, it was clear to me that the show's unsung hero - the great innovator who popularised many of the subjects and motifs later immortalised by Vermeer - was Ter Borch, an artist associated not with the dynamic metropolis of Amsterdam, or even Delft, but with a small Dutch trading town called Deventer, out in the sticks, in the eastern province of Overijssel.

Born in Zwolle, also in Overijssel, Ter Borch was taught to draw by his father, who proudly kept an early sketch of a horseman by his son, executed when he was just seven years old.

Following apprenticeships in Amsterdam, Haarlem and London, where he must have been dazzled by the elegance of the English court, Ter Borch Jr departed for southern Europe. During his travels, which occupied him for the next decade and a half, he visited Spain where, it was said, he painted Philip IV. If true, this was an astonishing coup: it beggars belief that an unknown young Dutchman would have been commissioned to make a portrait of the Spanish monarch.

Ten years later, though, Ter Borch was certainly moving in powerful circles: in 1648, he painted his early masterpiece, The Ratification of the Treaty of M��nster, which belongs to the National Gallery in London. This group portrait, featuring 77 men, depicts the ceremony that officially ended the Dutch Republic's 80-year struggle with Spain.

"Clearly, Ter Borch was comfortable dealing with people of elevated status," says Waiboer. "In that sense, he was a bit of a small Rubens, rather than this artist from the countryside who happened to be amazingly influential. He travelled an enormous amount, knew how to use a knife and fork, had connections. And that must have made a huge impression on Vermeer."

It was around this time that Ter Borch began his so-called genre paintings - intimate scenes of "daily life", typically featuring well-dressed men and women from the upper bourgeoisie. Much imitated by his peers, these are also the pictures upon which Ter Borch's fame rests today - for, among connoisseurs, his reputation has not dwindled. According to Waiboer, if a good genre painting by Ter Borch came on the market now, it would fetch &4.5 million.

In many of his genre pictures, Ter Borch used as a model his beautiful half-sister, Gesina, whom he sketched repeatedly in the late 1640s and early 1650s. She appears, for instance, in the Rijksmuseum's Woman at a Mirror (c1650) her face reflected in the looking glass. This ingenious composition, which simultaneously provides a front and back view of Gesina, features two quintessential "Ter Borchian" elements: a beautiful young lady, brightly lit against a dark background, and seen from behind; and expensive satin garments, in this case a shimmering white dress trimmed with gold braid.

Gesina pops up again, this time in profile, in A Young Woman at Her Toilet with a Maid (c1650), now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This important panel, which presented a full-length figure in an elegant domestic interior for the very first time, initiated the vogue for "high-life" genre scenes that dominated Dutch painting in the second half of the 17th century.

In other words, without the inventions of Ter Borch, there would be no tranquil, enigmatic paintings of attractive young women by Vermeer. "The whole idea of women seen in a moment of contemplation, that stillness we like in Vermeer: they essentially come from Ter Borch," says Waiboer. "The idea of unresolved social interactions - that's also very Ter Borch. He invented that."

Inventive mind

Many of Ter Borch's works feature notes of narrative drama and psychological intrigue. For instance, in A Lady at her Toilet (c1660) the highborn protagonist - whose radiant white satin skirt is, incidentally, a tour de force - fiddles distractedly with a ring, while a perturbed expression flickers across her face.

Like many of the young ladies whom Ter Borch painted lost in their own thoughts, she is not a type but an individual - one, surely, troubled by love. This psychological component was arguably Ter Borch's chief innovation.

Even greater psychological complexity is evident in his best-known painting, Gallant Conversation, which Ter Borch painted in 1654, the same year he settled permanently in Deventer, having married his stepmother's sister. This ambiguous scene depicts either a father remonstrating with his daughter, or a military officer sizing up a courtesan in an upscale brothel. "He invents so much," says Waiboer. "All these women writing letters, reading letters, at their toilet: Ter Borch invents one subject after another."

By contrast, art historians have discovered compositional sources for almost all Vermeer's works. This is because Vermeer did not simply "paint reality", as is commonly assumed, but kept an eye on what his artist-peers were up to: time and again, he borrowed subjects and poses from people whom he admired.

"The big difference between Ter Borch and Vermeer," says Waiboer, "is that Vermeer isn't an innovator, in terms of subject matter. In fact, he's highly unoriginal." Of course, Waiboer continues: "In our own time, we are obsessed with who came up with something first, whereas these guys [17th-century Dutch artists] were interested in who painted something best. Vermeer was no innovator, but he was a synthesiser - and an improver.

"Vermeer was born at the right moment. Great artists had been there before him. He looked around, picked the best elements and ideas, and brought them to another level. Vermeer beats Ter Borch at, for instance, painting daylight and spatial illusion."

Even so, given Ter Borch's primacy and influence, why is he not a household name, while Vermeer is? Arguably, it is the apparent simplicity of Vermeer's paintings that appeals to contemporary taste. "We like simple, we like straightforward, we like Apple iPhones," says Waiboer, with a smile. "And Vermeer fits that very well."

If you go

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry opened at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, on June 17; nationalgallery.ie

 

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2017-06-24 07:15:50
<![CDATA[Best bets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871340.htm

French Comedy L'Avare

Date: June 30-July 1 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Price: 90-580 yuan

A cult piece, played more than two thousand times by the Comedie-Francaise since 1680, The Miser entertains us with its bouncy plot, its fanciful misunderstandings and its hilarious bravura. Ludovic Lagarde gives to this great classic a new energy and highlights how this social and psychological satire is so very contemporary. With spectacular scenography showing the back of a bourgeois house where goods are amassed Ludovic Lagarde orchestrates a physical and merciless battle between Harpagon and his tyrannized relatives. The play, brought to us by a ravishing troupe of actors, is magnified by the extraordinary Laurent Poitrenaux in the title role, as an irresistible and ferocious Harpagon. As scary as it is funny, the comedian creates an unheard-of ambience somewhere between euphoria and discomfort."

Staatstheater Nurnberg Drama The 39 Steps

Date: June 28-July 1 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Center for the Performing Arts

Price: 180-380 yuan

Staatstheater Nurnberg is one of Germany's largest comprehensive theaters, which is dedicated to all types of music, dance and drama works. 500 employees come from more than 30 countries. Staatstheater Nurnberg consists of four traditional performance venues, i.e., Opera Theater, Drama Hall, Chamber Music Stage and Experimental Theatre. Nuremberg National Philharmonic Orchestra performs concerts in Die Meistersinger Concert Hall. On average, Staatstheater Nurnberg stages 800 performances and welcomes 300,000 visitors during every show season. On September 16th, 2003, it was elevated from the municipal theater to the status of state theater. Since the 2008/2009' Performance Season, Peter Taylor has served as Artistic Director and General Manager of Staatstheater Nurnberg.

Tadashi Suzuki's Drama The Trojan Women

Date: June 24 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Center for the Performing Arts

Drama Trojan Women is based on the historical story taking place after the end of Trojan War in Homer's Epic. This decadelong war is waged because Trojan Prince Paris follows the instruction of Aphrodite and seizes the most beautiful Greek woman: Spartan Princess Helen. Led by Agamemnon (King of Mycenae), kings and generals of various Greek states send troops to march toward Troy. Both parties are evenly matched. In the tenth year of this bitter war, Hector (Trojan general and also son of the king) is killed by the Greek general Achilles. Before long, Achilles also dies in battle. At last, Greek army makes use of Trojan Horse Trick, invades Troy City, and wins final victory of this war. Then conquerors launch the massacre and plundering of Troy.

Slava's Snow Show

Date: Aug 30-Sept 3 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Center for the Performing Arts

Price: 99-680 yuan

Snowshow is a universal and timeless theatrical poetic spectacle which has unanimously enchanted and empowered the imagination of audiences and critics since 1993 in dozens of countries, hundreds of cities with multiple thousand performances resulting in millions of ecstatic spectators from all nationalities, genders, beliefs, types and ages, probably like no other show. It is a genre of it's own and remains as spontaneous and magical as on the first day it was performed, systematically catapulting adults back in childhood.

The Epic Horse Show - Troy

Date: July 14-30 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Stadium

Price: 100-1,280 yuan

She will be the grand achievement of the history of Chinese performance, with hundreds of well-known horses and Asian and European artists. She is based on the great literature of ancient Greece that spreads thousands of years-Homer's Epic Poems; She will lead the audience back to the era when man and god were coexisted. Horses and Beauties, Gods and Heroes are the essential elements throughout the performance; She appeared as film, TV serial, play, animation once, but has never entered the world of Show. Now, through the wind and the clouds, she shall meet the horse appearing as The Epic Horse Show - Troy.

Pablo Sainz Villegas Guitar Recital

Date: June 17 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Center for the Performing Arts

Price: 100-200 yuan

Praised as "the soul of the Spanish guitar", Pablo Sainz Villegas has become a worldwide sensation known as this generation's great guitarist. With his "virtuosic playing characterized by irresistible exuberance" as described by The New York Times, his interpretations conjure the passion, playfulness, and drama of Rioja, his homeland's rich musical heritage.

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2017-06-24 07:12:43
<![CDATA[Another example of lucrative long suits]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871339.htm Sam Levenson, a humorist, journalist, teacher and television host, said, "You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself."

This week we have learned that when you have long suits and a fit with partner, you win more tricks than the combined point-count would normally suggest.

What do you think of the auction in today's deal?

South, after two passes, was tempted to open four hearts. (If he had, no doubt West would have doubled, and East would have pulled to four spades. Then what? Who knows?) When South chose one heart, maybe West should have preferred a takeout double.

Over North's two-heart raise, East should have jumped to four hearts, a Texas transfer to four spades. How far wrong could that have been?

This next part is important. South's jump to four clubs said that he was willing to play in four hearts and had five clubs. He was asking North to judge what to do should the opponents bid four spades. (Here, North would have known about the double fit, but seemed to have two potential defensive tricks in the spade king and diamond ace. It would have been a close decision.) South had no trouble bringing home four hearts, losing only one heart and two clubs.

Four spades would also have made. Even if North had led the diamond ace and given his partner a diamond ruff (so that North-South took two trump tricks), after South shifted to the heart king, West would have won with the ace and cashed the diamond king-jack to discard dummy's heart eight.

Phillip Alder

 

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2017-06-24 07:12:43
<![CDATA[Listings]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871338.htm Shows

Aida Opera by

Giuseppe Verdi 2017

Date: Sept 8-10 - 8 pm

Venue: Guangzhou Opera House

Price: 280-2,280 yuan

Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in Egypt, it was commissioned by and first performed at Cairo's Khedivial Opera House on 24 December 1871; Giovanni Bottesini conducted after Verdi himself withdrew. Today the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world; at New York's Metropolitan Opera alone, Aida has been sung more than 1,100 times since 1886. Ghislanzoni's scheme follows a scenario often attributed to the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, but Verdi biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz argues that the source is actually Temistocle Solera.

Contact: 010-6655-0000

Kunqu Opera - The Palace of Eternal Youth in Kunming

Date: June 28-July 1 - 8 pm

Venue: Kunming Theatre, Yunnan

Price: 80-960 yuan

The Tang emperor (Li Longji) takes Yang Yuhuan for a concubine and gives her a title of ladyship. As a token of love, the emperor gives Yang a gold hairpin along with a jewel box. Meanwhile, An Lushan, the defeated frontier general, waggers around and shows his ferocity after he bribed Lady Yang's brother, the Prime Minister Yang Guo Cheung, to have his life spared. And then the dissolute emperor has an affaire with Lady Yang's sister, the Duchess of Guo. Lady Yang is dismissed from the imperial palace because of her jealousy. She cuts off a lock of her hair and gives it to the emperor, once more uniting the two lovers.

Contact: 010-6655-0000

Shanghai Ballet Hamlet

Date: June 24-25 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Center for the Performing Arts

Price: 100-580 yuan

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, has not succeeded his father as King. On the throne is his uncle Claudius, who married Queen Gertrude immediately, upon the death of her husband, the first King Hamlet. At midnight the ghost of the dead King appears to his son on the battlements of the castle and commands revenge. Hamlet, unsure at first, simulates madness and asks for a performance of a play with a plot much like his father's murder, so that he can see how the King responds. Claudius, deeply alarmed, plans to send Hamlet to England. However, before Hamlet leaves, he kills Polonius (the father of Ophelia, the woman Hamlet loves) who is hiding behind a curtain in Gertrude's room.

Contact: 010-6655-0000

2017 CoCo 18 World Tour in Shanghai

Date: June 24 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai Expo Culture Center

Price: 380-1,680 yuan

Coco Lee is a Hong Kong-born American singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actress. Lee's career began in Hong Kong and then expanded to Taiwan. Her single, "Do You Want My Love" also entered the US music charts. Her first full-length English language album was Just No Other Way. As a Chinese American, Lee is the first and only person of Chinese ethnicity to perform at the Oscars; she performed the Best Original Song nominated, "A Love Before Time" from the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Contact: 010-6655-0000

Rhythm of Youth - Asian Youth Orchestra Concert

Date: July 25 - 7:30 pm

Venue: NCPA

Price: 80-500 yuan

The 110 members of the Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) are among the finest young musicians in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Chosen through highly competitive auditions held throughout the region, they are together for six weeks each summer, initially for a three-week Rehearsal Camp in Hong Kong, then for a three-week international concert tour with celebrated conductors and solo artists. Cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Mischa Maisky, Steven Isserlis, Wang Jian and Alisa Weilerstein, violinists Gidon Kremer, Gil Shaham, Elmar Oliveira, Young Uck Kim, Stefan Jackiw and Cho-Liang Lin, soprano Elly Ameling, the Beaux Arts Trio, pianists Alicia de Larrocha, Cecile Licad, Leon Fleisher and Jean Louis Steuerman are among those who have performed with AYO under the direction of principal conductor James Judd, music director emeritus Sergiu Comissiona, Alexander Schneider, TAN Dun, and the orchestra's co-founders, Yehudi Menuhin and Richard Pontzious. Since its inaugural performances in 1990, the award-winning Orchestra has played some 395 concerts in Asia, Europe, the US and Australia to an audience of more than one million concertgoers. Millions more have seen and heard the orchestra around the world on CNN, CNBC, NHK and Radio and Television Hong Kong.

Contact: 400-610-3721

Staatstheater Nurnberg Drama Terror

Date: June 24-25 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Center for the Performing Arts

Price: 180-680 yuan

Major Lars Koch, pilot of a German Army Eurofighter, faces your verdict. A Lufthansa-Airbus is high-jacked by terrorists; Major Koch is ordered to divert the Airbus from its course - can he do the right thing? There are 164 people on board Flight LH 2047, Berlin to Munich. The Airbus has suddenly changed course for the Allianz-Arena where a capacity crowd of 70,000 have gathered for the Germany verses England international. Major Koch must react. What are his orders? If the terrorist do not change course, can he, should he, shoot down a passenger jet? The clock ticks, Lars Koch makes a decision.

Contact: 010-6655-0000

My Song - Sophie Zelmani

Date: June 28 - 8 pm

Venue: National Center for the Performing Arts

Price: 180-380 yuan

Zelmani was born in the suburbs of Stockholm in 1972. Her father bought the family a guitar when Zelmani was 14. Despite no professional music training, Zelmani became a songwriter and recorded some songs at a local studio. After she mailed the demos to three record companies, Zelmani was offered a record deal by Sony Music Sweden. Sophie Zelmani recorded her debut, eponymous album with Sony in 1995. The album was produced and arranged by Lars Halapi and coproduced by Patrik Sventelius, who also played guitar. She described the process of making the album: "In the beginning Lars and I spent a few months in the studio. We had fun and then picked the musicians. We recorded in two weeks but the whole thing took half a year." By 1997, Zelmani's debut album had sold 200,000 copies in Europe and Asia Pacific, before moving to the US market, distributed by Columbia Records. Zelmani said, "I had no ambitions to go abroad. I knew I wanted to make a record. That's all I wanted."

Contact: 400-610-3721

Gloriously Broadway - Sister Act in Guangzhou

Date: July 26-Aug 6 - 8 pm

Venue: Guangzhou Opera House

Price: 180-980 yuan

A newly revised adaptation of the show opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre on April 20, 2011, after previews beginning March 24, 2011. Jerry Zaks was the new director with Douglas Carter Beane rewriting the book. Patina Miller, who originated the role of Deloris in the West End production, reprised the role on Broadway, making her Broadway debut. The original cast featured Victoria Clark (Mother Superior), Fred Applegate (Monsignor), Sarah Bolt (Sister Mary Patrick), Chester Gregory (Eddie), Kingsley Leggs (Curtis), Marla Mindelle (Sister Mary Robert) and Audrie Neenan (Sister Mary Lazarus).

Contact: 400-610-3721

The Deutsches Theater in Berlin - The Visit

Date: July 5-8 - 8 pm

Venue: NCPA

Price: 100-580 yuan

The Deutsches Theater in Berlin is a theatrical institution with a permanent and highly-acclaimed ensemble. The Deutsches Theater repertoire comprises some 50 productions. Each season the DT celebrates some 30 premieres - around twelve on the main stage and eight in the Kammerspiele. Signature productions, ongoing collaborations with established and up-and-coming directors, and faith in the abilities of his spirited and talented ensemble: these are the cornerstones of Ulrich Khuon's artistic concept for the Deutsches Theater. Khuon has brought on board directors with distinctive directing styles, including: Andreas Kriegenburg, Stephan Kimmig, Nicolas Stemann, Jette Steckel, and Dimiter Gotscheff, who died in 2014. The theater's repertoire includes both classics and modern classics by writers such as Bertolt Brecht, Chekhov, Goethe, Gerhart Hauptmann, Friedrich Hebbel, Heinrich von Kleist, Friedrich Schiller, Shakespeare and Frank Wedekind.

Contact: 400-610-3721

The Smash Hit Musical - The Bodyguard

Date: June 30-July 16 - 7:15 pm/2 pm

Venue: Shanghai Culture Square

Price: 180-880 yuan

Based on the Warner Bros. film written by the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill, The Empire Strikes Back), with a book by Oscar-winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), this extraordinary production is currently dazzling audiences in Germany, Korea, on a US Tour and Utrecht. The Bodyguard has just completed a sellout runs in London's West-End, and a tour throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe and later this year productions will open in Toronto, Australia, Italy and Spain. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge - what they don't expect is to fall in love.

Contact: 400-610-3721

Activities & Nightlife

Rembrandt and His Time Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection

Date: June 24-Sept 3 - 9 am

Venue: National Museum of China

Price: Free Entry

As part of its mission to stimulate a wider appreciation and understanding of seventeenth-century Dutch art, The Leiden Collection's first international traveling exhibition will bring a group of some seventy works to the National Museum of China, Beijing from June 17, 2017 through September 3, 2017. The Leiden Collection exhibition makes history by presenting the largest assemblage of Dutch Golden Age paintings ever to visit China. It will include eleven paintings by Rembrandt - the greatest number of works by the master in private hands - as well as Vermeer's Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, the first painting by the celebrated artist to travel to Beijing.

Contact: 010-6401-2252

Dinosaur ZoobyErth Visual & Physical Inc

Date: July 4-15 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Guangzhou Opera House

Price: 80-700 yuan

Meet awesome prehistoric creatures, from cute baby dinos to some of the largest carnivores and herbivores that have ever walked the planet! Erth's dinosaurs are unmistakably "alive" and mostly friendly in this fun, educational and unique performance that will delight all audiences from ages 5 years and up. Get up close and personal with an amazing array of creatures from bygone eras, connecting young audiences to the real science of paleontology. Meet a menagerie of insects and dinosaurs that once roamed free around the world and are now in daily residence at Erth's Dinosaur Zoo. Learn how to feed and engage with Erth's dinosaurs in a once in a lifetime interactive experience. Children can watch wide-eyed from a safe distance or dare to get right up close to these prehistoric creatures.

Contact: 400-610-3721

Sports

Monster Jam 2017

Date: July 29 - 7 pm

Venue: National Stadium, Beijing

Price: 180-680 yuan

Monster Jam is a live motor sport event tour and television show operated by Feld Entertainment. The series is sanctioned under the umbrella of the United States Hot Rod Association and takes place primarily in the United States. Although individual event formats can vary greatly based on the "intermission" entertainment, the main attraction is always the racing and freestyle competitions by monster trucks. At Monster Jam shows, monster trucks face off in two different forms of competition - Racing and Freestyle. In the smaller shows they have a wheelie competition and a doughnut contest. The goal in the wheelie competition is to hit a ramp and get big air while remaining perpendicular to the ground. In the doughnut competition a driver tries to spin their truck until he gets dizzy, the truck can't go any more, or they think they have a high enough score to win. Side-by-side racing is traditional heads-up tournament racing, where the first truck to cross the finish line moves onto the next round until it is eliminated or wins the racing trophy by winning the Championship race. The freestyle competition allows drivers two minutes on an open floor to show off their skills as they drive the trucks over cars, and doing stunts and tricks with their trucks. The freestyle winner is determined by 6 judges each giving a score out of 10.

Contact: 400-610-3721

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2017-06-24 07:12:43
<![CDATA[Pushing The Limit]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871337.htm The 5,500-kilometer Taklimakan Rally is the longest annual off-road endurance race in Asia

Photos By Jiang Wenyao Xinhua

They came from far and wide in pursuit of adventure, and the competitors in the annual 5,500-kilometer Taklimakan Rally got that and a lot more, the least of which was the exquisite beauty of the ever-changing landscape of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The route for the rally, held over 13 days from June 10, stretches from the region's north to the south, taking in the Taklimakan Desert, the Tianshan Mountain, the oasis of the Junggar Basin with its abundant rain, and the Altai Mountains. First held in 2005, the rally is the longest annual off-road endurance race in Asia. The Taklimakan area covers 330,000 square kilometers and temperatures there can reach 67 C with a 40 C day and night temperature difference.

China Daily

 

Clockwise from top left: Su Haotian drives his car across a quagmire on June 11; French contestant Pascal Thomas’s windowpane was damaged on June 11; Zhou Xiaoqiang from China suffers a breakdown on June 20;during the 374km gravel road, the fourth stage of the rally, Liu Kun and Fang Ming from China head all the way.

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page19)

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2017-06-24 07:12:04
<![CDATA[Ghost Of Oasis]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871336.htm Lead singer's launch of a solo career brings Liam Gallagher back into the limelight - and to China for two concerts, Chen Nan reports

When Liam Gallagher arrives for his debut tour in the Chinese mainland this August, fans in Beijing and Shenzhen will enjoy two shows of "honest, heartfelt and pure rock 'n' roll", says the former Oasis frontman.

"I hope to bring Chinese fans lots of super sounds. We're going to be playing some of the songs from the new album and lots of Oasis stone-cold classis," says Gallagher in an email interview with China Daily.

Gallagher, 44, is best-known as the lead singer of the legendary British rock band founded in 1991 in Manchester and consisting of guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, bassist Paul "Guigsy" McCarroll, drummer Tony McCarroll and Gallagher's elder brother Noel. Oasis was one of the most successful rock bands from the UK and a Grammy Award nominee; it disbanded in August 2009 due to a feud between the Gallagher brothers.

Later, Liam Gallagher and other former members of Oasis started another rock band, Beady Eye, but that band split in 2014.

Liam Gallagher has been out of the limelight since. But with his solo album As You Were scheduled for release this October, and a solo debut performance at a sold-out benefit concert for the bombing victims in Manchester this May, Liam Gallagher has launched his first tour as a solo artist.

In May, the singer-songwriter has released his latest single, Wall of Glass, from his upcoming album, and performed it for the first time at the emotional Manchester charity concert. Music video of the single has also been released online. With raucous power chords, pounding drums and wailing harmonica, Gallagher snarls in the song with his trademark voice.

"My life lately is still very real. Music has definitely enlightened me. I decided to make a new album because this is what I do. I make music and I sing songs. This new album means the world to me. It's the most personal record I've made yet," Gallagher says. "I'm proud of every single song on the album."

He mentions two songs from the album, Universal Gleam and Greedy Soul, which the singer-songwriter calls "honest and meaningful" to him.

"It's nice to get things off your chest," he says.

"Everything that I've ever written about has been what's gone on in my life, whether it's the past, the present or the hopes I have for the future. I record all my ideas into a Dictaphone and anything that I find I keep coming back to, I'll pursue it a little bit more. Lyrics I find very hard; melody comes easily and obviously I'm limited with my guitar playing but I seem to do OK," continues Liam Gallagher, who takes former Beatles singer-songwriter John Lennon as his lifelong idol and inspiration. "I consider myself as the best rock 'n' roll singer on the planet and an OK songwriter. I'm getting better all the time."

When asked about an Oasis reunion, Liam Gallagher said in an earlier interview this June that "I can't see it happening. Never say never, I guess, but at the moment, if I get up and running on this solo thing, it certainly won't happen for a bit".

He tells China Daily that he hasn't seen Guiggs for a long time, spoke to Tony McCaroll at the Oasis' documentary Supersonic's premiere in Manchester last October and speaks to Bonehead pretty much every day. Brother Noel is not mentioned.

"Oasis means the world to me. I am Oasis," he says.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

8 pm, Aug 10, National Olympic Sports Center, 1 Anding Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing.

8 pm, Aug 12, CR Shenzhen Bay Sports Center, Binhai Road, Nanshan District, Shenzhen. 4006-228-228

 

Liam Gallagher rose to fame as the lead singer of the rock band Oasis, and later as the singer of Beady Eye, before performing as a solo artist after the dissolution of both previous bands.Provided Tochina Daily

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page18)

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2017-06-24 07:11:06
<![CDATA[French innovative Cirque Plume begins Last Season]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871335.htm

To enter the world of Cirque Plume is to fall into a magical wonderland of fairies and otherworldly creatures - a musical universe where artists flit around the stage, sometimes in slow motion.

Poetry, the idea of a "poem in action", is the signature of this French circus company based in the eastern city of Besancon, near the Swiss border.

And after more than 2,500 shows in France, Europe and across the world, including in New York and Sao Paulo, the dream is ending.

Cirque Plume has just embarked on its farewell tour with "The Last Season", a "show that moves through seasons the way we move through ages" and confronts the reality of climate change along the way.

It was created in 1984 by the two brothers, Bernard and Pierre Kudlak, and seven of their friends.

 

"A Cirque Plume show is made by the living for the living," Bernard Kudlak says on the company website.

"It's joyful, colorful, profound, poetic, messy, rough and ready, and precise. It's like life."

In the Last Season, under decorated skies that depict autumn, winter, spring or summer, performers act out every day life or get down on all fours to transform into animals.

They dance, sing, scream, play instruments and twist their bodies into acrobatic feats on a stage resembling an enchanted, mythical forest.

"I wanted this show to be a poem with lights, with shadows of tree branches and snows of feathers," Bernard Kudlak, who serves as the company's director, said. "A poem to share, one last time".

Once "The Last Season" winds through the traditional seasons, the show hints of a fifth, "threatened to be the last", on a planet crippled by pollution and its reliance on plastic, Kudlak said.

'Our circus, our image'

Bernard and Pierre Kudlak will be in their mid-60s by the time the curtain finally falls on their show for the last time.

They'll pack up their materials and manuscripts, dismantle the bright yellow Cirque Plume tents and send company notes and archives to France's National Library.

But for a successful tour company that started as just a gangly group of poor street performers more than 30 years ago, the ride has been more than worth it.

"We were all plebes from outside the traditional circus world which gave us total freedom," Pierre Kudlak, a clown and musician, said.

"We weren't held to any standard. We could create our circus in our image".

The group's "image" turned out to revolutionize what circus was at the time and what it could potentially be - expanding the medium into more than just a series of beautiful and daring high-wire acts.

Where traditional circus dictated that the entertainment be placed in the center of a venue, on a circular stage with the audience around it, the group opted for the half moon shape of a theater with a facing audience.

'Extraordinary adventure'

Every single production of Cirque Plume also employed an entirely new cast - unlike other established companies with a permanent cast of performers.

And they've played to audiences worldwide totaling more than two million people.

The last three shows, Plic Ploc in 2004, The Artist's Studio in 2009 and Tempus Fugit in 2013 were seen by more than 300,000 people - nearly 400,000 for Plic Ploc.

But the Kudlak brothers insist the "Last Season" will be their final production.

The show started in France and will tour worldwide, ending its run in 2020 when the circus act folds.

The brothers described the three-decade run of Cirque Plume as the "adventure of a huge vessel set to dock" after "having lived an extraordinary human and artistic adventure".

Agence France-presse

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page18)

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2017-06-24 07:11:06
<![CDATA[Poignant 'selfies' from a stranger]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871334.htm A photo collector offers a glimpse into the life of man through a collection of portraits that also shed light on the history of photography in China

Taking selfies may be considered a phenomenon of the new millennium, but a Chinese man named Ye Jinglyu (1881 to 1968) had actually been doing something similar since more than a century ago.

Ye had his first portrait shot in 1901 when he was in London working as a diplomatic staff of the Qing government. Since 1907, he started to take portrait every year. After his death, his family sold his portraits to a book collector. In 2007, 40 years after Ye died, they changed hands again when Tong Bingxue, an old photo collector and researcher, acquired them and uncovered their real value.

Tong decided to showcase 62 portraits of Ye, taken at various photo studios around the world, in an exhibition titled "Insight to Self", which is currently running at Shanghai Library.

"I named the exhibition 'Insight to Self' because these photos of Ye, just like a mirror, remind me to take a break and reflect, something that most people don't have time for in modern society. This portrait series is just a small part of my collection, but it has given me a lot to think about my own life," said Tong.

"My contact with Ye's grandson also found that Ye had kept a diary since his teenage years and it recorded his daily expenditure and bits of information about him and his wife. However, his family burned the diary during the 'cultural revolution (1966-76)'."

The collection has also been hailed by many in the photographic scene as a marvel to behold.

"Not many people in China are known to have done such a thing, to document his life through photos, and it is a miracle that these images are still so well-preserved after so many years. I think it is amazing. The album will leave a valuable mark in the history of Chinese photography," said Xu Haifeng, a senior photographer and visual department director of The Paper, a major news media in China.

A precious relic from tumultuous times

Ye's collection of portraits have been deemed remarkable because most Chinese were not able to afford to have photos of themselves taken during the early 20th century as China was gripped by a series of wars. Furthermore, the tradition in some regions in China is to burn or discard the possessions of those who have died.

Tong, who majored in journalism in university and works as a television producer, said that he has never seen a photo of his grandfather while his parents only had a few images of themselves.

The 48-year-old's interest in old photos started in 2000 when he was looking for paintings to decorate his apartment in Beijing.

After discovering that most of the paintings available at the art market were of low quality, he visited the Panjiayuan Antique Market in Beijing where he was enthralled with an old photo of a village in Shanxi province that was set in a rosewood frame. Tong immediately bought the photo and had it hung on a wall in his home.

"To me, an old photo is a moment in history which tells stories and it produces a special charm. It's more significant than hanging replica paintings on the wall," said Tong.

"It's so easy for everyone to have his own photo collection. You can even create one using images shot on mobile phones. But I still suggest that people should, like Ye, dress formally and have their portraits taken by a professional photo studio, because browsing these photos that are printed on exquisite paper will help you to reflect and calm down."

Following that incident, Tong would walk around antique markets in Beijing every weekend in search of old photos. He would also be on the constant lookout for such images whenever he was abroad. At the beginning, Tong's family could not understand why he would spend money on portraits of unknown people, most of whom were already dead.

To Tong, however, researching the background of these people in the photos is one of the most interesting parts of his hobby.

"Who is he? Where is he? Why did he take this photo and what happened to him? Some answers are written under the photos but there is so much more to look for," said Tong.

One of Tong's most treasured photos is a portrait of a young woman that was taken in 1870 in Su San Xing, a famous photo studio in Shanghai. In the photo, the woman is dressed in a puffy Chinese costume and has jewelry pinned to her hair. A bottle of flowers, arranged in Western style, could also be seen behind her.

Following the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), China was forced to open some of its port cities such as Shanghai to Western countries and this was when foreign lifestyles and culture starting seeping into the city.

When photography first appeared in China in 1844, Chinese thought of it as an evil being that could harm the soul. When people eventually became more open to photography, they nevertheless adhered to traditional Chinese aesthetic standards - anything that was not a full-body portrait was considered inauspicious as they were likened to decapitation. Shadows on the face were also not welcomed.

Photography was later popularized by the royal family and the affluent, and this inspired more Chinese, especially those in Shanghai, to embrace the Western invention. In 1861, the first modern photo studio was opened in Shanghai and it was not long after that other studios filled with props such as clocks, sofas and pianos starting appearing.

Starting from the 1920s, the photography scene in Shanghai started to thrive thanks to the booming celebrity culture that had influenced many to dress, pose and be pictured like their favorite stars.

"At that time, Shanghai was considered the benchmark of the country's aesthetic standards which photography helped to depict. Be it the volume of old photos or the quality of them, Shanghai tops the country," said Tong, who added that about one third of the photos in his collection are from Shanghai.

Buying photos online

According to Tong, the advent of the internet had brought about "an earthshaking change" in the way he expanded his collection as the digital realm allowed him to procure many old photos that he would have otherwise never come across. He also uses the internet as a means of gathering more information about his photos.

"I always post single photos without any information online and sometimes people will contact me to say that they know the person in the photo. The most interesting part of this collection, to me, is about sharing. Through communicating with others, I can have a deeper understanding of these photos," said Tong.

The price of old Chinese photos has been on the rise in international auctions. The bidding price of a photo taken during the late Qing Dynasty started at $280 in an online auction that Tong had participated in and eventually closed at $800. Tong said that the popularity and demand of Chinese art is quickly rising today and a photo from China that was taken in the same era and of the same quality as one from other countries could be worth as much as 10 times more. In a Guardian auction in 2003, an old photo of The Bund in Shanghai was purchased at 140,000 yuan ($20,280).

While some people may see moneymaking potential in Tong's passion, he is insistent that his photo collection is not about profits. He is currently in discussions with several institutions and governmental departments to set up a museum to showcase China's history in photography. The facility will also include his photo collection as well as research findings of the nation's photo studios during the past 16 years.

"The process of collecting is a long-term affair. It is only after you have gathered a certain volume that you begin to understand the objects, and by understanding them you achieve so much more than just money," said Tong.

xuxiaomin@chinadaily.com.cn

 

An old photo of West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, taken in the 1920s by the famous studio Er Wo Xuan. This image was a popular souvenir that sold for 5 yuan during that period.Tong Bingxue / For China Daily

 

Tong Bingxue, an old photo collector and researcher.Tong Bingxue / For China Daily

 

The first photo in Tong's collection shows a village in Shanxi province.Tong Bingxue / For China Daily

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page16)

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2017-06-24 07:09:16
<![CDATA[Life in the halfway house of the tent emperors]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871333.htm Museum offers a glimpse into Manchu rulers and their early taste of imperial grandeur

When it comes to size, Shenyang Palace Museum is a mere fragment of its counterpart known as the Forbidden City in Beijing. But the two have blood ties: the palace in Shenyang was the abode of founders of the Qing Dynasty, China's last feudal rulers, before their successors conquered the entire country and moved further inland to Beijing, and into its grand royal palace in 1644.

Between 1644 and 1911, successive Qing emperors took immense pride in living in the Forbidden City, built by rulers of the Ming Empire (1368-1644), which they had destroyed. At the same time, they returned repeatedly to Shenyang, in present-day Liaoning province, and to its humble palace.

The Manchus are one of only two ethnic minority groups that have ruled China, and they - particularly their elite - were always acutely aware of how important it was to embrace the dominating culture of the Han majority.

On the other hand, it has been argued that the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), created by the other minority that ruled, the Mongols, fell disastrously partly because mentally and culturally their rulers never really walked out of their tents.

However, the works of calligraphy the Manchus left behind suggest that successive rulers after Emperor Shunzhi made rapid progress. (Shunzhi was the first Qing emperor to move to Beijing and was thus the first one who in effect ruled over the entire country.)

Whereas a certain level of rawness is evident from the inky strokes of Emperor Shunzhi, his son Emperor Kangxi demonstrated full confidence in his brushmanship. Both pale in comparison with Emperor Yongzheng, Kangxi's son. With an easy virtuosity befitting a true master, he made calligraphy his own thing, as opposed to a borrowed art form from a people his ancestors had brought to heel.

Indeed the royal family's cultural immersion was so complete that another few generations on the ruling elite began to worry that they were losing their heritage as a horseback people.

Early Manchu heritage

One place where you can get a glimpse of that early Manchu heritage is Shenyang Palace, built by Nurhaci Aisin-gioro, the founder of the Manchu Empire. A comparison between this palace and its counterpart in Beijing - which is 12 times as big and 100 times as sumptuous - may also shed light on the road of transition that the royal family traveled on its way to becoming the rulers of a vast country.

While the Beijing palace, also known as the Forbidden City and built during the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), has all its roof tiles in gold, the Shenyang palace features golden tiles rimmed in green.

Another notable difference can be seen in the height of the buildings. In the Shenyang palace, the tallest is the Phoenix Tower, behind which resided the emperor's harem. The tower dwarfs Chongzheng Palace, the emperor's workplace.

In Beijing the situation is reversed. The main palace houses the emperor's working quarters, and thus reflects the full extent of his royal authority, and it is the highest of all constructions within the wall of the Forbidden City.

Perhaps the best example of the Shenyang palace being a window onto Manchu culture can be found in Qingning Palace (Palace of Tranquility). This palace, which sits right behind the Phoenix Tower, was the abode of Jerjer Borjigit, the empress of Huang Taiji, Nurhaci's son and successor, who spent most of his time as a Manchu ruler in the newly built royal residence in Shenyang.

In a typical Manchu manner of construction, the palace's main entrance is located not in the middle but toward its eastern side, and the building has been dubbed sack house, because the opening resembles that of a sack. Inside the palace, along one side of the wall, are two big pots. They were used to boil pork in ceremonies of the Manchu folk religion known as Manchu Shamanism.

Yes, the pork was boiled inside the room, and was eaten with no oil and very little salt. The ritual was considered holy, so much so that it could only be acted out in the empress' palace, not in areas assigned to any of the emperor's other wives. (The other wives' palaces also feature pots, but they are a little smaller and were used for water rather than for boiling pork.

Ceremony

In front of the empress' palace is a little square with a long pole. At the top of the pole is a tin bowl into which minced pork would be put during the ceremony. The guests at this feast were crows, heaven-sent guardians that guaranteed Nurhaci's well-being.

Legend has it that when he and his soldiers once faced being overwhelmed by enemy troops they played dead. From the moment they lay on the ground a horde of crows began circling overhead, making the attackers think they had accomplished their mission, and they departed.

However, it was in humankind's best friend that Manchus saw their most valued protector, believing a dog had saved Nurhaci in another precarious situation.

The general, at the end of a desperate escape, is said to have fainted in an expanse of reeds along a riverbank. His enemies, unable to find him, set fire to the reeds. Nurhaci passed out, and by the time he came to, the fire had gone out. The general was drenched in water, but beside him lay the body of a dog, equally drenched, having saved the general's life by repeatedly dipping itself in the river and returning to him.

At the back of the harem quarters in the Shenyang Palace is a long chimney that rises from the ground rather than a rooftop. It is tube-shaped, and in Chinese, one word for tube is tong, whose pronunciation is identical to that of a word that means unite.

In retrospect, the chimney, common in Manchu building, serves as a potent metaphor. Two decades after the construction of the Shenyang Palace, this horseback people swept across China, charging into Beijing.

For them the palace in Shenyang was the midpoint on the way to the capital, from where they would rule for 267 years. It also gave the Manchu rulers an early taste of what it was like to be an emperor with a palace, before they were swept away by the grandeur and beauty of the Forbidden City.

 

Phoenix Tower is in the center of Shenyang Imperial Palace in Shenyang, Liaoning province.Zhao Xu / China Daily

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page15)

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2017-06-24 07:08:36
<![CDATA[Revolutionary Road]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871332.htm Over the course of several decades, the T-shirt has risen from a humble workwear garment to a worldwide wardrobe staple for everyone

In the finale of Prabal Gurung's autumn 2017 fashion show, the designer and his models startled the audience with their T-shirts, stamped with provocative political slogans such as: "The future is female."

"I am an immigrant." "This is what a feminist looks like." Clean-cut white T-shirts have become the perfect means for fashion designers to convey a blunt message - and they're easy to match with just about anything in your closet.

Evolving from the late 19th century when the one-piece garment was divided in two for miners and others working in hot environments, the history of the T-shirt took shape in the early 1900s when the US Navy began issuing the white, form-fitting, crew-neck cotton undergarments. First attributed in print to F Scott Fitzgerald in his debut 1920 novel This Side of Paradise, the T-shirt served as an unofficial uniform for laborers in the US, from farmers to factory workers - yet it wasn't considered fashionable at all until the 1940s, when it became popular among teenagers.

When Marlon Brando wore his tightfitting white T-shirt in A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951, the whole world began to discover the hidden sexiness under the soft cotton. T-shirts became associated with masculinity and confidence. The 1955 film Rebel without a Cause, with James Dean, further pushed the T-shirt's "bad-boy" image, with Dean's iconic white T-shirt paired with a red nylon jacket and light-blue jeans. With comfort, inexpensiveness and style rolled into one, T-shirts became a man's wardrobe staple.

Feminine power

Slightly after the craze hit the men's scene, the T-shirt was also earning feminine power through elegant silhouettes on French screens. Juliette Greco interpreted the woman-on-the-go image in the 1959 film Whirlpool with various T-shirt styles; on the movie's poster, she's in a fitted black V-neck T-shirt, with her unruly facial expression adding to the garment's status as a rebellious symbol.

In the 1962 film A Very Private Affair, Brigitte Bardot also contributed to the look with a short-sleeved, black boatneck T-shirt, leaving a lasting impression, particularly in the scene when she slaps Dirk Sanders.

Fruit of the Loom is one of the oldest US garment manufacturers still active in the business today; it was founded in 1851 in Rhode Island as a quality cotton cloth and textiles producer. Later, the company expanded from nightshirts and underwear into classic mono-colour T-shirts. Graphic T-shirts came into the public attention around the 1950s, when Miami-based company Tropix Togs acquired the exclusive rights from Disney to print images of Mickey Mouse and holiday resort names on its T-shirts.

A couple of decades later, the famed "I heart New York" T-shirt was unveiled to the world. The original logo was by famed graphic designer Milton Glaser, who created it for the New York state Tourism Department in 1977 for free, not knowing that it would linger for years and inspire numerous cities to follow suit. It's estimated that New York state lawyers have filed more than 3,000 objections related to violations of its trademark.

Political activism

Though it's impossible to nail down a date, T-shirts certainly rose to prominence as tools of political activism in the 1980s. English fashion designer Katharine Hamnett created her series of oversized block-letter T-shirts, originally with the "Choose Life" slogan, in 1983. Hamnett was famously photographed shaking hands with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, wearing her T-shirt that read "58 percent Don't Want Pershing" to reference the anti-militarization stance of the British public. Thatcher was claimed to have "uttered a shriek of horror" when they met.

Far from irrelevant today, modern celebrities have also shown their love of message-based T-shirts. Last year, fashion model Gigi Hadid wore a white cotton top emblazoned with the slogan "lol ur not zayn malik" to publicly endorse her boyfriend Zayn Malik, former member of British boy band One Direction. The gesture won her boyfriend's sweet (albeit not particularly grammatical) response on Instagram: "Thas ma girl". Hadid's friend and fellow fashion model Kendall Jenner also sported a famous sloganemblazoned T-shirt - "I'm Yours for a Tenner Kendall Jenner" - for her 2016 collaboration with House of Holland.

Be it plain comfortable or effortlessly sexy, a classic rock concert memory or everyone's favorite tourist souvenir, a harmless fashion triviality or a powerful political statement, the T-shirt remains an essential piece in everyone's wardrobe.

 

Clockwise from top: Dirk Sanders and Brigitte Bardot in A Very Private Affair (1962). ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; Katharine Hamnett meets Margaret Thatcher, 1983;Kendall Jenner. INSTAGRAM: @HOUSEOFHOLLAND; Gigi Hadid. TWITTER: @ZAYNMALIK

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page14)

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2017-06-24 07:07:55
<![CDATA[The Rise of Sneaker Culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871331.htm Sneakers have evolved over time from functional sportswear to top status symbols

According to the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong, the retail sales of sneakers in the city reached HK$436.6 billion last year. The dynamic Mong Kok shopping district has opened its arms to thousands of visitors every day, maps in hand as many try to locate "Sneakers Street" (on Fa Yuen Street) in this densely packed area.

Meanwhile, on Instagram, the popular sneaker-related hashtag #yeezy continues to run the show, with more than five million mentions. It started in 2009, when hip-hop artist Kanye West launched his sneaker collection with Louis Vuitton, then the Air Yeezy with Nike the same year, followed by the Air Yeezy 2 in 2012. However, in 2015, he switched over to Adidas and introduced the Yeezy Boost 750 and 350, both unquestionably the most-wanted kicks among "sneakerheads" (avid collectors) that year - and they're still highly sought after. The former was limited to 9,000 pairs worldwide and sold out in 10 minutes.

The first "sneakers" (though they weren't named that yet) debuted in the 1860s. Made of leather and spikes, they were introduced as the first specialized running shoes by British company Thomas Dutton and Thorowgood. In 1892, the US Rubber Company introduced a pair of rubber shoes with canvas tops called Keds. The company mass-produced them in 1916 and an advertising agent nicknamed them "sneakers" to suggest how quiet they were due to their rubber soles.

In 1917, the Converse Rubber Shoe Company introduced the prototype of the All Star; the famous name wasn't adopted until basketball player Chuck Taylor became aligned with the brand.

He joined the Converse sales force in 1921, then became a player and coach for the company's basketball team, the Converse All Stars. Taylor saw his name added to the ankle patch, which he had helped develop for better support, and the shoe ultimately named for him as a token of appreciation. In the 1960s, some 90 percent of university and professional basketball players in the US wore the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars.

Confused about the big difference between sneakers and trainers? Many use the terms interchangeably, but there actually is a difference; the former are athletic-based shoes and are usually worn more for fashion, while the latter are named as a short form for "training shoes" and are aimed at improving performance in a specific athletic activity, such as running or weightlifting.

Aside from Kanye West, top fashion designers have also collaborated with sports brands to present collections as sneakers move into the world of high fashion. As an example, for autumn 2016, Raf Simons released his reinterpretation of Adidas' iconic Stan Smith sneakers; the classic "three stripes" on the side were replaced with the designer's perforated "R" logo and a more luxurious, minimalist approach. Also with Adidas, Stella McCartney has been designing sneakers, trainers and other gym wear for women since 2005.

Founded in Shanghai in the 1920s, the nostalgic martial arts-suitable shoe brand Feiyue flew across Chinese borders in 2006 (its name, indeed, means "flying forward") and landed in France. Whether it was or wasn't officially licensed, its unique retro style, coupled with a fresh French redesign, caught the eyes of Europe and launched a new obsession that was unprecedented in China.

The present-day sneaker culture has evolved to combine not only athletics and fashion, but also the omnipresent marketing and business angles. For most sneakerheads, it's about the hardest-tofind pairs. Since the 1980s, they've come to Mong Kok from all over the world to source sought-after shoes at low-tax prices. Fanatics camp out for rare new releases, while others buy through resellers, sometimes paying 10 times or more compared to the retail price.

Globally, limited-edition sneakers are a definite status symbol for those who are willing to pay. One high-end sneaker reseller in Los Angeles shared his recent deals, which included the sale of a pair of Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro "Eminem Encore" for US$30,000 - only 50 pairs were made at an original retail price of US$180.

A Beijing-based sneakerhead who regularly shops for limited editions, Tianyi recalled the first time he started to save up for a pair of Adidas T-Macs (named for basketball star Tracy McGrady) when he was 13 years old.

This was 10 years ago and he was the only kid in school with the shoes' iconic black and red design. From that moment, he became fascinated by the irreplaceable thrill of standing out from his peers.

However, in the past decade, things have changed. "Now, when you visit a middle or high school in Beijing, you see a bunch of boys wearing Yeezy," he says. "It's definitely a scene now." No matter whether as a wardrobe staple or a status symbol, sneakers have become truly essential - put your best foot forward.

 

Clockwise from top left: Air Jordan 4 Retro "Eminem Encore", Nike; Fe Lo Classic White, Feiyue; Chuck Taylor All Star Sloane, Converse; Air Force 1 Ultra Flyknit, Nike; Yeezy Boost 350, Adidas; Kyujo High, Y-3.Photos Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page14)

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2017-06-24 07:07:55
<![CDATA[The Warrior Emperor And The Five Phoenixes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871330.htm In the blood of the man who laid a pathway to Beijing for Manchu rulers, war was mingled with love

He is notorious for his cold calculation, credited with forcing his stepmother to commit sacrificial suicide upon the death of his father to clear himself of a potential political foe. He was also a man of great ambition and amorous passion, his renown owing as much to his horseback achievements as to the fabled members of his harem.

This is Huang Taiji, founder of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and today there is no other place where his colorful life is more powerfully evoked than in the Shenyang palace.

In the late 16th century, Nurhaci (1559-1626), a chieftain from Northeast China, united all the feuding tribes of his Manchu roots, before launching attacks on the already-rickety Ming Empire. He soon conquered what is now Liaoning and used it as a base for much more daring military moves. Around 1625 (the exact year is a matter of conjecture), Nurhaci ordered the construction of his royal palace, in Shenyang.

However, Nurhaci, who died a year later, in 1626, never spent a day in the residence he envisioned for himself as an emperor. It was Huang Taiji (Huang is not his surname, as the surname for the Manchu royal blood is Aisin-gioro.), Nurhaci's fourth son and successor, who later became the master of the Shenyang palace.

Enter the Shenyang palace from Daqing Gate, the main entrance, and you find yourself facing a yellow-roofed expanse, the Chongzheng Hall, where the emperor pored over mountains of documents or discussed state matters with his generals and court officials. Chongzheng means to fulfill royal duty and be a diligent ruler. Many of the plans that guided the Manchu troops from one military triumph to another must have been hatched here.

The day I visited, early this month, Chongzheng Hall was shrouded in scaffolding because long overdue conservation work was being carried out.

Next on the palace's central axis is its tallest building, the Phoenix Tower, which was Shenyang's tallest building when it was completed. Five "phoenixes" resided right behind this tower, each with their own separate abode. They are Huang Taiji's empress and four highest-ranking concubines. (The emperor had 10 other low-level concubines.)

Each deserves a book of her own. Two were former wives of the last ruler of the mighty Mongol Empire, which at one stage seemed utterly invincible. Both women were obviously consummate political pragmatists. When their husband, Ligdan Khan, suffered a humiliating military defeat at the hand of Huang Taiji and died in 1634 they knew that the best way of protecting their own people was to side with the Manchu ruler - or, better still, marry him. They did so in 1634 and 1935. (Another three of Ligdan Khan's eight wives married the Manchu emperor's brothers and son after their surrender.)

Huang Taiji's other three wives, including his empress, all bore the same surname, Borjigit, and are believed to have come from the same clan as that of the great conqueror Genghis Khan.

In 1614 Jerjer Borjigit, 16, was married by his father, a Mongol royal of the Khorchin tribe, to the Huang Taiji, 22, in a union of political expedience rather than of love. For three centuries, forming an alliance with the Mongols became a national policy, one all Qing emperors pursued and implemented with vigor.

Eleven years later in 1625, to further cement the relationship between this Mongol tribe and the rising Manchu power, Jerjer's 13-year-old niece, Bumbutai, was married to Huang Taiji. One year later, Huang Taiji, now 34, ascended to the throne, making Jerjer his empress.

Then, in 1634, Bumbutai's blood sister, Harjol, 26, was married, again to Huang Taiji. Harjol, four years older than Bumbutai, and would become the love of the emperor's life. (At a time when teenage marriage was the norm, especially for women, 26 was not regarded as particularly young, and many historians have postulated that Harjol was married previously, although there is no firm evidence of this.)

So fast had Harjol insinuated herself into the heart of the Manchu ruler that when Huang Taiji officially conferred titles on all his consorts in 1636, she was made head of all concubines, second only to Empress Jerjer, an aunt to her and Bumbutai.

This enviable position was reflected by the exact location of Harjol's palace in the harem quarters, right behind the Phoenix Tower in the Shenyang palace. Directly behind the back of the tower is Empress Jerjer's abode, flanked by two palaces on the right and two on the left. Harjol's Guanju Palace, first on the left-hand side, sat in the east. (Ancient Chinese considered east a more noble position than west.)

Here, those who have been to the Forbidden City in Beijing need to lower their expectations: the so-called palaces are much more humble versions of their Beijing counterparts. But still, back then, they were the height of luxury for those who had spent their days on horseback or in tents.

Take Harjol's one for example: the interior of the palace is composed essentially of an outer section and an inner section. The outer section features a table and cushions, a Buddhist shrine and two big closets, all placed on a bench that surrounds the entire room. Here prayers were said and guests received. According to my guide, the top layers of the closets were always kept empty, to symbolize plenitude.

Also in this section are two pots, set into the bench. They were not used for cooking but for boiling water to increase humidity in Shenyang's cold, dry winters.

The interior of the palace was the resting area, with a bed (for Harjol and Huang Taiji) and a cradle (for Harjol's son). Today the cradle, most probably a replica, still dangles from the ceiling as it did nearly 400 years ago. And it serves as a reminder not only of a long-lost Manchu tradition, but also of a love story that ended in tears.

In 1637, one year after Harjol moved into her new palace, she had a son, upon whose birth Hang Taiji granted immunity over the land he ruled. However, the baby lived for a mere seven months, breaking the heart of his mother Harjol, who died three years later.

According to the official record of the Qing Dynasty, Huang Taiji was away fighting Ming troops when Harjol fell seriously ill in her palace. Between battlefield glory and the woman he loved, the emperor chose the latter. However, it took a galloping horse five days to race from the frontline, about 250 kilometers away, to Shenyang, and by the time Hang Taiji charged through the door, 33-year-old Harjol had closed her eyes.

The emperor was devastated, and he grieved over his loss for two years, and then died aged 52.

However, the end of one legend gave rise to another: Bumbutai, long overshadowed by her older sister, now made a grand entrance onto the historical stage.

Upon Huang Taiji's death, Bumbutai's son Fulin, born in the Shenyang palace, became the new emperor. In 1644, Fulin, 6, moved to Beijing, after his mighty troops trampled all resistance. The new empire was named Qing, a decision that Huang Taiji had made in 1636.

Bumbutai the empress dowager was to spend the next 44 years in the Forbidden City in Beijing until her death in 1688. Having experienced heartbreak of her own - Fulin died in 1661 at the age of 23 - she went on to bring up her grandson, who later became the much-venerated Emperor Kangxi, the longest-reigning emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

In the intervening years Bumbutai also witnessed the death of her aunt, Empress Jerjer, in 1649, as well as the death of Huang Taiji's other two most prominent concubines who were the former wives of Ligdan Khan.

Back in Shenyang, Bumbutai's palace, Yongfu Palace, is second on the right-hand side of Empress Jerjer's abode, indicating her ranking to be the lowest among the five. Yet she survived and triumphed. Age had not only weathered her heart, but also given her wisdom. (No serious Qing history writer has ever suggested there was a political struggle between the three Borjigit women, but at the very least the arrangement must have put all of them under heavy pressure.)

Throughout his life, Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) returned to Shenyang three times, in 1671, 1682 and 1698. Whether Bumbutai, also known as Empress Xiaozhuang, followed his grandson during one of those trips remains unknown. However, before her death at the age of 75 she made it clear that she wanted to be buried in Beijing rather than with her husband in Shenyang, a wish his grandson granted.

This also means that in death she is forever separated from her sister and aunt. The latter is often described as a determined woman and an able harem manager who earned more respect than love from her husband.

But in Shenyang, behind the Phoenix Tower, the empty palaces still stand together facing one another. They are sore reminders of the proud phoenixes who once lived there. Most of them never got a chance to fly.

zhaoxu@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The main structure of the Shenyang Imperial Palace was built in 1625.Photos By Zhao Xu / China Daily And Provided To China Daily

 

 

Below from left: Huang Taiji Aisin-gioro; Jerjer Borjigit; Bumbutai Borjigit; Harjol Borjigit.Photos By Zhao Xu / China Daily And Provided To China Daily

 

Clockwise from top: The interior of Empress Jerjer’s palace; the bedroom for Harjol and Huang Taiji; The cradle Harjol once used for her shortlived son; the interior of Guanju Palace, the abode for Harjol.Photos Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page13)

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2017-06-24 07:07:03
<![CDATA[Bringing Museums To Life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871329.htm China has more than 4,500 museums, State-owned and private ones. And visiting exhibitions there is common for many Chinese. But 50-year-old Cao Wei says that many do not have fun during their visits.

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For the last 14 years, a Beijing company has been offering a ticket package that allows people to visit 110 museums in Beijing for free or with a 50 percent discount. Yang Yang reports

China has more than 4,500 museums, State-owned and private ones. And visiting exhibitions there is common for many Chinese. But 50-year-old Cao Wei says that many do not have fun during their visits.

Recalling a scene at the Geological Museum in Beijing he tells of a couple and their son, aged 7 or 8. He says that there were many beautiful displays there, but the son, after taking a hasty look at some ran away.

The mother wanted to teach the child about the exhibits, so she started reading the material on displays to him after bringing him back. But the boy fled again.

"The museum is not a place for you to merely learn and accumulate knowledge. It is a place where you can explore the world from different perspectives," he says.

For the last 14 years, Cao, the founder of the Borui Zhongtian Culture Development Co, has been offering a ticket package that allows people to visit 110 museums in Beijing for free or with a 50 percent discount.

Very few people can visit all 110 museums in Beijing, but the more important thing for Cao is for them to really enjoy their visits.

"Some people try to use all the 110 tickets, but often they find it boring to just see items on display without understanding their value," he says.

"So I think that public education that teaches people to understand the exhibitions is important," he says.

In 2013, Cao started free lectures for museum-goers and organized free tours.

So far his company has given 64 lectures, which include talks on many different perspectives of Chinese people's lives in ancient times.

The company has also organized 190 tours to exhibitions not only in Beijing but also in provinces such as Shaanxi and Hubei.

One Friday in April, the company organized a tour to Beijing's Fayuan Temple to learn about the 1,300-year-old temple.

"We told the participants: Today we are here to learn how to see a museum, but our goal is not to make you experts on museums, but to keep your curiosity and the ability to explore the unknown alive," he says.

Then, after they learnt about the history of the temple, the participants were told to look for lilac flowers with more than four petals.

"Lilac flowers typically have four petals, so if you can find five-petal lilac flowers, you find happiness. The participants were amazed to find two-, three-, five-, six-, and up to nine-petal flowers in the temple," says Cao.

Cao, grew up at the China Science Publishing House, which was previously the mansion of Prince Fu, Emperor Kang Xi's fourteenth son, and as a result has strong feelings about Beijing's heritage.

In the 1970s, Beijing was not as developed as it is today. It had a much smaller population and almost no high-rises. And, once in a while, herdsmen could be seen on Changan Street herding sheep.

Then, young Cao and his friends used to climb the roofs of the mansion on rainy days.

Cao attended a middle school that was located in Donghuamen Street, close to the Forbidden City. And, in the afternoons, Cao and his classmates would ride their bicycles to the Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City to play soccer beside the moat.

These memories of old Beijing prompted Cao to try and share the charm of the ancient capital's history with others.

Besides, in the 1970s, the China Science Publishing House was populated by people who were well-versed with cutting-edge science and technology.

On summer nights, young Cao would hear the elders talk about these things.

"Although I could not understand these things, the chats broadened my view of the world, and influenced my life," says Cao says, adding "that's why the popularization of scientific knowledge is so important".

Meanwhile, in 2015, Cao's company started hosting an annual photography contest.

This contest does not focus on photography skills, but Cao takes participants to 10 museums to shoot pictures that showcase the progresses of science and technology through the relics.

One of the winner in 2015 took the picture of pottery cup from early human history.

The red pottery cup was found in Jiangxi province in 1962, and after tests in China and the United States in 2012, the cup was dated to about 20,000 years ago, marking the turn of human history from the Paleolithic Age to the Neolithic Age.

Speaking about the contest, Cao says: "What we want to show through discovering science and technology in cultural relics is how humans accumulate wisdom."

Contact the writer at yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Chinese Aviation Museum in Changping district, Beijing is Asia's largest museum showing aircrafts relics.Zhang Quanyao / For China Daily

 

Fromleft:CaoWeiworks as a guide atQinglongqiaoRailway Station, a historic station of JingbaoRailway located inBeijing; atChina Science and TechnologyMuseum;atChinaCivilAviationMuseum.Photosby Zuoxifeng,lizhushanandchenghongmei/forchinadaily

 

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page17)

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2017-06-24 07:07:03
<![CDATA[Most complete nestling preserved in amber reveals details of ancient birds]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871328.htm

An international team of scientists have identified the most complete hatchling specimen found so far encased in a Burmese amber, which provides a detailed look at young birds that lived nearly 99 million years ago. According to Xing Lida from China University of Geosciences, who is leading the research, the 9-centimeter-long specimen included most of the skull and neck, a partial wing and hindlimb, and soft tissue of the tail.

Xing said the proportions of body parts and form of the feathers indicated it was a very young and highly advanced hatchling, adding that the unusually detailed feathers revealed unexpected diversity in primitive birds.

"Many people thought it was a lizard. But the scales, threadlike feathers and sharp claws on the feet were so noticeable that I thought they must belong to a bird," said Chen Guang, owner of the specimen and curator of a museum in Yunnan, the province that borders Myanmar.

"There were no obvious signs of struggle. The overall posture of the bird resembled hunting, with its lifted body, open claws and beak and spread wings," said Tseng Kuowei with the University of Taipei. "It was possibly engulfed by falling resin at the exact moment it was hunting."

The paper titled "A mid-Cretaceous enantiornithine (Aves) hatchling preserved in Burmese amber with unusual plumage," co-authored by a group of Chinese, Canadian and American scientists, was published by Gondwana Research this month.

Xinhua

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page17)

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2017-06-24 07:07:03
<![CDATA[Chinese artist hopes paper weapons will stir thoughts of peace]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871327.htm

Chinese artist Li Hongbo hopes his paper sculptures of weapons - from AK-47 assault rifles to bullets and pistols - will inspire people to think about peace.

"I produced this artwork (because) after all, there is still military competition, war and fear in this world," Li said ahead of the opening of his latest exhibit.

"I wonder if (my work) could make people ... pursue a kind of true peace, a truly beautiful world for mankind without any disputes," he said.

"Ocean of Flowers", which opened at the Eight One Art Museum in Beijing on Sunday, comprises nearly 2,000 brightly colored paper sculptures that can be folded up into weapons.

"A weapon that is used to kill people becomes a toy, a flower. It is an extreme contrast," said 56-year-old Wang Duanting.

Li, who grew up in a farming family, said he always loved the flexibility of paper, which was invented in ancient China.

Similar to the way traditional Chinese honeycomb paper lanterns are made, Li pastes narrow strips of paper together, which he then cuts and chisels to achieve a shape.

The paper objects can expand and contract like an accordion.

"It's very creative and these bullets are a lot of fun. It looks like there's elasticity in it," said seven-year-old Hao Jiabei.

The Ocean of Flowers exhibit was first shown in Sydney in 2012. The Beijing edition, which runs to July 20, is the largest showcase of Li's work in his native country.

Reuters

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page17)

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2017-06-24 07:07:03
<![CDATA[Don't blame millennials for having cleaners]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871326.htm

It's the only way young 'snowflakes' can spare their friendships in the face of modern life

What have the millennials done this time, you ask? Do they have something new to moan about or have they just found another way to eat an avocado?

Well no: new figures have revealed that nearly half of them are now hiring cleaners because they are "too busy" to clean their own flats.

My initial reaction on seeing this was the same as the one I had when my boyfriend, with whom I live, proposed the idea of doing the same. 'What a waste of money. We can clean our own flat.'

'I don't have time to clean,' he informed me. He takes the same approach to ironing. His shirts are now picked up, ironed and returned to his office, all organised through an app.

And yes, I can hear your eyeballs rolling as you moan that us 'snowflake' millennials are lazy and entitled, but honestly, most of us really aren't. Hiring a cleaner, I've concluded, is the best way to protect our relationships in an age when stratospheric house prices force us to live with friends and siblings for longer.

Responsibility

Consider this: my younger sister moved in with us last September, three years after I moved out from our family home in Gloucestershire. While the borrowing of clothes may no longer be a point of contention but instead a happy expansion of our wardrobes, the issue of cleaning is a strain on our relationship that was never there before.

My expectations regarding cleaning are high, so much so that if I apologise for the mess when friends come over I'm often met with bemusement.

I'm aware that people have different priorities and expectations of what constitutes cleaning up, but that doesn't prevent my stomach from sinking every time I come home to the mess left by my sister's dinner. This leaves me with no choice but to start an argument over it (tiresome), or to take the moral high ground and seethe silently as I clean up after her (slightly more satisfying, but still quite tiresome).

And it's all so depressingly predictable: with previous flatmates too, the one thing we were almost guaranteed to fall out over was cleaning.

Such arguments may sound petty but make no mistake: they can be friendship-ending. Trust me, I know plenty of people whose friendships have been destroyed by incompatible living habits. For some of us, it turns out, there really is a need to cry over spilt milk.

Whether it's the bin not taken out by the flatmate who dumped the pungent remnants of their fried chicken takeaway in it, or the washing up not done by the flatmate who burnt baked beans into the bottom of the pan, the topic of cleaning can trigger all-out wars. Especially when we rent with friends or siblings, our schedules aren't in sync, and no one has the responsibility of being the home owner.

Cleaning services

This wasn't an issue for previous generations, when owning property was something that had a realistic chance of happening and wasn't pure fantasy on a level with winning the pools and being talent spotted in the street. Today, renting with friends and siblings is the only option for the foreseeable future for most young people.

We're also getting busier. We're working longer hours and there are endless opportunities to socialise, as well as limitless ways to time-waste on social media; so for most of us cleaning falls low on the list, resulting in more tension with those we live with.

Meanwhile it has become far easier for us to hire cleaners, with endless apps offering cleaning services for affordable rates. When it takes just the press of a button to arrange a cleaner to come to your house, why wouldn't you? We use our smartphones to order our food, find new love interests, book taxis and generally organise our lives, so why wouldn't we use them to get our flats cleaned, too?

So perhaps my boyfriend and my peers are right. It makes sense. The only thing is, will I have to clean for the cleaner?

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page21)

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2017-06-24 07:07:03
<![CDATA[Whatever happened to teaching children good manners?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871325.htm The Duchess of Cornwall provides a template for good manners and etiquette for the young

When I met Sir Harold Acton, the famous aesthete, I was bowled over by his manners.

Whenever we entered a room at Villa La Pietra, his Florence palazzo, he held the door open for me. Not so strange, perhaps - except I was 11 at the time.

I later read that no one had ever followed Sir Harold into a room in his life. That is the quintessence of manners: putting others first, quite literally.

Manners were the bedrock of the Duchess of Cornwall's childhood, too. As she recently revealed, "how to behave with people, how to talk to people" was engrained in her.

When bores came to dinner, young Camilla was never allowed to bunk off. Her mother told her: "Talk! I don't care what you talk about. Talk about your budgie or your pony, but keep the conversation going."

Without that upbringing, she "would have found royal life much more difficult".

I learnt more by example than draconian parental instruction. I was lucky enough to grow up bumping into my parents' journalist friends, such as Auberon Waugh, formerly of these pages, and Alexander Chancellor, my predecessor as editor of the Oldie magazine. Manners are really a form of kindness, a way of making those around you have a better time; and you always did around them - they never mansplained, monopolised the conversation, told you what to do or told you off.

So what manners should we impart to children, these days?

"Always get to your feet when any adult enters the room, and approach strangers with your hand outstretched," says Virginia Ironside, the Oldie's agony aunt, who was recently struck by the manners of the children of the journalist Toby Young. "I was amazed to be approached by his son the other day, who immediately shook my hand, while saying his name."

'Stuffy' etiquette

The polite post-war lessons of Camilla Shand's youth impress even more, today, it seems. Perhaps as they're fast falling from fashion.

"I was brought up not to say please - one is not pleading - but to lay on the thank-yous with a trowel," says interior designer and socialite, Nicky Haslam. "'While you're up, can you get me another drink? Oh, thanks, you are an angel, I'm so grateful, simply can't thank you enough.'

"But now people are taught to be so horribly, speciously, run-of-the-mill polite that politeness has lost its intended aim of pleasing whoever one's talking to."

Some "stuffy" etiquette rules are eternally useful because they are - the essence of manners - selfless; oiling the wheels of social interaction.

"All children should be encouraged to use napkins because, for many guests, the only thing worse than being seated opposite a child, is being seated opposite a child with food all over their face," says Sam Taylor, editor of The Lady.

"Also, children need to learn that their only means of escape is to recite the magic words, 'May I leave the table, please?' It's a request rarely refused."

And if children are reluctant to learn these wise lessons? The answer, says Mary Killen, the Spectator's agony aunt and Gogglebox star, is to get all Victorian on them.

"I know a child who was strapped to a chair, with his arms through a back-to-front shirt, with the button side done up on the chair back - to improve his posture,' she says. "He's now grown-up, with perfect posture.

"The same goes for a friend's daughter, forced to do an hour's piano practice every day as a child. She wasn't allowed to open her birthday presents until she'd addressed the envelopes of the thank-you letters and had written the first paragraph. She's about to become a professional piano player.

"The children brought up with strict manners are the best company as adults. They're on time. They're considerate. They end up with the best jobs and the happiest relationships."

'Manners makyth man'

The Duchess of Cornwall may be grand, but manners aren't a class thing. I've met some of the rudest people on earth in St James's gentlemen's clubs. "Manners makyth man", as the motto of Winchester and New College, Oxford, declares; they also makyth woman, and makyth anyone of any background or intelligence.

"It doesn't matter how many A-levels you have, what kind of a degree you have, if you have good manners people will like you," agrees Kate Reardon, editor of Tatler. "And, if they like you, they will help you."

Manners are much like muscle memory - once learnt, never forgotten.

"All our impeccable Johnson table manners were imported by our French grandmother, who was born in Versailles and extremely bon ton," says the writer Rachel Johnson. "She insisted we ate crisps with a knife and fork, and made us look around the table to see if anybody needed salt, pepper or redcurrant jelly, before we put our faces into our nosebags.

"In Brussels in the Seventies, we had a heavenly Norland probationer, Mary Kidd, who made sure that we did not hold knives like pens, that we stood up when an adult entered the room."

Even if manners are for life, that doesn't mean they automatically pass down the bloodline.

"I have sadly failed to impart these crucial life lessons to my own children, but have only myself to blame," says Johnson. "As for conversation - it's every man for himself."

Harry Mount is author of How England Made the English.

(Viking).

 

Without a strict upbringing, the Duchess of Cornwall says she “would have found royal life much more difficult”.Tony Gentile / Reuters

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page21)

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2017-06-24 07:07:03
<![CDATA[Hey, big spender]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871315.htm With Chinese travelers proving they have some of the deepest pockets in the world, luxury hotels have been pulling out all the stops to cater to their needs and preferences

Naoya Sato's recent marketing pitch about the soon-to-be-opened Hotel de Crillon in Paris summed up just how serious luxury hotels are about attracting Chinese travelers.

The senior sales manager of the iconic French hotel was speaking at the 11th International Luxury Travel Market Asia in Shanghai in June. Hotel de Crillon has been undergoing renovations for the past four years and is scheduled to reopen in July.

Apart from the many bells and whistles such as the rich history of the building and the two suites that were designed by fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld, the hotel will also feature not one, but five Mandarin-speaking Chinese butlers.

 

From top: The Alba Restaurant of the St. Regis Maldives. The lobby of Fairmont Central Plaza in Los Angeles. Easter Island in Chile is one of the most popular destinations for high-end consumers, according to a report by luxury travel agency HHtravel. Photos Provided to China Daily

Rosewood's attempt to attract Chinese guests is hardly surprising, seeing how these individuals are the biggest spenders in the world.

Due to China's rapid economic growth in the past and the ever-rising disposable incomes of the burgeoning middle class, tourism expenditures by Chinese have experienced double-digit growth every year since 2004.

The latest figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization showed that Chinese outbound tourists spent a whopping $261 billion in 2016, twice the amount spent by travelers from the US. Statistics from the China National Tourism Administration showed that the number of outbound Chinese travelers also rose 4.3 percent to 122 million in 2016, cementing China's position as the top source market in the world since 2012.

Held at the Shanghai Exhibition Center from June 5 to 8, ILTM Asia attracted upwards of 600 luxury travel service suppliers from around the world and another 600 buyers from 26 Asian markets, both increasing roughly 20 percent year-on-year.

A joint report released by ILTM Asia and China wealth watcher Rupert Hoogewerf pinned down the spending habits of the country's high-net-worth crowd by interviewing 334 Chinese who spent an average of 380,000 yuan ($55,650) on their travels in 2016.

More than 30 percent of the interviewees said they spent over 5,000 yuan per night on hotel rooms, an amount Hoogewerf has said is unprecedented. On average, however, these individuals spent about 3,800 yuan per night on accommodation. Most of them also favored niche boutique hotels over renowned chains.

In line with their preferences for bespoke luxury products, personalized services instead of brand recognition and discounts were cited as the top priority for these travelers, added Hoogewerf.

Amrita Banda, managing director of Agility Research & Strategy, the partner consultancy of ILTM Asia, pointed out that the desire to travel among the Chinese has not been dampened despite the current security situation in the world, especially in Europe where a spate of terror attacks have taken place in France and the United Kingdom this year.

She added that the question she is most frequently asked these days is: "What does a Chinese luxury traveler like?"

Oddly enough, as much as Chinese travelers love spending on premium goods, they also cannot do without the humble snack of cup noodles.

As such, the InterContinental Hotel Group has ensured that their Chinese guests are provided with eletric kettles so that they can prepare their noodles and make tea. Bedroom slippers have also been identified as a must-have for these guests. The hotel has even gone to the extent of partnering with advertising agency Ogilvy to create a video campaign to communicate these offerings.

"We used to have more than a third of the Chinese tourists complaining about the lack of an electric kettle in the room," said Emily Chang, chief commercial officer of the group.

Meanwhile, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will on Aug 1 launch a new initiative that is specially tailored for their Chinese guests across its properties at 35 destinations. Dubbed "xiangju", which means "reunion" in Chinese, the program will include the use of WeChat, China's most popular social media tool, for payment and communication between guests and hotel staff, information guides in Mandarin as well as Chinese tea and cuisines.

Over at Marriott, the world's largest hotel group, efforts to lure Chinese guests include introducing well-loved food and snacks to their breakfast selection. Since late 2016, Marriott has been serving soy milk, fried dough and steamed buns for breakfast across its hotels in the most popular destinations for Chinese travelers like Paris, London and Bangkok.

The Hoogewerf report revealed that 22 percent of the Chinese travelers polled said that food is a key element when choosing hotels.

Fifty-six percent of the travelers said they were eager to try a country's local cuisine at the hotels in which they stay, while 30 percent indicated a preference for Cantonese and Japanese cuisines. Italian food fared the worst in the survey, ranking the lowest among the 10 choices, after Southeast Asian cuisine and a buffet spread.

To capitalize on this love for food, Mandarin Oriental has partnered with high-end dining group Hakkasan to open its first Chinese fine dining restaurant outside Asia at its Marrakech property in Morocco.

Called Ling Ling, a colloquial Chinese name for girls, the restaurant not only stands out as the most premium fine dining destination for China's Cantonese cuisine, but also as one of the few Chinese restaurants opened by a luxury hotel group outside China.

xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page10)

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2017-06-24 07:46:35
<![CDATA[Fairmont Beijing's air continues eco-friendly tradition]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871314.htm When an air quality examiner showed that indoor PM2.5 concentration was 5 micrograms at the Fairmont Beijing - a luxury hotel under AccorHotels - guests were amazed.

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, which is considered hazardous to human health. Its concentration is a major index for measuring air quality.

PM2.5 concentration indoors should be less than 75 micrograms per cubic meter for elderly people and children - the cutoff line for what is defined as "good" air outdoors, according to international standards.

The amazing air quality was the result of efforts from Fairmont and Blueair, a Sweden-based provider of best-in-class air purification solutions.

The two companies signed a partnership agreement on June 20 to provide state-of-the-art air purifying services, a "Blueair Zone", for the hotel to enhance guests' experience and well-being.

Blueair Pro air purifiers are currently installed in the hotel's 222 guest rooms and public areas.

"The 'Blueair Zone' program is part of the hotel's vision for Planet 21, AccorHotels' global sustainable development program, which is to drive a positive change toward an innovative hospitality experience," said Foued El Mabrouk, vicepresident of Operations, Luxury and Upscale, AccorHotels Greater China.

A survey made by the International Hotel & Restaurant Association showed that more than twothirds of frequent travelers are concerned about air quality, he said.

"In particular, guests in the luxury and upscale hotel segment are looking for quality service," he noted.

Within the program, Blueair offers air quality expertise, on-site installation and a filter service program as well as a strong corporate social responsibility foundation.

Blueair Pro products purify air in the surrounding public areas for guests. This partnership is based on the two companies' shared value of providing guests with a healthy environment and clean air, according to Annika Waller, chief marketing officer of Blueair.

"Stronger technology prowess and wider public involvement among the guests, hotels, partners, employees and local communities are AccorHotels' innovative efforts in our commitment to corporate social responsibility," said El Mabrouk.

AccorHotels believes luxury isn't just reflected in spending, but also in guests' tastes, knowledge and awareness of environmental protection, sustainable development and CSR commitment, he said.

The hotel group launched a five-year Planet 21 program in 2011, a mature and multi-faceted program with specific objectives, actions and measurements to continuously achieve higher levels of sustainable performance.

yangcheng@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A room at the Fairmont Beijing. Photos Provided to China Daily

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page10)

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2017-06-24 07:46:35
<![CDATA[Grill 79 offers healthy concept menu, 300 meters above ground]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871313.htm Grill 79, the capital's highest restaurant on the 79th floor of the China World Summit Wing, Beijing, is an ideal spot for some good photos. Even more so, now that chef de cuisine Deivid Paiva has introduced a new a la carte menu at the restaurant, with a natural health concept and beautiful food presentation.

Grill 79's views make it an ideal place for a meal to remember. The China World Summit Wing, Beijing, soars 81 floors over the China World Trade Center complex, standing at 330 meters tall.

That means, when you are sitting in the chic and modern dining hall of Grill 79, you are more than 300 meters above ground. You only realize that when you look around, and find that all the other architecture appears so small.

Last week, chef Paiva introduced his new menu at a degustation menu tasting to a room full of media representatives. He started off with a show of molecular gastronomy - making Champagne sorbet with liquid nitrogen on the spot, with a smoke effect.

The sorbet was part of an amusebouche of pickled shrimp and caviar "cocktail", a refreshing way to start the meal. Each course that followed was as beautifully arranged with flowers, herbs, a range of different sauces and greens to make them a treat both for the tongue and the eyes.

In a following appetizer, roasted beetroot was used to wrap cream cheese and the two flavors were a very good match. The thing with beetroot is that some Chinese people might find the taste a bit too strong, but the cheese works to make it more acceptable to the unfamiliar palate.

The menu is designed around a healthy concept, with a poached Boston lobster as the second appetizer and grilled wild sea bass as the fish course.

The main was an ever so tender venison tenderloin, paired with grain crust. It was a very healthy match and offers an interesting comparison in taste. The meal wound up with a white chocolate parfait that's far lighter than the ordinary white chocolates that we might find too sweet.

Paiva, 33, is from Portugal, and has more than 10 years' culinary experience, working in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He was appointed chef de cuisine at Grill 79 in October last year. On June 1, he was promoted to executive sous chef of the China World Summit Wing, Beijing. Before joining the restaurant, he worked as chef de cuisine of Yabby, a restaurant at Shangri-La Hotel, Doha in Qatar.

Talking about his cooking philosophy, Paiva says his cuisine is "ingredient and product-driven".

He explores the possibilities of "combining quality ingredients and products using the best possible techniques". He describes his cooking style as "a fusion of East and West, inviting the age of modernity in cuisine, but still with deep respect to its tradition".

Grill 79's average price is 500 yuan ($73.1) per person for lunch and 800 yuan for dinner.

yejun@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Some highlights of chef Deivid Paiva's new a la carte menu at Grill 79 are (clockwise from top left) poached Boston lobster, salmon tartare, caviar foie gras terrine and white chocolate parfait. Photos Provided to China Daily

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page10)

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2017-06-24 07:46:35
<![CDATA[Roundup]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/24/content_29871312.htm

Appointment

Jeremy Aniere has been appointed general manager of Sofitel Shenyang Lido and area manager of AccorHotels North China.

Openings

Marriott International has announced the opening of the Shenzhen Marriott Hotel Golden Bay, the first Marriott resort in Shenzhen. It is located on the beachfront of Golden Bay, an ultimate luxury destination for both leisure seekers and business travelers alike.

Hilton has announced the opening of the Hilton Xi'an High-tech Zone, its second hotel in Xi'an and Shaanxi province. Strategically located in the heart of the city's Hi-tech Industries Development Zone business district, the hotel caters to locals and travelers alike, offering well-equipped conference rooms, delectable dishes, an executive lounge and Hilton's signature eforea spa.

Festival

General Manager of The Westin Bund Center Shanghai Greg Findlay greeted the crew of 77 Heartbreaks, who attended the opening ceremony of the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival at the hotel on June 17. The hotel has been hosting guests for the festival for eight years and held an exhibition called "Retrospective: The SIFF Snapshots" last week.

(China Daily 06/24/2017 page10)

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2017-06-24 07:46:35
<![CDATA[Carrying Out Redesign]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/23/content_29860942.htm

 

Pietro Beccari (second right), CEO and chairman of Fendi, with Chinese celebrities, including Liu Wen (first right), Liang Yuanwei (fourth right), Guo Jingjing (center), Yang Lan (fourth left) and Tim Yip (second left), who are involved in Fendi's charitable Peekaboo Project.Photos Provided To China Daily

Fendi recently had six Chinese celebrities reinterpret one of the house's best-known products, the Peekaboo bag. Their works are being exhibited in Beijing. Chen Jie reports.

Luxury label Fendi's charitable Peekaboo Project is in Beijing with a unique exhibition at downtown's fashion landmark Taikoo Li Sanlitun. The exhibition runs through June 30.

For the project, Fendi had six Chinese celebrities reinterpret one of the house's most acclaimed bags, the Peekaboo.

Each celebrity had to make two identical bags. One will be kept by Fendi while the other will be auctioned online and the proceeds will be donated to such charity organizations as the China Youth Development Foundation, Community Roots China, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund and China Dunhuang Grottoes Conservation Research Foundation.

The six celebrities discussed their ideas with Fendi's design team and craftspeople. It took a few months to produce the bags.

Model Liu Wen's work is a large classic bag in navy blue leather with 3-D leather flower embroidery. The petals are made using denim.

"To me, Fendi is fun and always surprises - just like the Peekaboo I made," Liu says. "From the outside it is a navy leather bag, but as you open it, you will see the flowers."

The 28-year-old is the first model from Asia to take part in the Victoria's Secret fashion show and the first Asian model on Forbes magazine's annual highest-paid models list.

Former Olympic diving champion Guo Jingjing customized a regular-size Peekaboo bag with inspiration from the sea.

Guo uses a traditional wool-weaving technique.

"Since retiring from the national diving team, I have been taking part in projects to protect the oceans," says Guo.

"Humans cannot live without water. So, I hope my bag will raise people's awareness about ocean protection."

Actress Yang Ying (also known as Angelababy) takes inspiration from her cat. Her piece is a regular-size bag in Cuoio Romano Selleria leather with two cute cat ears on the handle and paw marks on the exterior.

Chinese talk show presenter and media entrepreneur Yang Lan made a white-leather regular-size Peekaboo bag, embellished with 3-D pink and light-blue leather flourishes and orchids created using beads.

Artist Liang Yuanwei's large Peekaboo bag in blue-grey canvas is inspired by Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's 1972 documentary Chung Kuo and pictures in her family album.

"My parents grew up in the 1960s and '70s. The fashion at that time was the green army uniform, the blue worker jackets and the canvas bag with aluminum zippers," she says.

She says that her design is about personal memories, freedom and restrictions, and the dialogue between East and West.

Tim Yip, the Chinese art director and designer who won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000, offers a black-and-white bag. It features a color changing LED screen inside and mini crystal oval beads on mink fur on the sides.

"Many of my designs feature elements from both West and East because I believe that Eastern and Western aesthetics can combine perfectly.

"I'm honored to be part of Fendi's Peekaboo Project and really enjoyed the collaboration between Eastern design and Western production techniques," he says.

The exhibition also shows Peekaboo bags designed by such celebrities as Zaha Hadid, Naomie Harries and Adele.

Visitors can also design their own bags on an iPad and choose the colors, patterns and materials. VIP customers can customize bags in a private room on the second floor.

Fendi launched its Peekaboo bag in the spring/summer 2009 season and it soon became its must-have product.

To mark the opening of its London flagship store on New Bond Street in 2014, Fendi invited 10 prominent London women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Adele, Zaha Hadid and Naomie Harris, to design their own Peekaboo bags. Later, they did the project in Tokyo.

Now, it's looking toward China because the country is a crucial market.

"Chinese customers are getting more sophisticated. It is important for us to bring in more designs and customize them because people expect luxury products - not only in Beijing and Shanghai, but second-tier cities, such as Chengdu," Pietro Beccari, CEO and chairman of Fendi, said the day before the exhibition opened in Beijing on June 10.

For the Peekaboo Project in China, he says: "We try to find top women in their fields. It's also significant that they come from different fields.

"The exhibition is not huge but enough to make a digital splash. The physical exhibition can only have limited visitors, but online, it can reach hundreds of millions of people."

He says that social media influences a lot of people today and China leads the way.

"Chinese customers are young and they are the generation addicted to social media. Social media has a lot of transparency. You cannot hide yourself. You are what you are. Everything is known immediately by millions people," he says.

"It brings out the authenticity, which is important. The customers get to see the things behind the curtain, not only the products in the store. It also offers transparency of price - they can compare it.

"Everything is developing fast thanks to the technology. So, the difficulty is to keep up with innovation."

Contact the writer at chenjie@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-23 09:36:11
<![CDATA[Hangzhou event gives Asian fashion a chance to take on Western brands]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/23/content_29860941.htm

 

Models present creations by Asian designers at the opening runway show during the annual conference of the Asia Fashion Federation.Photos Provided To China Daily

In Asia, indigenous fashion has long been overshadowed by Western brands, but the region has gradually come together to change this.

The Asia Fashion Federation recently held its annual conference in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province.

The theme this year is "fashion without borders in an Internet Plus era", focusing on how the fashion industry can take advantage of the internet.

The organization, established in 2002, is a fashion liaison among China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It is intended to enhance lifestyles and culture in East Asia, and promote the development of the region's fashion industry.

Member countries alternately host the annual conference. It consists of a chairman's meeting, seminars, business-matching programs and other trade and academic activities.

This year, the opening runway show presented 60 pieces by Asian designers, including Chinese designer Liu Sicong and Singaporean designer Danelle Woo.

Zhang Qinghui, president of the China Fashion Association, says Asian countries now face similar challenges with the rise of the internet, artificial intelligence and the internet of things, despite its huge market.

"It is time for us to work on a deeper level to promote the fashion business in Asia," he says.

David Wang, the chairman representing Singapore in the AFF, says: "It is very challenging for brands to expand their business or to stay sustainable.

"Many young designers have already experimented with digital prints, new methods of cutting and garment-assembling techniques as well as using techno fabrics to give their products an edge. And further technological improvements have enabled bigger brands to be a step ahead of the others."

The three-day event was broadcast live on the internet, attracting tens of millions of viewers online. They could also buy designers' products directly on the live-broadcast page.

The participants were invited to visit the Alibaba Group, where they were introduced to the latest developments in e-commerce.

The event also saw the opening of the E-fashion Town, a newly developed town in Hangzhou for Asian designers.

Some 20 designers and 36 fashion brands have opened studios in E-fashion Town. They include renowned designers like Lu Minchao and Wang Yutao.

Meanwhile, Hangzhou is encouraging more designers to set up studios in the town.

sunyuanqing@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-23 09:36:11
<![CDATA[The silver screen shines]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/22/content_29846676.htm

 

Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu and French actor Jean Reno attend the opening ceremony of the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival, which runs through Monday. Photos Provided to China Daily

The ongoing 20th Shanghai International Film Festival is showcasing around 500 acclaimed movies from 57 countries and regions. Xu Fan reports.

It rains frequently in Shanghai, but the humid weather hardly dampens the passions of those who love or are involved in cinema. The first city in China to screen foreign movies in theaters as early as 1896 is paying tribute to the tradition.

The ongoing 20th Shanghai International Film Festival, which runs from June 17 to 26, features around 500 acclaimed movies from 57 countries and regions.

More than 400 celebrities, including French actor Jean Reno and Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta, were at the opening ceremony.

Japanese romance Hirugao - Love Affairs in the Afternoon was a hit with 5,000 tickets sold online in 30 seconds.

Fans who failed to get tickets then turned to scalpers, who charged 2,000 yuan ($293) - more than 30 times the original price.

But despite Chinese enthusiasm for good movies, domestic filmmakers are not optimistic about their prospects.

This was reflected at the festival's forums, which serve as barometers for what is happening in China's rapidly evolving movie industry.

Feng Xiaogang says China has produced a lot of lousy flops. But he says it may be a blessing in disguise.

"When the market shrinks, it will see irrelevant people (opportunists) leave.So, those who work on making quality movies will stay and survive," he says.

Wang Zhonglei, CEO of Huayi Brothers, says local theaters have been premiering at least eight domestic movies every week for the past several months, but most have failed.

"Almost every weekend, Hollywood blockbusters take the lead (in the box-office charts). The phenomenon shows that the Chinese are not cutting back on their visits to theaters, but we (the Chinese filmmakers) need to improve."

These views are echoed by Ren Zhonglun, president of the Shanghai Film Group, who says 70percent of China's box-office receipts from March to May were taken by imports.

"China is not short of good stories, as we have many excellent authors. Butwe lack professionals to transform the stories into appealing cinematic works," he says.

Wang Changtian, president of Enlight Media, admits that there is a slowdown but insists that the Chinese movie industry is "improving".

He says that local talent is exploring genres that Hollywood has dominated for decades, like sci-fi tales and effects-studded epics, pointing to new projects and forthcoming movies promoted on the opening ceremony's red carpet as evidence.

The movies include Jackie Chan's sci-fi thriller Bleed Steel, Louis Koo's alien-themed comedy Meow and Yang Mi's and Wallace Huo's time-travel adventure, Reset.

Ning Hao, director of 2014's top-grossing domestic movie Breakup Buddies, unveiled the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) project to develop sci-fi franchises.

The project's first movie is Fengkuang de Waixingren (Crazy Aliens). It's based on novelist Liu Cixin's short story Xiangcun Jiaoshi (A Village School Teacher).

Liu, the first Chinese to win a Hugo award for The Three-Body Problem, says the script is different from the novel but links China's rural life to outer space.

Meanwhile, revolutionary movies, which once dominated China's screens, are also making changes to appeal to the youth.

Works like The Founding of An Army are using young stars to showcase the history of the Communist Party's fighting forces.

Changes are also evident in some powerful, unconventional players.

Around three years ago, internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent - despite being outsiders in the movie industry - set up subsidiaries to enter the field.

Now, Alibaba Pictures, the film arm of the e-commerce behemoth, is reworking its strategy, says Yu Yongfu, CEO of Alibaba Pictures and Alibaba Digital Entertainment.

He says that filmmakers can benefit from the company's strength in big data to promote their movies.

But, as Alibaba shifts to film making, Tencent is developing IP (referring to popular content with huge fan bases) franchises.

Tencent Pictures, Tencent Games, Wanda Pictures and Tencent's online literature platform China Reading recently set up a venture to develop IP franchises, including movies, TV series, games and theme parks.

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-22 07:43:59
<![CDATA[Indian child actor promotes new movie]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/22/content_29846675.htm When smiling 8-year-old Indian actor Sunny Pawar says xiaxia nong ("thank you" in Shanghai dialect), it strikes a chord.

One of the youngest stars at the ongoing 20th Shanghai International Film Festival, Pawar is in the Chinese city to promote his film Lion, which will be released across China on Thursday.

The Australian film released in the United States in November 2016 and in Australia in January has won more than 30 film awards and nearly 70 nominations, including for the Oscars and Golden Globes.

The movie, based on the nonfiction book A Long Way Home, is about an Indian-Australian man, who uses the internet to find his birth mother.

He got lost in India when he was 5 and was adopted by an Australian couple in Tasmania, who are played by Australian stars Nicole Kidman and David Wenham.

Pawar stars as the child, while Indian-English actor Dev Patel plays his older version.

Pawar says he was selected for the role from more than 2,000 students.

His natural acting impressed the casting director, who believes the young boy has potential.

"I am happy, as I've done a good job," Pawar says at a Shanghai cinema after the festival screening.

Prakash Gupta, consul general of India in Shanghai, says movies with Indian themes are popular in China, thanks to the phenomenal success of Dangal, the highest-grossing non-Hollywood import into China.

He highlights the similarity between Lion and Dangal, saying: "The first and most important thing is that both of them are based on real stories ... both their themes are common to all of us."

Gupta says he believes the suffering and struggles in the two movies resonate with audiences, making them globally successful hits.

Graeme Meehan, consul general of Australia in Shanghai, also attended the screening. He says Australian movies have gained popularity across the world in recent years.

"I hope in the future we'll see more Australian films in China," says Meehan.

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2017-06-22 07:43:59
<![CDATA[Taking her place]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/22/content_29846674.htm

 

Conductor Zhang Xian and Taiwan violist Huang Hsin-yun at a rehearsal at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

Zhang Xian stands as one of the world's few prominent female conductors. Chen Nan reports.

Zhang Xian's professional debut was unplanned. The junior at the Beijing-based Central Conservatory of Music stood in for her teacher, conductor Wu Lingfen, who'd fallen ill, to conduct The Marriage of Figaro at the Central Opera House in 1995.

"Some people complained upon learning Wu wouldn't be at the rehearsal," the 44-year-old recalls.

"Others giggled when I took to the podium. They wondered what a 22-year-old woman was capable of. But ... everything went smoothly."

Zhang has continued to make history in this male-dominated field.

She became the BBC National Orchestra of Wales' first female new principal guest conductor in 2015.

And she was appointed as the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's music director last year.

She also has a long relationship with the New York Philharmonic and regularly works with the London Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

Zhang lives in New Jersey and has returned to her homeland regularly since 2008, as classical music has continued gaining popularity in China. She gives about 100 performances a year.

On June 17 and 18, she conducted two concerts at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, performed by the China NCPA Orchestra. The performance featured Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 4 in F Minor, Op 36, Chopin's Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op 22 and Chinese composer Chen Qigang's Peking Opera-inspired piece, Er Huang. Taiwan violist Huang Hsin-yun and pianist Zhang Haochen from Shanghai played in the two concerts.

Zhang will cooperate for the first time with US soprano Renee Fleming for the Beauty of Voice: A Night with Zhang Xian and Renee Fleming concert on Saturday. The China NCPA Orchestra will present the concert of such songs as Overture to La Forza del Destino by Giuseppe Verdi, I Feel Pretty from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein and Spanish Dance No 1 from La Vida Breve by Manuel de Falla.

"I worked with the China NCPA Orchestra about two years ago in Beijing," Zhang says.

"The young musicians are passionate and open-minded."

She wishes to work with the orchestra in New York during its US tour in the fall.

Zhang says all the pieces for the Saturday concert are well known songs from France, Spain, Italy and the United States.

Zhang is often asked why there aren't more female conductors.

"More women are joining the profession," she says.

"It's a matter of time. Audiences will see them (onstage) in maybe 10 or 15 years. It's not only difficult for female conductors but for any young conductors to be noticed these days."

She's coaching several women in the US.

Zhang doesn't believe gender is related to conducting.

"It's about musical ability and personality," she says.

Zhang was born in Liaoning province's Dandong and was exposed to music as a child.

Her given name, Xian, means string - a reference to her parents' hopes she'd become a musician.

Her father repaired an old piano for her, and her mother, who majored in music education in college, taught her to play at age 3.

She studied piano at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music at age 11 and stayed at the conservatory until she moved to the US in '98 to complete doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati College's Conservatory of Music.

"I'm lucky to have had enlightening mentors," Zhang says of her female conducting teachers in China, including Zheng Xiaoying.

She took first prize at the Maazel/Vilar Conductors' Competition in 2002.

She became US conductor Lorin Maazel's assistant at the New York Philharmonic that year and became the philharmonic's assistant conductor in 2004.

"I learned so much from him (Lorin Maazel), such as the importance of planning rehearsals," Zhang says.

"During those five or six years in New York, I listened to a lot of music by different musicians, which was great training and broadened by vision. I met great musicians there, who gave young conductors like me lots of advice."

She served as the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra's music director from 2005 to 2007 and has been the Milan's Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra's since 2009.

"I worked with different orchestras every week when I was young," Zhang says.

"But now, I work with two to three orchestras regularly. The chemistry between orchestras and conductors is subtle."

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-22 07:43:59
<![CDATA[Online platforms boost cross-Straits cooperation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/22/content_29846673.htm Microfilms, the internet and new media offer new opportunities for cross-Straits cooperation in the film and television sectors, experts say.

The past year has seen more young people from Taiwan seeking collaboration in these areas with the Chinese mainland, where the internet is rapidly developing, Taiwan Cultural and Creative Industry Association president Lee Yong-ping said at the ninth Straits Film and Television Festival held from June 17 to 19 in Fujian province's Xiamen.

Microfilms, for example, are inexpensive, and offer more dynamic marketing and distribution channels beyond cinemas, she says.

"Also, they allow more innovative and creative topic selections," she says.

"This promotes the exchange of ideas among young people."

Expanded cooperation could resolve such problems as funding and enhance technological solutions in such areas as crowdfunding and livestreaming, she says.

The most popular products in Taiwan's and the Chinese mainland's respective markets were awarded in five categories at this year's Straits Film and Television Festival.

The Legend of Miyue, about how a woman from the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) defeats her enemies, engages in several romances and finally rises to the royal court's top position, was awarded as the most popular mainland TV drama in Taiwan.

"The audience rating at the premiere was almost as high as for Nirvana in Fire," Lee says.

"And it stayed high. The theme of women rising resonated in Taiwan."

Taiwan director Simon Hung's film 10,000 Miles was awarded as the most popular Taiwan film on the Chinese mainland. It tells the story of a young marathon runner, who finishes 10,000 miles during a limited time to honor a commitment to his female coach.

"It's a story about a young man achieving his dreams," the 36-year-old director says.

It harks to Hung's dream of becoming a director, and he says the award was a surprise.

Hung majored in biology in college and began shooting films out of interest.

He met his wife, who's the film's producer, at college.

Hung sold the copyright to China's video-streaming platform, iQiyi.com, which made the film accessible to its VIP members.

"Maybe the idea of fighting for one's dreams is shared among young people," he says.

Lee says: "People across the Straits have much in common concerning tastes, values and emotional needs. Good stories based on shared feelings lay the foundation of further cooperation."

Taiwan's films and TV dramas are good at portraying Chinese culture in ways foreigners understand, she says.

"Taiwan's market is very small," she says.

"If a producer can't shoot films from an international angle, they'll find it difficult to survive."

Lee says the Chinese mainland is still Taiwan's biggest market and investment source.

Last year, the mainland's radio, film and television industries' total production value exceeded 500 billion yuan ($73.25 billion), Tong Gang, deputy director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said at the award ceremony.

"The past nine years have seen stable progress in cross-Straits communications in the film and television industries, ranging from programming to human resources, releases and distribution," Tong says.

The Chinese mainland's radio broadcasters, TV stations and websites are encouraged to introduce more of Taiwan's TV programs, films and cartoons. And people in Taiwan are also welcome to invest in the Chinese mainland's video and new-media sectors, he says.

chenmeiling@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-22 07:43:59
<![CDATA[Hip-hop takes a top spot in reality show]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/22/content_29846672.htm

"Hip-hop is rising in China!"

This is the slogan of the country's first reality show focusing on the genre.

The first season of The Rap of China, which is produced by the country's major online-video platform iQiyi, will premiere on the website on Saturday and run weekly for 12 episodes a season.

The series is expected to bring the genre out from the "underground".

Production cost 200 million yuan ($29 million).

Over 700 people auditioned in the first round in early May, which is shown in the first episode, and 70 will appear later in the series.

The judges were 27-year-old superstar Kris Wu, and Taiwan musicians Wilber Pan, 43-year-old Chang Chen-yue and MC Hotdog (the stage name of Yao Chung-jen).

"The participants' zest and spirit remind me of my teen years," says Chang.

"It's great to open a door to Chinese hip-hop and dig out more talent."

Chang confesses he didn't even know what criteria should be used to judge candidates, since the genre isn't mainstream.

"I'm also learning in the show," he says. "After all, hip-hop is beyond voice or rhythm. I generally prefer someone with a strong hip-hop temperament and energy."

Wu points out many Chinese stereotype rappers as having strange clothing and makeup.

"It represents passion and a lifestyle," he explains.

"It's a small circle in China. Many rappers are good but switch to other genres to make money."

Wu expects the new show to turn this around.

The Rap of China features both amateurs and stars. Some candidates wore masks to hide their identities during auditions.

"I was shocked to discover a good friend of mine, who was a famous rapper in Taiwan, among the contestants," MC Hotdog says.

"He didn't do very well. Perhaps he hasn't practiced much in years."

The performer released a rap online the day after he was eliminated criticizing the show.

The show's demo often portrays tension when competitors are taken out of the running.

But there's much more to the spirit of the series, producer Chen Wei says.

"There are various kinds of hip-hop," Chen says.

"It doesn't necessarily contain bad language. The genre shouldn't be misunderstood."

About 600 beats were created for the show, he says.

Many previous Chinese hip-hop songs used original lyrics over beats from overseas, violating copyrights.

"Hip-hop entered China about 20 years ago," Chen explains.

"But many Chinese rappers back then only mimicked English pronunciation and deliberately expressed gangsters' anger, which was actually irrelevant to our lives."

Chen is happy to see the works brought by competitors are full of original thoughts.

"They're about their own emotions, struggles and hometowns. They reflect people's Chinese Dream. They correct many stereotypes about youth."

Most competitors auditioned in Mandarin, but some also rapped in dialects.

Controversy surrounded a Chinese-American's elimination because his lyrics were in English.

IQiyi's content development head Wang Xiaohui expects the show will promote the genre long term.

"Hip-hop encourages people to be self-confident and creative," he explains.

"Young people can express their attitudes, values and understanding of life."

Wang says the show not only aims to entertain but also to spur a new trend in Chinese culture through the internet, and derivative products will be developed from The Rap of China.

wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-22 07:43:59
<![CDATA[Makeover apps now take over internet]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/21/content_29829488.htm

Frequently zooming in and out to the same photo, Zhu Ziyi spends half an hour airbrushing her face to make sure that almost every pore is perfect before posting the photo on her different social media accounts to attract likes. For her "picky" roommate, it takes all the time before going to bed to get an ideal photo with a perfect face.

Having been in Paris for five years, Zhu and her Chinese roommate are photo-editing savvies compared with their foreign friends. They are quite good at removing pouches and stains, slimming faces, paling the skin and making eyes big and round.

"They don't have so many apps as we do. Most of my French friends only use filters offered by Instagram," says Zhu, 25, who works at an entertainment company in Paris. She has about 13 such apps on her phone.

She bought a selfie beauty smartphone recently, which cost her about 6,000 yuan ($876). The phone's camera can apply makeup automatically to everyone in the selfie photo.

"Asians, especially Southeastern Asians, pay more attention to their faces while the Westerners focus more on shapes, due to cultural differences," says Com Jiang, a product manager from MeituPic, a Xiamen-based photo-editing app.

MeituPic is one of the beauty-themed photo and video apps of Meitu Inc, which has about 500 million overseas users in 11 countries and regions, including the United States, India and Brazil, according to Meitu.

Jiang says in different nations, its app has developed localized features. For instance, in the US, they have tools to make people look tanned and to whiten their teeth.

"Users in the West love going to the gym, so they want to look healthy in photos," Jiang adds.

Dong Chenyu, an internet culture expert from Beijing Foreign Studies University, says that the standards of beauty between the East and West are different. From movies and TV shows, women are hot and sexy in Hollywood films while for a long time, cameras have been focusing on women's delicate faces in dramas and films in China.

Despite the various beauty standards, the pursuit of an ideal face still makes lots of similar faces.

Xie Qi, 25, who began using photo-editing apps in senior middle school, says she sometimes feels sick about photos with almost-the-same faces - oval-shaped face, pale skin and big eyes.

To make herself different from others on photos, Xie spends more time on photo altering and mastered various skills.

"We will develop tailored tools for users to look different and with their own personalities. That's a future endeavor, more natural and more personalized," says Jiang from MeituPic.

Apart from making people look beautiful, photo-editing apps now develop entertaining tools for people to make funny photos, which is very popular in Asia where the "cute culture" is deeply rooted, says Jiang.

With the technology of artificial intelligence, people can be pictured like caricatures of different styles.

Bunny and cat ears, sunglasses, funny beards and cute slogans are common to see in photos posted on social networks among the young in Asia.

Chen Ye, 29, a bank accountant in Shanghai, says she has seen a rise of friends posting photos with cat ears and whiskers since last year.

Even her boss' daughter, an 8-year-old primary student, is a big fan of such cute tools of photo-editing apps offered by various companies.

"Although it's a little bit childish, I love it. Very funny," says Chen, who is a die-hard fan. She even used such cute tools to help edit her mother's photos.

Jiang says the entertainment function of MeituPic is now more popular and a new trend in Asian market after users have used its beauty function for years.

"To be beautiful and to be funny are parallel functions for app developers, " says Jiang.

Since January, MeituPic has launched its caricature tool across the world. Some stars and celebrities post their caricatured photos on Instagram and Facebook, which attracted lots of followers and went viral on social media.

The caricature tool even helped MeituPic climbed to top of the app list within weeks in many countries, according to Meitu.

"The entertainment function is to allow users to collectively take part in a funny activity. Asians are going forward while the Westerners are catching up," Jiang says.

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2017-06-21 07:43:53
<![CDATA[Plunging into the deep]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/21/content_29829485.htm

 

Above: Lu Wenjie dives with tiger sharks, to help raise people's awareness of living harmoniously with sea creatures. Renee Woo / For China Daily; Below: Lu dives in the Antarctic. Harbor House Life / For China Daily

Lu Wenjie is one of a very small group who has done freediving in the freezing waters of the Antarctic Ocean. Xing Yi and Xu Lin report.

Mask on her face and fins on her feet, Lu Wenjie dives into the water. As a veteran freediver, who does not use breathing apparatus, even in deep water, every dive is a unique exploration of the body and nature.

But this time is more unique - she is diving in the Antarctic Ocean.

"I am excited to see icebergs, yet nervous and afraid at the same time," says Lu, adding that there are only about 10 people who have freedived into the icy waters of the Antarctic.

She speaks about freediving in the Antarctic to a room of 250 people in Beijing on June 10.

Lu, who can hold her breath for eight minutes and dive to more than 90 meters, is the female national record holder for freediving, a sport that needs little in equipment compared with scuba diving.

But freedivers have to conquer their fear of the lack of oxygen.

"This time, I conquer my fear of the cold and seasickness in the Antarctic," says Lu.

The audience watches on video as Lu travels with three divers on a trip sponsored by Harbor House Life, a global travel and outdoor sports company.

They sail from Argentina's Ushuaia, across the Drake Passage - notorious for its high waves that seasickness pills cannot counter - to the southernmost continent Antarctica.

When she is out on the deck, she fights the winds and the waves; when she is back in the cabin, she hits the pillow.

"Everyone is pushed to their limits," says Lu. "The boat is too small and sea too rough. No one knows what will come next."

"My body is in survival mode and my mind is blank."

It is six days on a 15-meter sailboat.

The winds die down only as they approach the continent.

They then arrive at Paradise Harbor.

"When our boat finally sails into calm waters I feel as if I am lifted from hell into heaven," says Lu. "It (Paradise Harbor) is such an appropriate name."

It is January, the summer has come to the Antarctic. The air temperature is between -15 C and -10 C and the water temperature is -2 C.

Lu dons a 9-millimeter-thick diving suit made of rubber. She normally wears a 3-mm-thick diving suit when she practices back in Hawaii.

When she dives into the cold water, her heartbeat becomes quicker out of anxiety and excitement - a bad sign for freedivers.

"You have to relax to reduce the speed of oxygen consumption, so you can stay down a bit longer," says Lu. "So when I ascend from the water, it is very energy-consuming and I have to keep encouraging myself to hang on."

She also feels her head aching due to poor blood circulation caused by the cold water.

"My face, fingers and toes ache, and after a while they just go numb," says Lu. "I feel that I am a freediving novice because my body moves awkwardly, and I need to practice every technique."

The surrounding icebergs, made of fresh water, release small bubbles as they dissolve gradually in seawater.

The experience is like diving into a champagne flute, beautiful yet dangerous since the icebergs may suddenly collapse because they are melting.

Meanwhile, Lu and the team shot a short documentary of them freediving, kitesurfing and snowboarding in the Antarctic and uploaded it on YouTube.

In February, she went to the Bahamas to shoot another video with underwater cinematographer Kay-burn Lim. This time, she was diving with tiger sharks.

In March, they flew to Sri Lanka, and shot a video with blue whales and sperm whales.

Through those videos, she wants to share the beauty of nature and raise people's awareness of ocean conservation.

"Once you have dived with those creatures, you won't want to hurt them," she says.

During a diving expo in Shanghai in May, Lu initiated a campaign "Save Ocean, One More Chinese Freediver" with her diving suit sponsor BestDive.

Later that month, Lu competed in an international freediving competition Deja Blue in Grand Cayman of the Caribbean, where she retained the female champion title.

Besides being a freediver, Lu is a pharmacogenetics consultant, giving advice to her clients on the use of medicine according to their genetic profile.

Speaking about her philosophy of life, she says: "It is like a journey. I want to try new things."

But ask her about the journey to the Antarctic and she says: "I'd love to go back again, just not on a boat."

Contact the writers through xingyi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-21 07:43:53
<![CDATA[Developing a passion for paddling]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/21/content_29829484.htm

SANTA ANA, California - Tyler Bashor has no problem admitting he was afraid of the water.

Just getting past the surf break on a stand-up paddleboard was no easy feat, with a coach having to coax him along the jetty in the calm water at California's Doheny State Beach during his first few weeks after joining The Paddle Academy.

His mom, Andrea, thought "there wasn't an athletic bone in his body", she admits.

"That we knew of."

Back then, three years ago, Bashor couldn't have cared less about the outdoors, preferring to be glued to the television zoned out on video games.

Now Bashor stretching with friends on the grass at Doheny State Beach on a recent day is nothing like his former, scared, 12-year-old self who joined The Paddle Academy after watching his older brother, Trevor, go through the program.

Bashor is a fierce competitor on the water and considered one of the best in the state at SUP competitions for his age division.

The Paddle Academy was started by Mike Eisert, a 53-year-old who earned his reputation as a college rower in the mid-90s, a national team kayaker who also competed in surf-ski races through the years in the United States.

Basically, if the sport had a paddle, Eisert wanted to compete in it.

When stand-up paddling first took off about a decade ago, Eisert jumped aboard. Four years ago, he decided to start a pilot program to see if there was enough interest to get a group of kids together year-round who wanted to sharpen their SUP skills.

"My whole goal was to mentor kids," he says. "To find kids that were just stoked on the ocean in Orange County and who wanted to get in the water in a different way ... let's see if we can create some little stud and stud-ette racers."

The Laguna Niguel coach meets four days a week at Doheny State Beach with a group of kids ages 8-18 whose levels and expertise on a SUP vary.

Those as young as 8 perhaps have no experience with the ocean. On the other end of the spectrum, there are kids inching their way to adulthood who are considered some of the best young SUP racers around.

It's more than about just going fast on the water or being able to handle a big board in surf.

"That's just the racing aspect. The other part is mentoring in a sport they can carry on as a lifestyle forever, which is what everything is about in this area," says Eisert.

And it's the hard days - the cloudy, windy or big-wave days - that challenge the youngsters.

"They come here from school, they have to come on days they don't feel up to it," he says. "They have to get on the water. They are challenged to overcome things that are fears. They learn about the weather, safety, what the wind does to the ocean, currents; they learn about sticking to it. The biggest thing we preach - it's consistency through life that gets you where you want to be."

Jade Howson, a 14-year-old from Laguna Beach, California, is no stranger to Pacific Paddle Games. After three years training with The Paddle Academy, she came in second last year in the junior pro division and fifth in the elite technical race against top-level, experienced competitors.

"Runners, they find peace in running. I find peace in paddling, so coming here is just super fun," she says.

Robert Howson has seen his daughter go from amateur status to semipro in just a few years. He feels her skill level is high enough she can handle herself in the open ocean.

"I feel totally comfortable with her being out in the ocean 2, 3, 4 miles out," he says. "I don't sweat it."

As summer approaches, Eisert is looking forward to a new crop of students who will join The Paddle Academy. At the least, perhaps they'll find a connection with the outdoors and tune their balance skills on the water. And maybe there's a world champion just waiting to discover his or her passion for paddling.

"Our goal is to always have them following a progression," he says. "The best way to start them is in the group, to aspire to be as good as the others, yet train at their own pace."

Tribune News Service

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2017-06-21 07:43:53
<![CDATA[Playlist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/21/content_29829483.htm Music

Rock 'n' Roll

The late US musician Chuck Berry's legacy as The Father of Rock 'n' Roll has been secure for decades.

For those who still have questions, Berry has left behind Chuck, his first new studio album since 1979's Rock It, to silence the doubters.

Chuck is filled with the passion and inventiveness of his early work, as well as his sense of humor.

Berry's guitar drives Lady B. Goode, the sequel to his classic about Johnny. He also sings from his older, wiser point of view. Darlin', his duet with daughter Ingrid Berry, is poignant, as they tell each other "the good times come, but do not stay".

The potent combination makes Chuck one of Berry's best albums, possibly his strongest ever from start to finish.

TV

A dystopian world

A TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's iconic novel The Handmaid's Tale is out. It is a fresh and relevant story that cautions against a horrifying totalitarian future.

For those who haven't read the book, Atwood creates a dystopian world that feels plausible, relevant and scary. In the show, Elisabeth Moss stars as Offred, who's serving as a handmaid in the new religiously run military that is called the Republic of Gilead. In Gilead, people's rights have been severely compromised, and women, with virtually no rights, are forcibly placed in strict class systems.

The show has action, adventure, a little bit of romance and enough realistic horror to make even Game of Thrones fans flinch.

Game

Lesson in puzzles

Some of the most popular modern fairy tales are played rather than told.

UK gaming company Ustwo's Monument Valley spins a story about a quiet princess Ida who worked to restore a colorful, geometric habitat.

For many, this mobile game probably delivered more puzzles than life lessons.

Now the design firm is back with a new game Monument Valley 2 to shift the mainstream awareness of what games can and should accomplish.

The Monument Valley 2 will explore the relationship between a mother and a child, from adolescence to adulthood. Such a character choice alone instantly makes the game something of an interactive outlier.

The game primarily tells its story visually. For instance, on levels in which the adolescent character is on her own, a lack of light may indicate fear.

China Daily - Agencies

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2017-06-21 07:43:53
<![CDATA[Dutch Delights]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/20/content_29813684.htm Works from the Leiden Collection made their China debut on Friday. The 74 old master paintings are on show at the National Museum of China in Beijing through September. Lin Qi reports.

Thomas Kaplan says he has never "lived" with any of the 250 paintings from his collection. The 54-year-old entrepreneur and investor from the United States, along with his wife, Daphne, have since 2003 put together one of the largest collections of 17th-century Dutch paintings in private hands.

They call it the Leiden Collection, after the city where many featured master painters were based, including Rembrandt van Rijn.

Kaplan says he has never seen his entire collection together. So, when he viewed an exhibition showcasing 30 of his paintings at the Louvre in February, he was "shocked".

"People said you must be very proud(of the collection). I said pride has nothing to do with it. I didn't paint them."

Also shocked were visitors, although they had seen many of the paintings at museums before.

The Kaplans have "enjoyed" anonymity for the past 13 years while lending their paintings to 40 museums.

"In addition to being one of the most aggressive buyers of old masters, we've also been a lending library in Dutch art," says Kaplan.

"The concept of sharing the collection has been part of our philosophy from the first day."

The collection made its China debut on Friday. It features 74 paintings at the National Museum of China in Beijing through September, celebrating the most acclaimed period of the Dutch Golden Age. It will later move to the Long Museum in Shanghai.

The exhibition titled Rembrandt and His Time includes 11 works by Rembrandt and one by Johannes Vermeer.

"Vermeer and Rembrandt are considered to be the two greatest geniuses of this period (the Dutch Golden Age)," says John Stainton, deputy chairman of Christie's old master paintings department, who was at the Beijing opening.

Kaplan purchased works largely through dealers and also at auctions by Christie's and Sotheby's. Between 2003 and 2008, he bought on average one painting every week.

"Our desire is to build a collection of the best of its kind."

Speaking about the Kaplans' quest, Stainton says: "There are a good number of Dutch 17th-century paintings in private hands. The very best of them are relatively few. But there are still very fine works that come to the market."

He says the exhibition is important to helping people understand what was going at the time in the Dutch Republic (1581-1795), which is now the Netherlands.

"It was a new republic, so the people felt very free for the first time. Commercially, there was a burgeoning wealthy middle class. And artistically, one saw an explosion of creative talent, with this middle class commissioning and buying artists' works," Stainton says.

"It fostered an environment in which artists could really flourish. That is why it was a high point of European old master painting when there was so much creative talent in a relatively short period."

The exhibition also features Jan Lievens' Boy in a Cape and Turban, the collection's first loan. It was displayed at Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty Museum in 2004 and'05.

Kaplan says he saw in the audience a young girl visiting with her class.

"She was so mesmerized by the painting that she was standing there (in front of the painting) alone while the rest of her class walked on. From that moment on, I realized that it's all about sharing our paintings," he says.

"People ask me, 'How could you not live with the paintings?' The short answer is, 'How could we live with them?' They are meant to be seen."

Kaplan says loaning his collection helps to bridge cultures just like Rembrandt did. He says that for many people, art is a pass to different kinds of social acceptance and power, but that is not important to them.

"We believe Rembrandt, almost uniquely, lends himself to being able to build bridges between cultures. We don't view him as being an instrument of cultural imperialism," he says.

"And one being able to see Rembrandt is a means of showing what unites us, much more than what divides us."

The collection launched an online catalog in January for people who are interested in information on the 175 works and articles written by museum curators.

"People tell me what a useful tool it is, and it is the reason why very early on we decided we didn't want to do a book. We wanted to be democratically available for students, curators, collectors, auction houses, dealers and historians," says Kaplan.

"With the privilege of being able to own it comes the responsibility of magnifying it for the benefit of the public."

He says he believes that China will become a major factor in the enduring appreciation of Europ's old masters (painters before about 1800).

"In so many areas of today's world, I see China as being the future. I'm not alone in saying that. It's a cliche," he says.

"But some of the areas in which I predict China is the future are not necessarily unanimously viewed to be the case.One of them, as I believe, is that China is clearly making a huge impact on the art world."

Stainton from Christie's says that they've seen an enormous growth in buying interest in old masters from Asia, especially China, in the last five years.

He says half of the six bidders were Asian when it auctioned in London a painting by Peter Rubens that had been previously exhibited in Hong Kong last summer.

"That would not have happened 10 years earlier and maybe even five years ago."

Contact the writer at liqi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

 

The ongoing exhibition, Rembrandt and His Time, at the National Museum of China in Beijing features 74 paintings, including 11 by Rembrandt and one by Johannes Vermeer.Photos By Jiang Dong / China Daily And Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-20 06:59:20
<![CDATA[Yang's works a layered take on ink art]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/20/content_29813683.htm In 1989, Yang Jiecang was one of the three artists representing China at Paris' Pompidou's contemporary art show, Magician of the Earth. He presented his One Hundred Layers of Ink Series, which was different from what people traditionally understood about Chinese ink.

Now, the artist is showing his early works from between 1985 and 1999 at Beijing's Ink Studio.

Entitled Earth Root, Yang's solo show features 37 pieces.

Unlike traditional Chinese art focusing on landscapes, figures, flowers and birds, Yang's early works apply layer after layer of ink on rice paper and gauze, all in deep black.

"Each of them is a piece of memory and a diary of my life," says Yang.

The 61-year-old jokes that poverty was the reason he put layer after layer on paper.

"Two pieces of rice paper cost about 6 yuan then,which accounted for one-third of my monthly salary," says Yang.He even used soy sauce to paint.

In fact, repetition is a technique in traditional Chinese figurative painting, called sanfan jiuran, which literally means three layers of alum and nine layers of color.

Yang used the technique in his works like an experiment, calling his work "contemporary Chinese ink".

The artist went to Paris to attend the Pompidou art show empty-handed. His works prepared for the show were detained by customs in Shenzhen. So, for one month, he worked to finish the series One Hundred Layers of Ink for the Paris show by practicing repetition.

Britta Erickson, curator of Yang's solo show at Ink Studio, says One Hundred Layers of Ink is possibly Yang's most important series as well as the least understood.

"We can think of the paintings as a diary of his moods, what concerns him and what he is thinking about," she says.

Yang says he learned how to use a brush at age 3, when he learned how to use chopsticks. At 14, he began practicing calligraphy with a famous teacher. He worked at an art factory before studying Chinese painting at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.

After graduation, he went to a temple to learn Buddhism and later spent another two years in a Taoist temple to learn Taoism.

In 1989, he arrived in Paris and settled in Europe.

Yang says the same gesture must be repeated to achieve something profound and different.

For example, the ink is no longer black after being used 100 times. Life is comparable. Good results eventually emerge if one persists, the artist says.

dengzhangyu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-20 06:59:20
<![CDATA[Wine On A Mission]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/20/content_29813682.htm A scenic valley in Shandong province is eager to show itself as China's best wine country. Mike Peters reports from Penglai, Shandong province.

If you don't know what's coming, the first sight of the Treaty Port Winery is quite a surprise: A stone Scottish castle that seems to stand guard over the river valley below.

In 2004, when Chris Ruffle began looking for a potential winery site in East China's Shandong province, he was all alone in the Penglai valley. Little more than a decade later, Ruffle can point to another winery in any direction from Treaty Port's scenic overlook.

In fact, as representatives of the Penglai wine bureau are eager to tell us a little later, there are 66 companies and 33 chateaux now in operation here, and a few more are under construction.

Most of them have their eyes on one particular neighbor: Lafite's China chateau, and the local Party chief who has joined our group of wine enthusiasts proudly notes that Lafite will deliver its first vintage at Penglai in 2018.

That much-anticipated wine from the most iconic French brand, the local industry hopes, will seal Penglai's claim to be "China's top wine area".

Penglai, perched on the Bohai Sea near South Korea and Japan, is already famous for producing gold, Fuji apples, automobiles, auto parts and ships. There are two national first-class ports, which carry apples to Japan and other goods everywhere.

But wine is a multi-dimensional prize, which aims to generate agriculture jobs, vintages with a reputation and tourists eager to visit tasting rooms and dip their noses in a few glasses.

At Treaty Port, our noses are in Ruffle's 2014 rose, a pleasant bubbly that's mostly grenache with a little sangiovese to give some floral notes.

As we sip, Ruffle explains that getting wineries up and running isn't the only challenge to putting Penglai on the wine map. The biggest challenge, in fact, is coming up in a few weeks: August.

In this part of Shandong province, you see, it rains every August. A lot. That's not welcome so late in the growing season, when growers want hot, dry days to develop the grape sugars. Rain so close to the fall harvest can mean fungus diseases and rot, so local growers are vigilant in August but proactive from day 1.

"From bitter experience, we've learned to train our vines to spread higher off the ground," Ruffle says. "That means less splash-up from the ground in rainy season. We also favor grapes like marselan, which is both mildew-resistant and grows in big, open bunches that allow good air circulation."

Treaty Port's vineyard team cultivates a dozen different grapes, from staples like cabernet sauvignon and syrah to less well-known varieties like petit manseng.

"We ended up with so many sort of by accident," Ruffle says with a grin.

"But all that variety has been a blessing in disguise. When the weather varies so much, grapes that don't do well one year may be great the next. In the recent harvest, syrah was the star; the year before it was petit verdot.

Despite August rains, the Penglai region enjoys many natural advantages: annual average rainfall of 704.5 mm, 217 days free of frost, 2,536 sun hours, and a significant temperature difference between day and night. The soil is rich in organic materials, and the pH of the soil is around 6.5 with 30-percent sand, a very suitable environment for the roots of the vines.

Competition in China

While Penglai is an up-and-comer on the wine scene, it has some competition for the title China's best wine region. Nearby Yantai has been growing grapes for wine-making for more than 100 years, ever since Changyu Pioneer Wine Co, China's oldest and largest winery, was started in 1892 by Zhang Bishi.

Then there is the trendy Ningxia Hui autonomous region in China's west, with plenty of sunshine, dry air and cool nights, thanks to the confluence of river and mountains. The local government there is spending millions to promote Ningxia's blossoming reputation as a boutique wine hotspot, and old established Shandong wineries like Changyu have established outposts there as well. The Shandong crowd likes to sniff at the Ningxia hoopla, insisting that since the region gets so cold in winter that the vines must be buried to insulate them from the snow, it's not quite in Shandong's league. But in fact, most of the big producers grow the bulk of their grapes in the remote and cold west areas, including Gansu but especially Xinjiang, so Penglai will have to fight for the title of "best in China".

Eye on tourism

It's prepared to do so.

Local officials are convinced that the combination of quality wines and eye-candy architecture will feed Chinese travelers' growing taste for wine tourism - plus, these wineries are close enough to Beijing and Shanghai for a long weekend visit.

And while there are a number of French-style chateaux here, there are some interesting variations - from Ruffle's Scottish castle to a Tang Dynasty-inspired complex.

Consultant Thomas Yeung of Shanghai-based Metro Town notes: "Wines here pair with seafood very well. They are generally medium dry, less tannin and acidic," he says. Since this part of Shandong is a seafood center, these local wines add something special to the culinary showcase.

The local university also boasts an enology school with hospitality training as well to support the industry with graduates focused on the wine business, winemaking and sommeliers - not to mention savvy young drinkers that will shape future trends.

Contact the writer at michaelpeters@chinadaily.com.cn

 

 

Chateaux in Penglai, Shandong province, boast grape plantations, winemaking, wine stores, guest rooms and sightseeing options. Some will host celebrations to declare the beginning of grape picking and winemaking in the fall.Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-20 06:59:20
<![CDATA[An Italian chef finds Chinese truffles to his liking]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/20/content_29813681.htm "When I first smelled the unique aroma of a truffle, I felt intoxicated - as if I almost forgot every scent that I had smelled before. At that moment, I knew my life would be changed by it."

Carlos Alberto Perez is now the general manager of the Chinese branch of Sabatino, a company dedicated to truffle products.

The truffle is high in nutrition value, but it cannot be planted in large scale and can only be found and harvested in the wild, making it very expensive - "the diamond of the kitchen", as it was called by French gourmet Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

But only recently did the truffle become popular in Chinese kitchens.

Having lived in China for seven years, Perez cannot speak fluent Chinese, but it doesn't stop his love for Chinese food.

"I started my cooking career when I was 19. When I came to China, I found the food culture is rich," Perez says.

"There are so many dishes I hadn't tasted before, and I like them very much."

Perez is determined to bring the truffle to more Chinese. "Those Chinese dishes give me inspirations to create dishes with truffles that appeal to Chinese stomach."

Perez went to search for truffles in Yunnan in 2009.

"I heard that there were truffles in Yunnan, but villagers didn't know how to eat them - some even feed pigs with truffles."

Perez still remembers with laughter the time he went to the local market with a bag of cash, describing the black truffle to the people through gestures.

He once took a 20-hour ride in a minivan to a Gaoligong mountain village seeking black truffles. The villagers scrambled to show this foreigner the truffles they picked in the mountains for a good price.

Now, Perez has business partners in every major truffle-producing area of Yunnan, purchasing 30 tons of truffles to sell to buyers at home and abroad every year.

The price of truffles has been soaring in recent years, resulting in over-exploitation.

"I saw many local people go to dig black truffles in May and June, long before the truffles are fully grown in December," Perez says. "It will not only sacrifice the quality, but also damage the yield next year." Another reason to wait: Young May truffles sell wholesale for about 200 yuan ($29) per kilogram, while mature and fragrant December truffles can command 450 yuan per kg.

Chinese usually eat truffles raw, or put them in soup or liquor, but Perez wants to give more Chinese a broader taste.

"That's why I invented the truffle dumpling, which mixes the traditional Chinese dumpling with the unique black truffle," says Perez, who lives in Kunming.

Sabatino's truffle dumplings can now be found on supermarket shelves in Kunming, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The process of invention has not been easy. "The current recipe of the stuffing has gone through dozens of changes," says Perez.

"Each time, I ask the employees to taste the sample, so (now) everyone hides when they see me holding a plateful of dumplings," he says.

Perez is confident about his next plan.

"The last seven years have seen truffles making forays into China's luxury hotels, high-end restaurants and supermarkets," he says.

"We will create more innovative truffle products to meet the demand."

His latest experiment is a collection of truffle cookies, which is expected to hit the market within the year. The cookies will be available in four flavors.

Perez also has an eye on the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which this year falls on Oct 4: He plans to promote a truffle mooncake to add a special flavor to the age-old snack of reunion.

Contact the writers through xingyi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2017-06-20 06:59:20
<![CDATA[Firing Up Porcelain's Potential]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/20/content_29813680.htm An exhibition from the ancient 'kiln city' of Jingdezhen shows how ceramic traditions have persisted while new artists are endowing traditional craftsmanship with contemporary flourishes. Lin Qi reports.

The kilns in China's "porcelain capital", Jiangxi province's Jingdezhen, have been firing for nearly 2,000 years. Locals are continuing the sophisticated traditional craftsmanship in the area, while a new crop of creative types like Nie Lechun are incorporating porcelain into contemporary art.

The 80-year-old ceramist has spent nearly six decades developing new ways to sculpt porcelain flora and fauna.

He's especially known for rendering eagles. A recent work portrays one of the raptors spreading its wings as its talons clutch a tree trunk.

The piece is now showing at the Treasures of a Nation exhibition in Beijing, which reviews Jingdezhen's porcelain-making history.

Over 400 displays are exhibited at the culture and history museum of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing.

They include antique porcelain shards and reproductions of classic works that are now in museums and private collections around the world.

There are also daily-use items, such as teacups and plates, and decorative pieces like Nie's works that celebrate the craftsmanship of today's artisans.

After he graduated from the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in 1958, Nie worked at a local factory that produced porcelain sculptures.

He says he didn't want to replicate the works veteran artists were producing at the time - Buddhist figures, women of the court and Taoist deities, which were popular overseas.

He joined a group of young artists, who aspired to develop a distinctive style.

Nie incorporated the technique of "nie diao", in which ceramists craft flowers or blades of grass in remarkable detail. He enriched presentations by creating scenes in which eagles could perch in flowering trees.

"Ceramists should continually reinvent themselves," he says.

"That's why the fires of Jingdezhen's kilns could be reignited after the wars and chaos of history."

Ancient shards displayed in the exhibition show how Jingdezhen progressed to become a production base for quality products over the centuries.

"These kilns manufactured rare and exquisite objects that entertained emperors and adorned their palaces," Jingdezhen Ceramics Museum's director Zhao Gang says.

"And they produced beautiful things for daily use. Their pieces ... (were exported) along the ancient Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road."

Generations of artisans produced various types of porcelain that were appreciated at home and abroad, such as blue-and-white, doucai and enamel pieces.

Modern technicians have managed to replicate several classical pieces, and some of these copies are shown at the exhibition.

Models include two refined replicas of works created in the mid-14th century. One is a cobalt-blue dragon vase now in the collection of Paris' Guimet Museum. The other is the blue-and-white jar with patterns that depict the story of Guiguzi that fetched $27.7 million at a London auction in 2005 - a record price for any Chinese artwork at the time.

The exhibition also celebrates the creativity of today's artists. They've expanded upon conventional presentations by creating paintings, light installations and designs, such as mobile phone covers, in porcelain.

Jingdezhen has been a member of UNESCO's creative cities network since 2014. It hopes to renew its porcelain traditions by importing new blood - young contemporary artists like Dong Lin.

The 25-year-old Beijing-based artist has worked in Jingdezhen for a couple of months a year since 2016. She produced a series of ceramic installations at a local kiln.

Dong has since returned to the city to work on new pieces.

"Jingdezhen is not quite as developed as I'd expected. A lot of studios and kilns are rather basic, with few rooms or desks," she says.

"I come because professional artisans assist me with every step of production. It's really helpful. I feel free yet challenged. It gives me a lot of options in tapping porcelain's potential."

 

The show Treasures of a Nation offers a good review of Jingdezhen's porcelain-making history. Ceramists of different generations display their artworks.Photos By Jiang Dong / China Daily

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2017-06-20 06:59:20
<![CDATA[Award honors promising artists]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/20/content_29813679.htm Few Chinese know Wang Shikuo (1911-73), but most know his works - realistic oil paintings that depict China's Communist revolution.

The professor of Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts passed away while sketching in rural Henan province. It's believed overwork contributed to his death.

He remains so admired that a contemporary-art award bearing his name was announced last year.

The Wang Shikuo Award aspires to become a Chinese answer to such prominent international honors for up-and-coming artists as the Hugo Boss Prize and the Turner Prize.

It's administrated by Beijing's Today Art Museum and sponsored by the Wang Shikuo Art Foundation that Wang's family established in 2015. It honors one artist, typically younger than age 45, every year.

Twelve artists have been nominated this year. Their works are displayed at the Amassing Force exhibition at Today Art Museum.

Visitors can vote for their favorite artists. The winner will be announced on Saturday.

The foundation also has established a scholarship with the Central Academy of Fine Arts last year to sponsor overseas exchanges among undergraduates.

Wang's daughter, Wang Qun, the foundation's secretary, says the jury doesn't make judgments based on single works.

"We review the whole course of an artist's career," she says. "We especially talk with candidates to see if they'll remain dedicated to creating for at least another decade."

Gao Peng, the museum's director and a jury member, says organizers have monitored many candidates, following their graduations from art academies.

"Some artists quit art two or three years after winning other important awards," he says.

"They start their own businesses once they become financially stable. That disappoints their patrons, such as art institutions and serious collectors, who anticipate they'd continue to pursue higher levels of creation."

Gao says the award hails artists' experimental spirit.

"They explore a distinct style or medium that's not quite mature at the moment, but they believe will bring major breakthroughs. We don't watch artists whose works are market-oriented because they already had a lot of market support."

The award also honors artists of all mediums, even though it takes its name from a painter.

The ongoing exhibition of nominees' works displays multimedia installations and abstract ink-brush paintings on paper.

Hangzhou-based China Academy of Art instructor Ying Xinxun is presenting her light installation, Metamorphosis. The 36-year-old used translucent ox hide to create a creature that's half man and half insect that rides a motorcycle. She surrounded it with dozens of luminous fibers.

It looks beautiful at first sight. But viewers may feel as if they're trapped like a bird in a cage as they walk through the fibers.

Ying created the work to reflect on crises caused by rapid urbanization, such as air pollution and tainted foods.

"People are manufacturing all kinds of things that, in turn, transform them physically and mentally," she says.

Cong Ming, who lost his hearing at age 1, shows paintings inspired by classic Chinese philosophies including I Ching.

The 28-year-old from Liaoning province's Dalian, who has exhibited in China and overseas, uses circles and squares to reflect how people who speak different languages can harmoniously communicate.

The winner will receive 100,000 yuan ($14,700) or can hold a solo exhibition at the museum.

Huang Du, a Beijing-based art curator, critic and jury member, expresses hopes the jury will include international members in the future so winners can be introduced to a global audience.

Beijing native Tian Xiaolei won last year for producing animations of surrealist scenarios. The 35-year-old says the award has given him exposure abroad, including his Canada premiere titled Overload that's now running at Toronto's Katzman Contemporary gallery through Aug 5.

 

Works by nominated artists for this year's Wang Shikuo Award are now on display in Beijing.Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-20 06:59:20
<![CDATA[Painting portraits of a continent]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/20/content_29813678.htm Five Chinese artists who traveled to three African countries earlier this year didn't see the savannas and animals they expected - but they were deeply touched by the people.

These Africans are rendered on these Chinese painters' canvases.

The show Walking Paintbrush, which recently ended in Beijing and will head to the Qingdao Art Museum in Shandong province on July 19, displays over 50 ink, oil and watercolor paintings by the artists, who traveled to Malawi, Tanzania and Mauritius in January.

It was their first time on the continent, which they'd known only through books and TV.

Chen Cheng says she was fascinated by people living in original landscapes - passionate dancers, children riding bikes and market shoppers.

"I expected to see lots of animals running in the wild," she says.

"But the people intrigued me most."

Chen plans to visit another three African countries in October.

The artists were captivated by the natural areas in Malawi, a landlocked country and agricultural economy, she says.

"I could feel their happiness through their eyes, smiles and dances. Many of them have no idea about China," she says.

But they saw Chinese doing business in Tanzania and people from around the world in Mauritius.

"We know Africa isn't homogenous," Chen says.

"It has various cultures and different economies."

That's why she has decided to return to explore more.

Ink artist Fu Xuming sensed Africa was different from other places he'd visited - a feeling he got when he smelled the fresh air and heard a plethora of languages upon landing.

"I'm a landscape artist," he says.

"But all I painted this time were people."

He was fascinated by locals' clothes and dances, and their attitudes toward life and people.

"Africa's art is awesome," he says.

"I only came to understand how it inspires many Western artists only after experiencing it in person."

The trip was part of a project to enhance cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges initiated by China's Culture Ministry.

In 2015, President Xi Jinping and African leaders signed the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Johannesburg Action Plan (2015-18). It included a project inviting officials, scholars and artists from China and Africa to undertake cultural exchanges.

African artists had been invited to Jiangsu province's capital, Nanjing, in 2011. They stayed for two months to experience Chinese culture.

The ministry will support more Chinese artists' trips to African countries, says Han Zhihong, an official in charge of African affairs from the Culture Ministry.

"We'll strengthen cooperation between China and Africa in art and cultural exchanges," Han says.

"It's a good way to know each other from the artistic side."

dengzhangyu@chinadaily.com.cn

 

An oil painting by Chen Cheng, who joined a China-Africa exchange project by the Culture Ministry.Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-20 06:59:20
<![CDATA[Life in a hutong]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/19/content_29799030.htm Over the past five years, Tan Siok Siok has been recording the lives of people in a Beijing hutong (alley) on her cellphone and sharing the photos on social media.

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A foreign documentary filmmaker unveils her book of photos of a Beijing alley - all taken by cellphone. Deng Zhangyu reports.

Over the past five years, Tan Siok Siok has been recording the lives of people in a Beijing hutong (alley) on her cellphone and sharing the photos on social media.

In her images from the old-style alleyways, chairs and bicycles, sleepy people and those with earmuffs are commonly seen.

In May, the documentary filmmaker from Singapore, who now runs a video company in Beijing, released her book People in Beijing that has photos taken by her only on her phone. It records the daily lives of the residents of a hutong area and, in particular, sheds light on details that are common but often ignored by others.

"Each of my photos is an independent story in Beijing. You can say it's a story of Beijing but also a story of the world," says Tan, 45.

She says that the expressions on people's faces in her pictures - anxiety, dismay and happiness - can be found among the residents of any city.

Tan used a smartphone to take the photos so she could quickly share them online.

"Many of my followers (on social media) are surprised (to know) that all the photos were taken in the same hutong," she says, adding that some thought she had visited different alleyways in the city.

Tan took the black-and-white images through the different seasons as well as the changes in natural light in the Fangjia hutong, which is located near tourist spots such as the Lama Temple and the Imperial College.

Over the past five years, she has visited this alleyway that is close to her office to click the pictures, almost daily.

"You can say they were taken recently or dozens of years ago," Tan says of the color treatment.

One of Tan's friends, who moved to New Zealand two years ago, has since put up several of Tan's hutong photos on the walls of her home as a way to recall her days in Beijing.

When she came to Beijing in 2010 from Singapore, Tan was interested in everything a hutong had to offer to newcomers, especially foreigners: bikes lying on the ground locked with a chain and empty chairs to dissuade people from parking vehicles outside houses in the crammed lanes.

But even after more than 1,000 days of work in the hutong, her passion did not fade as she tried to capture daily life from different angles.

One winter morning, she noticed an old man riding a three-wheeled vehicle very slowly, with his wife sitting behind him.

Tan followed the couple for a while to discover that they were taking a sightseeing tour of the hutong. The wife was unable to move due to her poor health condition, so her husband was showing her around the city.

"People in the hutong are optimistic and that touched my heart," Tan says.

She says Beijing is a city where the country's rapid changes are clearly visible, and in some ways, the same is true of the city's old alleyways.

Tan once saw the owners of shops enjoying tea in front of their outlets in Fangjia, but found that the shops had been demolished the following day.

For her, taking photos is a way to ease pressure from work.

She is good at capturing people's expressions without them noticing her, a skill she gained from her years as a documentary filmmaker.

Before arriving in Beijing in 2010, Tan worked for the Discovery TV channel on many documentary films in Singapore.

Tan likes to focus on people stories, she says. That's why her hutong project was on them.

Bao Jihong, a longtime friend of Tan, says: "Tan's photos show us a Beijing that we are familiar with but largely ignore."

Tan's next project is to shoot a series of photos on Chinese women from different generations, with which she hopes to tell the story of how they view a rapidly changing society.

Contact the writer at dengzhangyu@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Tan Siok Siok's black-and-white photos reveal a touching and lively side of daily lives in Beijing's hutong area. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-19 07:03:23
<![CDATA[Homeless group makes it to Carnegie Hall]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/19/content_29799029.htm NEW YORK - They're homeless, but a group of men and women from Texas has made it to Carnegie Hall. The storied New York City concert hall was the venue of a recent performance by the Dallas Street Choir - all singers recruited from urban streets and homeless shelters, who have been performing since 2015.

About 20 members of the choir were joined by 17 residents of a Manhattan homeless shelter.

The singers included Michael Brown, who lives under a bridge in Dallas when it rains and on a hilltop in sunny weather.

"We may be homeless, but we're not voiceless," he says at a rehearsal. "So let's use our effort to remind people that we still have hope and it will never die."

Dallas Street Choir conductor Jonathan Palant has also brought in some world-class luminaries for the performance: mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, soprano Harolyn Blackwell, composer Jake Heggie and composer Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the Broadway hits Godspell, Pippin and Wicked.

Palant says he got the idea for the choir a few years ago while volunteering with a homeless services organization. It started out as a Christmas event - a big meal at a homeless shelter with entertainment by a group of singers that rehearsed with Palant for just a few hours. But that inspired Palant to start a weekly musical session open to anyone who wanted to sing.

Members of the choir come and go frequently. They don't always produce perfect sounds, and there are moments of slight cacophony, "but our members sing with heart like no other choir I've ever worked with", says Palant.

Never in its 126-year history has a musical ensemble of homeless performers appeared at Carnegie, says the hall's archivist, Gino Francesconi.

Brown got his first shower and haircut in weeks for the tour. Normally, he survives going to soup kitchens and aims to get a job as a waiter. He's an energetic, bright-eyed choir member, while some others are physically frail; one woman relies on a walker, another uses a cane.

In Dallas, they rehearse each Wednesday morning, learning melodies by rote, with printed lyrics. They leave with snacks and a public transportation voucher.

The show at Carnegie Hall was titled Imagine a World - Music for Humanity.

Von Stade premiered Heggie's new setting of Hub Miller's Spinning Song, with Heggie at the piano. With the choir, Schwartz performed For Good from Wicked, along with Blackwell and Von Stade. Rounding out the evening was the choir offering Broadway songs, capped by personal stories.

Tickets were $25 for any Carnegie seat, with proceeds going to organizations that support the homeless.

The New York City Department of Homeless Services donated some tickets so members of the homeless community could attend.

The choir also performed at Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC.

About $200,000 needed for the New York and Washington trips came from previous concerts in Texas, plus a private grant. Carnegie's Weill Music Institute pulled in the homeless singers from Manhattan. The New Yorkers are members of a community choir.

"This is serious, man - Carnegie Hall in New York City," says Brown. "We have to show people that we didn't come from Texas for no reason."

Associated Press

 

Members of the Dallas Street Choir raise their voices during a rehearsal for their performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. AP

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2017-06-19 07:03:23
<![CDATA[More live plays in China's cinemas]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/19/content_29799028.htm National Theatre Live, an initiative that broadcasts British theatrical productions to cinemas around the world, brought works featuring film actors, such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, to Beijing and Shanghai in 2012.

In recent times, more British stage productions have been here, too.

Many stage productions from National Theatre Live, Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company, Stage Russia HD and Broadway HD will be screened in Chinese cities from July 6 to Aug 14.

Co-organized by Beijing-based ATW Culture Media Ltd, the sole distributor of National Theatre Live in China, the British Council and the Broadway Cinematheque in China, the event, under the title First International Theater Live Festival, will tour Beijing, Jinan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dalian, with a total of 120 screenings.

Key stage productions include British playwright Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, British playwright Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, starring Daniel Radcliffe, and the Royal Shakespeare Company's bold versions of Shakespeare's The Tempest and A Winter's Tale, starring actress Judi Dench.

Following the screening of the King and Country series of Shakespearean plays, Live from Stratford-upon-Avon, a collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Picturehouse Cinemas since 2013, will return to China with more of the Bard's stories, including The Tempest, King Lear and Richard II.

The Moscow Art Theatre will bring its production of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, and Broadway HD, a live theater company from New York, will present a musical of the US Roundabout Theatre's production She Loves Me.

Li Chongzhou, CEO of ATW Culture, says British theater productions have been broadcast to more than 150,000 people at nearly 40 venues across China in recent times.

In 2015, when Britain and China celebrated the Year of Cultural Exchanges, National Theatre Live started to bring more stage productions to China's cinemas.

"For Chinese theatergoers, this is a rare opportunity to experience world-class theater productions at home," Li says, adding that the number of viewers has risen in the country in the past two years.

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The upcoming International Theater Live Festival will bring many British theater works to Chinese audiences, including British playwright Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, (left) and Jane Eyre, staged by Bristol Old Vic Theatre. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-19 07:03:23
<![CDATA[Getting to the top]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/19/content_29799027.htm For anyone who wants to see the best of China's southwest, Fanjing Mountain (Fanjingshan) is a must-visit. But watch out, the best is not for the faint-hearted.

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For city-dwellers longing for fresh air, Fanjing Mountain with its vast forests is a natural oxygen bar. Xu Wei reports from Tongren, Guizhou province.

For anyone who wants to see the best of China's southwest, Fanjing Mountain (Fanjingshan) is a must-visit. But watch out, the best is not for the faint-hearted.

For city-dwellers longing for fresh air, the mountain, with its vast forests, is a natural oxygen bar. For adventure seekers, the mountain peak, with its almost vertical and slippery steps, offers a challenge guaranteed to quicken the heartbeat.

As you approach, you see the well-preserved mountain surrounded by dense forests and creeks with their almost crystal clear water.

The mountain also provides a habitat for the gray snub-nosed monkey, or Guizhou snub-nosed monkey, and Abies fanjingshanensis, a species of conifer found only in the mountain area.

As you ascend the mountain by cable car, you find yourself surrounded by thick clouds and dense canopies below you.

As you are halfway up the mountain, the evergreen forests, dotted with stunning wildflowers, offer you a spectacular view of the landscape.

On the horizon, valleys, rocks, cliffs and peaks start to reveal themselves.

The isolated stone peaks, which are barely visible from the foot of the mountain, now appear in a way that seems to defy gravity.

I was told by a guide that I had hit the jackpot as I was welcomed by warm sunshine on the top of the mountain.

If you want to go further up the mountain to the top of the stone peaks, you walk, and this marks the start of the most thrilling part of the trip.

Along the snaking road up the mountain, there are occasional reminders for you to watch out for deadly snakes. There are six species of venomous snakes in the area, so make sure you avoid the bushes.

The best way to appreciate the beauty of the mountain is by heading to the top - the Hongyunjin peak.

If you take the north path to the top, which is steeper and more dangerous, it offers a spectacular view.

As you climb, you find that the way up has become so steep that you are forced to use both hands and feet to climb.

The path then becomes so narrow and steep that it only allows one person to move.

I had to overcome my fear to continue ascending. The final few steps are a bit of an anticlimax. And then there you are: a whole world of forests, clouds and more peaks on the horizon.

Amazingly, two Buddhist temples sit atop the peak, which also partly explains why the mountain is a holy place for Buddhists.

You cannot help but wonder how anyone managed to build a temple there.

The guide told me the experience is heightened by constantly changing weather, including seasonal and daily variations.

The mountain, already a National Nature Reserve of China, has also been nominated as a World Natural Heritage Site, and local authorities are making efforts to improve the facilities in the area.

The mountain offers different views during different seasons, but you might want to avoid the national holidays as the scenic area will be crowded. Think twice before you bring your young children atop the peaks.

Contact the writer at xuwei@chinadaily.com.cn

Yang Jun contributed to the story.

 

 

Tourists who want to ascend to the peak of Fanjing Mountain in Guizhou province need to be strong both physically and mentally, but the spectacular view with two Buddhist temples sitting atop makes the trip worthwhile. Photos By Yang Jun / China Daily And Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-19 07:03:23
<![CDATA[Canyoning becomes popular in Nepal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/19/content_29799026.htm NUWAKOT, Nepal - Bulbule Waterfall located in Nuwakot district, about 35 kilometers away from Nepal's capital Kathmandu, was once known as a place for taking cool baths during the summer.

But as soon as the Nepal Canyoning Association explored the 40-meter high waterfall, the place turned into a canyoning destination.

On a recent weekend, over 150 Nepalese and foreign visitors were in Bulbule as part of the 3rd National Canyoning Rendezvous 2017.

The canyoning fiesta was not just about sliding down a rope through a waterfall to a pool below, but included hiking, scrambling, abseiling, jumping and swimming.

"Nepal is blessed with thousands of rivers and waterfalls, but we have not been able to utilize them fully. We want to develop and promote canyoning destinations and make Nepal the best spot for adventure tourism," says Rajendra Lama, the president of the Nepal Canyoning Association.

Though canyoning has been gaining in popularity in Nepal since 2002, it gained official recognition and an organizational structure only in 2007 after the setting up of the Nepal Canyoning Association.

Today, there are more than 70 travel agencies under the association, and more than 30 canyons have been explored across the country.

Travel agencies provide canyoning packages in mountainous districts like Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Nuwakot, Lamjung and Syangja.

Within Kathmandu valley, canyoning activities are available in Sundarijal, in the lap of Shivapuri National Park.

The Himalayan nation is regarded as the second-richest country after Brazil in water resources as it has more than 6,000 rivers, lakes, ponds, waterfalls and springs. But despite such resources, adventurers complain that the adventure activities available are mostly limited to boating and rafting.

Karna Bahadur Lama, the general secretary of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, says: "Nepal has a unique geography and richness in natural resources. And since tourism is the backbone of the country's economy, we need to tap into the opportunities to attract more foreign tourists."

In 2016, earthquake-ravaged Nepal attracted 729,550 foreign tourists, which is 24 percent more than 2015, the year of the devastating earthquake.

With tourism gradually recovering, entrepreneurs say that activities like canyoning can be a great way to attract and engage foreign tourists.

Canyoning is equally popular with Nepali youngsters. One of the major reasons for its growing popularity is social media, says the Nepal Canyoning Association.

"When we put out posts about the canyoning festival on social media, we received a huge amount of feedback and response from youngsters. Social media is a powerful tool for tourism promotion," the canyoning association president Lama says.

Nepal's canyoning follows international standards. There are more than 30 professional instructors in the country who have received training from American and French professionals, and who are familiar with the country's streams.

During the recent canyoning festival, more than a dozen instructors and volunteers handled the navigation and facilitated the outdoor activities.

While it was the first canyoning experience for most of the participants, they say that it is an unforgettable experience.

"It is the experience of a lifetime. I was scared initially but with proper instructions I got down safely. I would like to do it again," says 22-year-old student Sarose Chaudhary.

Xinhua

A woman rappels down a waterfall during a canyoning excursion in Nepal, blessed with rich resources of rivers and waterfalls. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-19 07:03:23
<![CDATA[A giant of science]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/18/content_29785968.htm Geophysicist Huang Danian scaled the heights of accomplishment in Britain before returning to China

With China continuing its rapid growth, Chinese scientists and researchers are returning home from abroad to aid their country's development. One of those who came back was the renowned Huang Danian, a geophysicist who returned seven years ago from Britain and contributed greatly to deep Earth exploration technology.

"Huang Danian's most valuable quality was his sincerity. He treated his friends well and loved his family and his motherland," says Sun Wei, a dear friend of Huang.

Huang died of bile duct cancer in January at the age of 58.  

 

Huang Danian, a geophysicist who returned to China seven years ago from Britain and contributed greatly to deep Earth exploration technology. Photos Provided by Xinhua

In 1993, he went to study at Britain's Leeds University and earned his doctorate in geophysics, finishing at the top of his class.

"While studying in Britain, he combined his Chinese intellectual integrity with British precision," says Sun.

Despite encountering language and living difficulties in a foreign country, Huang quickly earned respect from his British professors and colleagues, thanks to his profound academic knowledge and hard work.

Roger Clark, senior lecturer at Leeds University's School of Earth and Environment, used to supervise Huang's PhD work on the quantitative analysis of gravity and magnetic field anomalies.

"As a student, he was clearly very skilled at mathematics and we enjoyed guiding him into geophysics," Clark says.

"He was certainly a very dedicated student while he was in Leeds and I heard exactly the same from colleagues in industry."

"I always knew he had the skill and energy to do well in whatever he wanted to apply himself to."

Clark expresses shock and sadness at Huang's death. "We never think or expect the students we have taught to pass away before us. ... It's a great loss, both personally and professionally."

Shortly after he obtained his doctorate, Huang joined a geophysical service company, ARKeX, in Cambridge as an advanced researcher on high resolution airborne and marine gravity gradiometry, mainly used in oil, gas and mineral resources exploration at sea and on land.

Huang's team was deemed by fellow researchers to be one of the leading research teams in mobile detection technology.

Mark Davies, president and CEO of AustinBridgeporth, worked with Huang at ARKeX for many years.

"I think Huang was an extremely talented geophysicist who pioneered many projects over the years for large independent oil companies," he says.

"He was extremely talented and knowledgeable. Not only a colleague but a true friend too," Davies adds.

During his time in Britain, Huang remained committed to China and his contact with his motherland was never broken. He would always fly to China to attend academic meetings or seminars related to his field.

According to Sun, it was not a "random choice" that brought Huang back to China to work. Nor was it a "sudden impulse".

"Danian loved science and technology," Davies says. "He never said why he wanted to go back but it was very obvious to me. China was funding high-quality science projects and he wanted to be part of it.

"I always expected Danian to excel at anything he wished to do. It does not surprise me at all."

In 2008, China launched a national recruitment program for global top talent, called the "Thousand Talent" program, as part of its efforts to become an innovation-driven economy. The program encourages overseas Chinese and foreign professionals to work in China.

Huang became one of the first to participate in the program in 2009. He gave up his position in Britain and sold his house and property to work at Jilin University in Changchun.

Upon his return, Huang was invited to be the chief scientist of a branch of China's biggest deep Earth exploration program. The program aims to install high-tech cameras on aircraft, ships and satellites that enable them to see through the Earth's crust without digging into it. Investment in his branch of the program has reached more than 300 million yuan ($43.5 million; 38.8 million euros; 34.1 million).

Wasting no time, Huang holed up in his office and worked day and night, with only two to three hours of sleep a day, earning him the deserved title of "workaholic".

"He doesn't take sleeping very seriously," Huang's wife, Ren Lijuan, once said.

About four months after Huang's passing, his daughter Huang Xiao told Xinhua that her family was still overcome with grief.

"Like most loving fathers, my father hoped I would study well. More important, he wanted me to grow up to be someone useful to society," she says.

"My father always wanted to serve his motherland and wanted to be a person helping others."

Huang Xiao says she was proud to know that her father's work was recognized by his homeland, and he was honored as a "sincere patriot and role model" for overseas returnees.

In May, President Xi Jinping praised Huang's work and called on the public to learn from the esteemed scientist.

"Now, with my father gone, I hope my mother can move on to enjoy the rest of her life while I raise my son well," Huang Xiao says. "That's how I can repay my father."

Xinhua

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2017-06-18 16:00:00
<![CDATA[Cooling tea for summer heat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/18/content_29785967.htm Editor's Note: China is divided into as many culinary regions as there are different ethnic groups. Its geographical diversity and kaleidoscopic cultural profiles contribute to the unending banquet of flavors.

Hot weather is officially here, with the summer solstice just a few days away. All over China, the weather map takes on various shades of red as the country swelters.

While the north is dry and hot, the southern regions are baking in humid heat known as sauna weather. That is why herbal teas are always an important part of summer.

These teas are infused with Chinese herbs and may taste slightly sweet or intensely bitter, depending on what they were prescribed for. But for as long aswe can remember, herbal teas have been popular in the south. "Cooling herbal tea" or liangcha is so much a part of Chinese life that it has been listed as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Southern Chinese people, in particular, would not think of passing through summer without their daily doses of cooling tea. And as the urban diaspora spreads, even major cities in the north are now enjoying the benefits of these teas-a result of improved marketing, packaging and logistics.

When Sichuan hotpot migrated north, it took along the Cantonese cooling tea, and it became all the rage to enjoy the numbing heat of the prickly ash peppercorns while imbibing huge quantities of liangcha in cans.

This practice is actually frowned upon by traditionalists. Liangcha cannot be treated as a soft drink. Every glass or bowl has its designated dosage and benefits.

Carefully prepared concoctions are sold in potbellied copper pots along the coastal stretch of southern China, from Macao and HongKong to Guangzhou, Beihai, Zhanjiang and Hainan Island. These are specialty shops with brews that have stood the test of time and generations.

For example, the country's most popular canned herbal tea - in a red can - comes froma Cantonese recipe that is a couple of hundred years old. Every herbal shop in Guangdong or Guangxi has its own signature brew - including Baozhilin, the herbal shop owned by legendary martial arts master Huang Feihung.

These herbal tea shops are the result of both geographical and cultural serendipity. They are all in an area known as Lingnan, south of the Ling Mountains. It's a naturally humid valley that's a botanical treasure trove of rare plants and herbs - a fact long known by their homeopathy founders.

They collected and dried the natural ingredients and brewed a vast variety of cooling teas to combat the summer heat. Most of these cooling infusions are made from dried flowers, leaves and roots, all harvested from the region.

Some are more commonplace, such as the flowers of chrysanthemum, honeysuckle, frangipani, wild licorice root, American ginseng, fritillary bulbs, lotus leaves, mulberry leaves, borage, mint, perilla, mugwort, elderberry, hawthorn, wolfberry and fruits such as snow pear, jujubes, Luohan fruit and dried longans.

Some ingredients were rare in the past but were later cultivated - including ajuga, the bugleweed known in Chinese as xiakucao. Then there is the fuzzy silver-leafed baizicao, or Antiotrema dunnianum.

These two herbs are common summer coolers and are easily prepared at home, sweetened with rock sugar or honey.

In recent years, the herbal infusions have even been commercially distilled and are sold in packets of easily dissolved crystals, just like instant coffee.

Another famous infusion is wuhuacha, the five-flowers tea, made from honeysuckle, chrysanthemum, Chinese locust, red cotton tree flowers and the kudzu flower.

In my childhood, I remember my Cantonese village grandmother feeding me all sorts of evil concoctions. A more pleasant tasting one was the baizicao tea, which even smelled faintly floral and was supposed to chase away the summer vapors. Growing up in Singapore meant we drank it all year round.

The herbal brew that sent me hiding under the staircase was an intensely bitter one made from the tiny dried flower buds of Cleistocalyx operculatus. It had a beautiful Chinese name, shuiwenghua, which roughly translates to "flowers of the water scholar".

Its literary beauty was totally lost on me. It was forcibly fed to me whenever I showed signs of fever or sunstroke, which was often, and I never failed to break into a sweat after drinking the brew. Perhaps it was sheer terror.

Similar stories are told by my friends.

One was forced to drink a series of bitter concoctions after she was diagnosed with polio and Western doctors told her mother there was nothing they could do.

Her determined mother consulted a Chinese physician in Chinatown who prescribed a routine of herbal brews. They worked. We never knew she had polio until she told us much later.

Miraculous cures aside, most herbal teas are roughly divided into four categories, according to their effectiveness.

In the first group are the antitoxin teas, which clear accumulated heat in the body and are suitable for those who are easily irritated. The main ingredients include such things as honeysuckle, chrysanthemum and wild magnolia.

The second group of teas is for those susceptible to summer colds and sniffles. The signature ingredient is banlangun, the indigo root, which was touted as the miracle herb during the SARS epidemic.

Another group of teas is more for autumn consumption when the weather becomes very dry and coughs and throat irritations are common. They make use of pear leaves, snow fungus and other soothing ingredients.

Finally come the teas that clear "wet heat", a condition that arises from too much spicy and fried food, and from fruits such as mangoes and litchi that bring on halitosis. These teas use honeysuckle, chrysanthemum and desert mushrooms to best effect.

There are some things modern Western science is still discovering about Chinese herbal teas. To the Chinese, however, the proof is already in the drink.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Simple brews for summer

Floral Cooler

I tablespoon dried chrysanthemum

1 tablespoon dried honeysuckle

1 tablespoon wolf berries

1 piece dried licorice root

Rock sugar to taste

Heat up water to just boiling in a teapot, then add the ingredients. Cover and infuse for at least 10 minutes.

Serve in little teacups.

You can have a bowl of crushed rock sugar on the table so it can be added according to individual preference.

Add boiling water to the teapot for a second round. Infuse 10 minutes before drinking.

Kudzu Vine and Ginseng Cooler

1 small packet dried kudzu vine

10 slices American ginseng

A pinch of salt

Wash and rinse the kudzu vine and place in a teapot. Add boiling water and infuse five minutes before adding the ginseng slices.

Season with a pinch of salt.

Serve warm for best effect.

 

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2017-06-18 16:00:00
<![CDATA[Breath of fresh air]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/18/content_29785966.htm A film festival about the great outdoors is getting the attention of young sports fans

When Qian Haiying first introduced Canada's Banff Mountain Film Festival to China in 2010, it was initially out of her interest in outdoor sports. She and her team-mainly three members - were seeking funding and a chance to develop their fan base.

Ultimately, Qian quit her job as a marketing executive at IBM and devoted herself to the founding of Banff China, a film festival that aims to promote outdoor and nature documentaries in the country.

Banff China has grown rapidly over the past seven years. This year's festival will launch its tour in Beijing on June 24 and then go to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu.

 

Qian Haiying, founder of the Banff China film festival, which promotes outdoor and nature documentaries, is herself a fan of outdoor sports - diving, running and skiing. Photos Provided to China Daily

The festival not only promotes mountain culture, but also covers diving, running and skiing.

The festival, which runs through September, has hosted a series of seminars, lectures and training programs since May. All activities aim to give people more understanding of the fun of outdoor sports and the related lifestyle, Qian says.

"When I was fresh in outdoor sports, China had not taken up that craze, and I often learned about outdoor sport ideas and skills from foreign countries," the 43-year-old recalls.

Regarded as the "Oscars of outdoor sports", the Banff Mountain Film Festival was launched by two renowned climbers, John Amati and Chic Scott, in the Canadian town of Banff in 1975.

As an international film competition and an annual presentation of short films and documentaries about mountain culture, sports and environment, it has become a popular gathering of outdoor enthusiasts, including sports fans, adventurers, photographers, filmmakers and environmentalists from around the world.

Qian, an enthusiast of marathons, diving, skiing and skydiving, first attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada in 2009. There was no such event in her homeland, and Qian came up with the idea to bring the festival to China.

Qian says the festival is growing as enthusiasm for outdoor sports grows.

A light show titled LightAnimal has been incorporated this year, showcasing the possibilities of education about animals in a spectacular way.

LightAnimal is a digital exhibition providing virtual encounters with any animal species. Its moving images can be shown in large or small venues, and it is interactive.

"LightAnimal can show and explain the animals' behavior in a way that would be impossible to see in a captive environment. LightAnimal creatures are also interactive, which means that they can perceive and react to members of the audience who stand in front of the screen," says Haruyoshi Kawai, director and animator of the LightAnimal project team.

"Above all, it has no impact on animals in the wild because it is virtual. People can enjoy watching the virtual creations and simply look and learn," Qian says.

"This year, we have brought LightAnimal to Beijing, hoping more people, children in particular, can discover the mystery of the ocean," she adds.

Two months ago, Qian saw an online news story about a sperm whale stranded at a port in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. The whale later died.

She was sad about the whale and determined to do something for marine creatures.

In this year's film festival, she proposed an environmental initiative, "Say No to Plastic".

"Each time I have gone diving with my teammates, I have witnessed the terrible impact of plastic on the whole ocean and living creatures," Qian says.

"The plastic can be broken into extremely tiny parts. Some of them will go into the bodies of maritime creatures while others, mixed with sea salt, will be consumed by us humans again.

"The environmental problems are not far away from us. Instead, they are so close to our modern life that we barely notice them," Qian adds.

Meanwhile, a training program to encourage more people to shoot outdoor sports documentaries will be launched at this year's film festival.

"We have done a survey that shows our main audience is between 25 to 45 years old. Passionate and energetic college students are the main force of the targeted group. And we hope the training program will let more young people know about us," Qian says.

Before entering the university, many college students are under huge academic pressure, which leaves them little time to think about their lives. "But everything changes after living in an ivory tower, and they gradually get to know society. Faced with many choices, they can decide themselves who they really want to be," she says.

"Developing the hobby of outdoor sports is a pretty good choice. They can make new friends, develop a healthy lifestyle and get closer to nature."

The training program will start at Beijing's Peking University and be promoted at other universities in the future.

zhangxingjian@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2017-06-18 16:00:00
<![CDATA[Reading the future]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/18/content_29785965.htm Expo turns a page on China's continuing enthusiasm for books

Visitors enjoyed interacting with two blue-and-white robots recently at the 27th National Book Expo in Langfang, Hebei province. One responded to constant greetings from visitors by saying: "I've talked all morning. I'm tired."

Hebei Publishing Group's robots educate children and tell stories uploaded by the publisher. About 960 publishers offered 240 reading and writing events at the four-day expo, which ended on June 3. They showed 250,000 books, including 150,000 new titles at the main site in Langfang and a smaller venue in Tangshan.

About 810,000 people visited the Langfang site and bought 41 million yuan ($6 million; 5.4 million euros; 4.7 million) worth of books.

 

The National Book Expo held in Langfang and Tangshan, Hebei province. Xinhua

"The expo has shown the achievements of the country's publishing industry and promoted reading since its launch in 1980," notes Nie Chenxi, director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. Nie says the country's publishing sector generated 2.3 trillion yuan last year.

"It has gradually developed so that it's not only bigger but also stronger," he says.

China is currently the world leader in number of titles and copies, he added.

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, as well as plans to develop Xiong'an New Area in Baoding to advance regional integration, have given significance to hosting the expo in Hebei, Nie says.

Special "reading trucks" drove 16,000 kilometers to visit 117 villages in the province since March to promote reading and gear up for the event.

Highlights included books about the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (Jing-Jin-Ji) integration, children's stories and events featuring writers.

About 10,000 new titles at the expo deal with achievements since the 18th Party Congress or look ahead to the 19th.

People's Publishing House released a series on 80 years of Xinhua Bookstore's development, comprising 33 volumes and 20 million words.

The publisher's head, Huang Shuyuan, says the company is preparing 17 titles. It will later publish a 60-volume series on Vladimir Lenin and a book called Xi Jinping Telling the Stories.

Huangshan Press, Hebei Publishing Group and Anhui Publishing Group released a biography of artist Yan Su, an exemplary member of the Communist Party of China and a composer and playwright. Yan was born in Hebei.

The expo featured a special zone dedicated to the Jing-Jin-Ji integration. The state administration had previously created special publishing zones and environmentally friendly printing bases in Hebei, such as Wuyi county's Belt and Road Creative Cultural Industrial Park.

Li Xiaoming of the Hebei Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, says the province views the integration as a great opportunity to promote its publishing, printing and filmmaking, while making them greener.

Zhu Weifeng of the state administration's policy planning department, says the government will improve the industry's structure to advance creativity-driven development.

The Xiong'an New Area concept was announced in April and is detailed by three titles the Hebei Publishing Group unveiled at the expo.

The Xiong'an Strategy offers analyses to examine the choice of location, types of businesses and institutions that will move in and how to seize the opportunities the strategy offers, says Du Jinqing, the group's president.

Hebei Publishing's other two books on Xiong'an focus on history, geography and culture.

The expo also hosted the 10th China National Readers Festival.

More than 210,000 readers have attended the festival since its 2008 launch, China Publishing Group president Tan Yue noted.

Writer Zhang Yueran recommended The Great Gatsby and The Old Man and the Sea to young readers at this year's event. The writer, who was born in the 1980s, says a certain rebellious spirit is a hallmark of youth.

Hong Kong-based writer Ge Liang says: "The festival's value is connecting with readers. I engage their expectations and find new motivations."

Such celebrated writers as Feng Jicai and Yu Qiuyu released books at the festival. Yu's new work is a collection of essays on self-cultivation.

Children's literature occupied a prominent place at the expo. The state administration partnered with hundreds of publishers to create two lists of recommended books and journals for kids.

Tomorrow Publishing House released a new novel by Qin Wenjun Bao Ta about a 13-year-old boy's adventures.

"It's a story about reality that has great depth that is lacking in some stories for schoolchildren," says Chen Xiang with China Reading Weekly.

China South Publishing & Media Group President Gong Shuguang told a news conference at the expo that original picture books for children and Chinese novels are gaining traction overseas. "Books with strong traditional Chinese features used to lead our sales abroad," Gong says.

meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-18 16:00:00
<![CDATA[Not your regular grandfather]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/18/content_29785964.htm While Wang Deshun is best-known for his impressive physique, the truly inspirational quality about this octogenarian is his tenacity in dealing with the struggles of life

Retirement for most senior citizens in China involves playing mahjong, taking care of their grandchildren and just shooting the breeze with peers at the neighborhood park.

Wang Deshun, however, has other things on his mind.

The 81-year-old says he prefers to "look for trouble" and take on more unconventional tasks that pose a sterner challenge. Despite having to juggle his time between working out at the gym, appearing at fashion shoots and acting in films and television shows, he claims that life for him these days is still too easy.

 

Wang Deshun, who is dubbed "China's hottest grandpa", was recently featured in Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna's latest campaign in China. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

"Age only becomes a barrier if you think about it. There is biological age and there is another that is determined by your state of mind," he says.

Wang first shot to international fame in 2015 after he showed off his toned physique on the runway during China Fashion Week in Beijing. Nearly two years after that event, the octogenarian is still getting inundated with messages on his Sina Weibo page praising him as "inspiring" and being "the ultimate idol". Wang has more than 300,000 followers on the social networking site.

Today, people refer to him as "China's hottest grandpa", and his admirers extend to even luxury fashion houses. Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna has featured him in its latest campaign in China called "Defining Moments". It could be considered quite an honor, considering how Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro is part of the global campaign.

In the campaign video that was shot in Milan, Wang is flanked by actor Sunny Wang as he talks about the moment in his life that defined him.

Wang has become such a recognizable figure that his wife has banned him from accepting media interviews in an attempt to maintain their normal lives. As such, his son, who is also his agent, has been secretly arranging for interviews to be done at the gym where Wang works out daily.

A former colleague and friend of Wang described him as someone who can survive even in the depths of hell. Wang's daughter, Wang Qiu, joked that her father is akin to an imperial concubine when it comes to taking care of his body.

Wang's unusual penchant for hardship could be traced to the moment he was born.

Time of occupation

A native of Shenyang, Liaoning province, he grew up in a time when his home province was occupied by Japanese troops.

Despite his father having a job as a cook, Wang had to scour the train tracks every morning for coal dust that could be exchanged for pancakes, so as to help his parents feed his eight other siblings. He believes his mother gave birth to more than 10 children but only nine survived the harsh winters and hunger.

"Every morning when I left for the train station, I would see two people pushing a cart and picking up dead people who either froze or starved to death. They looked just like garbage collectors picking up trash from the street," he says.

"A biographer once asked me about my relationship with my mother. I told him we didn't have a relationship," he adds.

Before starting his acting career in his early 20s, Wang worked as a bus conductor and a military factory worker. However, he had a yearning to be on a stage, and he sought out this calling by signing up for free training classes offered by the local Workers' Cultural Palace, thus beginning a stage career in his hometown that spanned more than 20 years.

In 1979, after fainting several times on and off the stage, he was diagnosed with autonomic nerve disorder. He attributed it to the Stanislavski's acting system he had embraced. The doctor advised him to stop acting before the disorder developed further into more serious mental problems.

Wang decided to go with a less emotionally draining alternative-pantomime. At the age of 49, he relocated his whole family to Beijing, the only city in China where he believed pantomime would be appreciated. To prepare himself for the role, he joined the only gym in Beijing.

"It wasn't about looking good or leading a healthy lifestyle. I was doing it because you need a good body to convey the message in pantomime," says Wang.

He would labor for hours in the gym every day. He still continues to do so.

The family soon got in on the pantomime actas well. Wang's wife was the playwright and director. His daughter, a student of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, was the piano obbligato. His son became the anchor man and gaffer.

While the family's performances were well received, they nevertheless struggled to make ends meet. Back in the 1980s in Beijing, where it was illegal to rent homes, Wang and his family ended up as vagabonds who had to constantly move between the homes of their friends in the capital.

"Those were tough times, but they were also some of the happiest in my life," he says.

Slowing down

Things started to look up in 1987 when he became the first Chinese actor to perform at the International Pantomime Festival in Germany. In 1989, the pantomime characters he created were included in an encyclopedia of Chinese society.

By the mid-1990s, Wang decided to slow down and do something less physically demanding. He opted to be a body artist who often took to the stage naked and covered in body paint.

Apart from working out four hours a day, he also trained himself to control his breathing so he could appear to be a living sculpture.

In 1994, the book A Hundred Years of History of China in Pictures was published. It opened with Lin Zexu, the Chinese official who fought during China's Opium War. The book ended with Wang's contributions on the stage.

Wang says that his foray into the fashion world via China Fashion Week in Beijing was not something he had planned-it was simply the result of a favor to an acquaintance who was working with Chinese designer Hu Sheguang.

Despite being catapulted to stardom, Wang is insistent that fame has not gone to his head.

If anything, he is still as frugal as before.

"Fame has not changed my life. The way I live today is no different from the past," says Wang, who today lives with his family in Beijing.

"A bowl of rice and some tofu will suffice for a meal."

xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-18 16:00:00
<![CDATA[Gaokao superstitions: Help from beyond]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/18/content_29785963.htm For parents accustomed to being hyperinvolved in every stage of their offsprings' academic careers, the national college entrance examination, also known as gaokao, can feel like two or three days of hopeless futility.

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Purple underwear? Qipao? Anxious test-takers and parents have many rituals for the big day in the hope of successful results

For parents accustomed to being hyperinvolved in every stage of their offsprings' academic careers, the national college entrance examination, also known as gaokao, can feel like two or three days of hopeless futility.

A total of 9.4 million Chinese high school students sit the national college entrance examination this year, which was kicked off on June 7, the Ministry of Education said.

 

Mothers of candidates for the national college entrance examination wear qipao on June 7 to encourage their children to perform well in the examination. Provided to China Daily

Some 3.72 million of these students are expected to enroll in undergraduate degrees following the examination, an increase of nearly 10,000 compared to 2016, according to the 2017 enrollment plan issued by the ministry.

Parents of the students have spent the past year (or three) making their kids give up any semblance of a social life. With their prodigies shut inside the testing center, the only thing for the parents to do was claw at the chain-link fence, glare at passing cars and imagine the worst.

But where human assistance fails, supernatural assistance is always an alternative. You've probably seen the red charms that parents and students have hung in Confucius temples and outside testing centers around the country to pray for a good result, but that's pretty passe.

Maybe it's all that free time, but over the years, anxious parents waiting outside testing centers have come up with an ever-evolving list of superstitious rituals they and their offspring can perform in daily life before, during and after the day's exam activities to ensure all goes well.

It's not exactly clear how these superstitions got started, but this year they've captured the bemused attention of the nice folks at Xinhua News Agency, which prompted several Chinese media outlets to publish helpful summaries: On June 7, the first day of the gaokao, Xinhua photographed a long line of mothers standing outside Shenyang Railway Experimental Secondary School in dazzling qipao. Parents told reporters that an online post of unknown origin that had been making its way through social media whispered to them the homonymous sartorial rules for success in the test.

Here's our translation of the post, found on Weibo:

On the first day of gaokao (students) ought to wear red and green, signaling "red door opening" (an expression usually applied to new businesses and meaning success as soon as one opens their door) and "green light the whole way through". On the second day, students should wear gray (灰 huī) and yellow (黄 huáng), indicating "destined for glory (辉煌 huīhuáng)". Mothers dropping off the test-taker must wear qipao (旗袍 qípáo), as it indicates "success as soon as the flag (旗 qí) is raised (as soon as the battle starts)". Fathers dropping off the exam-taker must wear magua (马褂 mǎguà, a Qing-era vest-like tunic), indicating "success immediately upon the arrival of the warhorse (马 mǎ)".

(Note: These last two expressions are typically used as a pair.)

Other rituals for the exam-taker, according to the list, which was published on Baidu's blogging platform Baijiahao, include this gem: wearing purple underwear. This is due to the expression 紫腚赢 (zǐ dìng yíng) - literally "purple buttocks win", a homonym of 指定赢 (zhǐdìng yíng, a certain win). It's also considered good luck to wear clothes with the Nike logo, as the big checkmark means you'll get all the answers right. By extension, you should not wear any logos that feature a big "X".

You are what you eat

Though several people who took the gaokao in the first decade of the 2000s say that all they did on the morning of the test was eat a fried dough stick and two eggs - signifying a score of 100-the culinary rituals to ensure gaokao success have gotten more sophisticated since then.

One newer tradition is for parents to cook a carp for the test-taker on the evening before or morning of the first day. According to ancient legend, if a carp can jump over the waterfall at Longmen (龙门, "Dragon Gate") Valley on the Yellow River, it will become a dragon. Thus, carpare considered auspicious when you consume them before you undertake any kind of struggle in hope of glorious achievement. The test-taker is supposed to take a bite each from the head, body and tail parts. We've not been able to discover why this is the case.

There are also parents who make their kids eat rice cakes (糕点, gāodiǎn) and zongzi (粽子 zòngzi), which together are a homonym for 高中 (gāozhòng). This is presumably not 高中 (gāozhōng - note the different tones) as in "secondary school", which the kids are now done with, but separate characters meaning "high" and "achievement".

Strength in numbers

In Zhengzhou, Henan province, volunteers commission two public buses to park outside Zhengzhou No 1 Secondary School test center and serve as rest areas for waiting parents. The regular bus numbers are replaced with "211" and "985," the designation used by the Ministry of Education for China's first-tier universities, so parents can feel like they're helping out in a spiritual sense by coming in to rest.

You've been told that eight is a lucky number in China, but not so during the gaokao season. There's an expression in Chinese, 七上八下 (qīshàng bāxià), which means having an anxious and confused state of mind, but it also literally means "seven up, eight down." In this case, some parents go for the literal meaning: When booking a hotel room near the test center, they want rooms that end in 7, and avoid rooms that end in 8.

In the test center

Superstition doesn't end at the gate once the test-taker has been dropped off. There's a saying that when the test-takers receive the exam papers, they have to kiss (吻, wěn) it, to make sure they'll pass the test smoothly (稳, wěn).

There's also a superstition that if you enter the test center from the right and exit from the left (available entrances and exits permitting), it would make things 左右逢源 (zuǒyóu fēng yuán, "all goes smoothly on the left and right"). Do the opposite, and it's 左右为难 (zuǒ yóu wēinán, "difficulty on both left and right"). This is supposedly due to ancient beliefs about the auspiciousness of the right side.

Courtesy of The World of Chinese, www.theworldofchinese.com.cn

The World of Chinese

Word box

高考 gāo kǎo the national college entrance examination

考生 kǎo shēng candidate for an entrance examination

旗袍 qí páo cheongsam

辉煌 huīhuáng glory

糕点, gāodiǎn cakes

高中 gāozhòng get success

指定赢 zhǐdìng yíng a certain win

七上八下 qīshàng bāxià) having an anxious and confused state of mind

左右逢源 zuǒyóu fēng yuán everything goes smoothly on the left and right

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2017-06-18 16:00:00
<![CDATA[China dances to a new, electronic beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/17/content_29783410.htm Though pop has a dominant position in market, it seems that China's music scene is changing and becoming more diverse thanks to electronic dance music

It is midnight and the usually busy streets of Beijing are silent, but Dada Club, a small music venue hidden in an old narrow hutong is just about to come alive with an electronic music feast for restless night crawling hipsters.

"I don't like catchy pop music or mainstream Billboard remixes that they play in most clubs," says Wang Xinzi, a 27-year-old Dada fan says outside the crowded club. "I prefer music that excites me and I can dance to."

In China's culture hubs of Beijing and Shanghai, it is not rare to see electronic music venues such as Dada Club packed on weekday nights especially when the venue has foreign guest DJs performing.

 

Young audiences at the 2016 Storm Festival in Shanghai. Provided to China Daily

Though pop has a dominant position in market, it seems that China's music scene is changing and becoming more diverse.

Last month, thousands of music lovers climbed the Great Wall for an electronic music festival disregarding pouring rain and danced to music by DJs from home and abroad.

The annual Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV-sponsored Storm Electronic Music Festival, being held since 2014, generated 388 million yuan ($57 million) in profit for five cities last year with over 150,000 tickets been sold.

But to break into a market dominated by pop music is not as easy as it sounds.

Netease Cloud Music is one of China's mainstream music websites says one of its most popular electronic music song lists has been hit more than 83 million times. But among the 120 songs on the list, there is hardly any Chinese producer. And, according to Netease data, a third of the users prefer pop.

This is something even artists can relate to. In AB InBev's promotion film Fang, Eason Chan, better known as a pop singer, says that though he would like to go beyond pop into electronic dance music he is unsure how his fans will react.

"I would love to try a different genre and I can definitely dance," he says.

"But most of my fans love my slow pop songs and they want me to sing such songs."

In the film, Eason plays a bartender who guides the main female character to release her inner wild side and enjoy life through electronic music.

In China, electronic music is still a young genre.

Tracing its background, Shen Lijia, the 29-year-old founder of Ran Music, a Beijing electronic music label, says: "Electronic music was introduced to China in the 1990s, and was popular only with those who had lived abroad before."

"And many people still see it as simply messing around with tapes, and the audience dance like it is disco."

"It is not easy to run a young independent music label," says Shen as he has to work as a producer and DJ to keep the label running.

Meanwhile, electronic dance music is becoming trendy for Chinese youth, says Elaine Liu, the connection director of AB-InBev APAC North, who adds: "Electronic dance music always inspires and encourages people to unleash themselves, which is the spirit that we hold dear.

"It's great to witness the growing popularity of electronic music among Chinese youth; more young people are starting to unleash their true selves.

In 2016, tickets for the Storm festival sold out in minutes and the limited edition aluminum Storm bottle became a fashion icon among electronic dance music fans.

Separately, Eric Zho, the CEO of A2LiVE, the China promoter of the Storm Music Festival says this year's event was a way to take Chinese electronic music abroad.

"For a long time the domestic electronic music culture relied on other countries," says Zho.

"This year we will expand the market into Sydney so the world can listen to the music of China."

renxiaojin@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-17 07:36:43
<![CDATA[Chengdu hosts audiovisual art avenue]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/17/content_29783409.htm A 180-meter long audiovisual art avenue made its debut at the International Fashion Walk at Chengdu International Finance Square, Hongxing road in Chengdu, Sichuan province on May 26.

The Sonic Runway is an art installation that uses the difference in speeds between sound and light waves to "visualize" the speed of sound.

The installation comprises illuminations which form an arched corridor.

 

Models walk on the Sonic Runway at the International Fashion Walk at Chengdu International Finance Square, Hongxing road in Chengdu, Sichuan province on May 26. Provided to China Daily

The Sonic Runway is introduced by Chengdu IFS, an urban complex in the city downtown. When the sound waves pass, they trigger the light module along the corridor leading to a reaction. So, no matter where people stand, the lights and sound are in sync.

The runway was developed by US artists Robert Jensen and Warren Trezevant through 15 years of research and development.

Robert Jensen was inspired to produce the work after attending a music festival in 2002 in the Nevada desert.

He found then that when he was at a distance from a dancer, he would see the dancer out of sync with the music, due to the image reaching his eyes before the sound reached his ears. So, he wanted to create a device so that the sound would be "visible".

"The development of science and technology promotes innovation in art. And the Sonic Runway represents the speed of sound through the visualization of light, which synchronizes sound and light, and visualizes sounds," says Jensen.

Meanwhile, along with the runway, a French jazz singer together with performers from the Sichuan Opera presented a crossover performance that blended both art forms.

Separately, three independent designer brands - Yirantian, i.am.chen and WMWM - worked with emerging French fashion brand Faith Connexion to hold a fashion show.

Faith Connexion released a limited-edition jacket exclusively for Chengdu.

The Chengdu International Finance Square signed an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain-des-Pr��s Committee on International Sister Streets, agreeing to jointly undertake a wide-range of cross-cultural exchanges on art, culture, commerce and tourism.

Having a similar natural style and keeping constant pace with the renewal and evolution of the city, the friendship between both Chengdu and Paris is one that has been established naturally.

"Chengdu's housing prices are relatively affordable. Consumption habit here is more about leisure, not so much of life pressure, People in general have a huge demand for gastronomy, clothing and luxury. And the consumption is mainly for self-use. This helps to stimulate domestic demand greatly," says Christina Hau, general manager for operations at Wharf China Estates.

zhanglei@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-17 07:36:43
<![CDATA[Major electronic entertainment show offers glimpse of future]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/17/content_29783408.htm E3, the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, opened Tuesday in Los Angeles with thousands of video game enthusiasts, analysts and industry representatives in attendance to play and show off the latest technology that will soon be hitting store shelves.

The show at the Los Angeles Convention Center has typically only been open to those in the industry and media that cover it. But this year organizers allowed 15,000 members of the general public onto the show floor.

"This is like the Mecca of the gaming industry so to be here is like a huge honor to be able to come here and see what's going on and get the first glimpse of all the greatest stuff coming out," said Bob Lease, who traveled from Pennsylvania to attend the show.

Analysts say one of the biggest announcements this year came from Microsoft with the release of its Xbox One X, claimed to be the most powerful gaming console ever made.

It's intended to push the boundaries of gaming to make even more realistic visuals, said Ian Sherr, executive editor at CNET News.

"They're trying to make them look like almost real life," he said. "They want to be the video industry in the movie industry."

Aside from the usual advancements and sequels to long-standing games, virtual reality was again on display with what show organizers said was a more than 130 percent increase in exhibitors over last year's event.

"If they can make devices that can power virtual reality headsets well," Sherr said, "they're going to be on the cusp of a new technology that's really starting to take over the industry."

The expo run through Thursday with about 60,000 people attending.

Associated Press

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2017-06-17 07:36:43
<![CDATA[Marriott Poised For Aggressive Expansion]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/17/content_29783372.htm Marriott International announced at the International Luxury Travel Market Asia fair in Shanghai earlier this month that it plans to double its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, and particularly in China.

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Hospitality giant, currently the largest in the world following its merger with Starwood, aims to open another 53 luxury hotels in China, Xu Junqian reports from Shanghai.

Marriott International announced at the International Luxury Travel Market Asia fair in Shanghai earlier this month that it plans to double its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, and particularly in China.

Last September, Marriott International created the world's largest hotel company when it merged with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The company now operates more than 6,100 properties, including eight luxury hotel brands such as Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels and Edition, a collaboration with Ian Schrager, who is widely dubbed the "king of boutique hotels".

Seven of these eight brands had been introduced to China as of the end of 2016, building a network of 46 luxury hotels in the country. Ritz-Carlton Reserve is the only brand that has yet to enter China.

There are another 53 luxury properties in the hospitality group's development pipeline for China, accounting for almost half of the new luxury properties planned for the Asia-Pacific region. Marriott International is preparing to open another 200 luxury properties around the world.

 

"The Asia-Pacific region continues to see growing numbers of high-net-worth individuals, which, combined with dynamic economic growth, has created a strong increase in demand for luxury hotel experiences," said Peggy Fang Roe, chief sales and marketing officer for the Asia-Pacific at Marriott International.

According to the Chinese Luxury Traveler 2017 Report, released during the four-day ILTM event by Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute, the nation's wealthy spent an average of 380,000 yuan ($55,900) on family travel last year. The report is based on a survey of 334 affluent Chinese from 12 cities who have an average personal wealth of 22 million yuan.

However, Fang Roe notes that the luxury traveler of today is more defined by their behavior and attitude rather than personal wealth. "We definitely see that luxury travelers are becoming younger, but there is also the changing attitude toward the concept of luxury that is impacting the industry," she said.

Fang Roe pointed out that while the elderly generation might be more inclined to save and reward themselves with just one or two trips after retirement, the post 1980s and 1990s crowd have adopted a carpe diem attitude and are willing to spend all their monthly earnings on a luxury trip.

She attributes this trend to their exposure to globalization, the accessibility to information and technology, as well as the need to express themselves.

Compared with their US or European counterparts, Chinese luxury travelers are believed to be more adventurous in terms of exploring the world, said Fang Roe.

"It's not about going to places far away, but to places others have never been to. It seems like luxury travelers today want to be the first to experience something, to be the trendsetter and leader. In contrast, the mindsets of travelers in other major luxury travel markets like the US still value high-end experiences. They may just hop from one Ritz-Carlton to another for a getaway," she said.

This shift in consumption behavior is also influencing Marriott's decisions when it comes to choosing the Chinese cities to expand in.

"In China, we don't define cities as first or second-tier cities. It's more about destinations. The best example is Sanya, Hainan province, where we have 23 hotels. No first-tier cities would have so many hotels," she added.

The other upcoming destination is Changsha, Hunan province, where the group is planning to add a JW Marriott and W Hotel. It currently operates a St. Regis hotel in the city.

"I wouldn't have thought we could have one luxury hotel there. But because of the increasing focus on entertainment and food there, plus the accessibility of the city, we believe we could create a unique experience in Changsha," she said.

According to the Hurun Report, Ritz-Carlton has taken the crown from Hilton as the favorite hotel destination among Chinese luxury travelers in 2016, with its popularity growing by 19 percent over the last two years. However, the report also noted that unlike airline memberships or preferences, hotel loyalty is more likely to change.

Contact the writer at xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2017-06-17 07:19:58
<![CDATA[Westin Shimei Bay focuses on providing multifaceted wellness]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/17/content_29783371.htm The breath of early summer is mixed with the humid air from the sea, the aroma of flowers and palms, the reddening sky and the rhythm of rain and wind blowing over the green mountains.

That is the moment when you wake up in the morning to the twittering of birds and chirping of crickets, open the curtains, go downstairs and walk along the mile-long sandy beach to await the day's first ray of sunshine.

If you are lucky enough to see the rainbow across the sea before sunrise, you would have witnessed the most picturesque scene at Shimei Bay, a primitive and clean beach in Wanning on the southeastern coast of Hainan province.

Consisting of two crescent-shaped gulfs, the bay stretches some 7 kilometers and is surrounded by low hills and dense forests including coconut trees, areca palms and the 4,000-year-old woods of vatica xishuangbannaensis, a critically endangered tropical tree.

With the azure sea, silver sand, untouched islands, crystal streams and marvelous stones, Shimei Bay is renowned as a natural reserve and the most beautiful untapped gulf in Hainan.

It is also where the Westin Shimei Bay Resort is located, a place with tranquility, a cozy environment, natural wonders and health benefits.

Situated between the verdant mountain forests and the warm waters of the South China Sea, the resort is a private and quiet destination for people who would like to escape from the urban hustle and bustle and pursue inner peace through a balanced travel experience.

"Recently, China's tourism market has been rising at home and abroad. More and more tourists are paying attention to healthy experiences during their travels," said Mike Fulkerson, vice-president of brand marketing for the Asia-Pacific region of the hospitality giant Marriott International, owner of Westin Hotels & Resorts.

"We are proud that Westin can help its customers to maintain their best state in their journeys through a series of healthy plans and services," Fulkerson said.

In 2014, Westin launched its well-being movement to make health a core of its brand value through projects such as transformation facilities, innovative activities, cooperation with sports brands and celebrity endorsements in different markets around the world.

Last week, the resort initiated a health program, Let's Rise in Wanning, the first of its kind in the world.

Andy Kong, director of brand and marketing for the Asia-Pacific region of Marriott International, said Westin has already helped customers to balance their work and life, and the Let's Rise program aims to encourage them to speak proudly about their best moments while traveling.

"The key to Westin's health concept lies in six factors: sleep well, eat well, feel well, work well and play well," he said. "We offer customers fun activities such as shell carving and painting, ceramic crafts, self-made chocolates and coffee and voyages.

"From jogging, yoga, sailing and fishing to organic food, fruits and vegetables, from the heavenly bed to the wooden design and white tea fragrance of the lobby, Westin not only delivers a healthy concept, but also offers detailed and tailored services in all aspects."

wangjinhui@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The Westin Shimei Bay Resort is situated between the forests and the waters of the South China Sea.Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-17 07:19:58
<![CDATA[Four Seasons Beijing teaches care for mind and body]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/17/content_29783370.htm The Global Wellness Day kicked off in Four Seasons Hotel Beijing on June 10, unveiling its exclusive spa treatments and wellness training to participants.

With the theme of "changing your whole life in one day", the event provided a package of solutions to improve patrons' wellness at the spa center.

In the morning, participants started their day by performing morning awakening exercises under the supervision of an Indian professional guide.

They then experienced the slow and purposeful movements of a tai chi session with their master, getting a better understanding of health preservation and rehabilitation in Chinese philosophy.

To learn more about the spine's protection and how it influences overall health, an expert delivered an all-round session at the Sports Rehabilitation Center.

To address the essence of wellness throughout the whole day, participants were treated to a light healthy lunch, where oily and salty foods were noticeably absent from the serving table.

After lunch, a dietitian shared her expertise on the nutrient allocation among three meals in one day and the way to maintain enough nutrient supply after exercise.

In the afternoon, the participants enjoyed a lecture on tea, one hour of yoga meditation and a talk on facial skin care.

"The Global Wellness Day held in this hotel refreshed my understanding of wellness," said a microblog author under the name Guizhou Housewife. "Setting aside the hustle and bustle of daily life, the whole day's activities relieved my pressure and made me relax. The colorful healthy lunch foods also inspired a sense of happiness."

Michael Newcombe, chair of Four Seasons Global Spa and Wellness Task Force, said: "My definition of wellness is a balanced lifestyle. Nutrition, relaxation, sleep and fitness are harmonized together as a recipe to suit you.

"The beauty of our goal on wellness is to give people a chance to disconnect from technology by coming to our spa," Newcombe said.

During the spa treatment, the team helps customers to relax and avoid the pressures of life, even if for a short moment, he said.

As the world's leading operator of luxury hotels, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts currently manages 104 properties in 43 countries, with more than 50 additional projects in development.

It has opened hotels in many major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. It plans to eventually open more in China.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-17 07:19:58
<![CDATA[Roundup]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/17/content_29783369.htm Appointment

Zhang Xin has been appointed director of sales and marketing of The St. Regis Tianjin.

Vip Guests

Michael Bay, director of Transformers, was warmly greeted by Anthony Gain, general manager of Park Hyatt Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong province, on Wednesday.

Openings

The Yuluxe Sheshan Shanghai, the first property of the Tribute Portfolio brand owned by Marriott International on the Chinese mainland, opened in late May. Adjacent to the Sheshan National Tourism Resort, the hotel has 325 guestrooms, each providing a view of Sheshan Mountain or Yuehu Lake.

Anantara Guiyang Resort opened in the capital of Southwest China's Guizhou province in early June, marking the luxury brand's third property on the Chinese mainland. Just 15 minutes from the city's airport, the new hotel is near hot springs, lakes and waterfalls, karst caves, valleys and forests.

Treats To Fathers

The Beer Garden at Swissotel Beijing will offer two-for-one beers for all fathers on Sunday to celebrate Father's Day. Royal German beer Koenig Ludwig, leading icon of dark lager Koenig Ludwig Dunkel and exquisite wheat beer specialty Koenig Ludwig Weissbier will provide authentic German flavors. 010-6553-2288 Ext 2127

Anniversary

Fine Furniture's 10th anniversary celebration, held at the Shanghai Tower on Monday, attracted some 300 participants, including designers, dealers and VIP guests. Song Huang, general manager of Fine Furniture, said he hopes that more Chinese consumers can experience the pure United States style of the furniture supplier.

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2017-06-17 07:19:58
<![CDATA[Heritage gets a boost]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773253.htm Recent fashion events in Beijing have given new meaning to intangible cultural heritage. The shows celebrating Chinese garments were held at Prince Gong's Mansion recently.

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An exhibition on Suzhou embroidery, which is known for its subtlety, brings to the fore its long history. Sun Yuanqing reports.

Recent fashion events in Beijing have given new meaning to intangible cultural heritage. The shows celebrating Chinese garments were held at Prince Gong's Mansion recently.

The events, supported by the department of intangible cultural heritage under the Ministry of Culture, were organized by the China National Garment Association, the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, the organizing committee of China Fashion Week and Minzu University of China.

The shows, held over June 5-10, included an exhibition on Suzhou embroidery, which dates back to more than 2,000 years and is known for its subtlety.

The exhibition showcased garments, paintings, and demonstrated the skills of the makers.

Three academic forums were held during the period - on Suzhou embroidery, traditional attire and traditional weaving and printing, respectively.

Six fashion shows were also held as fashion brands demonstrated how they were enlivening Chinese garment culture.

The collections showcased traditional handcrafts - Su embroidery, Jing embroidery, Cantonese embroidery and Chinese silk tapestry - to demonstrate how traditional craftsmanship can not only survive but thrive.

At the fashion shows, NE Tiger showed qipao - gowns and wedding dresses featuring Su embroidery. It also showcased replicas of costumes from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Liang Zi's collection featured Chinese silk treated with a special plant juice, while Zhao Yufeng's collection featured clothes for a family, from a grandfather to young children.

Meanwhile, the Eve Group used ethnic Miao embroidery in its clothing for men and women.

In the clothes, traditional Miao embroidery was updated to cater to modern tastes.

Eve, which has been in the business for 23 years, has a team that specializes in discovering and documenting traditional Chinese craftsmanship.

It has a huge database of Chinese craftsmen and women and their works, and has been used extensively in its collections, exhibitions and runway shows in Milan, London and Paris in recent years.

Eve has also set up an alliance of local brands so that its members can benefit from the database.

The brand has also helped build a museum in Guizhou province that exhibits works by the embroiderers.

"These people (the embroiderers) are preserving heritage with their hands. I want to share their craftsmanship with the world, to let it see the beauty of our country," says Xia Hua, founder and chairwoman of the Eve Group.

Sun Xuguang, director of the Beijing Prince Gong Palace Museum says: "We hope that the events will promote ties between artisans and the textile industry."

"We want to reinterpret traditional craftsmanship with creativity and nurture brands. We also want to pay tribute to the artisans by protecting and rejuvenating our cultural heritage," he says.

The museum is an avid promoter of Chinese culture, and will hold shows every June to celebrate the country's intangible cultural heritage.

After the fashion shows, it will launch its Kunqu Opera show season to celebrate Chinese opera art.

Meanwhile, Yang Jian, deputy director of the China National Garment Association, says the textile industry should invest more to bring traditional craftsmanship into the fashion industry in terms of design, branding and manufacturing.

The Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, the top university of fashion design in the country, has been stressing the value of traditional craftsmanship in its curriculum, says Jia Ronglin, deputy dean of the institute.

Contact the writer at sunyuanqing@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Models show creations of fashion brands that demonstrate how they enliven Chinese garments at a recent runway show at Prince Gong's Mansion in Beijing. Photos By Jiang Dong / China Daily And Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Art market eyes rebound as Basel fair kicks off]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773252.htm BASEL, Switzerland - The global art market appeared to collectively sigh with relief as deep-pocketed collectors descended on Art Basel this week after two years of dwindling sales.

The world's biggest contemporary art fair opens to the public on Thursday, but VIPs got an advance peak at the vast array of artworks for sale.

They range from 20th century masters like Pablo Picasso to today's cutting-edge creations.

Nearly 300 galleries representing more than 4,000 artists from around the world have put their best goods on display at the show, which has become unmissable for sellers and collectors alike.

"The mood is very, very strong," enthuses Art Basel director Marc Spiegler.

"There are great collectors here. Great artworks. There is a very good energy. Very good atmosphere," he said ahead of the public opening, adding that "sales are being made".

That is good news for the global art market, which in 2016 was valued at $56.6 billion - down 11 percent from a year earlier, according to a study by Swiss banking giant UBS, the fair's organizers.

It was down a full 17 percent compared to 2014, when the global art market reached its pinnacle value of $68.2 billion, before geopolitical turbulence put the breaks on investors' ebullience.

As a sign the pendulum may be swinging back in their favor, 116 private jets were expected at Basel airport on Tuesday when rich collectors descended on the show - 18 more than last year.

Galleries boasted numerous large sales in the first hours after their booths opened.

"We did a few sales around a million dollars," says Mathias Rastorfer, head of the Gallery Gmurzynska. Works by Fernand Leger, Wilfredo Lam, and Roberto Matta were among those that found new homes, he says.

Marc Glimcher, president of Pace Gallery, agrees that "Art Basel is fantastic this year."

His gallery sold about a quarter of its booth within the first hour, he says, mainly pocketing checks in the $100,000 to $800,000 range.

And he says most of the multimillion-dollar pieces were already on reserve for museums, while he had numerous collectors vying for a $6.5-million David Hockney.

Brett Gorvy of the new Levy Gorvy gallery also hailed the "fantastic energy" at the fair. Works were selling "very, very quickly", including an Alberto Burri piece for $4.5 million.

The gallery also had Jean-Michel Basquiat's painting Baby Boom on reserve, the asking price $32 million.

But while the high-end galleries and the top artists are raking in sales, they acknowledge that the entire market is not faring as well.

"The top end, if you want to say the bluechips, have become so strong that it has in some ways disadvantaged the middle market," says Andreas Leventis, associate director at Lisson Gallery in London.

This is because mid-level artists are "neither a sure thing or just affordable enough to be a viable risk, from a purely investment point of view," he says.

Rastorfer agrees that there have been "some corrections in the contemporary middle section ... I think they are having a harder time."

When the market is booming and "everything is going up, you don't need much expertise. It just goes up," he says.

But when times are a bit more challenging, "you go to a gallery like us, because we focus on expertise and knowledge," he says.

Agence France - Presse

A man observes Invisible Laura by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa during the Art Basel on Tuesday. Reuters

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Footwear brand backs panda protection]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773251.htm Fashion is often under attack by animal welfare and rights advocates, but there are exceptions.

The US footwear brand Toms released its new limited edition collection Panda Pals in collaboration with WildAid, an environmental organization based in San Francisco.

The collection offers five styles for men, women and kids, all highlighting the images of pandas, in a message to protect the endangered species.

In 2014, the brand created Toms "animal initiative" to partner with non-profit organizations and help them with their conservation efforts. They have supported gorillas, elephants, rhinoceros, big cats and sea turtles. This year, the brand is focused on the giant panda found in China's Sichuan province.

"I have always been passionate about mother Earth and all the resources it provides us and animals are such a big part of that. It's important that I do all I can to protect them," says Heather Mycoskie, the wife of brand founder Blake Mycoskie.

She visited the Chengdu Panda Research Base last year and learned about the educational programs and advocacy work WildAid supports.

"It was incredible to see the beautiful creatures up close and it furthered my passion to help spread global awareness," she says.

"Blake's goal is to continue to be a leader and inspire other companies to give back to those in need. It's so important for us to make this world a better place and we will continue to challenge ourselves and others to improve."

Toms initiative looks for research organizations to partner and will continue to support a different animal group annually, says Mycoskie.

During a trip to Argentina in 2006, Blake Mycoskie saw the plight of the local kids, which inspired him to establish Toms in the United States.

Since then, Toms has practiced a one-for-one concept. With every pair of Toms shoes purchased, a pair is given to a child in need. In addition, a portion of the proceeds is given to the NGO partner to support its conservation efforts.

Since 2006, the brand has given over 70 million new pairs of shoes globally.

The company also has developed its own sunglasses, coffee and bag lines, where it uses this concept.

 

Heather Mycoskie, wife of Toms' brand founder Blake Mycoskie, talks about their new collection Panda Pals in collaboration with WildAid. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Bathroom specialist opens gallery]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773250.htm What is an architect's vision of a bathroom? Renowned Chinese architect Ma Yansong recently gave his answer with the Roca gallery in Beijing.

Spanish bathroom manufacturer Roca opened its sixth gallery in the bustling area of Dongzhimen in the Chinese capital.

The first Roca gallery opened in Barcelona in 2009, followed by Madrid, Lisbon, London and Shanghai.

Other designers who have created the galleries include Zaha Hadid Architects and Charles Ferrater.

China is the only country after Spain that has two Roca global galleries.

The Beijing space uses transparent glazed walls, connecting the inside with the outside. It also has dynamic visual and acoustic effects to deliver an experience that mixes architecture, technology and design.

"I hope that the Roca Beijing Gallery can become a positive, vivid corner of the urban community, connecting people and a city in the simplest way," says Ma, MAD Architects' founding principal.

One of the most prominent Chinese architects, Ma is know for his unconventional designs like the award-winning Absolute Towers in Mississauga in Canada.

The gallery also serves as a venue that showcases Roca's wares from the Armani/Roca collection.

Speaking about the new gallery, Raimundo Garcia-Figueras, senior managing director of Roca Asia Bathroom, says: "The aim is to have open spaces, to have good communication with society. It's not just for Beijing. It's not only for China. It is for the world."

China, which is one of the top markets for Roca alongside Europe, Brazil, India and Russia, has been evolving rapidly with its internet of things and e-commerce, he says.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the company, and Roca, which now sells in 170 countries, soon plans to have an exhibition in Shanghai to celebrate its history.

 

Raimundo Garcia-Figueras, senior managing director, Roca Asia Bathroom. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[French kiss]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773249.htm Twenty-plus years after launching Wedome, the French bakery that has become ubiquitous in Beijing, it seems that the fun for founder Huang Li is just beginning.

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Wedome savors its success as a culinary bridge between China and France as the bakery chain gears up for national expansion, the founder tells Mike Peters.

Twenty-plus years after launching Wedome, the French bakery that has become ubiquitous in Beijing, it seems that the fun for founder Huang Li is just beginning.

With about 350 stores, 300 of them in the capital, the company is poised for a major expansion. Right now, Shanghai looms as the shining city on a hill.

"In our Beijing stores," says the company's managing director, "we sell about 50 fresh baguettes every day. In Shanghai stores, we sell 300."

Long an international city, Shanghai is also a far more competitive market for Western food, but that doesn't faze Huang.

"The competition is big, but the market is bigger," he says with a grin.

"With the base and infrastructure we have in Beijing," he adds, "we are ready to do things on a big scale."

Many would say the company already does just that, with a new store opening every week and an average of 100,000 customers flowing through the entire chain daily. Wedome reported sales of 1.14 billion yuan ($168 million) in 2016.

Upgraded stores with casual seating offer customers a chance to rest and have a quick bite, but Huang acknowledges that even these stores don't have quite the feel of the French cafes he loves when he visits Paris. "There it is a big pleasure to sit outdoors and linger over coffee and pastries," he says. "In Beijing, it's much harder to do that."

In every other way, however, Wedome has proved adept at bringing the French bakery culture to China.

Wedome's base and infrastructure includes a prestigious pool of suppliers who provide cream, fruit jam and yeast from France, cranberries from the United States, cheese from Australia, yellow peaches from South Africa and eggs from China. The imported ingredients give Wedome's products a stamp of both quality and authenticity, Huang says.

"We were the first company to introduce real French-style bread - in China," he says. The first store, which opened at Fuchengmen in Beijing in 1996, featured an open kitchen, and the big windows allowed customers to see how baguettes and other breads and Western-style pastries are made.

"The experience of the bread is very important," Huang says. "We want our customers to see - and smell - the entire process. That makes them more likely to buy, and more satisfied when they do."

Wedome's patina of authenticity has earned national prizes for its baguettes, "gold brick" bread (with cheese filling), French-style mooncakes (with chocolate-cheese filling), natural cream cakes and other goodies.

But such recognition hasn't come only from China.

Huang was awarded the Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit (France) by French Ambassador Maurice Gourdault-Montagne on June 2. In March, Gourdault-Montagne named Wedome the promotional ambassador for French bread in acknowledgment of its promotion of French bread in China.

Every year, Huang's team makes a study tour to explore bakery trends in France and to visit Wedome's suppliers, and the brands roll out the red carpet. On recent visits, Wedome received cooperation medals from President, Elle&Vile and Lesaffre, the premium yeast brand that wowed a young Huang when he was an apprentice baker in Guangdong many years ago. He has maintained and profited from those relationships as he's built Wedome: Today, for example, the company is President's third-largest cream client in the world and the largest in China. Last year, Huang was presented with a special honor by the French MOF Association, and Wedome was awarded the international elite bakery in the 2016 World Bread Cup.

Huang says it's not surprising that Chinese embrace French traditions easily.

"Many European countries have industrialized to a point where they become rather alike," he says, "while France clings to a profound sense of its culture. That resonates in China, where there is a 5,000-year-old culture. We pay a lot of attention to civil life here, so we appreciate that in others. "We share a sensibility about food and art with the French," he says, adding that Wedome has organized a French bread festival complete with a fashion show every year since 2013.

The event coincides with new bakery introductions, which this year include the sacristain, which is an almond puff-pastry cookie, and the napoleon, a traditional French favorite made with layered puff pastry and cream.

Much has been said about Chinese taste for sweets, or the lack of it. Huang says Wedome's research team never changes the traditional ingredients when developing a new recipe, but they cut the amounts of sugar and butter a little.

He laughs when asked about the company's French-style mooncakes.

"It's a little bit of magic, really - there are no mooncakes in France," he says. But there's more to it than simply filling a mooncake with French ingredients like chocolate, blackberry and cheese. "The technique is important, too: We make the mooncake in a truly French way, with a crispy cookie shell."

Huang is energized as he describes mooncake-making or his fascination with the French yeast Lesaffre as a bakery apprentice years ago. I ask him if he ever dons an apron himself these days, to train new bakers or test a new pastry recipe.

He quickly shakes his head. He's busy with administrative duties, he says, adding that his role in the company is not in the kitchen.

But he still enjoys sinking his fingers into pastry dough at home.

"I do it to relax," he says, smiling. "Deep in my heart, I am still a guy who loves to make bread."

Contact the writer at michaelpeters@chinadaily.com.cn

Wedome's new introductions this year include L'allumette de Lyon.

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Sino-Italian food safety forum targets fakes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773248.htm Enhancing cooperation with China on food safety is crucial to defend "Made in Italy" products on the global market, according to Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina.

"It is crucial for Italy to cooperate more and more with China at institutional level," Martina says.

"More specifically, we need to strengthen all areas of legislative convergence, in terms of protection and promotion of our (agribusiness) productions, and on some specific plant-health and technical-commercial issues that have to be managed together," he adds.

The official made his remarks in an interview on the sidelines of a food safety conference organized by LUISS University and the Chinese embassy in the Italian capital on Tuesday.

Several experts from both countries came together to discuss the best way to improve food safety, protect culinary excellences in both countries, and fight counterfeit food.

Cooperation between Italy and China on this front has been developing within the "Sino-Italian Food Safety Dialogue" since 2013.

"Our ultimate goal is to build an ever deeper partnership, providing our agrofood products to the Chinese context in the right way, and- at the same time - recognizing the specificity of the Chinese experience here in Italy," Martina says.

Discussions at the conference also concerned e-commerce, and Martina mentioned the recent agreement signed between Italy and Chinese online platform Alibaba as a model.

"It is an exemplary case on how to create a good interaction between public and private at an international level and in a crucial sector such as e-commerce," the minister says.

The agreement was signed in September 2016, setting up a mechanism of both promotion and protection of Made-in-Italy agricultural products for the online sales on the Chinese platform.

Fighting counterfeit food is key to the Italian economy. The food-and-wine industry is its second largest manufacturing sector, accounting for some 8 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Counterfeit food, especially imported wine, is an old problem in China as well, and both provincial and national authorities have acted recently to tighten controls and traceability, eager to promote food safety and to legitimize imports for tax collection.

Counterfeit Italian foods on international markets in 2015 were estimated at over 60 billion euros ($67 billion), research by Italy's largest farmer association Coldiretti showed.

"I am glad Italy is the country that has been investing more in this partnership so far, and the only country to have built such relationship with a double objective," Martina says. "Promoting our products was not enough for us."

"We asked Alibaba to develop specific protection tools, because the fight against fake Italian foods is a necessary pre-condition to be able to support the real Made in Italy," he says.

Xinhua

 

Italian spaghetti, traditional cuisine of the country. Experts from Italy and China had a forum to discuss the best way to improve food safety and protect culinary excellence in both countries. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Eat bet]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773247.htm Beijing

Taste of Peru

Pachakutiq, the dinnertime eatery in Beijing's Sanlitun Soho, is celebrating its one year anniversary this weekend in that space (it's a Cafe Flatwhite in the daytime) with a new Nikkei menu. Hip and colorful Nikkei cuisine is a fusion of traditional Peruvian with Japanese cuisine, which came to that South American land via centuries of settlers. If you can resist the pisco sour options with your meal, try the restaurant's refreshing new house-made beer, made with quinoa.

No B1-239 in Sanlitun Soho, 8 Gongti Lu, Chaoyang district. 131-2169-1411.

Peaceful retreat

Looking for a chill space to hang out on a summer's evening? The new Zen Garden at the Westin Beijing Financial Street offers a waterfall setting, savory snacks, smoothies, cigars and whisky, 53 kinds of beer and 35 crafted cocktails - a combination sure to induce some tranquility after a hard day's work. A giant birdcage with seating for two might seem a little claustrophobic, but it may be just the ticket for lovebirds.

9B Financial Street, Xicheng district. 010-6629-7825.

Hospitality awards

Hotel executives from around Beijing gathered at the Four Seasons hotel on Tuesday for a dinner hosted by Fred Tibbitts, whose Southeast Asia-based organization promotes social entrepreneurship. Fred Tibbitts & Associates annually honors outstanding hospitality leaders in every region of the globe, and 2017 awards for the Asia Pacific were presented to Antoine Chahwan, regional VP and GM at the Four Seasons Singapore, for excellence as an operator, and to Rainer Stampfer, president of hotel operations for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, for lifetime excellence. Tibbitts hosts relationship-building, hospitality humanitarian dinners at Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Bangkok, New Delhi, and New York City each year to benefit humanitarian work in Thailand and Cambodia.

Hong Kong

Meat for Dad

Gaucho has launched its Argentinian all-you-can-eat and drink Veuve Clicquot brunch, where dads can dine for free on Sunday. The feast includes mini empanadas, slow-braised back ribs, a variety of ceviches, and succulent prime cuts of grass-fed Argentinian steak. Non-beef lovers can enjoy the salt-baked chicken with grilled lemon, or the lighter seabream risotto served with lemon and basil. The self-service dessert bar includes the banana-and-coconuts mess, the indulgent chocolate brownie and Gaucho's decadent signature dulce de leche cheesecake. For Father's Day only, brunch has been extended to the evening (6 pm-11 pm) as well.

11 am-4 pm, 5/F, LHT Tower, 31 Queens Road Central, Central district.

China Daily

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Ageless star power]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773246.htm With more than 100 films to her credit since her debut in 1971, Isabelle Huppert is known as one of the best actresses in the world.

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French actress Isabelle Huppert charms Chinese audiences in a return visit to three mainland cities. Chen Nan reports.

With more than 100 films to her credit since her debut in 1971, Isabelle Huppert is known as one of the best actresses in the world.

When she made her recent trip to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, the 64-year-old French star received long-standing ovations from the audiences during her three live performances.

Her readings of French author Marguerite Duras' L'Amant (The Lover) were part of Croisements Festival 2017, one of the biggest foreign cultural events in China since its launch in 2006.

The novel was published in 1984 and was adapted into a film in 1992, which stars Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Ka-fai and British actress Jane March.

"Marguerite Duras was a great writer. The novel L'Amant has been translated into many languages and is celebrated globally. I chose to read this novel also because the story is about a young woman's love affair with a Chinese man," says Huppert, who wrapped up her reading performances in China on Wednesday at Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing.

In her reading, Huppert didn't cover all the content from the novel but focused on the love story.

"Like acting, reading is also my interpretation of the roles," she says.

In 2015, she read from French author Marquis de Sade's novels Justine and Juliette at the Festival d'Avignon, an annual arts festival held in Avignon, France.

"Reading has been threatened by modern life. But I couldn't spend my life without reading," the actress says. "I cannot live in a house without books."

During her short stay in China, besides reading the novel, the actress also shared her thoughts about films. She talked with Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke at Shanghai Culture Square and met her fans at Guangzhou Grand Theater and the China Film Art Research Center in Beijing.

"In China, most actresses who appear on the screen are young and good-looking. Age seems to be a limit for Chinese actresses," says Jia, whose film Still Life won the Golden Lion Award for best film at the 2006 Venice Film Festival.

"One exceptional thing about Huppert is that she is capable of being strong and clever on screen even now."

In her career of more than four decades, Huppert has taken on some challenging female roles, including the best-known in Michael Haneke's 2001 film, The Piano Teacher, which won her the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Her latest, Elle by Paul Verhoeven, won her the Golden Globe Award for best actress and a nomination for the Academy Award for best actress.

"Films enable me to experience the lives of women. Most of them are suffering, struggling and vulnerable, however, they pursue who they are and fight against their destiny," Huppert says.

"Nowadays, women are aware of fighting for their rights. They realize their value and beauty," she adds. "Women's voices also need to be heard more clearly in the film world."

In June 2009, Huppert came to Beijing for the first time to attend the exhibition Isabelle Huppert: Woman of Many Faces, as part of that year's Croisements Festival, which was held at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

The photo exhibition, initiated by the Museum of Modern Art/P. S. 1, New York, gathered about 100 photo and video portraits of the French actress created by a multigenerational, international group of leading photographers.

The Chinese show included works by young Chinese artists, including Yang Fudong, Wen Fang and Shi Xiaofan.

As an actress, Huppert says, she never prepares herself, given her passion for the characters.

"I am lazy. I didn't even read the original novel before acting in The Piano Teacher. I enjoy acting in the moment. The sensitivity and freshness are important," she says.

"I am not afraid of aging. Like every one, actors age. It's natural," she adds.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Isabelle Huppert shares with Chinese fans her passion for acting and reading during her recent tour of the country. Jiang Dong / China Daily

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Grammy Awards embrace online voting]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773245.htm NEW YORK - The Grammy Awards are transitioning to online voting and have updated rules for its top category, album of the year.

The Recording Academy announced changes on Wednesday, including its official switch to online voting for its 13,000 members. Voting for the 2018 Grammy Awards will take place in the fall and will include songs and albums released between Oct 1, 2016, and Sept 30, 2017.

Bill Freimuth, the academy's senior vice-president of awards, says the academy expects to attract younger voters and touring musicians who are away from home during voting season.

"It is something that has been long-desired, long-talked about and long-investigated," he says of online voting, which comes a year after the Latin Grammys made the switch.

Freimuth says there were concerns about security issues, but adds that organizers have "done everything we can to make sure the integrity of the system will be preserved".

Another major change is the addition of songwriters to the nominees for album of the year, which was previously reserved for artists, producers and engineers. However, all participants in the album, including featured artists, songwriters, producers and engineers, must now be credited with at least 33 percent or more playing time on the album to be eligible for nomination. Before the new rule, all participants on an album would earn a nomination for album of the year even if they worked on one song.

The album of the year rule change would mainly affect pop, rap and contemporary R&B albums where producers typically vary throughout the project, as opposed to country and rock albums, where fewer producers are present.

Beyonce's Lemonade, Drake's Views and Justin Bieber's Purpose - all nominees this year for album of the year - each had at least 20 producers credited. Adele's 25, which won the top prize in February, had 11 producers. The fifth nominee was country singer Sturgill Simpson, who produced his album by himself.

"Does participation on a single track on a 12 - or 15-track album really signify that they really worked on the album? When it was put that way most people were saying, 'No, not really,'" Freimuth says.

If the new rule had been implemented at this year's show, Bruno Mars and Ryan Tedder wouldn't have earned Grammys for their production work on Adele's album.

The Grammy Awards have 83 categories. Nominees will be announced Nov 28, and the 60th awards show will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan 28, 2018.

Associated Press

Beyonce performs at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Feb 12. Reuters

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Rocker Wang ready for new national tour]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/16/content_29773244.htm Wang Feng strides quickly toward a posh hotel ballroom with six bodyguards in tow.

As the doormen pull open the white door handles, Wang steps into the limelight.

The 45-year-old singer-songwriter has enjoyed his fame as one of the most influential rock stars in China for more than two decades, thanks to upbeat songs such as Flying Higher, Brave Heart and Blooming Life.

Wrapped in a black suit, Wang adjusts his trademark black-framed glasses and starts talking.

He quickly gets on a roll talking about his upcoming national tour, titled The Times Tour, and a new album that will be released this year.

He will kick off the tour from the iconic National Stadium in Beijing on Sept 9 and will visit 30 cities across the Chinese mainland throughout 2017 and 2018.

"I'll give the audience everything - and more than they can enjoy from CDs," he says.

"I will release two or more new songs online before the tour as a warmup," he adds. "This new album is about many great moments in my life during the past three years."

The singer-songwriter, who says he writes new material every day, has the habit of writing songs regardless of demand.

He says songwriting is as natural as breathing, and whenever he feels happy or sad, he expresses his emotions through songwriting.

Wang had his last national tour three years ago and he rocked a crowd of more than 60,000 fans with his concert Storming at the National Stadium in August 2014.

The Times Tour, which Wang started mapping out after the last tour, will combine futuristic elements, which offer audiences a walk between the virtual world and reality.

According to Xue Liping, CEO of Compass Culture Co, which has been running Wang's concerts for four years, ticket sales for the upcoming Beijing concert have totaled more than 10 million yuan ($1.47 million).

In 2014, the singer-songwriter became the first in China to broadcast his concert at the National Stadium online.

According to the Chinese video and movie streaming site LeTV.com, which exclusively streamed the concert, more than 75,000 users watched Wang's performance online within two days, each paying 30 yuan.

Gong Yu, founder and CEO of China's online video giant iQiyi, announced that his company will stream Wang's two concerts this year - the Beijing concert in September and the Xiamen concert on Dec 16.

Gong also says that a documentary, which was made by a team from the United Kingdom and centered on Wang's national tour in 2014, will also be broadcast on iQiyi.

Besides music, the documentary also captures Wang's private life, including interactions with his actress wife, Zhang Ziyi.

"I didn't want to expose my family life to the public but my team encouraged me to add this part because it's my real life, which inspires my music," says Wang.

He and Zhang celebrated the birth of a daughter in 2015.

It's Wang's third marriage and Zhang's first. Wang adds that his wife, who is known for her roles in The Road Home and the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will come to his concert in Beijing.

In 2013, Wang became one of the four judges of the popular singing competition TV show Voice of China. He won't return for the upcoming season, however, to make time for the national tour, the new album and his family.

The Beijing native was introduced to music by his musician father, who put him through violin lessons at 5.

Although he didn't like the instrument at first, he studied and graduated from the Central Conservatory of Beijing.

At 17, he started to listen to songs by Michael Jackson, the Beatles, and Chinese rocker Cui Jian. In 1994, he formed a rock band, No 43 Baojia Street, along with his classical music-majoring friends, and moved on to a solo career in 2000.

"I am touched to find that people listen to my songs over and over again and they explore my music as they experience their own lives over years," he says.

"I am progressing and my music tells stories that can be shared by people of different ages. I can still do rock 'n' roll when I am 60."

 

Wang Feng announces in Beijing that he will start The Times Tour in September. Zou Hong / China Daily

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2017-06-16 07:08:53
<![CDATA[Great expectations]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/15/content_29757851.htm The latest Transformers film will release in China soon after its North America debut, and there are hopes it could do exceedingly well in the country. Xu Fan reports in Guangzhou.

On the big screen, Transformers star Josh Duhamel is a US military hero. But in Guangzhou, the capital city of South China's Guangdong province, his biggest "enemy" is the hot, humid summer.

On a 60-meter-long red carpet, the American actor with director Michael Bay and actresses Isabela Moner and Laura Haddock linger for nearly an hour to sign posters and pose for pictures with screaming fans.

They are soon sweaty and Duhamel wishes for rain. His prayers are answered.

Then, on the outdoor stage of the city's landmark Hanxinsha Asian Games Stadium, the Hollywood celebrities sit under umbrellas and share details about the upcoming Transformers: The Last Knight, a Paramount Pictures movie.

The fifth installment of the Transformers franchise - which was launched in 2007 - will release on the Chinese mainland on June 23, two days after its North America debut.

Meanwhile, despite its slightly delayed release in China, the country is the first stop on the film's global promotion campaign.

Up to 7,000 fans and hundreds of reporters, including some from South Korea and the United States are part of the event.

During the past 10 years, the previous four Transformers movies totally earned nearly 3.8 billion yuan ($560 million) in China, making it one of the most commercially successful Hollywood franchises in the world's second-largest movie market.

The most stunning performance was by the fourth movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction, which topped world box-office charts in 2014.

The movie raked 1.97 billion yuan in China, around 35 percent more than the $2.33 million from North America.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Transformers franchise, Paramount chose Guangzhou for the promotional event from 20 Chinese cities in an online campaign that received 6 million votes earlier this year.

In the movie, Mark Wahlberg reprises his role as the Texan inventor Cade Yeager, while Duhamel returns as Lieutenant Colonel Lennox.

Duhamel, who appeared in the first three films but did not perform the fourth, says it was a big surprise for him when he was invited again.

He says the movie has changed his life, making him feel a part of the franchise.

In the film, Yeager faces the biggest challenge of his life - being chosen to save the world, through an unlikely teaming up with a streetwise tomboy, a sagacious English aristocrat and a beautiful Oxford scholar.

The three roles are played respectively by teenage American actress Moner, Anthony Hopkins, the British veteran who won the Oscar for best actor for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and English actress Haddock, known for The Guardians of Galaxy movies.

From the trailer released for Chinese audiences on June 13, the movie seems to be a hodgepodge of King Arthur's myth and a modern adventure.

Speaking about the movie, Bay says it is an epic with more roles and spectacles compared with the earlier films, and that it was shot in eight months.

He adds that the post-production work was completed just a few days ago, and says that the film is his swan song as far as the franchise is concerned.

"It's sad to say goodbye to Optimus Prime and Bumblebee," he says.

He adds the franchise will have a Bumblebee spinoff, but he cannot predict the future of the Autobots.

The 10-year-old franchise, which saw its launch coincide with the take-off of China's burgeoning film market, makes Bay among the most recognized Hollywood directors in the country.

Producer Mark Vahradian says the movie has a unique touch as a majority of the filming took pace in the United Kingdom, and includes Stonehenge and Oxford University.

"You'll see unusual scenes," says Vahradian, adding that the movie was shot in Imax 3D to make the visual effects as real as possible.

Unlike the last film, which starred Chinese stars Li Bingbing and Han Geng and had scenes filmed in China, the new movie has hardly any Chinese elements.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the Hollywood producer behind all the five Transformers movies, says the key to making the franchise appealing is "to be true to the original and at the same time make it relevant for today".

He says that building personalities for characters, such as making Optimus Prime like a "grandfather" and Bumblebee a "teenager", resonate with modern audiences.

Speaking about the lack of Chinese elements in the movie despite their presence in the last one, he says: "We don't look at it as a reduction. We're telling the story in a different place. How can you tell a Chinese story in England? It would be hard. It's really about where we decided to tell the story," says Di Bonaventura.

"I hope some time in the future we can find a way to tell a story that has a lot of interesting Chinese characters."

Speaking about the combination of King Arthur's myth and the Transformers story, he says: "We realized that there are very strong similarities between the two. Honor, loyalty, trust and brotherhood. They exist in both stories. So we put them together."

Jiang Yong, a Beijing-based industry analyst, says the Transformers films resonate with Chinese born in the 1970s and 1980s, as the American animated series The Transformers was a hit when it was introduced to China in 1988.

"Transformers 5 will be one of the biggest movies of the summer. It may break the box-office record of the eighth Fast & Furious film in China," says Jiang.

Universal's blockbuster The Fate of the Furious earned 2.67 billion yuan in China, the highest grossing import in history.

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

From left: Chinese singer Zhang Jie, who sings the film's Chinese theme song, actresses Isabela Moner, director Michael Bay, actor Josh Duhamel, actress Laura Haddock, producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian at the Guangzhou promotional event. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-15 06:46:26
<![CDATA[Wonder Woman buries Tom Cruise tale]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/15/content_29757850.htm LOS ANGELES - Superhero movie Wonder Woman maintained its lead at the North American box office over the weekend pulling in $58.5 million and burying newcomer The Mummy, industry figures showed.

The action film starring Gal Gadot has grossed an impressive $206.3 million in domestic ticket sales in two weeks, placing it in the top tier of movies that have managed to maintain such a lead at the box office.

Gadot, of the Fast and Furious series, plays an Amazonian goddess-princess-superhero whose lasso, bracelet and tiara have magical powers.

Universal's The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, placed second, falling well below industry expectations.

Industry tracker Exhibitor Relations says the movie, the latest revival of the original Mummy made in 1932, took in a disappointing $31.7 million in its first weekend.

It managed nonetheless to make a strong showing overseas, grossing $141.8 million in ticket sales in 63 international markets, the largest opening ever for a Cruise film, according to Boxofficemojo.com.

In third on North American screens was DreamWorks Animation's Captain Underpants, based on the popular children's books by Dav Pilkey.

The film took in $12.2 million for the weekend.

Next was Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the latest installment in the popular franchise starring Johnny Depp as a dreadlocked pirate, at $10.7 million.

Fifth spot went to another Disney production, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, at $6.3 million.

Agence France - Presse

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2017-06-15 06:46:26
<![CDATA[A painter's encounter with a wolf cub]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/15/content_29757849.htm Li Weiyi, who returns a young wolf to nature in southwestern China's vast grasslands, will see her story hit the big screens on Friday.

Return to the Wolves, a documentary about Li and her wolf cub, recently toured 17 Chinese cities for test screenings, and will be released in mainland theaters on Friday.

As a freelance painter based in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, Li was in the picturesque Zoige grassland in the northwestern province in April 2010.

There, she heard a story about a wolf family from the locals.

The male wolf bit off his own claw to flee from a trap but was killed by some herdsmen, and the female deliberately ate a poisoned bait to kill herself, leaving behind six cubs, born merely a couple of weeks earlier.

Li discovered the only surviving cub, bringing him back to Chengdu and naming him Green.

But city life was not suitable for the cub, and Green also yearned for more space and freedom.

Li released him into the wild, returning him to the Zoige grassland in February 2011.

She wrote a book about the cub titled Return to the Wolf Pack, and the initial print run of 200,000 copies sold out in three months after its launch in July 2012.

Teaming up with Yi Feng, one of her friends and the producer of the documentary, Li spent five years to make the 98-minute documentary from more than 1,000 hours of video clips.

"I lived with Green for 10 months. We did not deliberately guide him to follow orders, just recorded his natural moments and edited them for the feature," says Li during a Beijing event to promote the movie.

Li saw Green again in a video clip sent by locals from the grassland just a few days ago, as she was promoting the film in Shenzhen.

"The last time I saw Green was in 2014. He was accompanied by a female and a cub," recalls Li, adding that she believes an emotional connection between her and the wolf still exists.

Zhao Zhongxiang, a host best known for his hit TV program Animal World, says the documentary is a story which will raise public awareness about preserving nature and saving wildlife.

"Humans have always had a sort of love-hate relationship with wolves, whether in Europe, North America or China. The film is a good attempt to resolve the misunderstandings about wolves. I hope it will teach people more about nature," says Zhao.

Left: Li Weiyi and her documentary's producer Yi Feng at the film's premiere ceremony in Beijing. Right: Li with the wolf in the documentary, Return to the Wolves. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-15 06:46:26
<![CDATA[Serious fun]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/15/content_29757848.htm A man who is in his 50s and has cancer uses the last three months of his life to prepare his wife for his approaching death.

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This year's Vision Youth Awards honor short films and documentaries on important topics made by Chinese students. Xu Fan reports.

A man who is in his 50s and has cancer uses the last three months of his life to prepare his wife for his approaching death.

This is the gist of a 29-minute film, titled Before We Part, which is based on the real-life story of Han Jiawen's grandparents. Han is about to complete his degree in direction from Shanghai Theater Academy.

Earlier this month, the film won the best picture prize of the Vision Youth Awards 2017. The annual event is jointly held by China Association of Higher Education and the Communication University of China, encouraging college students to share their views of life and the world through cinema.

Eight other movies and documentaries also won at the event this year.

Since it was launched in 2003, the event has risen from being a campus activity to a platform for cultural exchanges, says Hu Fang, the head organizer and professor at the university.

The winners, shortlisted from 27 nominees, were selected from 1,810 aspirants from 26 countries, including the United States and Britain.

Quality works from this will be screened in a special section at the Netherlands' Tampere Film Festival, another significant platform for short films.

"This year's participants have scored both in quality and quantity," Hu says.

Shattered, directed by Gao Jianming from Shanghai University's cinema school, won the awards for best director and best gender focus. The 31-minute drama revolves around the struggles for survival of a poor woman whose husband is badly injured in an accident, and they have a son with autism.

While the award-winning films have been made by people in their 20s, around half of the stories are about the elderly.

Go Gentle into That Good Night, coproduced by Liu Min of the Communication University of China and Wu Yawen from the University of Southern California, captures the last days of those living in Beijing Songtang Hospice, the first such service in China to care for terminally ill people. The 22-minute documentary won the award for best editing.

My Grandparents, a 40-minute documentary by Zhou Tianyi from the Communication University of China, records a couple's 50-year married life to give the viewers a glimpse of the changes in China's countryside, and Tableland captures an old farmer's reflections about rapid urbanization. The former film won in the best feature documentary category and the latter got the "work of the year" award.

The awards also had special prizes for even younger contenders.

The best work by a middle school student went to Qingchun de Muyang (The Looks of Puberty) directed by Zhao Shengbo from Hengshui High School in North China's Hebei province, which is known for producing graduates who get top scores in gaokao, the competitive national college entrance examination.

Sa Beining, a celebrity who hosted the event this year, says Zhao's win shows Chinese teenagers' pursuit of artistic dreams while preparing for tough examinations.

Other works that won awards this year are Salvation, Life Journey and The Hero with a Single Leg for cinematography, screenplay and short documentary, respectively.

"From my viewpoint, many awarded films have a good chance also at international festivals," says Jukka-Pekka Laakso, a member of the jury and director of the Tampere Film Festival.

"I was very happy with the decision (of the awards), as it reflected the variety in Chinese filmmaking," he says, adding that for someone like him, with little knowledge of Chinese language, he still got a sense from the scripts.

"I can see the potential in China's film and documentary industries. Some of the movies helped me to learn more about China," says Laakso.

Wang Jiyan, the jury president and executive director of Phoenix TV, a Hong Kong-based broadcaster, echoes the view.

He praises the diversity of the themes the films cover, ranging from the attacks on Chongqing by the invading Japanese troops to the aging problem in modern China.

Wang says that four of China's top academic institutes - Tsinghua University, Peking University, Renmin University of China and Beijing Normal University - should have also featured in the awards list.

Highlights of Vision Youth Awards 2017 included screening on campuses and a section celebrating 20 years of Hong Kong's return to China. Up to 113 Chinese colleges simultaneously screened all winning films and a few of the nominees over June 5-8.

Ten students of the Communication University of China teamed up with students from Hong Kong to produce the short film Hong Kong in the Eyes of College Students, interviewing celebrities such as Kenneth Fok, one of the city's top entrepreneurs.

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

Winners of this year's Vision Youth Awards include My Grandparents (above), a documentary about a couple's 50-yearlong married life; Qingchun de Muyang (top, left) directed by a high school student; and Shattered (top, right), a short film about a poor woman's struggles. Photos Provided To China Daily

 

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2017-06-15 06:46:26
<![CDATA[Shark movie set to give viewers the chills]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/15/content_29757847.htm LOS ANGELES - More than 40 years ago, Americans were afraid to go into the water as Jaws scared the daylights out of a generation of ocean swimmers.

Hollywood is hoping for a repeat this summer with the movie 47 Meters Down. There have been more than 50 shark movies since Steven Spielberg made cinematic history with Jaws in 1975.

This year's shark movie, which will open in the United States on Friday, takes place almost entirely underwater.

Sisters Lisa and Kate - played by Mandy Moore and Claire Holt - are on vacation in the Gulf of California, and it becomes clear that they should avoid climbing aboard a flimsy boat that belongs to Taylor (Matthew Modine). They also probably should not get inside Taylor's rusty shark cage to plunge into the water and observe the predators up close.

Modine's character attracts the sharks by pouring blood into the water before the cage breaks away from the boat and drops to the ocean floor. The two young women with little diving experience find themselves in the dark with less than an hour of air in their oxygen tanks and surrounded, of course, by hungry sharks.

"What I found far more terrifying is the prospect and premise of drowning, of running out of air," Moore says. "That's my biggest fear. That's far more terrifying than sharks, which are terrifying enough."

Director Johannes Roberts decided that once the women plunged into the ocean there was no need for scenes on the surface.

"I had no interest in going back to reaction shots with Taylor and the other boys on the boat," he says.

"Imagine if in Gravity, you kept cutting to ground control. It would have killed the movie," he says, referring to the 2013 Oscar winner, a film about astronauts stranded in space.

For 47 Meters Down, Moore and Holt spent eight hours a day for eight weeks inside a 6-meter-deep water tank. The film was shot mainly in sun-deprived Britain, far from Mexico's bright Pacific coast. A few scenes were made in the Dominican Republic.

The actresses could communicate via a special radio set, but communication with the rest of the film crew was via hand signs, while the director's instructions were delivered through a speaker inside the water tank.

Last year, just 81 unprovoked shark attacks were reported worldwide, according to the International Shark Attack File. None were reported in Mexico.

The chances of being attacked by a shark are nearly one in 4 million, according to the International Wildlife Museum based in Tucson, Arizona.

And yet, a large mouthful of sharp teeth and fear of the deep sea add up to shark bait for Hollywood producers.

Agence France - Presse

Director Johannes Roberts attends the premiere of 47 Meters Down in Los Angeles. Reuters

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2017-06-15 06:46:26
<![CDATA[Film on US Marine and her combat dog]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/15/content_29757846.htm NEW YORK - One of the best things for Kate Mara about starring in Megan Leavey was Varco the dog.

Varco is the Rex to Mara's Leavey in the true story of a young Marine corporal and her fight to bring her combat dog home after service in Iraq.

"He and I trained together, so by the time we started shooting we were very comfortable with each other," Mara says in a recent interview.

"They're unexpected and constantly doing things that you're not expecting them to do. If you want them to just sort of sit there during a scene they will, but then they'll do some genius little movement or sound or whatever that will make the scene that much better," she says of working with dogs.

Mara, an animal activist who has worked with both Oceana and the Humane Society, also had the rare treat of being directed by a woman, Gabriela Cowperthwaite. She had also directed the orca-abuse film Blackfish. In fact, Mara says, her animal advocacy blossomed due to the film.

"Animals really do teach us empathy and compassion and so many other things," she says.

It's that bond between a lost human, Leavey, and a scarred bomb-sniffing dog, Rex, that plays out for Mara.

"I instantly felt connected to it for that reason," she says of the film. She found it refreshing to work with a woman at the helm as well.

"I've been acting since I was 14 and I would say in the past three years I've worked with more females than I ever have in my entire career, and that's directors but also actors," Mara says. "And we had so many females on our crew as well, so I definitely think that's changing. I think it's slower than we'd all like but it makes me so happy that something like Wonder Woman is actually proving that fact. It'll make it easier and easier to make more and more films."

As for dogs, she has two of her own, both Boston terriers. At 14 and 15, she says, "They're doing really well."

Mara recently got engaged to Billy Elliot actor Jamie Bell, but she was tight-lipped about her nuptials.

One of the wedding challenges: She's vegan and Bell's not, "so you've got to make everybody happy".

The film, which opened on Friday, covers raw territory for veterans coping at home with post-combat trauma. Mara wanted to get it right, leaning on her previous role as the wife of a vet in the 2015 release Man Down.

Associated Press

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2017-06-15 06:46:26
<![CDATA[Discovering diplomacy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733330.htm Influential world leaders, scientists and environmentalists assembled at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York on Thursday, which marked World Oceans Day.

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Model United Nations events are growing in popularity among Chinese students and changing many participants' lives in the long term. Zhang Zefeng reports.

Influential world leaders, scientists and environmentalists assembled at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York on Thursday, which marked World Oceans Day.

They discussed problems oceans face and how to find sustainable solutions.

On the other side of the Pacific, college and high school students hosted a mirror event at Beijing's China Foreign Affairs University on the same day.

Students clad in formal attire played the roles of diplomats to deliberate marine resources' sustainable use.

They presented new ideas, learned about others' positions and attempted to bid to host the next conference.

More than 500 participants from 113 institutions in roughly 20 countries and regions attended the four-day event.

"It's really interesting to get a glimpse into what diplomacy really is," says Jonas Schmid, a 20-year-old student from the University of Tuebingen in Germany, who represented France.

"I think every delegate here really wants to ameliorate the state of the oceans and reach a consensus."

The conference was one of many events of this year's Beijing International Model United Nations.

The Model United Nations, aka MUN, is an extracurricular activity that originated in the United States and has grown in China over the past decade. China Foreign Affairs University students participated in the country's first MUN event in 1995.

The event has been held 13 times since 2002 and changed its name to BIMUN last year.

It simulates such UN bodies as the General Assembly and the Food and Agriculture Organization. This year's events also included the Federation Internationale de Football Association.

"Soccer is a very popular sport in Chinese cities," says China Foreign Affairs University junior Jiang Shan, who served as the chairman of the simulated FIFA event.

"Implanting FIFA in the MUN is interesting and can also increase the delegates' engagement."

Broader horizons

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent a message of greetings to participants before the opening of this year's BIMUN.

"At Model UN, you broaden your horizons. By leading and networking, you can be part of the UN's efforts to establish peace, secure human rights and enable all people to live in dignity."

This vision is shared by German student Lukas Eggert, who participated for the first time in the Asian International Model United Nations earlier this year.

"At first, I just wanted to have a glance into the minds of other people," says the 20-year-old Chinese studies major at Peking University in Beijing. "Our major is not just about the language but also about understanding the cultural history and the future of China."

Eggert enjoyed the dialogue and presenting ideas.

He says participating changed his views on such issues as the Belt and Road Initiative.

His experience at this year's MUN made him realize that the German media, for example, rarely discuss the initiative from the perspectives of such countries as China.

"Talking about those points and actually looking into the Chinese media ... helps you understand it's just a peaceful way of developing the world and developing it together," he says.

"Dialogue is the most important thing. No matter how far the positions are apart from each other, you can always find a consensus."

Developing interests

Fang Jun, deputy director of the department of international cooperation and exchange at the Ministry of Education, says the MUN enhances students' abilities, including writing, independent thinking and cross-cultural communication.

Qin Qian says participating in the MUN as a high schooler in 2011 changed his future.

"I'd planned to study at the Communication University of China," the 21-year-old says.

He instead enrolled in China Foreign Affairs University, majoring in Japanese and diplomacy.

Qin has attended various MUN events, including the London International Model United Nations, one of Europe's largest.

He recently handled discussions around vector-borne diseases at a MUN in Tokyo as an exchange student of Japan's Waseda University.

"The topic is beyond my understanding since it's related to medicine," Qin says. "But new experiences are what make the MUN fun."

He points out the MUN's primary function was initially to train top diplomats.

"Today, it offers students opportunities to learn different things that can help them discover their true interests."

Career goals

Most MUN events offer the opportunity to participants to role-play as UN diplomats in a simulated environment.

Ye Shuang recalls he was assigned to the "UN Security Council representing Russia" to deliberate on Syrian issues when he was a freshman.

"I was very nervous, and I also saw the huge gap in terms of language proficiency and background knowledge," the 22-year-old diplomacy major recalls.

"But that experience inspired me to improve my understanding of world affairs."

Ye later won the best delegate award at the BIMUN and joined the school's MUN Club.

This year, he worked as the event's secretary-general.

"I fell in love with my major because of that MUN," he says.

The experiences prompted him to set diplomacy as his career goal.

He passed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs entrance exam in his junior year.

Talking with Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang made him think: "How cool it would be if I can transform from a simulated diplomat to a real one."

Shortcomings

Despite its value, some concerns surround the MUN. These include occupying much of students' time and dilution of standards as MUN groups proliferate.

China hosts about 500 MUN events annually, says Tang Jie, chairman of the Ocean Conference at the BIMUN.

The increase of MUN bodies mean few conferences meet the high standards of academic writing, he says. And many documents, including backgrounders, lack originality. "And some delegates regard it as a dress party to socialize," he says.

Tang advises participants to sustain their enthusiasm about global citizenship, learn new things and work to make their voices heard.

A typical MUN event lasts only a few days, but its value can last over the long term.

Fang encourages participants to forge friendships and passion for international affairs that last beyond the events.

"I hope more students will consider diplomacy as a career option," he says.

Contact the writer at zhangzefeng@chinadaily.com.cn

Su Yingle contributed to the story.

 

More than 500 young participants from 113 institutions in roughly 20 countries and regions attend the Beijing International Model United Nations over June 8-11 at China Foreign Affairs University to learn how to manage the world as adult leaders. Photos By Jiang Dong / China Daily

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[Why debate matters for studies in US colleges]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733329.htm Liang Xiao says debate changed her life.

"If I had not participated in debates, I would probably be a biology major just like my parents, which would be fascinating in its own right but a necessarily different path," says the 20-year-old sophomore at Wellesley College in the United States.

Three years ago, Liang studied in a high school in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province. She views herself as a well-rounded student, who was good at most of the subjects but didn't feel passion for any one in particular.

By getting involved in public debate for the first time, she delved into some of the most important topics in economics, political science and international relations, "none of which were offered as courses in my school".

Debate helped her to find a new possibility for future academic learning and career planning.

She aspires to attend law school and become a lawyer.

"This idea was first inspired by a professional lawyer, who was one of the judges I had at the final round of a debate tournament held at Harvard Law School," says Liang.

The form of debate Liang participates in is called public forum debate. It was created by the National Speech & Debate Association 90 years ago in the US and is a style adopted by many competitions across the country.

Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and politicians, including the late Antonin Scalia, who was an associate justice of the Supreme Court, are all NSDA alumni.

Georgetown University freshman Yang Lulu says public forum debate brings her joy, and matches her personality and future development.

"I'm very interested in international affairs, and I want to be a diplomat in the future," the Georgetown Parliamentary debate team member says.

"For me, public forum debate is like a sprint. It's competitive, stressful and brings me pleasure," she adds.

Some debate team members take unrelated academic paths but still benefit from the experience.

Tu Shan, a 21-year-old film major at Bard College, points out that the skills she learned in debate are transferable, which includes critical thinking and open-mindedness. Tu attended debate through her high school years.

"The idea of building one's contention, being able to rebut from different sides and always keeping an open mind in discussions are what I appreciate in debates," says Tu.

US debate coach Eric Lanning points out that debate counts as an extracurricular when applying for college.

"US colleges really value debate, and it's one of the extracurricular activities that stands out to them," says Lanning.

Extracurriculars' importance is becoming clearer among Chinese as more study overseas.

Lanning believes debate helps to build up a community.

"I have traveled all over the world for debate tournaments," says Lanning.

Through debate, he forged friendships and made connections with debaters across the globe.

"When I am applying for a job, there is a former debater who works in that company to help you, so debate really gives you a global network," says Lanning.

China Daily

 

Many Chinese youngsters invite foreign mentors, such as US debate coach Eric Lanning, to help them master debating skills. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[Art education goes online to cater to a wider audience]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733328.htm Living in a digital and globalized world means one can learn things at any time and any place. The recent launch of an online-education institute aims to offer courses taught by lecturers from across the world.

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Lecturers of the courses are experienced teachers and artists

Living in a digital and globalized world means one can learn things at any time and any place. The recent launch of an online-education institute aims to offer courses taught by lecturers from across the world.

L-Art University started operating on May 20 to provide training to China's professionals in the field of art and culture. It also caters to art lovers and collectors, who visit museums.

Those interested can take the courses by visiting the university's website at lart.org or download its app.

On offer now are 10 courses, including 3-D animation, filmmaking, exhibition design, 20th-century European art and museum management.

Each course takes seven to 14 classes, each of which is a 30-minute film uploaded once a week, and the course prices start at a few hundred yuan.

The lecturers are from Hong Kong, Paris, London and Los Angeles and are experienced teachers at art schools. Some are also artists.

Meanwhile, the curriculum is set to be enriched as more courses on design, architecture and the art market are composed, filmed and produced. About 180 courses will be available by the end of 2018, according to Lyu Peng, the Chinese art historian who heads L-Art University.

Lyu does a 12-session course on the history of modern Chinese art.

He says that more lecturers teaching in art schools in Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia are expected to join the online institute's faculty soon.

"The university's curriculum zooms in on various elements of the art world - how an artwork is produced, consumed, marketed and collected," says Lyu.

"We are trying to build a knowledge repository of how the art world operates."

The courses are filmed in cities where the lecturers are based and feature the city's scenes to give students a holistic learning experience.

Paul Gladston, one of the lecturers and a professor at the University of Nottingham, filmed his courses on contemporary visual cultures and critical theory earlier this year.

The filming took place in London to show students the city's visual culture, such as street art and architecture.

"What I teach is theoretically difficult. So, I hope to encourage students to think about interesting ideas and how one film connects to another," says Gladston.

"Therefore, we try to make it cool and visually engaging, also because London is an extraordinary place."

This is Gladston's first time teaching online, and he finds the filming process "very hard" but "very rewarding".

Not only does it force him to think about how to say things in a way that people can understand, but it also makes him reflect on his teaching methods.

"Young students today are so used to consuming things online," he says.

"So, the filming process makes me think about how to restructure the information and communicate."

Frank Vigneron, who lectures on Western art theory and philosophy, says a truly globalized education is to spread the voice of art to every corner of the world and make it louder.

linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[Learning about innovation and entrepreneurship]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733327.htm As his classmates are busy dating or staying up for final exams, Li Qiucheng, who is doing an elective course, is developing a virtual reality device with partners from different majors with the help of top industry experts.

The 24-year-old industrial engineering graduate student from Tsinghua University is working on a VR glove called Mastery to improve the current VR experience.

"This course is only two credits, accounting for only one-12th of the total credits. But it is one of the most impressive courses I have done in my 18 years of study," says Li.

The elective course Li is taking - Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Silicon Valley Insights - was launched in 2013 by Tsinghua University's x-lab, a university-based platform designed to foster student innovation and entrepreneurship.

Nearly 200 students from 21 countries in 50 teams are involved in startup projects that include a VR device and health-monitoring equipment, according to x-lab.

"I hope this course acts as a spark to ignite students' interest in innovation and entrepreneurship," says Li Jizhen, an associate professor from the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University.

With China's economy growing, universities are trying to provide better facilities for students.

Chen Jining, the former president of Tsinghua University, says that "without innovation, there can be no transformation".

Students should start from China but also look to the world to address bigger challenges.

The university platform has so far provided training to more than 30,000 students and helped set up over 1,000 enterprises, besides helping to raise nearly 300 million yuan ($43.75 million).

Meanwhile, in order to help Li and his classmates, x-lab has invited industry experts and fund managers to give lectures and share their experience in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Then, with a project-based learning approach, students from different majors form teams and start their own projects.

Then, the teams are assigned mentors.

Michael Antonov, co-founder and chief software architect of Oculus VR, a leading company in the industry, was invited to give lectures about social VR and shared his startup experience with the students, including Li Qiucheng.

"We had ideas before we took the course," says Li Qiucheng.

"But now we have set up the business model and found like-minded friends, and are focused on our vision.

"This course helps us take the first and most important step (toward innovation and entrepreneurship)."

wuyong@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Li Qiucheng (center) from Tsinghua University speaks with classmates in an innovation course. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[China, NZ's largest foreign-student source]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733326.htm WELLINGTON - China continues to be New Zealand's largest source of foreign students, as its international-education industry grew 6 percent to 131,609 student enrollments last year, according to the International Education Dashboard released by the government on June 7.

The dashboard showed an overall increase of 7,245 international student enrollments from a broader range of countries and that a majority of regions in New Zealand experienced growth.

China led the growth with 4,429 more students in 2016, growing by 13 percent to a total of 38,046 students in New Zealand.

Half of international students in New Zealand came from China and India last year, the same as in 2015, the dashboard said. "The China numbers are expected to continue to grow, as some providers have reportedly shifted their recruitment focus from India to China," it said.

There were 27,640 international students studying in New Zealand universities in 2016, up 6 percent, with an increase in postgraduate enrollments. Among them, China showed steady year-on-year growth, up 9 percent to 11,846 students.

There were 2,912 students in New Zealand's primary and intermediate schools in 2016, up 16 percent on 2015. Among them, 1,292 students, including 1,055 primary school students, came from China, increasing by 71 percent and making up 44 percent of the market.

The Indian market saw a 3 percent decline in student enrollments, taking the number of Indian students to 28,154, "as it undergoes a rebalancing from volume to value".

The new figure consolidates international education's place as New Zealand's fourth-largest export sector, supporting more than 33,000 jobs across New Zealand.

"As a small nation that relies on trade, international education offers significant value to New Zealand's society and economy. It provides jobs and incomes for thousands of New Zealand households," said Tertiary Education, Skill and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.

Xinhua

 

A visitor (right) asks about studying in New Zealand during an education exhibition in Beijing in March. A Jing / For China Daily

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[US professors working on key AI project]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733325.htm

SAN FRANCISCO - Eight computer science professors at the Oregon State University have been tasked with making such systems as autonomous vehicles and robots more trustworthy using artificial intelligence.

Recent advances in autonomous systems that can perceive, learn, decide and act on their own stem from the success of the deep neural networks branch of AI, with deep-learning software mimicking the activity in the layers of neurons in the neocortex, the part of the brain where thinking occurs.

The problem, however, is that the neural networks function as a black box.

Instead of humans explicitly coding system behavior using traditional programming, in deep learning the computer program learns on its own from many examples.

So, potential dangers arise from depending on a system that not even the system developers fully understand.

With $6.5 million grant over the next four years from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, affiliated with its Explainable Artificial Intelligence program, a news release from OSU says the OSU researchers will develop a paradigm to look inside that black box, by getting the program to explain to humans how decisions were reached.

"Ultimately, we want these explanations to be very natural - translating these deep network decisions into sentences and visualizations," Alan Fern, principal investigator for the grant and associate director of the OSU College of Engineering's recently established Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute, is quoted as saying in a news release.

"Nobody is going to use these emerging technologies for critical applications until we are able to build some level of trust, and having an explanation capability is one important way of building trust."

Such a system that communicates well with humans requires expertise in a number of research fields.

In addition to having researchers in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the OSU team includes experts in computer vision, human-computer interaction, natural language processing and programming languages.

And to begin developing the system, the team will use real-time strategy games, like StarCraft, a staple of competitive electronic gaming, to train AI "players" that will explain their decisions to humans.

While later stages of the project will move on to applications provided by DARPA that may include robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles, Fern notes that the research is crucial to the advancement of autonomous and semiautonomous intelligent systems.

Xinhua

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[Take it to street]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733324.htm When Xia Rui was introduced to hip-hop culture as a freshman at Communication University of China in Beijing in 2002, he fell for the dramatically expressive street dancing immediately.

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Hip-hop is finding plenty of enthusiasts in China, who are savoring the power and energy of dance, Chen Nan reports.

When Xia Rui was introduced to hip-hop culture as a freshman at Communication University of China in Beijing in 2002, he fell for the dramatically expressive street dancing immediately.

By participating in dance communities of other universities, such as Peking University, and watching music videos of Michael Jackson and Madonna, Xia developed an interest in the dance style.

"At that time, few people knew what street dancing was. It was a Western culture thing, popular among university students," recalls Xia, now 35, who later founded a hip-hop dance community at the CUC in 2003.

"Our teachers and parents considered it as a bad influence then. But hip-hop dance, which is about skills, creativity and displaying individuality, picked up quickly on campus. We had nearly 1,000 students in the community then."

Over the past decade, hip-hop dance, which originated in the United States in the 1970s and includes a variety of styles, such as breaking, locking and popping, has taken root in China.

The first national touring competition of hip-hop dance kicked off on June 3 and will run through December, Xia has announced in his role as deputy-director of the China Hip-Hop Union Committee. That was founded by the Chinese Dancers Association in 2013.

The competition will see group and singles sections of each style under hip-hop dance.

"In the following six months, more than 300,000 competitors from 300 cities across the country will participate in the event," says Xia.

He also notes that teaching materials about hip-hop dance have been published by China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Publishing House in 2015, which enables the dance style to be formal and systemic.

"There's now a vibrant and fast-developing street dancing scene in China," Xia adds. "Like any contemporary art form, street dancing is about using art as a platform to have our voices heard."

As the dance form is becoming more popular, Xia says he hopes awareness grows.

"During the past 10 years, street dance is not a minority taste anymore. It's a culture embraced by young people. The performances of street dances on television shows and in movies helped the dance form quickly spread in China," says Feng Shuangbai, president of the China Dancers Association. He says he hopes that "more highly skilled dancers and choreographers will be discovered via this competition".

Xia, who was born in Xi'an, Shaanxi province and graduated from the CUC with a major of TV and movie directing in 2006, studied further for his master's degree at the same university in 2011 and worked at China Central Television before devoting himself to promoting hip-hop dance in 2013.

Since the China Hip-Hop Union Committee was founded, he says, over 30 subcommittees have been launched across China during the past four years.

He has just concluded the recording of a variety show, called Dance World, which will be aired by CCTV during the summer vacation and features 80 young Chinese hip-hop dancers.

Xia also notes that though hip-hop dance is an imported culture, Chinese dancers have combined it with Chinese culture, including tai chi, martial arts and local operas.

Xiao Jie, a hip-hop dancer-choreographer and a native of Chengdu, Sichuan province, is one of the pioneers.

He collaborated with Peking Opera performer Qiu Jirong on a show, which combined the iconic Peking Opera character Monkey King with street dancing in the Spring Festival gala aired by Beijing Television early this year.

"It was a really fascinating time when I started dancing. I just imitated the dancing steps from music videos. When the music is playing it's automatic for me to move to it," Xiao says.

With friends who shared the same passion for street dancing, Xiao danced for hours every day.

"Street dancing is a great platform for young people to mingle and communicate. They love street dancing for its own sake," he says.

Xiao's mother didn't approve of him becoming a hip-hop dancer - a culture often considered unhealthy and seen as linked to drugs and crime - until she realized that he was serious. In 2003, Xiao came to Beijing to study dancing at Capital Normal University for two years.

In 2007, when an annual hip-hop dance competition held in the United Kingdom came to China to recruit Chinese candidates, Xiao applied and won first prize, which enabled him to compete in the UK.

Now, Xiao has his own studio, teaching and choreographing. He says that only when Chinese dancers present their original street dancing choreography works could they be recognized worldwide.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Xiao Jie, a hip-hop dancer-choreographer, takes the lead in combining the Western hip-hop dance with Chinese characteristics, such as martial arts and Peking Opera. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[Novel looks beyond screens]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733323.htm We live at a time where we view the world through screens.

Most of our professional and social lives are dominated by laptops, smartphones, digital tablets and high-definition TV.

In her novel Touch, Courtney Maum considers a time in the not-so-distant future where communicating through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth takes a back seat to the physical need for human contact.

Sloane Jacobsen is the reason people "swipe". She forecast the digital wave of nonstop communication well before the world caught on.

As a global trendsetter, a wide array of companies often hire Jacobsen to help them navigate the next big thing. Whether it's fashion, lifestyle or gadgets, Jacobsen's curious premonitions help her to correctly target which direction the market is going to swing.

When Jacobsen predicts that having children will soon be considered an indulgence, global tech giant Mammoth hires her to help market their products to a "childless" community.

Jacobsen attacks the project from all angles with several in-house brainstorming sessions. She even implements an anonymous idea box.

Jacobsen soon realizes that even though employees appear to be enthusiastic about technology, many long for something more personal. Something as simple as a hug.

She must make a decision.

Will her boss be angry at her sudden flipped strategy that forecasts the merchandise his company produces will be trumped by compassion?

To make matters worse, Jacobsen's boyfriend, who was also hired by her boss, is about to publish an op-ed piece directly contradicting her informal findings.

Which direction will the campaign go?

Touch is an interesting take on what life would be like if we just put down our phones and stepped away from the computer.

Maum reminds us to not forget about those who are living and breathing right around us. Because a loving hug, tight squeeze or simple touch are so much more fulfilling than a text.

Associated Press

 

The cover of Touch, a novel by US writer Courtney Maum. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[Women from emerging markets shine in '500' list]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733322.htm STOCKHOLM - From a Peruvian trout farm manager to the head of an Indonesian meatball company, a list of 500 women entrepreneurs in emerging markets was launched on June 8 to challenge the stereotype of a typical company boss and to inspire women globally.

The "Foundation 500" list features the portraits and careers of 500 female entrepreneurs in 11 emerging markets, where women are often refused the same access to education, financial services and bank loans as men.

The list, an initiative of humanitarian agency CARE and the nonprofit H&M Foundation, is inspired by the Fortune 500 list of US companies but highlights unusual chief executives, ranging from a Zambian woman who set up a mobile drugstore to a woman in Jordan who set up a temporary tattoo studio.

Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of Swedish retailer H&M that founded the H&M Foundation, says the project was designed to create role models for women in emerging markets and to challenge perceptions in developed countries of business leaders.

"The entrepreneur is our time's hero and a role model for many young, but the picture given of who is an entrepreneur is still very homogenous and many probably associate it with men from the startup world," Persson says.

He says all the women in the list had made an incredible effort.

"But one that stands out to me is Philomene Tia, a multi-entrepreneur from the Ivory Coast (or Cote d'Ivoire) who has overcome setbacks such as war and being a refugee, and who has, in spite of it, always returned to entrepreneurship to create a better future - and a strong voice in society," Persson says.

Tia is the owner of a bus company, a chain of beverage stores, a hotel complex and a cattle-breeding operation in Cote d'Ivoire.

"I often tell other women that it is the force inside you and your brains that will bring you wherever you want to go. I mean, I started with nothing and I don't even speak proper French, but look at me now," she is quoted as saying.

The women featured are from Indonesia, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Peru, Guatemala, Jordan, Zambia, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire and Yemen.

One of the women portrayed is Andrea Gala, 20, a trout-farm manager in Peru and president of the women-only Trout Producers Association.

"This business has worked out so well for us now we don't depend on our (farm) fields anymore, which is hard work and often badly paid," Gala says in a report on the project.

"With the association we want to open a restaurant one day, next to the trout farm, so we can attract more visitors. We want to turn the area into a tourist zone, where people can come and relax and enjoy our trout-based dishes."

The H&M Foundation, funded by the Persson family that founded retailer H&M, says this was part of a women's empowerment program started with CARE in 2014 in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

H&M Foundation Manager Diana Amini says about 100,000 women in 20 countries had received between $2,250 and $16,900 in seed capital and skills training to start and expand businesses.

Reuters

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[Playlist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/14/content_29733321.htm Music

Americana styles

Justin Townes Earle's new album, Kids in the Street, represents one of those rare moments when an entire career comes together all at once. The album combines the lessons and promise of Earle's previous six albums into something new and wholly fulfilling.

The songs, with help from US producer Mike Mogis, take on a variety of Americana styles, from blues and folk to rock, all in service of his well-crafted tales. Same Old Stagolee is his twist on the classic country tale Stagger Lee, infusing it with a class battle. There's a bit of Cajun spice in 15-25, while the straightforward Trouble Is lets Earle's self-deprecating charm shine through.

This is the album longtime Earle fans have waited for and one new fans never knew they needed.

TV

Secret surprises

Whoever said marriages are made in heaven probably never watched HBO's latest show Big Little Lies, or, for that matter, was probably never married.

But, as untruthful as partners have been to you, and the rest of the world, you can now retaliate with moves that will bring you endless catharsis, and, more importantly, get them the comeuppance that they deserve.

The central conceit of the show is that a murder has occurred in this seemingly peaceful community, but it is never revealed who the victim, or the perpetrator, is. As the story progresses, more layers are peeled off the central characters and more big little secrets are laid bare.

Like every great murder mystery - especially Broadchurch and Bloodline, with which it shares a similarly paradisal setting and sheer pulpiness of plot - Big Little Lies works within the almost doctrine-like confines of the genre and still manages to surprise.

Book

Our astrophysics

US astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson's latest book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, offers readers a quick and easy introduction to the cosmos.

Tyson says that for the book he combs the universe and handpicks those things that he believes are the most striking, mind-blowing, intriguing and mysterious, and then establishes a story arc.

Tyson's desire to share his knowledge of the universe is seemingly unquenchable. He has hosted the mind-expanding TV series Cosmos, a reboot of the original show presented by his mentor, Carl Sagan, and currently hosts Star Talk, a podcast that mixes cosmology and comedy.

China Daily - Agencies

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2017-06-14 07:14:35
<![CDATA[A drunkard's monologue]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/12/content_29713914.htm Polish theater director Krystian Lupa received an email from Qian Cheng, the general manager of Tianjin Grand Theater, in early 2016, asking him to direct a play based on a novella written by the late Chinese writer Shi Tiesheng (1951-2010).

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The acclaimed Polish theater director Krystian Lupa will bring to life a work by the late Chinese writer Shi Tiesheng. Chen Nan reports.

Polish theater director Krystian Lupa received an email from Qian Cheng, the general manager of Tianjin Grand Theater, in early 2016, asking him to direct a play based on a novella written by the late Chinese writer Shi Tiesheng (1951-2010).

The novella titled Guanyu Yibu Yi Dianying Zuowei Wutai Beijing De Xiju Zhi Shexiang, which means "a stage idea with film as backdrop", was Shi's only script. It is about a drunken man talking to a mouse about his childhood, parents, ex-wife and his life's struggles.

Lupa did not know of the Chinese writer and had not read any of his works. However, he was intrigued by the story.

After Lupa made several trips to China from April to meet with actors and stage a rehearsal, the play, titled Mo Fei, will be staged at the Tianjin Grand Theater on June 24 and 25. It is part of the ongoing Lin Zhaohua Theater Arts Festival, an annual event initiated by Chinese theater director Lin Zhaohua in 2010.

The play, which is about four hours long, will have Chinese actor Wang Xuebing play the title character, Mo Fei.

"This novel is a monologue for Shi, though Shi's wife told me that he was not an alcoholic," says the 73-year-old director.

"I like the drunken man's language. He is marginalized by society and lonely. But he is frank and brave to confront himself."

To better understand Shi, Lupa read the writer's works, including one of his famous essays, I and the Temple of Earth, which was published in 1991 and was about the writer visiting the Temple of Earth in a wheelchair.

The Polish director also visited the Temple of Earth, a park in downtown Beijing, several times, which, as Lupa says, is "an important place for Shi".

He rode bicycles there, walked around in the park and watched the trees and flowers.

Shi was born and grew up in Beijing near the Temple of Earth. In 1969, he was sent to rural Shaanxi province during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

He was paralyzed after an accident at age 21. Shi was sent back to Beijing and worked in a factory. His kidneys failed in 1998, and he had to undergo dialysis three times a week.

Shi began to publish his works in 1979 and won many of the country's literature prizes, including the Lu Xun Literature Prize, the Lao She Essay Prize and the National Excellent Short Story Prize.

He is best known for his short stories, including My Faraway Clear Peace River and Strings of Life.

One of his novellas, Like a Banjo String, which was published in 1985, was adapted into the film Life on a String by Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige. The film was a nominee at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991.

The same year, a collection of Shi's short stories was translated into English and published as Strings on Life.

Shi died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Beijing in 2010.

For Lupa, the acclaimed theater director who is known for his productions based on Austrian writers Robert Musil and Thomas Bernhard, Mo Fei was part of a culture he could not relate to until he was immersed in it.

Before this play, Lin had brought three of Lupa's stage productions - Persona, Marilyn, Heroes' Square and Woodcutters - to China.

"By reading Shi's works, I recalled my own life, especially my relationship with my mother," Lupa says.

"Like Shi, I had my own 'Temple of Earth' when I was young. It's a place where I could hide from the outside world.

"My mother was a teacher. Like Shi's mother, she cared about me. I was a 'weird' kid and was dreamer. But my mother understood me."

The director also shot lots of videos in Beijing and Tianjin, which will be broadcast on the stage's backdrop.

He also added a character to the play, a female journalist from a Western country, who, like Lupa, from an outside world, tries to explore the inner world of drunken Mo Fei.

"It was quite a challenge to work on this play. But that's what I like. I would have also liked to have had a conversation with the writer, rather than relying solely on the script," says Lupa.

Speaking about his role, Wang, who is known for his role in Lin's play Enemy of the People, says: "Compared with other Chinese stage productions, this play is unique. We had three months, on and off, working together in the rehearsal room, which was an exhausting and thrilling process.

"None of us in the production team are alcoholics, so playing a drunkard is about imagination. But what makes the role convincing is not just physical movements, such as stumbling around, but the drunken man's logic. The way he talks and thinks is very different from how one acts when one is sober."

Wang had not worked with Lupa before. He says that he was apprehensive when he accepted the role.

"We spent a lot of time doing improvisation, and, even now, I still have no idea what I will be like in the play. I feel like a new actor," the 46-year-old says.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

7:30 pm, June 24 and 25. Tianjin Grand Theater, 58 Pingjiangdao, Hexi district, Tianjin. 400-056-7790.

 

Polish director Krystian Lupa (top) has adapted a novella by Chinese author Shi Tiesheng (above right) about a drunken man’s struggles into a theater production. Wang Xuebing (above left) will play the lead role. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-12 09:38:24
<![CDATA[The Who's Quadrophenia opera goes classical on tour]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/12/content_29713913.htm NEW YORK - The Who's rock opera Quadrophenia will take an orchestral turn as songwriter Pete Townshend announced recently a four-date tour of mostly classical venues in the United States.

The orchestral Quadrophenia will feature vocals by Billy Idol - the rocker behind 1980s hits such as White Wedding and Eyes Without a Face - as well as tenor Alfie Boe, known for starring in the musical Les Miserables.

Quadrophenia, which follows the split-personality Jimmy, was a defining work of Britain's "mod" subculture of slick and stylish young culture consumers.

The 1973 album has been a favorite of hardcore fans of The Who as well as Townshend, who is the band's principal songwriter and lead guitarist, even though it has often been overshadowed by the band's earlier rock opera Tommy.

The production will come to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the woods of western Massachusetts, on Sept 2.

It will then have two performances at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York before closing at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

Quadrophenia mixes together four musical parts that were recorded separately - representing Jimmy's four-way split personality, which in turn reflected the different types of Who fans.

"Melding the contrasting sounds of Quadrophenia with a symphony has been a really unique and powerful way to reach a wide audience of classical and pop music lovers alike," Townshend says in a statement.

Townshend debuted the classical version of Quadrophenia at Royal Albert Hall in a 2010 charity performance and more recently released a recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The production comes as The Who, led by the 72-year-old Townshend and 73-year-old singer Roger Daltrey, wind up what the band has described as its last major tour.

The Who, however, is not retiring and will start playing a residency in Las Vegas on July 29.

Agence France - Presse

English guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who performing on stage during the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria in 2016. The Who's rock opera Quadrophenia will take an orchestral turn in its US tour. AFP

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2017-06-12 09:38:24
<![CDATA[Oscar winner Tan Dun to present concert]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/12/content_29713912.htm Chinese composer and conductor Tan Dun, who won the Oscar for the original score of the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has always been ahead of the curve.

Tan, a native of Changsha, Hunan province, was trained at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Despite his classical training, Tan has created music with the sounds of water, wind and paper. He has also documented nyushu, an ancient language used mostly by women in Hunan.

Now, he is collaborating with folk musicians of the China National Traditional Orchestra to present his works - the Fire Ritual Violin Concerto and the Cello Concerto Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon - at the capital's National Center for the Performing Arts on Friday.

Tan says the idea was inspired by his trip to Dunhuang, Gansu province, three years ago, where he saw the famous cave paintings.

"Big orchestras, musicians and various instruments were displayed in those large paintings, which told me how diverse Chinese music was thousands of years ago," says Tan, adding that he wants to reinterpret ancient scores with the help of a modern orchestra to connect the old and the new.

Norwegian violinist Eldbjorg Hemsing, who will perform in the Fire Ritual Violin Concerto, says: "Tan Dun's vision is not to introduce China to the world but to introduce the world to China."

Using the classical violin with an orchestra of traditional Chinese instruments is not known to have been done here before, she says.

She calls the concert "a truly special event".

In 2010, Hemsing met Tan for the first time at his studio in Shanghai, where she had gone to play in Tan's violin concerto inspired by Peking Opera, with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra under his baton.

"I remember one very specific question he asked me: 'What is your feeling and perception about the piece?' He wanted to hear what my thoughts were and how I'd interpret it," Hemsing recalls.

The foundation of how they work together is still openness and curiosity, she adds.

Fire Ritual, which premiered in Beijing in 1997, was one of Tan's concertos for huqin, a two-stringed bowed instrument.

According to the composer, Hemsing will play the violin in a manner similar to how the Chinese instruments erhu (a bowed instrument) and guqin (Chinese zither) are played. The orchestra members will be arranged across the stage and the audience will be seated in a way that will resemble royal performances during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The Cello Concerto Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon is based on Tan's Oscar-winning score, which was performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, for the Ang Lee film.

Tan says he composed the Cello Concerto Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon for the violin and cello in the style of traditional Chinese folk music.

"It's almost like a conversation between the China National Traditional Orchestra and Western musical instruments," he says.

Tan says he hopes to inspire people's imaginations with classical music. He will also present his compositions Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds and Internet Symphony Eroica at the NCPA on Friday.

Passacaglia premiered in 2015. It takes inspiration from the ancient and the modern, the East and the West, and from nature and man-made objects. Tan has incorporated the chirping of birds produced by phones.

"The symphony orchestra is expanding with the inclusion of new instruments. I thought the cellphone ... might be a wonderful new instrument that reflects our lives today," Tan says.

The Internet Symphony Eroica features videos of some 3,000 musicians from more than 70 countries. Tan did the rehearsal with musicians online across the world. The project was presented at Carnegie Hall in 2009.

"The internet is an invisible Silk Road, joining different cultures around the world," says Tan.

If you go

7:30 pm, Friday. NCPA, 2 West Chang'an Avenue, Xicheng district, Beijing. 010-6655-0000.

Tan Dun’s upcoming concert in Beijing is a dialogue between the East and the West to inspire people’s imaginations with classical music. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-12 09:38:24
<![CDATA[Moving forward, backing away]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/12/content_29713911.htm The ethnic Jino people inhabit Yunnan province's remote mountains, where they cultivate tea and medicinal herbs but still experience the country's rapid and massive transformation.

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Ethnic Jino areas that exist in modernization's limbo offer authentic slices of traditional life - but perhaps not for long, Will Wain-Willams reports.

The ethnic Jino people inhabit Yunnan province's remote mountains, where they cultivate tea and medicinal herbs but still experience the country's rapid and massive transformation.

I set out to explore the lands on which they live, traveling from Yunnan's Xishuangbanna, a tropical settlement in the rainforest on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Myanmar, northward toward the mountains leading to the Tibet autonomous region's highlands.

The main city (if you could call it that, given its small size and slow pace of life), Jinghong, is mostly inhabited by the Dai ethnic group. The Dai's close links to Thai people can be seen in the language, architecture and religious beliefs, endowing the area with a Southeast Asian feel.

The roads northward were lined with rubber plantations. My driver says many owners are shifting toward coffee production, which is more profitable.

Yunnan's coffee has been increasing its market share in the country and beyond.

Signs advertising tacky theme parks devoted to ethnic culture punctuate the agricultural plots.

I was looking for something more authentic.

They typically live in the harsh mountaintop jungles. Their knowledge of endemic medicinal plants helps them stay strong and healthy, despite tough natural conditions.

The increasing demand for their teas has enabled many Jino people to move into more modern houses and enjoy comfortable lifestyles. Some have set up large plantations to cultivate tea and herbs.

I visited a tea-production area run by a local family.

They were in the process of selling a beautiful wooden guesthouse and a massive traditional drum. The percussion instruments fashioned from a single log are traditionally the main feature of villages. They're used in festivals and to greet visitors.

(The aforementioned theme parks also often feature dance performances centered on the drums several times a day.)

I also toured the family's workshop for pressing Pu'er teacakes.

The leaves are dried and then steam-pressed into cakes that are hung from the ceiling for about a month to fully dry.

The room was fragrant.

I really wanted to try some. I was in luck.

We next visited the tearoom, a large space centered around a beautiful table carved from a huge tree root.

Cakes of every shape and size were piled around the edges of the room.

It had a contemporary feel, although still family-owned.

The head of the household explained they'd relocated from the mountaintop to enjoy a better quality of life.

Their traditional lifestyle had been ascetic, without any modern amenities.

It's fine if urbanites want to criticize them for abandoning their traditions, he said, as he broke a chunk of tea and dropped it into a small teapot with a Chinese poem printed on the side.

But these "city dwellers" haven't endured the harsh life that accompanies ancient ways - that is, going without electricity, running water or access to education.

Indeed, I enjoyed the laid-back lifestyle and opportunities to learn from this journey.

While there are tourist traps, hiring a local driver or trekking guide makes it easy to literally get off the beaten path and enjoy an authentic experience.

Everyone I met was warm and generous.

My driver told me: "If you come to my village, I'll treat you like family. You can eat anything in my home - even kill one of my pigs!"

The changes sweeping the area may transform it beyond recognition and soon turn it into an overdeveloped and inauthentic tourism zone.

Many villagers today have TVs and iPhones but no plumbing.

Wealthy people from the north are buying villas as winter homes.

Other outsiders are moving in to open tourism agencies or hotels.

Indeed, the area may soon be unrecognizable. So, now may be a good time to go.

Contact the writer at willwainwilliams@gmail.com

 

Clockwise from top: Bapiao village, inhabited by ethnic Jino people in Jinghong, Yunnan province; an elderly ethnic Jino man weaves a bamboo basket; a Jino woman picks tea leaves; residents of a Jino village sell local products at a market; a temple of Theravada Buddhism in the area. Photos By Xinhua And Will Wain-Willams

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2017-06-12 09:38:24
<![CDATA[Chocolate tours offer more than simply sampling sweets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/12/content_29713910.htm NEW YORK - A tour for chocolate lovers in Brooklyn, New York, isn't just about tasting the final product. It also gives a peek at factories, neighborhoods and even business plans.

The chocolate tour offered by A Slice of Brooklyn takes visitors to four chocolate-makers around Brooklyn.

"I love chocolate," says Christine Dietz of San Diego, who was treated to the tour by friends throwing her a bachelorette party in New York.

"But it's really cool that we also get a bit of a tour of the city."

But A Slice of Brooklyn's chocolate tour is also part of a bigger trend.

Confectioners and tour companies around the country are offering chocolate tours catering not just to the public's sweet tooth but also to consumer interest in learning where the products they eat and drink come from.

Educating consumers

"Customers care about what they put in their mouths - especially millennials and GenXers," says Pam Williams, founder of the online academy Ecole Chocolat School of Professional Chocolate Arts.

"They want to know where their food comes from and how it is processed."

And while everybody knows that wine comes from grapes, "very, very few actually understand that chocolate comes from the seeds of a tree", says Williams, who is also co-founder of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association.

Inviting customers "into the factory to see the beans and the machinery that turn those beans into chocolate is a very good way to educate consumers on fine chocolate."

The granddaddy of US chocolate tours is Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

It has hosted more than 100 million guests since opening in 1973.

The free tour takes guests on rides following chocolate from bean to bar, with singing cows along the way and treats at the end.

But chocolate tours are offered in many other destinations around the country, from factories to visits with artisanal chocolatiers.

Just be sure to plan ahead, as some tours are offered only on certain days and times and some require reservations. Some are free, but others are pricy. The Brooklyn tour is $50.

Mars Chocolate (makers of M&Ms, Snickers and Dove) offers tours and tastings of its Ethel M premium chocolate brand at the Ethel M factory in Henderson, Nevada, near the Las Vegas strip.

Theo Chocolate welcomes more than 50,000 visitors a year to its Seattle factory. The tour shows how the brand sources organic fair-trade beans, right through the barmaking process.

In Oregon, Portland Walking Tours' Chocolate Decadence tour visits multiple chocolatiers for tastings in every form: whipped, melted, liquid, beans, bars and more.

Lake Champlain Chocolates offers free factory tours and tastings in Burlington, Vermont.

In Somerville, Massachusetts, Taza Chocolate offers an Intro to Stone Ground Chocolate factory tour, and for children under 10, a Chocolate Story Time weekend mornings. In Connecticut, you can even take a train from Thomaston to experience Fascia's Chocolate Factory tours in Waterbury, with wine and chocolate pairings along the way.

At Dandelion in San Francisco, factory tours are so popular they book up more than a month in advance.

Dallas By Chocolate offers several different tours, including Chocolate a la Mode with four stops.

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Cacao Santa Fe Chocolate Factory tour offers a look at everything from roasting, winnowing, grinding and tempering of chocolate to the finished product.

In the hipster 'hood of East Nashville, Tennessee, Olive & Sinclair offers a bean-to-bar factory tour in a historic building.

Never mind beignets and pralines: The New Orleans Chocolate Crawl samples everything from fudge to gelato.

In North Carolina, Videri Chocolate Factory offers staff-guided tours of its facility in Raleigh's newly revitalized downtown Warehouse District.

Even in New York, A Slice of Brooklyn only skims the cream off the city's chocolate offerings.

Consider tours at Mast Brothers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; the soon-to-open Harlem Chocolate Factory; and the 460-square-meter Jacques Torres Chocolate Museum in Manhattan.

Slice of Brooklyn tour

First stop on A Slice of Brooklyn's chocolate tours is Jacques Torres' shop in DUMBO, an industrial district turned chic enclave between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Next, at The Chocolate Room in the Cobble Hill neighborhood, owners Jon Payson and Naomi Josepher explain that they opened the business because they loved going out for dessert but had limited options for sit-down, restaurant-style dessert-only experiences.

In Red Hook, a working class waterfront area of modest homes and warehouses, the tour strolls to a pier with a view of the Statue of Liberty before hitting Raaka Chocolate to see how the company's artisanal bars are made, from processing cacao pods to wrapping bars with flavors like smoked chai and pink sea salt.

Last stop: Li-Lac Chocolates in Industry City, an industrial area newly reborn with small businesses. Li-Lac has been selling chocolates since 1923 and is known for creamy, old school recipes, but only recently relocated to the Brooklyn site.

And for those who love the idea of touring Brooklyn, A Slice of Brooklyn also offers pizza tours and Christmas lights tours.

Associated Press

 

Left: Jacques Torres, a chocolatier in Brooklyn, New York, is one of the stops on a chocolate tour. Right: Jon Payson, owner of The Choco-late Room in Brooklyn, explains how he and his wife started the business to a group on A Slice of Brooklyn’s chocolate tour. Ap Photos

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2017-06-12 09:38:24
<![CDATA[China's little red raisin]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/11/content_29702115.htm Editor's Note: China is divided into as many culinary regions as there are different ethnic groups. Its geographical diversity and kaleidoscopic cultural profiles contribute to the unending banquet of flavors.

Anyone familiar with Chinese food is bound to have come across a small dried red fruit that's often found floating in soups or added to dishes as a garnish. And if you bit into it, you would have enjoyed its sweetness, though you'd have been surprised by its very slight bitter aftertaste.

This is the wolfberry, the gouqizi, also known as goji berry, barberry, boxthorn fruit and matrimony vine fruit.

 

Wolfberry and chicken soup. Photos Provided to China Daily

In the Western world, it was popularized around the 2000s as a superfood and extensively taken in juices and dried supplements and marketed as Tibetan goji berries.

Most of the world's best wolfberries, however, come from the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in northwestern China.

There are two species of wolfberries, both native to China - Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense. These boxthorn plants are actually nightshades, and cousins to the potato, tomato, pepper and aubergine, or eggplant.

Their culinary and medical benefits were recorded thousands of years ago, with the most comprehensive explanation written by Li Shizhen, the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) scholar and author of Bencao Gangmu, the Compendium of Material Medica. He is acknowledged as the father of traditional Chinese medicine.

While the bush like Ningxia wolfberry (Lycium barbarum), is grown mainly for its fruit, the taller, shrublike Lycium chinense is grown in the warmer, wetter southern regions - such as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Guangdong province - and is eaten as a vegetable.

Wolfberry leaves are plucked off their thorny stems and cooked mainly in soups or blanched in chicken stock and served with scrambled eggs. They are believed to be highly nutritious and good for the eyes.

Parents have been known to cook up the dish whenever an important test or examination looms. The slightly bitter leaves were sweetened with slices of liver in a soup so rich in iron it often turned dark.

Another well-known restaurant offering is wolfberry leaves poached in rich chicken stock and topped with a three-egg combination - salted eggs, century eggs and soft-cooked eggs. It would then be garnished with a handful of wolfberries.

But it is the berries that are most widely eaten.

In the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Ningxia, eight-treasures tea or babaocha is served to honored guests. Tea leaves, dried longans, chrysanthemum, osmanthus, rock sugar and wolfberries are the main ingredients, and the mix is infused in hot water and served in a Chinese tea bowl with a lid.

The drink is slowly sipped and enjoyed as the dried fruit and flowers release their fragrance and flavor.

Gouqijiu, or wolfberry liqueur, is a common homemade infusion in northern families. Wolfberries are soaked in Chinese white spirits and a small glass is drunk regularly, usually with the evening meal, as a health supplement.

As more Chinese suffer the effects of overindulgence after the lean years, diabetes is on the rise. And wolfberries are touted as good for diabetics. That is because the berries are rich in various vitamins, especially vitamin A, which is believed to help eyesight that's been weakened by clogged capillaries.

Apart from its many health benefits according to TCM principles, wolfberries are loved by modern Chinese chefs who use them infused in teas, boiled long and slow in steamed soups or added to stir-fries for color. They are, to the Chinese kitchen, what parsley and cherry tomatoes are in the West.

Wolfberries are not purely decorative. There is this folk tale that is often retold about its nigh magical properties:

In ancient times, along a western outpost of the Silk Road, traders at an inn were surprised by the sight of a young woman berating a wizened old man.

Curious onlookers asked the young woman: "Why are you being so disrespectful to the elderly?"

The infuriated woman spun around and snapped: "Disrespectful indeed! I'm just teaching my grandson how to live. Look at him, he won't drink his wolfberry tea daily. He's only 99 and this is what he looks like now." Grandma, it seems, was already more than 200 years old.

We don't know if they were therewith a caravan of wolfberries to sell, or if she really was his grandmother or if it was just another brilliant marketing ploy. The story certainly made it into folklore.

The wolfberry plant is precious enough for Chinese authorities to treat it as a national heritage. In Ningxia, there is a dedicated research center where wolfberries are carefully cultivated and the best varieties propagated on a large, sprawling farm. The mother plant of all the new superlarge berries is protected here.

Most of us have never seen or tasted the fresh berries.

They are an elliptical fruit that form on long stems in threes or fours after the lavender flowers wilt. The plant flowers in summer, and by late autumn the bright red and orange berries are ready for harvest.

Traditionally, they are spread out on the ground to dry in the sun, but these days they tend to be air-dried in factories.

Wolfberries are very fragile before they are dried, so it is rare to see fresh berries on the market. If you get lucky, the shops at the Yinchuan Hedong International Airport in Ningxia's capital often sell boxes of fresh wolfberries to curious visitors.

Whether or not you believe in the curative powers of the wolfberry, it is very much a part of the mise en place in Chinese cooking.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Wolfberry and Chicken Soup

1 small silky chicken, or two large chicken breasts

2 slices fresh ginger

100 grams dried wolfberries

Salt to taste

Clean the chicken and remove the skin. Trim off all visible fat. Using the heel of your hand, press down on the chicken until you feel the breast bone crack. If using just chicken breast, lightly hammer the meat with the back of your cleaver. This helps to release the chicken flavors.

Rinse the berries and reserve a large spoonful for garnishing.

Heat up a pot of water to boiling, then drop the chicken, wolfberries and ginger in. After it returns to the boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 40 minutes.

Season to taste, then, just before serving, add the reserved berries to the bowl. It will add fresh color, since cooked wolfberries lose their redness.

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2017-06-11 13:55:28
<![CDATA[Holidays on wheels]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/11/content_29702114.htm Thousands of recreational vehicles were sold in China last year as self-driving excursions and camping gain popularity

Zeng Minping is such a huge fan of highway caravans that he took his wife across 28 countries to Europe in 2012.

"Caravan travel allows in-depth experiences and flexible schedules," says the 41-year-old from Guangdong province.

His love for caravaning has grown since he took his 4-year-old daughter across Russia and Poland to Germany in 2015.

 

Caravan travel allows in-depth experiences and flexible schedules. China Daily

 

"I wanted to travel with my daughter, since I did not take her with us the previous time," he says. And they ended up having an unforgettable time.

The family prepared food in their recreational vehicle for most of the trip, which made them feel at home. They also met lots of interesting and helpful residents along the way.

Zeng is one of the growing breed of travelers in China who have taken a shine to caravans. Approximately 8,000 RVs were sold in China last year, according to a report compiled by the China Tourism Automobile and Cruise Association and the Tourism Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The number of RV owners in China is now around 45,000, and Chinese drove themselves on 2.64 billion trips in 2016, up by 12.8 percent over the previous year, the report says. Currently, around 3,200 clubs are committed to self-driving tours.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, caravan campsites in city suburbs have become popular getaways for families and the outdoorsy crowd.

"We were fully booked during the Dragon Boat Festival," says Jiang Lili, the general manager of a Beijing caravan resort funded by China Travel Service (Hong Kong).

"Parents who bring their children, people who love themed tours and companies that hold team-building events are our main customers," Jiang said.

The resort in the northeastern Miyun district is a 1.5-hour drive from downtown. There are now around 30 RVs at the resort.

TV, Wi-Fi and air conditioners are available in the vehicles, some of which can house six people and cost about 1,500 yuan ($219) for weekends and holidays and 800 yuan during the offseason.

At the resort, guests can enjoy fruit-picking and fishing, in addition to barbecues and bonfire parties.

"We also have deals with many child-parent organizations and outdoor activity groups," Jiang said.

CTS HK purchased nearly 100 RVs from the United States - 30 for the Beijing resort and the rest for its Sichuan and Yunnan operations.

Meanwhile, the company is focusing on developing caravan networks and making things easier for caravan travelers.

"We believe that the RV rental market holds great potential, and that things could mature in three to five years," Jiang says.

Speaking of the charm of such trips, Jiang says it's like living in a home on wheels.

Also, while domestic travel typically lasts for one to two weeks, self-driving trips could last more than a month, Jiang says. Trips from Sichuan, Qinghai and Yunnan provinces to the Tibet autonomous region are very popular with RV travelers, she says.

As for outbound trips, driving from Yunnan across the border into Laos, Myanmar and Thailand is also popular.

Eleven Chinese government ministries and commissions, including the National Tourism Administration, jointly issued a series of policies to boost RV trips.

This has prompted industry players, including Jiang's company, to continue investing in the field.

In a related development, CTS HK has played a key part in hosting the annual All in Caravaning event since 2012. The event is an expo that brings together RV and component manufacturers and service providers worldwide in Beijing. It will take place June 23 to 25 this year.

The event has not only created business opportunities but also popularized the caravaning culture in China.

"There were not a lot of visitors at the first expo, and some who came out of curiosity had not even seen RVs," Jiang says.

But the number of visitors has been growing ever since, and audiences are increasingly knowledgeable. "Now they ask about fuel consumption and refitting," Jiang says.

Last year's event saw the number of visitors double over the previous year, according to Jiang. And many have traveled through the United States, New Zealand and Germany on wheels, she added.

For Zeng, sharing his caravaning experience is also part of the fun. He has written an online travelogue that has received more than 8 million views.

For the future, Zeng is throwing his hat in the ring to be a caravaning ambassador.

"I'd like to share my travel experiences with more people and help them better understand caravans," he says.

yangfeiyue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-11 13:55:28
<![CDATA[Draw of the south]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/11/content_29702113.htm Northern Kunqu Opera Theater is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a festival of the old art form

Cong Zhaohuan sits in a spacious courtyard surrounded by brick walls that are being torn down. A six-story building, which is being emptied, is nearby.

It's the location of the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater, where Cong, 86, has worked for six decades.

Located in downtown Beijing, the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater is the only professional theater in northern China dedicated to Kunqu, a Chinese opera with a history of around 600 years. Born in the regions south of the Yangtze River, such as Suzhou, Jiangsu province, Kunqu Opera is performed in the melodic Suzhou dialect.

 

Combining singing, dancing and acting, the art form was listed as an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2001.

"This place is like a gold mine. You cannot imagine how many great Kunqu artists worked here and how many masterpieces they created here," says Cong.

"I am glad that I'm still alive and have the chance to witness a new chapter of the theater."

On June 22, the theater will celebrate its 60th anniversary.

With seven professional troupes, including the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theater of Jiangsu province and the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe, the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater will hold a festival from June 15 to 27.

At the festival, the audience will enjoy classic Kunqu works performed by both established masters and younger actors.

The Northern Kunqu Opera Theater will have a new venue at the original location, which is scheduled to open in about two years.

Yang Fengyi, president of Northern Kunqu Opera Theater, says the new venue will not just work as a platform for artists but also as a place where the public can learn more about Kunqu.

"We will open the venue by offering workshops, talks and exhibitions as ways to interact with the audience," says Yang.

"In the past, the major job of Kunqu artists, like Cong, was to teach young actors. But with this new venue, they will also share their valuable experience and stories about Kunqu with the audience."

Cong was born in Dalian, Liaoning province, and moved to Beijing in 1949.He started learning the opera at age 17.

In 1957, premier Zhou Enlai helped to establish the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater, and Kunqu master Han Shichang was appointed its first president.

"The theater has gone through many ups and downs in the past 60 years. The early years were very tough," Cong says.

"Back then, Kunqu's popularity was waning. To safeguard its existence, artists then made great efforts to revive traditional repertoires and also worked on new material."

Senior artists even spent their own money on productions, he says.

Cong learned the art form from Han.

During the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), the theater was shut down and didn't reopen until 1979.

Now, it tours the world with more than 30 repertories, including The Peony Pavilion, a Kunqu classic based on a play by Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) playwright Tang Xianzu, and A Dream of Red Mansions, an adaptation of the famous Chinese novel of the same title by Cao Xueqin.

"Usually traditional art forms are appreciated mainly by older people," Yang says.

"However, what excites us is that Kunqu is now drawing more young people. We hold a variety of activities on campuses across China every year to help students embrace this old art form."

The theater is making efforts to cultivate young performers to pass on the tradition and get close to the youth.

Shao Tianshuai is a rising star who will perform a major role in A Dream of Red Mansions at the upcoming festival.

The award-winning actress, who was born and raised in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, started to learn the art form at the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater in 2001.

"I knew nothing about Kunqu then. But my parents considered it a great opportunity, so I came to Beijing," recalls the 32-year-old.

"It was very hard in the beginning, especially the physical training and the singing techniques. But I fell in love with Kunqu Opera."

Despite the current positive situation for Kunqu in China, Cong still has concerns.

He says that the focus on passing down the old art is to teach students how to perform.

However, it's also important to teach students how to write scripts, compose music and even do the makeup and costume designs.

"For example, we have lots of costumes from 60 years ago," says Cong, adding that artists need to pay attention to maintaining the quality of such costumes and making new ones.

"There is still so much to learn and research. I am 86 year sold, and I want to quickly pass down my knowledge of Kunqu Opera to younger people."

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-11 13:55:28
<![CDATA[A bridge that spans time]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/11/content_29702112.htm First structure connecting opposite banks of Yangtze in Wuhan has a respected Russian godfather

A monument at the oldest bridge over the Yangtze River in Wuhan is inscribed with the names of 28 experts from the former Soviet Union. Konstantin Silin's name is first.

On Oct 15, 1957, the 1,670-meter bridge - the first over the river - opened for traffic after 25 months of construction.

 

The Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge is a witness to the country's rapid development over the past six decades. VCG

It was completed two years ahead of schedule, thanks to a new method used for the bridge's foundation, which was suggested by Silin, the chief engineer and bridge expert sent by the Soviet Union in the summer of 1954. It was the third time that Silin had been sent to China to help the country to fix crumbling bridges and build new ones.

Chairman Mao Zedong praised the bridge in one of his poems: "A bridge will fly to span the north and south, turning a deep chasm into a thoroughfare."

In 1948, the People's Liberation Army in Northeast China was hampered by damaged bridges when trying to transport supplies. Silin was sent then to help to build the Second Songhua River Bridge. With it was completed, the army crossed and liberated the whole northeastern region.

In 1949, Silin came to China again as a consultant to the Railways Ministry (now the National Railway Administration). He worked on the construction of bridges in Chengdu and Chongqing and the western section of the Longhai and Lanzhou-Xinjiang railways.

After returning home in November 1957, Silin worked to build and sustain friendship between China and his native land. He died in 1996, and an image of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was carved on his gravestone.

"My parents traveled around China together to fix broken bridges, even when they were expecting me," says Elena Silina, Silin's daughter, who recently came to Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Elena Silina is a professor in the engineering ecology and technological safety department at Moscow State University of Railway Transport.

"My father's participation in the construction of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was a very important thing for ourwhole family," she says.

On the walls of their home were many photos of the bridge, along with Chinese art. Family members used chopsticks.

They'd occasionally go to Chinese restaurants to celebrate an important event. When Elena Silina's daughter, Ekaterina Fortygina, wanted to study a foreign language in college, Silin strongly suggested Chinese. Ekaterina agreed.

"My daughter is in China to study. She knows a lot about China, speaks fluent Chinese and is good at cooking Chinese dishes," Silina says.

While searching for key chains with matryoshka dolls in Beijing as gifts for her Chinese friends, Silina was on the lookout for candied hawthorn for her grandchildren in Russia, who love the sweet-and-sour flavor, she says.

In 1954, 4-year-old Elena came to live in Beijing with her parents for eight years. She returned in the 1980s and again in 2000. Each time, she was surprised to see how much Beijing had changed over the years.

"China has grown fast, and many of its techniques in building roads and railways have been introduced to other countries," she says.

Liu Changyuan, deputy chief engineer of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge project, said in an earlier interview: "Konstantin Silin was not only a respected expert but also a very good person." Liu had joined the team building the bridge pillars in 1955 as a fresh university graduate. He recalled that Silin often took a speedboat to examine the pillars and exchanged ideas with construction workers. Liu got to know him during that time.

"He was very modest. He respected us Chinese engineers and workers, and passed on his experience," Liu says.

Silin took great pride in the first bridge over the Yangtze. He often returned to China to visit the bridge.

Once, when he was over 80 years old, he visited the construction site of the Second Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge. After learning about the construction techniques being used, he told Liu and the group of Chinese engineers: "I was your teacher when we built the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, but now you have become my teacher."

yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2017-06-11 13:55:28
<![CDATA[China on brink of quantum computing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/11/content_29702111.htm As a 'baby' device is born, experts point to its historic significance; meanwhile, researchers are following multiple development path

On a table of 3 square meters are dozens of lenses and odd devices, with wires suspended above and a machine chirping ceaselessly.

It is a prototype quantum computer developed by about 20 Chinese scientists at the Shanghai-based Institute for Quantum Information and Quantum Technology Innovation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The "baby" quantum computer, unveiled in early May, is the first quantum computing machine based on single photons that could go beyond the early classic, or conventional, computer.

 

The 'baby' quantum computer, unveiled in early May, is the first quantum computing machine based on single photons that could go beyond early classical, or conventional, computers. Xinhua / China Daily

The principle of quantum computing is based on one of the strangest phenomena in quantum physics: quantum entanglement. It occurs when particles in pairs or groups interact and are influenced by each other, even when they are a great distance apart.

Scientists say quantum computing enables ultrafast parallel calculation and simulation capabilities. In normal silicon computer chips, data is rendered in one of two states: 0 or 1. In quantum computers, data can exist in both states simultaneously, holding vastly more information.

The computing power of a quantum computer grows exponentially with the number of quantum bits that can be manipulated. This could effectively solve large-scale computation problems that are beyond the ability of current classical computers, scientists say.

Lu Chaoyang, a 34-year-old professor at the University of Science and Technology of China and one of the developers of the prototype quantum computer, is nicknamed "the photon wizard".

"You can't find two identical leaves in the world, but we can make two identical photons," says Lu. "With identical photons, we can produce quantum interference and entanglement."

The identical photons are produced by a device called a single photon source. The chirping machine is a refrigerator that keeps the single photon source at a temperature of -269 C.

"As a result of technological breakthroughs in 2013, our single photon source is the world's best, as 99.5 percent of the photons it produces are identical. It is 10 times more efficient than its counterparts abroad," Lu says.

"Using the former technology, the photons were like twins playing in mud - you could distinguish them by the droplets of mud on their bodies. But our technological innovation makes photons into clean, indistinguishable twins."

Since the "baby" quantum computer was born, it has done just one thing: play a "game" called Boson sampling, which was designed to enable a quantum computer to compete with a classical computer.

"We can manipulate five entangled photons so the machine defeats the early classical computer," says Lu. In fact, he and his colleagues set a world record at the end of last year by manipulating 10 entangled photons.

They aim to realize manipulation of 20 entangled photons by the end of this year.

"Although the 'baby' quantum computer can not even beat the mobile phone in your hand, it's a milestone. The first electronic computer in human history, which is so big that it filled several rooms, is worthless today, but it is of great scientific significance. We have to develop step by step from science to technology and then to application," Lu says.

"When the car was first invented, it was unreliable and uncomfortable compared with the carriage. But cars eventually surpassed carriages as a result of technological progress."

Lu's tutor, Pan Jianwei, a CAS academician and a leading quantum physicist, has spent more than two decades researching the manipulation of microscopic particles.

"At first, our road was very hard, but now our progress is faster and accelerating. It heralds the coming of a key period in the development of quantum computing. This is like bamboo shoots popping up after the rain," Pan says.

Because of the enormous potential of quantum computing, Europe and the United States are actively collaborating in their research. High-tech companies such as Google, Microsoft and IBM also have massive interest in quantum computing research.

The photon-based system is just one of the means by which scientists are trying to achieve quantum computing.

Zhu Xiaobo, a professor at the University of Science and Technology of China who is researching superconducting quantum computing, says there are at least seven or eight different technical routes. Several Chinese research teams are on different roads.

"Nobody knows which route could eventually lead to a quantum computer of practical value. Maybe all roads lead to Rome. Maybe there will be different kinds of quantum computers to solve different problems. There is another possibility that a dark horse from an unknown road reaches the goal first," Zhu says.

The research team led by Pan is exploring three technical routes: systems based on single photons, ultracold atoms and superconducting circuits.

Although his team has an advantage in a photon-based system, Pan says a system based on ultracold atoms might be the first of practical value.

In addition, the superconducting system, with its integration and coherence, cannot be ignored, says Pan. High-tech companies such as Google and IBM have made large investments in this field.

He estimates that Chinese scientists could realize manipulation of around 50 quantum bits to construct a superconducting quantum computer that could exceed the most powerful supercomputer by 2020.

In another lab of the Institute for Quantum Information and Quantum Technology Innovation, a superconducting quantum computer is under incubation.

Unlike the photon quantum computer displaying all its "organs" on the table, the superconducting quantum computer "baby" hides its key parts in a big cylinder more than a meter tall. The cylinder keeps the superconducting quantum chip at a temperature of -273.13 C.

Zhu Xiaobo, one of its main developers, and his colleagues have broken a record set by the research team from Google, NASA and the University of California at Santa Barbara, who achieved high-precision manipulation of nine superconducting quantum bits in 2015. The Chinese team independently developed a superconducting quantum circuit containing 10 superconducting quantum bits.

Zhu says the most difficult thing is to increase the control accuracy of the chip.

Although the team developed the chip, Zhu says the system cannot be called a superconducting quantum computer. "A quantum computer is totally new. Many top scientists are uncertain how a quantum computer will work."

He says he hopes to build a prototype superconducting quantum computer with 10 quantum bits by the end of this year.

Pan believes Chinese scientists can realize manipulation of 100 quantum bits within 10 years, which means the capacity of one quantum computer would be a million times the total capacity of all the computers currently in use.

He predicts there will be tens of thousands or millions of quantum computers in the world.

" I don't need one at home, as it's very difficult to make my mobile phone or laptop extremely cold. But I can use cloud technology to send tasks to the quantum cloud platform," he says.

"We don't need a quantum computer to do what traditional computers can do well. We need it to solve problems that are difficult for traditional computers, such as code cracking, weather forecasting and pharmaceutical design. Quantum computing will also push the development of artificial intelligence," Pan says.

"We still don't know if quantum computers will enter common use. Maybe future quantum computers will be totally different from what we imagine today."

Xinhua

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2017-06-11 13:55:28
<![CDATA[The missing seal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/11/content_29702110.htm It was a priceless artifact in ancient China-and then it disappeared

If the Mandate of Heaven had a physical form, it would be a 4-inch-square block of the purest jade in the realm. In case of confusion, its base would be carved with dragons circling the message: "Having Received the Mandate of Heaven, Live Long and Prosper." It would have been commissioned by China's first emperor, Qinshihuang (秦始皇), and passed from ruling dynasty to dynasty - until disappearing for good more than 1,000 years ago.

Sounds like the stuff of legend? The existence of the Heirloom Seal of the Realm (传国玉玺 chuán guó yùxǐ, "Jade Seal Passed Through the Realm"), as this relic was known, is well attested in ancient history books, but the object has been reported lost and then miraculously recovered so frequently in its 1,000-year history that one must take the details with a grain of salt.

On the other hand, records of emperors gaining and losing what was effectively the physical embodiment of their right to rule has proved to be a useful narrative device for historians to ruminate on the nature of power.

Personal seals have been used to authenticate documents in China since at least the Zhou dynasties (c. 11th century-256 BC), when the character 玺(xǐ) first appeared in the records, later becoming the exclusive character for imperial seals.

Highly ornamental, usually made from jade or gold, and topped with three-dimensional carvings of auspicious symbols, the xi seems to have been used for ceremony as much if not more than for stamping documents.

The Qing emperor Qianlong (乾隆) had as many as 1,800 seals made, but we only have records of about 30. Most were crafted to commemorate events like imperial birthdays and military victories, and were kept in a special hall inside the Forbidden City. One of Qianlong's seals, made of steatite and decorated with nine dragons, fetched $22 million (19.50 million euros; £17.10 million) at a Paris auction in December.

Likewise, no prints by the Heirloom Seal exist, and most historical paintings simply show it held in the triumphant hands of a new emperor.

But it's no great stretch that a traditional Chinese tool for personal identification could be reimagined as a stamp of identity for the realm itself. Historical records about the making of the Heirloom Seal - written during the two Han dynasties (206 BC-220)-conflated the seal with the legend of the Heshibi (和氏璧), a priceless jade disk coveted by various kings during the Warring States period (475-221 BC). Qinshihuang is said to have turned the disk into the seal when he united the realm, and the third Qin emperor handed it to the Han founder as part of his surrender, thereby kicking off a new, continuous and linear paradigm of power transfer in the history of China.

The seal disappeared multiple times as it passed down the ruling lineage. Qinshihuang, never a favorite with Han historians, was said to have cast the seal into Dongting Lake to ensure smooth passage for his boat. It was found and returned by an honest farmer eight years later. In periods between dynasties, rival warlords often claimed to possess the seal when they were gaining the upper hand, while it disappeared again in times when the winner was unclear. Though some records state it was lost for good when the last emperor of the Later Tang state burned down his palace as the invaders closed in, records of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) state that it resurfaced 150 years later via another sharp-eyed farmer - just when the realm was feeling pressure from invaders in the north.

But though the seal symbolized the emperor's suitability to rule, historians have been careful to note that it wasn't just by grabbing the object that emperors secured a ruling mandate for themselves. When a coup was staged in AD 8 by a Han official named Wang Mang (王莽), the Heirloom Seal was one of the first things he demanded from the deposed emperor's family, and it was promptly removed from him when the Han resurfaced just 15 years later. The warlord Yuan Shu (袁术), according to The Records of the Three Kingdoms, advertised his possession of the seal at the same time he declared himself emperor, but other warlords rallied against him anyway because he was a backstabbing tyrant.

By contrast, Yuan's rival, the Machiavellian Cao Cao (曹操), also claimed to have obtained the seal sometime after Yuan's death. The Records state that Cao was asked whether he would declare himself emperor, but he replied, "If heaven wills it, then I could be King Wen of the Zhou Dynasty." This referenced the father of the founder of the Zhou Dynasty, who never took the throne but was posthumously named king by his son. Accordingly, Cao spent his warlord career stating that he was "supporting" the fading Han emperor. His son Cao Pi (曹丕), founder of the Wei kingdom (220-265), made a show of refusing the Han emperor's abdication three times, before agreeing and remarking: "I finally understand what it was like when (legendary kings) Shun and Yu sagely accepted an abdication."

It seemed that the seal, like the Mandate of Heaven, was believed to act of its own accord: You didn't seek it out, instead heaven vouchsafed it if you showed potential to govern well. In that sense it might have been quite easy for people to accept the notion that the seal could magically disappear and reappear depending on how stable or centralized the emperor's power appeared to be at a particular time.

But this was subverted by the seal's final disappearance, which different records put at various times between the Later Tang and the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). By the time of the Ming (1368-1644), the seal was indisputably gone forever, and records state that the founding Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋), searched as far as the Mongols' homeland in the north, but couldn't find the seal.

The Ming era was also when emperors began to produce more commonplace, personal seals en masse, culminating in Qianlong's vast collection. As Zhu Yuanzhang himself said, his reign was a time for the common people to "dispense with cults and fall in with the right ways".

The narrative of a mythical seal, derived from the old-school Confucian ethos of divinely mandated rights and responsibilities, may have become less significant as the Zhu consolidated the realm on more secular lines - military, commerce and stringent laws.

In recent decades, several seals unearthed in the Chinese countryside - including one found by a 13-year-old boy in Shaanxi province in 1955 - were thought to be candidates for the lost treasure, but ended up being among the many other imperial seals of the Qing and Ming.

Courtesy of the World of Chinese, www.theworldofchinese.com.cn

The World of Chinese

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2017-06-11 13:55:28
<![CDATA[Gaokao: days of reckoning]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/11/content_29702070.htm June 7 and 8 are arguably the most consequential days of the year in China. On those days, a stunning number of students take the gaokao, China's national college entrance examination.

To prepare for the test, third-year seniors in China have some the longest studying hours in the world, and not enough time for exercise or sleep.

It's the 40th year since the exam was reinstated in 1977, following the decade long "cultural revolution" (1966-76).As the only path to a college education, the exam is said to be one of the toughest in the world and has a lifelong impact.

Over the two days, many activities are suspended, from building construction to square dancing, to make sure there are no disturbing sounds. In some cities, cars are barred from honking their horns.

lijing2009@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Gaokao kicks off on June 7, and this year around 9.4 million students take the exam. A student from the Changchun Experimental Middle School says goodbye to her mother before attending the exam on the morning of June 7. Photos by Bai Shi / For China Daily

 

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2017-06-11 13:55:28
<![CDATA[Big picture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/11/content_29702069.htm

 

Cultural spectacle: One-hundred hand looms for weaving fan out on a bank of West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on June 4. The display was intended to demonstrate the extraordinary charm of this intangible cultural heritage. Li Zhong / For China Daily

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2017-06-11 13:55:28
<![CDATA[Contemporary dance fans set to see a world of works]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695810.htm

The Beijing Dance Festival which aims to highlight contemporary dance will kick off on July 18 and run till the end of the month. In the first week, 16 professional dancer-choreographers from 14 countries, including the United States, Germany, Finland and India, will give master classes and workshops at the Beijing Institute of Performing Arts, and in the second week, audiences will get to enjoy performances at Tianqiao Performing Arts in Beijing.

Revealing how the foreign troupes were chosen for the festival, which was first held in 2008, Willy Tsao, the artistic director of Beijing Dance/LDTX, one of the organizers of the festival, says: "We go around the world to attend dance festivals."

Speaking about the aims of the event, Tsao, who is also the founder and artistic director of the other two organizers of the festival - the Guangdong Modern Dance Company and the Hong Kong City Contemporary Dance Company, says: "Our goal is not to have the most famous dance companies or the most established artists. But we want to show audiences the most avant-garde and the latest dance productions in the world."

Hong Kong spotlight

One of the highlights at this year's event will be a series of performances marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

Five choreographers from Hong Kong, including Helen Lai, Noel Pong and, Sang Jijia, have collaborated for Amidst the Wind, which will be performed by the Hong Kong City Contemporary Dance Company on July 26.

According to Tsao, who founded the dance company in 1979, Amidst the Wind is a celebration of "the most exhilarating dance excerpts from its productions of the past two decades".

From scenes in a living room filled with sorrow to a cinema full of laughter, the work draws inspiration from the classic Chinese novel, Dream of the Red Chamber, by Qing Dynasty writer Cao Xueqin and The Metamorphosis, a novel by Franz Kafka.

Meanwhile, a show titled Hong Kong Classics Restaged will see Hong Kong choreographers showcase their works, which are based on Chinese works including Mui Cheuk-yin's Awakening in a Dream and Yuri Ng's Boy Story.

Hong Kong New Wave, a show being staged on July 27, will feature works by dancer-choreographers from Hong Kong, including Lies in Waiting by Kelvin Mak and Folding Echoes by Joseph Lee.

"These dancer-choreographers from Hong Kong combine influences from both China and the West. And during the past 20 years, they have witnessed changes in the city and their voices are heard through their works," says Tsao.

Other performances will include Circle 2: The Flow, choreographed by Zi Wei and performed by Beijing Dance/LDTX; Cosmic Body choreographed by Ingri Fiskdal and performed by the Ingri Fiskdal Dance Company from Oslo, Norway and Sale choreographed by Eyal Dadon from Israel.

Niche market

Explaining, how he keeps the festival alive, Tsao, who says he aims promote contemporary dance in China, says: "There are a lot of struggles and challenges but all serious arts face difficulties."

He adds that modern dance in China is still a niche market. "So, the only way to let people know about modern dance is to give more performances and to attract young audiences."

In 2012, the Beijing Dance Festival was modified from a one-week event to a two-week show, which, besides offering performances by international contemporary dance troupes, now also functions as an important platform to educate amateurs.

Tsao says that this year, 213 young amateur dancers from 31 cities across China will participate in the festival. They will be offered opportunities to meet professional dancer-choreographers at workshops and perform their own pieces.

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2017-06-10 07:25:00
<![CDATA[NCPA hosts three-month feast for contemporary theater fans]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695809.htm

 

Deutsches Theater's The Visit (Der Besuch der alten Dame), a three-act play by Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Provided to China Daily

A three-month celebration of contemporary theater has just begun at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing

Now in its third year, the NCPA International Theater Festival, will feature 10 theater troupes from seven countries staging 56 shows where artists will communicate with audiences after the performances.

Since its debut in 2015, the festival has introduced 24 theater troupes from 9 countries.

"These plays bear distinctive styles influenced by their countries' culture and history.

"Audiences not just enjoy a great show onstage but also get to know a different culture later," says Zhao Fei, one of the curators of the 2017 NCPA International Theater Festival.

The festival comprises two sections - the East and the West - and NCPA's production, Returning Home on a Snowy Night, kicked off the festival on June 1.

Written by playwright Wu Zuguang and directed by Ren Ming, the play set in the late 1920s, tells the tragic love story of a Peking Opera actor, Wei Liansheng, and Yuchun, a concubine of an official.

Meanwhile, two of Japanese theater master Tadashi Suzuki's productions, The Trojan Women and Dionysus, will be staged in the East section over June 22-29. Suzuki, 78, will come to Beijing along with his Suzuki Company of Toga.

The two plays were adapted and directed by Suzuki from the ancient tragedies by Athenian playwright Euripides.

In his production, Suzuki tried to bridge the gap between traditional Japanese Noh and Kabuki and modern theater.

Over August 24 to 27, Li Liuyi, the director and scriptwriter of Beijing People's Art Theatre, will stage his adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, starring veteran actors Pu Cunxin and Lu Fang.

In the West section, Staatstheater N��rnberg, one of the largest theaters in Germany, will bring two of its productions: Terror, by German writer and lawyer Ferdinand von Schirach, in which the stage is turned into a court and the audience becomes the jury, and The 39 Steps, which was adapted from the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock.

Other highlights include British theater company Cheek By Jowl's Twelfth Night, from Aug 11 to 13, and the Deutsches Theater's The Visit (Der Besuch der alten Dame), a three-act play by Swiss playwright Friedrich D��rrenmatt, from July 5 to 8.

 

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2017-06-10 07:25:00
<![CDATA[The power of glitter & stardust]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695784.htm

 

Clockwise from top left: Lu Han, Yang Ying, Yang Mi, Chen Xuedong and Li Yifeng. Luxury houses engage the services of young film stars in an effort to reach out to younger consumers. Photos Provided to China Daily

Luxury goods purveyors turn to young celebrities to give their advertising pulling power

When the Chinese model and actress Yang Ying, better known to tens of millions as Angelababy, was named the new ambassador for a top fashion brand recently it unleashed a torrent of debate about her suitability for the role.

While some hailed Christian Dior's appointment as a smart move, others said the brand was dragging down its upmarket image. Yang failed to appear in Dior's recent 2018 spring/summer resort collection runway show in California, and there was speculation that her absence and the swirl of negative comment after her appointment as ambassador were not entirely unrelated.

Dior is just the latest among luxury fashion houses, after the likes of Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Tiffany, to engage the services of young film stars in an effort to reach out to younger consumers. Some use these stars as their faces, and others appear in runways shows.

It is a trend that extends well beyond China's borders, no better example being the ubiquitous media-space hogging Kardashian family in the United States, who seem to be known simply for being well known rather than any other praiseworthy professional feat.

Such celebrities have tens of thousands of fans and followers, so they are natural choices for being put to use as market magnets for the brands they are endorsing.

Last year the singer and actor Lu Han was made the face of Cartier's Juste un Clou, a collection that celebrates "assertiveness, free-spirit and affirmation of own individual styles".

Within 24 hours of a campaign video featuring Lu appearing online it was said to have drawn in 100 million pairs of eyes through Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-like service.

Instead of simply selecting celebrities, Cartier China says it prefers to take a more organic approach.

"We don't just select celebrities," says Renaud Litre, CEO of Cartier China. "We prefer to get to know personalities, talented artists and establish longtime friendships with them."

Long before Cartier and Lu consummated their relationship, Lu had spoken favorably about the brand on social media, and that was the genesis of the formal partnership, Litre says.

"Lu Han transcends generations. He is passionate about what he does; he surpasses himself; and he is confident in what he is. He is the perfect match with the Juste un Clou spirit."

"As a luxury maison we expected the association to be surprising and questioning ... How free-minded are you?" Litre says.

For most brands, such partnerships are approached cautiously and start with a specific collection as the two sides gauge public opinion.

The actress Yang Mi, who made her name in TV dramas and later in movies and fashion, was chosen as ambassador for Piaget's Possession collection, and this year she was made the face of the American brand Estee Lauder.

"We wanted someone who could express different personalities and mood through these five colors (of the collection)," says Marguerite Sam, managing director at Piaget China.

"Yang Mi for us is someone fully accomplished in the way that she's a beautiful lady, a fashion icon, an actress, a mother and a businesswoman. She has a strong and charming personality, representing different facets of these new pieces."

While the fans of young celebrities such as Yang are usually young themselves, they have limited spending power, but the brands are looking further than the current situation.

"We hope to draw on her influence to disseminate the message and the concept of this collection to more people. That message is that it is not just a piece of jewelry, but also a companion to an independent woman. Turn and the world is yours. With the wonderful colors of this collection, a woman can boldly express her character and her emotions. Once more and more people get to know us I think it will become a fashion accessory."

While most brands tread very carefully as they develop their partnerships with celebrities, others are more willing to go out on a limb.

The award-winning actress Shu Qi is the female figurehead and voice of the Italian jewelry brand Bulgari, and the singer and actor Kris Wu is the male counterpart.

Rather than directly targeting sales, the brand looks at it in what it regards as a more sustainable way.

"We chose him because his personality and style fit our brand," says Farrel Yi, communications manager of Bulgari China. "So we can have our conversation with the young generation.

"As a luxury brand we are always expanding our customer base and trying to get consumers to know us better. We didn't choose Kris because we expect him to directly boost sales. That would be unfair to him and unhealthy for the brand. After all, it's luxury we're dealing with here, not snacks."

Yi says that as Bulgari went about selecting a man, Wu stood out because of his strong personality, his international background, his artistic talent and his ambition.

"In addition, as the world's second-largest economy, China should have its own international face," Yi says.

The brand started using him for public occasions when he returned to China from South Korea, where he was a member of the former K-pop group Exo.

When Wu went to Switzerland for the watch and jewelry show Baselworld this year, his activities were streamed live on the internet, allowing fans using smartphones to keep up with what he was doing. It was estimated that more than 50 million viewers watched live.

Wu is also the face for the British luxury brand Burberry in China and walked down the runway for the brand as a star guest during London Fashion Week last year.

Still, some collaborations can be too bold for luxury consumers.

The Swiss watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre chose to work with Papi Jiang, a video blogger who built her name on self-made comedy skits, on a video campaign aimed at young people.

At the center of the campaign, drawn up by the advertising firm Fred & Farid, was the Reverso model, one of the brand's more affordable models.

In the video, restricted to the brand's WeChat account, Jiang, wearing a Reverso watch, talked about her rise to fame and what she thought about it.

No sooner had the campaign begun than tongues began wagging, with many questioning the compatibility between a Swiss watch and an internet personality who had made her name through dry wit that often crosses into sarcasm.

The Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana invited the Chinese actor Chen Xuedong and the fashion blogger Gogoboi to walk down the runway in its fashion show in Milan last year, along with other international internet influencers and A-listers, and that decision to use people who are not professional models raised eyebrows in many circles.

In choosing personalities to market products, cosmetic brands tend to have more room for maneuver than their counterparts in the world of jewelry and watches, because the latter tend to be a lot more expensive. The cosmetics companies also work closely with e-commerce sites to directly transform fans into customers.

When the actor Yang Yang was picked as the spokesman for the French cosmetic brand Guerlain, his admirers instantly started buying the products he was speaking for. The brand hosted a live stream program on Tmall, in which Yang picks lipstick for the fans and applies it for them. After the live streaming, a shade named after Yang soon sold out, and soon a campaign was launched online, ostensibly by fans, calling on fellow fans to buy Guerlain products and support Yang's endorsement.

"Whatever he endorses, I will try my best to buy and to support him," an admirer said on the reviews website Douban.

sunyuanqing@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-10 07:24:21
<![CDATA[A talent, a true friend, and a loving father - the story of a renowned Chinese scientist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695783.htm

 

Huang Danian, a geophysicist who returned to China seven years ago from Britain and contributed greatly to deep earth exploration technology. Photos Provided by Xinhua

Geophysicist Huang Danian scaled his field's heights in Britain before returning to China

With China continuing its rapid growth, Chinese scientists and researchers are returning home from abroad to aid in their country's development. One of those scientists was the renowned Huang Danian, a geophysicist who returned to China seven years ago from Britain and contributed greatly to deep earth exploration technology.

"Huang Danian's most valuable quality was his sincerity. He sincerely treated his friends well, and loved his family and his motherland," said Sun Wei, a dear friend of Huang.

In January, Huang died of bile duct cancer at the age of 58.

In 1993, he went to Britain's Leeds University to study, and earned his doctor's degree in geophysics, finishing the top of his class.

"When studying in Britain, he combined his Chinese intellectual integrity with British precision," said Sun.

Though having to encounter language and living difficulties in a foreign country, Huang quickly earned respect from his British professors and colleagues thanks to his profound academic knowledge and hard work.

Dr Roger Clark, Senior Lecturer at Leeds University's School of Earth & Environment, used to supervise Huang's PhD work on the quantitative analysis of gravity and magnetic field anomalies.

"As a student, he was clearly very skilled at mathematics, and we enjoyed guiding him into geophysics," Clark said.

"He was certainly a very dedicated student while he was in Leeds, and I heard exactly the same from colleagues in industry," he said.

"I always knew he had the skill and energy to do well in whatever he wanted to apply himself to."

Clark also expressed shock and sadness on Huang's passing-away. "We never think or expect the students we have taught to pass away before us ... It's a great loss, both personally and professionally."

Shortly after he obtained his doctor's degree, Huang joined a geophysical service company ARKeX in Cambridge as an advanced researcher on high resolution airborne and marine gravity gradiometry, mainly used in oil, gas and mineral resources exploration at sea and on land.

Huang's team had been deemed by fellow researchers as one of the leading research teams in the industry of mobile detection technology.

Mark Davies, president and CEO of AustinBridgeporth, used to work with Huang at ARKeX for many years.

"I think Huang was an extremely talented geophysicist who pioneered many projects over the years for large independent oil companies," he said.

"He was extremely talented and knowledgeable. Not only a colleague but a true friend too," Davies added.

During his time in Britain, Huang remained committed to China, and his contacts with his motherland had never been broken. He would always fly to China to attend an academic meeting or seminar related to his field.

According to Sun, it's not a "random choice" that Huang later chose to go back to China to work, neither was it a "sudden impulse".

"Danian loved science and technology," Davies said. "He never said why he wanted to go back but it was very obvious to me. China was funding high quality science projects and he wanted to be part of it."

"I always expected Danian to excel at anything he wished to do. It does not surprise me at all." he added.

In 2008, China launched a national recruitment program for global top talent, called the "Thousand Talent" program, as part of its efforts to become an innovation-driven economy. The program encourages overseas Chinese and foreign professionals to work in China.

Huang became one of the first to participate in the program in 2009. He gave up his position in Britain and sold his house and property to work at Jilin University in Changchun.

Upon return, Huang was invited to be the chief scientist of a branch of China's biggest deep earth exploration program. The program aims to install high-tech cameras on aircraft, ships and satellites that enable them to see through the earth's crust without digging into it. Investment in his branch of the program has reached more than 300 million yuan ($43.5 million).

Wasting no time, Huang holed up in his office and worked day and night, with only two to three hours of sleep a day, earning him the deserved title of "workaholic".

"He doesn't take sleeping very seriously," Huang's wife Ren Lijuan once said.

About four months after Huang's passing, his daughter Huang Xiao told Xinhua that her family was still racked in grief.

"Like most loving fathers, my father hoped I would study well. More importantly, he wanted me to grow up to be someone useful to society," she said.

"My father always wanted to serve his motherland, and wanted to be a person helping others," she added.

Huang Xiao said she was proud to know that his father's work was recognized by his homeland, and he was honored as a "sincere patriot and role model" for overseas returnees.

In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping praised Huang's work and called on the public to learn from the esteemed scientist.

"Now with my father gone, I hope my mother can move on to enjoy the rest of her life while I raise my son well," Huang Xiao said. "That's how I can repay my father."

Xinhua

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2017-06-10 07:24:21
<![CDATA[China to support traditional opera education]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695782.htm

China's central government has pledged to preserve and develop the country's various traditional opera styles by strengthening the education system. The system covers both school training in traditional opera and training arrangements with professional troupes, according to a guideline jointly issued at the end of May by the publicity department of the Communist Party of China and the ministries of culture, education and finance.

It called for more resources in training practitioners of local operas and experiments in new educational patterns.

Publicity, culture and education authorities at various levels should take major responsibility in the initiative, give more support and welcome donations from social organizations, said the guideline.

There are hundreds of forms of local Chinese opera, of which Peking Opera is the most famous.

Peking Opera and Kunqu Opera are listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as intangible cultural heritage.

Xinhua

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2017-06-10 07:24:21
<![CDATA[Cuba and China, united by history]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695781.htm Ever since the first Chinese immigrants arrived in Cuba 170 years ago, the process of cultural exchange has never stopped.

Eight years ago, when Tao Hulei came to Havana to study medicine, he never imagined that he would end up starting a family and working in Cuba.

"When I arrived, I knew nothing of the country. Slowly, I discovered the people, who are very kind with foreigners, especially the Chinese," said Tao in perfect Spanish while taking care of his 4-month-old daughter, after he married a Cuban woman, Elizabeth Gonzalez.

Now, the Chinese doctor works in a Havana hospital and says he has adopted to the warm climate and diverse culture.

Gonzalez, who studies Chinese in the Confucius Institute, says that they "are very happy" and have overcome their differences.

"At home, we only speak Spanish. He helps me to learn Chinese but only for homework," she says, laughing.

Tao and Gonzalez are the latest links in a chain stretching back to June 1847, when the first 200 laborers arrived in Havana, with many settling down to start families.

Since their arrival, Chinese immigrants and their descendants have left a profound mark on Cuban history, including fighting against Spanish colonialism and following the revolution of Fidel Castro.

"There was no Chinese-Cuban deserter. There was no Chinese-Cuban traitor," reads a monument in Havana, quoting Gonzalo de Quesada (1868-1915), a lawyer and close friend of Cuba's national hero, Jose Marti.

Festivities concluded on Sunday with a series of activities, which counted on the presence of Ma Peihua, vice chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

In a ceremony last Saturday, Ma said that bilateral cooperation "has overcome the tests of a changing international situation and the two people have developed a profound friendship."

"We are ready, jointly with the Cuban counterparts, to continue being good friends with mutual sincerity, lasting cooperation and reciprocal trust, deepening the traditional friendship, broadening mutually beneficial cooperation, and intensifying exchanges to better develop Sino-Cuban relations," explained Ma.

The Chinese presence on the island is so important that the government organized a series of cultural activities to bring Chinese culture closer to the people.

These included martial arts demonstrations, historical conferences, exhibitions by Cuban artists of Chinese descent and the presentation of the book, "Chinese beliefs and traditions in Cuba," by researcher Mercedes Crespo.

The printing press of Havana's Chinatown was also reopened and the local daily, Kwong Wah Po, the only one of its type on the island since 1944, will serve the local Chinese community again five years after being shut down.

Last Saturday night, Havana's National Theater showcased the art show Beautiful Tianjin, held by a delegation of artists from this Chinese city.

Tao and Gonzalez attended some of these activities, but without knowing, they are also representative of a cultural phenomena that has overcome the barriers of time and distance to bring China and Cuba closer together.

Xinhua

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2017-06-10 07:24:21
<![CDATA[Selling fresh meat to flog luxury watches]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695780.htm

 

Chinese singer and actor Kris Wu as Bulgari's spokesman. Photos Provided to China Daily

When the representative of a venerable Italian brand crossed paths with a star, he knew he had struck pay dirt

When Bulgari, the 133-year-old Italian jewelry brand, chose the Chinese singer and actor Kris Wu as its spokesman last year, questions were raised about how exactly this chemistry would work.

Antoine Pin, managing director of Bulgari Greater China and Australia, recalls that when he first met Wu the singer was wearing an exaggerated high-jewelry sunflower brooch with a tuxedo, an act he pulled off effortlessly.

"It was like 'Wow!'," Pin says. "It was edgy but cool in a smart way. It could have been stupid or ridiculous on many people, but he has the taste and the feeling for it. It was a very nice encounter. He's got this edge. When you've got this crazy piece of jewelry it's not something classic. You have to be edgy and creative."

Perfect pick

A year has passed since that meeting, and Pin waxes lyrical about Wu, saying he is the perfect pick for the brand. He is widely regarded as a xiao xian rou, literally little fresh meat, or heartthrob, and the brand expects him to have some staying power.

"There is a crazy trend about him, but it's more than that," Pin says. "He's not just 'little fresh meat', he's 'fresh meat' with a future. ... He can be very good aging meat. ... It is your capacity to smell what's going on and to understand the consistency in his character. He's an interesting person, very young and mature for his age. He's in control of who he is and what he does. He's passionate about plenty of things. He's very social, very talkative and at the same time very respectful of anyone. He has the balance of maturity, considering the craziness around him, and the composure."

As the face for watches, Wu is also a way for the brand to approach a wider audience. The world of watches can appear as a little too serious and boring sometimes, Pin says, and Wu has made it more approachable.

"It's a way to energize the world of watches. You can be young, you can be edgy and you can still like watches. He has totally achieved the task. It has actually made older people look at Bulgari jewelry with a fresh perspective and boosted us in a very interesting way."

Wide audiences

While the brand is looking to wider audiences, it is also holding on tight to its heritage. It held the Heritage Collection Exhibition in Beijing SKP recently, with more than 110 pieces on display, including 40 pieces of precious heritage jewelry from the 1920s to today.

Highlights included an Indian-influenced set worn by the actress Keira Knightley on the red carpet at the 2006 Oscars, jewelry featuring coins from ancient Rome that Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol and Grace Kelly and other celebrities are known for having worn, and a high jewelry platinum tiara adorned with diamonds made for divas.

"Not everyone has the chance to travel to Rome," Pin says. "We are taking the opportunity to bring a bit of Italy to China. The idea is to give people a flavor of the Italian spirit. We allow them to feel, to touch, to try and to experience. ...We are inviting people to get into the intimacy of the brand and to get behind the scenes."

The luxury market in China has been under pressure for the past several years, and Pin says Bulgari will continue to invest in the country because it is still one of the most important markets.

"What we try to do is to go beyond the good and bad moments and continue what we do. There is not a good or bad moment; there is the continuous moment.

"We need to talk to people, we need to romance them, educate them. That's what we do right now. We ask our team to engage and take more care of the customers."

Strong character

In China the signature Serpenti collection has been very successful because its recognizable and symbolic design appeals to the strong character of the women here, Pin says.

"In China, women are considered as strong. We have lots of business partners who are women. Many women keep their own names while in Europe women take their husbands' name. They pick the pieces themselves. It's a strong design, and it fits with the strong character of Chinese women."

The brand is going to open the first Bulgari Hotel in China in Beijing in November. It will open another in Shanghai next year. This follows the opening of the Bulgari Residences in Shanghai last year.

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2017-06-10 07:24:21
<![CDATA[Speed demon]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695779.htm The Bloodhound SSC is set to become the world's first supersonic car - breaking 1,000 miles per hour in the process

It all started on a very routine day at London's Science Museum in October 2008, when Richard Noble, Andy Green and a team of carefully assembled specialists announced their latest plan to smash the world land speed record with an iconic project.

Bloodhound SSC, the most complex racing car ever designed, was born.

Built in the United Kingdom by a team of Formula One and aerospace experts, it aims to inspire a generation about science and technology - and bring the world to a standstill later this year in reaching 1,000 miles per hour, blazing past the current land speed record, on the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa's Northern Cape.

 

Bloodhound SSC is set to shatter the land speed record. Flock London / Flock and Siemens

Bloodhound is above all, a battle with physics, a journey into the unknown.

It contains a jet from a typhoon fighter, a rocket hotter than a volcano, huge metal wheels spinning at 170 times per second and the equivalent of 135,000 horsepower. Blink and you'll miss it. The Bloodhound will cover a mile in just 3.6 seconds - literally faster than a bullet. And at that speed, there's no margin for error. Already, more than 300 people have moved more than 16,000 tonnes of rocks by hand to create the 12-mile racecourse on a dry riverbed.

The first target for driver and wing commander Green - who is also a British Royal Air Force fighter pilot, a mathematician, a former Oxford University scholar and the first person to break the sound barrier on land - will be a new record of 800 miles (1,287 km) per hour in this stunning hybrid weighing eight tonnes.

But he and Noble, Bloodhound's project director, start with a distinct advantage. They are part of the team that raced ThrustSSC, a British jet-propelled car which became the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier in October 1997, traveling at 763 mph across Nevada's Black Rock Desert. (Noble himself has broken the world land speed record with his earlier car, Thrust 2, which reached 633 mph in 1983).

Bloodhound essentially has the same construction as a Formula One car, with carbon fiber, a honeycomb that's twice as thick, and parts of the car reinforced with ballistic protection. It feels like an extraordinary mix of old-school engineering and high-tech sci-fi slick.

Indeed, it's all so new and groundbreaking that no matter how rigorous Bloodhound's construction, there will always be an unknown quotient, according to chief designer Mark Chapman. "When the Bloodhound goes for the record, we don't really know what it will be like," he professes. "We're not (even) sure what a safe observation distance from a vehicle traveling at Mach 1.4 will be - or how far the shock wave will spread out sideways from the car."

By all accounts, Bloodhound can reach a top speed of 1,050 mph. But to claim the record, the car must turn around and make a second run within an hour. Physical space is an issue, too. "You can just run out of desert," says Chapman. All of which begs another engineering question: how do you stop a car moving at 1,000 mph?

The Bloodhound has three means of deceleration. At 800 mph, perforated air brakes swing out from the fuselage; two parachutes can deploy at 600 mph if extra slowing is needed; and at 200 mph, driver Green will apply the steel friction brakes.

Slowing down is just one concern.

The idling jet engine will continue to produce heat at the end of the run, which Green must dissipate by steering in a huge arc while slowing to a stop. Whether that's all possible, no one knows yet. "We can't really test that until we get to South Africa," says Chapman. "For a lot of things, the car is the test bed."

As such, Bloodhound SSC has been the catalyst for a raft of cutting-edge research in fields such as aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, materials technology, composite manufacturing and sustainable high-tech engineering. In short, it's a game-changer.

The Bloodhound doesn't have tires; it runs on precisely fabricated aluminum discs. A forging process breaks down the crystalline structure of cast aluminum, making it denser and stronger. This requires heating the aluminum to more than 700 F (371 C), molding the metal into discs with a 3,668-tonne press and then milling the blanks to the finished specs: 198 pounds (90 kg), 36 inches (11 meters) in diameter.

Thus, the wheels not only have to bear the car's 17,000 pounds of weight, but also to hold together while experiencing 50,000 pounds of radial G-forces at 10,200 rpm. That means their shape is as crucial as their strength. Recent testing at the Hakskeen Pan revealed that twin-keel-shaped rims like those on the Thrust SSC would break through the site's soft surface, so the Bloodhound will use a rounded wheel profile.

To accomplish this project, investment has been key to its completion and a plethora of A-list sponsors have rallied behind the Bloodhound: Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Castrol, Rolex (which has made all the instrumentation and dials for Bloodhound's cockpit) and - since last year - Chinese car manufacturer Geely, which also owns Volvo as well as British firm Manganese Bronze, the maker of London's iconic black cabs. Through the partnership, Geely will offer automotive technology used in Bloodhound, will allow use of Geely Group vehicles in South Africa throughout the record campaigns, will provide design and engineering support, and will help promote Bloodhound across Asia.

"We could not have a better partner than Geely," enthuses Noble. "Not only are they an international technology company with tremendous vision and capability, they also share our passion for innovation and education. Their support, both technical and financial, means we can plan our record-breaking challenge with confidence. It also means we can take our STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) inspiration message to a vast new audience, which is great for science and engineering, but also for promoting Great Britain."

Noble's enthusiasm is shared equally by Li Shufu, chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. "We are proud and excited to be part of this extraordinary team," says Li. "Geely shares the same challenging spirit and passion for pushing technological barriers as the Bloodhound project. Since day one, we have been committed to breaking technology barriers at Geely - and working with Project Bloodhound will help further our mutual technology breakthrough to an international audience. It also means we can tell millions of young people, in China and around the world about the opportunities presented by studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That is what makes this 'engineering adventure' so special - and why we wanted to be part of it."

Green, the heroic 54-year-old driver, says the goodwill and inspiration that Bloodhound represents is a major motivating factor. "I've met graduate engineers who are adamant that our previous record was what inspired their career choice as youngsters; that sort of thing makes all the effort worthwhile," he says. "Bloodhound SSC will be so much faster and, we hope, will fire up every school kid about science and technology. We're going to invite everyone to follow our adventure in this, the most exciting and extreme form of motor sport - the world land speed record. Both as a mathematician and as a Royal Air Force fighter pilot, I can't think of anything better." Can you?

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2017-06-10 07:24:21
<![CDATA[System aims to recreate challenging mountain climbs inside a gym]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/10/content_29695778.htm

Researchers have come up with a system that recreates difficult stretches of mountain climbs so they can be practiced at indoor climbing gyms.

A team lead by a Dartmouth associate professor has used 3-D modeling and digital fabrication to recreate stretches of routes in New Hampshire and Utah.

The team is hoping to eventually commercialize the system so that it could be used to replicate many more routes. Researcher Emily Whiting says the recreation helps climbers master routes they maybe can't access in person.

Some climbers who have tried the new system say their outdoor ascents matched their experiences indoors.

But some climbers say nothing replicates the real thing.

Associated Press

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2017-06-10 07:24:21
<![CDATA[Film tribute to a music hero]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/09/content_29683820.htm The first Sino-Kazakh coproduction, Composer, based on the life of musician Xian Xinghai, has begun filming in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

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A movie about musician Xian Xinghai's life has begun shooting in Kazakhstan. Xu Fan reports.

The first Sino-Kazakh coproduction, Composer, based on the life of musician Xian Xinghai, has begun filming in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

A ceremony to mark the event was held as President Xi Jinping is currently on a state visit to the country.

The biographical drama chronicles Xian's final years (1940-45) in Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, and Moscow.

Beijing-based studio Shinework Pictures, which mainly works on coproductions with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, has teamed up with Kazakhfilm JSC, the largest studio in Kazakhstan, to coproduce the movie.

The cast features A-lister Hu Jun as Xian and Kazakh star Berik Aitzhanov as Bakhitzhan Baykadamov, a famous Kazakh composer and one of Xian's best friends.

The script was written by Su Xiaowei, and the movie will be directed by ethnic Uygur filmmaker Xierzati Yahefu from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, who made the 2014 biographical movie Genuine Love.

Jonathan Shen, founder of Shinework Pictures, says the idea for the movie came from a speech Xi delivered at Nazarbayev University in Astana in September 2013.

In the speech, Xi spoke about Xian, and this led Shen to research the singer.

Shen, who also heads the weekly TV program World Film Report, then assigned reporters to study Xian, who's known in China for his masterpiece, Yellow River Cantata.

Then, through interviews, including meetings with Baykadamov's niece and Xian's daughter, he learned more about the musician and his work.

In May 1940, Xian was sent by the Communist Party of China to the former Soviet Union to compose scores for the documentary, Yan'an and the Eighth Route Army.

But the start of the Soviet Union's Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany in 1941 made it difficult for Xian to return to China. He was stranded in Almaty, suffering poverty and sickness.

Baykadamov then helped Xian, providing him with a home, despite not knowing his true identity since Xian was then using an alias.

Xian then developed a sort of father-daughter relationship with Baykadamov's niece, then a primary school student, who taught him the local language.

Speaking about the movie, Shen says: "For them (the niece and Xian's daughter, both of whom are around 80 years old now), Composer is not only a movie but also a chance for them to see the person they both deeply love on the silver screen."

The movie, which will be shot in Almaty, Moscow and Yan'an in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, is set to premiere on June 13, 2018, the birthday of Xian's daughter.

Hu, the actor who plays Xian, says he accepted the role an hour after being invited to act in the film.

"It's a big honor to play Xian. I was born in a family of musicians, and his Yellow River Cantata is one of my favorites," says the 49-year-old Beijing native, who has impressed many with his tough-guy roles on screen.

Aitzhanov, known for playing Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the biographical hit The Way of the Leader, says Xian and Baykadamov were both noble men who devoted their lives to their countries.

Kairbekov Bakhyt, president of Kazakhfilm JSC, says he hopes the coproduction will inspire more cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Two avenues in Almaty were named after Xian and Baykadamov before Nazarbayev's visit to China in 1998.

Xian is revered in Kazakhstan as some of his most influential works - Liberation of the Nation, Sacred War and Red All over the River - were created during his last years there.

Xian died in a Moscow hospital in 1945.

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

The Sino-Kazakh coproduction, Composer, a biographical film about Chinese composer Xian Xinghai, has begun filming in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, and is set to premiere on June 13, 2018. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-09 07:03:40
<![CDATA[Swiss designers eye Chinese market with their unique style]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/09/content_29683819.htm While Switzerland is mostly known in China for its luxury watches, young Swiss designers are also looking to build their names here.

So, InnoFashion 2017, an event that celebrates fashion, design and textile innovation in China and Switzerland, was recently held at the Swiss embassy in Beijing to coincide with Swiss President Doris Leuthard's visit to China.

The event showcased seven Swiss and Chinese brands: Julian Zigerli, YVY, Wuethrichfuerst, Akris, Wang Changrong, Roderic Wong and Pronounce.

There are also jewelry pieces from designers at the Geneva High School of Art and Design. Swiss watchmaker Hublot also exhibited works highlighting Swiss lace.

As for the growing links between the two countries, Switzerland and China established an Innovative Strategic Partnership in 2016 and launched the Sino-Swiss Year of Tourism covering 2016 and 2017.

Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Swiss ambassador to China, says: "We know that you cannot order innovation, or inventions. Instead, you need to rely on the private sector and individual minds for breakthroughs. That is why we have InnoFashion.

"We'd like to use this platform to exemplify such collaboration involving the government, private sector and individuals by bringing young creative minds together," he says.

When it comes to innovation, Switzerland has topped the Global Innovation Index and the World Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Report for years.

Among the country's achievements is that the Swiss textile industry developed a revolutionary biomedical fabric, says Jean-Philippe Jutzi, head of culture and media affairs at the Swiss embassy.

Yannick Aellen, director of Mode Suisse, an industry platform promoting collaboration among fashion designers, schools and the textile industry, says that although the Chinese market is not so huge for Swiss designers at the moment, it has potential.

Aellen, who was responsible for picking the Swiss designers for the show, says that Akris, the Swiss womenswear brand, has already opened a store in Shanghai and is looking to expand.

With regard to Chinese tourists in Switzerland, he says: "Many come over and of course they are interested in watches and luxury brands. But they are now also looking for items like Freitag bags. We also work with the tourism authorities to make sure that Swiss fashion is on their radar," he says.

Yvonne Reichmuth, founder of YVY, a womenswear brand, uses Italian leather to make accessories and dresses, which have been worn by the likes of Monica Bellucci, Kylie Jenner and Gwen Stefani.

She says that she was always interested in China, but it was difficult to establish connections on her own.

During her recent visit, she went to fashion boutiques to look for opportunities here.

Julian Zigerli, founder of his namesake brand, finds fashion in the two countries different.

"The Swiss are very controlled about their look. Here it's a bit more fun, especially with the young people. They really express themselves."

The Chinese designers at the show were selected by Mary Ma, founder of Textile Library, a material design and research center in Hangzhou, for their innovation in design and fabrics.

"In traditional thinking, only silk and cotton are Chinese materials," says Ma.

"But today's China is much richer in raw materials and is strong in scientific and technological innovation. A country's fashion brands are inseparable from the creation and export of materials."

Chinese designer Octo Cheung showed dresses and coats inspired by Swiss and Chinese mountains.

Wang Changrong used reflective fabric that is worn by sanitation workers and reinvented it into futuristic garments.

Her clothes are now sold in Beijing, Shenzhen and Fuzhou, and she is planning to explore overseas markets.

"Swiss designs are practical and fashionable, while Chinese designers like to use design to create a certain ambience," she says.

sunyuanqing@chinadaily.com.cn

Models show creations by both Swiss and Chinese designers during InnoFashion 2017 in Beijing. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-09 07:03:40
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/09/content_29683818.htm AnyShopStyle opens outlet

Multi-brand fashion boutique AnyShopStyle opened a branch in Beijing's Sanlitun North on May 25. The store presented a fashion show themed on "camping", celebrating the free spirit of young independent designers. Four brands - Luvon by Lu Liu, Bai Peng, Lanneret and Angelou Zhu - showed their collections. Founded in 2014, AnyShopStyle now has more than 200 brands from home and abroad.

Clothes show at French embassy

Chinese fashion brand Exception de Mixmind, founded by Mao Jihong, was invited to hold a runway show in the French embassy in Beijing recently. Themed "Transcendence", the show presented both menswear and womenswear featuring natural fabrics, loose shapes and traditional Chinese craftsmanship.

Exhibition marks coffee brand

US artist Robert Wilson opened an exhibition in Venice in May called The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon Everything You Can Think of Is True, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Illy Art Collection, a series of cups issued by Italian coffee brand Illycaffe in collaboration with renowned contemporary artists. The exhibition runs through July 16.

Fat-reduction treatment

Medical-technology company Zeltiq Aesthetics recently introduced its CoolSculpting System, a noninvasive fat-reduction treatment that received the approval of the China Food and Drug Administration. The treatment is available in more than 80 countries. The Asia-Pacific is the company's second largest market after North America, the company says.

China Daily

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2017-06-09 07:03:40
<![CDATA[Bare naked fish time]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/09/content_29683817.htm "For Hawaii locals, poke tastes like home," writes author Martha Cheng in her new book about the past year's hottest food trend. "For me, it recalls my earliest visits, when my dad and I would head straight from the beach to a Waikiki corner store and buy raw ahi (big-eye or yellowfin tuna) with our saltwater-soaked dollar bills. I grew up in San Francisco, but I had never tasted fish as fresh as this."

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Simple, fresh and colorful poke has taken the food world by storm, and China is eating it up, Mike Peters and Xu Junqian discover.

"For Hawaii locals, poke tastes like home," writes author Martha Cheng in her new book about the past year's hottest food trend. "For me, it recalls my earliest visits, when my dad and I would head straight from the beach to a Waikiki corner store and buy raw ahi (big-eye or yellowfin tuna) with our saltwater-soaked dollar bills. I grew up in San Francisco, but I had never tasted fish as fresh as this."

Cheng's romance with poke is beautifully captured in The Poke Cookbook: The Freshest Way to Eat Fish (Clarkson Potter, $16.99), and in the luscious photographs by Aubrie Pick. The fascination with poke (pronounced POH-kay) has become a global phenomenon, thanks to hip eateries focused on fresh, healthy fare and beautiful dishes that make colorful ingredients leap from the plate to the eye.

In simplest terms, poke is a raw fish salad - or, as the Huang sisters who run Little Catch in Shanghai like to say: "deconstructed sushi in a bowl".

Think of the freshest fish possible, Cheng writes, cleanly sliced and "glistening in seasonings that range from sweet to salty, nutty to crunchy".

"It is like salad, or fish-and-rice dishes for that matter," says Beijing chef Sandeep Bhagwat, who has teamed with his boss, executive chef Jackson Wu, to create a summery poke menu at the Opus Lounge of the Four Seasons Beijing. "It's an opportunity to play with a lot of flavors and textures. Each dish is served with a starch portion - usually rice, but we're playing with quinoa and couscous, too."

The results of such kitchen "play" include octopus with fruit and couscous, tuna belly Japanese-style with avocado on rice, and the mouth-watering favorite at our table: tuna on quinoa with harissa, a red-pepper sauce with North African origins. A vegan option includes both firm threads and soft cubes of tofu with sweet potato and rice.

The summer menu theme was inspired by a holiday Wu took in Hawaii.

"We're not trying to duplicate traditional poke exactly," says Bhagwat. "We're adding some ceviche to the summer menu as well.

While poke is not new, the foodie enthusiasm for it seems to have come out of nowhere.

Like cookbook author Cheng, Singaporean sisters Huang Wenyi, 32, and Huang Jiayi, 30, developed a love for poke during family vacations to Hawaii. When they opened Little Catch in 2015 as an accessible imported-seafood retailer, they found that even lots of Westerners in Shanghai had no idea what poke was.

Their "deconstructed sushi in a bowl" was an established hit in 2016, around the same time that pop-up operators like Beijing's The Hatchery were creating poke fans in the capital. Coincidentally, Hawaiian celebrity chef Alan Wong opened his Shanghai restaurant last year, where the raw bar is awash in tempting poke options.

Besides enjoying the flavors of poke on Hawaiian beaches in their youth, the Huang sisters embrace the dish because it's easy to prepare for people like themselves who don't come from a chef's background.

"All you need to make poke is a really sharp knife to cut up your fish and vegetables," writes Cheng in The Poke Cookbook.

"When I see poke trending now in the continental US," she says, "I think, 'What took so long?' Hawaiians have long known the pleasures of seasoned raw seafood. Being surrounded by ocean probably has something to do with it. Way back, long before Captain Cook landed in the islands in the 18th century, native Hawaiians would prepare i'a maka (raw fish), chopping up reef fish (the striped and brightly colored fish you see when snorkeling in Hawaii), bones and all. They would season it with sea salt dried in the sun, limu (seaweed), and 'inamona (roasted and crushed kukui nut, or candlenut). But it wasn't until the 1970s that the dish really gained popularity and the word 'poke', which simply means 'to slice' or 'to cut crosswise into pieces, came to be associated with the preparation we know now."

While poke is best-known today as cubed raw ahi tuna tossed with soy sauce, sesame oil, raw onions and red chilies, she says seafood counters in Hawaii offer lots of variety.

"Poke doesn't even have to be raw," she adds. "Legendary poke chef Sam Choy makes a fried poke, transforming yesterday's poke into today's fought-over leftovers."

Contact the writers through michaelpeters@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

China-wide: Element Fresh

Beijing: Home Grounds, Village Cafe (in Opposite House), Opus Lounge summer menu (in Four Seasons Beijing)

Guangzhou: Morton's Grille

Hong Kong: Aloha, The Poke Co, Pokeworld, Pololi

Shanghai: Little Catch (two stores) and Alan Wong's (in the Portman Ritz-Carlton)

   

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2017-06-09 07:03:40
<![CDATA[Celebrity chef Ramsay gives NASCAR taste of the 'F' word]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/09/content_29683816.htm DOVER, Delaware - Danica Patrick wanted more than some cooking tips when she chewed the fat with Gordon Ramsay.

"I mean, if I don't hear an F-bomb," she says, with a laugh.

Ramsay, the expletive-spewing celebrity chef, held his tongue when he filmed scenes with Patrick and other NASCAR crew members for his TV show The F Word.

Ramsay and his team brought their own fresh ingredients to Dover International Speedway before they fueled up on breakfast he cooked for a race team. There was no way Ramsay would test his proper palate on some of the usual track fare.

"Overcooked stewed hot dogs, you can smell 10 miles away. Gray burgers, you can smell 20 miles away," he says.

His eggs, well, they smelled delicious.

Ramsay whipped up a crab omelet, hash with Old Bay seasoning ("nice and crispy") and fruit smoothies (with fresh vanilla) for the crew at Stewart-Haas Racing. Tire changer Eric Maycroft, who had a bit part in Talladega Nights, served as the sous chef for the segment. They chopped, blended and stirred for about 30 minutes for the bit to air on Wednesday night on Fox.

"When you get the omelet ready, tip it two or three times," Ramsay says to Maycroft. "A little flip and that lifts the bottom."

Voila!

Sure beats breakfast on the go.

"We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts this morning," Maycroft says. "We're always on the go, so we don't have an opportunity like that to have a great, prepared omelet with crab in it. We're usually eating on the go so it's not always the healthiest, but we try to do the best we can with it."

Ramsay, who mingled with driver Austin Dillon at a reception Saturday night, was impressed with the local ingredients.

"We got the most amazing crab in Delaware," he says.

But it was a stop on the way from the airport that truly sucked in Ramsay.

"I went to a place called Wawa," he says. "I officially became a local yesterday. Wawa. Jesus."

Ramsay (a "petrol head" with a collection of sports cars) got a full taste of NASCAR. He changed lugnuts on a faux pit stop, talked racing with Patrick and gave the G-rated command for drivers to start their engines.

Patrick lived in Milton Keynes in England as a teenager early in her racing career, not far from where Ramsay grew up. Patrick and Ramsay bemoaned England isn't known for breakfast.

Patrick, a fitness freak, ate a race-day breakfast that included butternut squash, ground bison and half an avocado.

Other favorites? Patrick professed a fondness for filet.

"You have expensive tastes," Ramsay says.

"When you have a taste of the good life, you can't go back," she says.

Maybe Patrick and Ramsay could hit the road for a reality series when her career is over.

"What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Can I take you on holiday with me?" he says.

Patrick never did hear that F-bomb.

The 50-year-old Ramsay was relaxed and joked with Patrick and the SHR crew. If his temper was set to explode, it never showed in his morning at the track. He'll save his beratings for the poor chefs that try to win him over in the kitchen.

"When it goes, it's got to be natural," he says. "I don't just curse for the sake of (it). When I'm under pressure I do. I think that's anyone. Sport. Drivers. Chefs. At that level, let's be honest, when I cook at that level, it is intense. When I'm flipping an omelet, I'm going to be your best friend."

Ramsay's breakfast took the checkered flag for food with the crew. Ramsay left plenty for them eat - with one caveat.

"If you don't win," Ramsay says, "you can't blame the breakfast."

Associated Press

British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (left) films a segment of his show The F Word before the NASCAR Cup series auto race on Sunday in Delaware. Nick Wass / Associated Press

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2017-06-09 07:03:40
<![CDATA[Reading the future]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/09/content_29683815.htm Visitors enjoyed interacting with two oval-shaped blue-and-white robots at the 27th National Book Expo in Langfang, Hebei province. One responded to the constant greetings by saying: "I've talked all morning. I'm tired."

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A recent expo reveals publishing trends. Mei Jia reports in Langfang, Hebei.

Visitors enjoyed interacting with two oval-shaped blue-and-white robots at the 27th National Book Expo in Langfang, Hebei province. One responded to the constant greetings by saying: "I've talked all morning. I'm tired."

The Hebei Publishing Group's robots educate children and tell them stories uploaded by the publisher.

About 960 publishers offered 240 reading and writers' events at the four-day expo that ended on Saturday. They showed 250,000 books, including 150,000 new titles at the main site in Langfang and a smaller venue in Hebei's Tangshan city.

About 810,000 people visited the Langfang site and bought 41 million yuan ($6 million) worth of books.

Set-priced trades reached 4.23 billion yuan.

Nie Chenxi, director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, says: "The expo has continued showing the achievements of the country's publishing industry and promoting reading since its launch in 1980."

Nie says that the country's publishing sector, including print and circulation, generated 2.3 trillion yuan last year.

"It has gradually developed so that it's not only bigger but also stronger," he says.

China is today the world leader in the numbers of titles and copies, he adds.

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou and plans to develop the Xiong'an New Area in Hebei's Baoding to advance regional integration have given significance to hosting the expo in Hebei, Nie says.

Special "reading trucks" drove 16,000 kilometers to visit 117 villages in the province starting from March to promote reading and gear up for the event.

Highlights included books about the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (Jing-Jin-Ji) integration, children's stories and events featuring writers.

About 10,000 new titles at the expo deal with achievements since the 18th Party congress or look forward toward the 19th.

People's Publishing House released a series on 80 years of Xinhua Bookstore's development, comprising 33 volumes and 20 million words.

The publisher's head, Huang Shuyuan, says the company is preparing for 17 titles.

It will later publish a 60-volume series on Vladimir Lenin and a book entitled Xi Jinping Telling the Stories.

Huangshan Press, Hebei Publishing Group and Anhui Publishing Group released a biography of artist Yan Su, an exemplary Party member, composer and playwright born in Hebei.

The expo featured a special zone dedicated to the Jing-Jin-Ji integration.

The state administration had previously created special publishing zones and environmentally friendly printing bases in Hebei, such as Wuyi county's "Belt and Road" Creative Cultural Industrial Park.

Li Xiaoming, of the Hebei Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, says the province views the integration as a great opportunity to promote its publishing, printing and filmmaking, while making them greener.

Zhu Weifeng, from the state administration's policy-planning department, says the government will improve the industry's structure to advance creativity-driven development.

The Xiong'an New Area concept was announced in April and is detailed by three titles the Hebei Publishing Group revealed at the expo.

The Xiong'an Strategy offers analyses to examine the choice of location, the types of businesses and institutions that will move in and how to seize the opportunities the strategy offers, the group's president Du Jinqing says.

Hebei Publishing's other two books on Xiong'an focus on history, geography and culture.

The expo also hosted the 10th China National Readers Festival.

Over 210,000 readers have attended the festival since its 2008 launch, China Publishing Group president Tan Yue says.

Writer Zhang Yueran recommended The Great Gatsby and The Old Man and the Sea to young readers at this year's event. The author, who was born in the '80s, says a certain rebellious spirit is a hallmark of youth.

Hong Kong-based writer Ge Liang says: "The festival's value is connecting with readers. I engage their expectations and find new motivations."

Such celebrated writers as Feng Jicai and Yu Qiuyu released books at the festival. Yu's new work is a collection of essays on self-cultivation.

Children's literature occupied a prominent place at the expo.

The state administration partnered with hundreds of publishers to create two lists of recommended books and journals for kids.

Tomorrow Publishing House released a new novel by Qin Wenjun - Bao Ta - about a 13-year-old boy's adventures.

"It's a story about reality that has a great depth some stories for schoolchildren lack," says Chen Xiang with China Reading Weekly.

China South Publishing & Media Group President Gong Shuguang told a media conference at the expo that original picture books for children and Chinese novels are gaining traction overseas.

"Books with strong traditional Chinese features used to lead (our sales) abroad."

Contact the writer at meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-09 07:03:40
<![CDATA[Book surveys Beijing's ancient architecture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/09/content_29683814.htm Beijing's axis ranks among the world's most splendid cityscapes.

It's crowded with ancient architectural marvels, including the Palace Museum (the Forbidden City), the Temple of Heaven and Jingshan Park.

This prompted the Society for the Study of Chinese Architecture, which was active from 1930 to 1946, to launch a four-year survey of these buildings in 1941, in case they were destroyed during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

Scholars drew about 700 maps and images that were later scattered among different institutions.

These are compiled in the comprehensive book Surveying Pictures of Ancient Architecture on Beijing City's Axis, which the Palace Museum's publishing house released in Chinese on June 2.

The images span the area from the Drum and Bell Towers in the north to Yongdingmen city gate in the south. Some of the structures date as far back as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Buildings are portrayed in different angles, and records include their dimensions, and construction materials and methods, says editor-in-chief Liu Shuguang, who's also former director of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage.

"The numbers are accurate, and the mapping is exquisite," Liu said at the release.

"The project in the 1940s set an example for ancient architectural mapping in later years and left a crucial reference for studies on ancient Chinese cities' layouts."

There still is no academic report detailing the Forbidden City's architectural history, co-editor and Tianjin University professor Wang Qiheng points out. But he believes the pictures' publication is a first step.

Palace Museum Director Shan Jixiang says the records are invaluable to the museum's renovation, which started in 2002 and is slated for completion by 2020 - the 600th anniversary of the Forbidden City's construction.

Shan says the book has been made possible by the research institute affiliated with the Palace Museum that was founded in 2013 to "break down barriers among different institutions". The book is one of the 10 major academic projects listed from the inception of the institute, which has more than 20 departments focusing on various fields.

"The research institute gathers efforts from different places beyond the Palace Museum," says its head and former Palace Museum director, Zheng Xinmiao.

"And many of our museum's retired scholars can continue to contribute. Different departments undertake concrete academic research projects. Their studies are more dynamic because they aren't restricted by administrators."

The institute also announced five new departments on June 2.

One will study more than 1,500 European antique clocks housed in the museum. Another will examine the historical episode of when over 3,000 boxes of artifacts from the Forbidden City were taken southward to protect them from the Japanese invasion.

wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn  

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2017-06-09 07:03:40
<![CDATA[Russian Press in China released]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/09/content_29683813.htm A Russian-language academic monograph on Russian newspapers' expansion in China in the 20th century's first half was published in Moscow in late April.

Russian Press in China: 1898-1956, written by Renmin University of China journalism professor Zhao Yonghua, is the first such study for Russian readers.

"Studies on Russian newspapers in China are rare," she said at the book launch.

Zhao earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Russian language and literature in the 1990s. She studied journalism history for her doctoral degree.

This gave her an advantage in undertaking the research.

"And it helped me forge a special bond with the Russian people and culture," she says.

The book examines newspapers published by Russian imperial officials, Russians who fled to China after the October Revolution and Soviet journalists.

Zhao put a special focus on prominent Russian emigrant M.S. Lembich.

Lembich worked as a correspondent for imperial Russia's military.

He moved to Harbin in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province after the Soviet Union's founding and started the Russian-language newspaper Zarya, or Dawn, in 1920.

He then founded the Shanghaiskaya Zarya newspaper in Shanghai in 1925 and the Nasha Zarya in Tianjin in 1928, forming the Far East's largest Russian-language newspaper group.

Chapman University international communications professor Jia Wenshan calls Russian Press in China a "major contribution to the historical study of global communication".

Lomonosov Moscow State University's journalism dean, Elena Vartanova, says the book is beneficial to Russian students and scholars, and will be included in such courses as the history of Russian journalism and journalism in foreign countries.

xingyi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-09 07:03:40
<![CDATA[War tale gets art-house look]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/08/content_29666974.htm Unlike most wartime movies full of gunfire and explosions, Ann Hui's upcoming feature Our Time Will Come - set during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong between 1941 and 1945 - is different.

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Award-winning director brings a story based on Chinese guerilla force, the Dongjiang Column, to life. Xu Fan reports.

Unlike most wartime movies full of gunfire and explosions, Ann Hui's upcoming feature Our Time Will Come - set during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong between 1941 and 1945 - is different.

In a clip from the movie, actress Zhou Xun, starring as a teacher-turned-fighter, recites lines from Chinese literary master Mao Dun's famous essay Huang Hun (Nightfall), creating an art-house atmosphere, but also giving a hint of the coming turbulence in the new work by the winner of many Hong Kong Film Awards - the best director prize five times.

During her directorial career spanning 40 years, the 70-year-old Hong Kong director has been known for her delicate portrayal of ordinary people's lives with a poetic twist.

Speaking at a recent Beijing event to promote the movie, which was attended by cast members, such as Zhou, Eddie Peng, Wallace Huo, Guo Tao and Li Junjie (better known by her stage name Chun Xia), Hui said: "It's about a chapter of history, which is less known to the public."

The movie is based on the Chinese guerilla force, the Dongjiang Column, and its rescue of more than 800 cultural figures - who lived in Hong Kong in the 1940s - from the Japanese military.

Led by the Communist Party, the column was one of the most significant forces to fight the Japanese invaders in the enemy-occupied areas.

The figures, who safely moved to the column's revolutionary base in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, included novelist Mao Dun, poet Liu Yazi, painter-poet He Xiangning and journalist Zou Taofen.

"Those people (the guerillas) were from ordinary families, but they are all big heroes in my heart," says Hui. "They were not scared of suffering personal loss or sacrificing their lives when the nation needed them."

Speaking about her role, Zhou, while echoing the director, says: "The unprecedented turmoil gave her power and courage to transform into a fighter."

As for Peng, who was recently seen in such action hits as Operation Mekong and Call of Heroes, he again steps into a familiar zone to play a legendary sharpshooter.

Huo, who plays an agent, says his role is versatile as he speaks English and Japanese fluently and knows a lot about ancient literature. "He is also a good chef, and has a sense of humor."

Meanwhile, as a tribute to the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, the film will be screened in mainland theaters on July 1.

Yu Dong, CEO of the Beijing-based producer Bona Film Group, says the film marks Hui's first action movie.

"I am curious to see how an art-house master handles the big action scenes," he says.

"We hope the movie can reach youngsters in China and teach them about the heroes of our country."

Separately, the upcoming 20th Shanghai International Film Festival recently said that the movie is the only shortlisted Chinese entry for the Golden Goblet awards in the main competition.

The remaining seven aspirants are foreign films.

The film will be the festival's opening movie on June 17, despite its theatrical release being around two weeks later.

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

Hong Kong director Ann Hui (fifth right) with producers and cast members of Our Time Will Come at a recent Beijing promotional event. The film will be screened on the mainland on July 1. Photos Provided To China Daily

 

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2017-06-08 06:56:32
<![CDATA[Wonder Woman captures the largest film market in Asia]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/08/content_29666973.htm After fighting evil and saving the world for 75 years in comic books and on screen, Wonder Woman, or the Amazonian princess Diana, has just conquered the largest movie market to Asia.

The latest Warner Bros' DC comic book movie has beaten Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the Indian biographical drama Dangal, the highest-grossing non-Hollywood import in China.

Wonder Woman has yet to surpass the two films in terms of total earnings, but it has beaten them in single-day box-office takings since it opened across China on June 2, according to live tracker Cbooo.cn.

At the end of Tuesday, with 36 percent of the country's 43,000 screens - similar to its debut on Friday - the 140-minute movie had raked in nearly 400 million yuan ($59 million) in China, which overtook Japan to become the world's second-largest movie market in 2012.

Statistics show that Shanghai loves Wonder Woman the most, with the highest number of screenings, followed by Chongqing and Beijing, according to the box office and scheduling tracking site 58921.com.

The ranking is probably due to the movie's Shanghai promotional event attended by Israeli actress Gal Gadot and American actor Chris Pine, industry watchers say.

China's fast-expanding movie market has made Shanghai and Beijing lucrative Asian locations for Hollywood movies. And the stars' interactions with local fans often boost box-office takings.

At a mid-May event, up to 1,000 Chinese fans and the stars watched a 30-minute excerpt from Wonder Woman.

Also, signs of Chinese involvement can be seen in the film.

Before the start of the movie, the logos of Tencent Pictures and Wanda Pictures appear alongside the producers Warner Bros and DC Entertainment.

Sources close to the two companies say that Tencent Pictures, the film arm of Chinese tech giant Tencent, invested in the movie, but they refused to reveal details.

Wanda Pictures, the film division of Chinese real estate Wanda Group, also partnered with the American producers.

This shows that after a series of disappointing coproduction flops such as The Great Wall, cash-rich Chinese investors are finding other ways to participate in Hollywood blockbusters.

In the upcoming sci-fi space horror film Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott's movie, which will open on the Chinese mainland on June 16, Chinese viewers will see the logo of Beijing-based entertainment giant, Bona Film Group, which reportedly invested in the 20th Century Fox movie.

Commenting on the new investment trend, An Ke, an industry analyst says: "Domestic movies have yet to raise their game, major Chinese financers are seeking collaborations with Hollywood."

Meanwhile, the major film review platforms Douban.com and Maoyan.com, two barometers of popularity in China, have given the movie directed by American director Patty Jenkins high scores of 7.4 points and 8.6 points, respectively.

For most Chinese fans, Wonder Woman marks a long-awaited triumph for DC, which has struggled to compete with its powerful rival Marvel.

DC Entertainment and Warner Bros launched its DC cinematic universe with the 2013 Man of Steel, a reboot of the Superman franchise and also the first movie in its ambitious project.

Following this was the 2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

But both of them lost out to Marvel's Avengers.

But Wonder Woman is different, says Wang Xiaoyang, a film critic in Beijing.

"Unlike the previous two DC movies, it is charming and funny. It's so far the best superhero movie among DC's films of the extended universe."

Wonder Woman tops the Chinese box office in single-day takings among the recently released films. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-08 06:56:32
<![CDATA[Live and in action]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/08/content_29666972.htm The moment a dock door opens, the audience begins to time-travel to the 1920s.

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A cruise ship along the Yangtze River is presenting a rare immersive show. Li Jing reports.

The moment a dock door opens, the audience begins to time-travel to the 1920s.

With music coming from afar, a long trestle leads up to a giant steamship, along which rickshaws and stands of street food are seen. A boy, coming up to passers-by, hands over old-fashioned papers printed with stories and information about a performance titled Zhiyin Cruise.

Opening to the public on May 19 in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, a rare immersive show on the Yangtze River has already sold out tickets for the month.

The name zhiyin, which refers to intimate friends in Chinese, comes from the legend of Yu Boya and Zhong Ziqi, which is believed to have happened here in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC).

Yu, a well-known zither player, found that no one could really understand his music until he met Zhong along the Yangtze. The encounter then started a lasting friendship between them.

Just as Yu came across Zhong, "the show depicts tales of the encounter", says Fan Yue, the director, who has teamed up with Zhang Yimou on the Impression series of live shows.

On the cruise ship, there is no spectator stand.

"When the viewers get the tickets, they are passengers and they may dance and talk with the performers and are able to have access to any drama site," says Fan.

On the re-creation of an old wharf, where the viewers are waiting to board a ship, they find themselves brushing against those in traditional gowns or qipao. Some carry suitcases and some wave handkerchiefs to say goodbye.

Stepping into any room on the second deck, viewers can listen to stories told by performers who play the roles of passengers - a young man who left home to search for his lost younger brother, a hostess betrayed by her lover or a failed businessman from Wuhan.

Made up of three former cities of Hankou, Wuchang and Hanyang, Wuhan has been an important trading post since the 19th century, due to its strategic location at the confluence of the Hanjiang and Yangtze rivers.

"There are more than 10 stories. All the roles are set in 1920s Wuhan and many of the roles are based on true stories," says Li Shuyong, Wuhan publicity director.

Viewers can talk with these performers to find more about those stories. The director says he set just a theme for the stories, rather than fixed scripts.

"Like an app programmer, I designed a game, where all the people, including the audience, blend their personal experiences and feelings into it and make it a complete story," says Fan. "The show is different every day and the plot is extended through every person who takes it."

The stage of the show is not limited to the cabins. Almost everywhere on the ship, there is a stage - the pub, the coffee house, the stairway and corridor corners.

The cruise ship, a full-size replica of the original ship from the early 20th century, has four decks and 98 cabins.

On the third deck, viewers are ushered to their private rooms and will find a cabin decorated with old items, like folding fans, pocket watches and caps, and also a photo album featuring pictures of what life was like back then, including wedding pictures and marriage certificates from the 20th century.

The climax of the show comes as the cruise ship passes under the Second Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge - a moment when the modern encounters the old.

"I have been to the city several times but never had such strong feelings about it," says Huang Kan, a Beijing tourist. "The city's past featured in the show has made me know its culture and understand it better."

It took two years for the show's composition and rehearsal, including building the ship and a dock.

It's Fan's first solo work after the company, founded by him, Zhang and fellow director Wang Chaoge, became a fully-owned subsidiary of Sanxiang Impression Co in 2016.

One day after the debut show, the former shareholders, IDG Capital and Yunfeng Capital, signed a deal with Sanxiang Impression.

The cruise ship is also expected to sail to other cities along the Yangtze River, such as Chongqing and Shanghai, for live shows in the future.

Contact the writer at lijing2009@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-08 06:56:32
<![CDATA[Singer shines light on Tujia tradition at Cannes festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/08/content_29666971.htm Chinese singer-songwriter Deng Chaoyu made a fashion statement on the red carpet at this year's Cannes Film Festival on May 28.

Instead of Western gowns that are seen on most female celebrities at the annual event, she wore a red dress with exquisite embroidery and silver jewelry handmade by members of her Tujia ethnic group.

The dress employed the 2,000-year-old weaving skill of the community, xi lan ka pu, which means "flowery blanket" in the Tujia language.

"This traditional skill is still used by the Tujia people. I just love everything about the place where I come from. It deserves a wide exposure," says Deng, who participated in the Belt and Road International Film Week Conference held during the festival in Cannes.

The dress also combines traditional elements in Tujia clothing, such as pleated skirts and colorful sequins.

In her early 30s, Deng grew up in Yichang in Central China's Hubei province, where the Tujia people live.

She learned guzheng at age 7 after being introduced to the Chinese zither by her mother. Both her mother and grandmother sing Tujia folk songs.

Since she graduated from the Central China Normal University in Wuhan in 2007, with majors in Chinese language and folk singing, Deng has been promoting the Tujia culture at home and abroad.

"I didn't feel the uniqueness of the Tujia community until I entered university, where students from around the country live and study together," Deng says. "I wore traditional clothes and accessories, and my classmates were very curious about my culture."

But Deng also realized that like many other traditional cultures in China, the Tujia heritage faces a decline in the face of modernization of the country.

Young members of the ethnic group are moving to big cities for jobs and gradually becoming part of the urban culture.

"Singing and dancing are related to most aspects of Tujia life. We sing and dance to mark events, such as birth, marriage, death or even building a new house," she says.

Deng came to Beijing to further her studies at the Communication University of China in 2007, when she met veteran Chinese musician Jin Tielin. She learned singing from him.

In her debut album, Tujia Girls, released in 2015, Deng brought in elements of Tujia folk music to express the sadness young women and their parents feel when brides depart their parental homes after marriage. She used the ba shan folk dance in the album, too.

In 2016, she held a charity concert in her hometown and raised more than 1 million yuan ($143,000) for poor families.

Deng will go back to Yichang along with a team to collect ancient Tujia songs, which will be used in a musical.

She also plans to make a movie on the origins of the Tujia people. Both the musical and the movie are scheduled to be released in 2018.

"I want to keep it alive and let it be seen by the world," she says of the Tujia heritage.

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-08 06:56:32
<![CDATA[Filmmaker gets going on epic franchise with old Chinese novel]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/08/content_29666970.htm The man behind the hits Painted Skin: The Resurrection and Mojin: The Lost Legend, ethnic Mongolian director Wuershan recently unveiled his plan to make the Fengshen trilogy.

The 45-year-old filmmaker says he hopes this will be China's own fantasy franchise like The Lord of the Rings.

Adapted from Fengshen Yanyi (Creation of the Gods), a 16th-century novel, the trilogy will begin filming in 2018 and be released over 2020-22, producers of the films said in Beijing in May.

The budget will be around 3 billion yuan ($441 million), the most expensive Chinese film project in history.

Loosely based on the history of the Shang Dynasty (c. 16th century-11th century BC), the novel revolves around Zhou, the dynasty's last king who killed people just to please his favorite concubine. But the tale, penned more than 1,000 years later by Xu Zhonglin, is a mix of mythology, folklore and real history.

Wuershan says he got the idea for the trilogy in 2001 after watching The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

"I have been thinking about how the Chinese can make such a masterpiece," says Wuershan.

He felt that Fengshen Yanyi - with more than 360 heavenly creatures in it - would be good option for a feature franchise.

Wuershan shot to fame after his directorial debut, Soap Opera (2004), which won international awards at festivals in South Korea and Switzerland.

His second feature, The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman, raised his ranking further as he won the best new director award at Taiwan's Golden Horse festival in 2001.

After Painted Skin: The Resurrection broke domestic box-office records in 2012, his image as a successful commercial director with a bold style was sealed. With Mojin: The Lost Legend, a tomb-raiding tale of special effects in 2015, some film critics started to call him the "new hope of Chinese blockbusters".

Wuershan says he decided to devote himself to mass entertainment a decade ago and has been preparing for the Fengshen trilogy over the past four years.

"I hope young audiences in China will have their superheroes through this Chinese tale," he says.

And, he is getting the right kind of help to make that happen: Barrie M. Osborne, producer of The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Bill Kong, the producer behind Chinese hits, such as Hero and the Monster Hunt, are producers for the Fengshen trilogy.

Osborne says a successful fantasy tentpole should be romantic and dramatic - elements that can be found in the novel Fengshen Yanyi.

From the Chinese side, the father-daughter duo of scriptwriters Ran Ping and Ran Jianan, who previously worked with Wuershan on the Painted Skin, and Lu Wei, known for penning Farewell My Concubine (1993) and Sino-French coproduction Wolf Totem, are on the team for the upcoming trilogy.

US writer James Schamus, who worked with Ang Lee in his movies, is also part of it.

For visual effects, Timmy Yip, who won an Oscar in art direction for Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), is going to work on the Fengshen trilogy alongside Douglas Hans Smith, the co-winner of the best visual-effects Oscar for sci-fi film Independence Day (1996).

"This movie has challenges as big as any serious movies that have been done. I'm honored to be part of it," says Smith.

xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-08 06:56:32
<![CDATA[Testing success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653430.htm The pressure is on. The country's high school graduates are beginning one of the most important events of their lives on Wednesday - the national college entrance exam, known as the gaokao in Chinese.

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Former top scorers on the national college entrance exam describe their understanding of the test's true meaning and consequences. Many say it's more about future options rather than guarantees. Wang Kaihao reports.

The pressure is on. The country's high school graduates are beginning one of the most important events of their lives on Wednesday - the national college entrance exam, known as the gaokao in Chinese.

But its top scorers from previous years suggest the test results' impact on their futures may not exactly match their expectations later in life.

About 9.4 million students are taking this year's test, which lasts two to three days, depending on the province, Ministry of Education figures show.

Their scores will, indeed, largely decide their future. Only a small number of top scorers can get into elite universities.

Tsinghua University freshman Xiao A (not her real name) says the test enabled her to realize her childhood dream of entering a leading college.

"It tested my potential and proved to me that I'll succeed if I work hard," the 19-year-old tells China Daily via WeChat.

The student from a provincial capital in southern China earned over 700 points out of 750, the highest score among liberal arts students in the province last year.

"Not much changed after I got first place," she says.

"Some people around me are smarter. So, I have to continue to work hard."

She declines to offer tips for candidates in such a "casual chat".

But she did detail advice in a newspaper interview in her hometown last year. The story revealed she didn't only earn high grades in class but also joined extracurricular activities.

"We expected her to take the top score," her high school's head teacher says.

More choices

Other top scorers have been willing to share their experiences, such as Guo Yi.

The 35-year-old scored top marks in the liberal arts gaokao in Anhui's provincial capital, Hefei, in 2000.

She doesn't even recall her score today.

"Maybe 610," she says.

"Is the total score 750?"

The total is something virtually every student is sweating at the moment.

Guo works at an online-advertisement company in Beijing, and previously worked at Chinese internet giant Baidu, after completing a Peking University graduate sociology program.

"I thought I'd have more freedom working for an internet company," she says.

"I left Baidu after half a year. I didn't feel I was suitable for the position."

She entered the web-advertising industry six months later and has worked in the sector since.

"Freedom doesn't mean I can do whatever I want. It means I don't have to do what I don't like," she explains.

"The gaokao enabled me to make choices."

Guo says she expected to go to Tsinghua, Peking or the University of Science and Technology of China (a top-tier science university based in Hefei) since she was 5 years old.

"School and the gaokao were things I had to do, rather than really wanted to do. But the exam enabled me to follow my dreams."

She enjoyed astronomy and drawing as a child, and even considered going to a fine arts high school.

"But the fine arts teacher said my sketches felt too 'heavy'," she says, smiling.

"Exams are easiest for me. They flowed naturally, like a boat floating along a river."

The exam was her ultimate life goal - until it was over.

"It was like the river finally ended," she says.

"I never imagined what life would be like afterward."

Her parents took her future for granted since she enrolled in Peking University. But she faced setbacks, especially while job hunting.

"I felt like I was falling from a high point," she says.

"I've only stepped out of that mindset in recent years."

The lesson, she says, is: "Play fully to advantages and work around shortcomings."

She still considers becoming a cartoonist.

Cherish the moment

Tang Guoyu, who works in the Beijing office of a leading US IT company, earned over 680 points on the gaokao and was the highest scorer in science in Jiangsu province's Lianyungang city in 2005.

The 29-year-old earned her PhD in computer science from Tsinghua, which she points out is full of top gaokao scorers.

"I didn't feel particular pressure after earning a top gaokao score," she says.

"The exam tests attitude beyond just knowledge. You just need to focus, try your best and not worry about the results."

Still, she believes the test has significance.

"It has decided many things afterward," she says.

"My lifestyle and the city I live in depended on that moment."

Hangzhou native Jiang Xiaobin, the top scorer on the Chinese-language test in Zhejiang province in 2006, also points to how her success on the test gave her choices.

"I could have enrolled in popular schools like finance and law," the Tsinghua journalism and communications graduate says. "But I didn't. They didn't interest me."

The reporter for a Beijing-based newspaper, who mostly writes about reading and fine arts, explains: "The gaokao didn't predestine my career, but gave me the privilege to continue with my interests."

Jiang spent her childhood reading. She dreamed of become a globe-trotting author.

"I've perhaps partly realized that dream in another form," she says.

"I may not make that much money. But it's enough for me to take a job I really like. Doing well on the gaokao never means everything will go well in the future."

She considers it a passageway along a much longer road.

"But everyone should cherish that moment," she says.

"It's fairer than job hunting because there's no interview. Few situations later in life afford you such fair appraisals."

Life stage

A 2011 report released by a research institute affiliated with the Ministry of Education makes an interesting point about the gaokao, which resumed following the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

It says: "Few of the top scorers on provinces' gaokao have become industry leaders. Also, except for scientists, the achievements of celebrated industry leaders, including artists, entrepreneurs and social activists, do not have direct relevance to their college educations."

Renmin University journalism professor Zhou Yong, who took the top score in Hunan province's liberal arts gaokao in 1992, opposes "deifying" champions in an interview with Sina.com.

"Top scorers can't duplicate one another's experiences," he says.

"Personal struggles mean more than status labels."

A recent, viral WeChat post by Feng Lun, one of China's most influential real estate developers, who took the exam in '78, says: "The gaokao doesn't make heroes. In China, parents' happiness depends on if their children attend a good college. You're a rebel if you choose something other than what your parents and the public expect."

He specifically addresses the conventional idea that a student entering a good high school will attend a good university, which ignores the child's happiness.

"The gaokao is an important life stage. But it's not the only way forward," he writes.

"University is a place to nurture values in addition to knowledge. Students may have different values. But this process makes them who they really want to be."

Contact the writer at wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

High school students prepare for the exam in Baokang county, Hubei province. Yang Tao / Vcg

 

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[How math made him a better writer]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653429.htm Writer Liu Zhenyun was the top scorer on Henan province's national college entrance exam in 1978.

Many other celebrities have also topped the exam over the years.

Li Yanhong from Baidu did well in 1987 when he was among the top examinees in Yangquan city, Shanxi province, and Liu Qiangdong from JD.com shone in 1992 in Suqian city, Jiangsu province.

"The exam offers a window and a new opportunity in life, and I wanted to seize the chance," says Liu Zhenyun, recalling how he quit the army to appear for the examination.

The memory was so intense for him that in 1987 he published his debut novella, Tapu.

It's a story about young people in a village preparing for the exam - some succeed and some fail.

The novella was well received and launched his writing career.

Liu Zhenyun worked hard for the exam in his village in Yanjin county in Xinxiang, Henan province.

"I was very good at math. It helped me to score highest marks in my province," he says.

He says that math made him logical and sensitive to details, which are key qualities for storytelling and for writers to see through the mist in their search for the truth.

"Math helps me to deal with the connections between sentences and paragraphs," he says.

Liu Zhenyun is the author of the Mao Dun Literature Prize-winning novel One Sentence Worth Ten Thousand and I Did Not Kill My Husband, both best-sellers with film or TV adaptations.

Speaking about the impact of the exam on his life and writing, he says: "What it gave me was the chance to go to Peking University, which had a far-reaching influence on me, because at the time I was there the literary masters were alive and teaching there."

The university's Chinese literature department at that time had influential scholars from the May Fourth Movement like Wang Yao (1914-89); and founders of modern Chinese linguistics like Wang Li (1900-86); and Wu Zuxiang (1908-94).

"They changed me from the village writer I could have been, giving me a different perspective," says Liu Zhenyun.

meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Artificial intelligence gets boost]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653428.htm Guangzhou-based Jinan University and the University of Birmingham in Britain are set to roll out programs to nurture young talent in the age of artificial intelligence and big data.

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Jinan University and University of Birmingham set project in motion

Guangzhou-based Jinan University and the University of Birmingham in Britain are set to roll out programs to nurture young talent in the age of artificial intelligence and big data.

Located on Jinan University's Panyu district campus in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, the Jinan University-University of Birmingham Joint Institute officially enrolls students this September. It is taking in 120 freshmen from the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan and Sichuan, and Chongqing municipality, who will major in applied mathematics with economics, statistics, computing, or pure mathematics, says Hu Jun, president of Jinan University.

The joint institute will start its first semester in fall and all the courses will be taught in English.

Some courses will be taught by faculty members from the University of Birmingham and students will be able to receive degrees from both universities.

Students will be registered with both universities and have access to online programs of the University of Birmingham. In the four-year program, the students will have the opportunity of studying at other universities in Britain and the United States.

"The highlight of our joint programs is the cross-disciplinary teaching in integrating mathematical knowledge and skills into traditional academic subjects. Our students will develop problem-solving and team-working capabilities, among many other skills," says Jon Frampton, the deputy pro-vice chancellor of the University of Birmingham.

"Their ability to apply mathematics to real-world problems will develop and once they graduate with degrees from each university, we will be proud to see them leave our institute with the skills highly sought after for regional and national economic development."

All teaching projects are being jointly formulated by the two universities. The joint institute will introduce the quality monitoring system of the University of Birmingham. All teaching activities will be evaluated by the Sino-foreign joint program certification system of China's Ministry of Education and Britain's Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

The annual tuition fee stands at about 70,000 yuan ($10,100), with scholarships from both Jinan University and the joint institute to be offered. Students of the joint institute will have a wide range of institutions to choose for internship and Tianhe district of Guangzhou is an area where they might be offered.

Established in 1906, Jinan University today has more than 11,800 students from abroad, including international students, overseas Chinese and those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Founded in 1900, the University of Birmingham is among leading universities in that country.

The institute aims to cover postgraduate and doctoral programs in the future.

liwenfang@chinadaily.com.cn

Jon Frampton, University of Birmingham's deputy pro-vice chancellor, speaks about the joint institute with Jinan University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Nobel laureate Aaron Ciechanover tells students to ask more questions]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653427.htm Israeli Nobel laureate Aaron Ciechanover has called on young Chinese students to develop the culture of asking questions and to challenge their professors.

He added that as Chinese culture emphasizes respect, students are not usually encouraged to challenge their teachers, but this had to change.

He said this as he gave an online lecture to the students of the East China Normal University and Israel's Haifa University on May 23.

During his lecture he also said that while China has made much progress, Chinese scientists sometimes needed to do more to achieve innovation.

The event was jointly hosted by the two universities and the Israeli consulate in Shanghai as part of events to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year.

Ciechanover, 69, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2004.

Since its creation in 1948, Israel has produced 10 Nobel winners, says Amikam Levy, consul general of Israel in Shanghai.

Haifa alone has produced three Nobel laureates, according to Ciechanover, who shared his experience growing up in the Israeli city and studying medicine there before going to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.

The most important lesson he learned, he said, was to have "passion about what you are doing".

He encouraged students to pursue their dreams. "If it is not something in your DNA, then change, because life is short."

He spoke about the revolution in medical science and how it has enabled longer human life expectancy.

With the development of genetics, humans are entering an era of precision medicine, he said citing Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie's surgery on discovering that she carried genes with high risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

Ciechanover said one day science may help people to "discard the sick gene and replace it with healthy genes".

Ma Yaolu, a student majoring in chemistry at the ECNU, said that Ciechanover's lecture has helped her to decide that she will do her post-graduate studies. "I am a junior-year student, and am faced with the choice of either furthering my studies or taking a job after graduation. I found the lecture very inspiring."

According to Levy, Sino-Israeli relations celebrate "a mutual future" as well.

Shanghai and Haifa have done joint scientific research for years.

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

Students at East China Normal University at a lecture by Ciechanover with their Haifa University peers. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Learn happiness as a skill; acquire it]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653426.htm

Happiness is often categorized as an emotion that comes and goes, sometimes out of one's control.

But to educators and researchers, being happy is a skill type. Young people can learn it, acquire it and benefit from it.

"Therefore, we came up with the notion of 'happiness education'," Tian Huisheng, president, National Institute of Education Sciences, said during his keynote speech at the International Conference on Happiness Education and Seminar on Positive Mental Health Education, held in Beijing over May 21-23.

"We hope that young people can learn to find happiness and bring out happiness in others, and enjoy a happy life," he added.

More than 40 researchers and experts from across the world shared their findings and suggestions on the issue of cultivating happiness among the youth.

Nadia Lovett, a professor from the University of Adelaide in Australia, advocated the PERMA model at the seminar. The model developed by US psychologist Marin Seligman, stands for five things: P for positive emotions, E for engagement, R for positive relationships, M for meaning and A for accomplishment.

"On top of genetic influence, 40 percent of your happiness depends on your choices," Lovett said. "This includes your daily habits, how you choose to think about life, and stuff you do in your free time."

This idea was backed by Wu Yinghui, director of the Institute of Education Sciences of Haidian District.

Since 2009, educators in Beijing's Haidian area have been carrying out "positive" mental health education.

"Happiness requires education," Wu said, adding that her team managed to use anticipation and encouragement to help students cultivate positive thoughts. Haidian is home to some of China's best universities.

The seminar's main agenda was to announce the launch of the International Happiness Education Consortium, which will be led by the National Institute of Education Sciences, and will be open to educators from across the world, according to Meng Wanjin, chairman of the new consortium.

Zhu Dongbin from the Department of Basic Education, Ministry of Education, and Bai Xuejun, director of the Chinese Psychological Society, addressed the seminar. Scholars from Yale University, Peking University and Tsinghua University were also invited.

China Daily

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Breath of fresh air]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653425.htm When Qian Haiying first introduced Canada's Banff Mountain Film Festival to China in 2010, it was initially out of her interest in outdoor sports. She and her team - mainly three members - were seeking funding and a chance to develop their fan base.

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A film festival about the great outdoors is getting the attention of young sports fans, Zhang Xingjian reports.

When Qian Haiying first introduced Canada's Banff Mountain Film Festival to China in 2010, it was initially out of her interest in outdoor sports. She and her team - mainly three members - were seeking funding and a chance to develop their fan base.

Ultimately, Qian quit her job as a marketing executive in IBM and devoted herself to the founding of Banff China, a film festival that aims to promote outdoor and nature documentaries in the country.

Banff China has grown rapidly over the past seven years. This year's festival will launch its tour in Beijing on June 24 and then go to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu.

The festival not only promotes mountain culture, but also covers diving, running and skiing.

The festival that runs through September has hosted a series of seminars, lectures and training programs since May. All activities aim to give people more understanding of the fun of outdoor sports and related lifestyle, Qian says.

"When I was fresh in outdoor sports, China had not taken up that craze, and I often learned about outdoor sport ideas and skills from foreign countries," the 43-year-old recalls.

Regarded as the "Oscars of outdoor sports", the Banff Mountain Film Festival was launched by two renowned climbers, John Amati and Chic Scott, in the Canadian town of Banff in 1975.

As an international film competition and an annual presentation of short films and documentaries about mountain culture, sports and environment, it has become a popular gathering of outdoors enthusiasts, including sports fans, adventurers, photographers, filmmakers and environmentalists from around the world.

As an enthusiast of marathons, diving, skiing and skydiving, Qian first attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada in 2009. There was no such kind of event in her homeland, and Qian came up with the idea to bring the festival to China.

Qian says the festival is growing as enthusiasm for outdoor sports grows.

A light show titled LightAnimal has been incorporated this year, showcasing the possibilities of education about animals in a spectacular way.

LightAnimal is a digital exhibition providing virtual encounters with any animal species. Its moving images can be shown in any kind of venue, small or large, and it is interactive.

"LightAnimal can show and explain the animals' behavior in a way that would be impossible to see in a captive environment. LightAnimal creatures are also interactive, which means that they can perceive and react to members of the audience who stand in front of the screen," says Haruyoshi Kawai, director and animator of the LightAnimal project team.

"Above all, it has no impact on animals in the wild because it is virtual. People can enjoy watching the virtual creations, and simply look and learn," Qian says.

"This year, we have brought LightAnimal to Beijing, hoping more people, children in particular, can discover the mystery of the ocean," she adds.

Two months ago, Qian saw an online news story about a sperm whale stranded at a port in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province. The whale later died.

She was sad about the whale and determined to do something for marine creatures.

In this year's film festival, she proposed an environmental initiative, "Say No to Plastic".

"Each time I have gone diving with my teammates, I have witnessed the terrible impact of plastic on the whole ocean and living creatures," Qian explains.

"The plastic can be broken into extremely tiny parts. Some of them will go into the bodies of maritime creatures while others, mixed with sea salt, will be consumed by us humans again."

"The environmental problems are not far away from us. Instead, they are so close to our modern life that we barely notice them," Qian says.

Meanwhile, a training program to encourage more talent to go into outdoor sports documentary shooting will be launched at this year's film festival.

"We have done a survey that shows our main audience is between 25 to 45 years old. Passionate and energetic, college students are the main force of the targeted group. And we hope the training program will let more young people know about us," Qian says.

Before entering the universities, many college students are under huge academic pressure, which leaves them little time to think about their lives. "But everything changes after living in an ivory tower, and they gradually get to know society. Faced with many choices, they can decide themselves who they really want to be," she says.

"Developing the hobby of outdoor sports is a pretty good choice. They can make new friends, develop a healthy lifestyle and get closer to nature."

The training program will start at Beijing's Peking University and be promoted at other universities in the future.

Contact the writer at zhangxingjian@chinadaily.com.cn

An outdoor sports enthusiast tests the trampoline at the Banff China film festival on May 20 in Beijing.

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Filmmaker propels Nepali runner onto foreign stage]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653424.htm The first time Britain's Lloyd Belcher met Mira Rai, it was in October 2014 and he was shooting promotional images of Mira, a young woman from a Nepalese village, in Hong Kong.

Later, he got the idea to make a film about her.

"Her story is a perfect combination of athleticism and art, which would be best captured in a motion film," Belcher says.

The short film will be screened in Beijing on June 24 at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which will tour the country this summer.

It follows the Nepali woman on her pursuit to become a world-recognized mountain runner.

"The reason to film Mira is to raise the profile of a relatively unknown runner who, at that time, had great potential," says Belcher.

"Also, I hope to convey the idea of never giving up on your dreams to the audience."

Since being released last year, Mira has been a huge sensation in Nepal.

The film has been shown in mobile cinemas in the country, so locals can watch at a school, community hall or just in vacant space.

It all started with just a camera - and no funding.

From February 2015, the director spent one year traveling across Nepal, China and Australia, and with other footage supplied in Italy, Spain and France, to complete shooting the film on his own.

"Electricity shortage, risky shooting locale, working solo, language difficulties and red tape - I have encountered many challenges during the shooting process," he recalls.

As Belcher shared some behind-the-scenes photos on social media, a growing number of netizens started to follow him and support the film financially.

Through crowdfunding, the director has gained enough money to cover the basic necessities: transportation, accommodation, food and translation service.

Before the film, Rai was unknown and lived in a poor family. Now she has become a celebrity in her country.

"This is more than a documentary to record her life, but also a good opportunity for her to get onto the international stage and have the chance to compete in running."

Locals have been amazed by Rai's instant fame after shooting the short film.

But Belcher believes the power of a film is limited as it can only affect a certain group of people, not the whole society.

He says Nepal has to work more toward gender equality.

"However, as long as my film can touch the hearts of some Nepali women, and call for more people to do something meaningful, it is enough," he says.

"I have talked with many Nepali women, and they have been encouraged by my film. Some of them long to be the next Mira and they have taken some practical action to change their lifestyle," he says.

Belcher, who has been living in Hong Kong since he was very young, was a runner himself, completing difficult mountain races including the Dragon's Back Race in 2015 (322 kilometers across Wales) and the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (161 kilometers, in Japan).

"Running is an integral part of my life. Thanks to my running skills developed over a long time, I can get control of the camera and capture quality images in motion under pressure," says Belcher.

When asked if he would shoot a film about a Chinese runner, Belcher says he has considered it, but has yet to find the right story so far. He plans to keep searching.

"I will not yield to any principles or rules. Factors including business cooperation, the lure of money or market response will get in the way of my filmmaking. Making film is a pure thing and I am enjoying it," he says.

"Shooting a film is a two-way information-exchange process. I can convey what I want to my audience, and I can also gain something beneficial from the people I have interacted with during the process."

Director Lloyd Belcher (right) shares his filming experience with moviegoers on May 20 in Beijing. His short film records the journey of a high-altitude runner from Nepal, Mira Rai. Photos Provided To China Daily

   

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Playlist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653423.htm TV

The Underwoods

In its first four seasons, House of Cards has been a gleefully exaggerated portrait of politics as a wicked game. As Season 5 begins, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat, is still in campaign mode, doing everything in his power to win another term as president. His wife, Claire, is still his running mate, one of the bigger whoppers from last season. The new season finds the Underwoods working to drum up paranoia and anxiety among the populace. This is the first House of Cards season without creator Beau Willimon at the helm. Senior writers Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson are the new showrunners. But the jaw-dropping twists are expected to come as fast as in previous seasons.

Music

The '80s bands

US singer John Darnielle has been a master of sharply observed character studies since he started releasing The Mountain Goats cassettes in the early '90s. He examined a dysfunctional couple on 2002's Tallahassee, dealt with his own troubled childhood on 2005's The Sunset Tree, and used tarot cards as a catalyst for 2010's All Eternals Deck.

After focusing on the rather hermetic world of professional wrestling for 2015's Beat the Champ, Darnielle turns his empathetic eye to another subculture: Black-clad goths and the rise and fall of the '80s bands they loved. Aside from the dramatic Rain in Soho, bolstered by a 16-voice choir, and the New Order-like coda to Shelved, the sound is far from goth: Darnielle eschews his usual guitars for a gentle Fender Rhodes, and new member Matt Douglas sweetens the spacious arrangements with woodwinds.

Book

Grief and murder

British writer Paula Hawkins' latest novel, Into the Water, is a story about how grief shapes us and how we move on from tragedy.

A small town is rocked when several women get swept away by the river that runs through it, including a single mother of a 15-year-old girl. In order to take care of her, the girl's aunt returns, though the older woman vowed that she would never come back to the town that holds so much of her grief. But things aren't always what they seem, and soon it becomes clear that the women may have been murdered. With an intricately woven mystery at its core, the book examines how memories can deceive us, and how our childhood shapes our perceptions of reality.

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Always late? you may see more success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653422.htm We all know someone who's always late. If we're meeting up with them, we'll deliberately fib about the time ("See you there at 7:30 pm!" when the table is booked for 8 pm). The thought of them getting to the office on time is unfathomable, and they always almost miss the train.

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总是迟到的人会更成功?

We all know someone who's always late. If we're meeting up with them, we'll deliberately fib about the time ("See you there at 7:30 pm!" when the table is booked for 8 pm). The thought of them getting to the office on time is unfathomable, and they always almost miss the train.

That person, however, is not me.

If I'm seeing a friend, I'll leave 10 minutes earlier than needed and be at the station half an hour before my train departs, with my tickets already picked up. If I have to get up early for a flight then my alarm will go off an hour earlier, just in case I don't get up straight away.

But, of course, such extreme measures will be for nothing. Because, more often than not, the pal I'm meeting or the person I'm traveling with will be late.

I'll stand waiting in the cold, trying to kill time in some of National Rail's finest establishments. Or I will have jumped out of bed as soon as my unnecessarily early alarm goes off, only to spend the rest of the day trying not to fall asleep.

The thought of being late fills me with such dread that by the time I'm where I need to be, my mind is so distracted with counting the minutes that I'm not fully engaged. And, God forbid, if I am late? I'm riddled with guilt.

So it's no wonder that studies have revealed those people who are regularly late are more optimistic, creative and less prone to stress.

Diana Delonzor, a time-management speaker, explains in her book, Never Be Late Again: "Many late people tend to be both optimistic and unrealistic, and this affects their perception of time. They really believe they can go for a run, pick up their clothes at the dry cleaners, buy groceries and drop off the kids at school in an hour."

A study by Jeff Conte, an associate psychology professor at San Diego State University, which claims that people who are always late have a "Type B" personality, supports this. One of the findings about a Type B person was that they really do perceive time differently, proven by an experiment on "Type A" and Type B people. They were made to guess how long they thought a minute was: Type A averaged guesses of 58 seconds, whereas Type B answered 77 seconds.

For every minute of the day Type B people seemingly believe they have an extra 17 seconds, so it comes as no surprise that they're late. With these extra seconds, their minds are free from time constraints, leaving room for creative thinking.

Compared to the hours I have wasted by being early, combined with the minutes I spend rushing out of the house so as to be on time, I can't help but wish I was a Type B.

It's always thought that by being early you can get more done, but in fact it is those who are late who seem to be getting the most out of their day. Optimism has also been proven to help you live longer ... giving you even more time to be late.

Tomorrow I might just get to work a bit late. Maybe.

我们都知道有些人总迟到。如果要和他们会面,我们会故意把约定时间说得早一点儿(“晚上七点半见!”,而实际上跟餐厅订的是八点)。要让这种人准时出现在办公室是不可想象的,他们几乎总是赶不上火车。

不过,我不是那样的人。

如果去见朋友,我会比需要的时间早10分钟出门。我也会在已经取好票的情况下提前半小时到达火车站。如果我必须早起赶飞机,那么我的闹钟会提早一个小时响,以防自己不能马上起床。

不过,这些非常措施往往毫无意义,因为我要去见的或者跟我一起去旅行的那个人通常会迟到。

我会被冷落在那里干等,不得不在车站的一些精美商店里转悠,消磨时间。或者,我会在上得过早的闹铃一响时,就从床上一骨碌爬起来,结果接下来的一整天就得使劲撑着不让自己打盹睡着。

迟到的焦虑会让我感到恐惧,以至于当我到了约定的地方,我的脑子里还在算着时间而无法集中精力做事。天哪,要是我真迟到了呢?我会充满内疚。

难怪研究表明,那些经常迟到的人会更乐观、富有创造性、压力感小。

戴安娜德伦佐是一位时间管理演讲者,她在《别再迟到》这本书中写到:“很多迟到的人往往乐观而又不切实际,这影响了他们的时间观念。他们真的认为他们可以在一小时内做完这样多的事:跑步锻炼,到干洗店取衣服,买日常用品,送孩子去上学。”

圣地亚哥州立大学的心理学副教授杰夫孔蒂在其一项研究中指出,总是迟到的人有“B类”人格,这也证实了德伦佐的观点。这项研究的一个发现是,在对“A类”和B类人的测试中,B类人对时间的感受的确异常。实验要求他们去感受一分钟的长度:A类人的感觉一般是58秒,而B类人则是77秒。

在B类人那里,每一分钟似乎都额外增加了17秒。如此,他们迟到也就不足为奇了。有这额外的十几秒,他们的头脑能摆脱时间的束缚,得以进行创造性的思考。

(本段的翻译有奖征集中)

人们通常认为,赶早不赶晚,做事成效更高,但实际上,似乎是那些惯于迟到的人得到的好处最多。这种人乐观,也因此更长寿……这又给了他们更多可以迟到的时间。

明天我也许会晚点儿去上班。只是也许吧。

翻译高手:请将蓝框标注内容翻译为中文,在6月12日中午12点前发送至youth@chinadaily.com.cn 或“中国日报读者俱乐部”公众服务号,请注明姓名、学校、所在城市、联系方式(电邮或电话)。最佳翻译提供者将获得精美礼品一份,并在周三本报公众号中发布。

上期获奖者:江西南昌 南昌师范学院 俞红枫

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[这些烧脑的牛津大学面试题,你能答出几道?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653421.htm A group of seven pirates has 100 gold coins. They have to decide among themselves how to divide the treasure, but must abide by pirate rules:

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今天带大家一起见识一下牛津大学本科面试题,涨涨知识,看看别人的大学都考些什么。 Computer science How do pirates divide their treasure? 海盗如何分财宝?

A group of seven pirates has 100 gold coins. They have to decide among themselves how to divide the treasure, but must abide by pirate rules:

七个海盗共有100枚金币,他们必须自行决定如何分财宝,分财宝必须按照如下规则:

The most senior pirate proposes the division.

最年长的海盗提出一个分赃方案。

All of the pirates (including the most senior) vote on the division. If half or more vote for the division, it stands. If less than half vote for it, they throw the most senior pirate overboard and start again.

所有海盗(包括最年长者)进行投票,如果一半或以上的海盗赞同,那结果成立。如果少于一半,他们将最年长者投入大海并重新投票。

The pirates are perfectly logical, and entirely ruthless (only caring about maximizing their own share of the gold).

海盗逻辑性强,而且非常无情(只关注个人所得最大化)。

So, what division should the most senior pirate suggest to the other six?

所以,最年长的海盗应如何建议把金币分给其他6个海盗?

解答提示:这是一道标准的逻辑考题,同时教授们还将注重考察你解决问题的能力和沟通能力。

I like to see how students can take directions, and if they can break problems into smaller subsets, and work through a complex concept applying a solution in an algorithmic way. If students have any questions, I want them to ask-not to sit in silence feeling stuck!

这道题关注学生如何跟着引导走,是否能将大问题切分成小问题,用算法方式化解复杂的概念。如有问题,学生应该立即提出,而非闷声冥思苦想。

English literature

J.K. Rowling has published a book for adults after the hugely successful Harry Potter series. In what ways do you think that writing for children is different to writing for adults?

J.K.罗琳在《哈利·波特》系列大获成功之后又推出了一本面向成人读者的书籍。你认为为孩子们写书和为成人写书有何区别?

解答提示:没读过这本书也不用慌,考官是想了解你是否是一个爱思考的读书人。

I always want to know that whatever they are reading, candidates are reading thoughtfully and self-consciously, and are able to think as literary critics about all the books they read. I am careful to judge them on what they know, not on what they don't know.

我想了解的是,不论考生们读过什么,他们都应该边读边思考,做个有心人,能够像一个文学批评家一样读书。我尽量通过他们知道的事情来评判他们,而非他们不知道的。

Geography

If I were to visit the area where you live, what would I be interested in?

如果我去你的家乡游历,我会对什么感兴趣?

解答提示:这道题考查的是你的“地理思维”及对世界的好奇心。

The question probes whether they are able to apply "geographical thinking" to the everyday landscapes around them. It reveals the extent to which they have a curiosity about the world around them.

这道题主要考查考生是否能将“地理思维”应用到他们周边的事物。这揭示了他们是否对周围的世界抱有好奇心。

Economics

Why is income per head between 50 and 100 times larger in the United States than in countries such as Burundi and Malawi?

为什么美国人均收入是布隆迪和马拉维这些国家的50到100倍?

解答提示:回答这个问题时,不能停留在问题表面,而要学会透过现象看本质。

The question is focused on perhaps the most important economic question there is: Why are some countries rich and some poor? Candidates need to think about all the potential reasons why such income gaps exist.

这个问题关注的可能是最重要的经济学问题:为什么有些国家富有而有些国家贫穷?考生要考虑到存在这样的收入差距的所有潜在原因。

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Current Quotes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653420.htm "I want people - individuals and companies - to recognize the importance of accepting and dealing with failure as it is essential to innovation."

- Samuel West, Museum of Failure founder

“我希望个人和公司意识到接受以及处理失败的重要性,因为失败对于创新至关重要。”

—— 塞缪尔·韦斯特,失败博物馆创始人

5月31日,世界上首家以失败为创意的博物馆——失败博物馆(The Museum of Failure) 在瑞典南部城市赫尔辛堡(Helsingborg) 开馆。博物馆展出了包括谷歌眼镜(Google Glass)、可口可乐“咖啡可乐”(Coca-Cola Black)、高露洁牛肉千层面(Colgate Beef Lasagne) 和诺基亚游戏手机(Nokia N-Gage)等60余件以创新为目的、但没能取得商业成功的展品。

博物馆创始人韦斯特是一位心理学家,他指出百分之八十到九十的创新产品往往会面临失败。他希望通过这些失败的产品例子告诉公众创新和失败并存这一道理。

韦斯特还认为,在当前这个人人追捧成功的时代,认识失败并能从失败中学习是一项不可或缺的能力。

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Current Quotes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/07/content_29653419.htm “对这项探索,我想称之为太阳底下最为酷炫、最为炙手的任务。” —— 尼古拉 · 福克斯,美国科学家

"I like to call it the coolest hottest mission under the sun."

-Nicola Fox, US scientist

5月3 1日美国航天局(NASA)宣布将在2018年夏天启动首次探日任务。为致敬美国天体物理学家(astrophysicist )尤金 · 帕克(Eugene Parker),执行此次太空探索的无人探测器被命名为“帕克太阳探测器” (The Parker Solar Probe)。这是美国航天局首次以在世人士的名字命名航天器。早在1958年,帕克就预测到了太阳风的存在,其理论也随后得到了卫星观测确认。

在此次探日任务中,太阳探测器将在距太阳表面600万公里处绕日飞行,有望帮助人们更好地了解太阳系以及改进对外太空天气事件的预报。为抵御超过1300摄氏度的高温,探测器表面将有约11厘米厚的碳复合材料。

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2017-06-07 07:21:32
<![CDATA[Gifts fit for kings]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/06/content_29635710.htm An ongoing exhibition, Mise Porcelain: Impressive Discovery and Mysterious Tribute, at Beijing's Palace Museum, sheds light on items given in tribute to emperors. Wang Kaihao reports.

For a long time, not many people understood what mise porcelain meant, although the term was encountered frequently in ancient documents dating back over a millennium.

Mise (literally, mystical-colored)porcelain was given in tribute exclusively to emperors from the late Tang (618-907) to early Northern Song (960-1127) dynasties, and it is now on show at a former imperial court.

An ongoing exhibition, Mise Porcelain: Impressive Discovery and Mysterious Tribute, at Beijing's Palace Museum, China's royal palace from 1420 to 1911, which is also known as the Forbidden City, showcases these treasures and focuses on the relevant archaeological discoveries.

 

Geng Baochang, 95, one of China's top porcelain experts, visits the ongoing exhibition featuring mise porcelain, which uses a technique that was lost after the late Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Photos by Jiang Dong / China Daily

Thirteen mise porcelain articles were unearthed in 1987 from an underground altar of the Famen Buddhist Temple in Baoji, Shaanxi province.

The world mise was carved on a stele, which was the inventory of the altar items.

While the origin of this kind of porcelain remains unclear, the discovery of ancient porcelain kilns in Shanglinhu, Zhejiang province in 2016 proved that it was a mise porcelain production hub.

The exhibition at the Palace Museum has 187 items, 120 of which are from Shanglinhu.

The rest are from other sites, including the Famen Temple.

According to Wang Yamin, deputy director of the Palace Museum, the display also marks the 30th anniversary of the Famen Temple find.

"Mise porcelain, fired in the Yue Kiln in Zhejiang represents the quality and aesthetics of Chinese ceramic production from the ninth to the 11th centuries," says Wang.

Meanwhile, Shen Yueming, a researcher at the Archaeology Institute of Zhejiang Province, says that materials used to make mise porcelain were different from those used for ordinary celadon made in the Yue Kiln.

"It (mise porcelain) is more delicate and the colors are purer," he says.

Referring to their rarity, he says: "In historical documents, we found that even though rich people gave tens of thousands of Yue Kiln celadon articles as tributes to royal courts, there were fewer than 200 mise porcelain articles among them."

One of China's top porcelain experts, Geng Baochang, 95, who visited the exhibition, says that the production of mise porcelain was discontinued in the late Northern Song period, and the technique was eventually forgotten.

The last known mise porcelain production was in 1068, according to records of royal tributes.

"Mise porcelain is one of the biggest mysteries in Chinese ceramic history," he says.

"So, it's a major breakthrough to know the whereabouts of the kilns."

Also, compared with other porcelain types, which were exported to Europe, Yue Kiln items are not common.

But, archaeologists have discovered items in the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. In a related development, in 2016, the Shanglinhu kilns were nominated as a potential UNESCO World Heritage site.

Describing mise porcelain from the Yue Kiln, Jessica Rawson, a professor of Chinese art and archaeology at Oxford University, who visited the exhibition, says: "It has many qualities of jade, with beautiful surfaces and subtle colors."

She also says that it played an important role in daily use in spite of its high value, adding: "I don't think it would be fully understood in Europe, because most Europeans bought garish porcelain - white and red.

"Chinese tastes were different from Europe."

Contact the writer at wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-06 07:26:24
<![CDATA[A unique art form celebrates the splendors of Antarctica]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/06/content_29635709.htm His lines are simple and symbolic but the colors are abundant. It is difficult to categorize his work because it looks like a combination of painting, calligraphy and architecture.

This is hanshu, which translates as "Han people's calligraphy".

A former urban designer who helped nurture Shanghai's Lujiazui to become a world-class financial center in the 1990s, Wang Xuyuan, a 60-year Shanghai native, prefers "big pictures".

During the 40th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, which was held in Beijing in late May, Wang showcased about 30 of his paperwork and porcelain pieces at the conference venue to portray the breathtaking landscapes of Antarctica.

For example, a painting showing icebergs was created using the Chinese character shan (mountain), while paintings of penguins were abstract expressions of the Chinese characters qi'e (penguin). Other works represented ice caves and auroras.

He attributes his art to a visit to the Shanghai-based Polar Research Institute of China five years ago.

"I was immediately hooked by the animals and scenery shown in pictures and videos," says Wang. "For me, Antarctica felt like a dream.

"Research in Antarctica needs to go beyond professionals. The public deserves to know more, and artists can be the bridge."

Zheng Jie, a senior engineer at the institute, says artists in the West have created many works on Antarctica. But he says that using fine art to promote scientific research to the public is still relatively new in China.

"It's only a start," says Zheng. "Wang has set an example for others to focus on Antarctica and other scientific issues.

"As creativity booms in China, a lot can be done to improve public awareness about what scientists are doing."

Wang plans to move his exhibition on Antarctica to a public space in the near future.

In 1998, when Wang was a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland, he taught US students Chinese calligraphy.

"But I found it difficult to teach them the script, so I chose to explain it as pictures," says Wang. "That is how I quit my job as an urban designer and switched to art."

Wang, who was invited by the organizing committee of Beijing Olympic Games to showcase his work, staged his first major solo exhibition about the Olympics in 2008 at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing.

In 2010, he staged another exhibition on the Shanghai Expo.

Wang says it takes a relatively short time to create each work, but a long time is needed before picking up the brushes.

He says once he begins to paint it is like a dancing, which cannot be stopped.

"It's like constructing buildings. The paper offers space for many possibilities," he says.

Yuan Yunfu, a professor at the Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University, says: "Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy share the same origin.

"In Wang's work, a gist of calligraphy is extracted, transformed and exaggerated to find a connection between the content and the platform, and a balance is struck between something concrete and abstract."

However, Wang prefers to call himself a practitioner of modern art.

"As modern lifestyles are different from life in ancient times, it is not necessary to follow traditions," says Wang.

So, he wants hanshu to make traditional Chinese art forms accessible to the East and West.

"The spirit of traditional art must be retained, but new approaches are also needed," he says.

"Chinese-style modern art is not only about Western methods to explain Chinese themes. We need Chinese platforms."

His views are echoed by US artist Joan Schulze, who says: "It's a dilemma for all artists - how to honor traditions and move them forward so that art remains a live and growing medium.

"Wang has done this: Each work is uniquely his and contributes a fresh approach to the long tradition of Chinese calligraphy.

"Paper and ink become one with this artist - say more with less."

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2017-06-06 07:26:24
<![CDATA[Top cookbooks take a bow]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/06/content_29635708.htm China hosts the Gourmand International awards for the fifth time, honoring books, chefs, TV hosts and more. Mike Peters reports in Yantai, Shandong.

William Wongso seems like a chef in a war zone. Peppered with the pops and splatters of boiling coconut milk, however, Wongso is unfazed and relaxed.

"You need high-fat coconut milk to cook down for this," he says to a cooking assistant pulled from the crowd, who is trying to dodge the searing drops. "You want it to caramelize while the meat is cooking. And no, the fire is not too high.

"Good coconut cream will explode like a volcano, or a lover, when the heat from the oil is right," he grins as the air fills with the scents of fresh lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fresh turmeric and a flotilla of other spices bobbing in the bubbling broth.

Flavors of Indonesia: William Wongso's Culinary Wonders wins the Gourmand International's 2017 best cookbook award in Yantai, Shandong province. Photos Provided to China Daily

Everyone nods sagely. After all, who's going to argue with the winner of Gourmand International's 2017 best cookbook award?

Meeting in Yantai in Shandong province the night before, the culinary society had crowned Flavors of Indonesia: William Wongso's Culinary Wonders ($29.95, Bab Publishing Indonesia, available on Amazon) and bestowed dozens of other awards on cookbooks, chefs and TV presenters. 

"This event started as a joke at the Frankfurt Book Fair," says a smiling Gourmand International founder Edouard Cointreau. "We wanted place where we could drink Champagne with the foodie crowd at the fair."

But the idea took on a life of its own, and 22 years later, representatives of about 60 countries and regions have gathered in Yantai to exchange ideas, enjoy good food and gather for the awards dinner.

"Twenty-two years ago, cookbooks were not represented at Frankfurt and other major book fairs," says Cointreau. "Today, publishers in a very competitive food market need them to be profitable."

The trends ride a couple of others in the marketplace: Consumers willing to go the extra mile for quality food, an obsession with Michelin-starred restaurants, and hyper-busy professionals rediscovering that both quality time and good eating can be found right in their own kitchens.

"That book segment has not been huge in China yet," says Cointreau, "but China has been a very important market for rights and translations in recent years. Cookbooks will come behind that, in part because China is now pushing food as a key reflection of its culture."

He notes that the Chinese are "of course the most numerous group at the weekend event, larger than all foreigners combined".

The US market for cookbooks is $1 billion annually, he says, and it will be no surprise if China catches up to that figure in five years. 

That's why publishers and authors from Brazil, South Africa, Ireland, France, Australia and myriad other countries are huddled in Yantai, eager to claim a piece of the market. Award winners certainly hope that their prizes will help lure rights deals now or later.

Second prize in the best cookbook competition went to Pascale Naessens, a Belgian chef-author and TV host who credits an early trip to China at the age of 22 for some of the inspiration for Pure Pascale: Natural Food That Makes You Happy.

"This is not a diet. I hate dieting!" she proclaims in the introduction. "Please don't call me a health freak - I am not interested in undrinkable superfood juices or weird and wonderful workouts. I want to live a 'real' life with 'real' food."

Natural food, she says in Yantai upon accepting the award, "is food that does my body good, food that makes me stronger and more energetic, and food that makes me happy."

A key guideline for her is combinations: "Do not combine protein with carbohydrates," she writes.

Plates that are meat-plus-vegetables, fish-plus-vegetables, cheese-plus-vegetables and carbohydrates-plus vegetables are healthier choices, easier to digest, have a slimming effect, and result in eating more vegetables and fewer "unhealthy fast carbohydrates" like pasta and potatoes. Lots and lots of recipes include salmon with thyme crust, tomatoes and green asparagus in the oven; spinach with tomato, turmeric and feta; and cooked pumpkin with bacon.

Two books tied for third place, each with a good story behind it. The Nobel Prize Cookbook, a joint project from Sweden, is devoted to the recipes that have been served at the Nobel Prize banquet and written by the best chefs in the country. Now available in Swedish, it will be translated into English soon, according to publisher Max Strong. Grandma Cooks Gourmet, a collection of Holocaust-survivors' recipes from Israel re-created by the country's master chefs, is also now being translated into English.

Gourmand International says all four of the top winners can claim the title "best in the world", and retail copies will bear the award label.

Many of the winning cookbooks, including those published in English, Chinese and other languages, will be featured at the Beijing International Book Fair in August.

Contact the writer at michaelpeters@chinadaily.com.cn

Awards for China

At least a dozen people and publications from China grabbed awards in various categories. Some highlights:

Best author & chef

Xu Long

Xu is the longtime Western chef at the Great Hall of the People. The award celebrates his most recent book, Fragrance, his exploration of the cuisines of Yunnan. Xu was recently in an automobile accident and was unable to attend the event.

Design

Ounce Magazine, Taiwan

By Leslie Wang

An art publication that captures a different food culture in illustrations every quarter. "We see every dining moment as a piece of art," says the magazine's Leslie Wang.

Chinese cuisine

A Chinese Street Food Odyssey

By Helen and Lisa Tse

$29.95 (on Amazon and Kindle)

The British-Chinese authors became an internet sensation in China when they cooked for Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Britain in 2014. The Tse sisters sweep readers with them into the street food cultures of China, vividly evoking the excitement, the smells and the sounds of the markets. From soft fluffy bao, to hot fried chicken, from piping hot bowls of noodles, to coal-roasted squid, delicate tea eggs and bubble tea, they bring the adventure to your kitchen.

Asian cuisine

Hong Kong Food & Culture: From Dim Sum to Dried Abalone

By Adele Wong

HK$360; ManMoMedia

Applauded by local top chefs Alvin Leung and Richard Ekkebus, the book has chapters ranging from traditional Chinese medicine, herbs and spices, Cantonese sauces, dim sum, and wet markets - plus intriguing interviews with local noodlemakers, ceramic bowl painters, dried seafood sellers, fish ball manufacturers and dim sum chefs. The classic Cantonese recipes are easy to prepare at home. Adele Wong was the resident dining columnist at HK Magazine and is now publisher of the lifestyle website The Loop HK.

Bread

Le Pain Passion

By Gerard Dubois

The book was released in November 2016 for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of La Rose Noire Patisserie in Hong Kong, founded by Dubois. His latest venture, Passion by Gerard Dubois, opened in 2012 with a wide offering of breads, cakes and sweets.

China Daily

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2017-06-06 07:26:24
<![CDATA[G&T's have their day at HK master class event]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/06/content_29635707.htm Would a cocktail named Satan's Whiskers or Fallen Angel make you feel a little wicked? Does a proper gin martini (and a smoking jacket) make you an incipient James Bond?

Perhaps not, but as a sophisticated gin drinker, you doubtless know that "sapphire" is not a stone, and that a "double" gin is one that is re-distilled twice. But did you know that every June 10 is World Gin Day?

You may not need a formal occasion to start mixing a G&T, but gin lovers will find some interesting ways to raise their game on Saturday.

Dr. Fern's Gin Parlour in Hong Kong's Landmark Atrium, for example, will host three master classes for aficionados of the juniper-flavored elixir. Bar manager Gerry Olino says that after doing the mixing, guests can garnish their gin and tonics at the DIY garnish station while nibbling on ingredients that will cleanse the palate. The speakeasy is known for showcasing premium gins with expertly made cocktails, claiming Hong Kong's biggest collection with over 250 gins from around the world.

Master classes are at 3 pm, 4:30 pm and 6 pm, priced at HK$500 per person. Each ticket includes four gin flights, four half-tonics and garnishes. Complimentary charcuterie and cheese boards are available throughout the sessions.

Reserve a spot by calling 852-2111-9449 or by emailing info@drfernshk.com.

If you're not in Dr. Fern's neighborhood, your favorite bar - posh or funky - will be eager to help you cool down a hot night with the fresh taste of a classic gin and tonic.

Opus Bar at the Four Seasons Beijing, for example, offers comfy, oversized sofas on its newly opened terrace, and tailor-made drinks created from over 25 kinds of premium gin with three kinds of tonic water and flavored with any of 10 flowers or herbs as the garnish. If you really want to go wild: Personalized ice cubes shaped in the initials of the drinker will give this classic drink a fun touch - and generate some WeChatter when you post the photo.

Negroni week

If you thought the negroni has been so trendy it's already passe, think again.

Negroni Week has returned to Hong Kong's hip Jinjuu bar, and bar boss Edgar Santillan will serve up four special versions ($HK100 each), including Bokgroni with bok choy infused Glendalough gin, Cocchi Torino, Campari, Sipsmith London Cup & Belsazar Rose; El Santo Negroni with Sipsmith gin, Cynar, Campari, Pierde, Almas Mezcal and Ocho Reyes chili liqueur; Rose of Sharon Negroni with hibiscus-infused Hwayo 25 soju, Cocchi Rosa, Aperol, Campari, lemon bitter and lemon leaf; and a classic negroni with Bulldog Gin, Campari and Cinzano. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, mixologists from other popular Hong Kong bars will step behind the bar and serve up their own concoctions. Proceeds go to various charities of the bartenders' choice.

Mixologists, such as Gerry Olino (left) and Edgar Santillan (right) from popular Hong Kong bars will step behind the bar and serve up their own concoctions. Photos Provided to China Daily

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2017-06-06 07:26:24
<![CDATA[Going global]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/06/content_29635706.htm An ongoing exhibition in Beijing brings together artists from China and Europe. Lin Qi reports.

Three artists featured at the Bridging Asia-Europe exhibition series - Wang Luyan from China, Gianni Dessi from Italy and Alois Mosbacher from Austria - show how some artists who grew up in a less-globalized world still managed to develop individual styles and reshape the landscape of contemporary art.

Bridging Asia-Europe, launched by The Parkview Museum in Beijing, is a series of exhibitions to encourage communication between Asian and European artists. The first show, now underway through Sept 17, teams up Wang, Dessi and Mosbacher, whose artworks are part of collections of George Wong, the museum's founder and an entrepreneur from Hong Kong.

Through their paintings and installations, the three artists demonstrate distinctive approaches to topics in today's world, such as openness, freedom, traditions and respect.

 

Forest is one of the themes of Alois Mosbacher's artworks on display at the Bridging Asia-Europe exhibition series in Beijing.

The series will include exhibitions by other artists as well.

Lorand Hegyi, the current exhibition's Hungarian curator, says the three artists were all born in the early 1950s, a period when the world was divided into two "antagonistic hemispheres".

"Their generation witnessed many critical events of the Cold War. When the three artists became active in the 1980s, they staged (works) on the platform of multicultural globalization."

Hegyi, 63, is also from that generation. The art historian and critic has been focusing on contemporary art from central and Eastern Europe.

He says the artists of his generation, like the three on show, were able to create a globalized discourse that was based on the concept of different identities.

Their works communicate between the East and the West and bring people a "touching and comforting experience", he says.

Wang is known for producing paintings that are as precisely executed as an engineering project.

Hegyi says that, underneath these seemingly mechanical lines in Wang's works, viewers can sense "irrational and self-destructive" tendencies of the subjects he focuses on and addresses the paradoxical status of many people.

In his shown work W Screw, Wang says he sees the object as "a spiritual totem that does not fit in with the filth of the real world". He conveys an isolation from his surroundings and a powerful desire for difference.

In another shown painting, Birdcage, he draws an intricate birdcage to invite the audience to think about whether the boundary between freedom and confinement has blurred.

Dessi shows a group of blue watercolor works on paper he completed earlier this year. He says the works belong to his ongoing series, China Suite. He says he chose blue because the Yangtze River is referred to as the Blue River in Italy.

For the series, he poured blue colored water on a stack of paper and let the pigment slowly seep into it. He created this based on how natural traces are left on things by water. With this, he says he hopes to show both time and water as two generative forces of life.

According to Hegyi, Dessi gives voice to the romantics of our day by formulating dramatic visual metaphors in his works, and hails a "spiritual resistance" against emptiness and indifference.

In Mosbacher's oil paintings, he creates a poetic, sometimes puzzling feeling by portraying landscapes of a forest, a field and arrangements of tree trunks.

For example in his painting Nine Trees, he simply painted nine trees, and modeled them after real photos he had taken in forests.

Unlike a real forest in which trees grow naturally, Mosbacher arranged the trees in his work in a neat, artificial way, as if they were elements of a program.

Hegyi says those unnatural scenes portrayed in Mosbacher's works are a metaphor of the chaotic side of the real world, and he urges his viewers to confront their own hidden universes.

"Like Mosbacher, one will find in himself a forgotten but still vivid and effective empire full of unlimited imagination."

Contact the writer at linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-06 07:26:24
<![CDATA[Female artist uses stickers to show pop culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/06/content_29635705.htm Ye Hongxing is presenting works that use thousands of stickers to render well-known pop culture images.

Her ongoing show at Beijing's Opposite House also displays her installations and sculptures.

Among her installations is Mandala, a large thangka painting - an innovative take on the traditional Tibetan Buddhist art form - placed flat on ground with a pagoda standing on it. Both the painting and pagoda are made up of countless little things - the former by stickers and the latter by toys.

Snow White, the Smurfs, Angry Birds, Hello Kitty, fighters from the game Contra, dragons and all recognizable images from pop culture are made of stickers and toys.

Ye explains that people visit a temple or church to get spiritual enjoyment, which they now often obtain from going to shopping malls instead. The Beijing-based artist speaks in the context of the pagoda and thangka painting, both of which are important symbols of Tibetan Buddhism.

"The pursuit of happiness is the same. But the destination changes."

Ye started to overlap stickers on her canvases in 2009. Before that, the playful pieces were just decorative material she stuck on her phone and computer. Once she began, she was fascinated with these colorful pieces and produced many paintings featuring them.

Advertisements, logos, patterns and words of slogans - all elements of daily life across the world - appear on her canvas through stickers.

She regularly goes to a wholesale market in Beijing that sells stickers and updates her works frequently. She says she notices how stickers stay topical in pop culture.

"If you want to know what's popular in the world, just go visit a sticker shop," says the 45-year-old artist.

Sometimes, she says she doesn't even have an idea of the images on the stickers she uses. But she finds the answer from the sellers or collectors of such items.

"It's easy for a viewer to connect with her works, regardless of background or nationality," says Zhang Lexing, a gallerist and collector of Ye's works.

"From a distance they look like beautiful pictures with vivid images or abstract patterns. A closer look will show motifs from daily life."

Ye says her works focus on the subject of fullness to show the world rich in goods. People are bombarded with information and commodities but they don't know what they really want.

Besides, the artist's works reflect opposing entities: exciting and mundane, hard and soft.

Her sculpture A Thousand Years of Fragrance on display is made of more than 100 marble bottles of perfume and alcohol.

She has been collecting bottles, especially ones containing scents, for a decade. Her sculptures seek to show personal memories behind perfumes.

The show also displays an installation from Ye's latest series Accumulation of Silence, which has more than 60 rock-shaped cushions placed together.

"We're living in a world bombarded by information. Most of it makes no sense," says Ye.

The series also includes some sticker paintings, which she is still working on. Placing thousands of little pieces on one canvas is usually time-consuming and tedious.

But the process is like meditation for her, she says. Mandala alone took her nearly two months.

"My art centers on the concept of fullness. I hope these popular motifs will let people think about their own lives - and what they really want in a society full of goods," she says.

dengzhangyu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-06 07:26:24
<![CDATA[MoMA being renovated for more space]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/06/content_29635704.htm NEW YORK - The Museum of Modern Art in New York is boldly expanding its midtown Manhattan home that draws more than 3 million visitors annually from around the world, including those who came on Friday to see the first completed phase of the $450 million project.

Spread over three floors of the art mecca off Fifth Avenue are about 1,400 square meters of reconfigured galleries, a new, second gift shop, a redesigned cafe and espresso bar and, facing the sculpture garden, two lounges graced with black marble quarried in France.

Still under construction are about 4,600 square meters of new galleries opening in 2019, bringing MoMA's total art-filled space to about 16,000 square meters on six floors. The expansion will allow more of the museum's collection of nearly 200,000 works to be displayed.

The project also will provide 25 percent more space for visitors to relax or have a sit-down meal.

The museum building, which opened in 1939, now nearly fills an entire city block and showcases works by artists, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo, to name just a few from the permanent collection.

The complex fuses original architecture by Philip Goodwin and Edward Stone with Philip Johnson-designed additions in 1951 and 1964 and a new section by Argentine native Cesar Pelli in 1984, topped in 2004 by Yoshio Taniguchi's $425 million expansion and renovation.

"We're riffing off the DNA of MoMA's history," says Elizabeth Diller, whose Boston-based firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, was hired for the project, working with the Gensler firm in San Francisco. "This work has required the curiosity of an archaeologist and the skill of a surgeon."

MoMA director Glenn Lowry wants to achieve much more than augmenting square footage. MoMA curators are embracing ethnic and cultural diversity that transcends established European artists through shows including, for instance, black and female artists. MoMA also is highlighting art tracing certain social periods for example, creativity in the decades after World War II that spawned feminism.

"The Museum of Modern Art's renovation and expansion project will seek to reassure and surprise," Lowry says.

Architecturally, he says, MoMA is "opening up, so you're aware of the city" by bringing the urban turf closer to visitors through an all-glass facade facing West 53rd Street, more window panels elsewhere and a rooftop lounge with a terrace.

Some galleries will be pliant, with partitions that can drop or be lifted, and ceilings of varying heights, depending on exhibition needs. Added studios and galleries will be set up for performances or film screenings.

The current, double-height entrance lobby will be reconfigured to ease visitor congestion that often results in lines reaching out onto the sidewalk. Demolition starts this month, and visitors will have to use alternative entrances. Providing easier access inside is the historic Bauhaus staircase that was extended to reach down to the first floor.

In the newly completed area, the first exhibition opens on June 12. Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the US architect's birth.

Associated Press

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2017-06-06 07:26:24
<![CDATA[Draw of the south]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/05/content_29622886.htm

The Northern Kunqu Opera Theater is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a festival of the old art form. Chen Nan reports.

Cong Zhaohuan sits in a spacious courtyard surrounded by brick walls that are being torn down. A six-story building, which is being emptied, is nearby.

It's the location of the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater, where Cong, 86, has worked for six decades.

Located in downtown Beijing, the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater is the only professional theater in northern China dedicated to Kunqu, a Chinese opera with a history of around 600 years. Born in the regions south of the Yangtze River, such as Suzhou, Jiangsu province, Kunqu Opera is performed in the melodic Suzhou dialect.  

Combining singing, dancing and acting, the art form was listed as an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2001.

"This place is like a gold mine. You cannot imagine how many great Kunqu artists worked here and how many masterpieces they created here," says Cong.

"I am glad that I'm still alive and have the chance to witness a new chapter of the theater."

On June 22, the theater will celebrate its 60th anniversary.

With seven professional troupes, including the Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theater of Jiangsu province and the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe, the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater will hold a festival from June 15 to 27.

At the festival, the audience will enjoy classic Kunqu works performed by both established masters and younger actors.

The Northern Kunqu Opera Theater will have a new venue at the original location, which is scheduled to open in about two years.

Yang Fengyi, the president of the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater, says the new venue will not just work as a platform for artists but also as a place where the public can learn more about Kunqu.

"We will open the venue by offering workshops, talks and exhibitions as ways to interact with the audience," says Yang.

"In the past, the major job of Kunqu artists, like Cong, was to teach young actors. But with this new venue, they will also share their valuable experience and stories about Kunqu with the audience."

Cong was born in Dalian, Liaoning province, and moved to Beijing in 1949. He started learning the opera at age 17.

In 1957, Premier Zhou Enlai helped to establish the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater, and Kunqu master Han Shichang was appointed its first president.

"The theater has gone through many ups and downs in the past 60 years. The early years were very tough," Cong says.

"Back then, Kunqu's popularity was waning. To safeguard its existence, artists then made great efforts to revive traditional repertoires as well as worked on new material."

Senior artists even spent their own money on productions, he says.

Cong learned the art form from Han.

During the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), the theater was shut down and didn't reopen until 1979.

Now, it tours the world with more than 30 repertories, including The Peony Pavilion, a Kunqu classic based on a play by Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) playwright Tang Xianzu, and A Dream of the Red Mansions, an adaptation of the famous Chinese novel of the same title by Cao Xueqin.

"Usually traditional art forms are appreciated mainly by older people," Yang says.

"However, what excites us is that Kunqu is now drawing more young people. We hold a variety of activities on campuses across China every year to help students embrace this old art form."

The theater is making efforts to cultivate young performers to pass on the tradition and get close to the youth.

Shao Tianshuai is a rising star, who will perform a major role in A Dream of the Red Mansions at the upcoming festival.

The award-winning actress, who was born and raised in Harbin in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, started to learn the art form at the Northern Kunqu Opera Theater in 2001.

"I knew nothing about Kunqu then. But my parents considered it a great opportunity so I came to Beijing," recalls the 32-year-old.

"It was very hard in the beginning, especially the physical training and the singing techniques. But I fell in love with Kunqu Opera."

Despite the current positive situation for Kunqu in China, Cong still has concerns.

He says that the focus on passing down the old art is to teach students how to perform.

However, it's also important to teach students how to write scripts, compose music and even do the makeup and costume designs.

"For example, we have lots of costumes from 60 years ago," says Cong, adding that artists need to pay attention to maintaining the quality of such costumes and making new ones.

"There is still so much to learn and research. I am 86 years old, and I want to quickly pass down my knowledge of Kunqu Opera to younger people."

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-05 07:50:15
<![CDATA[Opera revives story of young female soldiers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/05/content_29622885.htm

The Red Detachment of Women caused a sensation in the country when it was screened in 1961.

Directed by Chinese filmmaker Xie Jin, the film was based on the true story of a group of female Communist soldiers on Hainan Island during the civil war in the early 1930s.

The story was later adapted into a ballet by the National Ballet of China. The ballet version of The Red Detachment of Women has been staged around the world more than 4,000 times since its premiere in Beijing in 1964.

It is best known in the West as the ballet performed for US President Richard Nixon during his visit to China in 1972.

Over the past few decades, the story has also been turned into Peking Opera productions, TV series and, now, the China National Opera House is reviving the story again.

An opera based on the film version will be staged at the National Center for the Performing Arts on June 14 and 15.

For the show, the symphony orchestra and chorus of the China National Opera House will perform under the baton of Chinese conductor Yang Yang.

The opera, like the film's script, follows a rural girl named Wu Qionghua, who escapes a life of slavery and joins an all-female Communist Party army battalion led by commander Hong Changqing on Hainan Island during the civil war in the early 1930s.

Meanwhile, musicians from the China National Opera House, working with the Hainan Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Hainan Provincial Musicians' Association, have written new material for show, besides reviving classic songs from the film version.

The idea of producing a Chinese opera based on the story came up in 2010 after Wang Yanmei, chairman of the Hainan Provincial Musicians' Association, watched the Chinese opera production Jiang Jie based on the nationally known Communist heroine of the civil war.

Explaining how she came up with the idea, Wang says: "The story of The Red Detachment of Women took place in Hainan. And like Jiang Jie, it is also a well-known story. Also, the music from the film is very beautiful and popular. So, it seemed very possible to adapt it into an opera."

Wang began to work on the script in 2011, with help later from veteran Chinese composer Zhu Jiahe. He traveled around Hainan province, seeking local folk music elements as he learned more about the history of the battalion.

In 2013, the opera premiered in Haikou, the provincial capital. Wang and Zhu have been revising the script and music over the past four years.

Zhu says: "When audiences see the opera at the NCPA in Beijing, they will see a familiar story but with more plots, music and dance based on the folk culture of Hainan."

Wang says: "It was challenging to do the adaptation because the story is well-known, and the film and ballet versions are so successful.

"In the opera version, we focus on the transition of Wu Qionghua, who was a vengeful young woman and later became a loyal and disciplined Communist soldier."

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2017-06-05 07:50:15
<![CDATA[Live broadcasts of theater plays gaining popularity]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/05/content_29622884.htm

A new form of theater, which can be watched on the big screen, is gaining favor among young Chinese audiences. It was announced on Wednesday in Beijing that a new season starting from July will include 23 new titles from various live-theater broadcasting projects from London, Moscow and Broadway.

This is in addition to a list of 23 productions that have already been screened in 21 cities across the Chinese mainland and Taiwan over the past two years, according to Beijing-based ATW Culture Media Ltd, a distributor of National Theatre Live.

"This is the third year we have brought theater live to the China market, and we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of viewers and venues," says Li Congzhou, CEO, ATW Culture.

In 2009, the Royal National Theatre in London started its NT Live initiative, which broadcasts high-definition live performances of their productions to cinemas and arts venues around the world. The new form soon became a hit among theater lovers.

The project was officially introduced to China in 2015. Since then, 39 venues have joined the program, attracting 150,000 viewers with more than 1,000 screenings.

The ticket price is set at 120 yuan ($17).

Chen Qiaoyi, a bank clerk in her 20s, has watched five NT live performances in Beijing. She first learned about it from a friend who liked the British actor Tom Hiddleston, who featured in the first series of NT Live screenings in China.

"I was more immersed in the play than I expected," says Chen. "The shooting was great. Most plays come in small theater productions. This was shot from different angles. It maximizes what it feels like to be on the spot."

Chen is typical of the current foreign-theater audience in China. ATW Culture's Li identifies them as mainly between 20 to 35 years old, female and well-educated. Most are fans of US and British television and films.

In recent years, China has caught the world's attention with its fast-growing entertainment industry and an increasingly sophisticated audience. Award-winning musical classics such as Avenue Q and Wicked, and more experimental productions, such as Sleep No More, have all tested the China market.

In addition to new screenings, Wednesday also witnessed the launch of the First International Theater Live Festival, which ATW Culture expects to play a role in promoting the new format to a wider audience.

He says he hopes more middle school students can start to appreciate theater live to hone their language skills and cultural knowledge.

As a new format of theater embracing modern technology, it is also helping to upgrade the performing arts scene in China.

Xinhua

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2017-06-05 07:50:15
<![CDATA[Beat the heat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/05/content_29622883.htm

 

Daqing's wetlands are among the recommended summer itineraries of Heilongjiang province. Photos Provided to China Daily

Heilongjiang is known as a winter wonderland. But the host of some of the world's largest ice festivals is also a cool summertime destination, in every sense. Yang Feiyue reports.

Primitive forests fleece the Hinggan Mountains. Waterfowl wander Wudalianchi's reed marshes and mineral springs. Paddies plate the fertile farmlands of Beidahuang.

Indeed, Heilongjiang province promises a cool place to beat the heat. It averages 20 C when summer scorches much of the rest of the country.

While the province is known as a winter wonderland - its capital, Harbin, hosts some of the world's largest snow- and ice-sculpture festivals - Heilongjiang's geographic positioning as China's northernmost swath makes its weather comfortably clement during the hottest months.

"Heilongjiang has special weather, history and culture," says Hou Wei, deputy director of the province's tourism development commission.

"Its ecology is rich. And its environment is pristine."

People come for its border river, volcanoes and proximity to Russia, he says.

The China Meteorological Administration and the China Tourism Academy named Harbin as the most popular domestic summer destination in 2014.

The province's tourism authority staged an annual road show in Beijing in mid-May to display what Heilongjiang has to offer during the season. It revealed 10 products during the event. The themes were forests, wetlands, health, driving, border travel, agritourism, sports, wildlife, music and architecture.

They encompass nature and culture.

Such activities as cross-country races through forests, canoe competitions and hunting have been added to enhance these itineraries.

The Harbin Grand Theater stages over 1,000 music performances during the season.

Driving routes have been developed from Harbin to Mohe - China's northernmost settlement - and to the Lesser Hinggan Mountains and the Wusuli River. And more are in the works, provincial tourism official Zhang Taigong says.

What will reportedly be the world's largest indoor ski resort is slated to open in the capital in June.

The city is also working with a Malaysian company to build a marine-life theme park.

Jiamusi will transform its 100 kilometers of rice paddies into an agritourism corridor.

Yichun will offer cross-country races, health and wetland excursions. The city is home to 4 million hectares of forests and is sliced by over 700 rivers.

Daqing has created new sports facilities and will stage marathons and dragon boat races, its tourism bureau says. It also hosts fruit-picking tours.

Jingpo Lake's visitors can experience Manchu culture. They can learn about unique herbal-cultivation traditions and dine upon fish at a traditional "eight-bowl feast".

Cycling events will be staged around the lake in mid-June.

The lake is also flanked by a Taoism heritage site.

Heilongjiang's tourism authority has been working with China CYTS Tours Holding Co for years to develop new routes.

The province recommended five summer itineraries in May of last year, featuring volcanoes, wetlands, China's easternmost and northernmost points, forests and city life.

Tourists paid over 1.53 million visits to Harbin in August, up 14.6 percent over the previous year, Heilongjiang's tourism authority reports.

More than 1.24 million elderly people visited the country's easternmost settlement, Fuyuan, last summer, a 90 percent increase.

All five itineraries have been upgraded this year. For example, wetland tours in Jingpo and Khanka lakes have been added.

Major car-rental company Shenzhou Zhuanche will explore driving routes, Vice-President Long Jie says.

Most rentals in Heilongjiang are for 10 days, rather than three to five as is the average span in most of the country, Long says.

Air connectivity will also be improved. New airports in Suifenhe, Wudalianchi and Jiansanjiang will soon join 11 already-operational airports connecting major cities around the country and such international destinations as Russia, South Korea and the United States.

About 4,300 kilometers of highway connect the province and major attractions.

The Harbin-Daqing-Qiqihar high-speed rail zips around Heilongjiang. High-speed rails from Northeast China's Liaoning's provincial capital, Shenyang, and Jilin's capital, Changchun, connect the region.

Tourism officials engaged netizens' questions in late May.

China CYTS Tours and group-buying companies Meituan and Dianping offered travel discounts in May and will again in August.

Indeed, tourism authorities are pulling out the stops to make Heilongjiang a cool place in every sense - that is, much more than just a destination to beat the heat in the sweaty summer season.

Contact the writer at yangfeiyue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-05 07:50:15
<![CDATA[Making tracks to visit Huilin]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/05/content_29622882.htm

 

A tourism train connecting Beijing and Hulin in northeastern Heilongjiang province will start operations in July.

It'll access not only the area's natural allures but also Beidahuang, which translates as the great northern wilderness but is rapidly urbanizing.

The train will connect China's capital to neighboring Hebei province's Qinhuangdao, Beidaihe and Shanhai Pass, and Heilongjiang's capital, Harbin, Jiamusi, Mudanjiang and Fuyuan.

The country's northernmost province hosts Mudanjiang's Jingpo Lake, Hulin's Wusuli River and Zhenbao Island, Mishan's Khanka Lake and Fuyuan's Heixiazi Island, all of which can be accessed by the train.

It's an hour from the Russian border. Sightseeing buses travel to the neighboring nation's easternmost areas.

Another special tourism train connecting Shanghai and Zhejiang province's capital, Hangzhou, to Hulin will also soon begin operations.

Visitor numbers have grown by about 400,000 in recent years, the city's tourism authority says.

Nearly 30 itineraries have been developed to offer border views, woodlands and red tourism.

A destination for contemplation is the ruins of Hutou Fort, a Japanese military base used during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

"River views, boat songs and fish dinners are must-dos," says Yin Hongliang, mayor of Hulin.

Wusuli hosts more than 40 valuable fish species.

The biodiverse wetlands of Hulin's Zhenbao Island cover 44,500 hectares.

And Yueya Lake becomes a sea of water lilies in the summer.

Such offerings make it seem like summer is a terrific time to ride the rails to Huilin.

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2017-06-05 07:50:15
<![CDATA[Route 66, America's 'Mother Road', revs back to life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/05/content_29622881.htm LOS ANGELES - For decades, Route 66 captured the imagination of travelers the world over, offering a glimpse of a bygone era of US history, when people hit the road in search of adventure and a better life.

The two-lane highway established in 1926 and coined the "Mother Road" by John Steinbeck seemed to encompass the essence of the United States, threading through eight states from Chicago to Santa Monica.

But after it was decommissioned in the 1980s in favor of larger and faster thoroughfares, Route 66 appeared headed for the dustbin of history as the mom-and-pop stores, kitschy motels, diners and gas stations that lined the road gradually shut down.

"Entire towns folded up, and what had been a 2,400-mile (4,000-kilometer) carnival became - to a large extent - a 2,400-mile ghost town," explains David Knudson, founder and executive director of the nonprofit National Historic Route 66 Federation.

In recent years, however, the iconic road that has been immortalized in countless books, movies, music (Get Your Kicks on Route 66) and a TV series has been experiencing a nostalgia-driven revival that is attracting tourists from around the globe.

Ultimate road trip

"Foreigners come to travel the road because it gives them a chance to experience America before we became generic," says Michael Wallis, a historian and author of Route 66: The Mother Road.

"It's still the road of adventure because nothing on Route 66 is predictable," he adds.

"I often say, 'You know what you are going to get at McDonald's ... but if you are on an old two-lane such as Route 66, you could go into a cafe, a greasy spoon, a pie place, a diner and you don't know what you're going to get.'"

Wallis says the fastest-growing groups of tourists on Route 66 are Chinese and Brazilians, as well as Europeans drawn by the idea of the open space and the "roadtrip of a lifetime".

"I have clients in their 20s and 70s who are fascinated by this road, and everyone is looking for convertible Mustangs and Harley Davidsons to experience it," says Zsolt Nagy, who twice a year organizes Route 66 road trips that cost up to $8,000 per person.

"Business is booming. The roads are better. The signs are better. It's coming back to life," says Zsolt, who is from Hungary and who fell in love with the open road about 10 years ago when he traveled it.

"I think the legend is growing like crazy."

Bob Russell, the mayor of Pontiac, a settlement about two hours southwest of Chicago, says his small community of about 12,000 people is a prime example of the resurgent interest in the road.

"It has been an amazing transformation," he says of the town that boasts four museums and 27 large murals, and is considered one of the jewels of Route 66.

"There is a special aura for Route 66 to the overseas people because it represents freedom, the open road, your scarf around your neck and your hair blowing in the wind."

'Sundown towns'

Driving today along stretches of the fabled highway - 85 percent of which can still be traveled - one can see renovated motels with blazing neon signs, newly opened museums, quirky sights and souvenir shops galore.

There are also half-abandoned communities and crumbling ghost towns that echo Steinbeck's epic 1930s novel of the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath - the story of a family that embarks on a journey along Route 66, fleeing the Oklahoma dustbowl for California.

And while the road for many may evoke images of a more innocent America, as encapsulated in Norman Rockwell's paintings, Route 66 had a more sinister side for black travelers.

Half of the 89 counties that lined the highway were known as "sundown towns" where African-Americans were banned after dark.

The author Candacy Taylor was researching a travel guide on Route 66 when she stumbled on The Negro Motorist Green Book, which listed safe places along the road - and notably revealed that the Ku Klux Klan ran Fantastic Caverns, a popular tourist attraction in Springfield, Missouri, and held cross burnings inside.

"All of the American narratives around what it means to hit the open road and the freedom and the symbolism that comes along with that was a dramatically different story for black people," says Taylor, who encourages people to "look beyond the bobby socks, the Chevys and the chrome" to experience the real Route 66.

"It's an American icon, just like Marilyn Monroe or Elvis," she says.

"But Route 66 is not perfect and shiny. There are a lot of cracks in that metaphor, in that illusion of what America is."

Agece France-Presse

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2017-06-05 07:50:15
<![CDATA[Nigerian student masters Mandarin]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/04/content_29609492.htm He's already fluent after just eight months at Fuzhou University, and quickly makes friends

Even though he studied Mandarin at a Chinese university for only eight months, Ukasha Zololo has been able to talk with Chinese people fluently and make himself fully understood.

In September, the 19-year-old from Nigeria came to Fuzhou University in Fujian province to study the language for the first time. Now the young man can easily start a conversation in Chinese and keep it going.

"The Chinese language has gained a widespread reputation of being difficult to master, and learning to write Chinese characters is doubly difficult," Zololo says in Chinese. "We practice writing them time and time again, but I still forget how to organize the strokes from time to time. The number of Chinese characters I have fully mastered so far is quite limited."

Ukasha Zololo says he has been impressed by China and feels close to it, as Chinese-led construction projects can be seen virtually everywhere in his country. Provided to China Daily

He is much more confident about his speaking ability. "Our language teachers at Fuzhou University taught us some effective learning methods. For example, they sometimes take us to shop outside the campus and ask us to speak Mandarin to local people," he says. "Such real-life conversations really help us a lot in picking up the language in a short time."

Although he didn't know much about the Chinese language before coming to study, Zololo says he had been impressed by the country and feels close to it, as Chinese-led construction projects or products made in China can be seen virtually everywhere in his country.

"Chinese-brand cellphones, such as Huawei, are very popular among the people in Nigeria. I had one when I was at home," he says, shaking the cellphone he now uses in China. "It's also a Chinese brand, but not Huawei. It's a Meizu, and I bought it here in Fuzhou."

Zololo also holds a special affection toward the city of Fuzhou and Fuzhou University, as he, together with three others who stood out from a number of bright, young applicants in Nigeria, received scholarships from the university, which made it possible to study in China.

Now, the university gathers international students from 32 countries and regions across the world, including 15 that are involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"It rains a lot in Fuzhou, very much similar to my home country, which makes it easy for me to adapt to the climate here," he says, adding that he also likes Chinese cuisine and has tasted many different dishes - although he still doesn't have much sense about their names.

"Hotpot is one of my favorites, but unlike many Chinese people I seldom have spicy hotpot because I'm not a chili-eater," he says.

Eight months in China is not long, but it's enough to foster friendships. Zololo says he made several Chinese friends and enjoys hanging out with them. They gave him an affectionate Chinese nickname, Hei Fei Long, meaning black flying dragon.

Zololo says he loves the name, which sounds like a martial arts master and suits his physical appearance.

zhaoxinying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-04 14:19:21
<![CDATA[Chinese doctor brings big dose of humanity]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/04/content_29609491.htm Doctor Zhong Risheng was determined to go to Africa regardless of his family's protests. The continent's pull was hard to ignore, as was his passion to help people.

Working as an anesthetist at the Second People's Hospital of Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, he joined a Chinese medical team bound for Niger in 2004 without hesitation.

"The country was tackling poverty and poor healthcare, but you can never understand it unless you see it," he says.

At the age of 34, the youngest of the 30 members of the team, Zhong arrived in Zinder, a city in southern Niger.

Saving lives is routine for Zhong and his team.

Now 47, he can remember clearly the sights that greeted him. On his first day at the hospital, a patient was sent for emergency treatment.

"I could barely understand what he was saying, and we ourselves were suffering jet lag. But he looked miserable," Zhong says.

The equipment was rudimentary, and doctors had to diagnose based on their experience and observation skills.

On this occasion, the patient was saved. Zhong was pretty sure that he was the only anesthetist in the hospital and probably the whole city.

Then in 2005, famine struck.

"Death from starvation was becoming more common, and we could do little to prevent it. The doctors were depressed by their inability to save lives," Zhong says.

Doctors themselves had little to eat-mostly sweet potatoes.

"Even in the deepest frustration, we harvested hope about humanity," he said, as many patients shared their precious peanuts and pumpkins.

Some of them even dedicated their amulets, usually made of fur or leather, to make the doctors feel truly blessed.

With seven to eight operations each day, the work took a toll and Zhong contracted malaria.

"What I suffered is quite ordinary in Niger. Human beings are all equal in the face of disaster and misfortune; that's why we help each other" he said.

The medical team fulfilled its mission in 2006.

Zhong's second Africa mission was six years later, in 2012.He went to the Comoros islands off the coast of Africa, where 600,000 people shared just one anesthetist. He delivered lectures once a week to train nurses and doctors, and also helped to set up regulations for surgeries.

"Knowing how to fish is better than having a fish," he says. "The mission of Chinese doctors was to impart knowledge and our humanitarian spirit."

He put his experience in Africa on paper, and the resulting book, Chinese Doctors in Africa, won a prize.

"In 1963, the Chinese government sent the first medical team to Africa. Since then, 180 million people from 47 African countries and regions have benefited from China's aid," Zhong says. "I am telling a truth that generations of Chinese doctors have sacrificed their youth and even their lives for their career - a truth that people should know, but few do."

zhangli@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-04 14:19:21
<![CDATA[Nonstop love]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/04/content_29609490.htm Single mother helps son rise above cerebral palsy - all the way to Harvard University

The 17th-century English poet George Herbert once said: "One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters."

In the case of Ding Zheng, who was born with cerebral palsy in Hubei province and now, in his late 20s, is studying law at Harvard University, the mother, Zou Hongyan, may be worth a thousand schoolmasters and more.

On July 21, 1988, shortly after Ding was born, a doctor at Jingzhou District Hospital told Zou that there was little value in rescuing the baby because he would be mentally disabled or paralyzed.

Zou Hongyan attended Ding Zheng's graduation ceremony at Peking University. Photos Provided to China Daily

Her husband said they would give the baby up because he would make their life miserable - words that hurt Zou deeply.

The 25-year-old mother had suffered enough to give birth to the child. She had been carried home several times by her students after fainting while teaching during pregnancy. She had forced herself out of the habit of sleeping late, instead reading poems in the early mornings as prenatal training. She walked a long way to the market to buy fresh vegetables to provide better nutrition for the child in her womb, and she had forced herself to eat even while suffering from severe morning sickness.

But her child was in a life-threatening situation after suffering intrauterine hypoxia - a shortage of oxygen - leaving Zou with a choice of either taking the baby off life support or keeping him on it. Keeping him alive would likely mean she would have a difficult life taking care of a physically challenged and possibly paralyzed boy.

Zou now recalls deciding, "I will not let my boy die! I felt so happy when his little feet gently kicked my abdomen and his heart beat together with mine, like dancing a ballroom dance."

She recalls her husband telling her she was too stubborn to listen to the doctor's advice. He then told her she would be the one to take care of the baby.

Long journey begins

Zou did not change her mind, but began the long journey of rehabilitation for Ding. Zou divorced her husband when Ding turned 10 over their differences about raising Ding.

"Of all the disabilities, I was most afraid that he would be mentally disabled," Zou recalls.

Before the infant was 100 days old, Zou began taking him to Hubei Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine to check his intelligence.

After Ding's birthday-and after continuous treatment - the doctor said the boy's intelligence was normal.

"Nothing was more soothing than the news that my precious boy had normal intelligence," Zou says.

However, due to damaged motor neurons in his cerebellum, Ding had great difficulty with physical activities. He could not hold things until age 1. He learned to stand at age 2. He could walk at 3 and jump at 6. But Zou instilled perseverance in her son and never let him give up.

Ding needed massage treatment three times a week, costing five yuan (about 70 cents) per session. But Zou's monthly salary as a teacher was just over 100 yuan in the 1990s, and she had no insurance covering the rehabilitation.

The family lived in a room of less than 20 square meters. Whenever there was rain, basins and buckets were put on the bed to collect the raindrops.

In order to make a living and treat Ding's condition, Zou took many part-time jobs, including selling insurance after work for five years.

Xiao Daiqi, now 75, was a doctor at the department of pediatrics at Hubei Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

"I started to treat Ding Zheng when he was less than 1 year old," Xiao says. "It was because his mother paid special attention to his condition, took him to our hospital for treatment at a very early age and continued his treatment nonstop for over 10 years that he could recover to such a great extent. Early and continuous treatment for cerebral palsy patients is crucial."

Ding put it this way: "My mom has undergone huge hardships to bring me up. When I was young, one time we encountered heavy snow when she took me by bike to the hospital for massage treatment. Suddenly, the bike fell over into the mud. When my mom helped me up, the bike fell down; when she lifted the bike, I fell down. When we reached the hospital, both of us were covered with mud."

Ding says the doctor was moved by Zou's persistence.

"The moments when my child stood up, walked and called me 'Mommy' for the first time are the happiest in my life," Zou says. "It was like receiving a gift from heaven. I feel I'm a lucky mom."

Some might say that Zou has shown her son a lot of "tough love".

Chopstick challenge

Using chopsticks, a skill learned early by most Chinese children, was a tremendously difficult task for Ding because of his illness. Many friends and neighbors urged Zou to allow Ding to quit using them.

"Using chopsticks is a must for Chinese people. If he is the only one who does not use chopsticks at the table, people will be curious. And then he has to explain to everybody that he has cerebral palsy, which will surely hurt his self-esteem," Zhou says.

Under her strict guidance for more than a year, Ding finally learned how to use chopsticks.

Zou tried everything she could to help Ding overcome any obstacles his handicap had created.

"I don't want him to feel ashamed about his condition. ... I ask him to work harder than others, and I have higher requirements for him," she says.

Ding had difficulty holding a pen. So, Zou taught him to draw some shapes with thick bodied pens by holding his hand, and then she gradually switched to thin pens. Even though Ding was weak in his physical movements, he began learning how to read from his mother at age 1, and he knew more than 100 Chinese characters before he was 2.

But Zou neither helped Ding with his homework nor forced him to participate in training courses.

"My mom's catchphrase is, 'Don't ask me questions about your homework, I'm illiterate', which I think is also a kind of educational concept," says Ding, adding that his mother was focusing on instilling good habits in him.

Thanks to his mother's intense nurturing, Ding graduated from Peking University's College of Environmental Science and Engineering. He enrolled in Peking University Law School the same year.

In March last year, after working as a lawyer for a year, Ding was admitted to Harvard Law School.

"In ever dared to apply to Harvard University, but my mom always encouraged me to give it a try. Whenever I hesitate, she is always there guiding me," Ding says.

Mutual respect

As to the education of children, Zou thinks parents should respect their children, and at the same time be prepared to learn new things themselves.

Zou has always treated Ding as an equal and likes to discuss important decisions with him. Ding acknowledges that their treating each other as equals is the foundation of their healthy relationship.

Xie Yingshui, Ding's head teacher at Hubei Wuchang Experimental High School, says: "Ding Zheng's mother is one of the most patient parents I've ever seen, with so many methods to communicate with, and enlighten, her son.

"The boy showed a little bit of a strong personality and tended to stick to his own ideas. There were several small disagreements between us, and Zou would always help her son open up tome."

Zou says: "I've never thought of myself as a great mother. I'm just a mother who would like to achieve continuous progress for her son."

Even though Harvard has provided financial aid for three-fourths of Ding's tuition, the remainder poses a huge burden for the single parent family.

"When I was a kid," Ding says, "I had been expecting to achieve some success by the time I turned 30.Now, I'm 29 and still financially relying on my mom. I want to work harder and make enough money to guarantee my mother a better life."

Xinhua

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2017-06-04 14:19:21
<![CDATA[Wild weeds tamed for the table]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/04/content_29609489.htm Editor's Note: China is divided into as many culinary regions as there are different ethnic groups. Its geographical diversity and kaleidoscopic cultural profiles contribute to the unending banquet of flavors.

We were hunters and foragers long before we became farmers, and foraging for food from nature is still very much a habit among the older Chinese population, in both city and country.

Even in the largest urban communities in China, this frugality is very common. Anyone above 40 or 50 can still remember the hungry years and how the dinner table was enriched by nature's gifts.

In spring, when the locust trees bloom in parks, along country roads or in vacant city lots, their sweet scented buds are plucked eagerly and brought home to be steamed or made into fritters. Our nanny, from Henan, is an expert at turning these flowers into pancakes and buns.

Indian aster is best cooked in sizzling chicken fat, with pieces of dried tofu added to bulk up the dish. Photos Provided to China Daily

All through the warmer seasons, she will frequently return from her morning walks with the dogs with bunches of greens that she will carefully soak in water.

She delights in discovering yecai, the wild vegetables that grow in nearby parks, by the canals or even on traffic islands. Her eaglelike gaze can spot them from miles away.

To untrained eyes like mine, they would have been just another lot of weeds, but our nanny has brought home an amazingly large selection of edible greens.

Shepherd's purse, lambs' quarters, wild amaranth, mugwort, fiddle heads, burr clover, Indian aster, dandelion, wild garlic, wild onions and chives are just a few that I can recognize and name.

All over China, these wild greens are gathered and eaten as regional delicacies.

In Yunnan, they specialize in foraging edible buds and flowers, and spring and summer will see these lovingly gathered and sold at markets. Cassia flowers, wild cowpeas, jasmine, even purple shepherd's bane all make excellent omelets, soups and fritters. Demand is so high that they've started domesticating these plants.

And then there are the to on trees. Their deep red new shoots have a peculiar pungency that is much loved all over China. As soon as the shoots appear, they will be quickly plucked for omelets, chopped up with tofu, or deep-fried as leaf tempura.

After the flowers, Yunnan in summer will see foragers on its many hillsides and mountain slopes just after the rains, all looking for wild mushrooms such as hen of the woods, boletus, cepes and the beloved and most expensive of the mall, matsutake or pine mushroom.

Another popular summer vegetable here is the fiddle head, the tender young shoots of fern. The pretty curls are boiled and soaked in water before being sold in the market.

Down in the greater Shanghai hinterland, they love caotou or "grass heads", the burr clover, a plant that's related to alfalfa. These are tiny plants that appeal to the delicate local palate.

Another popular weed harvested around this time is malan tou, or Indian aster, a member of the chrysanthemum family. These leafy plants spring up along paddy dikes and ditches and are eagerly collected. They have started cultivating these, but any chef worth his salt will tell you the wild weeds are best.

Cultivated malan tou does not have the signature red stems that chefs look for in the naturally harvested sweet shoots.

They are best cooked in sizzling chicken fat, with pieces of dried tofu added to bulk up the dish.

As we migrate up to the Central Plains, it's shepherd's purse country. All over Henan, the culinary memory is of jicai jiaozi, or shepherd's purse dumpling.

An ex-colleague tells me that for him, the taste of home every spring is his mother's dumplings filled with shepherd's purse. Early in the morning, his mother would go out to search the hills for this plant, which grows in a distinctive saw-toothed rosette. She would then bring her haul home and wash and blanch it before chopping it up for dumplings.

A platter of fat, juicy jiaozi filled with shepherd's purse and pork was the only thing that could assuage his homesick stomach.

Shepherd's purse is also stuffed in soup dumplings or wanton, cooked with noodles, made into various rice cakes or simply dunked in hotpots. It is probably China's most delicious weed.

All sorts of wild amaranth are collected and eaten. Apart from the paler varieties, the red-veined amaranth is a precious find. The Chinese believe it is good for anemia.

There is yet another amaranth they call huicai, or gray vegetable, that grows abundantly during the northern spring and summer. It is also known as lamb's quarter, perhaps for its fuzziness.

However, amaranth has to be carefully cooked and treated because of its high level of oxalic acid.

In the northern provinces, summer comes late and it is not until July that the meadows burst into bloom. Then, day lily buds can be harvested, eaten fresh or dried for food in winter.

There will also be wild chives flowering, and the flower heads are plucked, pounded and pickled in salt to make a very famous seasoning - jiucai hua. The flowering chives sauce is a fixture for any mutton hotpot meal.

Even later in the year, the wild garlic and sea buckthorn berries will ripen in the Mongolian deserts, and these will be carefully gathered and kept for winter. Sea buckthorn berries, especially, will provide crucial vitamins in the long winters to come.

Wild weeds. New leaves. Fresh flowers. For many Chinese, the memory of childhood is still locked with the coming of the seasons and the new growth that sprouts from the soil. All these are disappearing as more and more concrete covers the Earth, and that gives us more reason than ever to treasure and remember.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Delectable dumplings are a treat

Shepherd's purse dumplings

(A recipe from my husband's grandmother)

500g jicai

200g minced pork belly

2 eggs, scrambled

Sesame oil, salt, pepper

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

50 dumpling wrappers

Add the Sichuan peppercorns to about two tablespoons of oil, fry till peppercorns are fragrant. Discard peppercorns and keep the oil.

Wash shepherd's purse thoroughly, especially if you picked them yourself, rinse in several changes of water. Blanch the min boiling water and rinse in cool water. Squeeze dry and chop finely.

Season minced pork belly with salt, pepper and sesame oil. Mix in chopped jicai and scrambled eggs. Mix well and pour cooled Sichuan peppercorn oil over mixture. Blend thoroughly.

Wrap the dumplings, nipping them firmly shut. You can either cook the dumplings in water or fry themas pot stickers.

Serve with chili oil and vinegar with minced garlic.

Shepherd's purse needs the extra oil for a better, smoother texture. When my husband's granny made these, pork was still a rare treat, so scrambled eggs helped the filling go a longer way.

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2017-06-04 14:19:21
<![CDATA[The price of knowledge]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/04/content_29609488.htm The days when Chinese refused to pay for anything they downloaded from the internet may be over; now they'll shell out for 'good stuff'

When the pioneering US file-sharing software Napster was forced off the internet 16 years ago amid allegations that its users were essentially stealing music, the internet in China was just getting into full swing.

In the years that have followed, Chinese internet users have become freeloaders par excellence, used to downloading music, films and books free of charge, even as their counterparts in the West have become increasingly accustomed to the idea that, in cyberspace, someone ultimately has to pay for content.

Now, Chinese are not only waking up to that idea, but are also showing themselves willing to fork over large sums for information products that the knowledge economy is serving up. This means that many of those who come up with the right kind of internet content can turn them into highly profitable cash cows.

One of these is Li Xiaolai of Beijing, an angel investor who publishes a weekly financial newsletter called The Road to Financial Freedom, for which he charges 199 yuan ($29; 26 euros; 23) a year through the mobile app Dedao.

By May 3, the business consultant had more than 150,000 subscribers to his service, which he began publishing in July last year, bringing in revenue of 30 million yuan.

Dedao, which aggregates information services, offers 24 other newsletters on subjects including business, science, books and technology at a similar price.

Luo Yonghao, of Beijing, founder and chief executive of the smartphone company Smartisan, has more than 30,000 subscribers on the app for his articles on how to make a startup company successful, each paying 199 yuan for an annual subscription.

Zhang Xiaoyu, also from Beijing, a former analyst with Goldman Sachs, set up a newsletter with the same price that provides histories of big international companies, and within a month he had more than 8,000 paying readers.

Luo Zhenyu, of Beijing, the creator of Dedao - Chinese for "to get it", implying that those who use the app will get the knowledge they need to keep a breast of the times - used to be a television producer.

In 2012, Luo started an online talk show, Logical Thinking, recommending good books each day, and says it now has more than 10 million followers. It was free of charge.

Last year, drawing on his experience of the past few years, he published a book titled Information Overload-I Know How You Feel.

"We need to change the way we think if we are to keep up with these ever-changing times," Luo says in the preface. "Change can be hard; it pushes us to learn continuously, to understand new things, but it is only in change that we can see the future."

The app is Luo's way of providing people with the knowledge to cope with change.

It offers written articles, podcasts, e-books and live talks.

But unlike other educational apps whose content is mostly free, almost every product carried on Dedao has a price.

GetAbstract, a Swiss company, was a pioneer in the West in cashing in on the knowledge economy and using the internet to promote it.

GetAbstract, founded in 1999, provides an e-library of about 15,000 condensed business book summaries mainly to big companies such as Boeing, Deutsche Bank and IBM to help their staff keep abreast of current knowledge.

In April, the company formed a partnership with Dedao in which summaries of foreign books are made available in audio form in Mandarin in the app.

"We always believe that good content is worth something," says the co-founder, Patrick Brigger. "You have to pay for quality content ... and this trend is even stronger than it was 20 years ago."

Brigger says there is so much information on the internet, but a lot of it is mediocre, and his company tries to solve that problem by sifting through, selecting and curating good content.

He compares GetAbtract's product to the papyrus scrolls in the old Library of Alexandria in Egypt, where every scroll had a brief summary at the top.

"That's our vision-anything with good content should have a summary so people can decide if it is the text they want to read," Brigger says.

"It saves time, and when the price is reasonable people are willing to pay for it."

The company has sold more than 12 million licenses for individuals and corporate entities, he says.

It will soon begin publishing Inside China, which will provide English-language summaries of reports originally published in Mandarin.

Rena Xie, a Chinese-American freelance translator and writer, has been working on the project since February.

Xie scours through mountains of Chinese news reports and industry analyses everyday, boiling them down into summaries of around 500 words.

Topics she covers are mostly current business trends in China, such as the real estate market, the franchise of entertainment products and mobile payments.

"A lot of the information in Western media is dumbed down for the reader to understand," Xie says.

She wants to present foreign readers short but to-the-point information with an authentic "Chineseness".

Speaking of the fledgling business of paid content in China, Xie is optimistic about apps like Dedao.

"It is getting people into the habit of respecting quality stuff and paying for it," she says.

The people who pay for Dedao or GetAbstract generally have a business orientation, and there are also people who pay for cultural content, she says.

Paid service

The Beijing internet company Douban, known to Chinese as a website of user-generated reviews of books, movies andmusic, launched a paid content section called Douban Time in March.

It invited 17 contemporary poets to give talks on poetry on its mobile app.

The poets are all well-known, including Beidao, Xichuan, and Ouyang Jianghe.

An audio podcast called A Poetry Class with Beidao and Friends costs 128 yuan, which gives the subscriber 102 episodes with about 51 poems, some Chinese and some foreign.

"Over the years, we have gathered a very large and loyal user base who like books, music and movies," says Yao Wentan, vice-president of the company.

"Many of them are willing to pay for good stuff, and what we do is to serve them with the right content."

Subscriptions to the poetry class are said to have exceeded 1 million in a week after it was launched in March, and since then Douban Time section has opened four other classes.

Yao says the section is called Douban Time because, by providing high-quality content, the section can help users save time, and she hopes users can spend more time on those refined cultural products.

One of the latest classes is about cult movies, curated by a team of 12 scholars led by Chang Jiang, an associate professor of communication studies at Tsinghua University.

Chang is a film aficionado and has been a film and TV critic for several years.

The class gives in-depth analysis of the cultural phenomenon of cult movies, such as A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Pulp Fiction (1994).

"I'm doing this more as a cultural scientist than a film lover or communications scholar," Chang says of the choice of the class topic.

"I want to create something that is both interesting and meaningful to people."

This is also his first venture with the knowledge economy, and sales have been good, according to Douban's public relations, but details were not provided.

It is fashionable to talk about the knowledge economy at the moment, Chang says, but content producers have to tread carefully and respectfully, working in a professional way.

"The knowledge economy is very different from other types of economy. You can't just make up knowledge, throw a price tag on it and then market it."

Paid content does not run counter to the idea of the free spirit of the internet, he says.

Since people are more than willing to pay for a can of Coca-Cola made by industrial machinery, they should not begrudge having to pay for professional knowledge created and made available thanks to human effort.

"Knowledge is priceless, but never free. Paying for knowledge is the future, no matter whether it is in China or elsewhere."

xingyi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-04 14:19:21
<![CDATA[Direct from the horse's mouth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/04/content_29609487.htm This is the age not only of the internet but also of video, when it seems that many of those who produce online content feel their messages have little chance of being clicked on, and thus seen and heard, unless they are delivered as moving pictures.

But beyond watching videos, listening to podcasts or simply reading text, the internet offers at least one other way in which one can learn, and that is getting in touch directly with experts in various fields.

Of course, you will have to pay for that help, but in many cases you may consider it money well spent.

Have you ever dreamed of owning a cafe but have little clue about where to start? Join the club. So I booked a consultation of an hour for 199 yuan ($29; 26 euros; 23) with Liu Yinqi on the app Zaihang.

Liu is an angel investor and vice-president of a startup incubator called Guo'an Maker in Beijing.

He was also the manager of the 3W cafe, which Premier Li Keqiang visited in 2015.

"Forming a community is the key to a successful themed cafe," Liu says when we meet in his office.

3W became well-known by marketing itself as a place in Beijing to hang out for the technically switched-on.

"People go to cafes to meet and talk with others, not to drink coffee," Liu tells me. "Coffee is just a byproduct."

That is why 3W chose to open in Zhongguancun, the heart and birthplace of many of China's successful internet companies, he says.

Once you have opened your cafe, you need to organize events with a focus��talks, roadshows and even job fairs involving internet communities, he says.

The daily operations, such as hiring staff, making coffee and taking care of all the chores, need to be done by a third party.

"That's difficult and consumes time and energy," Liu says.

"You just focus on the event planning, execution and marketing."

Liu also suggests I talk to well-known people in the industry, telling them my vision to draw like-minded people into this business endeavor.

As Liu talks of his experience, time flies, and the one hour session is soon over.

"I have many resources, and I can help you connect with them," Liu says at the end.

"A lady who came to me last year has now opened a cafe in Guangzhou."

The app's name, Zaihang, means "be good at" or "in the trade", and it has about 8,000 experts who provide their knowledge and experience on hundreds of topics, from self-improvement to real estate investment.

The charge for a session ranges from several hundred yuan to several thousand.

Zhihu is a Chinese question-and-answer website, similar to its English counterpart Quora, where people post questions and wait for professional answers.

The Chinese name can be translated as "Do you know?" The website has attracted a large community of professionals since it was launched in 2011.

About a year ago, it opened a channel called Zhihu Live, which helps professionals turn their knowledge into money by offering online audio Q&A sessions.

I registered for a session early this year titled Three Students at University of Pennsylvania Tell You the Charm of Communication Studies.

I paid 19 yuan for a two-hour session held by three doctoral students of the university's Annenberg School for Communication.

About 300 people joined me in that live event.

Fang Kecheng, a journalist-turned-academic, was the host.

Fang graduated from Peking University and worked at the newspaper Southern Weekly for three years before he went to the United States in 2013 to study communications.

The event started on time, at 10 am sharp. Fang and the two other students talked of their backgrounds and of the Annenberg school.

"I believe that if people are well-informed, they will make better decisions collectively, and thus contribute to a better society," Fang said during the event.

"That's why I chose to become a journalist in the first place, and it is why I am studying communications now."

Then they talked about the many disciplines and their research interests in the field.

They also fielded questions from the audience: What is the most important thing if you want the school to accept you for enrollment? Does the school have a professor in a certain specialty? Can I apply for communications studies if I am a college student of another major? What are the books I should read to known more about health communication?

The 19 yuan I paid was chicken feed, but the firsthand information was a great help for someone considering further studies.

In April, Zhihu Live said more than 2,900 live sessions had been held in the past year, with 3 million people taking part, and the average income that a host makes reached 11,000 yuan per hour.

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2017-06-04 14:19:21
<![CDATA[How Switzerland adopted the wisdom of China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/04/content_29609486.htm Small country governs itself using ideas of legendary philosopher Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism

Is there any country in the West that has earned huge success by putting ancient Chinese wisdom into governance and use? Probably Switzerland has done so, though in an unconscious way.

Starting in the 1990s, Swiss Sinologist Harro von Senger planned to decode his country's governance by referring to the ancient classic writings of legendary philosopher Lao Tzu, whose life is often dated to about 2,500 years ago.

Von Senger read intensively and buried himself in writing in his native German language in recent years. The book, Das Tao der Schweiz (The Tao of Switzerland), consisting of six chapters and about 70 pages of notes and references, made its debut in early May through the renowned Swiss publishing house Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

Swiss Sinologist Harro von Senger and his new book. Fu Jing / China Daily

"Switzerland has basically realized Lao Tzu's ideal of governing a small country," says von Senger, who works at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law in Lausanne, during a recent interview with China Daily.

Sitting on the first floor of the Barenrestaurant in his hometown, about an hour's train ride from Zurich, von Senger points at the Benedictine abbey through the window, saying he obtained eight years of middle school education there.

During that time, von Senger studied Latin for eight years, ancient Greek for six, French for seven and English for two.

After entering the University of Zurich in the 1970s, von Senger started to show great interest in Chinese language, and he wrote a doctoral thesis on the legal history of sales contracts in China.

But soon he shifted to the more than 80 sayings of Lao Tzu, whom he quoted within each chapter, using more than 1,000 references to illustrate links between Swiss success and China's ancient thoughts.

"It is a successful country, and behind its success lies the profound thoughts of Lao Tzu," von Senger says in fluent Mandarin.

Switzerland, of course, did not consciously adopt the ideals of Lao Tzu, but its success can be explained by examining the profound thoughts of Lao Tzu.

"Let there be a little country without many people." This is a line from the 80th chapter of Lao Tzu's work Dao De Jing. With a population of fewer than 9 million, Switzerland is the kind of country Lao Tzu dreamed of in size, according to von Senger.

And Lao Tzu advocated that such a country should appear weak, gentle, modest and inactive. He says that when a plant is starting to grow, it is small and weak, which is the sign of a blossom; but when a plant is about to wither, it is large and stiffens, which is the sign of approaching death.

"We are small and weak," von Senger says of his country. "These are good things for us, as we are not considered dangerous by other countries."

In addition, von Senger says Switzerland has also practiced the thoughts of another famous thinker Chuang Tzu - also known as Zhuangzi - who lived in the same era as Lao Tzu. Both shaped the essence of Taoism.

Zhuangzi says in his work: "All men know the use of the useful, but nobody knows the use of the useless." Switzerland profits from the use of the useless, von Senger says.

He cites the example of the Swiss Army, which he says could be considered to be the most successful one in the world because it has never been defeated, yet it never killed a single foreigner, in more than 200 years.

"Thanks to our Taoist-like policy of neutrality - which makes Switzerland 'useless' for any foreign power - and also thanks to good luck, the Swiss Amy has finally achieved big success," he says.

But he further emphasized that his country's "uselessness" is actually useful for hosting international organizations in dozens of fields and helping offer platforms for solving conflicts. In this way it contributes to global peace and prosperity, he says.

All these link to another important part of Taoism, which is Moulue. von Senger says this thought has not been properly expressed in the West's languages. For example, one American scholar, who is said to be "one of the US government's leading China experts", translates moulue as "deceptive strategy", which is very superficial, he says.

So he coined the English word supra-planning, which he says is superior to the "strategic thinking" considered in the West to be the highest level of planning.

"Sometimes, we need to coin a word to call attention to a unique phenomenon of another civilization," von Senger says.

He says supra-planning, or moulue, is a broad-based art of planning only developed in China. He explains moulue by using the yinyang symbol. The yang part refers to laws, regulations, customs and routine. But the yin part refers to hidden ways to solve problems and requires wisdom and creativity.

Von Senger, who was born in 1944 and studied at Peking University in the 1970s, is an industrious scholar. Since his studies in Beijing from 1975 to 1977, he has regularly read Chinese-language newspapers such as People's Daily and Guangming Daily. His books on Chinese moulue have been published in 15 languages.

In addition to the yin-yang peculiarity of supra-planning, von Senger says its other feature is long-term thinking. He says nowadays, China's leadership has proposed the two centenary goals, to double the 2010 GDP and per capita income of the Chinese people, thus completing the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020; and to build a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country and realize the great renewal of the Chinese nation by the middle of the century.

The public debate on the two goals didn't become popular in China until 2011, but he has already written about it in his book Moulue, which was published in German in 2008. It is so far the only Western book on this topic.

He produced an article that was published in Neue Z��rcher Zeitung - an influential German-language newspaper in Switzerland-in 1985.

"This is an article I had written on the goals of 2049," says von Senger, adding that China had already discussed such a long-term goal in the 1980s, and it aimed to be a developed country then.

"Thirty-two years ago, I knew China had a very long, long-term goal," von Senger says.

He says having a long-range goal is a dominating feature of supraplanning, but Western strategic thinking can't match it. Normally, Western strategies - for instance, the Lisbon Strategy, an economic strategy launched in March 2000 by the European Union - lasted only 10 years.

Still, his country is an exception. "Switzerland has also had long-term thinking, which is about its neutral position," he says.

fujing@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-04 14:19:21
<![CDATA[Makin' Zongzi]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/04/content_29609485.htm Zongzi (粽子), the classic triangle of rice and stuffing wrapped in leaves, isn't so much popular in China as a food. It's more than that.

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Ubiquitous rice-filled triangle represents culture more than food

Zongzi, the classic triangle of rice and stuffing wrapped in leaves, isn't so much popular in China as a food. It's more than that.

In northern China, zongzi might be filled with a few jujubes, a little red bean paste, or some other dried fruit. Even with sumptuous fillings, like the pork or seafood you'll find in southern China's zongzi, the main ingredient remains unchanged: rice.

"It's just rice," most will say. What's so special about the dish, especially for southern Chinese, who already eat rice every day? But they're everywhere for Dragon Boat Festival (duānwǔjié) - almost inescapably so.

Zongzi, associated with the Dragon Boat Festival, have become a cultural token for Chinese people. Hao Qunying / For China Daily

Everything has a reason. People are not eating zongzi, but culture. Even though the Chinese don't care about eating zongzi, they still love them deeply. Everyone loves talking about them, making them and passing them out as gifts, or receiving them. Zongzi have become a cultural token, deeply rooted in our consciousness. The association with Dragon Boat Festival, originates from efforts to save the body of the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which is when the festival is now held. Qu's body could not be found, so local people dropped balls of sticky rice into the river. They hoped the fish would eat the rice rather than the poet's body.

Zongzi existed long before Qu Yuan did. Five hundred thousand years ago, our ancestors were already wrapping food in leaves and roasting it in the fire. By the time of the Warring States period (475-221BC), it had become a customary version of fast food, especially for farmers, who were too busy in the fields to head home for a meal.

It wasn't until Qu Yuan, though, that the dish became endowed with sacred meaning and lasting popularity. As an official of the Chu state, which was occupied by enemies in 278 BC, he urged his superiors to fight the Qin rule, and he wrote romantic love poems dedicated to his country. His work was full of magnificent imagination and metaphors. He's been called the first true poet in Chinese history, and he created a new pattern of poem called "chuci" (chǔcí, Song of the Chu).

It's interesting that the ordinary people commemorated him spontaneously for his righteousness, loyalty and talent, by throwing zongzi into rivers - I am always fascinated by such spontaneous acts of passion. That's the reason why I eat at least one zongzi every year for Dragon Boat Festival. It's to commemorate virtuous human beings. It is, in a smallway, so romantic.

So - just like eating zongzi - making zongzi surpasses the act of cooking and becomes an act of culture and romance. Keep that in mind, and you won't find it so difficult to make your first one.

To get the recipe, we visited Chef Zhang Cuiping in her courtyard hotel, Han's Royal Garden Hotel, hidden in the hutong of Beijing. She doesn't talk much, but she looks familiar, just like my Auntie. And starting with the familiar is the right way to make this ordinary, yet sacred, food. I imagine people just like her, silently making zongzi 2,000 years ago, just to throw into a river to save a noble poet's body from the jaws of the water demons.

Chef Zhang explained that although zongzi appear in different shapes, according to different customs across the country, they're usually triangles or rectangles. Either bamboo leaves or reed leaves can be used, although in Guangdong, dried lotus leaves are used. The fresher, the better. If the leaves are not vacuum-packed, make sure to boil them first and then soak them for three or four hours before using. As mentioned above, the southern style usually incorporates salty meat fillings, while northerners prefers their zongzi to be sweet. Some even dip their zongzi in sugar.

Chef Zhang was too shy to give me more stories behind the recipe, instead begging her boss, Master Wang Xifu, to explain it to me. Wang, a man in his 70s, comes from a long line of cooks; his father was a chef for the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). He told me that for Dragon Boat Festival old Beijingers used to cover raw rice with colorful cloth, and hang these fake zongzi on their doors for happiness and luck. They would drink a special yellow wine to ward off the onslaught of insects that also appear in the hot fifth month. They'd also eat Five Venom Pancakes (wǔdúbǐng), another celebratory food, made in the shape of snakes, scorpions, toads, centipedes and geckos, also believed to keep insects away.

To make eating zongzi more of a ritual, and to show your respect to Qu Yuan, be sure to share them with friends and drink tea alongside. Green tea is the best accompaniment for sweet zongzi, but for greasy zongzi, try pu'er or chrysanthemum tea. For salty zongzi, wulong tea is the best.

Of course, the best way to eat zongzi is to make them yourself, perhaps while meditating on Qu Yuan's best-known poem.

Lùmànmàn qí xiū yuǎnxī,

Wú jiāng shàngxià ér qiúsuǒ.

The road ahead is far and long, but I will seek the truth up and down.

Mmmm ... I think I will do that this year.

Ingredients (for five zongzi):

5 fresh bamboo (zhúyè) or reed leaves (wěiyè)

5 pieces of pratia grass (mǎliáncǎo), or sewing thread 300g sticky rice (nuòmǐ) 10 jujubes (zǎo)

Instructions:

Clean the leaves and grass. If the leaves are dried, soak them in water for two hours, then wash them. Soak the sticky rice for three hours.

Fold the leaves into a funnel. Make sure to leave the open side long enough to cover the top completely, and to keep the bottom gap-free.

Place one jujube into the funnel, then add rice until the funnel is full. Place another jujube on the rice.

Fold the open side down, to cover the top of the funnel.

Lower the two edges and roll the longer leaf left outside along the funnel.

Take the grass and wrap it around the funnel two or three times. Tie it into a slip knot.

Place the zongzi in boiling water and boil for three hours.

Courtesy of The World of Chinese, www.theworldofchinese.com

The World of Chinese

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2017-06-04 14:19:21
<![CDATA[Back with a bang]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/03/content_29603137.htm Chinese band Escape Plan to hold rock concert at the Workers' Gymnasium in Beijing

Beijing-based band Escape Plan gave a rare public performance at the Xihu Music Festival, held in the last week of May in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Mao Chuan, the lead singer and songwriter of the rock group, says they reduced such shows over the years because they wanted to focus on writing new songs.

It has been more than a decade since Escape Plan broke onto the scene.

 

Escape Plan, a Beijing-based rock band will hold a concert on June 17 in Beijing. Provided to China Daily

Their song The Brightest Star in the Night Sky, which was performed by pop singer Zhang Jie on a Zhejiang Satellite TV program in 2013 and on Hunan Satellite TV in 2014, helped the band expand their fan base and stand out among the country's indie bands. In China, where mainstream music is dominated by pop, the success of rock groups is unusual.

The sudden limelight brought lots of opportunities for the band to perform around the country, including at the Midi Music Festival, an annual outdoor event in Beijing, in 2014.

The same year, the four members of Escape Plan also took a break going to Norway to watch the northern lights.

"We realized we had become famous when our relatives started to ask for our autographs and photos," says Mao, 35, a native of Qingdao, Shandong province.

"It's great to share music with more people. However, with our busy schedules, we now have lesser time with our families or to be alone," he adds.

The song, The Brightest Star in the Night Sky, was written by Mao after he watched a movie scene, in which a man prays to God on a train. The sincere face of the man touched Mao.

The band will give a show at the Workers' Gymnasium in Beijing on June 17. Other than their classics, the band will introduce new songs to fans.

"We haven't performed in Beijing for a long time. So we named the show, Back to Beijing," says Mao.

"As for the venue, we have been dreaming about performing there since we started. Many great rockers performed there and we regard this show as a landmark for us."

The band also wants to dedicate the show to the city where the members now live.

"Things have changed a lot since we first arrived in Beijing more than a decade ago. We fell in love here, went through heartbreaks and have our own families now. The city has witnessed our growth, musically and personally," says Mao.

In 2004, Mao established Escape Plan, along with guitarist Ma Xiaodong, who is his childhood friend and neighbor from Qingdao. After graduating from Beijing Midi School of Music, one of the first contemporary music schools in China, Mao met bassist Wang Xingang and drummer Li Hongtao.

Influenced by Western bands such as U2 and Coldplay, the members of Escape Plan have been experimenting with music. The band's bassist Wang says he recalls riding a secondhand motorcycle with Mao to rehearsals inside a small building in Tongzhou district, in eastern Beijing, in the winter of 2007.

"Sometime we had to junk an idea, which we spent a long time working on, for a better one. It's a long process to bring out the music we want," says Ma, the band's guitarist.

In their early days, the band performed almost every night at live-house venues in the city, such as Mao Livehouse, either opening for other bands or sharing the stage with others.

With their fan base growing, the band went on their first national tour, titled A City Without Sorrow, in 2009.

In 2012, they released their first album, World, which included the hit song, The Brightest Star in the Night Sky. After a long gap, they released two singles, Era-Like Dream and Again, in 2016.

From 2014, the band started performing abroad, including in Japan, South Korea and in February, they kicked off their first tour in the United States, by visiting New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago, among other cities, and attracted more than 4,000 people.

"As a band from China, we felt great to sing our songs to an audience we hadn't met before," says Mao.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-03 07:03:36
<![CDATA[Three original plays highlight new season]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/03/content_29603136.htm The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center will launch a performance season in Beijing by introducing nine theatrical productions from Aug 2 to Oct 29.

"Our mission is to stage original Chinese plays and Western classics. For decades, we have been keeping the tradition," says Zhang Huiqing, vice-director of Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. The center was founded in 1995 by two established theaters, Shanghai People's Art Theater and Shanghai Youth Drama Troupe.

This third season will see three original plays, including Chen Tingjing, based on Chinese writer Wang Yuewen's novel with the same title, about an official in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) named Chen Tingjing who fought against corruption; The Salty Taste of Cappuccino, a contemporary romantic story that premiered in 2002 and talks about a contemporary romantic story; and Lu Xun Blossoms, which was a joint production of the center and Canada's Smith Gilmour Theater in 2007, based on five short stories by famous Chinese writer Lu Xun.

Six adaptations of Western classical plays will be staged during the event.

In 2013, the Shanghai center launched a five-year plan to adapt highly recognized classic plays from other countries every year. Its productions have come to the capital twice before, in 2013 and then in 2015.

One play in the project is Uncle Vanya, directed by Russian director Adolf Shapiro and featuring Lyu Liang, a veteran actor, theater director and artistic director of the center, and veteran actress Zheng Yuzhi.

Anton Chekhov's play Uncle Vanya was published in 1897, and premiered two years later, directed by Konstantin Stanislavski.

Shapiro studied under Stanislavski's student Maria Knebel. He is internationally famous for directing plays by Chekhov and Bertolt Brecht.

"I have spent my whole life working in theaters and Uncle Vanya is one of my favorite plays," says Zheng Yuzhi, 80, who performs in the drama. "With the Russian director, we want to go back to tradition and hopefully audiences will appreciate the effort, especially the young people."

In 2007, the center teamed up with the Shanghai-based Mousetrap Drama Studio, which focuses on adapting Agatha Christie's stories into stage plays, and adapted her popular thriller And Then There Were None into a play.

The play, which has toured around Chinese cities including Beijing, Nanjing and Hangzhou and has been watched by more than 450,000 people, will come to Beijing again.

Other highlights of the season include Doubt, A Parable, a 2004 Pulitzer Prizewinning play by John Patrick Shanley, which was adapted by the Shanghai center in 2010; 12 Angry Men, by American scriptwriter Reginald Rose, which premiered in Shanghai in 2012; and Noises Off, a play-within-a-play by English playwright Michael Frayn, which was adapted into a Chinese production and staged in Shanghai in 2005.

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-03 07:03:36
<![CDATA[Bringing back Whitney Houston]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/03/content_29603135.htm The award-winning musical Bodyguard, which is based on 1992's hit movie with the same title and starring US actor Kevin Costner and the late American singer-actress Whitney Houston, will kick off its China debut tour in Shanghai on June 30 and visit a total of 12 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Wuhan and Nanjing through November.

The romantic thriller, which was written by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, was adapted for the stage by Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris.

The musical premiered in 2012 at the Adelphi Theatre London, starring Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen.

The story is about pop superstar Rachel Marron, who is stalked and employs a bodyguard, Frank Farmer, to protect her. The two develop a relationship as days go by. The movie's soundtrack has become a best-sellers, including songs performed by Houston: I Will Always Love You, I Have Nothing and Run to You.

Directed by Thea Sharrock, the musical was nominated for four Olivier Awards, including best new musical.

The musical finished its West End run in 2014 and toured the UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia before coming to China.

"It had to take elements from the movie, especially those famous songs. There are also a few changes, such as the focus on the singer, Rachel Marron, her son and her sister. More of Houston's songs have been added, such as So Emotional, All at Once, and Saving All My Love for You," tour manager Theresa Rose Baker says in Beijing.

"For a stage production, we wanted to bring along more songs so that we get the fun-feel factor. I think it's a very clever link that Lawrence Kasdan worked on for the child character. That's the key from the film to the stage. They have really worked on the child, (who is) more highlighted in the stage production," Baker adds.

Singer-actress Carole Stennett, who joined the musical about two years ago and started by playing the role of Nicki Marron, Rachel Marron's sister, will play the leading role in Chinal.

"It's an exciting challenge to play the role of Rachel Marron and perform these classic songs of Houston," says Stennett, who was in Beijing to promote the musical's China tour. "Houston was the person who made the role established. I tried to create my own meanings of the songs."

Besides vocal training, she also received dance classes since her performance in the musical requires dancing moves.

"I wasn't a dancer. You just can call me a 'mover'. But this experience has been amazing and it taught me new techniques," she adds.

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-03 07:03:36
<![CDATA[The part-time pros]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/03/content_29603001.htm In the age of internet live streaming, many are using their talents to make a financial killing - and then there are those passionate about performing but happy enough to get on with the rest of their lives

You awake from a dream with a clear picture of yourself on stage, and with the sound of applause for your performance still ringing in your ears. Minutes later you stand before your bathroom mirror, and the cold reality that this was indeed a dream sets in as the person facing you says that it is not you but others who are supposed to be stars. Instead you must get ready for another day in the real world.

There was nothing dreamlike of the music and flickering lights that fired Wu Ping's imagination about becoming a performer. They came from a television screen when she was about 10 years old in her home in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, 30 years ago.

She was entranced by those female dancers on screen, she says, wearing long, colorful traditional Chinese robes, with silky long sleeves and faint smiles like goddess from ancient times.

 

Song Yuanyuan, a 31-year-old white-collar worker in Beijing, is devoted into dancing and acting. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Rather than being a life-changing event that might even have set Wu on a career path, that cultural feast was enough to satiate her for the time being, and she diligently applied herself to schooling. Eventually she obtained a degree in international trade from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, in 2001, and thus made her entree into the world of marketing.

Yet for the 39 year old the passion for dance has never ebbed, even though she is realistic enough to acknowledge that she does not have the "perfect body" that is the requisite for a professional Chinese classical dancer, let alone the experience and years of practice that they can draw on.

She reckons that the reason she joined the dance club about three years ago was a perfect one - because she loves dance.

"After a hard day's work I like to dance, which is a great way of relaxing," says Wu, who founded her own marketing and consulting company in 2010.

Every weekend she attends a class at the dance club called Payot Dance Studio, which Sun Yushuo, a Beijing Dance Academy graduate, opened about 10 years ago. The studio, which has more than 1,000 members and has two shopfronts in downtown Beijing, offers classes covering many styles, including belly dancing, salsa, jazz and traditional Chinese.

"Becoming educated in art is not just for young people but for adults, too," Sun says. "There are no boundaries. You can dance in your own way, as long as you feel comfortable and confident."

Sun, who choreographed government-sponsored galas for the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, before opening his studio, says the number of students is increasing, and they range from college students to middle-aged people, with about 12 students in each class.

Wu says genres she has learned include belly dancing and Chinese ethnic dances, but the one that has made the greatest impression on her is Chinese classical dance.

"At first I learned the basics of Chinese classical dance, such as hand gestures. The teacher is a professional dancer-choreographer who has a knack of being able to turn complicated Chinese classical dance theory and techniques into something that is easy to understand. The thing I enjoy most is dancing with paper fans and long sleeves. Whenever I happen to see myself in the mirror when I am dancing it looks simply beautiful."

Even if Wu is content to be the passionate amateur, now and again she gets just a whiff of what it may feel like to be in the higher echelons.

"My teacher also choreographs short dance pieces for each of the members, which make us feel unique and like professionals."

In addition, at the end of the year the dance studio holds an annual gala that enables members to dance onstage at professional theaters.

"From makeup, costumes to music, everything is professional. It feels as though a dream has true for me," Wu says.

She encourages her employees to take art courses, which she sees not just as a way to pass time but also as something that adds immensely to the enjoyment of life.

Song Yuanyuan, 31, is just as passionate about Chinese classical dance. She went to the club three years ago simply wanting to do something that would help her get fit, she says.

Song, from Hebei province, who is studying part-time for a master's degree in musicology at Renmin University of China in Beijing, is the product of parents who aspired to see her educated in the arts, and as a child she learned violin and erhu.

She now works in the human resources department of an international company with offices in central Beijing. Her parents' artistic encouragement has paid great dividends, and Song is a member of a drama club, most of whose members are white-collar workers in the area where Song works.

Last year she performed in an original drama at Dayin Theater in Beijing, along with a group of amateur actors.

"We wrote the script together, and it's an environment protection themed drama, which tells the story about our own lives of working in CBD area," Song says.

"We also got a professional director from the Central Academy of Drama to guide us. Though it's an amateur performance, we wanted it to be as professional as possible."

The drama club was formed about four years ago, and Song says that apart from liking acting, it was her desire to build her self-confidence on stage that motivated her to join.

"It has been a challenge. I was afraid to speak in public and I was very nervous when I had to act in front of audiences. When I first joined the club and was asked to read lines with my partner I was too nervous even to open my mouth. But now I can see how changed I am. These days I really like being onstage."

As much as Song enjoys dance, she can see areas in which she thinks the drama club excels, such as requiring teamwork and communication to present a complete work.

"It's a great place to meet people and make friends, too."

For dancers who wish to take a step closer, even if it is a fleeing one, to performing like a professional, the annual Beijing Dance Festival, initiated by Beijing Dance LDTX Company five years ago, offers a stage. The festival, from July 18 to 30, will focus on educating amateurs in its first week, with 16 professional dance teachers from around the world giving public classes. In the second week about 20 shows from professional dance companies worldwide will be staged.

Song Tingting, who has been a dancer and teacher at Beijing LDTX Dance Company since 2005, says that she introduces the music first, then gets participants to move their bodies in their own way.

"For these amateurs there is nothing professional about dancing. What inspires them is pure passion. However, with encouragement and the right guidance they can enjoy the art as an indispensable part of their lives."

Like Song, Ning Fangliang, a violinist, gives classes to music lovers, from young children to the middle aged.

"Unlike children, who start learning instruments with physical training, such as how to sit and how to use their fingers, adults start with listening to classical music," says Ning, a teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

"The feeling about playing an instrument is very important to them."

Ning is also a member of the Amber Quartet, a chamber music group founded at the Central Conservatory of Music in 2005 that comprises Ning, violinist Su Yajing, viola player Wang Qi and cellist Yang Yichen. The quartet, which has won three major awards in the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition held in Melbourne, Australia, tours worldwide.

About two years ago the band performed at a gala, and after its performance of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat major, Op. 74, the Chinese writer Mo Yan, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 2012, gave a speech.

He said that when he was young he had wanted to play erhu but had failed, Ning says.

"But he still loves music, and what he cannot express with words can be said with music. What Mo says really explains the power of music. In adult life we all feel great pressures. Playing an instrument or enjoying other art forms can provide wonderful respite from work and make you feel refreshed every day."

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-03 07:02:55
<![CDATA[Tintin's creator and his decades-long love for China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/03/content_29603000.htm How a friendship gave Herge an appreciation for Chinese culture, which refined his work

The famous comic figure Tintin, known as Dingding in Chinese, is a global-trotting boy reporter who has delighted millions of readers and given Europeans in the 1930s the first impression of China.

China has a special place in the stories of Georges Remi, a Belgian cartoonist who used the pen name Herge. China is the only country that was featured in two books, namely The Blue Lotus and Tintin in Tibet, in the world-famous adventure series thanks to Remi's affection for China.

Tintin, a 15-year-old junior journalist with his little dog Snowy, often runs into eccentric goodies and dastardly baddies. In The Blue Lotus, he visited Shanghai in 1936, when he battled the Japanese-funded opium smugglers with the help of his Chinese friend "Chang".

 

Clockwise from top: Interview of Herge by Pierre Tchernia in the program Parades of the month; Herge and his collaborators in his studios during 1975 in Brussels; Herge at his desk in his studio. Photos by Philippe Bataillon / Ina via Getty Images and Dannau Wim / Gammarapho via Getty Images

In the later published Tintin in Tibet, he rescued Chang, whose plane has crashed in Tibet.

Unlike other figures in the series, "Chang" was created on the basis of a real-life person called Chang Chong-jen (Zhang Chongren), who had studied art in Brussels and helped Remi portray China realistically. He and Remi were both born in 1907.

In 1934, to prepare the story of Tintin's journey in China, Remi met and made friends with Chang. The two artists spent one year together, during which Chang introduced Remi to Chinese philosophy, art and literature, and also told Remi about the Chinese people's sufferings during the ongoing brutal aggression of Japan, Chang's daughter Zhang Yifei recalled.

His encounter and friendship with Chang helped Remi get rid of the contemporary stereotype of China and its people. He felt obliged to defeat some cliches circulating among the Europeans at that time.

In a letter to a friend, Remi said "as I prepare my stories (of The Blue Lotus), I discovered a real sympathy and admiration for these (Chinese) people. I have a keen desire to understand them and like them."

The two friends exchanged views on art frequently. One day in Remi's yard, Chang pointed at trees there and said that as every single plant was quite balanced and beautiful, it was instrumental that artists reflected the truth of nature.

The Blue Lotus, the fifth book in the 24-volume Tintin adventure series, relates how Tintin tracked opium traffickers all the way to China and helped the Chinese fight against the Japanese. The book has been viewed as a watershed moment in Remi's career. Critics said the book was Remi's most realistic and courageous piece, and "unarguably his first masterpiece."

Remi's exchanges with Chang were critical in the development of Tintin's adventures, said French novelist and critic Benoit Peeters.

Remi always referred to the huge influence Chang had had on him, not only as regards the writing of The Blue Lotus, but also on the general direction of all his Tintin stories, and his other works as well.

"I owe Chang a better understanding of friendship, a regard for poetry, respect for nature ... He was an exceptional person," Remi said in his biography. "He led me to discover and appreciate Chinese poetry and Chinese calligraphy 'wind and bone', the wind of inspiration and the bone of confident draughtsmanship."

Chang had returned to China before The Blue Lotus was published in 1936 and lost contact with Remi during World War II and after.

In the first letter to Chang in 1975 after they resumed communication, Remi thanked his friend "not only for the assistance that you brought me at that time in my work, but also for the knowledge you brought me."

"Thanks to you, my life took a new orientation ... You made me discover the qualities of things, poetry, the feeling of the unity of man and universe," he added.

In 1981, Remi and Chang, a successful artist and sculptor, finally reunited in Brussels after 46 years. Their meeting was broadcasted on Belgian national TV, drawing millions of viewers from around the globe.

Remi died in 1983. Fifteen years later, Chang also passed away. But their friendship endures in the hearts of Tintin's readers in both China and Belgium.

In 2015, China opened a culture center in Brussels and held a special exhibition on Chang's artworks and connection with Remi.

Tintin has become a national treasure for Belgium, just like the panda is one of China's. In February 2016, a panda cub was named "Dingding" in southwest China's southwestern Chongqing Municipality in honor of China's friendship with Belgium.

Xinhua

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2017-06-03 07:02:55
<![CDATA[Rumpus at the dinner table leads to a drama in three scenes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/03/content_29602999.htm How children behaving badly can result in adults behaving even more badly

It had all the makings of a modern morality tale, and it did not disappoint.

The setting: A restaurant in Dalian, Liaoning province, one Friday night recently.

The players: A grumpy college student in her 20s, a woman named Song in her 30s, two rowdy, rampaging four-year-olds, a waiter, the police and a chair.

The spectators: A restaurant full of diners and a country of netizens whose appetite for a bit of biff seems to be insatiable.

Scene one: Song and a girlfriend go to the restaurant, each taking their 4-year-old daughters with them. The little darlings have just been to a dancing lesson together, so surely they will by now know exactly where to put their feet and in any case have no energy left to get up to mischief, right? Wrong.

The two women chatter away about this and that as the two young rascals cause mayhem in the already noisy restaurant, running to and fro, this way and that, between and around tables.

Scene two: The young student, sitting at another table not far away is reaching breaking point as she looks at and listens to the two girls do their best to be naughty. The student will later reveal that burning away in her at the time was upset over a ruckus she had had earlier with her boyfriend. Finally it all gets too much, she rises from her seat, makes a beeline toward another seat where the two girls are playing and proceeds to kick one of the girls - or the chair, depending on whose version you believe.

Outraged Song rushes to her daughter's rescue, hits the young woman and slaps a waiter who tries to intervene. Soon police are on the scene trying to sort out the mess.

Scene three: Song and the student go to the local jing cha ju to, as the British would say, help police with their inquiries. Eventually good sense prevails, Song and the student apologized to each other and Dalian, China and the world are at peace again - temporarily.

For it seems that Song, having managed to expiate her anger, ruminates over everything on the way home and decides that justice must be given a voice. She will vent her spleen in that modern-day town square where the pillories are located: social networking sites.

There she rips into the woman she had earlier apologized to.

"If you think my child disturbed you, you should have come to me," she screams. "You could have beat me. Yes, I admit I was at fault for not keeping my daughter under control. So I can say sorry to you, but how dare you kick a small child."

(Curtains)

The ever attentive spectating netizens are of course as fast as ever to take sides, and to cast votes or cast stones. In this enterprise two other parties also take up the cudgels on opposing sides, mainstream media, which seem to side with Song, and social media, which predominantly side with the student.

Many internet users give their moral support to the young woman, saying there are too many spoilt children around misbehaving in public. Had they been in the student's place they would have lashed out with a foot, too, they say.

"If parents can't teach their own children, others are going to have to do it," one says.

"What this mess shows is that both the mother and the student lack basic family education," one of my friends chips in. "It's what many Chinese lack."

What is clear in all of this is that some Chinese tend to be unaware of their social surroundings, and some parents always find excuses for their misbehaving children, saying they are too young to know any better.

Of course, the mother ought to have given her daughter lessons on how to behave in public, and the student ought to have complained to the mother about the rumpus rather than taking it out on a chair or a child. And of course the mother should not have hit the young woman or the waiter.

Children will always misbehave, but there really must be limits.

In this tale only three players seem to have come out with any credit: the waiter who tried to keep the women apart, the police who seem to have acted perfectly as peacemakers, and that chair.

linjinghua@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-03 07:02:55
<![CDATA[Strictly ballroom]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/03/content_29602998.htm Dancing is a highly popular pastime for many middle-aged and elderly people, and now in Shanghai many are spending large sums of money on classes that give them the chance to perform before a live audience

Dancing is one of the most popular public leisure activities in China.

Be it dawn or dusk, along the Bund or on the pedestrian walkway of Nanjing Road in Shanghai, one can always find groups of middle-aged and elderly people moving their bodies to the sound of music.

While most public square dancers in Shanghai spend conservative amounts of money to buy items such as shoes, costumes, props and makeup, a small group of them have been shelling out tens of thousands of yuan to take their hobby to the next level: professional training and performing on stage.

 

The 37 Days Project by Yarose Dance & Art Studios enables ordinary people with no dancing background to present a stage performance after two months of training. Provided to China Daily

 

There are now more than 300 dancing clubs in the city that cater to wealthy enthusiasts who would prefer to stay out of the public eye. At these clubs, participants learn proper techniques from professional dancers who also help to design a choreographed routine for their stage performances.

Yarose Dance & Art Studios, in the heart of the Gubei residential community, opened its 37 Days program in 2015. Participants pay 37,000 yuan ($5,370) to enter the program, the fee including dance classes, personal tutoring, makeup, costumes and rental of the theater space, which makes up the bulk of the costs.

In contrast, a survey by The Paper found that those who dance regularly in public squares spend between 300 yuan and 500 yuan a year on their hobby.

Those who sign up for the 37 Days program attend 36 training sessions - four times a week for nine weeks - before taking part in a final rehearsal in the 37th session. Following this rehearsal, participants get to showcase what they have learned in a theater. The performance is open to the public.

Yarose Dance & Art Studios, founded by Jenny Yao in 2006, held the first 37 Days gala performance at the Shanghai Grand Theatre last year. Those who took to the stage to perform included grandmothers, housewives and business people.

Yao, who learned to dance when she was 4, studied international accounting when she was in college. After graduating from university she went on to work for a series of international companies such as KPMG and the LVMH group before quitting the corporate world in 2006 to pursue dancing.

She has since developed "legend dancing", an original method of dance that she said combines movements of Chinese classical dance with a spiritual element. Dance can transform a person, both inside and out, and allow them to find balance and serenity in life, she says.

"People say it takes 28 days for a new habit to take root. It usually takes two to three months before people start to realize how dance is transforming their lives," she saysk, referring to the rationale behind the duration of the program.

The performance for the third and latest edition of the 37 Days project will be held on June 8 at the Mixing Room at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Among the participants is Connie Pan, a business woman who has two companies in Guangzhou and Shanghai that sell the Chinese liquor brand Moutai.

Pan said it was fate that brought dance into her life, pointing out that she was only interested to find out more after chancing upon the dance studio one day. After just four sessions she fell in love with the beauty behind dance, she says.

With a fellow member of the studio, Pan will perform a Broadway-style dance to the music of the Academy Award-winning film La La Land. Pan said she is now focused on putting up a good performance and has been going to the gym for up to three hours every day.

"I like dances that have a strong rhythm and sense of power. I have always identified myself as a weightlifting tomboy.

"Learning to dance has helped me discover a new side of myself which I was never aware of. I am very much immersed in the beauty of dance and music."

Ma Yi'ao, 25, a dancer, choreographer and actor who graduated from the Shanghai Theatre Academy, is working with dancers to choreograph the performance in June.

"You cannot expect these women to have the same technique as a young dancer who has professional training," he said. "What I aspire to achieve is for them to present the beauty of their age and maturity. Dancing is also a way for them to preserve their youthfulness."

Ma said his experience with helping the program participants has been fulfilling because he finds great joy in helping ordinary people who know little about dance to take to the stage in just a few months. He emphasized that one does not have to dance like Yang Liping, one of the most acclaimed dancers in China, to feel the pleasure it induces.

This year the acclaimed Shanghai Ballet Troupe also started to provide free classes to the public. These classes are held every two months and only 50 slots are available each time. The first class was held in February. The next will be in June.

Xin Lili, director of the company, says the goal of the initiative is to introduce the art of ballet to the wider public.

The class has been popular with the public. "It was so hard to enroll in this class," says Ye Shuping, 63, a retiree who was among the participants of the second class in April. "I had to continuously dial the hotline using three mobile phones."

Ye, a fitness enthusiast, says he practices yoga, enjoys swimming and has always been interested in ballet. During his class, he and other dance enthusiasts were coached by the company's principle dancer Wu Husheng.

"The class helped me realize how difficult the ballet dancers' movement is," says a former schoolteacher surnamed Zeng.

"Now I understand what hardship dancers have to go through and I have developed a respect for them."

Zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

The dancing economy

You can find a wide range of dance styles being performed in public areas in downtown Shanghai. For example, people dancing to ballroom styles such as the waltz and the cha-cha can be found at the crossing between Xiangyang Road and Huaihai Road, while a simpler marching-style dance is performed almost every evening in Xujiahui Park.

The dancers are predominantly middle-aged and elderly women who have redefined the meaning of square dancing, which originated in 16th century England and refers to a dance comprising eight dancers in a square. In China, square dancing generally means dancing as a means of exercise and is often accompanied by music played on a loudspeaker.

China Central Television's finance channel says more than 100 million people in the country have taken up dancing as an exercise. This phenomenon has in turn been a boon to consumption.

Yang Renwen, an analyst with Founder Securities, estimated that people in China have spent more than 50 billion yuan ($7.25 billion) on dancing-related products and activities.

Tapping in the phrase square dance on China's largest e-commerce site Taobao.com generates more than 100 pages of search results. A typical bodysuit complete with a flare skirt is priced at about 60 yuan. According to the sales figures displayed on the site, the outfit sells by the thousands every month.

The best-selling portable loudspeaker on Taobao has garnered more than 19,000 reviews. The 30 centimeter hi-fi amplifier is priced between 279 yuan and 579 yuan. The higher-end versions include accessories such as a wireless headset with microphones that allow the user to issue dance instructions.

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2017-06-03 07:02:55
<![CDATA[Going beyond music]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594120.htm Du Yun landed in Shanghai, the city of her birth, two weeks after winning the Pulitzer Prize for music with her opera Angels' Bone. She was there to participate in the cross-disciplinary art event Shanghai Project on April 22.

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Du Yun, a 39-year-old musician who won a Pulitzer for her creation of the opera Angels' Bone, was recently in Shanghai to take part in a cross-disciplinary art event. Zhang Kun reports.

Du Yun landed in Shanghai, the city of her birth, two weeks after winning the Pulitzer Prize for music with her opera Angels' Bone. She was there to participate in the cross-disciplinary art event Shanghai Project on April 22.

Shanghai Project is a contemporary art initiative started in 2016 as "an experiment, a laboratory for testing the boundaries of existing assumptions". An exhibition entitled Seeds of Time opened at the Shanghai Himalayas Museum on the same day, which marked the beginning of the Shanghai Project Chapter 2.

At the exhibition opening, Du worked with pianist Huang Jianyi and a group of elderly amateur performers of Huju Opera - a local Shanghai opera popular in the region - from local communities to present a musical dialogue between East and West, and past and present, in front of visual digital projections created by architect Thomas Tsang.

It was a short performance of seven minutes, and Du wanted to bring to attention the authentic folk opera and dialect of Pudong in suburban Shanghai, as well as the plight of the elderly in the community.

Young people today often turn away from folk operas because they don't like their sounds, says Du. But presenting it at a visual-art exhibition allows audiences to listen as long as they are interested, she explains.

In the past few years, she has presented live performances at a wide range of triennial and biennale events, often collaborating with the likes of visual artists and poets.

Explaining the rationale behind her performances, Du says that it is sometimes a big commitment for viewers to buy a ticket, enter a theater and sit for a full-length concert or dramatic production. But at an art event, with her shows, "you can always leave if you don't like it.

"But if you stay a while and listen on with an open mind, you may find it interesting and even fall in love with it."

The 39-year-old musician was recognized by the Pulitzer board for her creation of Angels' Bone, a bold operatic work that "integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world".

Angels' Bone premiered at the Prototype Festival in New York last year.

And the review in The New York Times calls her creation "appallingly good" and said that her music "obeys only her own omnivorous tastes and assured dramatic instincts".

Speaking about the performance, which tells about two fallen angels exploited and enslaved by a couple yearning for money and fame, she says that some people may not be aware, but human trafficking happens all over the world.

"You get a clear picture about the serious problem through news reporting with statistics listed on a excel table. And yet a theater experience about it may leave a deeper impact in your mind."

Explaining why she uses the show to focus on the issue, she says that art is the opposite of strict doctrines or hard and loud slogans. It is something "that is soft, full of imagination and lasts very long".

Yet Du is not eager to bring this award-winning piece to audiences in Shanghai but is keen to introduce herself to China's art scene as a versatile musician.

So far, she has been commissioned by such orchestras as the Seattle Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and the Whitney Museum of American Art. And her music has been presented by the Festival d'Avignon in France and the Musica Nova Helsinki in Finland.

Besides, she has a strong and wide composition portfolio, ranging from classical instrumental pieces and world music to theater, film music and a pop album.

She is also working with Stan Lai Sheng-chuan and his Performance Workshop studio to compose music for a musical called Dim Sum Warriors, meant for a young audience.

The play, based on a graphic novel series created by Colin Goh and Yen Yen Woo, is scheduled to premiere at The Theater Above in Shanghai in August.

In some parts of the musical, Du will adopt the style of traditional Chinese kuaiban, a rap-like performance that combines storytelling with rhythmic music.

Meanwhile, Du plans to compose a symphony for refugees as well as create a music project combining visual presentations of antique Chinese New Year paintings, a folk craft that's hundreds of years old.

Du says that artists need to come "down to earth", and "whatever society cares about, whatever your parents and grandparents are concerned with, you should pay attention to".

Du, who attended the Shanghai Conservatory of Music before moving to the United States in 1997, displayed a passion for music at age 4, when she pressed her father into buying her a piano with money inherited from her grandparents.

But when her teachers felt that Du's tiny hands were not suitable for a career in piano, Du was introduced to Deng Erbo of the middle school attached to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and started to learn composition.

Today, she would not recommend studying the methodology of music composition at a young age, but adds: "It is important to nurture creativity in a young child."

Contact the writer at zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[International flamenco festival set to mark 30 years]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594119.htm ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico - Dancers from across the United States and Spain will gather in New Mexico for the 30th anniversary of an international flamenco festival.

The event organized by the world-renowned National Institute of Flamenco will be held from June 10 through June 17 in Albuquerque.

Flamenco is a form of Spanish dance and folk music that developed from Romani music and dance more than two centuries ago.

Festival Flamenco Internacional De Alburquerque will feature internationally known flamenco dancers, along with workshops, history lectures and events for children.

Here are some things to know:

The performers

Nearly 60 dancers, singers and musicians are scheduled to perform in theaters at the University of New Mexico and the National Hispanic Cultural Center. They include award-winning dancers Marco Flores and Rosario Toledo, of Spain.

On some nights, the artists will finish the evening at Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque, a new venue at a hotel in the city's Old Town where dancers and musician give spontaneous performances.

Workshops at the annual festival include beginner to advanced classes in repertory, costuming, castanets and guitar.

The images

This year's gathering also will showcase the work of the late photographer Douglas Kent Hall. He worked with the National Institute of Flamenco to document the event by capturing a number of images of dancers from some of the first festivals.

On June 17, National Institute of Flamenco executive director Eva Encinias-Sandoval will give a free flamenco lecture at the National Hispanic Cultural Center encompassing the event's history. Twenty photographs by Kent Hall will be on display during the speech.

The fire

The National Institute of Flamenco is located in Albuquerque, which was founded by Spanish settlers and is considered the flamenco capital of the US.

The institute's mission is to preserve and promote flamenco's history and culture through performance and education.

In December 2013, a fire destroyed its offices, including decades of festival photos, documents and clothing.

The institute then took part in many fundraisers and garnered support from Albuquerque businesses to eventually land a new home near the University of New Mexico on historic Route 66.

The organization continues to operate a conservatory and now runs Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque.

Associated Press

 

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[Conductor Riccardo Chailly to celebrate 4 decades at La Scala]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594118.htm MILAN - Riccardo Chailly celebrates 40 years at La Scala next season, which he will open by conducting the Italian opera Andrea Chenier starring soprano Anna Netrebko for the traditional Dec 7 gala season premiere.

The 2017-18 season of 15 operas, including eight new productions, presented on Wednesday highlights the Italian opera, in particular the genres of "verismo" and bel canto, part of the famed Milan opera house's moves to strengthen its commitment to the Italian repertoire.

"This opera house became famous for the Italian repertoire, but with the exception of Verdi, it has been a little neglected," general manager Alexander Pereira says. "There was hardly any Puccini, there was hardly any bel canto and no verismo."

Pereira says he intends at the same time to avoid provincialism by maintaining a steady stream of opera from beyond Italy, including Johan Strauss' Die Fledermaus and Christoph Willibad Gluck's Orphee et Eurydice, both of which will both be performed at La Scala for the first time next season.

Chailly, 64, who became La Scala's music director in 2015, opens the season with Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chenier, which made its world debut on the same stage in 1896 and has not been performed there since Chailly conducted it in 1985.

Netrebko, one of the world's most celebrated sopranos, will share the stage with her husband, Yusif Eyvazov.

Chailly says the genre of Italian "verismo," an often-gritty post-Romantic tradition that many associate with booming tenors, is too often dismissed "with a smile of superiority, with nonchalance, as a lesser genre."

"There is nothing lesser about it. It is extraordinarily intense, and is very tied to La Scala. It is Milanese opera," Chailly says.

He will also conduct Gaetano Donizetti's Don Pasquale, in the bel canto tradition that emphasizes beautiful singing, a tradition that will also be on display in Vincenzo Bellini's Il Pirata, conducted by Ricardo Frizza.

Pereira solicited Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag's first-ever opera, Fin de partie, based on the Samuel Beckett one-act play Endgame. Completed by the 91-year-old Kurtag two years ago, "it is the most important world premiere next year," according to Pereira.

La Scala also will reprise Franco Zeffirelli's famed 1963 production of Aida, with scenery by Lila De Nobili, for the director's 95th birthday.

Beyond opera, Chailly has a full roster of symphonic performances, including of Mahler's 9th, as he marks his 40th year since picking up the baton at La Scala for the first time. He has conducted 18 operas in that time, with long breaks as commitments took him elsewhere.

"It is the only time in my life, at least so far, that I was offered a steady position after more than 20 years of knowing each other," Chailly recalls. "In the other four steady jobs that I have had, I was offered a position after only one week. At La Scala, I had to grow day by day in the relationship."

Associated Press

 

Conductor Riccardo Chailly (center) is flanked by Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala (left) and La Scala theater manager Alexander Pereira at La Scala theater in Milan on Wednesday. Associated Press

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[Silk road on a plate]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594117.htm There are dates from Tunisia. Grapes - and raisins - from China's Xinjiang. Coconuts from Southeast Asia. Wines from Venice. In a line of cooking stations, a Czech chef bastes a roast, an Indonesian chef tosses noodles in a bright yellow sauce, and a dozen of their peers whip up "the best foods their countries have to offer".

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Food, diplomacy and the ancient trade route come together for a week of savory celebration, Mike Peters reports.

There are dates from Tunisia. Grapes - and raisins - from China's Xinjiang. Coconuts from Southeast Asia. Wines from Venice. In a line of cooking stations, a Czech chef bastes a roast, an Indonesian chef tosses noodles in a bright yellow sauce, and a dozen of their peers whip up "the best foods their countries have to offer".

If the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in May was all about global development, last week's Belt and Road Gastrodiplomacy Meeting was all about food.

"There is great synergy in these ideas," says Guillermo Gonzales-Arica, a former ambassador from Peru. "There is cultural culinary fusion at one end, and improved commercial and economic relations between these nations on the other."

Gonzales-Arica notes that the former US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, once called food "the oldest diplomatic tool", whether it's served at a state dinner for leaders or a culinary festival for regular folks.

His own mission: Use "gastrodiplomacy" to create an economic chain of value that begins with the native products of every country.

The veteran diplomat thinks every embassy should have a resident chef to help promote its foods. To promote that idea, he invited embassies across Beijing to enter chefs in a competition at the Belt and Road-themed event. Claiming the top prizes were Colombian chef Ana Montoya, who took first place, followed by the Maldives Jeehan Saleen and Denmark's Krista Kirstensen.

Meanwhile, exhibitors hawked food products from countries along the old Silk Road as China celebrates a modern manifestation of the ancient trade route in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Since diplomat and imperial envoy Zhang Qian's expedition westwards more than two thousand years ago," the Xinhua News Agency noted in a feature this month, "a path connecting China and the outside world has come into being. The path, known as the Silk Road, has brought about economic and cultural exchanges in China and abroad, as well as a variety of new foreign produce to foodies across the nation.

As a result, new fruits and vegetables have appeared on dining tables ever since, including:

Grapes: Originating in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the grape entered China from Dayuan, during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Dayuan was an ancient country in the Ferghana valley in central Asia, which was famous for grapes, alfalfa and ferghana horses.

Pomegranates: The pomegranate originated in the region of modern-day Iran, and has been cultivated since ancient times around the Mediterranean and northern India. The fruit was introduced to China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and was considered an emblem of fertility and numerous progeny.

Walnuts: Brought back by Zhang, the walnut is also known as the longevity fruit. It can warm and invigorate the body, and often serves as a key ingredient in Chinese pastries.

Garlic: Garlic is native to southern Europe and central Asia. During the Western Han Dynasty, Zhang introduced this species in the onion genus, Allium, to China. During ancient times in China, foreign tribes were referred to as "Hu troops", so garlic was originally referred to as "Hu garlic".

Eggplant: Originally domesticated in India and Southeast Asia, eggplant was brought into China during the Han Dynasty, and became a common vegetable in the Jin Dynasty (AD 265-420).

Sesame: Introduced into China by Zhang, sesame has many species, with most being wild and native to sub-Saharan Africa. Sesame indicum, the cultivated type which is edible, originated in India.

Dates:

The date palm was cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Ancient peoples in the Middle East ate the palm dates; the tree juices were fermented into wine; the trunk of the palm tree was used as construction timber; and the palm leaves were woven into baskets, mats, brooms, beds and ropes, and made into furniture.

Spinach: Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia. The earliest available record of the spinach plant was recorded in Chinese, stating it was introduced into China via Nepal.

Carrots: Originally cultivated for its leaves and seeds, the plant was first introduced into far western parts of China, and then Dunhuang of Northwest China's Gansu province.

Watermelon: Watermelon, which originated in the deserts of Africa, was brought along the Silk Road to western China and ancient Ouigour, located in today's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Luffa: This gourd, which originated in India, was introduced into China during the late Tang Dynasty and became a common vegetable in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Cabbage: Leafy cabbage was domesticated in Europe before 1000 BC. It traveled through western China before arriving in China by the Hexi Corridor, a part of the Silk Road in Gansu province.

Contact the writer at michaelpeters@chinadaily.com.cn

Xinhua contributed to this story.

 

The ancient Silk Road has brought about economic and cultural exchanges in China and abroad, as well as a variety of new fruits and vegetables including grapes, watermelon, eggplant and garlic that have appeared on dining tables ever since.

 

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[Chef 's book, food fest offer tastes of her native Cape Town]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594116.htm South African food made a splash in China last week, with two TV hosts and authors scooping up honors at the Gourmand International awards in Yantai, Shandong province. One of them, Cape Town's Zola Nene, is lingering in Beijing for a food festival at The Village Cafe, which continues through Monday.

The menu features recipes from her latest book, Simply Delicious (about $20, from Penguin Random House). It's a tantalizing journey that follows Nene's career in food, one mouth-watering dish at a time.

The opening chapter, "Nostalgic Nibbles", is all about the comfort foods she enjoyed growing up.

"Steamed mealie bread was the first thing my maternal grandmother taught me to make," she says, "and her steamed bread is still a family favorite." Mealies are corn kernels freshly shaved off the cob, and the bread is one of several recipes that originate in India (chicken biryani is another family favorite). One legacy of South Africa's colonial past is that food cultures of several countries have melded in South African cuisine over the past two centuries.

Also getting star billing among the comfort foods is roast leg of lamb, which Nene recalls as one of the six roasts always on the table at Christmas.

"Don't judge me!" she jokes in the recipe notes.

Her youthful enthusiasm for food has stayed with her.

"I took a two-year study break and ventured off to the UK to see if I actually wanted to make a career of my love for food and cooking," she says. She snagged a job as vegetable chef at an upscale brasserie in Cheshire, where "I must have peeled 10,000 potatoes during my time," she writes. "The menu had every potato dish imaginable, from silky mash and crisp roast potatoes to hand-cut chips and pommes boulangere, but my favorite was always the creamy potato Dauphinoise." Since then, she's made the dish her own with the addition of sweet butternut squash.

Her days working in British restaurants get a chapter of recipes in Simply Delicious, and the book tracks her culinary career from there, gathering recipes from different jobs and experiences. A final chapter is "a representation of where I am right now in my life," filled with the recipes she likes to make for herself at home to enjoy with her friends. These include butternut and chickpea tagine with couscous and boerie roll, a sausage encased in baked dough for those times when she's in the mood for braai (South African barbecue) but can't be bothered to light a grill.

Another favorite to make at home is spicy lamb potjie, a slow-simmer stew served with crusty bread.

"I love dishes that take minimal effort to prepare, but pack a punch in flavor," she says.

At the ongoing South African food festival she's hosting in Beijing, offerings include a cumin-and - cinnamon-scented butternut soup, pan-seared whitefish in curried cream, bobotie (a curry-crusted beef fillet) and for dessert, a shortbread crumble with coconut meringue, apricot and vanilla ice cream. A three-course lunch is 108 yuan net (about $16), dinner is 168 yuan net, including your choice of South African wine, cider, fruit juice or passion-fruit iced tea.

If you go

Village Cafe

Through June 5 at Opposite House, 11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6410-5210.

Cape Town's Zola Nene is in Beijing for a food festival with recipes from her latest book, Simply Delicious. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[Homemade ginger beer]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594115.htm

Nothing quenches a thirst quite like the sting of ginger beer.

I enjoy making this on weekends.

Makes 2 liters

150 g fresh root ginger

500 g white sugar

100 g seedless raisins zest and juice of 1 lemon

500ml boiling water 1.5 liters water, at room temperature

10 g instant dry yeast

1. Roughly grate the ginger on the coarse side of the grater.

2. Mix the ginger, sugar, raisins, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large plastic bowl or bucket.

3. Pour the boiling water onto the mixture and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

4. Pour in the water at room temperature, sprinkle over the yeast and stir to dissolve.

5. Cover the bucket or bowl with cling film and leave to stand in a warm place for 2 hours. During this time, the raisins will begin to rise and float to the top. Once all the raisins are floating and the mixture has developed little bubbles, the ginger beer is ready to bottle.

6. Filter the mixture through muslin cloth to remove all the bits and then bottle the ginger beer (put a raisin in each bottle).

7. Store the bottles at room temperature overnight to develop a fizz.

8. The following day, open each bottle to release some of the built-up gas. You can now store the ginger beer in the fridge, ready for consumption-the cold temperature will stop any further fermentation. It will keep for up to one week.

9. Serve in tall glasses filled with ice and topped with sprigs of freshmint.

Zola Nene

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[A bridge that spans time]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594114.htm The monument at the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge is carved with the names of 28 experts from the former Soviet Union. Konstantin Silin's is first.

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The first structure connecting the Yangtze River's banks in Wuhan has a respected Russian godfather. Yang Yang reports.

The monument at the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge is carved with the names of 28 experts from the former Soviet Union. Konstantin Silin's is first.

On Oct 15, 1957, the 1,670-meter bridge - the first over the river - opened for traffic after 25 months of construction. It was completed two years earlier than planned.

The project time was cut by half thanks to a new method used for the bridge's foundation, which was suggested by Silin, the chief engineer and bridge expert sent by the Soviet Union in the summer of 1954.

It was the third time that Silin was sent to China to help the country to fix crumbling bridges and to build new ones.

Mao Zedong praised the bridge in one of his poems: "A bridge will fly to span the north and south, turning a deep chasm into a thoroughfare."

In 1948, the People's Liberation Army in Northeast China was hampered by damaged bridges when trying to transport supplies.

Silin was then sent to China by the Soviet Union to help to build the Second Songhua River Bridge.

With the bridge completed, the army went across the river and liberated the whole northeast.

In 1949, Silin came to China again as a consultant to the Railways Ministry (now the National Railway Administration). He worked on the construction of bridges in Chengdu and Chongqing and the west section of the Longhai and Lanzhou-to-Xinjiang railways.

After returning home in November 1957, Silin worked to build and sustain friendship between China and his native land.

He died in 1996, and the image of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was carved on his gravestone.

"My parents traveled around China together to fix broken bridges, even when they were expecting me," says Elena Silina, Silin's daughter.

She recently came to Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation as an expert representative from Russia.

Silina is a professor of the engineering ecology and technological safety department at the Moscow State University of Railway Transport.

"My father's participation in the construction of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was a very important thing for our whole family," she says.

On the walls of their home were many photos of the bridge and Chinese artworks. Family members used chopsticks.

They'd occasionally go to Chinese restaurants to celebrate, says Silina.

When Silina's daughter, Ekaterina Fortygina, wanted to study a foreign language in college, Silin strongly suggested Chinese. She agreed.

"My daughter is in China to study. She knows a lot about China, speaks fluent Chinese and she's good at cooking Chinese dishes," Silina says.

While giving keychains with matryoshka dolls as presents to her Chinese friends, Silina was on the lookout for candied hawthorns in Beijing for her grandchildren in Russia, who love the sweet-and-sour flavor very much, she says.

In 1954, 4-year-old Elena came to live in Beijing with her parents for eight years. She returned in the 1980s and in 2000. Each time, she was surprised to see how much Beijing had changed over the years.

"China has grown fast, and many of its techniques in building roads and railways have been introduced to other countries," she says.

Liu Changyuan, deputy chief engineer of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge project, said in a previous interview that "Silin was not only a respected expert but also a very good person".

Liu joined the team building the pillars of the bridge in 1955 as a fresh university graduate.

He recalled that Silin often took a speedboat to examine the pillars and exchanged ideas with construction workers. Liu got to know him during that time.

"He was very modest. He respected us Chinese engineers and workers, and passed on his experience to us," Liu says.

Silin took great pride in the first bridge over the Yangtze River. He often returned to China to visit the bridge.

Once, when he was over 80 years old, he visited the construction site of the Second Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge. After learning about the construction and technique, he told Chinese engineers, including Liu: "I was your teacher when we built the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, but now you have become my teacher."

Contact the writer at yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge is a witness to the country's rapid development over the past six decades. VCG

 

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[Song-and-dance gala brings life to Children's Day]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594113.htm The Chinese teen boy band TFBoys and Connie Talbot joined children from Italy, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and China, singing and dancing to celebrate International Children's Day in a gala show on China Central Television on Thursday.

Talbot, the 16-year-old vocalist who won fame on the reality show Britain's Got Talent in 2007, sang an English song, Cups - When I'm Gone, followed by Elfins, a new song by Wang Yuan and Yi Yangqianxi, members of TFBoys.

Wang Junkai, the other member of TFBoys, was absent. He was preparing for the college entrance examination next week.

Wang Yuan and Yi wished a happy Children's Day to kids all around the world, saying, "We should all do something that makes us happy ... study hard and also have fun".

They also wished "Good luck!" to their team leader and best friend, Wang Junkai, as well as all the students who are going to take the exams this year.

Children from countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative sang famous local songs in their own languages, such as Molihua from China, Kalinka from Russia, A Colorful Day from Italy, My Prairie from Kazakhstan and Let's Dance from Pakistan.

Hundreds of children from different countries then came together onstage to sing The Same Song in Chinese.

"This is about music making everyone come together from different countries," says Talbot. "It can represent the universal language for everyone and tie people closer."

International Children's Day is celebrated on June 1 in China and nearly 50 other countries. Some countries celebrate Children's Day on other days.

Talbot says the celebration is not as big in the United Kingdom as it is in Beijing.

"But we do have a Charity Base day, also called the Children's Day, when people wear bears to raise money for charity for children," she adds.

The tradition of celebrating the occasion with a CCTV Children's Gala spans more than 30 years. This year, children and teenagers from more than 10 countries were invited to Beijing to perform in the gala.

"We tend to make the celebration more international, give children around the world an opportunity to communicate, open up Chinese children's eyes and also let foreign kids learn more about China," says Yin Yongbin, director of the gala.

Virginia Franga and Francesca Zucchini, two 11-year-old girls from the Italian children's choir Piccolo Coro "Mariele Ventre" dell'Antoniano in Bologna, made some Chinese friends when rehearsing for the gala.

Giampaolo Cavalli, director of the choir, says he feels people are becoming closer since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

Cavalli is from Venice, an important port city on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. This is Cavalli's third visit to China, and he is eager to come back more often with children's choirs.

"We see more stories coming to Venice from China. It's like Marco Polo's journey to China more than 700 years ago," says Cavalli.

yandongjie@chinadaily.com.cn

Wang Yuan (right) and Yi Yangqianxi sing at the International Children's Day gala. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[Berlin-based program makes classical music more accessible]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/02/content_29594112.htm Israeli violist Avri Levitan gave 10 recitals within three days during his recent stay in Beijing. From children and senior citizens to audiences at a health center and a live-music venue, Levitan showed that classical music, which is regarded as high-art by some, can be accessible to people of various backgrounds.

There is no difference between playing for a nation's top official, a homeless person, someone in prison or a court judge, he says.

"We choose the program list like any other musician preparing for recitals at concert halls. The only thing we pay attention to is the high quality of the performance."

Levitan concluded his trip in Beijing with a recital at the Forbidden City Concert Hall on May 25.

Along with Chinese classical guitarist Wang Chuting, he played pieces, including Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite in D Minor BMV 108, Franz Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata in A Minor D821, and Manuel De Falla's seven Spanish popular songs, G40.

"It's an inspiring experience for me to work with Levitan. He has his own understanding of music. As a young music student, I learned that it's not only important to be a good musician in terms of the technique but also a good musician for society at large," says Wang.

The 20-year-old, who studies at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, played with Levitan during some of his recitals.

This is the idea behind Berlin-based Musethica program, a nonprofit Levitan co-founded with economics teacher Carmen Marcuello in Spain in 2012. The name, Musethica, is a combination of music and aesthetics. The program chooses young musicians to play at public concerts as part of their education.

The majority of such concerts are held in places where people have little access to music, such as hospitals, prisons and shelter homes.

Now, Musethica is active in eight countries, including Germany, Poland, Spain and Israel. Three years ago, it came to China for the first time.

Levitan takes his 7-year-old son, Yona, to Musethica concerts.

"Once my son told me, 'Papa, there is no time. Time only exists in computers.' I found it interesting because indeed, there is no time in music. Music is the pure present," says Levitan, 43. "For children, music is pure sound."

His job as a teacher inspired Levitan to take his nonprofit forward.

"When we learn to be instrumentalists, we practice all the time in our rooms, but we don't play for the people. We give recitals in schools to impress the teacher, to win awards or to become famous. It's not the real interest of being a musician," says Levitan, who is a viola and chamber music professor at Zaragoza Music Conservatory in Spain.

He encourages his students to teach themselves instead of always telling them what to do.

For musicians joining the Musethica program, Levitan says they neither get money nor become famous. "They only have to play beautifully."

Levitan was born in Tel Aviv and was introduced to music by his parents, who were big fans of classical music and jazz. He started learning the viola at age 5. As a young boy, he didn't like to practice.

"I liked football. My friends are not musicians. But when I stopped playing music, after one or two days, I realized that I cannot live without music," he recalls.

Levitan performs regularly as a soloist in some of the world's most prestigious concert halls, such as the Vienna Konzerthaus, and in collaboration with chamber and symphony orchestras.

He was the BBC Music Magazine Awards nominee in 2009 and the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards nominee in 2012.

Now, he is working with organizations, such as the Forbidden City Concert Hall and music schools in Beijing, to make Musethica a long-term project in China.

"We hope to introduce more concerts at all types of venues and for all kinds of audiences," he says.

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Avri Levitan stages his Musethica program in Beijing to bring classical music closer to the public. Jiang Dong / China Daily

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2017-06-02 08:42:42
<![CDATA[Animating the world]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/01/content_29576407.htm Lei Tao remembers the time he promoted the animated series Rainbow Chicks in Cannes and how a French distributor mistook it for a Japanese work because of its high quality. Now, the Chinese tale of seven fluffy chicks living on a floating island in the sky is set to fly to more foreign territories.

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The animated-film sector is finding new avenues to expand globally, as the recently concluded MIP China Hangzhou International Content Summit shows. Xu Fan reports.

Lei Tao remembers the time he promoted the animated series Rainbow Chicks in Cannes and how a French distributor mistook it for a Japanese work because of its high quality. Now, the Chinese tale of seven fluffy chicks living on a floating island in the sky is set to fly to more foreign territories.

During the recently concluded MIP China Hangzhou International Content Summit, which was held in the capital of Zhejiang province between May 23 and 25, Lei's studio TThunder Animation signed a deal with French animation company Millimages.

The contract gives Millimages, one of the top European animation companies, Rainbow Chicks' global distribution rights.

MIP - or Marche International des Programmes - is the world's largest marketplace for television and digital content. It holds events in Cannes twice a year - MIPTV in spring and MIPCOM in autumn.

The Hangzhou event marks MIP's first foray into Asia.

The Rainbow Chicks deal testifies to rising interest from international players in China, one of the key producers of entertainment content and also an important market.

In 2016, China produced 334 television dramas, 21,000 minutes of animated content and more than 700 feature-length movies.

The three-day Hangzhou event saw more than 250 participants from more than 130 movie and television companies from 19 countries and regions, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Italy, Japan and Singapore.

During the one-to-one meetings - a major part of the event, joined by 80 companies-up to 300 potential deals worth a total of 480 million yuan ($70 million) were discussed.

"The worldis eager to know about China. This is a good time for Chinese content to go abroad," says Chen Ying, general manager of Zhejiang Megamedia, one of the event's organizers.

Chinese animators have been at the forefront when it comes to international coproductions, with a history going back to the late 1970s.

Anke Redl, strategy and business development director of Beijing-based China Media Management Inc, says China's animated productions have made waves in Europe in recent years, a view also echoed by Grace Lee, marketing director of Millimages.

Lee says that Chinese animated content, especially that with educational themes, has seen a great improvement in quality and is more popular in the West than before.

Lee says Rainbow Chicks' blend of the ink-and-brush painting style and a Western storytelling approach, provide a fascinating package to viewers.

So far, the series tailored for preschool children has dominated ratings on its Chinese broadcaster, China Cental Television, among all animated productions aired at the same time. It has been viewed more than 100 million times on major video-streaming sites, such as iQiyi, LeTV and Tencent.

Josh Selig, founder of the New York-based TV-program producer Little Airplane Productions, says the content has a unique characteristic in that it can cross borders easily.

"Animation is a very visual medium and is typically based on characters that any culture can identify with. It has a much better chance of traveling from one country to another."

As for Little Airplane's work in China, the company has two animated series - Super Wing and P. King Duckling - coproduced with Guangzhou-based Alpha Animation & Culture Co Ltd and Suzhou-based Uyoung Culture & Media Co Ltd, respectively.

Selig says the scriptwriting and voice-overs of the two works were done in the US, while the animation work was done in China.

He says China is yet to mature when it comes to scriptwriters, but the quality of design and animation is very high in the country.

"Also, in China, you often have directors in charge of the writing. That is very uncommon outside," he adds.

The 53-year-old, who first visited China around 20 years ago and has close business links with Chinese animators, says: "Many Chinese animated series are beautifully done, but unfortunately the stories do not work."

Selig says that language barriers are not a challenge when it comes to working with the Chinese, but the time difference between the two regions is.

"We often have production meetings lasting two hours, early in the morning or late at night. Usually when one side wakes up, the other side falls asleep," he says, laughing.

Selig also says that humor can often be a sticking point in coproductions as the Chinese like slapstick comedy, something the US producers shun.

But despite these differences, Chinese industry sources say China has enough appeal to lure foreign producers and storytellers.

Li Lian, founder of the Hangzhou company Versatile Media Co Ltd, says the country's huge market is a major attraction.

At the Hangzhou event, Versatile, which has been taking part in the Cannes' MIP events since 2008, established links with companies from the UK, France, India and Italy.

Li says: "Earlier, Chinese animated productions were criticized for their quality and stories. I'm happy to see the improvements."

Versatile's The Floating Planet, an animated movie about three teen heroes on an alien planet, sold its distribution rights to two countries in Cannes earlier this year.

As for the future, China's market is more than just television and theater screens.

More than half of its population - or 700 million people - use the internet, and the number is expected to grow.

The potential in China is great as the younger generation gets used to watching content on the internet, says Geng Danhao, vice-president of iQiyi.

Ben Silverman, head of the Los Angeles-based studio Propagate Content and an award-winning producer, says China's traditional culture can be a good place to find appealing stories.

He also says the fast-changing country is fond of programs about women's struggles, dating and consumer behavior, which also work with Western audiences.

Contact the writer at xufan@chinadaily.com.cn

Chinese animated productions, such as Rainbow Chicks and The Floating Planet, which have sold their distribution rights to overseas markets, show improved quality and are more popular in the West than before. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-01 06:54:36
<![CDATA[Upcoming festival offers Kazakh viewers a cinematic treat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/01/content_29576405.htm Kazakh singer Dimash Kudaibergen says on his Chinese micro blog that he fell in love with China because of Jackie Chan's action films. Now, his compatriots will get to see the legend again on the big screen.

From June 7 to 18, the 2017 Kazakhstan's Chinese Film Exhibition will be held in the country's capital, Astana. Six feature-length movies, including Chan's thriller Kung Fu Yoga, will be screened at the event, the first of its kind. Chan will also be there, according to the organizers.

In Kung Fu Yoga, a tale about locating a lost treasure, Chan displays his trademark blend of dazzling stunts and comedy.

The exhibition of Chinese cinema backed by the movie bureau of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, and sponsored by the China Film Group Corp, the Chinese FilmLiterature Association and the Beijing-based studio Great Heroes, is part of Kazakhstan's Expo 2017, which runs from June 10 to Sept 10.

Jiao Hongfen, president of the China Film Group Corp, says the exhibition is a window to show modern China and its diverse culture to Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, Jean-Jacques Annaud's wildlife drama Wolf Totem, a Sino-French coproduction centering on the relationship between humans and animals in the vast Inner Mongolia autonomous region's prairie, is also being screened, as is Go Away Mr Tumor, which represented China at the Oscars in 2015.

Kung Fu Yoga took home 18 million yuan ($2.63 million), Wolf Totem earned 7 million yuan and Go Away Mr Tumor took 5.1 million yuan, making them all top-grossing hits in China.

The other three films are less known.

One of them, Genuine Love is based on the real-life tale of a Uygur mother who adopted 19 children from six ethnic groups.

The ILI River chronicles the changes in a family that raises bees. The 105-minute feature has won several awards at international film events, such as the San Diego International Kids Film Festival.

Meanwhile, Flower showcases the artistic pursuit of an ethnic Kazak in China, and its music scenes showcase local art forms on the silver screen.

Yan Jianguo, president of Great Heroes, says the movies are about heroes from different walks of life.

Aimakhanov Abu-Talip, counselor of Kazakhstan's embassy in Beijing, says only a few Chinese-language movies have been screened in his country so far. He adds that the exhibition is a good chance for his compatriots to know more about China.

Akbar Majit, executive vice-president of the China Film Literature Association, says China and Kazakhstan have seen more cinematic exchanges in recent years.

He says many Chinese viewers have watched quality Kazakh movies online, such as the war epic Warriors of The Steppe, and adds that the first coproduction feature by the two countries is set to begin filming soon.

Six movies, including Go Away Mr Tumor, Jackie Chan's action comedy Kung Fu Yoga and The ILI River, will be screened during the upcoming Chinese film exhibition in Kazakhstan. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-01 06:54:36
<![CDATA[Mix of old and new]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/01/content_29576403.htm It was a tricky question: How could he promote traditional Chinese music in a Westernized city like Hong Kong?

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An orchestra will tour the mainland to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, Chen Nan reports.

It was a tricky question: How could he promote traditional Chinese music in a Westernized city like Hong Kong?

That was the main challenge conductor Yan Huichang faced when he was appointed as the artistic director of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in 1997. But Yan has found success over the past two decades.

From Friday to June 11, he will lead the orchestra on a tour of the mainland, including Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

It's the only professional Chinese orchestra founded in Hong Kong in 1977.

Its more than 90 musicians will bring a mix of ancient and contemporary pieces, including Zhao Jiping's Zhuang Zhou's Dream, Ng Cheuk-yin's Tang Resonating and Guo Wenjing's Sorrowful, Desolate Mountain.

Every concertgoer will be provided with a hand drum that can be used during the encore.

The audience will perform Chinese composer Cheng Dazhao's The Yellow River Capriccio with the orchestra.

"The orchestra performs on the mainland almost every year. The audience is familiar with us," says Yan.

He adds that the orchestra performed at the Belt and Road International Music Festival in Shenzhen in March, which gathered musicians from nearly 30 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Yan graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1983 and conducted professional orchestras in Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan and Singapore before joining Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra.

Yan says they present works by composers in Hong Kong at every recital, which is a way to display the East-meets-West culture of the city.

"We made efforts to let people know about the orchestra and get them involved in our events, especially the youth," says Yan.

The orchestra seeks to bring ancient Chinese culture closer to Hong Kong, he adds.

Mainland composer Zhao Jiping, who is known for his film scores, such as Red Sorghum, Raise the Red Lantern and Farewell, My Concubine, has been collaborating with the orchestra since the 1990s, thanks to his friendship with Yan.

Zhao said earlier the orchestra's rehearsals, concert themes and music seasons were of a "high standard" and "the best among all the orchestras specializing in Chinese music".

In the past two decades, the orchestra has not only given recitals regularly at concert halls, schools and community centers in Hong Kong, with an annual average of nearly 200 shows, but also has been involved in music education and the promotion of traditional Chinese culture.

To cater to the youth, the orchestra launched two platforms - the Hong Kong Children's Chinese Orchestra and the Hong Kong Junior Chinese Orchestra - in 2003.

Competitions on conducting, composing and instrument performances have been held by Yan's orchestra to discover young talent.

In 2001, the orchestra gathered 1,000 amateur erhu players from Hong Kong and recorded the largest number of people performing the two-stringed bowed instrument at the same time at a show titled Music From a Thousand Strings.

"Classical music is often regarded as high art. Many young musicians experiment in this field to develop the genre. Why not traditional Chinese music?" says Yan. "We not only want to preserve tradition but also be creative and offer new material to our audience."

Yan was born in a village in Heyang county in Northwest China's Shaanxi province to a family of farmers. Inspired by an older brother, who is a folk music lover, Yan learned a number of traditional Chinese instruments, such as the Chinese flute and sanxian (a three-stringed instrument), as a child.

At age 18, he enrolled to study at the Xi'an Conservatory of Music with a major in sanxian performance and later learned conducting.

In 1978, just after China restarted the national college entrance exam following the end of the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), Yan became the only student majoring in conducting at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

He was invited to join the Hong Kong orchestra by composer Peng Xiuwen, who was the guest conductor of the orchestra from 1981 to 1996.

Yan accepted the job because he wanted to learn with the maestro.

Peng was one of the founding figures of Chinese orchestral music, the combination of traditional instruments and a Western orchestral configuration.

Yan took the position as the artistic director of the orchestra after the maestro passed away in 1996.

Yan calls Hong Kong his second home. He says he didn't expect to stay on for 20 years.

"What makes Hong Kong unique is that, on one hand, it's a very modernized society; and, on the other hand, it is very traditional. That really inspired me and influenced the development of the orchestra," says Yan.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra will perform across the mainland to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China. Photos Provided To China Daily

 

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2017-06-01 06:54:36
<![CDATA[Young Chinese dancer to tour US with piece inspired by daily life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/01/content_29576400.htm With a table, two chairs and a white floor, Chinese dancer-choreographer Gu Jiani interprets the context of daily life and explores the delicate nature of human relationships in her piece Right & Left, which was staged at the Inside-Out Theater in Beijing over the weekend.

With this work, she will kick off a tour of the United States from Thursday to June 22, performing at the San Francisco International Arts Festival and the Seattle International Dance Festival, and in Los Angeles and New York.

Right & Left was staged at the University of Michigan and Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2015 and 2016. Gu and contemporary dancer Li Nan paired up for the performances.

Gu will team up with contemporary dancer Wang Xuanqi during the US tour.

Right & Left started from a vague idea Gu got while she was in Hong Kong to display one of her short choreography works, Side By Side, in 2013.

"There are two people - one sitting on the floor and the other swinging upside down," says the 28-year-old.

Her interest in how the environment influences relationships among people inspired the 50-minute Right & Left.

Gu, a former dancer with the Beijing Modern Dance Company, started to choreograph independently in 2013.

"I asked myself: How do I live, how do I deal with others and how do I face myself," says Gu.

"I am not sure how the audience will feel after watching the dance. But more or less, people will see themselves in my work."

The music is a mix of Chopin's Waltz No 10 in B Minor Op 69 No 2, The End by Danish film composer Nikolaj Egelund and daily sounds recorded by Gu, including footsteps and car horns.

Beijing-based projection artist Li Aping manipulates the lighting through the performance. The audience gets a feeling that the stage is cut into pieces and the two dancers move in the shadows.

"Gu is unafraid to break the rules of classical dancing as she and Li (Nan) weave in and out of the light, or continue halfway into the wings as if the dancing extends beyond its visual confines," Huffington Post said about Right & Left when the piece was staged at the Festival Melbourne in Australia in October.

Born and raised in Mianyang, Sichuan province, Gu was trained in classical ballet and Chinese dance from a young age.

She was first introduced to the arts by her parents, who were both employees of a State-owned company and enjoyed music and dance. But she was not content with conventional training and started her own exploration of body movements.

"I am interested in how my body works and what I can do with it," says Gu.

Gu became a professional dancer after graduation from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music.

After working for the dance company in Beijing for four years, she moved to the US as a visiting artist for six months. There, she had the time to think and find her own dance vocabulary.

"Everything went smoothly for me but I wanted to break out and figure out what I wanted to do," says Gu, who set up the N Space Body Project along with Li Nan to collaborate with young artists.

Last year, the Shanghai International Arts Festival commissioned Gu's work, Exit, which premiered in October. Exit is inspired by the principle of action and reaction and explores human desire and how people seek paths to liberty and self-fulfillment.

Gu has a studio in the outskirts of Beijing, where she practices dancing along with other young artists.

"We do rehearsals for hours every day, and lots of ideas come out of them. The process is very exciting," she says.

Right & Left, choreographed by Gu Jiani, will tour the United States in June. Provided To China Daily

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2017-06-01 06:54:36
<![CDATA[Urumqi to hold TV expo next week]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-06/01/content_29576395.htm A Sino-Russian TV documentary expo will begin in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, from June 6.

The expo, which is jointly hosted by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television and the local government, is part of ongoing Sino-Russian media exchanges.

Xinjiang Television and Russia Today, a Russian international TV network, will respectively bring 10 documentaries to reflect each side's culture and ordinary peoples' lives, Yang Hongxin, head of Xinjiang Television, a main organizer, told reporters in Beijing on Friday.

"Documentaries play irreplaceable roles in cross-border communication as records of social, economic and cultural developments in different regions," Yang says.

"The expo will promote cooperation in the humanities between the two sides."

He says Stories in North, a TV documentary reflecting relations between China and Russia through the daily lives of people in Xinjiang, will be a highlight of the expo. The documentary's interviewees include students from Xinjiang studying in Moscow, a baker of Russian origin in Xinjiang and a sports fan who rafts on the Irtysh River that originates in Xinjiang and flows into Russia's Ob.

People of the Russian ethnic group make up one of 12 major non-Han groups in Xinjiang, a hub of ethnic diversity in China.

Yang says that a TV forum that gathers delegates from China, Russia, and central and western Asian countries will also be held in Urumqi on June 7.

An industry alliance is likely to be established during the forum to provide a long-term system for more cooperation, including coproductions of documentaries and information sharing.

Xinjiang Television now runs branch stations in some countries in the region, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. A branch station in Russia may be on the horizon.

"After the Belt and Road Initiative was launched, Xinjiang has played an important role creating new channels of communication between China and the countries involved," says Yan Chengsheng, an official in charge of international cooperation under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Xinjiang has natural landscapes and human resources - elements needed for good documentary production, he adds.

wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-06-01 06:54:36
<![CDATA[Walking a fine line]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/31/content_29558797.htm On a sunny morning, Zhang Liang gazes into the distance while perched barefoot on a 100-meter-long rope that is strung between two green camphor trees under a busy Shanghai urban viaduct.

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Slacklining, which originated in the United States when rock climbers looked for ways to hone their skills, is today a growing sport in China. Zhang Zefeng reports.

On a sunny morning, Zhang Liang gazes into the distance while perched barefoot on a 100-meter-long rope that is strung between two green camphor trees under a busy Shanghai urban viaduct.

Zhang calls the place an "urban forest". He stands up, wobbles back and forth without falling.

As the sun sinks below the horizon, the 32-year-old hops on the metro and heads home. He practices two or three days like this each week.

Zhang is a Chinese pioneer slackliner who first got into the sport back in 2007. It is a sport of balancing, walking across, and doing stunts on a slackline.

In April 2016, after several attempts, he successfully traversed the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan province, which is one of deepest gorges in the country.

He also set a record for Chinese slackliners by walking a 310-meter-long slackline in Suzhou, in Jiangsu province, in 2016.

"Slacklining is all about tempering yourself," he says. "You practice until you are oblivious to distractions."

The sport is believed to have originated in Yosemite Valley, California, in the United States, in the 1970s when rock climbers looked for ways to hone their skills. Today, it is a rapidly growing global sport with variations, including "urbanlining" (in cities), "highlining" (above the ground) and "waterlining" (above water).

In China, slacklining is growing in popularity.

In the past seven years, the number of slackline walkers has grown from a few dozen to around 10,000.

"There is big potential for the sport," says 33-year-old German slacklining enthusiast Damian Joerren, who visits China regularly and owns a slacklining gear company specializing in high-end gear. "China is a great country and has many very beautiful spots for highlining."

Mastering slacklining requires many attributes, including core strength, concentration, balance and creativity.

The sport has also been embraced by adventurers - skiers, glider pilots, trail runners and scuba divers - to enhance their performance.

Sports enthusiast Song Chunlei first met Zhang five years ago.

Back then, he just wanted to do slacklining as an exercise to improve his stability while ski jumping, but he soon took it up as a hobby.

"I enjoy walking peacefully on the rope while staying focused," he says. "And as your skills improve, the challenges you encounter also escalate ... which is very satisfying."

Zhang calls the sport "moving meditation".

"While walking, one needs to spend most of the time concentrating, taking slow breaths and adjusting the body," he says.

When Nanjing-based engineer Yang Lianwu faced difficulties with the 100-meter-long slackline, Zhang advised him to clear his mind and take one step at a time.

"One of the most effective ways to achieve a goal is taking every single step well," says Yang. "Then success knocks on your door without you realizing it."

Yang has tried various extreme sports, including rock climbing, parkour and BMX bike racing, but he sees slacklining as the most rewarding.

He says unlike other sports, which require team spirit, slackliners mostly walk alone. "When you are facing yourself alone, you are more likely to find inner strength."

Over the years, Zhang has been tackling balance as a slackliner. There was a time when he didn't yield to strong wind, which caused his right shoulder to get dislocated.

"When you are off balance, you face two choices - carry on or give up," he says. Giving up means starting again, while carrying on involves the risk of hurting yourself, which is very similar with issues in daily life.

"Slacklining makes you aware of when to continue and when to quit," he adds.

Inspired by "yogalining", which brings traditional yoga poses to the slackline, Zhang has been working on integrating martial arts and tai chi into the sport.

"They are very Chinese and they share the concept of balance," he says.

On the back between the shoulder blades, there is a tattoo featuring his commitment to slacklining. It's a slackline with two sparrows flying on each side. Between them sits a word "slacklife".

"The sparrow is a bird embedded in Chinese culture," Zhang says.

"'Slacklife' can be simply put as a lifestyle. It's a process of knowing yourself, challenging yourself and then getting over your self-imposed limitations."

Contact the writer at zhangzefeng@chinadaily.com.cn

Top: Zhang Liang rests on the slackline at Puzhehei, Yunnan province. Above: Zhang practices slacklining in the space under high overpasses in Shanghai. Photos By Zhang Zefeng / China Daily And Zhao Zhongjun / For China Daily

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2017-05-31 07:07:30
<![CDATA[Seven easy fitness habits to adopt in your 20s]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/31/content_29558796.htm Something I've noticed now that I'm no longer in my early 20s is that having a zero workout routine is not so cute anymore. Exercising regularly is a sign of responsibility - an indication that leading a long, healthy, well-adjusted life is important to you. I'd like to think these things are important to me, too.

But as a 25-year-old who has yet to work fitness into my lifestyle with any consistency, the prospect of starting now feels intimidating. So, I reached out to a handful of trusted trainers, who offered their most doable, least intimidating advice for how to start making fitness a priority.

The following advice consists of itty-bitty fitness tweaks that we can work into our lifestyle before we hit 30. They're small changes that won't make you skip workouts, feel inferior, and give up on the whole thing altogether, which trainers say is a common fitness mistake women in their 20s make.

"My No 1 piece of advice for women in their mid- to late-20s would be not to get stuck on one bad day," begins trainer Triana Cristobal.

"If you didn't make it to class or ended up eating that entire pint of Ben & Jerry's, it's not the end of the world, and it doesn't mean tomorrow has to play out the same way."

Her best advice? "Build healthy habits now and do your best to stick to them. And if you fall, get right back up again!"

1 Stretch daily

No crazy contortionist poses necessary - just 10 minutes of gentle stretching a day can have a positive impact on your physical health. Whether you're warming up for your workout, cooling down afterward, or just doing a few downward dogs, the practice "is great for strengthening and lengthening", says Ashley Guarrasi, celebrity trainer at Rumble Boxing.

2 Adjust your posture

It sounds so simple but reminding yourself not to hunch your shoulders or crane your neck every day can add up to be just as beneficial as regular exercise.

Seriously: Standing up straight with your shoulder blades back helps activate your core and arms. It also lengthens your whole body instantly, no Pilates required. "Plus, it promotes a feeling of confidence that will help you tackle any workout," Cristobal says.

3 Work with weights

According to NYC certified personal trainer Diana Mitrea, one of the best fitness habits to develop in your 20s is to cultivate a weight-training practice.

"Putting on some muscle and toning up is so much easier when you're young, and I regret every day that I didn't start sooner than I did," she says.

If you still feel nervous about working with weights for the first time, Mitrea recommends trying out a few sessions with a personal trainer.

4 Slow down

Another simple fitness tweak: Next time you work out, whether you're doing squats at the gym or yoga in your living room, try slowing your movements way down. According to Cristobal, this helps you "tap into using your body's own resistance".

Hitting the slow-mo button on your moves also forces you to make sure you're doing them correctly and targeting the right muscle groups.

5 Walk you can

This is the reason New Yorkers can get away with eating pizza and cannolis every day without having a heart attack: Good old-fashioned walking.

According to trainer Peter Sers, getting into the habit of walking to the grocery store or even going for a nightly stroll around the block burns a few extra calories that add up over the course of a week, month, or year. Walking is also a meditative practice that's just as good for the mind as it is for the body.

6 Drink more water

You've heard it four thousand times, and we're going to say it again: Force yourself to become a water drinker now because goodness knows there are so many benefits, yet the older you get the harder it will be to get into the habit.

7 Find fun

You may have spent your early 20s complaining about working out, but it's officially time to quit.

"You'll get more out of your workouts if you're in a positive state of mind and having fun," says Cristobal. "Feeling the burn is all part of the fun, so learn to like it!"

Mitrea and Cristobal suggest embracing the wonders of a good workout playlist and experimenting with different workouts until you find the one you love.

Tribune News Service

Just 10 minutes of gentle stretching a day can have a positive impact on your physical health. TNS

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2017-05-31 07:07:30
<![CDATA[Time for a last adventure]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/31/content_29558795.htm Yang Zhen will graduate from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province, in June.

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Fresh graduates seek group holidays and solitary escapes before leaping into the working world, Yang Yang reports.

Yang Zhen will graduate from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province, in June.

Lately, the 22-year-old has been planning a trip with her roommates before graduation.

They are going to Chengdu in Sichuan province to see pandas.

"But the more important thing is the famous Sichuan food," she says.

Yang comes from a poor farmers' family in Jiangsu province. She does not have extra money to spend on travel.

So, she has been doing part-time jobs to make money for the last - and only - trip during her college years.

"A graduation trip is one of the must-dos for college students. It seems like our university life will be completed only after doing it," she says.

"It's part of the graduation ritual to officially say goodbye to our student time and prepare to enter another phase of life."

An early trip

The graduation season has come and graduation trips have become a popular choice for many young people.

To spend the last several days with close friends and classmates, or to see a different view alone, gives graduates not only unforgettable memories but also different meanings that may change their views of the world and influence their later lives.

Qi Chenliang has completed his graduation trip, although the 23-year-old won't graduate from Jiangsu University of Science and Technology in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, until June.

From March 17 to April 3, he went on his personal graduation trip to Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Chengdu and Chongqing.

"I've learned a lot about these cities from books, the internet and chats with friends, so I wanted to see them in person," he says.

Qi traveled early because he did not want to go at a peak time, when tickets for tourist attractions will cost more.

"After all, the money I spend still comes from my parents," he says.

Qi comes from Yixing, a small city in Jiangsu province that's known for its natural scenery and purple-clay pottery.

As the only child of the family, Qi almost has had no chance to travel so far on his own for a long time, because his parents constantly worry about his safety.

"Except for an internship arranged by the university, I'd never left the Yangtze River Delta (Jiangsu province, Zhejiang province and Shanghai)," he says.

Qi did not tell his parents about the trip until he was in the middle of it.

"I wanted to face the unknown world on my own, and I really enjoyed traveling alone. In Chongqing, it's so comfortable to sit quietly on the bus to circle around the city in early spring that it reminded me of my hometown, Yixing, the best place in the world," he says, proudly.

Qi stayed in hostels, and he really enjoyed meeting a lot of people. Talking with them gave him inspiration.

"There was a man who is over 40 years old and was still pursuing his dream in Beijing. I realized from chatting that people will finally pursue what they really want, so the most important thing is to find out what a person really wants," he says.

A welcome break

Yang Xinru is an English teacher at a high school in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. In July, the 29-year-old will complete her master's degree in translation.

"It's been very hard to complete the study since I had to work full time. In order to commemorate the two years, I've decided to go to Japan for the graduation trip with my friends," she says.

They will start the 15-day trip in mid-July.

"I really want to experience the scenes that appear in Japanese movies, dramas or cartoons," she says, adding that the cultural differences will offer a chance for her to reflect upon her life.

Besides the rich meaning that graduating students get from their trips, traveling with classmates is first and foremost for fun.

Lu Junying, a 24-year-old in Beijing, says that free time before his graduation two years ago gave him enough time to travel to different places with different people.

The whole class went to Chizhou in Anhui province because it is close to Nanjing, where they studied.

He later drove with several close friends to Qinghai province.

"We'd always wanted to go to a vast space, and Qinghai is a very good choice with beautiful views," he says.

He then traveled to Southeast Asia alone, fulfilling his dream to explore abroad.

"My biggest impression was that time flies really fast. The freshness of being on the road will finally turn into a kind of unwillingness to part," he says.

Beijinger Han Bingbin says that the class had a good time on its graduation trip eight years ago, when they drove from Nanjing to the grand canyon in Zhejiang.

"The trip gave us a unique chance to know one another. We'd grown closer by the trip's end. But it seemed a little bit late because we were going to say goodbye," he says.

Contact the writer at yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn

Lu Junying, a 24-year-old Beijinger, takes a trip to Qinghai province with classmates before graduation two years ago . Provided To China Daily

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2017-05-31 07:07:00
<![CDATA[A great escape changes one student's life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/31/content_29558794.htm Wearing a loose, white tank top, skintight trousers and a pair of flip-flops, 26-year-old Li Tian presents the aura of a hippie, with long black hair casually flowing past her shoulders.

But when she starts talking, the good logic and serious attitude that came from two-and-a-half years of training as a student of life science starts showing.

Last July, she gave up her five-year doctorate study at Tsinghua University after careful consideration and negotiation with her parents and supervisor.

"There was too much dull, repetitive physical work in the lab. I didn't like it. Besides, I've been fully trained as a scholar at Tsinghua," she says.

"I love life science and academic work, but I want to experience something different. I know I want to do things related to education, so I quit."

She then started a six-month trip abroad, which could be described as anything but smooth.

As a well-trained student, Li used to make detailed plans for life and work.

"But after the trip, I think I can face anything unexpected and accept any kind of people, who are considered strange by many others," she says.

Last August, she packed a big bag with clothes and enough food and water for eight days in a US desert. Li arrived at the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert in Nevada to experience "a utopian society built based on love and barter and formed by hippies". It was the first stop of her trip.

Temperatures can climb to more than 40 C at noon and drop below zero at night. Enormous sandstorms hit the campsites every day. But Li had a good time - every day, she experienced things that had never happened around her before.

"Every kind of strange thing occurred," she says. "There were naked people walking around, but it seemed very normal there."

None of the unusual behaviors harmed anyone, she points out.

She joined a camp and volunteered to help others repair bicycles. There, she made a lot of friends who helped her in the United States.

"The craziest thing that I did there was 'getting married'," she says with a laugh.

Her "husband" was a middle-aged man from San Francisco. The "marriage" was effective only during the festival.

Eight days later, three other Chinese people who came to the festival drove Li to San Francisco. Before they parted, they went downtown, parked and went sightseeing. When they came back, the rear window of the rented car was broken and every bit of luggage was gone, including Li's passport, credit cards, cellphone and clothes.

"Originally, I'd planned to travel around the world, first to the US, and then to Britain, where I had applied for an education program. But all of a sudden, I had to change all my plan," she says.

She needed to stay in San Francisco for one month to apply for the permit to travel around the US.

"I wrote to the best friend I made at the Burning Man Festival, telling her that I lost my phone in case she would try to contact me," she recalls.

"She immediately told my situation to all the members of the volunteer camp, and they all offered to help me, hosting me and giving me clothes. They even raised $500 for my trip. I was so moved."

Li also decided not to make so many plans and to instead follow her heart. But she had a principle: to not merely see the most famous tourist attractions but also to experience local people's lives. So she spent at least three weeks in each city, sleeping on locals' couches or booking rooms on Airbnb, the popular online marketplace and hospitality service.

From San Francisco, she went on to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Boston and, finally, New York. At airports, she was always questioned by security about her identity because she had just a permit but no passport or visa.

"At first, I was very nervous. But gradually, I could argue with them easily," she says.

After more than four months of traveling, she went to Florida and worked on a green farm in Tampa in exchange for room and board.

All the animals on the farm had names, she says. Humans were just part of the whole ecosystem and lived in a room with animals: rabbits, chicken, sheep, pigs and even snakes.

"When we fed them, we called their names and talked to them just like family members," she says.

She left the US and went to Cuba, where she stayed for over one month. After six months abroad, she returned to China via Russia, where she spent three days exploring.

Her experiences were invaluable, she says.

"Now, I can deal with any kind of accident with a clear head. I've learned not to judge other people's lives. The travel has strengthened my determination to do what I really want to do," she says.

She now lives in Beijing on her own savings from scholarships and part-time jobs. Li is preparing to apply for overseas programs in cognitive psychology.

Li Tian mixes with local people in a store during Florida on her six-month trip to the United States and Cuba. Provided To China Daily

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2017-05-31 07:07:00
<![CDATA[TCM's popularity growing abroad]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/31/content_29558793.htm Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine is cooperating with foreign institutions and training students to share traditional Chinese medicine - one of the world's most ancient therapies - with the world.

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Leading Chinese medicine university responsible for the treatment's global appeal, Cang Wei reports from Nanjing.

Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine is cooperating with foreign institutions and training students to share traditional Chinese medicine - one of the world's most ancient therapies - with the world.

According to university president Hu Gang, more than 26,000 foreign students from about 90 countries and regions have majored and trained in traditional Chinese medicine since 1957.

"We have established traditional Chinese medicine centers in countries such as Australia, Switzerland and France," says Hu. "It has gradually changed local people's opinion about TCM and more people are willing to accept it."

Huang Guicheng, vice-president of the university, says that more than 10 countries have legally recognized TCM and more foreigners now use TCM.

"We have cooperated with a German medical center for 18 years," he says.

"Local people visit the center and seek TCM treatments."

He says TCM also can treat post-traumatic stress, which may lead to mental illness and insomnia.

A local doctor, who received TCM training at the Nanjing university in 2008, gave the refugee children in Munich the medicine that they later called "magical tea".

"Many foreign hospitals even use acupuncture in surgeries," he says.

Huang says that TCM is popular due to its effectiveness and minimal side effects.

"We have received invitations from many foreign institutions to co-found TCM research centers in their countries," says Huang.

In March, the university signed a memorandum of understanding with Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in Australia to boost cooperation on TCM.

"The signing of the memorandum ... provides both Chinese and Australian people an opportunity to share the benefits of Chinese medicine," Hu says.

Liu Nongyu, a professor with the university, worked in Mexico for two years and Hong Kong for 10 years.

He helped to develop the School of Chinese Medicine in the University of Hong Kong, where he gave acupuncture lessons.

"Many local people lacked knowledge about traditional Chinese medicine when Hong Kong returned to China in 1997. But after 20 years of development, most public hospitals in Hong Kong now have specialized TCM departments," Liu says.

Founded in 1954, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine has been renowned as "the cradle of China's higher education in traditional Chinese medicine".

It trained the first batch of modern teachers, compiled the first edition of textbooks, and helped cultivate the earliest academicians in TCM, after the founding of New China.

It is also one of the first Chinese medicine institutions authorized by the Ministry of Education to enroll international students, where they learn acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, cupping therapy and classical prescription.

Now, many professors and teachers from the university are working as visiting professors in universities and Confucius Institutes overseas to spread TCM.

However, Hu says that many difficulties need to be resolved to better spread TCM, including overcoming language barriers and improving textbooks.

"We don't have too many teachers who can give lessons in English. So, we are cooperating with institutions in Hong Kong and Taiwan, where bilingual professionals are easier to find, to resolve the language problem."

Contact the writer at cangwei@chinadaily.com.cn

Pulse diagnosis is one of the first steps of traditional Chinese therapy. The age-old method is now being embraced by more foreigners. Photos Provided To China Daily

 

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2017-05-31 07:07:00
<![CDATA[Laowai Idol contest draws young talents]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/31/content_29558792.htm In a packed auditorium, the spotlight shines down on a young woman with Afro hairstyle standing at the stage center. She sings Schubert's Ave Maria while making hand gestures as if telling a story.

As the operatic song concludes, she runs backstage to don another outfit, and comes back onstage again with a dance team to wow the crowd with pop icon Beyonce's dance Flawless.

This was a scene from the 8th Laowai Idol competition at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing on May 17. The performer was Corinne Zelman, a French student who has been performing onstage since she was a child.

Among 10 outstanding performances ranging from hiphop dance to classical, Zelman's team stood out and grabbed first place.

"I have to do what I can do the best and what I love the most-so opera and Beyonce," says the 20-year-old international-business major. "Everywhere in the world, the audiences are the same. They like charisma onstage and good voices."

Hosted by the UIBE's School of International Education, this year's event attracted about 100 international students from a dozen universities, including Renmin University of China, Minzu University of China and Beijing Language and Culture University, to take part in the preliminary competition.

"It's a good chance for people from different countries to come together and see some good talent," says the event's host, Donnie Brunette, a US student majoring in international business Chinese at the UIBE. "I feel like it brings everybody together right here in China."

Tran Dirhh Hoang, 28, and Tran Thao Van, 21, jointly won third place for performing the traditional dance Yue Wang, a popular love story from Vietnam. They are studying at Minzu University of China.

"We wanted to depict the loyalty of Vietnamese women in our dance," says Hoang. "The competition is also a great chance to show our culture to people from other countries."

South Korean student Jeong Woo-jin showcased his Chinese skill on the stage by singing Chinese singer Guan Zhe's Xiang Ni De Ye (The Night When I Miss You), which won him a big round of applause.

"Many South Korean students in China love this song because of its rhythm and the singer's voice," says the 25-year-old Renmin University student.

"The difficult part of learning a Chinese song is memorizing the lyrics, but it's a very helpful way to build my Chinese vocabulary."

The show not only provides a platform for foreign students to showcase their talent, but also brings joy to Chinese students.

"Only a few talent shows that I have watched are as exciting as the Laowai Idol," says Jia Ningyu, a freshman at the UIBE. "It releases my academic pressure."

Jia appreciates the unique art forms and diverse cultures the event brings.

"From South Korean and US pop culture to traditional Vietnamese dance, the event broadens my horizons and motivates me to learn more about other cultures," she says. The number of international students coming to China has surged in recent years.

Last year, China became the No 3 destination for students who study abroad, after the United States and the United Kingdom, according to the Ministry of Education.

The UIBE currently has the second-largest international student population among Chinese institutions - 3,251 students from 151 countries and regions - after Beijing Language and Culture University.

Founded in 2010, the event is designed to discover young talented people among the increasing number of international students, says Liu Jinlan, associate dean of international education at the UIBE.

Over the years, the event has morphed from a campus event of one university to a talent show catering to international students across Beijing.

zhangzefeng@chinadaily.com.cn

French student Corinne Zelman wins the first place in the Laowai Idol contest at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. The Team Sauce pPhotos By Akash Ghai / China Dailyerforms at the same event.

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2017-05-31 07:07:00
<![CDATA[Andersen awards highlight Danish writer's appeal in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/31/content_29558791.htm While pieces like The Little Match Girl and The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen are all too familiar to Chinese families, the translation and understanding of the Danish writer's fairy tales has evolved in stages in the past century.

Li Wenjie, a Yunshan Youth Scholar of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in April for her research into the Chinese translation and dissemination of Andersen's fairy tales, following Chinese scholars Lin Hua, who received the award in 1997, and Shi Qin'e in 2006. Lin and Shi both translated Andersen's fairy tales.

Founded in 1996 to mark outstanding research and promotion of Andersen's works, the award has been presented to about 60 individuals and organizations from 18 countries and regions.

Li's interest in Andersen's fairy tales was triggered when she attended a Danish language school in Copenhagen eight years ago.

"In the Danish language class, I read again several Andersen's fairy tales, including The Little Match Girl, which was widely read in China. The language and the way the teacher guided in reading were both somewhat different from the Chinese version and how my Chinese teacher interpreted it in primary school.

"I started to think about the Chinese translation of Andersen's fairy tales and what happened during the dissemination of those fairy tales in China and what factors affected the process," Li says.

The translation and introduction of Andersen's fairy tales was initiated by some members of the Literary Research Society, which was founded in 1921, and some intellectuals in China who led the New Culture Movement.

The initial translation was recommended as outstanding literary work for Chinese writers to study.

With more efforts in the translation afterward, the fairy tales gained recognition and acclaim among ordinary readers and children, Li says.

Chinese versions of Andersen's fairy tales designed for young readers appeared in the early 1930s. Starting in late 1930s when the country was in turmoil, however, such Western fairy tales drew skepticism, seen by some critics as distant from the real society and preventing children from taking up their responsibilities for the country.

In the 1950s, under the influence of the literature of the former Soviet Union and the literary theory with a historical-materialism approach, Andersen was being interpreted as a realism or even critical-realism writer and speaking for the poor. "The emperor's new clothes" and "the ugly duckling" even became household colloquial phrases thanks to textbooks of that time.

After the reform and opening-up of China in the late 1970s, Andersen's fairy tales were retranslated by many and were enthusiastically received by Chinese readers in the 1980s.

"Andersen has remained one of the rather few Western writers to maintain and even increase his popularity among Chinese readers to such degree that today, many Chinese may actually have a better knowledge of Andersen than most of his compatriots," Eric Messerchmidt, director of Danish Cultural Center in China, said in his congratulatory speech on the presentation of the award to Li.

"The Chinese reading of Andersen has grown completely independent of his native Danish setting - due to our different social and historic conditions."

Li's examination of a wide range of translations documents the challenging task of bringing relevance and meaning into the context of the times they belong to. She opens people's eyes to how the linguistic subtleties of Andersen's universe have been transformed into the subtleties of Mandarin and the subtleties of Chinese thinking without diluting their artistic uniqueness, Messerchmidt says.

Chinese research into Andersen has yet to extend into his other literary works, especially his travel notes, which would help people better understand his fairy tales. The interpretation of Andersen's fairy tales needs to be enriched and broadened, Li says, adding that she plans to continue her research in this field.

Huang Zehui contributed to this story.

liwenfang@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-05-31 07:07:00
<![CDATA[Can suffering dogs find human love?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/29/content_29542405.htm Activists are doing their best, but the sheer number of homeless - often injured - animals is too much for the patchy network of shelters, charities and volunteers. James Skinner and Huang Chenkuang report from Wuxi, Jiangsu province.

Le Le wags her tail when people approach her. At first glance she appears like any normal dog. She is energetic and has inquisitive eyes. But something is wrong - Le Le has no hind legs and can only drag herself forward using her two front paws.

Other than this disability, the dog is healthy, but not because of the care and attention of a doting owner. Le Le is homeless. She is living in a large animal shelter just outside Wuxi, Jiangsu province.

The shelter is run by Ji Ting, who opened the facility in 2014, motivated only by a love of animals and concern over the plight of the many homeless dogs in Wuxi. He currently cares for 150 dogs full-time, with the help of two staff members and local volunteers.

More than 40 stray dogs wait for homes at a mall in Nanjing in February during a pet adoption activity held by volunteers. Qin Huai / For China Daily

 

Le Le, it turns out, was abandoned by her owners and lost her legs after being hit by a car. After being nursed back to health by Ji, she is getting proper care and attention.

Her story is depressingly typical of the dogs at the shelter. Many have some kind of disability, including missing legs and eyes, and some have been at the receiving end of the most appalling cruelty. One dog lost his leg after being thrown out a window.

The sheer number of dogs and the low interest in adoption means that the shelter is where most of them will end their days.

The animal shelter in Wuxi receives no government funding and relies entirely on the generosity of donors and the work of volunteers to keep going.

While Ji aims to help any dog that is homeless, he can usually only take animals that are in serious condition.

"Because of limited space here, we can only take dogs in very poor health. There are three pet hospitals that give us a discount on veterinary treatment," Ji said.

Weather factor

As the weather gets warmer, more stray dogs begin to appear on streets around the country. Warm temperatures mean better conditions for survival.

Throughout China there is little provision for these unwanted animals. Although the law on wildlife protection - which is in effect since this year - provides some limited protection for domestic animals, concrete and detailed measures are still lacking. Most services for homeless dogs are provided by charities.

But providing shelter for unwanted dogs is only a stopgap solution. Once a dog has been rescued, the difficult process of finding a new home begins.

Ji tries to rehome the dogs by advertising new arrivals on his WeChat and Sina Weibo accounts.

But it is difficult to find new homes for the dogs. Many people looking for pets are put off by the physical problems of the animals in the shelter.

When someone does want to adopt one, Ji collects a deposit from the new owner and after a period of time conducts checks to ensure the animal is being cared for appropriately. The deposit is then returned.

Ji has good reason for this.

"We brought in an inspection system after discovering that some people were adopting dogs simply to eat them," Ji said.

Others, without the resources of Ji's shelter are also trying to alleviate the problem.

One group is Wuxi's animal fostering network. The group has no animal shelter of its own. Instead, it runs a fostering network with around 1,000 members, including a team of 10 people who regularly rescue dogs - and occasionally cats - from the streets and find foster care for the muntil a permanent home can be found.

The group was set up about six years ago and aims to have its own shelter in the future, but for now members can only try to find permanent homes for the animals.

Kanako Uehara, a Japanese woman who has lived in China for 14 years, first came across the group when she was thinking about buying a cat. A friend had suggested adopting one instead, and after searching for information she came to know several members of the group.

Over time Uehara became involved with the group and is now an active member with two adopted dogs of her own. She stresses that raising money is not the group's biggest problem.

"Money is not so important. Adoption is the most important thing," she said. "Some of our members are currently fostering over 20 animals."

Considering China's rising living standards and breakneck economic development, it is perhaps surprising that this problem is still so prevalent. Stray dogs roaming the streets bring to mind cities like Bangkok or Mumbai - not Wuxi, where the animal shelter is based, along with a network to help find foster homes.

There are roughly 500 million dogs globally, and three-fourths of them are homeless, according to World Animal Protection, an international nonprofit animal welfare organization.

It's difficult to get accurate statistics on the situation in China. Past media reports put the number at 40 million strays nationwide in 2015. In Beijing and Tianjin alone there are an estimated 1.2 million stray dogs and cats.

But one thing is certain: The rampant growth in the number of animals in the streets is causing problems. A stray dog in downtown Ankang city, Shaanxi province, attacked 11 people in September, including a pregnant woman, before being shot.

Police in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, caught more than 3,600 stray dogs in the first quarter of 2017 after receiving an avalanche of complaints from local rabies-fearing residents.

An industry sprouts

A whole industry of dog-related services has grown up to serve the country's dog owners including grooming parlors, veterinary clinics, kennels and even dog spas. Indeed, the pet industry as a whole is big business: It was valued at more than $2 billion in 2014, according to Pet Fair Asia.

But despite this apparent willingness to spend large sums of money on dogs, many animals end up being abandoned.

The reasons for this are numerous, but Wang Ruoyu of the fostering network believes that a lack of basic knowledge about how to care for dogs is one of the biggest problems.

"Often dogs are walked without a leash, causing many to escape and become homeless. Also, there is little knowledge about sterilization due to lack of education, often resulting in unwanted pregnancies in female dogs. Many of these dogs get abandoned if an owner feels unable to cope with a litter of puppies," she said.

Uehara expressed her view that a family will sometimes abandon a dog if a baby is born, in the belief that the dog may be dangerous to the child.

But the way dogs are sold in China may also play a role.

Buying a dog involves no more checks than buying a bowl of noodles. Anybody can pick one up at one of the country's many animal markets. They are even available on Taobao. The requirements in some of the bigger cities to get a dog license are largely ignored. The ease with which dogs can be bought may contribute to the apparent ease with which so many are later discarded.

Abroad, China does not have a good reputation for animal welfare. The country is regularly criticized for its lack of animal welfare legislation and practices such as the consumption of dog meat.

Yet things are clearly changing. There is now a lively generation of young activists who campaign for animal welfare through groups such as the Chinese Animal Protection Network, and target events like the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

And while there is no national action plan to improve the welfare of homeless dogs, some local governments are taking action themselves. Nanjing, Jiangsu province, for example, maintains a government-funded animal shelter and has taken advice from animal rights charity PETA on how to improve conditions there.

The quality and availability of veterinary care has also greatly improved. For example, licensing requirements for vets have become stricter.

Owners have also become more knowledgeable about how to keep their pets healthy.

"Many owners now know how many vaccines are needed in the first years. Some owners now even know the brand and function of the vaccine," said Chen Nu, a veterinarian based in Wuxi.

Chen is optimistic about the future for China's dogs.

"Society is realizing that it's not just about protecting animals but also about protecting ourselves. Many are pushing for animal welfare legislation, and I think we will have it soon," he said.

While the number of homeless dogs is still overwhelming for the patchy network of dedicated charities and volunteers tackling the problem, the situation is clearly improving.

Back at the animal shelter in Wuxi, dogs such as Le Le are unlikely to find a permanent home again, but they are safe and cared for. Perhaps in the future, stories like hers will be the exception, as changing attitudes and policies in China begin to protect man's best friend.

Contact the writers at james_a@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-05-29 08:25:04
<![CDATA[In my home, strays find respite from an unkind existence]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/29/content_29542404.htm On a cold winter's night in December, I spotted a shivering puppy hiding under a car. It was clearly terrified but appeared to be in good condition.

Mao Yi, as she was later to be known, became the second dog I have adopted since coming to China in 2015.

My other two dogs-a brown and white Pekinese-crossbreed aged around 6, named Hillary, and a 1-year-old black mongrel named Max - were also rescued dogs. Life had not been kind to either of them.

Hillary was found outside in the winter cold using some old cardboard as a bed. It would be comforting to think she had only been there a few days, but a visit to the vet revealed she had likely been outside for years. Those years of living in the extreme temperatures of China's hot summers and cold winters had given her the body of a much older dog and resulted in bone spurs in her legs, causing painful mobility problems.

Max cannot have been homeless for as long, given his age, but his short life appears to have been a traumatic one. Marks running around his neck suggest an attempt by someone to strangle him; and following his rescue, he was diagnosed with the often fatal distemper virus. It has taken almost two months of veterinary care for him to regain his health.

I never planned to share my apartment with three dogs or spend a fortune on veterinary bills, but it has been worth it. The three now have a comfortable home and are well-cared for.

I would really like to know the background stories of all three dogs. I would like to meet their original owners and ask them what prevented them from finding new homes for these dogs if they could no longer look after them.

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2017-05-29 08:25:04
<![CDATA[Out of the shadows]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/29/content_29542403.htm Ancient art form that uses puppets' silhouettes to tell stories and entertain audiences is being performed for the first time at an international exhibition in Italy. Lin Qi reports

Centuries-old shadow puppetry from Huaxian county, northwestern Shaanxi province is being performed in the Chinese Pavilion at the ongoing 57th Venice Biennale for the first time.

In the week following the event's opening on May 13, six folk artists from Huaxian performed for 30 minutes each day to audiences at the pavilion. Since the singer, puppeteer and four musicians returned home, however, a group of volunteers composed of international students has taken on the task.

Titled Continuum - Removing the Mountains and Filling the Sea, the performance references classic Chinese fables such as Yugong Yishan (The Old Fool Who Moved Mountains) and Jingwei Tianhai (Jingwei the Bird Fills up the Sea). Dogged determination and the pursuit of freedom are explored in the work, which curator Qiu Zhijie, 48, says represent China's answer to the exhibition's overarching theme, Viva Arte Viva (Spanish for "live art alive").

Shadow puppetry performances from China's Shaanxi province and embroidering demonstrations from Jiangsu's Suzhou are among the attractions in the Chinese Pavilion at the ongoing 57th Venice Biennale. Photos by Chen Yi / For China Daily

This theme, according to Paolo Baratta, president of event organizer La Biennale di Venezia, celebrates "the very existence of art and artists, whose worlds expand our perspective and the space of our existence".

The puppets for the performances were all created by three artists: Wu Jian'an, 37, Tang Nannan, 45, and Wang Tianwen, 67, a master puppet-maker from Xi'an.

Other examples of their work, such as paintings, installations and videos, are also on show at the venue through to the biennial's close on Nov 26.

During the performances, real-time footage of two women embroidering at the same venue is also projected onto the semi-transparent screen. They are Yao Huifen, 50, and her sister Yao Huiqin, two practitioners of the long-standing Su embroidery tradition from Suzhou, eastern Jiangsu province. Several of their delicately embroidered pieces featuring experimental stitching and collaborations with Wu and Tang are also on display.

Inaugurated in 1895, the Venice Biennale is the world's oldest art exhibition, which aims to celebrate the development of contemporary art from both established artists and newcomers. It is held every two years in the northern Italian city and features 120 artists from across the globe this time around, as well as 86 national pavilions and 23 "collateral events".

China has had a pavilion at the event since 2003, though this is the first time that folk customs have been the main focus. Paper-cut designs and shadow puppets were previously exhibited in the 1980s, but that was only because the first Chinese exhibitors to attend mistook the event for a trade fair.

Previous Chinese artists to be featured at the pavilion include renowned luminaries Zeng Fanzhi, Cao Fei and Yin Xiuzhen.

So when Qiu announced his plans for this year's pavilion in March, some critics said he was only incorporating folk art elements in order to blindly evoke Chinese culture.

Yet he has hit back at such claims, saying people only disliked the plans because they care so much for Chinese art and craft traditions. He says when people debate whether folk art is being exploited by contemporary artists, they underestimate the power of tradition.

According to Qiu, traditional art encapsulates the energy that has inspired generations of Chinese artists since the earliest times and by adopting these traditions, artists invigorate them. He says this is how Chinese culture has endured for so long, reflecting the exhibition's theme of art being alive.

"We are called the Chinese Pavilion. So why should we avoid Chinese cultural elements?" he says.

Qiu says the collaboration with contemporary artists has also pushed masters of traditional crafts like Wang and the Yao sisters to adapt the way they and their mentors have worked for dozens of years.

Throughout years, Yao Huifen has embroidered highly realistic, decorative patterns that are popular among collectors. She normally uses two to three stitches. When she worked with Wu to re-create a 12th-century Chinese painting to be on show, and the latter asked her to use for each work more than 50 stitches which were developed by predecessor embroiderers.

"The cooperation opens a door for me to see much more possibilities to renew the traditions of Su embroidery," says Yao.

Contact the writer at linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-05-29 08:24:22
<![CDATA[US exhibit highlights cherubs and other French delights]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/29/content_29542402.htm WASHINGTON - When Napoleon's elder brother Joseph Bonaparte was forced into exile, he brought to the United States a collection of lavish rococo and neoclassical paintings that earned enduring fascination.

Among the works Bonaparte left behind when he returned to France in 1839 was Noel Nicolas Coypel's The Abduction of Europa (1726-1727), a period indulgence, complete with fleshy nudes, cherubs and a white bull basking in golden sunlight.

Bonaparte would show off this monumental work to visitors at his sprawling Point Breeze estate in New Jersey at a time when so much nudity still had the power to seriously offend.

In a perhaps oddly humoristic touch, the bull - the mythological god Jupiter, who transformed himself into the earthly creature to abduct the nymph Europa - is presented tongue out and eyes half-closed in delight.

Thomas Jefferson, too, helped fuel interest with his earnest appreciation of works he saw at the Paris Salon, especially what he called "superb" paintings by Jacques Louis David.

These and other stories of the collectors, dealers and art lovers behind the huge trove of 18th century French paintings spread across the US are the focus of an exhibition that opened Sunday and runs through August 20 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

This first-ever look at the US' love affair with 18th century French painting strays from the beaten path by showing a great variety of works from this period in an unusual grouping that prominently features women artists and even one of the first known mixed-race painters in the Western canon, Guillaume Lethiere.

The show also reflects the elevated status US institutions have given to French women painters of the era, one that is notably diminished in their native country.

Royal ties revered

In entering a room dedicated to more playful and fanciful expression, painted in the pastel blue once associated with theater, Marie Antoinette's court painter Joseph Ducreux admonishes the viewer to keep quiet, his index finger pressed firmly against his lips in his little known self-portrait Le Discret (circa 1791).

Or could he have committed some grave transgression and is anxiously demanding you keep his secret? Ducreux leaves you guessing.

"We tend to have a perception of these works of art as relatively heavy or serious or purely decorative," says assistant curator Yuriko Jackall.

"So being able to present them as sometimes ironic or mocking, hopefully shows a new aspect."

The period during which many of the works shown here came into American hands was one in which US collectors were especially keen on acquiring objects with royal connections - ties that collectors played up, be they real or imagined.

At a sale in 1905, the Self-Portrait with a Harp (1791) by Ducreux's daughter Rose Adelaide Ducreux was incorrectly presented as a work by Elisabeth Vigee Lebrun, then revered for her role as Marie Antoinette's portrait painter.

It was also a time when entire rooms were shipped across the Atlantic - from a "Marie Antoinette Boudoir" transplanted to the Deacon House in Boston with its ceiling of Fragonard cherubs to Alva Vanderbilt's Louis XV-style white and gold New York salon featuring Francois Boucher tapestries.

In one of the more fascinating discoveries made during the five years of preparations for the National Gallery's show, Jackall and a team of researchers found that one of the museum's most beloved paintings, Fragonard's Young Girl Reading (circa 1770), was in fact painted over a long-lost composition.

Near-infrared and X-ray technology helped reveal a painting of a woman with a feathered headdress gazing directly at the viewer. It had previously belonged to a series of 18 known as Fragonard's "fantasy figures."

Agence France-Presse

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2017-05-29 08:24:22
<![CDATA[Butterfly effect and donkey glue]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/28/content_29534667.htm Editor's Note: China is divided into as many culinary regions as there are different ethnic groups. Its geographical diversity and kaleidoscopic cultural profiles contribute to the unending banquet of flavors.

It's the butterfly effect, where demand for donkey glue in China has affected communities halfway across the globe. The issue is sensitive, simply because some of these countries depend on the donkey as a working beast in both agriculture and transportation.

But this is also the reality of a tightening global network of supply and demand, and the fearsome power of being one of the largest consumer markets on Earth.

Donkey glue, or ejiao, is not everyday food. It is used more as a medicine and as a health and beauty tonic. As China becomes more urbanized, its own donkey population is naturally diminishing, and so it is the imported meat and hide that is perpetuating the myths.

 

Ejiao was used as far back as 2,000 years ago. Photos Provided to China Daily

Let's start at the beginning.

Visitors to Beijing eagerly reach for their camera phones whenever they pass a restaurant advertising lyurou huoshao, the infamous donkey burger that is the highlight of so many travel blogs.

Yes, this is a regional specialty from Hebei province, and the best donkey meat comes from Baoding and Hejian. These neighborhoods are where they firmly believe in the saying, "in Heaven, they have dragon meat; on Earth, we have donkey meat".

Beijing, of course, is right smack in the middle of Hebei, slightly off center to the north. It is also crowded with migrant workers looking for an affordable taste of home.

Donkey burgers are more like sandwiches, with the salty braised meat minced and tucked into sliced-open unleavened flat bread or shaobing. Sliced green peppers are stuffed by the side.

We had a young English colleague once who survived on donkey burgers from a neighborhood shop near our newsroom for most of the two years she was with us. She told us it was a satisfying, nutritious meal with all of the necessary food groups.

But then, she was almost completely acclimatized, taste-wise, when she finished her internship and returned to London. The first article she wrote from home was all about Chinese dumplings.

According to those who know, a good donkey burger must have well-braised meat that is expertly seasoned and juicy fresh green peppers, and the flatbread must be soft and tender on the inside and very crisp on the outside so there is crunch in every bite.

Apart from this famous sandwich, donkey meat is also eaten in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and in Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and Shandong provinces, where it appears in various forms, just like pork or beef.

It is a lean meat, with not much fat, and aficionados claim it tastes even better than beef.

All along the lower reaches of the Yellow River, donkey is a rare but traditional meat, often enjoyed in the past when the beasts could no longer work int he fields. It has mostly been truly popular only in rural areas.

My own experience with this meat is limited to a meal in Hohhot, when we were invited for my husband's college reunion. The claypot stew on the table was very fragrant and redolent of spices, its brown gravy shiny and tempting.

Pork ribs, my husband said with a gleam in his eye. I tasted a piece. It was indeed delicious, but I knew it had nothing to do with a pig.

I no longer willingly eat donkey, not after a close encounter with a docile animal at a highway rest stop. As I fed it a carrot, it nudged me with its muzzle and looked at me with eyes that had inch-long lashes, and I knew the meaning of "don't make friends with your food".

Although most Chinese may not sympathize with animal activism attitudes, donkey meat is not easily available, and you have to look pretty hard for restaurants that serve this speciality. In a China that now has access to the best meat products from all over the world, this traditional treat is fading into the background. Which is good.

The flip side of the coin is, most Chinese are now affluent enough to afford tonics, health and beauty supplements that they could not before. This is where donkey glue comes in.

Where as meat is just meat, ejiao takes a lot of donkey hides to produce, and it commands a very good market price.

It is hard to believe that an extract distilled from the hide of donkeys can have any curative properties, but stranger things are found in the pharmacopeia of traditional Chinese medicine.

Ejiao was used as far back as 2,000 years ago. Apart from the ancient scripts that document the complicated process of turning hide into medicinal tonic, archaeologists have excavated evidence that it was a precious burial gift of the time.

Two thousand years is a long time to perfect a technique, and ejiao is now available in vials, in tablets, as chewy sweets and as thick black cakes that can be slowly dissolved in the best rice wine.

The Chinese firmly believe in the benefits of ejiao, and it is said that a little bit taken each morning will guarantee a long and healthy life. Ejiao promotes blood circulation, according to traditional Chinese medicine, and regular consumption is believed to help all the aches and pains that come with age.

For men, it is a tonic for those who drink regularly and, yes, it is an aphrodisiac.

It is also marketed as an excellent source of collagen to young and older ladies eager to add a glow to their complexion and suppleness to the skin.

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2017-05-28 08:23:42
<![CDATA[Railway crew offers service with a smile]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-05/28/content_29534666.htm Attendants receive a high level of training to ensure passengers have safe, enjoyable trip

As the commissioning date for Kenya's first modern railway draws near, social media platforms are awash with pictures of the new locomotives and coaches. But the showstopper photo shows the smartly dressed and primed train crew, wearing black, green and red dresses with red blazers and yellow scarves - the nation's official colors.

Kenyans are excited because a brand new career has been added to the country's list of skills. With many Kenyans unable to experience the cabin crew services on planes, the Standard Gauge Railway has finally put these services within reach and increased the appetite of locals to use this mode of transportation - as opposed to buses - when going for holiday or on business trips to the port city of Mombasa.

 

Louise Hagayana, a train crew member for the Standard Gauge Railway. Hagayana says the train's crew members are ready to handle passengers once the railway is commissioned. Lucie Morangi / China Daily

The crew will be responsible for the comfort, safety and welfare of passengers. According to Louise Hagayana, one of the train crew members, the service will be professional and friendly.

"Our training was high-level and intensive, both in theory and practical aspects. It focused on enhancing passengers' safety and security, and equipped us with the necessary knowledge of emergency procedures," she says.

The 25-year-old has completed two mon