版权所有 - 中国日报�(ChinaDaily) China Daily <![CDATA[When the tea bowl met the tea stand]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/19/content_37516978.htm An exhibition in New York brings art, history and religion together

Few people who pass a tea set now on display in the Asian gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York would give it a second glance, and why should they? After all, there's not much to see. With the tea bowl in black and its accompanying stand in red with patches of black, the set, dimly lit by the museum light, is demure to the point of self-effacing, especially when seen together with all the glitter that surrounds it, from a gilt bronze Buddha statue to many long rolls of sutra written in gold on dark background.

But Joseph Scheier-Dolberg, the man behind the exhibition Another World Lies Beyond: Chinese Art and the Divine, says the two parts of the set traveled in both time and space for a meeting the Chinese would call "predestined".

"The porcelain tea cup was made during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) around the 12th and 13th centuries, and its lacquered wooden stand in Muromachi Japan somewhere between the 14th and the 16th centuries," he said.

 

From top: The tea cup and tea stand have traveled in time and space to meet at the gallery in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art; the tea cup is from China's Southern Song Dynasty between the 12th and the 13th centuries; the tea stand is from Japan's Muromachi period between the 14th and the 16th centuries.

Here in the Met gallery they came together not as strangers but long-separated soul mates steeped in the same aesthetic and philosophy. Minimally designed, both have embraced toned-down colors, if not immediately, then in time. The original lacquer to the tea stand was applied in two layers. Repeated use over time has abraded the upper layer of red to reveal the black layer underneath, as had been intended by its maker.

This worn beauty was equally cherished during the Song Dynasty, when history was celebrated as never before and never since. Teacups with their glaze softened and their sharp edges smoothed by time were especially revered.

"Both objects are embedded in the cultural and religious traditions of their time and place," said Scheier-Dolberg, referring to the fact that the serving and drinking of tea were inseparable with the rise of Chan Buddhism in China and its subsequent spread in Japan, where it gained its more popular name Zen.

"Zen became an international phenomenon around that time, and it still is today," he said.

By charting the mindscape of the Chinese, Scheier-Dolberg has inevitably waded into the river of history where different cultural tributaries converged, before running their separate courses into diverse spiritual lands. The exhibition offers an insight into interactions and exchanges between cultures that first started along religious lines but later evolved to exert a much deeper and enduring influence.

One gallery out of the nine dedicated to this exhibition tells the story of Gautama Buddha, or Shakyamuni, the very Buddha who founded Buddhism. On display are works of art and artifacts inspired by this great teacher and mendicant who pursued a middle road between sensual indulgence and severe asceticism.

One painting, done by an unidentified artist from the 13th and 14th centuries China, shows a disheveled and emaciated Buddha walking out of the mountains, having decided that living the life of an ascetic offered no path to enlightenment.

"This (The Buddha's) espousal of the middle way, as we come to think of it, struck a perfectly harmonious note with Confucius China, run for more than 2,000 years by followers of the fifth century BC philosopher who sought balance in life and statecraft," Scheier-Dolberg said.

Making clever use of powerful Buddhist symbolism, another artist who came 400 years later produced an album of vignettes centered on the life of Luohans, the disciples of the Buddha. Each scenario is executed in bright colors on real leaves of the ficus or bodhi tree, under which the Buddha is believed to have achieved enlightenment.

In fact, Scheier-Dolberg said, it is two ancient paintings of these wise old men that gave birth to the entire show.

"We have in our collection two famous paintings of Luohans that hadn't been exhibited for a long time. They provide the starting point for my endeavor, which would eventually come to cover a much more broader area dominated not only by the Buddha and his successors, but a myriad of forces that both guided and guarded the existence of the Chinese, in this world and beyond."

One of them is by Shitao (1642-1708), who employed thin lines in faint color in his depiction of mountainous caves, from which these reclusive men would emerge.

Shitao, whose original name was Zhu Ruoji, was born into the ruling Zhu family one year before the fall of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Taken into hiding in a temple as a toddler as the rest of his family was massacred by the new regime, Shitao later spent many years in the temple, all the while finding it hard to forsake his longing for fame.

In his painting, one of the Luohans is pouring water from a thinnecked bottle. The stream runs off toward the end of the scroll, where it morphs into a dragon, the ultimate symbol of supernatural and regal power throughout Chinese history.

A more grotesque rendering of the Luohans was given by the Ming Dynasty painter Wu Bin, who lived a century earlier. With bulging forehead, slightly contorted face, the occasional side whiskers or bushy beard, and most notably, long curved fingernails more likely in Western folklore to be associated with a witch, Wu's Luohans are combinations of a tough hide and a tender heart.

"Keeping in mind that Buddhism first originated in India, such depiction reflects the Chinese imagination of people from West Asia and the Indian subcontinent," Scheier-Dolberg said.

Not only that. For a large part in Chinese art history, painters who were subjected or opted for the influence of Buddhism were often those in exile, self-imposed or otherwise. With political ambition thwarted by reality, religion for them is as much a comfort as a refuge. Some also followed Taoism, founded in the sixth century BC by the Chinese philosopher Laozi, who advocated "inaction" or "action without intention" as a way of reaching harmony with nature and oneself. In the reclusive Luohans some artists have reluctantly discovered their alter ego.

Speaking of Taoism, the indigenous doctrine has spawned its own legion of gods and demigods who are protectors and well-wishers. Compared with their omniscient Buddhist divinities, some have humbler roots, two examples being the sixth century warriors-turned-door gods Qin Qiong and Yuchi Jingde.

Guarding entrances to people's homes in the form of colorful wooden prints, they are more ubiquitous than those who stare down at the kneeling worshippers from the temple of their own, to say the least.

Here is something that is typical of the Chinese approach toward worship: rather than saying prayers to a set group of deities based on a certain belief, the Chinese embraced all, untroubled by even the slightest hint of sectarianism.

Zhang Xiping, a renowned professor at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, whose research covers Chinese philosophies and religions in China, said: "The merging of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism became irreversible during the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. Shying away from answering questions about life and death, Confucianism offers guidance for behaving and self-cultivation but not comfort to the soul. But those questions had to be answered and the soul comforted. That was where Buddhism and Taoism, the latter concerning itself with immortality, came in, together giving rise to Chan, or Zen Buddhism."

"Since they dealt with different realms - this life and the next - these different ways of thinking complement rather than contradict each other. This also explains why in Chinese history, no war has ever been fought in the name of religion," he continued.

This meditative inclusiveness is reflected in art: a large hanging scroll from the early 17th century teems with Buddhist and non-Buddhist immortals, each with power that the artist hoped to invoke.

Right at the center, sitting cross-legged on an open lotus, is Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy known outside China as Bodhisattva. Guanyin, famously cast as the female disciple of the Buddha in the 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West, is without doubt the most venerated deity in ancient China, helping women in the fulfillment of their maternal duty, by bringing them an offspring.

In a potent example of what happens when a ruler became a devout Buddhist, Empress Dowager Cisheng of the Ming Dynasty commissioned her own incarnation of the all-compassionate Guanyin, accompanied by a child deity who appears on the lower left side of the painting and who is almost certainly the empress' elder son, Emperor Wanli.

Politics and religion were inextricably intertwined, something of which the exhibition has plenty of proof. A small alcove linked to one of the galleries is occupied on three walls by three hangings, all dedicated to Tibetan Buddhism but belonging to the consecutive periods of China's Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (1271-1911).

On its way eastward from India, Buddhism had made stopovers in Tibet, where it morphed into Tibet Buddhism, a form of religion known for fueling an unparalleled passion among believer-artists determined to honor their god with countless hours of work. The accumulation of time and labor resulted in visually sumptuous works of art meant to dazzle the eye and the mind.

This taste, perhaps not by coincidence, appealed to the rulers of China's vast empires, many of them, starting from the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century, being followers of Tibetan Buddhism to varying degrees.

Together, the three wall hangings - two painted, one woven - shed light on forces at play in court. They also reveal the rulers' desire to stay at the top of the game, by harnessing the powers that had a hold on their subjects from afar.

And they are a far cry from the simple-looking tea set loved by the Chinese - and their contemporary Japanese and Koreans - between the 10th and 13th century. The constantly evolving aesthetic hints at the complexity of the spiritual world that has always been for shaping, and that lies beyond the comprehension of most.

But it never harms to find oneself a place of quietness to sip tea, knowing that there is history to savor, wisdom to gain and philosophy to muse over.

 

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2019-10-19 06:40:05
<![CDATA[Indian dance bridges cultures]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/19/content_37516977.htm In a villa in northeast Beijing, a dozen young children danced to the rhythm of Bharatanatyam, a major form of Indian classical dance.

Leela Samson, one of the world's most eminent Bharatanatyam dancers, watched with amazement.

These children, aged 5-12, are among the youngest generation of Bharatanatyam lovers in China, who shared an enduring passion for this ancient Indian art.

Communication

As Samson showed her moves, the children were mesmerized. Her dance is poetic. Every blink of eye, flip of finger and stamp of feet conveys a meaning or emotion so powerful, melodious and charming that even the cleverest play of words pales into insignificance.

"When you sing and dance, you don't need languages to communicate. I think this is the best way to bring people of the two countries closer and this also helps contribute to the friendly ties between the two nations," said Jin Shanshan, a disciple of Samson and teacher of the Chinese students.

After decades of practice under the guidance of Samson, Jin has become one of China's leading Bharatanatyam dancers and teachers. She often led her students to stage performances in cultural centers in Beijing and in events sponsored by the Indian embassy or companies. They have cultivated a niche Chinese audience who enjoy the dance and Indian culture.

Samson believes the love of dancing has the power to bring people together. "Who doesn't like dance? It brings a smile to everybody's face."

Enduring passion

Chennai is the capital of south India's Tamil Nadu, where Bharatanatyam originated.

For Jin, it was a tall order just to meet with Samson back in the 1990s. Fascinated by Samson's performance, Jin had determined to become a student of her idol. She made her way into China's prestigious Peking University and earned herself a scholarship in order to travel to India.

But when she finally met with Samson, Jin was rejected, thrice. She never gave up. Moved by her persistence, Samson accepted her as a foreign disciple, which was rare at that time.

"I'm lucky to have met my guru. She showed me the way of art. Now I'm ready to devote my life to Bharatanatyam," Jin said.

Jin's students inherited her grit. Young as they are, the children never gave in to the hardship of learning a foreign dance. They often practiced basic moves for hours in a run.

Generation

Samson sees a generational cycle of learning classical Indian dance in China. Young children get their first glimpse of the art and early stage training from a Chinese master. Then they go to India to further their studies and skills with an Indian guru. Some of them will someday become masters and lead more onto the path.

Some of Jin's students have already studied in India. Before Jin, there was Zhang Jun, the late co-founder of China's renowned Oriental Song and Dance Ensemble. Zhang first visited India as a curious 19-year-old in the early 1950s. She brought Indian classical dance to China and has inspired thousands throughout the five decades of her teaching career.

In the 1950s, Zhang kindled the passion for Indian classical dance in China to bridge the cultures of the two civilizations. The passion continues to thrive even after Zhang's passing away in 2012.

"I love my motherland and I love Indian culture. I really wish to contribute as much as I can to promote friendship between China and India," Jin said.

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2019-10-19 06:40:05
<![CDATA[From the Great Wall, a high point for connecting cultures]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516798.htm Where I come from, a famous poet, the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, wrote a poem which articulated an aspiration for the future of humanity-

"Where the world has not been broken up into fragments ...

By narrow domestic walls ... "

It wasn't a prayer limited to our country, but was a vision for the "world".

In a classroom in India some two decades ago, one wintry morn, the discussion revolved around, arguably, the most famous wall on the planet - the Great Wall of China. I have no recollection of how the Great Wall entered our discourse, having at some point dozed off in that post-lunch journalism class. And then suddenly, the teacher pointed at me.

"I will continue this conversation if my friend over there promises not to fall asleep," he said with a smile that put me at ease. I stood up and, in my effort to restore pride and reputation, mumbled out, "Why did they build the Great Wall?"

Everybody burst out laughing, seeing my limp effort to salvage myself, and in the din, my question went unanswered.

So, I said to myself, surely, the Berlin Wall was designed to divide former countrymen and establish two separate countries. People are always building walls when they want to cut off ties. Along the United States border with Mexico, they are actually talking about building a major barrier to keep the Mexicans from crossing over.

And they most certainly didn't build the Great Wall so that it would be visible from out there in space, and the claim seems at best an exaggeration.

People remembered my question. Years later, a classmate wrote on my Orkut social networking page, writing, "Why did they build Great Wall of China? ... I like the way you lisp". The wall, I realized, would continue to haunt me. There had been walled cities in India, centuries ago, where the Hindus lived, out of a need to feel secure in numbers. Later, once the rulers changed, there were similar walled cities populated by Muslims for similar reasons. Walls seemed always the best way to cut off ties.

But the Great Wall was built to keep intruders, mostly the Mongols, at bay. Nomadic tribes including the Huns were forever swooping down during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). But the wall wasn't built by just one emperor. Many rulers belonging to future dynasties, including the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), also chipped in.

The construction actually went on for millennia. No wonder the wall boasts a total length of more than 21,000 kilometers. I thought I had done my bit of research and knew all I needed to about the wall. But I hadn't reckoned for what Chairman Mao Zedong had said: "Until you reach the Great Wall, you're no hero."

Now that I was in Beijing, it was just a matter of time before I'd make the customary visit to the Great Wall. So, we set off one fine day, to Mutianyu, the stretch of the wall that is close to Beijing, some 70 km away. There, after a wonderful lunch to keep us going, we were on a ropeway, going up, up, until we reached a vantage point where we realized, unbeknownst to us, we had been photographed on the way up. Thirty yuan ($4.2) later, snapshot in hand, we were finally on the wall.

Centuries ago, it was a wall that kept people away. But today, it is a wall that brings people in. Tourists can actually be on the 4-5 meter-wide wall and walk for as long as their legs can take it, stopping to catch a breath at watchtowers, before negotiating the next steep climb.

There were people from every corner of the world - Americans, Europeans, Arabs, Africans and Asians. Every few steps one walked, one got to hear a new language, another dialect, a different accent. It was a revelation to me at Mutianyu - the Great Wall had ceased to be a wall. Instead, it was a bridge connecting people of different cultures. Its watchtowers were now high points from where a cocktail of languages flowed without confusion.

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2019-10-18 07:48:23
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516797.htm Puzzle-solving robotic hand marks AI milestone

OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research organization in the United States, has recorded an industry milestone in its quest to build general purpose, self-learning robots. The group's robotics division said that Dactyl, its humanoid robotic hand developed last year, has learned to single-handedly solve a Rubik's Cube puzzle. OpenAI sees the feat as a leap forward both for the dexterity of robotic appendages and its own AI software, which allows Dactyl to learn new tasks using virtual simulations before it is presented with a real, physical challenge to overcome.

Habitual tea drinking points to better brain health

A recent study led by researchers from the National University of Singapore showed that regular tea drinkers have better organized brain regions - associated with healthy cognitive function - compared with non-tea drinkers. The research team reported the discovery after examining neuroimaging data of 36 adults age 60 and older. Upon analyzing the participants' cognitive performance and imaging results, researchers found that individuals who consumed either green, oolong, or black tea at least four times a week for about 25 years had brain regions that were interconnected more efficiently.

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2019-10-18 07:48:23
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516796.htm Biz: Toymaker open to green 'rental' plan

Danish toymaker Lego is considering a brick rental plan in an attempt to cut down on plastic waste. The company has vowed to make all its bricks from sustainable sources by 2030 and is investing significant resources into finding alternatives. Tim Brooks, the company's vice-president responsible for sustainability, said it was "totally open" to the idea of a product rental plan but acknowledged that lost pieces could pose a significant problem. The group makes 19 billion pieces per year - 36,000 a minute - that are made solely of plastic, while much of its internal packaging is also plastic. Lego reportedly emits about 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, with about three-quarters coming from raw materials that go into factories.

People: Alibaba's Jack Ma gets lifetime award

Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, was awarded the Forbes Lifetime Achievement award at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore on Tuesday. Having stepped down as Alibaba's chairman last month, Ma said he is proud of helping to build a credit system to aid people and small businesses. He called for the financial system of the 21st century to be inclusive and to empower people. Ma won the honor for his dedication to promoting entrepreneurship across the world and helping a whole generation to progress by using the internet. Seven business leaders have won the award in the 13 years since its launch, with Ma the first from the internet sector.

Society: Barrier-free movie screened in Harbin

On Tuesday, 20 visually impaired people enjoyed a movie at the Heilongjiang Provincial Library in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province. Five volunteers from the School of Journalism and Communication at Heilongjiang University presented the barrierfree movie, Major Secretary. Holding a microphone, a volunteer narrated the scenes, while the audience quietly listened. All the scenes in the barrier-free movie are described to help the visually impaired enjoy it. These types of films first became available in cinemas in the United States and Canada in the early 1990s. In Harbin, a total of 151 members of the volunteer team have created 26 barrier-free movies for nearly 5,000 visually impaired people since 2016.

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2019-10-18 07:48:23
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516795.htm The Architecture of the City

When: Nov 1 and 2, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

"One cannot make architecture without studying the condition of life in the city," said Italian architect Aldo Rossi.

Inspired by Rossi's book The Architecture of the City, this musical theater presents a unique Hong Kong style through its stage design.

Awarded the Silver Award of DFA Design for Asia Awards, the installation of the performance is designed by Mathias Woo, using bamboo scaffolding as the main material. It presents a traditional construction technique. Together with recycled material as decoration, and the clothing design concept of Lo Sing-chin using urban waste such as paper and aluminum cans, the entire stage and clothing of the performance are made of recyclable resources. The environmentally friendly approach also reflects an urban Hong Kong style.

Yimeng Mountain Range

When: Nov 1 and 2, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Based on true experiences that took place in the Yimeng Mountains in Shandong province during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), the opera tells the story of how local villagers supported Communist troops by making shoes and clothes for them and taking care of their children. The spirit of the Yimeng villagers and soldiers working together to pursue a common destiny promises to impress and inspire.

Yimeng Mountain Range has been staged more than 50 times across the country, including Beijing, and enjoyed by more than 50,000 theatergoers.

The opera is part of the Shandong government's efforts to tap Chinese history and culture and carry on its values for future generations.

Mikhail Pletnev Piano Recital

When: Nov 5, 7;30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Mikhail Pletnev's genius as pianist, conductor and composer promises to enchant and amaze audiences around the globe. He was Gold Medal and First Prize winner of the 1978 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition when he was 21, a prize that earned him early recognition worldwide. In 1990, Pletnev formed the Russian National Orchestra, the first independent orchestra of its kind in Russia. Pletnev's recordings have earned numerous accolades, including a 2005 Grammy Award for his own arrangement of Prokofiev's Cinderella. His album of Scarlatti's Sonatas received a 1996 Gramophone Award.

Evita

When: Nov 13-17, 7:30 pm; Nov 16 and 17, 2 pm

Where: Hangzhou Grand Theater, Zhejiang province

With more than 20 major awards to its credit, Evita is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics and book by Tim Rice. It charts the young and ambitious Eva Peron's meteoric rise - a journey from poor illegitimate child to ambitious actress to, as wife of military leader-turned-president Juan Peron, the most powerful woman in Latin America, before her untimely death from cancer at age 33. Well-known numbers include Don't Cry for Me Argentina, Oh What a Circus, Buenos Aires and Another Suitcase in Another Hall.

Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land

When: Nov 15-17, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land is an iconic stage play in contemporary Chinese theater.

Written and directed by Stan Lai, a US-born playwright and theater director in Taiwan, the play has been performed hundreds of times around the world since its beginnings in 1986. The piece is actually about two plays that are accidentally booked into the same theater for dress rehearsals and the companies cannot find the theater manager. One of the cast plays the early-modern tragedy Secret Love and the other is in period comedy The Peach Blossom Land, based on a classical poem. The problem is that both these plays are to be performed in two days. With only one stage for both rehearsals, conflict and comedy follow.

Tiger and Tiger Tale

When: Nov 29, 7:30 pm; Nov 30, 10 am and 3 pm

Where: Guangzhou Opera House, Guangdong province

Telling the story through the eyes of a little girl, Tiger Tale is a dance theater piece for children and families. It involves a troubled family's world turning upside down when a tiger appears. It's chaotic and it's dangerous, but it also promises to be brilliantly funny.

With captivating dancers and live music, the evocative sound score brings the tiger to life, while the grand set unleashes the chaos of the beast in exciting and unexpected ways - with audiences sitting right up close to the action and the chance to explore the site at the end.

Madama Butterfly

When: Dec 13-15, 7:15 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

Giacomo Puccini is regarded as the last master of the "golden age" of Italian opera. His operas, with their legendary stories, enchanting arias and vivid heroines, have left a strong resonance in opera history as well as in the hearts of audiences across the world. After staging Turandot last year, Shanghai Opera House is poised for another lady from the East - Madama Butterfly - onto the stage in its 2019 season. It tells the story of a doomed love of a Japanese woman, Butterfly, for a US naval officer who marries and deserts her.

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2019-10-18 07:48:23
<![CDATA[Unearthing emotions]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516794.htm A father-daughter duo - an archaeologist and an illustrator - team up for new book on the history of cultural relics, Mei Jia reports.

When archaeologist and art historian Zheng Yan tries to convey information about ancient relics to his readers, he says he uses both translation and imagination.

"I translate the ancient messages, as well as academic terminology into contemporary Putonghua (standard Mandarin)," Zheng says. "I also use my imagination to figure out stories behind the relics stuck in the dirt for long."

Aged 6,000: The Stories of Cultural Relics (Nian Fang Liu Qian) is Zheng's latest book that aims to find missing details of historical or cultural meaning throughout Chinese civilization. The book, released by China Citic Press and Moveable Type, has been illustrated by his daughter, Zheng Qinyu, an art design major, to appeal to young readers.

In the book, Zheng Yan describes a scene when a potter was so tired and angry with endless work - an indication of prosperous society at that time - that he created a colored pottery piece, featuring a young girl falling asleep on a camel. The relic was unearthed from a Tang Dynasty (618-907) tomb in Xi'an, Shaanxi province.

Zheng Yan captures the potter's complaints about his boss' demand that his pieces show the different skin colors of the figures he portrays and their detailed physical depictions, because they came to the Tang capital from various regions west of China for trade and leisure.

"I'm tired. The girl I made today is also tired. Can you please give us some quiet space to just take a nap," he writes, imagining the potter's thoughts.

These items are not only archaeological objects but also are about people and their relationships, Zheng Yan says.

"I rebuild the scenes and reconstruct the stories from the perspectives of their creators and users but leave conclusions to the readers," he adds. "Also, I try my best to avoid grand narratives but stress things like details of everyday incidents and people's emotions."

The book tells stories of 89 portable and unearthed items ranging from 5000 BC to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). His description of each relic is fewer than 500 words so that younger readers don't get bored, he says.

Zheng Yan also remembers his first field report on 10 unearthed pots - a record in technical language about their sizes, shapes and material. The 53-year-old says that, while he agrees with the standard approach to archaeology, his "feelings from field studies and museums are left unexpressed" if only convention is followed.

He says archaeology is seen as a science in China and that he hopes to bring cultural and artistic perspectives into it through his writings and translations of foreign studies in the field.

He holds a doctorate in archaeology and was involved in the excavation of the legendary Daming Palace site near Xi'an in 2000. He then spent 15 years in Shandong Museum before becoming a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Zheng Yan has written many essays and academic papers. He says the most difficult part of writing books like Aged 6,000 is to convey the meaning of the research to the general public, who may have little knowledge in this regard.

"I seldom pack my writing with terms, theories and metrics. Instead, I write about what touches me the most in relics," he says.

"This is something similar to what I tell my students: Confused about writing papers? Go to your mother and tell her what you're writing about. Make her understand. If you get stuck when you're writing, then go back to the reason why you started."

Zheng Yan says he believes the relics, once excavated, break the linearity of time.

"They seem to be able to fold time and space, to connect us with our ancestors and our cultural heritage".

The book is his first collaboration with his daughter, Zheng Qinyu. She says she was initially not interested in art history, because her father has always spent more time on the subject than with her.

"I had to ask him questions in the process, and I learned a lot from him while working on the book," she adds.

Zheng Qinyu is known for her illustrations for Liu Xinwu's introduction to the classic novel, A Dream of Red Mansions. The illustrations of the relics are different. They're more factual, the 25-year-old says. She used only color pencils and watercolors for the new book.

She spent hours in museums studying the objects and followed her father's advice: "Going to a museum and taking pictures and sharing them on social media is not really visiting a museum. Once the pictures are taken, you start to forget about the ancient relics you saw. Just stay there, look at them and appreciate them with your own eyes."

Xu Huan, director of the popular TV program, Every Treasure Tells a Story, says the book by the Zhengs brings warmth to her as a reader.

"It's the kind of love we have for our parents, our cultural expressions and our history," Xu says.

"These emotions bring the relics back to life."

The book is part of a trend of recent releases that explore China's cultural heritage from new perspectives, many of which are created for young readers. They include the book version of Every Treasure Tells a Story, which is based on the eponymous TV program, Nation's Greatest Treasures, and National Treasures for the Kids.

"Such books are nice, enjoyable approaches to looking back. And they sell well," says Chen Xuan, an editor at Moveable Type.

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2019-10-18 07:47:51
<![CDATA[New book looks at New China from its founding until today]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516793.htm Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct 1, the Chinese and English versions of A Concise History of the People's Republic of China (1949-2019), compiled by the Institute of Contemporary China Studies, were published by Contemporary China Publishing House.

The book summarizes the striving of New China in the past 70 years in simple language. The endeavors of generations of Chinese have turned China from an agricultural country with a backward economy into the world's second-largest economy. Various undertakings are moving forward and comprehensive national strength is upgrading.

China took only several decades to complete the tasks that took developed countries several centuries. Numerous great events, achievements, theoretical results and heroic models emerged. The book vividly displays the development process of New China in about 230 pages, making it easy for readers to understand the historical process in a short time.

Earnest Hemingway once said that if a writer knew enough about the content of one's writing, he would omit what he understood. However, readers would want to know about the things omitted.

Reading this book, one will have similar feelings.

Reading is usually fragmented in modern times, since information availability has exploded. The book is convenient for readers to learn about national history within limited time. Its short chapters are helpful for readers to rapidly form a coherent understanding of New China. This is of significance for correctly understanding historical issues, investigating the relationship between the periods before and after the reform and opening-up, resisting historical nihilism and avoiding the tendency to see things in a one-sided way.

Considering cultural differences and the vast content of New China's history, the scale of spreading this legacy overseas has been limited. The book has simple chapters and excellent translation to engage overseas readers. Hence, it plays an important role in spreading the Chinese voice and telling Chinese stories.

It elaborates upon the "China road" and "China spirit" with objective historical facts. Over the past 70 years, the Chinese people have realized a leap forward from standing up to growing rich and then becoming strong. The rapid rise is awesome for the country and the world.

On one hand, the international community often misunderstands China. It sometimes even reaches the point of slander, causing some countries and regions to panic and become hostile to China's rise. On the other hand, people in China also have historical nihilism, and some are directed by individual cases and one-sided remarks leading to epistemic fallacy.

People at home and abroad need to understand China more completely. The book may help them know the overall situation in the shortest time. Domestic readers will understand the hardships and the historical inevitability that China has grown from standing up to becoming rich and strong.

For foreign readers, the book showcases the pioneering experiences of the Chinese people. It reflects China's national integrity and the peaceful and inclusive characteristics of the Chinese nation. It explains to the world that the rise of China fundamentally relies on the diligence of the Chinese people other than other means.

At the same time, it explains to the world that China is still a large developing country and faces difficulties in reform and development. China cannot be separated from the world and vice versa. The building of a community with a shared future for mankind is the demand of China's development and will bring fortune to the peaceful development of the world.

For developing countries, the book shows the successful practice of scientific socialism in China. It vividly displays the processes, practices and the great achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Many countries suffered from governance dilemmas after the 2008 economic crisis, which made people with breadth of vision start to drop racial and ideological prejudices to re-examine China and recognize scientific socialism.

The 70-year history of New China is not only the march toward the revitalization of the Chinese nation but also the process of exploring scientific socialism. In this regard, China is blazing a path for the happiness of all mankind.

The author is deputy director of the Chinese Communist Party History and Documentation Research Institute in Beijing.

For China Daily

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2019-10-18 07:47:51
<![CDATA[Pouring forth from the desert]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516792.htm Chateau Changyu Moser XV is innovating to make the most of its grapes, whose special properties come from their unique terroir in arid Ningxia, Li Yingxue reports.

Chateau Changyu Moser XV's chief winemaker, Lenz Moser, decided to start this year's grape harvest in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region on Oct 3.

It was Moser's latest harvest in the past five years - about a week later than usual. He'd waited until the sugars and tannins were perfect.

"The intensity of the fruit was expressive as never before. They were the best grapes I have ever worked with in Ningxia," he says.

The harvest lasts for around two weeks, during which many people work 14 hours a day, seven days a week. It's the most important time of year for the chateau. Moser walked around 15,000 steps between the vineyard and the winery every day this season.

The grapes are sorted and fermented after harvest. After two years in French oak selected by Moser, the wines are ready to meet the world. Moser hopes they'll shine in the Chinese and global markets.

Moser belongs to the 15th generation of Austria's famous Moser winemaking family. He came to China in 2005.

After working with Changyu on sales and marketing for 10 years, he realized that, even though it had become the biggest wine company in China, it was not successful internationally.

Moser became chief winemaker of Chateau Changyu Moser XV in 2015.

He brought with him all his experience, from growing grapes to bottling.

He even sold his winemaking business in Europe so he could concentrate on the chateau in China.

Chateau Changyu Moser XV was founded in 2013 with the vision to bring the "best of China" to the world.

Changyu invested around $77.2 million to build it. The chateau houses 1,500 barriques in its cellar and high-tech facilities, including the bottling line.

Every stage of production takes place at the chateau, including viticulture, pressing, fermentation and maturation.

The compound also hosts a museum dedicated to the history of Chinese winemaking and of Changyu since its founding in 1892.

It's located near Ningxia's capital, Yinchuan. The area is ideal for growing grapes because of an altitude of 1,100 meters, cool nights and over 3,000 hours of sunshine annually.

The chateau was under construction when Moser first visited Ningxia in 2011. But the grapes impressed him.

"This is why I fell in love with this country - because this is the smallest cabernet sauvignon that I've worked with in my life," he says.

"When you see the small berries, you immediately know you will make good wine. The smaller the berry, the better. Also, in Ningxia, the days are warm, and the nights are cool, which can keep the freshness of the grapes."

Ningxia's desert climate causes the fruit to grow thick skins to prevent evaporation. And tannins and taste are extracted from the skin, he explains.

The vines are buried before winter to protect them.

"On the other hand, because you bury them, which gives them four months of uninterrupted sleep, they end up growing faster the next spring," Moser says.

Ningxia's grape harvests usually start before the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The first change Moser introduced when he started at the chateau was to delay the harvest, which elevated the wines' quality.

"It was a simple idea, but we've been making better wines since 2015," he says.

"We postponed the harvest time by 10 days. When I see the sugar is right, the grapes taste great, and when the seeds are brown, not green, it's about time to harvest."

Moser believes the seeds' color and flavor are crucial. He chews them to see if they taste nutty enough for harvest.

Ningxia's wines used to be about 12 percent alcohol content, but delaying the harvest enabled the seeds to turn brown and the alcohol content to increase to around 14 percent.

It wasn't easy to persuade others to wait at first. If Moser was wrong, the whole year's work would be ruined.

Serendipitously, two rains arrived around the normal harvest time, which naturally stopped workers from gathering the grapes. And, in the end, the fruit was better than before.

Moser visits the chateau several times a year, including just before every harvest.

Before he arrives, his colleagues send him photos of seeds and other information, including sugar concentrations, on a weekly basis.

"Winemaking is not just one person. It's a teamwork," says Moser, who works with a well-trained all-Chinese team.

"All I have to do is bring my international experience to the chateau. We only produce and bottle what I believe is right for the global market."

About half of the chateau's wine is exported to over 40 countries and regions, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Canada and Singapore.

"Ten years ago, when I said I want to bring our wines from China to the world, nobody was listening," he says.

"Now, our wines are sold in the finest hotels and restaurants in London, such as the Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons. We want to make the best wine of China, and we need also to make wines belonging in the company of the world's finest.

"Today, I can probably say we have achieved a lot of these goals already, because when I do a tasting in Europe, I always have a bottle of nice French wine or even Argentinean wine on the table to prove the point that we have the right to be on the same table."

Moser also wants to bring Chinese wines, including other companies', to the global market.

"We have a long way to go because we are at the beginning," he says.

"But we have good base."

 

Top: Chateau Changyu Moser XV harvests grapes later than usual this year to wait until they get the perfect sugar and tannins. Above: Austrian winemaker Lenz Moser is impressed by the grapes grown in Ningxia. Photos Provided to China Daily

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2019-10-18 07:47:51
<![CDATA[Saury season has diners fishing for compliments]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516791.htm The arrival of autumn also marks the start of the saury-fishing season in Japan, which brings with it the saury-dining season - the mackerel pike is especially delicious at this time of year.

And luckily for local foodies, they won't have to miss the boat since this delicacy can also be enjoyed in Beijing. Fresh saury are shipped into the capital from Hokkaido, where chefs at Koyama simply cure the fish with salt before grilling it, to let its pure flavor shine through.

The restaurant is serving several dishes to counter the autumn chill with a distinctly Japanese touch, from grilled saury to warming sukiyaki. "From beef and mushroom to cabbage, tofu and onion, all our sukiyaki dishes are cooked using traditional methods that present the authentic flavors of Japan," says Anson Tsui, manager of the Beijing branch of Koyama.

The first branch of Koyama opened in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in 1999, when Japanese restaurants were not common in China. Koyama has since expanded across China and has eateries in Shanghai, Chengdu in Sichuan province, and Guangdong's Shenzhen.

Koyama's flagship Beijing restaurant opened on the lower ground floor of Taikoo Li Sanlitun North in 2013. It offers guests an authentic experience from the minute they arrive.

According to Tsui, what sets Koyama apart from other Japanese eateries in the city is variety - it serves every kind of Japanese food, from sushi and sashimi to sukiyaki and teppanyaki.

"Our menu is a celebration of regional Japanese cooking styles. It stretches to more than 90 pages filled with 400 dishes from all over the country," he says.

"Rather than bowing to internet-driven culinary trends that steer many popular restaurants these days, we are dedicated to maintaining traditional cooking techniques and flavors, and to honoring recipes that have developed over hundreds of years."

Training has always been a core element to the Koyama approach, and it has developed strict training and ranking systems to encourage each of their chefs to grow. The chefs also make frequent research trips to Japan to identify new ingredients and techniques, so that they can expand their understanding of authentic Japanese cuisine and pass it on to diners in China.

Koyama serves a range of vegetable and seafood tempura, and the shrimp tempura is one of the most popular choices among diners.

"Tempura requires a skilled hand in the kitchen. The oil must be heated to exactly the right temperature so that the natural flavors of the ingredients aren't compromised and the batter stays feather-light," says Tsui.

Hailing from the Kansai and Hiroshima areas of Japan, okonomiyaki is a savory pancake filled with ingredients like egg and cabbage, and topped with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise and bonito flakes.

The term okonomiyaki roughly translates as "cooked as you like it", and is a reference to the rich variety of ingredients that can go into it. Koyama's version includes salmon for a touch of luxury.

From simple California rolls with ripe avocado to Motorola rolls with tempura shrimp, tuna, avocado and grilled eel, there's a sushi variety for everyone. The rolls are also available in half portions, making it easier to sample more than one variety.

Yakitori is another highlight of Koyama's menu. It features a variety of fresh ingredients and choices, including chicken wings, chicken thigh with scallions, chicken hearts and pork belly. Grilled gingko is perfect paired with a jug of warm sake as the cooler weather sets in.

 

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2019-10-18 07:47:51
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516790.htm Classic comeback

Zen restaurant has created a hotpot variety for the autumn season based on a two-page recipe used by the Beijing Hotel in the 1970s. Eighty percent of the original ingredients are used to make the hotpot, including 3-year-old wild sea cucumber, abalone, dried scallops, ham, bamboo shoots and mushrooms. The soup base is made with chicken.

3F, No 97 Qianmen Dajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-8861-5783.

Rolling along nicely

Japanese cuisine restaurant Yan organized a sushi class in September, teaching foodies how to make three kinds of sushi. Founder and chef Yan Ruijun taught the class himself and talked budding sushi chefs through the detailed steps required to flatten the rice on the nori and roll the nori into different shapes. Yan's signature sushi features red wine-stewed foie gras with eel.

5F, Building 6, No 5 Anding Lu, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6441-8291.

Pick of the crop

Dutch chef Richard Ekkebus, whose restaurant, Amber, in Hong Kong has won two Michelin stars for nine consecutive years, will appear as a guest chef at the Mandarin Oriental Beijing on Oct 20. Ekkebus specializes in French cuisine and is quite picky about the freshness of his ingredients. He is bringing several of his signature dishes to Beijing, including wagyu beef and an avocado dessert.

B3 East Building, WF Central, Building 1, No 269 Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-8509-8810.

Currying favor

Laburnum Thai Restaurant has become a standout example of Thai cuisine in Beijing since it opened in the city 10 years ago. Their signature crab curry is a must-try. Sweet and salty flavors are released by the blend of crabmeat, curry base and coconut milk. The best way to finish the dish is to mix the curry with a bowl of rice.

South of west gate of Workers' Stadium, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6652-9999.

Forest to table

Daccapo Italian restaurant launched a new "Into the Forest" set menu in October to bring the freshness of the forest to diners' tables. Mushrooms feature widely on the menu, and Yunnan mushroom consomme with braised beef tortellini and the chargrilled Australian sirloin with homemade spinach pappardelle and morels are just two of the highlights.

No 99 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-8522-1888.

China Daily

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2019-10-18 07:47:51
<![CDATA[Acrobatic production to kick off festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516789.htm High-wire act set to enthrall Shanghai audiences, Zhang Kun reports.

An original acrobatic theater production titled Battle of Shanghai will premiere at the Shanghai Grand Theatre tonight as part of celebrations for the opening of the 21st China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

This is the first time an acrobatic show is being presented during the grand opening of the CSIAF, says Wang Jun, president of the organizing committee of the festival.

Jointly created by the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe and the Shanghai Circus School, the production - which tells the story of young revolutionaries on the eve of Shanghai's liberation in May, 1949 - will feature a combination of acrobatic stunts, video projections and novel stage designs. Shanghai-based news portal The Paper lauded the production as "a big step forward for Shanghai-style acrobatics".

According to the organizers, the festival will feature 97 theater performances, eight of which will be shown for the first time to the world.

One of the most anticipated performances is the Shanghai Huju Opera Theater's Highly Confidential, which will premiere on Wednesday. This revolution-themed play tells the story of a revolutionary who spent years protecting secret documents for the Communist Party of China.

Huju is a local opera form in Shanghai and many of the repertoires are about China's revolutionary history, says Mao Shanyu, head of the company and a famous Huju Opera actress. Supported by the Shanghai Cultural Development Foundation, Highly Confidential was commissioned by the CSIAF.

"We are a festival as well as a creative platform for the performing arts," says Wang. "We believe it is our mission to present the outstanding culture and heritage of Shanghai."

Highly Confidential is based on a true story that happened in the city, and Mao believes that "by presenting the historical tale in the local Huju Opera, we can touch the audiences' hearts, especially those of the young generation".

An important part of the CSIAF is the Art Space project, which aims to make high-quality art productions more accessible to people through affordable ticket prices and public performances.

For example, Angela Georgiou, an internationally renowned soprano, will be performing Puccini, Bizet, Rossini, Glinka, Massenet and Mozart arias alongside the Budapest Symphony Orchestra at Gongqing Forest Park tonight. On Sunday afternoon, the Hungarian orchestra will present a concert at the Shanghai City Lawn Music Plaza.

According to Maestro Andras Keller, conductor of the show, Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra is central to the symphony's tour of Asia. "The wonder of Bartok is that, through folk music, he discovered those energies of the Earth that allowed him to address that ancient, elementary side of humanity," Keller says.

The festival will conclude on Nov 17 with a concert at the Shanghai Grand Theatre by the NDR Radiophilharmonie conducted by Andrew Manze. The performance will also feature Chinese violinist Huang Mengla.

The festival will also include 12 exhibitions, including Retrospectrum, the first showcase in China of Nobel Literature Prize-winning songwriter Bob Dylan's creations. The exhibition will take place through Jan 5 at the Modern Art Museum Shanghai.

A festival that has been well-received by international counterparts and institutions over the years, the CSIAF will host nine symposiums during a trade fair at the festival, one of the regular fixtures of the event every year. During the fair, industry insiders will share their experiences of introducing Chinese productions to overseas markets and vice versa.  

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2019-10-18 07:47:51
<![CDATA[China's first 'floating opera house' sets sail]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516788.htm The new Shangyin Opera House celebrated its grand opening on Sept 15 with an original opera production He Luting, one of the most influential composers and music educators in modern Chinese history.

The composer, who was born in 1903 and died in 1999, used to be the director of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, which manages the new opera house.

According to Liao Changyong, the director of the conservatory, the opening performance which starred students and young scholars at the conservatory, was a means of testing the state-of-the-art acoustic system at the new venue.

Designed by Christian de Portzamparc, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect from France, the eight-story building consists of a U-shaped main theater with 1,200 seats spread across four levels. This design, says Liao, allows audiences to get closer to the stage. The building also has four rehearsal halls, a lecture hall and stage-lifting devices that would allow two productions to be staged at the same time.

The new facility also features the latest soundproofing technology which has greatly enhanced the auditory experience. In addition, the opera house was built on a spring isolator to eliminate vibrations from the nearby metro line. Liao describes the new building as "the first floating opera house in China".

The acoustic system at the opera house can even be adjusted to suit different performances such as symphony, theater, chamber and folk music. It can also be finetuned to cope with the different requirements for opera productions in different languages, such as German, Italian and Chinese. Touch-screen displays have been fitted into the back of each seat so that audiences can read the subtitles of foreign productions.

Liao says that the new opera house marks a major improvement to the hardware of the conservatory and will help the school in its quest to nurture more top-level musicians. The facility will also be introducing opera productions from abroad while creating its own original shows. One of its key objectives is to play a more active role in introducing opera and classical art to the wider public in Shanghai.

"Shanghai now has a new cultural landmark, and people in the city now have one more venue to enjoy good art," says Liao.

During the China Shanghai International Arts Festival starting from Friday, the opera house will host 23 performances by 13 productions. The most high-profile of these productions are two Mozart operas by the Teatro Alla Scala. The Italian company will present La finta giardiniera (The Pretend Garden Girl) on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, and The Magic Flute on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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2019-10-18 07:47:51
<![CDATA[Tech-driven art group to open solo exhibition]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/18/content_37516787.htm Following a successful Shanghai debut at the Tank Shanghai museum earlier this year, TeamLab, a group from Japan that combines digital technology with immersive art experiences, will open its own exhibition space in Shanghai.

TeamLab Borderless Shanghai, a new exhibition space on the west bank of the Huangpu River, will open to the public on Nov 5. The 6,600-square-meter space will showcase more than 50 projects by the group.

According to Wang Dong, general manager of Shanghai BES Chengtay Culture Technology, the investor and operator of TeamLab Borderless Shanghai, the new exhibition center will be a long-term project and aims to become a tourist destination that is as popular as Shanghai's Disneyland.

Wang added that TeamLab Borderless Shanghai is the first major project by Shanghai BES Chengtay.

"Our company is focused on the cooperation, investment and operation of top international intellectual property, and will explore a broad market for cultivating new Chinese art forms," he says.

Two exhibition rooms were opened to members of the media during a recent preview.

In the first room, the walls were adorned with images of flower blossoms and waterfalls which visitors could move or trigger a change in color by touch. Visitors were also able to initiate projections of rain, thunder and fireflies by touching the corresponding Chinese characters that fell from the ceiling.

In the other room, hundreds of lanterns hung at different heights occupied a dark space surrounded by mirrored walls. Whenever a visitor entered, his or her presence illuminated the lanterns which gradually changed in color and brightness.

According to Sato Mayo, a staff member at TeamLab, the preview accounted for no more than 10 percent of Teamlab Borderless Shanghai.

Dedicated to the exploration of the relationship between humans and the world, TeamLab started to create new media art with digital technology in 2001. The group has since held exhibitions worldwide in countries like Japan, Singapore, China and the United States. The group now consists of more than 600 artists and scientists who rely on actuarial science and programming to design visual fantasies and interactive experiences.

The group launched the first TeamLab Borderless exhibition in Odaiba, Tokyo on June 21, 2018. Occupying 10,000 square meters, Teamlab Borderless Tokyo received 230 million visitors from 160 countries and regions in its first year. Due to the success of the exhibition, the museum set a world record as the most popular single-artist destination, exceeding that of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, according to Toshiyuki Inoko, founder and chief representative of the group.

Inoko explained to China Daily that the concept of "Borderless" revolves around "a space comprising several artworks that seamlessly appear to flow into each other".

At TeamLab Borderless, the artworks jump out of the room in which they are located and move to another, where they mingle with other works already installed there. In Shanghai, "the birds you see in one exhibition hall will fly to another location, and your movements will trigger new interactions and new changes", explains Inoko.

"Borderless Shanghai is a mapless museum consisting of a group of borderless artworks."

Among the 50 pieces of artworks at the exhibition in Shanghai are new creations being shown for the first time, as well as the group's largest installation - Forest of Resonating Lamps.

"I hope visitors can immerse themselves in this borderless space and explore and create a new world with other people," says Inoko.

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2019-10-18 07:47:51
<![CDATA[Hunger for good food leaves me clutching for my wallet]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516358.htm She looked at me and asked, "Can you cook?". It was a question I expected, but not this soon. The day before, a male friend advised me that Chinese women love it when a man cooks for them.

I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, I'd replied.

Here I was on a first date and I had to confess an awkward truth. Yes, I can cook... but I haven't for months. My workplace has a canteen, so I rely on that for dinner and buy lunch from a nearby shop.

My answer seemed to placate her. Although I felt embarrassed, I shouldn't have. Cooking doesn't come naturally to many people. The talented ones are either taught by a parent from an early age or have a passion and pay for classes. The rest of us are like scavengers, grateful for any morsel that comes into view. I belong in the latter camp. Judging from the popularity of the office canteen, so do many of my colleagues.

Before I came to China, there was no canteen to rely upon so I cooked. I had a few stock recipes: a vegetable chili, a pasta sauce and a meat and veg combo. Sometimes, I felt pleasure from eating the healthy meals I made.

But on the whole, it wasn't worth the grief.

First, I had to navigate a supermarket. I hated the repetitive trawl through the aisles, searching for items, comparing prices and trying to avoid temptation. Second, I found that preparing the ingredients can take almost as long as the cooking. Finally, I had to watch my simmering creation to make sure it or the kitchen didn't go on fire.

After all that effort, what I made sometimes tasted odd or disgusting. On those occasions, I had the humiliation of throwing out what I'd spent all that time and money creating. I quickly grew fed up.

Social pressure to be good in the kitchen can be intense. TV cookery shows and their spinoff books are popular across the world. At dinner parties, people talk about their favorite recipes and give tips on how to create the perfect dish.

But there's a dirty secret that's never discussed: The vast majority of these glossy recipe books are never acted upon. They're treated as picture books to peruse before bedtime.

Even the most talented cooks will occasionally sneak off to a fast-food restaurant or buy a sandwich wrapped in plastic. In modern life, finding the time or energy to cook every day is impossible.

It doesn't help that food is an emotive subject. Just talking about it can make one hungry, a basic human impulse. I think it sets off a certain delirium in people. Some foods are marketed as organic "superfoods" that guarantee good health. Meanwhile, greasy snacks or sweets are branded harmful.

I ignore the hype. The one diet we can all follow is a balanced one, provided you have no medical issues.

Eating a little bit of everything seems the best course to plot. There's a whole spectrum of delicious flavors to be explored, so why limit yourself?

One day, I hope the snobbery around food will be replaced with a simple affection. A key part of the economy provides ready meals and snacks for the silent majority. Those on high horses should remember that.

I'll resume cooking when circumstances dictate. Probably when I'm forced to prove to a potential love interest that I'm not completely useless. In the meantime, I'll get my meals from the experts. I know it costs more money but if you'd sampled some of my cooking you'd understand.

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2019-10-17 08:40:32
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516357.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Oct 17, 1952, Tanggu New Port officially opened its doors.

Now known as the Port of Tianjin, it is the largest port in North China and the main maritime gateway to Beijing.

In September 1973, Tianjin port helped lay out the country's first international container shipping route and established its first container berth within the next decade.

An item from Feb 4, 1982, showed cargo being unloaded at the major port.

After just a few decades of development, China's shipbuilding and container transportation sectors have reached international standards.

In 2002, China overtook the US to become the world's top handler of containers.

In one of the latest port rankings released by Lloyd's List, a United Kingdom journal on the shipping sector, the Port of Tianjin is the ninth busiest in the world. Last year, its annual handling capacity reached nearly 16 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo capacity), up 6.2 percent year-on-year.

Ports in China were a major force behind the 4.8 percent global growth in the sector last year, the ranking showed.

Of the top 100 ports, 21 are in China.

The country boasts seven of the top 10 ports in the world, based on cargo and container throughput.

Shanghai Port is the world's busiest, with an annual handling capacity of more than 42 million TEUs last year, up 4.4 percent from the previous year. The port started container transportation operations in 1978.

Ningbo-Zhoushan Port ranked the third busiest last year. The port saw its cargo throughput jump 5.5 percent year-on-year to 557.96 million metric tons in the first half of this year.

The latest container handling and shipping equipment also continues to complement China's growing logistics network and connectivity, including links with its central and western regions to the global market under a ports distribution strategy that combines coastal waters and inland rivers.

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2019-10-17 08:40:32
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516356.htm 3D-printed structure of ancient bridge made

A 3D-printed concrete bridge modeled on a 1,400-year-old stone arch bridge has been unveiled in Tianjin. About half the size of the Zhaozhou Bridge, the world's oldest open-spandrel segmental stone arch bridge, the 28-meter-long 3D structure was created by a research team from Hebei University of Technology. The Zhaozhou Bridge, also known as Anji Bridge, stands over the Xiaohe River in Zhaoxian county in Hebei province. It was built in the Sui Dynasty (581-618). "Compared with traditional engineering, 3D concrete printing technology can save around one-third of construction materials and two-thirds of human labor," said Ma Guowei, who led the project. The technology can also be applied in ancient building protection and restoration, he said.

Singer sets record for 'highest' show

Actress and singer Karen Mok was awarded a Guinness World Record for a solo concert at the highest altitude in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region. The two-hour show was held at a sports center at an altitude of about 3,650 meters on Saturday. Before the end of the performance, an official Guinness record certifier took to the stage and announced that Mok had set a new world record for a concert at the highest altitude. Other than altitude, the record had to meet two other criteria: there had to be at least 10,000 tickets sold and the concert had to last more than an hour.

Check more posts online.

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2019-10-17 08:40:32
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516355.htm World: K-pop death sparks bill for new law

Following the death of South Korean actress and singer Sulli, nine members of the country's National Assembly are set to forward a bill for a new law against cyberbullying. South Korean pop culture site Allkpop reported that the law aims to enforce strict rules against malicious comments that are posted anonymously. A subcommittee will gather to review details and clauses within the "Sulli Law" some time in early December, on the 49th day after the death of the K-pop star who had long been the target of abusive online comments. Sulli, whose real name was Choi Jin-ri, was found dead at her home on Monday, South Korean police said. The body of the 25-year-old former member of top girl group f (x) was discovered by her manager at her home on the outskirts of Seoul. The deceased had been suffering from "severe depression", according to police. She was known for her outspokenness and drive for women's rights, for which she had suffered online bullying and harassment. Her death sent shockwaves through the K-pop fan community.

Trend: Chinese auto industry remains cool

China's auto industry improved slightly in the third quarter this year but overall it remained cool, according to an industry index. China's Auto Climate Index was recorded at 9 for the third quarter, three points lower than the second quarter, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Despite the continued weak sentiment, the coincident composite index for the auto industry, which reflects the sector's current performance, rose 0.4 points to 82.14 in the third quarter, compared with the second quarter. The country's auto sales and output for the first nine months declined by 10.3 percent and 11.4 percent year-on-year to 18.37 million and 18.15 million units, respectively. The State Council in August announced measures to boost the country's consumption, amid an easing of restrictions on car purchases to support auto sales.

Society: Museum shut for probe over fakes

Chongqing University closed its new museum on Tuesday for an investigation into a scandal concerning fake exhibits, after a visitor pointed out in an article that most of the cultural relics on display were counterfeit. On Monday, a post on the WeChat social networking platform questioned the university spending 6.7 million yuan ($946,000) to build a museum to display counterfeits, showing photos of fake antiques and authentic ones in contrast. The writer said that the crudely made fakes distorted general knowledge about the relics. Chongqing University said it would probe the incident. There were more than 400 works displayed in the museum, according to the university, with the exhibits donated by one of its professors.

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2019-10-17 08:40:32
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516354.htm Infinita

When: Oct 23 and 24, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Familie Floz is a German company which makes mask shows - usually involving improvisation and physical humor, and without spoken text.

Infinita is a 90-minute-long masked mime. It is a cradle-to-grave narrative - beginning with a group of three toddlers, and ending in a retirement home. The action typically centers on the act of playing games: from attacking audience members with a giant bouncy ball, to threatening to empty the contents of a bedpan over them. Thematically, Infinita is more concerned with life than death - though it starts and ends with a funeral procession. It is about a defiant vitality, as the old men in their retirement home continue in the spirit of playfulness that defined their youth.

Andras Schiff and Cappella Andrea Barca

When: Oct 30 and 31, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Born in Budapest in 1953, Andras Schiff studied piano at the Liszt Ferenc Academy with Pal Kadosa, Gyorgy Kurtag and Ferenc Rados, and in London with George Malcolm. Having collaborated with the world's leading orchestras and conductors, he now focuses primarily on solo recitals, play-directing and conducting.

The musicians of the Cappella Andrea Barca are primarily active as global soloists and chamber musicians and are not tied to any orchestras. They were selected by Schiff for the performance of the complete Mozart Piano Concertos at the Mozartwoche Salzburg from 1999 to 2005.

Yimeng Mountain Range

When: Nov 1 and 2, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Based on true experiences that took place in the Yimeng Mountains in Shandong province during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), the opera tells the story of how local villagers supported Communist troops by making shoes and clothes for them and taking care of their children. The spirit of the Yimeng villagers and soldiers working together to pursue a common destiny promises to impress and inspire.

Yimeng Mountain Range has been staged more than 50 times across the country, including Beijing, and enjoyed by more than 50,000 theatergoers.

The opera is part of the Shandong government's efforts to tap Chinese history and culture and carry on its values for future generations.

The Hotel

When: Nov 4 and 5, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

Produced by the Li Xing Dance Studio, The Hotel strikes a familiar chord - seven dancers present seven types of people you may come across in your daily life. The dance drama probes into conflicts between people and the social environment through a real hotel space built in the theater.

Teahouse

When: Nov 8, 9, 12 and 13, 7:30 pm; Nov 10, 2:30 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

Contemporary director Meng Jinghui's take on Teahouse is based on the original by novelist and playwright Lao She (1899-1966) - a household name in China.

Lao She wrote Teahouse in the late 1950s. Beijing People's Art Theater debuted the work in 1958 and the play is still one of its most popular. It depicts changes experienced by all walks of life during the final years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and the periods that follow, including the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) and New China's founding in 1949.

Meng swaps the Yutai Teahouse's traditional architecture for a steel wheel that is 19 meters long, 16 meters wide and 11 meters high.

Meng's three-hour play opens with performers clad in white tops and black pants giving monologues in turn as they sit on the wheel.

Stick by Me

When: Nov 14-17, 7:30 pm; Nov 16 and 17, 10:30 am and 2:30 pm

Where: Hangzhou Grand Theater, Zhejiang province

Stick by Me is a show for 3-to 6-year-olds and was co-created by Ian Cameron and Katherina Radeva and produced by Red Bridge Arts. It was commissioned by Gulbenkian for the Boing Festival, where it premiered in 2017. It was presented at the Edinburgh International Children's Festival 2018 and as part of the Made in Scotland 2018 Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The show is touring the United Kingdom and performing in Japan and China.

Stick by Me is a quirky show about friendship and play, and the importance of treasuring little things. When you're little, there are rules - things you can't do, places you can't go. But then you work out how to find fun, invention and friendship within these seemingly arbitrary parameters.

The Eternal Wave

When: Dec 27 and 28, 7:30 pm

Where: Guangzhou Opera House, Guangdong province

Based on a true story from the 1930s, the dance drama showcases Li Bai, a member of the Communist Party of China who sent information via a secret radiotelegraphy station from Shanghai to Yan'an, the Party's wartime stronghold, for more than a decade, but was discovered and cruelly murdered by the enemy just days before the victory.

Produced by Shanghai Dance Theater, the drama uses 26 movable pieces of stage scenery. The symbolic characters of old Shanghai appear in the drama, including shikumen (traditional Shanghai-style house gates), longtang (old alleyways), newspaper offices and a qipao tailor's shop.

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2019-10-17 08:40:32
<![CDATA[Generating a new image]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516353.htm Oscar-winning director Ang Lee introduced the most expensive "actor" in his new film, Gemini Man, which will be released in Chinese cinemas nationwide on Friday.

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Ang Lee's film Gemini Man features a CGI rendering of Will Smith that marks a departure from old cinematographic methods, Zhang Kun and Xu Fan report.

Oscar-winning director Ang Lee introduced the most expensive "actor" in his new film, Gemini Man, which will be released in Chinese cinemas nationwide on Friday.

Gemini Man tells the story of a past-his-prime assassin, played by US actor Will Smith, who becomes the target of his younger clone.

Lee shot the film in 4K and 3D at 120 frames per second.

The greatest challenge was the computer-generated rendering of Junior, the 23-year-old clone of Smith's 51-year-old character.

The 65-year-old Chinese American director says it took two years of hard work by hundreds of people to create the character, which "cost two or three times" more than Smith, the actual actor.

Lee is determined to use technology to push new boundaries in filmmaking.

His Oscar-winning film Life of Pi featured a CGI tiger, inspiring him to create a human CGI character, which is more complicated.

Smith has stayed in shape throughout his two-decade career. But people change in subtle ways over time, from how they walk to their facial muscles, Lee says.

Lee studied many photographs and videos of Smith. He blew up the images by 6,000 times to observe the minute details of his appearance.

Lee said at a news conference before the film's Shanghai premiere on Monday that he may know Smith's face "better than his birth mother".

"People perceive human faces in strange ways," Lee says.

"The lighting, the circumstances ... lots of elements are involved. Sometimes, even the imagery from his early films wasn't convincing enough."

Shooting at a high frame rate also means more information is shown every second. That, in turn, means higher demand for creative ideas, strategies and performances.

"We live in a digital age, and young people today have sharp eyes," he says.

"Even the video games they play are high frame-rated. You are not able to create convincing imagery with traditional 24-frames-per-second shooting or just makeup to look young."

Smith says Lee was one of the directors on his "yes" list.

"I didn't even know what the project was, and I said, 'Yes!'" he says in Shanghai.

Smith says it was difficult to play two versions of himself.

"Once you get some experience, it is hard to not know, and create naivety and innocence," he says.

Smith didn't see his digital clone until eight months after shooting, he says.

" (It was) shocking and a little bit scary to see a shot of my younger self," he recalls.

Lee has been a filmmaker for over three decades, but he says he still has much to learn.

He says making Gemini Man was like going back in time to study new cinematography as someone willing to do what it takes to develop filmmaking.

One limitation of the techniques used in the film is that only 30 screens installed with the Cinity system, developed by Chinese company Huaxia Film Distribution, can release the original 3D, 120-frame version. The number is scheduled to increase to nearly 50 by the end of October and around 100 by the end of 2019.

The current number may seem small compared with the 65,000 screens in urban China.

But it's a leap from 2016, when only two cinemas - in Beijing and Shanghai, respectively - could show the 120-frame-per-second version of Lee's first high-frame-rate film, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

Lee reveals he's considering making a Chinese-language film and that scriptwriting has already started.

"Chinese culture makes me up. I can't hide that, even when shooting Western stories," Li said during the film's Beijing premiere screening on Saturday.

"So, I have a complicated feeling - excited, yet a bit shy - to return to my hometown ... I'm expecting Gemini Man will have a good performance in China."

 

Clockwise from top: Will Smith shows off a gift from fans at a news conference to promote director Ang Lee’s film Gemini Man in Shanghai on Monday; Smith, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Lee pose for a photo at the event; Lee (third from left) and guests at the film’s premiere in Beijing on Saturday; Lee arrives at the premiere in Shanghai. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-10-17 08:40:11
<![CDATA[Wave of national pride prompts record box-office haul]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516352.htm When high school teacher Pan Xiaona read about a film being shot about the legendary story of Sichuan Airlines pilot Liu Chuanjian last year, it immediately caught her attention.

Liu made a miraculous emergency landing after a section of the cockpit windshields shattered at an altitude of almost 10,000 meters, making the veteran captain somewhat of the Chinese answer to Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the heroic pilot featured in Miracle on the Hudson.

So when tickets for the film The Captain went on sale in early September, Pan planned to book three tickets for her family two days ahead of the opening day, which was Sept 30.

It came as a surprise to Pan, a film buff who regularly visits the cinema, when she saw that more than 90 percent of the seats were already sold out. "It's usually easy to purchase a good seat just a few hours in advance," says the 39-year-old who lives in east Beijing.

Joining millions of other Chinese who chose the cinema as part of their festive entertainment, Pan also bought tickets to join her parents and 11-year-old daughter in watching My People, My Country, the highest-grossing film of this year's weeklong National Day holiday.

"I saw many elderly couples in the theater. Some of them were even singing along to the theme song Me and My Motherland as the credits rolled," says Pan.

Due to the festive atmosphere as China celebrated its 70th anniversary, 116 million tickets were sold during the holiday, the highest amount for a National Day box-office season on record, according to a report by Beacon, Alibaba's movie data tracker.

Boosted by the two blockbusters and The Climbers, a film about two separate ascents of Qomolangma by Chinese mountaineers in 1960 and 1975, the holiday week achieved new heights both in terms of box-office takings and admissions.

Between Oct 1 and 7, China bagged a whopping box-office haul of 4.38 billion yuan ($617.8 million), surging 130 percent year-on-year and setting a record for Chinese cinema for the period.

The three films accounted for nearly 97 percent of all takings during the National Day holiday week - 43.8 percent to My People, My Country, 39 percent for The Captain and 13.9 percent for The Climbers respectively.

Raking in 2.65 billion yuan and still riding a wave of success to top China's daily box-office charts, My People, My Country earned over three times as much as Project Gutenberg, the highest-grossing film for the same period last year.

For most industry analysts, this year's October holiday was seen as one of the most lucrative box-office seasons since 2014, becoming a "battlefield" for big-budget films looking to hit gold.

But what sets this year's winners apart from previous seasonal offerings is that all three films received positive reviews online, demonstrating how far domestic films have improved, says Yin Hong, deputy chairman of the China Film Association and a professor at Tsinghua University.

He also says Chinese filmmakers have found an effective way to tell grandly themed stories, as witnessed in the scale and scope of the anthological My People, My Country, a film that charts seven stories about ordinary people caught up in historic moments in time.

Beijing-based critic Tan Fei agrees that the success of these patriotic films is also related to an enhanced sense of national pride thanks to China's rapid development, which has aroused an interest in some of the more glorious moments from the country's history.

"I actually saw some Chinese people wave national flags when they were watching My People, My Country in a European cinema," says Tan.

Internet giants entered the film industry five years ago, and are now focusing more on promoting festive blockbusters.

Sha Dan, a researcher with the China Film Archive, says modern society's reliance on smartphones and the internet has helped them market these seasonal blockbusters.

My People, My Country has drawn investment from 50 film companies, including internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, while other two films - The Captain and The Climbers - both cited Alibaba as an investor.

Teaming up with major service providers such as e-commerce site Taobao, food delivery app Eleme and online payment platform Alipay, Alibaba managed to generate 210 million "clicks" related to My People, My Country ahead of its release, according to a report by Taopiaopiao, Alibaba's online ticketing service.

"A person's online shopping habits make it possible for big data technology to 'calculate' what kind of movies you like," says Sha.

So when the internet giants start to make forays into the film market, they offer more efficient ways of hooking up with potential theatergoers, adds Sha.

But even with these nontraditional means in film promotion, some insiders say they believe it's still the quality of the product that decides its popularity.

"The three winners all tell excellent stories through well-developed characters. If all Chinese films could attain these heights, our industry insiders would be very optimistic about the future," says Wang Hailin, a veteran scriptwriter.

 

From left: Scenes from the three most popular films shown during the weeklong National Day holiday in China - My People, My Country, The Captain and The Climbers. China's box-office haul set a record for Chinese cinema over Oct 1-7. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-10-17 08:40:11
<![CDATA[Royal Consort revamp ready]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516351.htm A Shanghai actress will present the legendary story of the royal concubine Yang Yuhuan, one of the famous "four beauties" in Chinese history, during the 21st China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

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A classic Peking Opera updated for a modern audience through multimedia and dance will be staged at an upcoming Shanghai arts festival, Xu Xiaomin reports.

A Shanghai actress will present the legendary story of the royal concubine Yang Yuhuan, one of the famous "four beauties" in Chinese history, during the 21st China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

Shi Yihong will play Yang in the latest rendition of the Peking Opera, The Royal Consort of Tang (Da Tang Gui Fei), which will be presented from Nov 6 to 10 at the Shanghai Grand Theatre.

Yang, a highborn lady during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and emperor Li Longji's favorite concubine, was well-known for her beauty and dancing. The historic figure is a frequent subject in Chinese literature, fairy tales and stage productions.

In the early 1900s, Yang's story was written and staged by the famous Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang (1894-1961). The classic is one of Mei's most celebrated works.

Shi is a disciple of the Mei Lanfang school of Peking Opera and one of the best-known performers with the Shanghai Jingju Theater Company. She has been widely praised for her singing and dancing, which encapsulate grace and sophistication.

While this new rendition of The Royal Consort of Tang is based on the original work that premiered 18 years ago in Shanghai, it has been refined for contemporary tastes and to appeal to younger audiences, the show's director Zhu Weigang says.

He says audiences can expect a harmonious blend of the Western symphonic style and traditional Chinese opera.

"This new edition is still inclined toward traditional opera music. The most popular parts of the symphony and chorus have been retained," says Zhu.

It'll also feature more dancing to enhance its visual appeal.

"Yang was said to be the most popular dancer of the Tang Dynasty. So, it's only natural that we have more dancing in the show," says dancer and choreographer Huang Doudou.

A highlight will be the "jade-plate dancing" sequence, a scene Mei popularized almost a century ago. The performance features Shi dancing on a large green plate that complements her movements and costume.

"This is a great combination of operatic poses and classical dance moves. I've been practicing very hard these days. I might actually be the best dancer in the field of Peking Opera," Shi quips.

Historical records show that the Tang Dynasty attracted many foreigners to its capital city, Chang'an (today's Xi'an), resulting in this art form being infused with international elements. As such, the choreography involves actors performing exotic dances alongside Shi to reflect the period's prosperity and diversity.

To cater to modern audiences, the stage design gives up traditional sets featuring colorful furniture and decorations in favor of scenery presented using multimedia.

"We started work on this show at the beginning of the year. I hope this opera will become a classic that will go on to be staged by future generations," says company director Zhang Fan.

 

From top: Posters for the Peking Opera, The Royal Consort of Tang. Shi Yihong (left), who plays the role of Yang Yuhuan, and Li Jun, the main actor of the opera, at a news conference about the production. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-10-17 08:40:11
<![CDATA[Tianjin Juilliard kicks off inaugural season]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516350.htm The Tianjin Juilliard Ensemble has kicked off its inaugural season of performances with a concert held at the Tianjin Grand Theater on Friday.

From October to May 2020, the ensemble will embark on an international tour, showcasing nine programs in 15 concerts in China, including Shanghai, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, and Beijing, and abroad, in such places as South Korea, Singapore, New York and Paris.

With a mixed-instrument ensemble composed of resident faculty members from the Tianjin Juilliard School - the first overseas campus of the New York-based performing arts conservatory - the ensemble aims to promote chamber music on the global stage.

As part of the debut season, the Tianjin Juilliard School and the Tianjin Grand Theater will co-present the Tianjin Juilliard School Chamber Music Week from Nov 6 to 17 at the Tianjin Grand Theater. In addition to three concerts by the Tianjin Juilliard Ensemble, there will be master classes, a chamber music forum and a joint performance by students from the Central Conservatory of Music, the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and Seoul National University. Guest artists will include the Juilliard String Quartet.

Repertoires will vary during the tour, with the opening concert in Tianjin featuring Mozart's Sonata for Piano Four-Hands in B-flat Major, K 358; Claude Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp; and Shumann's Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op 44.

A new composition by Chinese musician Shen Yiwen, Tianjin Capriccio, premiered at the opening concert. The piece combines classical music with local folk songs and kuaiban, a traditional oral storytelling performance popular in Tianjin.

"By performing for different audiences, we gain our experience and get inspired as musicians. Back in school, we can share with our students such knowledge that goes beyond classes," says clarinet player Zhou Xiangyu, who obtained his master's degree from Juilliard in New York and is a member of the Tianjin Juilliard Ensemble.

"Our faculty members are world-class musicians who are passionate about ensemble playing. As it is a mixed-instrument ensemble, it is possible for us to present a unique repertoire to audiences in addition to core piano and strings chamber music. Many of the works performed will be premiered in China," says He Wei, the Chinese American dean and artistic director of the Tianjin Juilliard School. The violinist is also a member of the Tianjin Juilliard Ensemble.

"We will commission works exploring combinations of traditional Chinese instruments and folk elements. It is our hope that audiences will enjoy this inaugural season of performances as they embark on this extraordinary musical journey."

He was born in Chengdu, Sichuan province, and has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for more than 20 years. He says that, as a teacher, he not only wants to show students the techniques of playing their instruments in class but also wants to deliver the message of playing music with other people.

The repertoires for the inaugural tour have been decided by a team led by faculty members, including violinist Guillaume Sutre and flutist Gergely Ittzes.

"With music pieces from different eras and different styles, we want to display the power of chamber music. Though some of the pieces are rarely performed in concert halls, the audience will get a different perspective about chamber music," He adds.

"Our graduate students will have the opportunity to work and perform alongside our stellar group of resident faculty, recruited from seven different countries," says Alexander Brose, the executive director and CEO of the Tianjin Juilliard School.

The Tianjin Juilliard School project started in 2015, when first lady Peng Liyuan visited the Juilliard School in New York while accompanying President Xi Jinping on a State visit to the United States.

The Tianjin school hosted the inaugural class of its pre-college program, modeled on Juilliard New York's century-old pre-college program, on Sept 7. A total of 46 Chinese students from across the country enrolled. In the fall of 2020, the school's postgraduate studies program will be launched, offering three collaborative majors - orchestral studies, chamber music and collaborative piano. The Tianjin school's new campus buildings will also officially open at the same time.

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2019-10-17 08:40:11
<![CDATA[Philadelphia Orchestra seeks to build ties with China tours]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516349.htm NEW YORK - The Philadelphia Orchestra will further people-to-people connections with China through tours to contribute to US-China cultural exchanges and bilateral ties, according to the orchestra's chief.

"For us, the relationship with China and the people of China is important," says Matias Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

"We will be there with a group of musicians in Shanghai and in Beijing next month, and then in 2021, we'll be doing a big tour to China," he says. The orchestra's ties with China are rooted in the 1970s.

Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra has a long history of touring the world.

The orchestra's ties with China mark a significant chapter in its history.

In 1973, the orchestra pioneered cultural exchanges with China at the invitation of then-US president Richard Nixon, becoming the first US orchestra to tour the People's Republic of China. Since then, it has visited frequently, representing a bridge for cultural, educational and people-to-people exchanges.

"The people-to-people connection gets stronger every time the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra set foot in China," says Tarnopolsky, adding that "no matter what the climate externally is, these collaborations continue".

This May, the orchestra wrapped up its 12th tour in China, which also marked the four-decade milestone in US-China diplomatic relations.

It held concerts in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, along with coaching sessions in Chinese colleges from May 16 to 28.

Calling the May tour "an awe-inspiring experience", Tarnopolsky says the "unbelievable warmth" his team received from the Chinese audience showed "how strong the relationship between the orchestra and China continues to be".

"People-to-people exchanges and cultural interactions are crucial to secure the future friendship between nations," he adds.

Reflecting on the orchestra's nearly half-century bond with China, the chief executive, who is also a classically trained musician, says China, with its musical traditions that date back thousands of years, "has informed our music-education practices and our touring practices", noting such interactions also help facilitate musical development.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is widely recognized as a global ambassador for Philadelphia and the United States due to its tradition of collaborations with domestic and international communities.

On Saturday, it staged a special one-night concert for the 70th anniversary of New China's founding.

Earlier this month, the orchestra and the city of Philadelphia worked with the Chinese consulate general in New York to host China Day celebrations.

Xinhua

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2019-10-17 08:40:11
<![CDATA[Moonlighting shines]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/17/content_37516348.htm Side jobs are becoming increasingly popular among young people in China, especially those who crave better lives backed by higher incomes and more diverse occupational options.

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Today's 'amphibious youth' are multitasking millennials, who look to turn hobbies into profitable undertakings that bring them professional fulfillment, Chen Meiling reports.

Side jobs are becoming increasingly popular among young people in China, especially those who crave better lives backed by higher incomes and more diverse occupational options.

The term "everybody needs a side gig" has ranked among the top search terms on Sina Weibo recently, garnering around 150 million views and 21,000 comments.

Comments with the most "likes" include, "No matter what job you have, you should always have a plan B", and, "If your salary is lower than 10,000 yuan ($1,410), a side job is a necessity, because a lack of money will lead to worry and anxiety."

More than 17 percent of young working people - over 80 million employees - in China were taking up second or third jobs as of April, an increase of 9.7 percent year-on-year, according to a report released by Nanjing University, Tsingyan Research and Du Xiaoman Financial, the financial arm of tech giant Baidu.

Around half the people with one or more side jobs were between ages 24 and 28, and most were educated to the junior college level or beyond, the report says.

Economic pressures and desires for self-development were the main motivations for moonlighting, according to the report.

Pan Xueying, a public relations manager in Beijing, took on two part-time jobs as a marketing-events planner and new-media writer earlier this year, after her rent doubled when she moved into a new apartment.

The 26-year-old pays around 5,000 yuan a month in rent and sends home 3,000 yuan to support her parents.

"I thought I should do something to confront the situation," she says, adding that her side jobs are important sources of extra income.

She gets around 13,000 yuan from her main job, while the other two jobs generate between 6,000 and 8,000 yuan a month.

She works from 10 am to 7 pm at her main company, and from 8 pm to 11 pm online, including weekends.

Pan says the side jobs have improved her living standards, strengthened her skills and expanded her social network. The downside is that she sometimes feels exhausted, as work occupies practically all of her time.

According to the report, 80 percent of China's so-called amphibious youth - young people who have one or more additional jobs - work more than 12 hours a day.

Ruan Fang, a global partner with Boston Consulting Group, says the millennial generation is quite different from their predecessors, as they don't set obvious boundaries between work and life. "Work has become an integral part of their lives."

She adds that the internet boom has also provided more opportunities for young people to live double lives in their free time. And they are also more open to making their hobbies profitable.

Yuan Chunran, a 29-year-old college teacher in Beijing, started offering online painting courses in 2016. These now generate around 20,000 yuan per month - 70 to 80 percent of his monthly income.

After his school classes end in the afternoon, he heads to his studio and begins to livestream his painting lessons from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm three nights a week.

"I'm glad to be able to do something that I'm really interested in, even if sometimes I feel tired out after working day and night," he says.

He adds that this side job has allowed him to rent an apartment and a studio that costs 15,000 yuan, hire a studio assistant and set cash aside to fund his new jewelry-design business - so long as he can continue to juggle his two lives. As well as providing a new revenue stream, this latest venture also helps him to connect with more people in art and design circles, and share his experiences of dealing with companies and clients with his students.

Wang Lei, a biology researcher in Beijing, agrees that the "everybody needs a side gig" philosophy will develop as living costs and social pressures continue to rise.

The 31-year-old's first side job was as a part-time translator, after he was recruited by a scientific institute following his graduation in 2016. He earns around 10,000 yuan per month from his day job.

A 3,000-word essay would take him three or four days' spare time to complete. He earned between 300 and 500 yuan per translation.

Now he only translates one or two essays a month, because he has found another more lucrative side job - providing technical consultancy services to company clients for around 1,000 yuan per month.

He says it's not uncommon for scientific researchers like him to take on extra work. "If you can exchange your knowledge for cash, why not? In fact, you just need the (professional) skills to find a second job."

According to another report by online recruitment-services provider Zhaopin, in 2018, about 53 percent of "amphibious youth" had monthly salaries of less than 8,000 yuan - a sum that barely covers basic living expenses in a first-tier city.

"A side job offers extra security and a way to ease anxiety," says Li Qiang, executive vice-president of Zhaopin.

Some young workers chose to develop parallel careers simply out of interest, rather than primarily to increase their incomes.

Wang Zuyi, an art editor for a Beijing magazine, tried several occupations before graduation - as a former graphic designer, a craft retailer and an e-commerce vendor. Her main side gig now is as a tattooist.

"I wanted to explore all my interests. And I want to keep learning during my spare time," the 25-year-old says, adding that the business provides her with an additional 6,000 to 7,000 yuan per month on average, and around 20,000 yuan during peak holidays. Her monthly salary as an editor is around 6,000 yuan.

She says her goal is to become a recognized folk-art tattooist.

Yang Huizi, a college teacher in Beijing, runs online stores on the Taobao and Weidian e-commerce platforms, selling her own artistic creations.

The profit margin remains slim due to the high cost of buying materials, promotion and logistics.

"Although the revenue is much lower than my salary, I love doing it because it makes me happy when I can see my ideas turn into real objects that influence people," the 34-year-old says, adding the connection between her side business and her main job helps her improve her expertise.

Zhao Shuguang, a media professor at Nanjing University, tells China Youth Daily that the country's "amphibious youth" embody the spirit of hardworking Chinese people. They love the sense of achievement that comes from handling multiple occupations, and are willing to invest the time, energy and cash to make them work, he says.

Zhaopin's Li thinks that increasing job flexibility will help young entrepreneurs to thrive in the future as internet commerce and the shared economy continue their rapid development.

The three most popular side occupations in China are e-commerce vendors, writers and designers - all of which enjoy strong market demand, have low entry barriers and offer enormous flexibility, the Zhaopin report says.

Companies are also becoming more open and inclusive so that the flow in human capital in the labor market will become freer in the future, according to Li.

"But it's also important to develop your side jobs while handling your main career as well. Your choice of occupation should play to your strengths," he says. "Improving your expertise is key to survival when faced with fierce competition."

Ruan from Boston Consulting suggests young entrepreneurs should learn how to combine their jobs with their interests and settle on long-term careers that suit them as early as possible.

"It's not wise to explore blind avenues simply to make quick money," she says. "If you are more interested in your side business, why not make it your main career? Only when you focus on a single idea will you be able to make a real success of it."

She adds that when young people start families, it will be more difficult for them to deal with two or even three jobs. The toll on their physical health will not be sustainable and could hinder their career development.

The report from Du Xiaoman Financial shows that more than 65 percent of young entrepreneurs have plans to turn their side businesses into their main careers. Then, the drive to improve professionally will help them attain self-fulfillment, it says.

 

Yuan Chunran, a college instructor in Beijing, teaches online painting courses as his side job. Provided to China Daily

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2019-10-17 08:40:11
<![CDATA[In Harvard case, stereotypical descriptions betray the bias]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516041.htm After months of seeming inactivity, the Harvard University admissions lawsuit sprang back into the news on Oct 1.

You may recall that Harvard University was sued in November 2014 by a group of Asian American students. The group, Students for Fair Admissions, said their applications to the university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had been rejected while students of other ethnicities with lower scores on national tests had been admitted.

The SFFA lawsuit claimed that Harvard discriminates against Asians. It does so by setting a quota on ethnic Asian students it accepts.

Hearings in the case concluded Nov 2 last year, and an unexpectedly lengthy silence followed before the ruling was handed down.

Here's the opening of The Wall Street Journal's report on the ruling: "Harvard University can racially discriminate in admissions against Asian-Americans to achieve a more diverse student body. That's the startling essence of a federal judge's ruling Tuesday that turns the 1964 Civil Rights Act on its head and seems destined for the Supreme Court."

The Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin and skin color. If the SFFA students were denied admission solely because of their Asian ethnicity, it would appear that Harvard patently broke the law.

But law cases are rarely that cut-and-dried.

Competition to get into Harvard is fierce. According to the university, it had more than 43,000 applications for the class of 2022. Only 2,400 were accepted.

It would be safe to assume that prospective students of many ethnic groups - not to mention religions, gender, national origins or color - who had scored as highly as the SFFA students on national tests were also turned away by Harvard.

Harvard says it doesn't deny anyone admission on the basis of race. It weighs a mixture of factors, such as test scores, general intelligence, range of interests, personality, social background, sociability and special skills.

Harvard representatives testified in court that a student's race, specifically whether an applicant was of a racial minority in the United States, was a factor that could weigh only in their favor for admission.

Given the history in the United States since the late 1960s of "affirmative action" - a policy of bias in favor of people of the categories protected under the Civil Rights Act when it comes to employment, schooling and housing - that testimony is credible.

Along with her ruling on Oct 1, Federal Judge Allison Burroughs of the US District Court in Boston, Massachusetts, issued a 130-page explanation of her findings, which The Harvard Crimson, the university's newspaper, analyzed. The following passage from that analysis hits on what to my mind is a crucial factor in the case.

"Burroughs homed in on SFFA's argument that Harvard disadvantages many Asian American students by evaluating them with negative subjective descriptors like 'bland', 'quiet' and 'not exciting'. Though she acknowledged stereotypes faced by many Asian Americans, Burroughs found that SFFA did not prove that Harvard ever described students with words like 'quiet' simply because they were Asian American."

The suggestion is that these descriptions are objectively justified. But the adjectives used in these stereotypes clearly show bias in describing Asian characteristics compared with, say, white American stereotypical characteristics, which might be described as their opposite.

Just to drive home the point, let's compare them with equally slanted wording for my fellow Americans, say as many Europeans might describe them: Asians - bland, quiet, not exciting; Americans - abrasive, loudmouthed and over-the-top.

Or would those words, too, describe objective realities?

The case is expected to be appealed and to ultimately reach the US Supreme Court.

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2019-10-16 08:17:30
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516040.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Oct 16, 1964, China conducted its first nuclear test.

It marked China as the fifth country to successfully detonate an atomic bomb, following the United States, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union and France.

In June 1967, the country's first hydrogen bomb was successfully exploded in the Lop Nur Desert in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The explosive power was 150 times that of the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II. It marked a breakthrough in China's nuclear development.

In July 1996, China conducted its 45th and last nuclear test. The next day, it began its pledged moratorium on nuclear tests. The same year, China signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

In the following year, China ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

An item from Oct 17, 2014, from China Daily showed retirees from the former State-owned Factory No 221 commemorating in Hefei, Anhui province, the 50th anniversary of the explosion of China's first atomic bomb. The bomb was developed and tested at the factory in Qinghai province.

Since the country's plans to build a nuclear power plant in the early 1970s, development of the industry has been brisk.

In 1981, China finally approved the construction of its first nuclear power plant at Qinshan with a Chinese-made pressurized water reactor boasting a capacity of 300 megawatts.

The country's first nuclear station was connected to the power grid on Dec 15, 1991.

China is now a pioneer in the nuclear power sector and has been accelerating construction of nuclear power plants. There are more than 40 reactors in operation and another 20 under construction, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

By the end of next year, China aims to have reactors producing 58 gigawatts of power, and plants under construction with output capacities of 30 GW.

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2019-10-16 08:17:30
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516039.htm Shenzhen draft on stray dogs goes viral

A draft on dog management which permits the euthanasia of stray dogs has gone viral online. The draft issued by the Shenzhen urban management department in Guangdong province is soliciting public opinion on the move. It allows the euthanasia of stray dogs, dangerous or aggressive, which are not adopted after more than two weeks. According to the department, a rising number of the canines were abandoned due to the growing population of pet dogs, which led to surging resident complaints about the strays in recent years.

Self-driving shuttle to serve internet conference

Wuzhen, a historic water town in Zhejiang province, is rolling out full 5G network services for the upcoming Sixth World Internet Conference, including an autonomous shuttle bus powered by the latest mobile technology. The shuttle will run on a 4-kilometer route for conference participants from Sunday to Tuesday. It is also assisted by a human driver to meet driving regulations. The bus can travel at 30 to 40 kph and maintain a distance of 5 to 6 meters from vehicles in front, said Shang Wenzhu, president of developer BroadXT in Hangzhou, Zhejiang's capital.

Check more posts online.

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2019-10-16 08:17:30
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516038.htm Society: Wetland gets Jack Ma charity boost

The Jack Ma Foundation on Monday donated 100 million yuan ($14 million) for ecological research and protection of the Xixi National Wetland Park in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, according to Alibaba Group. "Together with the world's top ecologists, we will build the Xixi Wetland into New York's Central Park," Ma, the retired business magnate and co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, said at the donation ceremony. The wetland park is in Hangzhou's northwestern suburbs and occupies about 10 square kilometers, with rare and endangered aquatic animals and plants. In 2009, it was listed as a Wetland of International Importance under an international conservation treaty. "We hope to participate in the environmental protection and water resources conservation of Hangzhou," Ma said.

Health: How you sleep seen in how you walk

The way people walk, or their gait, can help monitor their quality of sleep with the aid of machine-learning models, according to a study involving Chinese researchers recently published in scientific journal PLOS One. People spend almost one-third of their lives sleeping and to help improve sleep quality, the exact condition of the period of rest is needed, according to researchers. People's gait conveys unique personal traits, including mental and physical health. Previous studies have confirmed that the way people walk, such as their pace, can indicate the length and quality of their sleep. Compared with existing sleep-monitoring methods like smart bracelets, polysomnography and questionnaires, gait analysis is accurate, noninvasive, low-cost and easy to use, according to the researchers.

Travel: Tibet's Potala Palace offers free entry

Tourists can book free tickets to the Potala Palace World Heritage Site in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, from Oct 15 to March 15, according to the palace's administrative office. The visitor-friendly policy is part of the region's drive to promote winter tourism. The usual price of a ticket is 200 yuan ($28) during the peak travel season from May 1 to Oct 31. The Tibet autonomous region received a total of 1.59 million tourists during the seven-day National Day holiday this month, up 16.8 percent year-on-year, according to local tourism authorities.

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2019-10-16 08:17:30
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516037.htm The Gin Game

When: Oct 17-20, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Gin Game was the first play by playwright D.L. Coburn and recognized as his most prestigious work.

The play won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1978 and was later staged in many languages and performed all over the world.

In the play, while enjoying their games of gin, two elder residents engage in lengthy conversations about their families and their lives in the outside world.

Gradually, each conversation becomes a battle, much like the ongoing gin games, as each player tries to expose the other's weaknesses.

Angel's Bone

When: Oct 18 and 19, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner for music, Angel's Bone, follows the plight of two fallen angels whose nostalgia for earthly delights finds them far from heaven.

They are found battered and bruised from their long journey by a man and his wife, who have longed for a better life than their modest middle-class status allows.

The couple set out to nurse the wounded angels back to health: They bathe them, clean the dirt from their nails and then lock them in a room, leaving them a clawfoot bathtub for a shared bed, and decide to exploit the magical beings for wealth and personal gain.

Angel's Bone melds chamber music, theater, pop music, the spoken word, opera, cabaret and electronics, exploring the dark effects and motivations behind modern-day slavery and the trafficking industry.

Dua de Pel

When: Oct 19, 7 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Spanish musical duo Dua de Pel are known for their versatility and ability to seamlessly combine musical styles from different eras.

The pair's body of work boasts a matchless sound and has graced audiences around the globe.

The Architecture of the City

When: Nov 1 and 2, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

"One cannot make architecture without studying the condition of life in the city," said Italian architect Aldo Rossi.

Inspired by Rossi's book The Architecture of the City, this musical theater presents a unique Hong Kong style through its stage design.

Awarded the Silver Award of DFA Design for Asia Awards, the installation of the performance is designed by Mathias Woo, using bamboo scaffolding as the main material. It presents a traditional construction technique. Together with recycled material as decoration, and the clothing design concept of Lo Sing-chin using urban waste such as paper and aluminum cans, the entire stage and clothing of the performance are made of recyclable resources.

This is not only environmentally friendly but also reflects an urban style with Hong Kong characteristics.

La Damnation de Faust

When: Oct 21, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

Oct 21 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Hector Berlioz (1803-69). The 22nd Beijing Music Festival pays homage to the legend. Maestro Charles Dutoit leads the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo in a performance of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust.

The French composer was inspired by a translation of Goethe's dramatic poem Faust and produced a musical work that, like the masterpiece it is based on, defies easy categorization. Most of the work's fame has come through concert performances.

Tiger Tale and Tiger

When: Nov 29, 7:30 pm; Nov 30, 10 am and 3 pm

Where: Guangzhou Opera House, Guangdong province

Telling the story through the eyes of a little girl, Tiger Tale is a sophisticated dance theater piece for children and families.

It involves a troubled family's world turning upside down when a tiger appears. It's chaotic and it's dangerous, but it's also brilliantly funny.

With captivating dancers and live music, the evocative sound score brings the tiger to life, while the impressive set unleashes the chaos of the beast in exciting and unexpected ways.

Enjoy the thrill of sitting right up close to the action and the chance to explore the set at the end.

Stick by Me

When: Nov 14-17, 7:30 pm; Nov 16 and 17, 10:30 am and 2:30 pm

Where: Hangzhou Grand Theater, Zhejiang province

Stick by Me is a show for 3-to 6-year-olds and was co-created with Ian Cameron and Katherina Radeva and produced by Red Bridge Arts.

It was commissioned by Gulbenkian for the Boing Festival, where it premiered in 2017.

It was presented at the Edinburgh International Children's Festival 2018 and as part of the Made in Scotland 2018 Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The show is touring the United Kingdom and performing in Japan and China.

Stick by Me is a quirky show about friendship and play, and the importance of treasuring little things.

When you're little, there are rules - things you can't do, places you can't go. But then you work out how to find fun, invention and friendship within these seemingly arbitrary parameters.

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2019-10-16 08:17:30
<![CDATA[Youth in ancient style]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516036.htm Beijing University of Chinese Medicine sophomore Wang Zixu recalls the first time he tried on hanfu, or clothing worn by the Han ethnic group before the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

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Traditional hanfu clothing is gaining popularity among people seeking to access the virtues of their ancestors' aesthetics and philosophies, Jiang Yijing reports.

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine sophomore Wang Zixu recalls the first time he tried on hanfu, or clothing worn by the Han ethnic group before the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The 20-year-old was reciting an ancient poem in a talent show seven years ago, when he was in middle school.

"It was cyan cotton hanfu with big, long sleeves. Unlike modern clothes, there were no zippers or buttons, but instead belts were used to secure the garments," the traditional Chinese medicine major recollects.

"I felt like I could better relate to our ancestors' aesthetics," Wang says. "It enabled me to carry myself in a refined manner. I even recited the poem with greater presence.

"I fell in love with hanfu there and then."

He joined the school's hanfu club, which hosts activities related to ancient clothing, poetry and calligraphy.

Such clubs have become popular among students.

They allow people who share an interest in hanfu to carry on the essence of Han culture from past millennia through to the modern day.

The rising popularity of Han-style clothing inspired Yang Na to write the book, The Return of Hanfu, in 2016.

The 33-year-old human resources worker at a national TV media group in Beijing was interested in hanfu as a teenager and began wearing the clothes over a decade ago.

She became passionate about it after reading an article online in 2006, prompting her to research her book.

The Return of Hanfu introduces ancient rites and chronicles the development of Han-style clothing in recent years. It has sold over 10,000 copies.

The book is a good reference that documents the reemergence of hanfu and may accelerate it in the future, says Renmin University of China's School of Public Administration and Policy professor Kang Xiaoguang.

Costume revival

About 91 percent of China's population, or 1.2 billion people, are ethnic Han.

A report by the WeChat public account, Hanfu Information, says there were over 2 million active hanfu enthusiasts in 2018, a 73 percent increase over the previous year.

Their average age was 21, and over 88 percent were women.

Hanfu Information's report also found 129 brick-and-mortar stores selling hanfu in 25 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, and over 810 specialty shops on the e-commerce platform Taobao, a 24 percent increase compared with 2017.

Data from online retailer Tmall shows a 92 percent increase in the number of hanfu consumers in 2018 compared with the previous year. Women accounted for 87 percent of the purchases.

Many credit the rejuvenation to an electrician named Wang Letian, who wore hanfu on the street in Henan's provincial capital, Zhengzhou, one day in November 2003. His image went viral online.

"Since then, it has no longer been just a costume for dramas or portrait photography," Yang says.

Zhuang Shaoqing, deputy manager of the Beijing Hanfu Association, recalls the trend taking off.

"Ten years ago, if I saw someone in Beijing wearing hanfu, I probably knew their name because there were fewer than 100 people who wore it," says Zhuang. "But now, I wouldn't know 99 percent of them."

The nonprofit the 32-year-old exhibition curator co-founded in 2009 claims to be the capital's largest and oldest Han-clothing cultural association with over 600 registered members.

"About 30 or 40 people would attend our activities a decade ago," Zhuang recalls. "We worried too few people would show up.

"Now, we have to cap the numbers. Otherwise, there may be too many."

The Beijing Hanfu Association hosts such activities as public performances, lectures on etiquette and training in such traditional arts as calligraphy, needlework and handicrafts.

"We don't want hanfu to be just a piece of clothing ... but also an expression of our national spirit and cultural heritage," Zhuang says.

Association member and activity organizer Xu Gangyu began to learn about hanfu when she was in high school.

"I'd blush six years ago when people on the street would stare at me when I wore hanfu, but now hanfu is commonplace," says the 24-year-old female computer engineer, who adds that she wears contact lenses, rather than glasses, with the traditional clothing to make her look more authentic.

Working with the association also helped her learn about traditional festivals, she says. For example, singles would court each other during Lantern Festival. And during Qixi, or "Chinese Valentine's Day", girls would show off their sewing and embroidery skills.

Tailored interest

The Communist Youth League's Central Committee organized the first China Huafu Day (traditional Chinese costume day) in Shaanxi's provincial capital, Xi'an, on April 18 last year.

The event was co-organized by the video-sharing platform, Bilibili.

About 30 hanfu producers and over 200 models and enthusiasts attended the second event in Xi'an this year.

One of the event's co-organizers is Chonghui Hantang (Back to the Han and Tang Dynasties), a leading fashion company that designs and sells Han-style garments in China.

Its online store on Tmall has over 2 million followers, and it recently opened its 27th physical shop in Jiangsu province's Suzhou.

The enterprise's founder, Lyu Xiaowei, says business was difficult when she started in Sichuan province's capital, Chengdu, in 2006.

Lyu wore hanfu on the street and at the city's tourism sites.

Strangers asked to take photos with her and inquired where she'd bought the clothes.

"People's curiosity and passion inspired me to sell hanfu," recalls the 39-year-old.

"Yet, initially few customers wanted to buy it at first. So, I rented outfits to people to take photos."

But her annual sales began to double in 2012.

Lyu believes the best way to pass down traditional culture is to apply it to real life.

Many people consider Han-style clothes impractical, but there are many styles and designs, according to Lyu.

"In addition to inconvenient ones with long, wide sleeves, others have narrow, neat sleeves that don't interfere with your daily routine," she says.

Tongji University humanities professor Zhu Dake views the revival as nostalgia for ancient times amid rapid modernization.

"People wear traditional garments to better understand their ancestors," he says.

"Hanfu has its beauty, and people who wear it attract attention on the street.

"Young adults' enthusiasm for Han clothes has brought new vitality to the traditional costume.

"We should realize Han-style clothes are only an outer layer of Chinese culture. People need to dig deeper to reach the essence of our civilization."

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2019-10-16 08:17:09
<![CDATA[Age-old Han attire sees modern appeal develop overseas]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516035.htm Ding Ding recalls introducing her students in London to hanfu, or ancient clothing worn by China's Han ethnic group, in 2013.

Before the class, in order to teach her students, the teacher from Shanghai had to learn more about it herself. "I learned about our history while researching the clothes," says the 35-year-old. "Sometimes, living abroad leads us overseas Chinese to feel a certain loss of identity - who we are and where we're heading. Wearing Han-style clothing helps guide me."

Ding joined the UK Han Culture Association in 2014. Overseas Chinese founded the group in 2007 to introduce and promote Chinese culture in Britain. She became the association's chair two years later. Ding appreciates the compliments she receives when she wears hanfu.

"I am both happy and proud to get such responses from my foreign colleagues," she says. "It shows their recognition of our traditional garments. And this appreciation will lead them to explore more deeply, to go beyond the beauty of fashion to the culture behind the clothes, such as traditional Chinese music and rites."

The association hosts cultural activities around Chinese festivals. It organizes tea ceremonies, guqin (Chinese seven-stringed zither) performances and lectures on rituals. On average around 20 to 40 overseas Chinese and foreigners attend each event.

Ding's association displayed Han-style clothes at a Chinese food festival in London's Potters Fields Park in early September. It ran a booth to introduce the traditional attire. Visitors could try costumes on for photos.

Ding recalls one Cuban woman was particularly enthusiastic.

"She expressed her passion for Chinese culture and loved the snacks we had prepared. Her reaction was not only a pleasant surprise to us but also touched me and inspired me to continue. We hope Han clothes, as well as our traditional culture, will become better known in London."

Her association is but one of many such organizations around the world.

The Sydney Hanfu Association's former president, 27-year-old Jiang Li, who led the group over 2015-17 before returning to her hometown of Guangzhou, Guangdong province, says the association, which grew from an online chatroom in 2011, has doubled in size to 400 members since she left.

Jiang believes hanfu is a particularly accessible form of Chinese culture. Playing traditional music, creating calligraphy and painting traditional ink works require mastery, but enjoying Han-style clothing is as easy as getting dressed.

The group's activities in Sydney's parks often attract about 50 participants and 100 to 200 onlookers. They don Han-style clothes and practice rituals.

Members observe traditions such as moon worship during Mid-Autumn Festival and riddle solving during Lantern Festival. They also practice a type of Chinese horseback archery.

Jiang, who had lived abroad for eight years, says wearing hanfu and joining the association's activities alleviated her homesickness and reinforced her cultural identity.

Jiang says eastern Australia is home to about 2,000 hanfu enthusiasts, who join events organized by clubs, most of which are formed at universities.

Such groups exist at the University of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle and the University of Sydney. That's not to mention the Chinese Culture Association of Melbourne and the Queensland Hanfu Association.

Jiang will meet 20 friends from these groups, who will fly in from Sydney or other parts of China to Wuhan, Hubei province, on Nov 8 to attend the seventh Chinese Ritual Music Conference.

Hanfu is also popular among overseas-born Chinese like Malaysian Kong Chee Huat. The 44-year-old and five friends co-founded a club in Kuala Lumpur over a decade ago.

"Living in a cultural melting pot like Kuala Lumpur, we found that we Chinese to some extent do not clearly show our identity," he recalls. "The Indians and Malaysians wear traditional clothes for their festivals, but the Han people didn't. So, we wanted to revive our tradition."

Kong and his friends bought the Han-style clothes online and organized the Huaxia Culture Camp, a three-day activity held every September since 2008.

About 150 participants wear hanfu, read ancient Chinese classics, such as the Book of Changes, and practice traditional art and rituals.

"China, where my ancestors come from, has been a country of rites and music, where people behaved in a polite way and showed great respect to each other," says Kong. "As descendants of the Han people, we should carry on this legacy, behave with proper manners and undertake regular introspection."

They have organized different activities for Malaysian Chinese, giving classes about ancient attire, teaching tailoring techniques and practicing horseback archery. It has continued to grow, and many middle school students attend the event, which is now held twice a year and attracts 100 teenagers each time.

"To celebrate Lunar New Year, we kneel on cushions like our ancestors did and share festive food," says Kong. "Cultural identity and recognition bring people together. I believe that, as long as we keep organizing the camp's activities, more Chinese will join and develop an interest in our traditional culture and benefit from it personally."

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2019-10-16 08:17:09
<![CDATA[Art of glass]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516034.htm In 2008, after Du Meng finished her undergraduate studies and obtained her bachelor's degree in visual communication from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, she made her first trip to the United States and saw an exhibition of works by US glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly.

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Chinese artist Du Meng has overcome personal adversity to achieve her goals and push the boundaries of the medium she uses, Chen Nan reports.

In 2008, after Du Meng finished her undergraduate studies and obtained her bachelor's degree in visual communication from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, she made her first trip to the United States and saw an exhibition of works by US glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly.

The exhibition changed the way Du looked at glass and opened her eyes to the possibilities offered by the material for artistic expression.

"I saw the greatness and the art in a commonly seen material. It is versatile in scale and color, which organically shaped my creativity," says Du, 33. "Personally, I am reticent when communicating with people I meet for the first time, but as an artist, I can talk with people through my artwork. Glass art is my language."

Inspired by Chihuly, she took the bold decision to embark on the further study of glass art at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she obtained her master's in 2013 - the first Chinese student to graduate from its school for American crafts.

After a few twists and turns, she managed to excel in the field and, after graduation, continued to work as an artist in residence as part of the school's art glass program.

However, it has not been easy and she has encountered numerous obstacles on her artistic journey. The process of creating her glass artworks has taken a physical toll, with Du enduring sleepless nights, starvation and even pain.

A good example of this process is her piece titled One Day, which comprises five different glass figures of a young girl. It took Du about three years to finish.

After picturing the piece, she began by sculpting the figures from wax, from which she made a mold. When clean, the empty mold was filled with pieces of glass and heated to about 1,000 C. As it melted, it formed a flame-red liquid which then cooled to form the glass artwork.

"When I start an art piece, even I myself don't have a clear idea, just a feeling," she explains. "However, as I work with the material, the piece grows organically, like it has its own personality.

"Glass art technique is sophisticated. A small mistake can bring failure to the piece, such as the process of annealing, which puts the material under a lot of strain as it reaches room temperature and the glass may break as it cools."

During her six-year stay in the US, she polished her skills and experimented with her artistic ideas. Like many Chinese overseas students, Du struggled with the language barrier, academic issues and homesickness. In 2016, she returned to China.

"I once questioned my career as an artist, with the financial pressure and the fact that glass art has a minority appeal, especially in China. Many of my friends, who also studied glass art abroad, have given up the art form. It's really frustrating," Du says. "It seemed that I was the only one left behind while many others moved forward."

Her turning point came in 2016 when the artist won an honorable mention at the International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa in Japan. As the first Chinese artist to win the prestigious award, it gave her confidence and made her more determined to pursue her glass art career.

In August, she exhibited her works at a group exhibition, entitled Four Types of Summer, at KWM art center in Beijing. Last year, she hosted a solo exhibition, Du Meng: The Room, at the Shanghai Museum of Glass. 

On Nov 16, she will once again display her works at a group exhibition - this time in the US - entitled Mind the Gap, which gathers six contemporary Chinese female artists from the US and China. The exhibition, to be held at the Delaware Contemporary art space, will run through Jan 30, 2020.

Du will launch a solo exhibition, titled Embers, at the Fou Gallery in New York on Nov 30, the same venue where she held her first solo exhibition, The Climb, The Fall, in 2016. The upcoming event took over a year to prepare, with Du creating her pieces in Japan, China and the US.

"From a young creator, trying to find her own artistic expression, to a mature artist, we've seen Du's growth," says He Yu, founder of Fou Gallery.

"She is one of the few young Chinese artists who has devoted herself to glass art. When I first saw her work, I was very surprised by the way she presented her art," recalls Li He, owner of a Beijing-based store for handmade art called Dairuhe. She met Du in 2017 and has collaborated with the artist by displaying Du's works in her shop.

Born in downtown Beijing, Du constantly expresses feelings influenced by her upbringing and reflections on her changing life through her dreamlike glass figures.

In one of her earlier works from 2013, she made a pair of white shoes based on her childhood memories of growing up in Beijing. The artwork, entitled Bai, combines kiln-formed glass and mixed media, such as tea.

She has used tea, which is deeply associated with traditional Chinese culture, in her work since she accidentally spilled some on a piece she was working on. As tea naturally absorbed into the glass, the artist was drawn to the color.

By combining tea and glass, Du has made artworks depicting swallows and leaves, through which she created a subtle language to tell her stories.

"A lot of my work is trying to capture a certain moment that I would not like to forget. All of them carry a subtle sense of belonging that I want to share with the viewer," Du says." I don't expect the viewer to have the same feeling as I do, but it is very exciting to see how people respond to a piece with their own personal memories and feelings. It is like having a silent conversation with them."

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2019-10-16 08:17:09
<![CDATA[Italian student chases his dream]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516033.htm

HEFEI - Mauro Dellisanti from Italy just changed his cover photo on WeChat to one in which he is standing in a suit against the backdrop of the recent World Manufacturing Convention in Hefei, Anhui province.

The 23-year-old is a postgraduate student majoring in Chinese economics at Fudan University in Shanghai, who now plans to start his business in China because of "the rising importance of China on the world stage and the opportunities of the Chinese market".

Since he obtained his bachelor's degree at the University of Glasgow in Britain, his choice to open a Chinese sales branch of Glasgow-based Android and IOS app developer, Motovate Ltd, has become his focus.

Dellisanti attended the convention held last month in Hefei in East China's emerging manufacturing hub, to develop business contacts. According to the organizers, the four-day event brought together more than 4,000 representatives from over 60 countries and regions, including senior managers from some Global Fortune 500 companies.

By attending events, such as matchmaking conferences, Dellisanti hopes to build a network in China. "I hope to meet new people from around China, as well as representatives of international companies based in China, to tell them what we offer, get their impressions and seek future cooperation," he says. "I think all of these objectives have been achieved."

After spending time attaining an in-depth knowledge of China's economy, he decided he needed to see it firsthand.

In August last year, Dellisanti arrived in Shanghai. He left the airport and was filled with joy taking a taxi to his new home. It was at that moment he "truly understood where I was and what my ambition was".

He has now lived in China for over a year, which has changed his impression of the country, and he hoped he could help his family learn more about it.

"I try to change my friends' and relatives' thoughts about China, especially on the quality of infrastructure, the rise of IT companies and the support of the government for private businesses."

For him, China represents a market with big potential for growth. He is marketing an app he designed to manage employees' schedules.

"I believe there is a market for our product (in China), especially in hospitality, healthcare and logistics," he says. "We will be able to better learn what the Chinese market is asking for by physically being here, so that we can adapt and improve our product."

To achieve his dream, Dellisanti is putting more effort into learning Mandarin.

"I need to improve, because I'm going around conferences like the manufacturing convention and joining networking sessions from the chambers of commerce, mostly working on gaining contacts."

Xinhua

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2019-10-16 08:17:09
<![CDATA[Embarking on a career in planting trees]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516032.htm TIANJIN - Wang Kun, who was previously a white-collar worker in Beijing, now takes care of 300,000 trees scattered across the landscape in his hometown in North China's Tianjin.

"Planting trees improves air quality and enriches urban color," says the 32-year-old who grows trees on a 33.3-hectare planting base.

Wang mainly plants multiple acer rubrum trees with names like "red sunset", "autumn blaze" and "autumn fantasy". Unlike the commonly planted willows and poplars, the salt-tolerant maples brighten the autumn months with brilliant red leaves.

In a spacious greenhouse, mist irrigation starts every few minutes to ensure the 20,000-odd rubrum trees take root in the sandy soil.

The idea of embarking on a career in planting trees popped into Wang's mind six years ago, when he finally saw the wood from the trees.

"There was a lack of color in autumn as we had so many yellow-dominated trees," Wang recalls.

However, it was not an easy start. Wang, who studied packaging engineering in college, did not have green fingers.

After learning from books and doing fieldwork, Wang felt he was finally ready to start his business. He bought tens of thousands of "red sunset" maple saplings and took good care of them. Unfortunately, all of them died.

The money loss rankled with his family. Wang turned to experts and conducted repeated experiments by constantly adjusting the temperature, humidity, light and soil in his greenhouse.

Through trial and error, he eventually found half of the saplings survived. Then, that number grew to 90 percent.

Liang Xiaogang from Cashway Fintech has been satisfied with the 50 autumn blazes he bought from Wang to celebrate the company's 15th anniversary and looks forward to enjoying the cascade of red leaves in late fall.

Landscape gardens hold an important position in traditional Chinese culture and reflect people's aesthetic appreciation and the realm of life, says Wang Guanqiang, a Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts graduate and now assistant professor at Macao University of Science and Technology.

"The landscape design industry will flourish as the construction of the urban environment continues," Wang notes.

Xinhua

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2019-10-16 08:17:09
<![CDATA[Scenes from the dark days]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516031.htm When a children's choir performed the song Sleep Away to the sound of an accordion in a theater in Beijing on Thursday, the audience was transported back to the Jewish settlement of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, during the darkest days of the Holocaust in World War II.

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After a warm reception, a play about the struggle for survival in the Jewish enclave of wartime Lithuania is now on the second leg of its China tour, Chen Nan reports.

When a children's choir performed the song Sleep Away to the sound of an accordion in a theater in Beijing on Thursday, the audience was transported back to the Jewish settlement of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, during the darkest days of the Holocaust in World War II.

The song portrays the children of murdered parents being imprisoned in ghettos of the time. With death approaching, they clung together and sang songs of hope.

One of the 12 songs in the theatrical play Ghetto was written and directed by Israeli playwright and director Joshua Sobol. The play premiered at the Haifa Theatre in Israel in 1984, and has since been performed in over 25 countries, including Germany, Britain and the United States. It has also been translated into 20 languages.

Directed by Sobol, the Chinese version of the play premiered last year and toured nationwide featuring Chinese actors. After receiving positive feedback, the play is now on the second leg of its countrywide tour running from October to March that will see it visit 13 Chinese cities.

"When I first read the diaries describing life in the ghetto of Vilnius in Lithuania during World War II, I realized that there had been a theater in the ghetto," says Sobol in Beijing.

The theater, which was established by Jews who were forced into the tiny enclave by occupying German forces, used to stage a range of shows, including operas, dance works and plays.

Sobol began to research the subject and found that many of the people involved were still alive. When he asked them what theater meant to them, they told the director that it reminded them that they were still human.

"Almost every day, people were taken away and killed. What surprised me the most was the fact that people living in the ghetto wrote songs which were so full of life and hope during those difficult times. I felt compelled to look back at the past and adapt the story into a play," Sobol says.

Since the play centers around a theater, it combines live music and dance, and is based on scores of songs and documents Sobol discovered about the Vilnius enclave.

Sobol, who was born in Tel Mond, Israel, started his career in theater in 1971 and has directed more than 50 plays. His family left Poland in 1934 to escape the Nazis.

Before Ghetto, Sobol had another award-winning play, Village, staged in China.

French artist Anais Martane, who lives in Beijing and is Jewish, watched Village and met Sobol in Israel several years ago. After she told the director that Chinese audiences enjoyed the play, Sobol showed her the script of Ghetto, which she immediately liked.

"Although it's not a story about China, I wanted Chinese audiences to see the story," Martane says in Beijing.

"I love the play very much. It's about human beings and about hope. It was about facing death and about how to live."

The audience seemed touched during the performance in Beijing.

"My eyes had tears from the beginning," says Lang Xiaoyi, one of the audience members. "Thanks to Ghetto, history is no longer a bunch of cold numbers and places, but seems more like a real-life scenario happening again in front of our eyes."

As the lead actress in the Chinese version of the play, Martane performed several songs, including Springtime.

Her husband, Chinese actor Liu Ye, made his directorial debut by directing the music video for the song, in which their 9-year-old son Noe plays a role.

Liu spent a day shooting the music video at the Capital Theater along with the play's cast of adult and child actors. The video portrays the songs and dances of the prisoners in the theater set against the shadow of soldiers and guns.

"It was the first time that my wife acted onstage," says the actor, who is well-known in China. "I was not sure about her decision to play the lead role but I was convinced when I watched her performance."

He watched the play being staged in Beijing and Nanjing last year.

"She was full of passion for the play and showed no fear when she appeared onstage," says Liu. "She has the gift to express the emotions of every song."

Liu also inspired his son to get involved in the play.

"I encouraged my son to perform in the music video, because I wanted him to learn about history," Liu says. "Just like his mother, he enjoys singing and going to the theater."

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2019-10-16 08:17:09
<![CDATA[UCLA launches kindness institute in Los Angeles]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516030.htm LOS ANGELES - Lending a helping hand to a co-worker, checking in on an elderly neighbor or allowing someone to cut in front of you in a traffic jam.

Such random acts of kindness have been scientifically proven to improve a person's well-being, and will now be the focus of a new Kindness Institute unveiled last month at the University of California Los Angeles.

The first of its kind in the world, the institute aims to empower citizens and inspire leaders to build more humane societies through the study of the actions, thoughts and feelings associated with kindness.

"In the midst of current world politics, violence and strife, the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute seeks to be an antidote," says Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA division of social sciences, where the institute will be based.

A number of researchers at UCLA are already studying the types of questions that will be the basis of the institute's work, according to university officials.

"Our vision is that we will all live in a world where humanity discovers and practices the kindness that exists in all of us," says Matthew Harris, co-founder of the Bedari Foundation. "Much research is needed to understand why kindness can be so scarce in the modern world."

Scientific research has shown that acts of kindness greatly benefit people's physical and mental health.

Agence France - presse

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2019-10-16 08:17:09
<![CDATA[Traces of early life in rocks in Australia]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/16/content_37516029.htm

SYDNEY - Researchers from the University of New South Wales have for the first time found organic matter in a group of 3.5-billion-year-old fossilized stromatolites known as the Dresser Formation in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

Stromatolites are a type of rock formed by living organisms and while it was previously suspected that the ancient Dresser Formation was produced by living organisms, it remained unproven, until now.

"This is an exciting discovery. For the first time, we are able to show that these stromatolites are definitive evidence of the earliest life on Earth," says lead researcher Raphael Baumgartner.

Ever since the discovery in 1980 it has been hotly contested whether the Dresser Formation is actually of biogenic origin, and therefore represented the earliest signs of life on Earth.

To prove the theory, Baumgartner and his team took drill core samples from beneath the stromatolites weathered exterior to where the rock's microbial past was far better preserved.

"I spent a lot of time in the lab, using micro-analytical techniques to look very closely at the rock samples, to prove our theory," Baumgartner says.

What they discovered was that the stromatolites were essentially composed of pyrite - or "fool's gold" - within which there were "preserved coherent filaments and strands that are typically remains of microbial biofilms".

"I remember the night at the electron microscope when I finally figured out that I was looking at biofilm remains. I think it was around 11 pm when I had this 'eureka' moment, and I stayed up until 4 am. I was so excited that I totally lost track of time," he says.

The breakthrough adds to a growing body of research about the Dresser Formation and how life on Earth may have originated. It has also had an impact on the search for life on Mars, which prompted NASA experts to travel to Australia last month to study the unique site.

"This represents a major advancement in our knowledge of these rocks, in the science of investigating early life in general, and more specifically, in the search for life on Mars. We now have a new target and a new methodology to search for traces of ancient life," says Van Kranendonk, director of the university's Australian Centre for Astrobiology.

Xinhua

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2019-10-16 08:17:09
<![CDATA[Roadside discovery offers dial back to the days of pay phones]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515691.htm During one of my recent morning walks, I unearthed a relic from the not-so-recent past. It wasn't some ancient archaeological discovery, though. The dust-covered and weather-beaten equipment lay abandoned on the roadside. As I got closer to the ET-like object (it has a large, pearl-shaped cover), I realized it was a pay phone.

The telephone, sheltered by a red helmet-like protective cover made of fiberglass, had perhaps been dead for a long time. For confirmation, I lifted the black-colored receiver hanging on its rest and kept it to my ear. No dial tone. Perhaps, it was permanently on sleep mode.

The boxlike telephone, fixed to two parallel metal staffs on the sidewalk, with a yellow-colored "dashboard", an LCD screen and silver-colored push buttons, and a handset with a receiver and mouthpiece, brought back some nostalgia, from days when the cellphone was unheard of, or it was just making inroads into our lives.

It was the era when a phone only meant a landline, be it a home phone or the public phone. Homes had telephones with a dialing disc or buttons at the center. One just dialed, or pressed, the numbers to make calls. But I must say they were far more convenient than typing numbers on our small cellphone touch screens - one faulty touch and you'll have to press the backspace.

Public phones dotted most streets in cities around the world. Users just had to lift the receiver off the hook and call the number to get in touch with friends or family. Calls were chargeable, and tariffs depended on whether they were local or international. Local calls were cheaper as against overseas calls. Unlike the cellphones that allow you to make calls to anywhere in the world at very low rates, thanks to technology.

Making calls was quite a hassle on the pay phones. To make a call within the city, the caller would type the city code followed by the phone number, and for an international call, one would dial the international standard dialing code followed by the city code and then the number. If you typed the wrong code or number, you repeated the process all over again. Not sure about the dialing procedure on the phone I stumbled upon, though.

The pay phone also came with a slot for using a calling card that gave a certain amount of talk time. Each time a call was made, the amount would get deducted from it. A contrast to the present-day postpaid connections that allow "unlimited" talk time.

In my home country, India, we had coin phones in every city that allowed you to make only local calls. Each call, which cost 1 rupee (1.4 cents), allowed a talk time of three minutes, after which the call would get cut, unless you dropped another coin into the slot provided for it.

Public phones also bring to mind the public telephone booths in India, where one could talk without the fear of calls getting cut after every 3 minutes. And a local call cost 2 rupees.

Unlike the ubiquitous coin phones that were kept in the open, these booths were located either inside a shop or a commercial complex. Here, one could make both local and international calls. After every call, a device tracking the talk time would generate the bill for the customer.

The experiences at these booths certainly make for interesting reading. In areas where there were fewer booths, one would see long lines of people. Those spending a longer time inside the booths would get shouted at by those waiting, while those at the receiving end would come up with all kinds of excuses to escape people's wrath.

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2019-10-15 07:39:56
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515690.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Oct 15, 1957, the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was completed. The 1,670-meter bridge is also known as the "first bridge of the Yangtze".

Bridge construction across the country has continued to ride on the rapid economic development of recent decades.

The country is home to about half of the world's longest suspension bridges, cable-stayed bridges, steel arch bridges and cross-sea bridges.

There are more than 60 bridges and tunnels built over the Yangtze alone, carrying rail and road traffic.

They form a vital part of the country's infrastructure.

In 1968, the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge opened to traffic, as seen in this item from China Daily. It was the first domestically designed modern bridge of its kind over the river.

In 2008, the Sutong Yangtze River Bridge was built. The cable-stayed bridge spans 1,088 meters. It integrates Nantong, Jiangsu province, into a one-hour "traffic loop" with Shanghai.

In December 2009, the Xihoumen Bridge opened to the public. Built on the Zhoushan archipelago, it is the world's second-longest suspension bridge of its kind, with a main length of 1,650 meters.

In 2014, construction of the 11,072-meter-long Hutong Yangtze River Bridge began, linking the cities of Nantong and Suzhou in Jiangsu. The link, scheduled for completion by next year, was designed with a main length of 1,092 meters, making it the world's first road-rail cable-stayed bridge spanning more than 1,000 meters.

Last year, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world's longest sea bridge, was officially opened. Hailed as an engineering wonder, the 55-kilometer bridge aims to stitch the cluster of 11 cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area closer together.

After the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Shenzhen-Zhongshan Bridge is another ambitious mega transportation infrastructure project in the Pearl River Delta. It connects two major cities in the Bay Area - Shenzhen on the eastern side of the Pearl River and Zhongshan on the western side.

Construction of the bridge started in December 2016, with completion expected in 2024. The 24-km engineering feat will include a series of bridges, islands and tunnels, becoming the world's first eight-lane undersea tunnel of its kind.

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2019-10-15 07:39:56
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515689.htm Fast food points to toxic chemical exposure

A new study of a toxic chemical called PFAS reveals the food packaging that contains it may do harm to our bodies. PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, refers to a class of chemicals used abundantly in common household items to make objects water or fire resistant. The study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives looked at levels of PFAS in people who ate fast food versus those who ate home-cooked meals. The study found five commonly used types of PFAS were found in the blood of about 70 percent of those surveyed. It is unclear at what threshold PFAS begins to take a toll on human health. A number of studies have linked the chemical to cancer, thyroid disorders, hormonal changes and weight gain.

Pilot cities involved in online host licensing

Online hosts in 10 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, could be made to obtain licenses for their hosting activities to improve their standards and the internet environment, according to latest guidelines from authorities. Online program hosts on different self-media platforms could be licensed by the National Radio and Television Administration after undergoing training. Those interested in becoming an online host can undergo the training and take an exam. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is considering including online hosts as a new profession in the country.

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2019-10-15 07:39:56
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515688.htm Biz: Phone shipments fall in September

China's smartphone shipments fell 5.7 percent year-on-year in September to 34.7 million units, according to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. Last month, smartphones made up 95.7 percent of all mobile phone shipments in the country, according to a report from the research institute at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Overall mobile phone shipments dropped 7.1 percent year-on-year to 36.2 million units, but jumped 17.4 percent month-on-month. From January to September, the country's smartphone shipments slipped 4.2 percent from a year earlier to 275 million units, the report showed.

Society: Capital rolls to more shared parking

Beijing is set to unveil guidelines on shared parking to make it more convenient for residents to locate parking spots as supply decreases. The capital's six downtown districts lack up to 850,000 parking spots, said Nie Yaguang, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport traffic management bureau. "We are planning to draft related moves to provide more guidance for the city's shared parking," Nie said. A survey by the Beijing Municipal People's Congress showed that more than 80 percent of respondents expected to see the establishment of shared public parking spaces in the capital. Beijing began work on a shared parking system in May last year.

Fashion: Stars add shine to cultural series

A series of short videos in which eight Chinese celebrities explore different cultural locations began airing on Friday on tech giant Tencent's video platform. Singer Li Yuchun visited the bookshop Valentina La Rocca in Rome, which is filled with rare, historic collections. Li discussed with the bookstore's co-founder Valentina La Rocca the charm of printed books and the mysterious stories behind the store's ancient titles.

Culture: Ang Lee's 'highest-paid' male lead

"My 'actor' is multiple times more expensive than the highest-paid star in Hollywood," Ang Lee, the Oscar-winning director, said while promoting his upcoming film Gemini Man in Beijing on Saturday. The "actor" Lee mentioned was actually created by digital technology, transforming Will Smith - the 51-year-old Hollywood star - into a 23-year-old on the big screen. Gemini Man is a thriller that tells the story of a retiring government assassin who discovers a younger clone of himself. The film will hit Chinese screens on Friday.

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2019-10-15 07:39:56
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515687.htm Acosta Danza

When: Oct 15 and 16, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Embracing all dance forms, Carlos Acosta's new dance company embarks on their first China tour, with Acosta himself in a cameo role.

He will introduce Acosta Danza, the Havana-based dance company made up of the best dancers in Cuba. All were trained in both ballet and contemporary dance. They perform new and existing pieces by Cuban choreographer Marianela Boan, Spanish dancemakers Jorge Crecis and Goyo Montero, New York City Ballet resident choreographer Justin Peck and Sadler's Wells (London) own associate artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

When: Oct 16, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

For more than 70 years, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin has distinguished itself as one of Germany's leading orchestras. The number of renowned music directors, the scope and variety of its work, and its particular emphasis on modern and contemporary music makes the ensemble unique.

Founded as the RIAS Symphony Orchestra in 1946, it was renamed the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin in 1956 and has borne its current name since 1993.

Robin Ticciati has led the orchestra as its music director since 2017.

Carly Rae Jepsen: The Dedicated Tour 2019

When: Oct 16, 8 pm

Where: Beijing Century Theater

After Carly Rae Jepsen released her critically acclaimed album E∙MO∙TION in 2015, it became "a modern touchstone for a new crop of pop-leaning artists and legacy acts", as broadcaster NPR noted, adding that "the blast radius of E∙MO∙TION is expansive".

The album also inspired an abundance of memes - extending the cultural cachet that Jepsen earned from the ubiquity of her Grammy-nominated blockbuster hit Call Me Maybe. Jepsen's new album, Dedicated, retains the joyful, hook-filled feeling of its predecessor. It has a more 1970s-inspired feel at times.

Estonian Voices

When: Oct 18, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai City Theater

Award-winning Estonian Voices are an a cappella vocal sextet that likes to mix it up. Jazz, classical and folk styles all get their attention, with a repertoire of both original and traditional pieces - including a few pop hits.

Their clever style fuses playfulness with absolute technical mastery, bound together with a cheeky smile and a charming sprinkle of vocal artistry.

Estonian Voices released their first album Ole Hea (Be Good) in 2014, which won the Estonian Best Jazz Album of the year 2015. In 2016 they were awarded Best Jazz Artist in Estonia. Last year, they released their second album Taat laks lolliks (An old man lost his marbles) which is mostly influenced by Estonian folk music. It won the Estonian Best Jazz Album of the year 2018.

NWYR China Tour 2019

When: Oct 25, 10 pm

Where: Sir. Teen, Beijing

W&W is a Dutch DJ and record producer duo composed of Willem van Hanegem and Ward van der Harst. They began their careers by producing trance music before venturing into electro house and big room house.

After producing trance for five years, W&W founded their own record label called Mainstage Music, and became active in the big room house and progressive house scene. This was followed by the release of their commercial breakthrough Bigfoot in 2014. In 2017, they returned to their original trance style with the Nwyr (stylized as NWYR and pronounced "new year") project.

The Candle Thieves Before The War China Tour 2019

When: Oct 27, 8:30 pm

Where: MAO Livehouse Beijing

Scott McEwan and The Glock are celebrating 10 years of The Candle Thieves by kicking off a five-city (Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Zhengzhou, and Beijing) China tour for their newly released album Before The War this month.

As a British band who have attained an impressive Chinese fan base since 2013, The Candle Thieves never hesitate to mention that their previous China trips secured the band's desire to continue to create and share music.

Rolling Loud

When: Oct 19 and 20, all day

Where: West Kowloon Art Park, Hong Kong

Rolling Loud is the largest hip-hop festival in the world. Co-founded by Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler who were named Billboard Hip Hop Players two years in a row, the two had been producing rap shows in South Florida for five years before launching Rolling Loud in 2015 as a one-day festival for 6,000 attendees. In 2017, the Miami-based festival grew into a three-day event that drew 60,000 attendees from all over the world and expanded to the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

In January, Rolling Loud launched a sold-out Sydney, Australia, festival, which sold 20,000 tickets in 38 minutes. Playing host to the genre's biggest artists including Cardi B, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, Migos and many more, Rolling Loud is proud to be the biggest live brand in hip-hop.

OSCiLLATE

When: Nov 6-9, 7:30 pm; Nov 10, 2:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

OSCiLLATE is a tap dance choreographed by Avalon Rathgeb and Dre Torres. It premiered at Sadler's Wells-The Lilian Baylis Theater last year.

The performance explores human interaction and communication through the use of movement, sound and light. It aims to take audiences on a journey from misunderstanding, confusion, fear and misconceptions to compassion, acceptance, resolution and equality. UK dance group Old Kent Road was founded by Rathgeb in 2014.

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2019-10-15 07:39:56
<![CDATA[Spiritual warrior]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515686.htm An ongoing exhibition in Beijing sees sculptor Ren Zhe unlock the material energy of his combative creations to convey a sense of tranquility and inner strength, Lin Qi reports.

Beijing-based sculptor Ren Zhe developed a fascination for warriors - both historical and mythological - in childhood as he listened to people telling stories of war heroes. These figures have become the recurring subjects central to the creations of the 36-year-old sculptor, who received his formal training at Tsinghua University's Academy of Arts and Design.

Ren's warrior sculptures, which are often made of stainless steel, exude a sense of power. They present Ren's inheritance of the classical spirit - evoking a dignity, solemnity and sensuality that can be found in ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and in Baroque art.

At the same time, Ren seeks to form a resonance with the pursuit of humanity and expressions of implicit emotions as being integral to Chinese cultural traditions.

Ren's works, as Duan Jun, a close university friend, says, "do not intend to show a contrast between Eastern and Western cultures, but look for a consistency between the two cultures on an ultimate level".

Ren is showing 36 statues from his warrior series at Qi, a solo exhibition at the 600-year-old Taimiao, or the Imperial Ancestral Temple, next to the Palace Museum in Beijing, through Friday.

"I see this exhibition as an examination of myself," Ren says. "I hope to see whether I'm still as genuine as when I first worked with clay 20 years ago, whether I still feel that energy of purity, and whether my motivations for creating art have altered."

Ren re-creates many figures from ancient Chinese tales, mythology and novels. These works demonstrate an inner energy that combines his knowledge of Western sculpture with a reserved elegance that sparkle with the wisdom of Eastern aesthetics.

Ren says a good piece of work should embody a philosophical depth and a sense of divinity.

"An artist's career is like an iceberg," he says. "His works are just the tip that indicates the scale of the other 90 percent of his understanding - the intensity of his cultural and spiritual accumulation that will continue to nurture his creation."

One can't fully appreciate Ren's work without relating his approach to art to his study of ancient Chinese clay figurines at Buddhist and Taoist temples.

But meanwhile, Ren's sculptures represent "products of complete modern technology" with their polished, reflective surfaces made of stainless steel, excite and move the audience also because they "mirror people's dreams and hidden feelings about modern society", says Sheng Wei, a curator and art critic.

The ancient warriors Ren sculpts do not hold in their hands a metal rod as usually described in tales - Ren replaces it with a bamboo stick, a symbol of integrity in Chinese culture to soften the tone of the work and also, to convey a Zen-like touch.

And these warriors are not depicted against the backdrop of a fierce battle but instead are seen practicing tai chi or playing a wooden zither to convey a combined feeling of tranquility and inner strength.

Sheng says there are antiques, classic paintings, calligraphy works and sculptures scattered all over Ren's studio as examples of his passion for traditional culture, and he is resolved to transform his love of them into a modern context.

Ren declines to call these cultural manifestations of old traditions the inspiration for his work.

"I feel that these so-called inspirations are not something I own or discover, they are more like signals I receive from the world," he says.

Ren says he believes an artist should try to be as innocent and sensitive as a child, so that he doesn't become blinded by preconceptions that could block out these signals.

"An artist needs to work hard and think hard every day to keep his heart pure and open - and in turn make works that will touch others," he says.

Awed by the reflective sculptures Ren presents at Taimiao, one however can hardly imagine the work Ren has to repeat in his studio.

"The process to completing a work is not as vibrant as people think," he says. "Being an artist is similar to being a factory worker. He repeats the same thing step by step, day by day, till he finishes the work.

"Doing art is for me as essential as eating. I care little about what I eat, but every morning after I open my eyes, I think of my work, and about how to complete it, and then about the next piece of work I want to do.

"The studio is my home. I keep piling up the clay on the pedestal, sculpting it, adding things and taking things away. It feels close to the way a monk practices his faith. It is something I will repeat every day, and this way of life is what I consider as the basic requirement for a career artist."

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2019-10-15 07:39:38
<![CDATA[Swiss cheers as Lucerne orchestra begins China tour]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515685.htm Lucerne Festival Orchestra has launched its latest tour in China, with two concerts at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the orchestra are performing in Shanghai and will wrap up its China tour with a concert in Shenzhen on Oct 19, which will also be the orchestra's first performance in the city.

Under the baton of Italian conductor, Riccardo Chailly, Lucerne Festival Orchestra brings repertoires including Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 3 in D Minor, Op 30, Symphony No 3 in A Minor, Op 44, and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 6 in A Minor. Eighteen-year-old Russian pianist, Alexander Malofeev, will join the orchestra for its China tour.

Back in 2009, Lucerne Festival Orchestra made its debut in China with two concerts held at the NCPA under the baton of conductor Claudio Abbado.

In 2017, the orchestra returned to the capital with two concerts held at the NCPA. Last year, the orchestra spent a week in residence in Shanghai from Oct 18 to 22, which received a warm feedback from the Chinese audience.

"Why do we come to the same place again and again? If you want to grow a friendship, if you want to grow and really create an audience, you have to work in the dimension of sustainability. We've made lots of friends in China and, within a few years, we have built up a fan base here. We are very happy about that," says Michael Haefliger, who was appointed as Lucerne Festival's executive and artistic director in 1999.

The festival takes place annually from mid-August to mid-September in the central Swiss city of Lucerne. In 2018, the festival celebrated its 80th anniversary.

In 2017, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra was invited to perform during the festival, the first Chinese orchestra to participate.

The history of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra can be traced back to 1938, when Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini convened acclaimed virtuosos of the time into an elite ensemble with the legendary Concert de Gala. Some 65 years later, conductor Abbado and Haefliger founded the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which made its public debut in August 2003.

"Every summer, top musicians from European orchestras, including famous soloists, chamber musicians and renowned music teachers, come together in Lucerne to form an ensemble under the banner of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, setting the tone for the opening week of the festival with several symphony concerts," says Haefliger. "With each season coming to an end, musicians of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra tour together internationally for two and a half weeks. It has become a tradition."

"My experience with the orchestra is unique since my father, who plays the viola, and my sister, who plays the harp, both perform with me," says violinist Raphael Christ, who has been with the orchestra for 13 years and now plays as concertmaster. "It's more like a family reunion," he jokes.

Chailly has been the Lucerne Festival Orchestra's music director since the summer of 2016, following conductor Abbado's death in 2014.

"I want to bring a new dimension to the orchestra, such as new repertoires and new knowledge, rather than changing anything. It's important to preserve the tradition of the orchestra," Chailly says.

He also notes that the ensemble has performed programs of Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss and Maurice Ravel. In his fourth year with the orchestra, he is devoting himself to Russian symphonic music, with works by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.

"Rachmaninov's demanding Symphony No 3, which premiered in Philadelphia in 1936 to mixed acclaim, was composed in nearby Hertenstein on Lake Lucerne. The piece shows us a deep musical root from the past," says Chailly. "We want to show the audience both the beauty and the difficulty of the piece."

As the music director of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam from 1988 to 2004, and heading the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra from 2005 to 2016, Chailly is known as one of the most adept interpreters of Mahler.

He put Mahler's Symphony No 6 on the program list because the piece, which is also known as Tragic, depicts the power of fate and is one of Mahler's most personal works.

"We have been impressed by Chinese audiences which, within a short amount of time, have grown into one of the main classical music audiences in the world. We want to return to celebrate the joy of music," says Chailly.

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2019-10-15 07:39:38
<![CDATA[The spirit of 'dark castle' shines]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515684.htm Khara-Khoto, aka the 'black city', is a ghost town haunted by history. Its ruins bear testimony to life and death in the desert, and commerce and conflict along the Silk Road, Erik Nilsson reports.

The dead city of Khara-Khoto's legacy lives on in the Gobi. So, too, do its ghosts, according to - and certainly in - local legend.

They're said to stalk the desert garrison's ruins - remnants that are literally shaped by the sands of time.

Centuries of sandstorms have ground many structures into nubs. And shifting dunes intermittently swallow and spit them out, concealing and revealing different edifices according to the appetites of fickle winds.

And Khara-Khoto's name has again been carried by the breeze to captivate the imaginations of travelers from afar.

Fascination with the site has been reincarnated since the rediscovery of the long-lost fortress and trade hub early last century.

Many experts believe the Tangut settlement in today's Inner Mongolia autonomous region is the ancient city of Etzina referenced in Marco Polo's travelogue.

"At this city, you must (prepare) victuals for 40 days, because, when you quit Etzina, you enter a desert that extends 40 days' journey to the north, and on which you meet with no habitation or baiting place," he wrote.

The explorer also records that inhabitants were "idolaters", who primarily survived by herding cattle and camels.

Many were soldiers, who protected traders from further east in China and countries to the west from nomadic raiders, who plundered Silk Road caravans.

These outlaws were, essentially, pirates who attacked from horseback, rather than from aboard ships, to pillage camel cargos sailing over seas of sand.

Khara-Khoto, which means "dark castle" in the local language - aka Heicheng (black city) in Chinese - was built in 1032.

Genghis Khan conquered it in 1226. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) laid the last siege in 1327, after which the fortress was ultimately abandoned.

The stronghold's weak point is that it relied on the Ejin River as its sole water source.

It's said Genghis Khan's forces surrounded the city and diverted the waterway.

The besieged residents frantically dug hundreds of meters into the ground.

When they failed to find water, their leader, Khara Bator - the "black general" - poured the city's vast treasure into the well to conceal their riches from the invaders.

Their last hope for discovering water to sustain their resistance had initially seemed to be in vain. But while it didn't save their lives, it saved their wealth from their killers.

It's said the only thing Genghis Khan's troops found upon breaching the ramparts was a bizarre serpent, which was believed to be an evil spirit - specifically, the black general's poltergeist.

Lore holds he still prowls the ruins.

One version of his story says that, upon realizing the inevitability of defeat, Khara Bator killed his family and then himself.

In an alternative take, he fought to the bitter end.

And, in yet another, he escaped through the fortress' wall.

Supporters of the escape theory point to a manmade passage bored into the 9-meter-high, nearly 4-meter-thick outer bulwark that's large enough to accommodate such a stunt.

Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, who founded the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), increased the strategic outpost's size threefold.

But it was abandoned when Ming troops again diverted the Ejin.

The fact that Khara-Khoto was hundreds of kilometers from, and years since, habitation meant it was all but forgotten until early last century.

Russian explorers had heard whispers of this city deserted in the desert and staged an expedition to see if the myths were true.

They excavated thousands of Tangut texts, Buddhist artifacts and woodcuts in 1908 and 1909.

Other foreigners followed - from Sweden, the United States, Britain and Japan.

But while people from faraway lands made international journeys to the remote site throughout the last century, until recent decades, many people from places nearest the ruins refused to go near them for fear of ghosts - especially the malicious phantom of the black general.

His legend has lived on in ethnic Mongolian folk-music epics that still indulge such apprehensions.

Over 3,000 more writings, artworks and daily-use items were removed by Chinese expeditions in the early 1980s, essentially confiscating the last of Khara-Khoto's known artifacts aside from the buildings themselves.

Still, the structures reveal much about the people who dwelled in them.

Wooden posts poke out of the crumbling foundations of ordinary residents' earthen houses.

An 18-meter-high Tibetan stupa that juts from the city's bulwark - the highest structure - hails a veneration of Buddhism.

The only building that stands outside the walls appears to be a mosque that may have largely served traders from India and other countries to the west.

And the ruins are bordered by a strange sort of graveyard - a cemetery of poplars preserved like mummies for millennia by the very desiccation that killed them.

The shriveled skeletons of ancient trees appear as if contorted in their death throes in the Strange Forest, as the deadwoods are called today.

Twisted branches stretch toward the sky like the arms of the knowingly doomed.

Signage bestows the thickets with such glum names as Watching War Machine, Life Depends on Death and God of War.

The trees serve as their own grave markers in a bone yard of white wood that casts an eerie pall on the "black city" - a ghost town haunted by history, whose spirit shines once more in a new age.

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2019-10-15 07:39:38
<![CDATA[Explore more in Thailand's parts unknown]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515683.htm BANGKOK - Thailand's southern beaches lure travelers with their turquoise water and dramatic limestone cliffs, but there's more to explore in the Southeast Asian country.

For finding a road less traveled in one of the world's most popular destinations, head away from Bangkok, and far from the overly Instagrammed backpacker hot spots and party capitals of Phuket or Pattaya.

Ban Krut for beach bums

In laid-back Ban Krut, travelers will find one of the cleanest and quietest stretches of white sandy beach within driving distance of the capital, Bangkok.

This sleepy seaside community, known mostly by locals, is a five-hour drive or six-hour train trip down the Gulf of Thailand.

Don't miss the magnificent Wat Tang Sai, a massive, fairy tale castle-like Buddhist temple perched atop Thong Chai Mountain.

River Kwai for nature lovers

Most visitors come for the beaches, but the rivers and parks in Thailand's Kanchanaburi province have much to offer the off-the-beaten-track road tripper.

Scenic trails and waterfalls abound in Sai Yok and Erawan national parks.

Just two hours from Bangkok is the bridge made famous in the book Bridge over the River Kwai by French author, Pierre Boulle, and the 1957 Academy Award-winning 1957 film adaptation of the same name.

Stay on the river at one of Kanchanaburi's many floating hotels, or "floatels", where you can kayak to your front door.

Cave for holiday hikers

Lush hiking trails, wetlands and mangrove forests make Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park a weekend adventure worthy of topping your Thailand to-do list.

The park's crown jewel is the extraordinary Phraya Nakhon Cave. Come early to catch the picturesque chamber flooded with morning sunshine that spotlights the royal pavilion that sits inside.

Outdoorsy travelers can camp in a park bungalow or opt for more luxe accommodation in the nearby tourist town of Hua Hin, three hours by car, or four by train, from Bangkok.

Lopburi for history buffs

Bypass the tour groups at the ancient city of Ayutthaya and head two hours north of Bangkok for a more serene stroll through Thai history.

Lopburi, one of Thailand's oldest cities, boasts Khmer-era temples and the uncrowded ruins of King Narai's Palace, which was built in the 1600s.

It's also known for the mischievous monkeys that gather at Phra Prang Sam Yot temple in the center of town. Pro tip: Keep a safe distance from the monkeys and hide anything you don't want them to steal.

Getting around

Car rental costs about $20 per day, and an international driver's permit is required. You can also hire a driver at most major car rental companies, book a taxi or explore by train.

Associated Press

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2019-10-15 07:39:38
<![CDATA[Fields of dreams]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515682.htm When it comes to designing with bamboo and rattan, a flexible approach tends to yield the best results, Huang Zhiling reports.

Li Chaoyun likes bamboo. The native of Sichuan province, a major producer of bamboo, appreciates a line from Su Dongpo (1037-1101), a great man of letters and a household name in the history of Chinese literature, that goes: "I can stand a meal without meat but cannot stand living without bamboo."

Li's love for bamboo recently prompted her to visit the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization Garden at the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 in Beijing. The event concluded on Oct 9.

"The trip was a feast for the eyes. I had a pleasant surprise - there were many elements of Sichuan among the chic bamboo items on display," the Chinese teacher says.

She and her friends from Sichuan were impressed with a bamboo chair called Bashi.

Bashi is a word used often by Sichuan people. It means "very nice", "cozy" or "comfortable" in their dialect and perfectly embodies their optimistic and laid-back attitude toward life, Li says.

The chair is one of over 30 pieces of bamboo furniture designed by Jeff Dayu Shi, an internationally acclaimed designer, which went on display at the exhibition at the invitation of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization since the exhibition opened on April 29.

Most of the pieces are international-design award winners. Ruomo, another chair, for example, won the German Design Award 2020.

The chair captures the unique aesthetics of natural bamboo and bamboo composites while boasting an ergonomic design and a streamlined shape. It breathes new life into bamboo design through a combination of art and technology.

Unlike many of Shi's previous works, those exhibited at the Beijing event are more market-oriented and accessible to consumers.

By incorporating design features that make the pieces better suited to mass production and easier to package and transport, while not sacrificing artistic merit, Shi hopes to maximize the economic, social and ecological benefits of bamboo, and create more momentum for the bamboo industry as a whole.

The pieces include a tea set and a clock made of bamboo.

The clock made of two branches of bamboo features a novel design that uses a cicada wing as its second hand.

Titled A Promising Material, Shi's collection of bamboo pieces in the exhibition is a perfect manifestation of the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019's slogan, "Live Green, Live Better".

Throughout his decadeslong career, Shi has switched paths a number of times, working first as a jewelry designer.

He was born in 1964, and his parents moved from Sichuan to Taiwan in 1949.

At the age of 21, he left Taiwan to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and later worked as a designer for the luxury jewelry company, Harry Winston.

In 1996, he won the DeBeers Diamonds International Award - the Oscar of the jewelry industry.

But it was his passion for bamboo and his ingenuity in design that have earned him countless awards and accolades.

He was honored with the Red Dot Design Award, one of the top three design prizes in the world, for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012 for his work in natural materials like bamboo.

To acknowledge his contribution to bamboo design, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization included Shi in its 2017 publication, 100 Heroes of China's Bamboo Industry, and invited him to present a keynote speech at the inaugural Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress in Beijing in June 2018.

 

Left: Jeff Dayu Shi shows the Miesheng Chaxiang Teapot, which won the German Design Award 2020, at the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019. Right: A collection of Shi's bamboo designs on display at the just-concluded event in Beijing. Photos by Liu Lanying / For China Daily

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2019-10-15 07:39:38
<![CDATA[Moscow honors PRC with exhibition]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/15/content_37515681.htm

MOSCOW - A photo exhibition to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China as well as the friendship between Russia and China over the past seven decades opened in Moscow last week.

The exhibition, jointly presented by China's Xinhua News Agency, the Russian Union of Journalists, the Central House of Journalists and Russia's Photo-Pro Company, is being held on the premises of the Central House of Journalists in Moscow. It will run through Nov 15.

Dubbed Pursuit of A Better Life - in Honor of the Founding of New China, the exhibition displays photographs that record key moments at different stages of New China's development, pictures that show Chinese people's lives and elements of Chinese culture, and shots that depict China's friendly interactions with Russia.

"This rare exhibition witnesses the historical changes that have taken place in China over the past 70 years, reflects changes in the lives of the Chinese people and demonstrates the profound friendship between China and Russia as well as the peoples of the two countries," Chinese ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui said at the opening ceremony.

China and Russia will continue to promote pragmatic cooperation in all areas to better facilitate the development of the two countries, he adds.

"The state of relations between our countries is now at one of the highest points in history," chairman of the Russian Union of Journalists, Vladimir Soloviev, says.

"It's a long flight between China and Moscow, and not everyone has an opportunity to take a look firsthand at how China is transforming ... I am very glad that such an exhibition is opening in Moscow."

Galina Kulikova, first deputy chairwoman of the Russia-China Friendship Association, who received the Friendship Medal, China's highest state honor, in Beijing earlier this month, also hailed the exhibition.

"My whole life is connected with China and our bilateral relations. I was there on the 40th anniversary of the PRC, the 50th anniversary, the 60th anniversary and, most recently, the 70th anniversary. What I saw in China has made an indelible impression on me. Great country, great people," she says.

Xinhua

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2019-10-15 07:39:38
<![CDATA[Rating after waiting: Didi provides convenience for foreigners]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/14/content_37515404.htm A woman was standing outside the south gate of China Daily. She was craning her neck looking up the narrow road, like a character in a romance novel awaiting the return of the love of her life.

After a few seconds watching her, I suddenly remembered why the scene was so oddly familiar.

I had been doing the same thing a day earlier, waiting for my own ride via ride-hailing service provider Didi.

I was looking at my cellphone after booking my trip to Beijing's Sanlitun area, following the small icon of a car about a kilometer in the distance crawling its way to where I was waiting.

The car icon looked a lot like a bug. It is like watching one of those old grainy video games in which you expect the gobbling Pacman character to just swallow the tiny car on your phone.

Didi is a godsend for a foreigner living in Beijing who can only speak, more like mumble, a few words in Mandarin.

You punch in your destination like Data on the sci-fi TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation and wait for the car to magically show up.

Since my destination is already in the mobile system of the driver, I do not wind up in a Lost in Translation scene trying to explain where I am going.

The arrangement is tidy and neat.

I've ridden all sorts of Didi cars since getting to Beijing at the start of summer.

When the temperatures top 35 C every day, I really do not fancy a 10-to 15-minute walk to Beijing's subway Line 10.

Most of the time, I take an Express Didi. They come in all shapes and sizes - mostly in black, white or your basic gray.

Not all Didi cars are created equal, though.

I ran into several whose drivers didn't bother turning on the air conditioner despite the stultifying heat that turned their cars into ovens. A simple polite request would take care of that. Sometimes, the cooling system was good enough. Other times, it barely functioned.

Most of the drivers are meticulously professional. They deliver you right to the doorstep of your destination.

One driver patiently ground through the clogged road to drop me and my wife off at the Anzhenmen mall despite the traffic snarl there, sensing correctly that we were going to Wagas coffee shop.

But there are a few clunkers when riding with Didi.

I punched in the Domino's Pizza branch at Siyuan Qiaodian on Beisihuandong road near Ikea to go to the Carrefour supermarket in the building with the pizza place.

The driver dropped us off about 500 meters away and told us to start walking. The driver apparently wanted to pick up another ride. Reluctantly, we got out.

That was the good part of the experience. He wanted to unload us even farther away but we complained that is not even close to Domino's.

Thank goodness for driver ratings.

In New York City, the Uber drivers can rate a passenger mostly in terms of generosity of tips. A good tipper attracts more drivers. The passengers can also rate the quality of the service provided by those drivers, like taking the long way to get to your destination to jack up the fare through congestion pricing.

Didi also has a two-way rating system. The passengers can give grades for their rides. The ratings range from one to five stars.

The drivers for their part can rate their passengers. If a passenger gets a good rating, other drivers will be more likely to take his or her booking the next time they need a ride.

Some of the drivers are friendly, cheerfully wishing us goodbye as we exited their cars.

Like everything else in life, rush hour is not the best time to book a Didi.

There was that one rainy morning, when we needed to visit a friend in the Shunyi area. When we booked the ride, we were 25th in line. It took us half an hour to get the car while huddling under a small umbrella. We were happy to pile in when the ride finally showed up.

After arriving at Shunyi, I took refuge in a Starbucks outlet for coffee. I cradled my java, munched on a small cake and watched the rain fall intermittently in sheets.

It turned out to be a perfect morning.

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2019-10-14 08:53:54
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/14/content_37515403.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Oct 14, 1993, the First Shanghai International Film Festival was closed as seen in this item from China Daily.

The award for best feature film that year went to Hill of No Return with Yang Guimei (right) as the leading actress. The award for best actor went to Jan Decleir, who stars in the Belgian film Daens, while Oh Jung-Hae (left), who stars in the Korean film Sopyonje, took the best actress title. They were chosen from 164 films presented by 33 countries and regions.

After decades of development, the annual event has become one of Asia's largest, becoming a major source of international communication in film.

The most recent festival was held in June, with more than 3,900 films from 112 countries and regions competing for Golden Goblet awards. The Iranian film Castle of Dreams was the big winner at the event, garnering best actor, best director and best feature film.

The film Inhale-Exhale, a coproduction of Georgia, Russia and Sweden, won the Grand Jury Prize, with its leading actress Salome Demuria taking the best actress award.

Because the country's massive box office potential interests foreign filmmakers, Chinese movies are getting more notice at festivals overseas. China's total box office last year exceeded 60 billion yuan ($8.5 billion), the second-largest after North America. That establishes the Chinese movie industry as a new engine for world cinema.

In February, Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei won Silver Bear awards as best actor and best actress in the Chinese movie So Long, My Son at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival. It was the first time both awards had gone to Chinese actors.

In 2017, Chinese animation Big Fish and Begonia directed by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun won the first prize of the full-length film category of the 15th Anilogue International Animation Festival.

China has picked Ne Zha, an animated blockbuster from director Yang Yu, as its entry in the best international feature film category at the 2020 Oscars.

An innovative take on a well-known work of classical Chinese mythology, the 3D animated film follows a boy born of the gods who finds himself a feared outcast because of a divine prophecy that says he will bring destruction to the world. The boy stares down a choice between good and evil before ultimately deciding to confront fate and become a hero.

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2019-10-14 08:53:54
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/14/content_37515402.htm Universal Studios Beijing unveils 7 lands

Universal Beijing Resort announced on Saturday that its Beijing theme park will have seven theme lands. The seven lands are Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness, Transformers: Metrobase, Minion Land, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic World Isla Nublar, Hollywood and WaterWorld. Film directors Zhang Yimou and Steven Spielberg will also partner to create a behind-the-scenes movie-making experience for the resort. Located in Tongzhou district, the resort plans to open in 2021.

Dementia diagnoses may be late in women

Doctors may be not be diagnosing women as early as men with brain problems associated with early signs of dementia because of how well women typically perform on simple memory tests, a study published Wednesday suggests. Women generally perform better on verbal memory tests, according to the study published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology. So when these common tests are used to diagnose mild cognitive impairment, women may be under-diagnosed or diagnosed too late, while men may be overdiagnosed or diagnosed too early, the study found.

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2019-10-14 08:53:54
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/14/content_37515401.htm Tech: Autonomous bus rolls in Germany

After a pilot phase of two years, Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) has decided to add a second autonomous bus to a 2-kilometer route between Bad Birnbach railway station in Bavaria and the city center. The buses are powered by electricity and run free of charge for passengers. The first autonomous bus on a public road was launched in Bad Birnbach in 2017. "We believe that self-driving small buses are a clever addition to our big yellow buses - for example in areas with narrow roads or strict speed limits," said Sigrid Nikutta, head of public transport operations in Berlin, adding that bus drivers are still needed, since the driverless buses will not replace all traditional vehicles anytime soon.

Culture: Fakes tackle real cultural issues

Spanish artist Nuria Carrasco specializes in creating fake magazines that look very much like genuine highbrow publications. The 57-year-old has received widespread critical acclaim since 2013 when she published her first fake magazine. Works from the Fake Magazines project are on display at the Cervantes Institute in Beijing as part of an ongoing exhibition entitled Original or Copy? Vowei, Carrasco's latest work - the centerpiece of her Beijing show - focuses on Chinese millennials, the children of first-generation Chinese immigrants living and working in Madrid. Carrasco last year copied both the title and format of global fashion trendsetter Vogue for her work titled Vowei.

Animals: Diabled dog in wheelchair travels in US

A dog named Finn traveled in a wheelchair with his owner, Bryce LaDuc, across the United States after an accident that left the dog unable to use his legs. Ever since he was a puppy, Finn has traveled with Bryce - visiting more than 30 states, hiking up mountains and trekking through national parks. Disaster struck in January last year when Finn was lying on the bed in the van he shares with Bryce and her boyfriend. The van wasn't moving, but Finn was startled by something and leapt out the back door, injuring his spine and left unable to use his legs. Six months later, Bryce splashed out $600 on an all-terrain doggy wheelchair so Finn could participate in adventures once again.

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2019-10-14 08:53:54
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/14/content_37515400.htm The Gin Game

When: Oct 17-20, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Gin Game was the first play by playwright D.L. Coburn and recognized as his most prestigious work. It won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1978 and was later staged in many languages and performed around the world.

In the play, while enjoying their games of gin, two elderly residents engage in lengthy conversations about their families and past lives. Gradually, each conversation becomes a battle, much like the ongoing gin games, as each player tries to expose the other's weaknesses.

CeMAT Asia

When: Oct 23-26

Where: Shanghai New International Expo Center

The international trade fair for logistics equipment will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. It features 10 themes, including systems integration and solutions, forklifts, conveyors and sorting equipment and robots.

The fair covers a total display area of more than 85,000 square meters. More than 800 well-known domestic and overseas enterprises will show off their latest technologies and solutions for the logistics industry.

Suor Angelica

When: Oct 25, 7:30 pm; Oct 26, 2:30 pm

Where: Guangzhou Opera House, Guangdong province

Suor Angelica is the third in a triptych of three one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini. It took several years to complete the project, which premiered in December 1918. It brings together three subjects illustrating three complementary registers: the tragic, the lyric and the comic, in three different eras and three different places.

Puccini began with a dark drama, Il Tabarro, continued with a sentimental tale, Suor Angelica, and ended with Gianni Schicchi.

Suor Angelica tells the story of a young noblewoman forced to enter a convent after a youthful indiscretion that led to the birth of an illegitimate child. It is tragedy, death and redemption in the landscape of Puccini's lush orchestration.

The Yellow Storm

When: Oct 30-Nov 1, 7:15

Where: Shanghai Oriental Art Center

Produced by the National Theater of China, the drama is based on Lao She's novel of the same name. One of the renowned writer's most-recognizable creations, The Yellow Storm revolves around the struggles of three families in Beijing's Yangquan'er Hutong during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

OSCiLLATE

When: Nov 6-9, 7:30 pm; Nov 10, 2:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

OSCiLLATE is a tap dance choreographed by Avalon Rathgeb and Dre Torres. It premiered at Sadler's Wells-The Lilian Baylis Theater last year and was then performed at the Latitude Music Festival, London Tap Dance Intensive and the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The performance explores human interaction and communication through the use of movement, sound and light. It will take you on a journey from misunderstanding, confusion, fear and misconception to compassion, acceptance, resolution and equality.

The UK dance group Old Kent Road was founded by Rathgeb in 2014.

Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)

When: Nov 24-30, 7 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Le Nozze di Figaro is a comic opera in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna in 1786.

The National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing produced Le Nozze di Figaro in 2016.

It is a fantastic farce, continuing the story of the characters from The Barber of Seville. The once young and romantic couple, Rosina and Count Almaviva, are established in their estate near Seville, Spain, but their marriage is in on the rocks.

Count Almaviva has become an aggressive, manipulative womanizer, and Rosina, the countess, has become despondent and upset about the state of their relationship.

Figaro is now employed as Count Almaviva's personal butler, but the count is actively pursuing Figaro's fiancee, Susanna. The count keeps putting off the wedding, finding ways to delay their union, even on the day of their planned wedding. Figaro, Susanna, and the countess create a plan to expose the count and his womanizing ways, hoping to shame him into change. The count, however, continues to try to break up the relationship.

Paperbelle

When: Oct 31-Nov 17(times vary)

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Paperbelle is the most popular show by award-winning Scottish theater company Frozen Charlotte and has delighted children and adults the world over, sparking off endless giggles and games of hide and seek.

It has been performed in Europe and Asia and at festivals in Edinburgh, Scotland; Norway; Germany; and Bahrain. An enchanting theater performance for children ages 2 to 5 and their families, Paperbelle is a gentle and playful exploration of color set in a magical world of paper.

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2019-10-14 08:53:54
<![CDATA[DOUBLE FEATURE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/14/content_37515378.htm Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian author and playwright Peter Handke were announced as winners of the Nobel Prize in literature for 2018 and 2019 respectively on Thursday.

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The winners of the Nobel Prize in literature for 2018 and 2019 are both authors noted for tackling contemporary topics from a fresh perspective, Mei Jia reports.

Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian author and playwright Peter Handke were announced as winners of the Nobel Prize in literature for 2018 and 2019 respectively on Thursday.

The Swedish Academy made the announcement after delaying the award last year.

Tokarczuk was awarded the prize for her "narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life", while Handke was rewarded for his "influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience", according to the Nobel's official website.

The result was not surprising to many Chinese literary insiders, because the two have long been familiar to Chinese literature lovers, especially Handke. The Chinese media have long suggested the writers as potential Nobel Prize-winners.

"It's finally, Peter Handke," Jiang Fangzhou, a writer representing the voice of the younger generation of Chinese readers, said on social media.

And Gao Xing, a researcher and literary critic with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Cover News, a Chinese online news provider, that Tokarczuk is the best Polish novelist alive: "She is capable of details of mental activities, and shows the utmost delicate, complicated and exquisite things to readers. She has a strong ability to touch readers deep down."

And Gao and peer critic Qiu Huadong both showed their respect for the strength and influence of Polish literature as a whole.

While some expressed regret for Japanese writer Haruki Murakami not making the cut, they also showed an eagerness to read, or become better acquainted with the writing of the winning authors.

Data from JD's online bookselling section showed that sales of Tokarczuk's novel House of Day, House of Night jumped by a factor of 600 in the first hour after the awards were announced, compared to the week before.

Both writers have enjoyed connecting and interacting with their Chinese fans and peers during their visits to China.

Many know Handke for his collaboration with director Wim Wenders in films like Wings of Desire.

Theater director Meng Jinghui, created a stage play I Love XXX to echo his 2008 view on Handke's Offending the Audience and his deep appreciation for the author.

Meng says Handke deserved a Nobel years ago.

Debuting in 1966, Offending the Audience was Handke's "anti-play" - a play with no plot and no storyline that relied on the language of insults and curses to engage with the audience.

Meng experienced the play in New York, and decided to sit there alone after the play was meant to have finished. He shared an anecdote about it in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, in 2016.

"Two of the 28 performers left, I suppose they rushed to the metro, while the remaining actors sat in front me continuing the 'battle' until their manager came," Meng says.

It was also in 2016 that Handke visited China for the first time. Talking about writing the play, Handke recalls how reluctant he was to attend the theater because his girlfriend at that time was an actress, adding that his reasons for writing the play was partly out of his preference as a book reader over joining a stage audience, and partly just to earn money. He says the play was "an analysis of the audience and performances, and projecting voices through language".

As Handke said in a 1970 interview that his "point was to use words to encircle the audience so they could free themselves through heckling".

Yet, as he stressed in his China visit, he was not that much an experimental and avant-garde writer, because he regarded the play as a "classical" work in the style of Aristotle: "So, in this sense, I'm a writer in the classical tradition."

Hu Wei, who teaches and studies German language and literature at Peking University, says that Handke "is a legend and a misfit who doesn't readily belong to anything".

"I'm always breaking rules or boundaries," Handke says during his visit.

Born in 1942 in Austria to a Slovenian mother, he was closer to his mother's family growing up.

His mother's suicide cast a heavy shadow on him. In 1972, he created A Sorrow Beyond Dreams: A Life Story, a semi-autobiographical novella based on her life.

A former law major, he told a Chinese audience during an interview that the language of law offers him a conduit to objective and retrospective thinking.

"Even at my age, I feel writing is no easy or natural thing. It's always an adventure," he says, adding that he regards himself as an amateur writer but a professional reader.

"I might be a statue of Buddha as a reader, but I'm a snail as a writer."

He has read extensively since a young age. William Faulkner and Fyodor Dostoevsky are his most important literary influences.

His early reading also included Chinese classics, and he was frank about telling the local audience that had taken time to read several Chinese titles before arriving in the country.

"I agree with Lao Tze and his philosophy that writing is not meant to be tangible or fixed, and that it is better be like water," he says.

He also says Lao She's writings are interesting and have a historic precision. "He was a great chronicler and the writer I hope to become."

Tokarczuk's publisher arranged a literary event in Beijing in 2018, the year she won the Man Booker award for her novel Flights.

When she was talking about her novel House of Day, House of Night - a magical story about dreams and folktales - at the event to promote its Chinese-language release, the organizer suggested the audience bring paper slips with their dreams written on them to give to Tokarczuk.

On a previous visit to China in 2008, the Polish novelist visited the house and workplace of her translator Yi Lijun, who is with the Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Yi, 85, recalls that Tokarczuk was of her own daughter's age, and they talked widely on topics about China and literature.

Born in 1962, Tokarczuk is an experienced psychologist who trained at the University of Warsaw.

Her works touched Chinese writer Li Tang, who praised her ability to "present new and boundless possibilities".

An analysis by The Paper, a Chinese online news platform, says the awards for Tokarczuk and Handke demonstrate the Nobel committee's aim to embrace the non-English language writing world, where the authors are rewarded for discussing fresh and relevant topics.

"But looking at the outcome, it seems that they are still sticking to European writers, maybe too much?" the editorial quizzed. "Yet it is still a brave decision, because Handke had previously said that the prize attracted reams of news reports - but does nothing good for the people who really care about reading literature."  

 

Top left: Austrian author Peter Handke poses in his garden, following the announcement that he won the 2019 Nobel Prize in literature, in Chaville, near Paris, France, on Thursday. Reuters Top right: Olga Tokarczuk, the 2018 literature Nobel Prize winner, in Bielefeld, Germany, on Thursday. Reuters Above from left: Handke’s books Offending the Audience and A Sorrow Beyond Dreams: A Life Story; Tokarczuk’s books Primeval and Other Times and House of Day, House of Night. photos Provided to China Daily

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2019-10-14 08:53:33
<![CDATA[Gender roles in focus at photo exhibition]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/14/content_37515377.htm An exhibition showcasing a selection of photos by Swedish photographer Tomas Gunnarsson is being held in Shanghai through Oct 20.

Co-organized by the Swedish Institute and the Consulate General of Sweden, the ongoing exhibition, Beyond the Norm - Images that Change the World, features some of Gunnarsson's photos that challenge existing stereotypes of gender, race, sexual orientation and age.

"As the first country in the world to launch a feminist foreign policy, gender equality is a cornerstone in Swedish foreign policy work," says Lisette Lindahl, Sweden's consul-general in Shanghai.

"Yet, the norms existing in our society create stereotypes that limit people in expressing who they are and following their dreams. This exhibition is to break down these stereotypical images and show that there are no limits to what you are capable of, how you can look or how you can dress based on your gender."

The images exhibited were created in the aftermath of an event in 2012 when the Swedish city of Gavle displayed new posters that aimed to reflect the life and people in the city. Days after the event, a citizen raised concerns about the posters.

After investigating the complaint, government officials found that most of the pictures depicted boys and men engaging in a variety of activities while the girls and women watched on passively. In addition, there were no elderly, citizens of other races, same-sex couples or people with disabilities featured. The city realized that the posters were not a true reflection of society and had the posters taken down.

A new project was launched in 2016 and the local government invited Gunnarsson to create new pictures, with citizens volunteering as models.

In one of the previous posters, a man could be seen teaching his son how to play golf as his wife looked on. The same family was featured in Gunnarsson's version but this time around the wife was bowling while the husband acted as a cheerleader.

Gunnarsson also photographed a same-sex couple who married in 2009 after same-sex marriage was legalized in the country. Transgender individuals were also featured.

The photographer also sought to challenge the norm that children should pick up sports according to their gender. In an image of a pair of twin sisters, one is seen with long hair, dressed in pink and practicing ballet. In contrast, the other sister dons darker clothing, has short hair and prefers playing football and hockey.

The exhibition in China also features stories of six Chinese who have shared their views on gender equality.

One of these individuals is Zhu Linken, a nurse in Melbourne, who says while women are usually regarded as the best choice for nurses, men also have their advantages in this profession.

"Men are more adept at technical operations. They can be more rational during emergencies as well," says Zhu.

Yan Xiao, a designer from Hubei province's Jingzhou, says he joined a chat group on Chinese app WeChat when his daughter was born to learn more about topics related to raising a child. He is currently the only male in the group.

Yan says he once encouraged his daughter to help change the world when she grows up. But his wife thought that this was too much responsibility to bear for a girl.

"I asked my wife if her response would be different if we had a boy instead and she said such responsibilities should fall on men. So, you see, there is already a force limiting a woman's potential in society. This is why we need gender equality," he says.

According to the exhibition curator He Yining, a series of photo booth sessions, a talk on stereotypes of men and women in media and a film screening will also be held to provide the audience with a greater understanding of gender diversity.

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2019-10-14 08:53:33
<![CDATA[Shanghai diaries]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/13/content_37515187.htm Three documentary series capture the city's transformation from a fishing village to a financial hub, Cao Chen reports in Shanghai.

Shanghai Television is airing Grand Shanghai, an eight-episode documentary series presenting the 176-year history of the municipality. It chronicles Shanghai's transformation from a fishing village to a global financial hub since its opening to the world. One episode a night is shown on the documentary channel of the network, with the last episode scheduled for Monday.

"The influx of foreign culture and capital is the external contributing factor to make Shanghai what it is today," says Xu Guanqun, chief director of the documentary.

"The original, exquisite culture based on its location in the Jiangnan region - the area south of the Yangtze River - is the core that supports the city to thrive and find new ideas," says Xu.

The production team visited historical sites, featured people who witnessed the city's growth and sought data from over 60 overseas archives and libraries, including the British Library, the National Portrait Gallery in the United Kingdom and Yale University in the United States.

"We desire to make Shanghai better understood, along with the goal of reviving its history," says producer Han Yun.

"Why is the city the birth place of the Communist Party of China? How did it combine the domestic and international cultures? These questions will be answered by the documentary," she says.

The city's openness is rooted in its history, and its evolution has been shaped by education, finance and science, she adds.

Some stories like the expansion of foreign concessions in Shanghai are illustrated via sand paintings by Chinese painter Gao Jie.

Grand Shanghai is one of three documentary series recently released by Shanghai television stations to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

New China in Color, a 50-minute documentary based on color footage of events related to the founding of New China produced by a Soviet film crew, was aired on Oct 1 on Dragon Television and Shanghai Television's Documentary Channel.

The color footage, which was found in Russia, offers the audience an opportunity to view historic scenes in China during the initial days of New China, including the main ceremony in Beijing. The footage was shot by a film crew from the Soviet Union invited to China before its founding to capture people's lives in color film in 1949 and 1950. They cooperated with Chinese photographers, who used cameras for black-and-white photography, the new documentary's makers say.

The footage was later kept in the former Soviet Union and produced into color documentaries in Russian and Chinese, and released in both countries. However, the film released in China gradually aged.

Shanghai Audio-Visual Archives rediscovered the original footage preserved at the Russian State Film and Photo Archive - around 200 rolls of film, each lasting 10 minutes - and purchased the copyright of some cuts this year, according to Xie Shenzhao, chief director of New China in Color.

"The new documentary is based on these precious recordings," says Xie.

"We revisited some places and people seen in the footage, aiming to showcase both previous and modern life in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou to the audience."

For example, the Soviet team took a long overlooking shot along the Pearl River in Guangzhou from the 60-meter-high Aiqun Building, which then was the first high-rise there.

Now, the 530-meter Guangzhou Chow Tai Fook Finance Center, also called East Tower, is the tallest skyscraper in the city.

Another cut was on a garden party held at Zhongshan Park in Shanghai's Changning district on the Double Ninth, or Chongyang festival, in October 1949 to show the elderly celebrating.

"A small group of kindergarten children performs a music show in the clip. We found the members online and gathered them at the park to do the performance again," says Xie.

Another recent documentary series, The Untold Story of 221, has been jointly produced by the Qinghai radio and television bureau and the Shanghai Radio and Television Documentary Channel. It turns its focus on China's first nuclear-program base (No 221) in Jinyintan, Qinghai province. It's where China's first atomic and hydrogen bombs were developed.

It elaborates upon the establishment story of the former factory, the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, and the site's later transformation into a tourist site.

The three-episode series premiered on Dragon Television on Sept 27.

Contact the writer at caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Top: An aerial view of Shanghai. Above left: A group of kindergarten children performs a music show in 1949 in a footage by a Soviet film crew. Above right: A crew member of the documentary, New China in Color, visits painter Wang Wei (right). Photos Provided to China Daily

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2019-10-13 15:15:45
<![CDATA[Display highlights Chinese printing over decades]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/13/content_37515186.htm An exhibition about the development of Chinese printing opened in Beijing to celebrate New China's 70th anniversary on Sept 23 and will run for three months.

Hosted by the China Printing Museum and the Printing Technology Association of China, the exhibition is separated into four parts - namely, creation and exploration; reform and opening-up; prosperity and development; and integration and innovation. It shows over 80 exhibits related to Chinese printing.

At the opening ceremony in Beijing, Liu Xiaokai, head of the printing and distribution division of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China, introduced the changes in Chinese printing over the past seven decades.

"The general output value has increased from less than 100 million yuan ($14 million) to 1.27 trillion yuan in 2018. The number of printing enterprises has risen from several thousand to 98,000," Liu says.

The first section is about the development of Chinese printing immediately after the founding of New China in 1949.

It highlights an issue of People's Daily published on Oct 1, 1949, which records the ceremony to mark the founding of New China and the military parade held at that time in a detailed manner.

Some exhibits also record the changes in typesetting after 1949. In the first issue of the magazine Chinese Learning in 1951, the characters inside were typeset in vertical lines. But in the 31st issue published in 1954, the characters were printed in horizontal lines from left to right.

An issue of the Guangming Daily from Jan 1, 1955, when it provided a notice that its typesetting would be changed from vertical to horizontal, is also on display, according to Sun Baolin, director of China Printing Museum.

The second section tells about the improvements of Chinese printing in the years before and after the reform and opening-up in the late 1970s and early '80s. The highlight of this part are 748 projects that were launched to boost the development of Chinese-character processing that improved printing.

"The project was started in August 1974. A research group from Peking University, led by Wang Xuan, invented a computerized laser photocomposition system for Chinese-character typesetting, telling the world that Chinese people could independently make the historic change from letterpress printing to electronic publishing," says Sun.

An edition of Economic Daily published on May 22, 1987, is on show. It was the paper's first attempt to use Wang's computerized laser photocomposition system to make four pages.

This section also shows a People's Literature magazine published in January 1978, which contains an article headlined Goldbach's Conjecture that records how Chinese mathematician Chen Jingrun tried to uncover Goldbach's theory.

The article became popular after publication and got many people interested in math at that time, says Sun.

The third part shows the further development of printing from 1988 to 2012. During this period, regulations on monitoring and regulating Chinese printing were issued, and the China Printing Museum was established as the world's largest museum dedicated to this field.

The final section shows the industry prospering in China. Chinese printing has become more visible at international book fairs.

At the opening ceremony, Wang's wife, Chen Kunqiu, who also worked on the computerized laser photocomposition system for Chinese-character typesetting, recalled the changes she witnessed.

"In the past, we had to spend about a year to print a book with 200,000 to 300,000 characters. Newspaper had a handful of black-and-white pages. People living in cities outside Beijing could hardly read the day's newspaper like People's Daily in time," Chen recalls.

"But since printing technology has rapidly developed, the situation has changed. Our technology has been exported outside, which was unthinkable in the past.

"The development of printing also reflects China's development. China has developed through Chinese people's own struggles. So has Chinese printing."

wangru1@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-10-13 15:15:45
<![CDATA[Wok on the mild side]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/13/content_37515185.htm The delicate dishes of a Sichuan vegetarian pop-up restaurant from Chengdu have been impressing Los Angeles foodies, Li Yingxue reports.

In August, Mixun Teahouse from Chengdu made a pop-up appearance at a Los Angeles eatery to serve up an imaginative selection of vegetarian Sichuan dishes - from spicy noodles to special teacakes - at a popular Venice Beach restaurant called Plant Food + Wine.

Xu Cungui, head chef at the restaurant based in Sichuan's provincial capital, had already created a menu for his US diners. But he was forced to adjust his recipes when he landed in southern California and realized that he had to find substitutes for some of the ingredients that are only available in Sichuan.

He had to prepare handmade gluten-free noodles every day, and the teacakes required hours of work to prepare. And although he only served a limited number of guests each day, the feedback they gave instilled him with pride.

 

Clockwise from top: Black truffle and Pu'er tea hotpot is for diners who don't eat spicy food. Ice plant with sesame sauce is one of chef Xu's signature dishes. The decor of Mixun Teahouse resembles traditional Chinese medicine cabinets. Xu upgrades spicy tofu with a special mushroom sauce. Photos Provided to China Daily

The 37-year-old chef was impressed by how popular vegetarian restaurants are in the United States, and how foodies there are impressed by how delicious Chinese vegetarian fare can be.

Xu joined the culinary world in 2002 and has worked with many international chefs in several countries around the world, including Singapore, France, Italy, India, Malaysia and Thailand.

After cooking in the kitchens of the Shangri-La, Sheraton, MGM hotels and several other international groups, he deepened his knowledge of the culinary arts and gained experience in kitchen management. Xu joined Mixun Teahouse in 2014 amid preparations for its launch.

He created the menu for the restaurant's opening in 2015 with a focus on healthy vegetarian food, tea and pastries.

"People's impressions of food from Sichuan is that it's always spicy, but that's not what the cuisine is all about. We wanted to create a place for local foodies and tourists from around the world to come together and enjoy healthy, tasty vegetarian food in Chengdu," Xu explains.

Mixun Teahouse at The Temple House is nestled in a restored historical building in downtown Chengdu. Designed by renowned UK architecture firm Make Architects, the decor is inspired by the practice of traditional Chinese medicine, and its interior walls have been elegantly styled to resemble traditional medicine cabinets. For an authentic finish, the compact rows of drawers are also meticulously engraved with the names of different herbs and medicines.

The restaurant also takes inspiration from the healthy dishes once served at the neighboring Daci Temple.

From its signature delicacy, marinated tofu cubes with mushrooms and nuts, to the refreshingly delightful iced cherry tomatoes and the aromatic lotus soy-sauce fried rice, the teahouse's balanced offerings are light yet tasty and prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

The tofu dish is one that's representative of Sichuan cuisine and is typically made with tofu and minced pork. Xu designed a mushroom sauce to replace the pork and soften its spiciness.

"Vegetarian cuisine has its limits, so I had to change the way I cooked to ensure the dishes are always flavorful and tasty," he says.

"For example, we never used extracted vegetable juice when making nonvegetarian dishes, but now I use that method a lot." Xu also uses vegetable oil in his cold dishes.

In another traditional Sichuan noodle dish with a pepper sauce, Xu uses sesame sauce, minced preserved vegetables and minced nuts to replace the pork. Spinach juice is added to the noodles to improve the color and nutritional value.

Bamboo mushrooms in green Sichuan pepper sauce is a must-try. Xu boils the bamboo mushrooms, peanut sprouts and other mushrooms with green Sichuan peppers to bring out their special, numbing flavor.

The starter, dried lotus marinated with wasabi and sesame dressing, is another highlight.

Xu updates his menu according to the seasons. With the arrival of autumn, he adds chestnut and walnut dishes to his menu as the harvest time sets in.

"Sichuan has a lot of different ingredients at different times of the year, so I keep on creating new dishes around whatever seasonal ingredients are available," he says.

Since the traditional soup base for Sichuan hotpot is usually beef tallow, Xu has instead created a mixed vegetable-oil base using chilis to present a similar flavor with a softer taste.

Xu has also designed a hotpot soup base for diners who don't enjoy spicy food. It's made from Pu'er tea to which he adds truffles to lift the aroma.

Other highlights include the Sichuan-style cold noodles, iced jelly and two other classic dishes made with natural local ingredients that reveal the refreshingly light side of Sichuan cuisine.

Built on the former site of Daci Temple's mulberry garden, the teahouse pays homage to this historical link by incorporating mulberries into its homemade pastries and drinks.

Xu also creates a wide range of desserts, including the signature Mixun teacakes made from purple sweet potatoes, mung beans, mulberry leaves and cranberries. Another highlight is the assortment of "sun cakes", which have fillings made from figs, red beans, purple sweet potatoes and cranberries.

A unique Chinese-style afternoon tea experience is also available. Xu makes the handcrafted Chinese desserts with just the right touch of sweetness to pair them perfectly with the fragrant Chinese teas on offer.

And in June, Xu brought nine of his signature dishes to Jing Yaa Tang restaurant in Beijing, where he collaborated with chef Li Dong to create a pop-up vegetarian menu that surprised foodies in the capital. Xu also invited Li to bring his signature vegetarian Beijing dishes to Chengdu.

"I learned some new dishes when I was in Beijing, such as bean curd puffs, which gave some new ideas for dishes to discuss with the chefs in Los Angeles," he says. "This year's pop-up restaurant is just the start. I want to continue bringing Sichuan vegetarian cuisine to more people and places around the world."

Contact the writer at liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-10-13 15:15:45
<![CDATA[Pots of flavor to be found at Beijing's Ao Ba Nian]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/13/content_37515184.htm Spicy hotpot's broth is usually only for boiling ingredients, but at Ao Ba Nian Hotpot restaurant, the soup is also for sipping - and it's quite tasty.

In Chinese, the character ao is commonly used to refer to cooking something slowly over a low flame. The ao in the restaurant's name also refers to the long, slow-cooked broth that forms the base of its hotpot.

Taking its cue from hotpot restaurants in Taiwan, Ao Ba Nian focuses on homemade base soups served alongside a handpicked selection of high-quality ingredients, including a number of specialties from Taiwan.

Any hotpot restaurant is only as good as its broth. Ao Ba Nian has taken this maxim and made it a focal point by using ingredients, such as the bones from pork and chicken and wild mushrooms that are slowly simmered for more than eight hours to release every ounce of their flavors.

According to Ao Ba Nian's Beijing branch manager Huang Wei-feng, it took the chefs years to develop a signature soup base that was both spicy and drinkable.

"We needed to find the right balance," Huang says.

The menu currently offers several different hotpot bases, including assorted mushrooms, golden dried scallops and preserved Chinese cabbage and pork, as well as a spicy beef shank and a pepper-dried scallops and chicken-soup hotpot.

This ensures that there is something for every palate, from spice lovers to those looking for more delicate flavors. Diners can also choose a split pot with two different bases.

"All the varieties can be drunk, and we encourage diners to taste the broth before boiling the ingredients," says Huang.

From thinly cut slices of rib-eye steak with just the right amount of marbling, to organic pea sprouts cut and harvested from their tableside growing container, the ingredients are also high quality.

Ao has another meaning - to endure. Established in 2006 in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, Ao Ba Nian literally means "enduring for eight years", a moniker chosen because it opened eight years after the owner had established his first eatery, Ludingji.

The Beijing branch of Ao Ba Nian, which opened in 2018, is located in Sanlitun's trendy Taikoo Li North area.

It's a two-story space with wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows. The design is said to be inspired by the shape of hotpot caldrons.

According to Huang, however, what really sets Ao Ba Nian apart from its competitors in Beijing is the selection of traditional Taiwan-style hotpot ingredients. "For example, the spicy hotpot is served with duck blood and tofu prepared in the traditional Taiwan style. Diners can enjoy unlimited refills of them throughout their meal," he says.

Fish-roe dumplings, known as "lucky bags" in Chinese, feature premium Alaskan cod roe wrapped in tofu skin and tied into purse shapes. Once cooked, the dumplings have a toothsome texture and a strong seafood flavor.

The homemade deep-fried tofu skin is popular. It arrives at tables in crisp sheets that soften in the hotpot, taking on the flavor of the soup.

A selection of such Taiwan-style street snacks as salt-and-pepper pork ribs and deep-fried dough sticks are also served at the restaurant.

To pair with the hotpot, a pilsner beer has been brewed exclusively for Ao Ba Nian by Mod Craft-beer Taproom. The beer, called Shaung-8, is a classic Pilsner with a crisp, mildly sweet flavor and a light, golden color.

"For nondrinkers, we offer a selection of Taiwan-style bubble and fruit teas," Huang adds.

liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-10-13 15:15:45
<![CDATA[A tale of abandonment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/12/content_37515126.htm Hanoch Levin's play portraying the plight of Jewish refugees fleeing Germany ahead of World War II set to be staged in the capital

On May 13, 1939, a vessel set sail from Hamburg for Cuba with 937 German-Jewish refugees, following the violence of Kristallnacht. The refugees were denied entry to Cuba and then they had to sail from port to port, hoping to find a country that would accept them.

This event inspired Israeli playwright and director Hanoch Levin (1943-99) to write a play, which, instead of a historic piece, turned out to be a poetic and dreamy piece, entitled The Child Dreams.

Premiered in 1993, The Child Dreams was first staged as a joint production by Habima National Theatre, the Haifa Theater and the Israel Festival, and was directed by Levin himself.

 

The Child Dreams will make its debut in China with two shows on Nov 16 and 17 at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing, as part of the ongoing third Lao She Theatre Festival. The play is presented by the National Theatre of Bitola and directed by Israel-born artist Itai Doron (top). Photos Provided to China Daily

The play will make its debut in China with two shows on Nov 16 and 17 at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing, as part of the ongoing third Lao She Theatre Festival, which celebrates the legacy of the renowned Chinese writer Lao She (1899-1966) with international theater productions staged in the capital from Sept 19 to Nov 23.

The play, presented by the National Theatre of Bitola and directed by Israel-born artist Itai Doron, is the version of The Child Dreams done by the National Theatre of Bitola which premiered on Jan 26.

The play opens with a family at home, where a father, a mother and a little child live. The parents lovingly watch the sleeping child when suddenly war breaks out. The story then showcases the journey of the mother and her child to find asylum after the father is killed. They then go into exile in a distant land where they beg for safe shelter.

Director Doron, who was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and is also a film director and photographer, first read the script of The Child Dreams when he was in high school.

Speaking about the play, he says: "Hanoch Levin was an icon for me since I grew up dreaming of being in theater. The script strikes you hard, it totally stuns you.

"The thing I most strongly remember is that I thought the play was powerfully written that it was a difficult mission to put it on stage."

When it came to putting the play on stage, the first idea that came to Omri Rosenblum - the visual director and Doron's artistic partner - and Doron was about using the ocean as the basic landscape for the stage.

Explaining the background for the idea, Doron says: "In Israel, there is this game played by children called Yam-Yabasha (meaning: Sea-Land). In this game kids jump between two sides separated by a rope on the floor. If they get confused they are out of the game. And the ocean is a big part of this play, and of the real historical event in 1939. It is also a painful part of the current imagery of the refugee crisis in Europe and the world. So we knew that we needed to put an ocean on the stage somehow."

In the play, the main aim of Doron and the artistic team is to get the audience into a dreamlike state. So he uses live video as the lens of the child so the audience can see his dream through the video.

He adds that the most challenging part of directing the play is to find a way to portray its powerful words.

"When you read the play for the first time, it seems like everything is being said, that there is nothing hidden. It's like a dream, where everything is being put out with beautiful poetry. So, how do you turn this poetry into drama, into conflict, and into life?"

The Child Dreams is the first time Doron is working with a Levin script, though it's his fourth directorial production.

The lead actress Katerina Anevska Drangovska in Doron's version of The Child Dreams was in the original production of the play directed by Levin himself, which enabled Doron to hear stories about the writer.

Levin, one of the most original and most innovative writers of his generation, wrote plays, sketches, songs, stories and poetry, and directed most of his own plays. He died of cancer at the age of 55 in 1999, leaving 56 plays, two books of prose, two collections of sketches and songs, a book of poems and two books for children.

Chinese audiences are familiar with Levin since his play, Requiem, made its debut in China at the National Theater of China in 2004. In 2006 and 2012, the play returned to the country, and the reception it got was overwhelming.

In 2013, Levin's play, The Suitcase Packers, a comedy about eight funerals, was staged at the Capital Theater in Beijing to commemorate what would have been Levin's 70th birthday.

In July 2019, a Chinese version of Requiem premiered in Beijing, marking the first Chinese language adaptation of Levin's plays, and it was directed by Israeli director Yair Sherman and featured Chinese actress Sun Li and veteran Chinese actor Ni Dahong.

Speaking about the performance ahead of the premiere, Lilian Barreto, Levin's widow, who was in Beijing, said: "Levin was a great storyteller with his sharp, painful and honest works."

As how Doron feels about presenting Levin's work in China, he says: "It's very exciting to think about all the different cultures that will gather in China. It's totally crazy and so beautiful that art can achieve this.

"It will be the first time in China for me and I truly believe that in the land of the childhood, and in the land of dreams - which this play is about - we all meet. The audience can expect a different kind of journey inside the theater, a dream that takes place inside a theater. And like all of the shows I've done, the audience members are not only observers; they are part of the composition. They are dreamers but also a part of the dream."

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2019-10-12 07:15:36
<![CDATA[A Chinese class in Chicago high school]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/12/content_37515125.htm Standing in front of the blackboard, Christina Xu announced the start of the class. Eighteen students stood up, shouted their greetings of "good morning" in Chinese, and started the 90-minute class.

This is a usual Chinese class at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in downtown Chicago. The 18 students were divided into small groups, four in each group, to practice Chinese speaking and writing.

The four different tones are considered one of the most difficult parts in Chinese learning. To make it easier, Xu attached to each tone a gesture, and asked the students to give corresponding gestures to the words she pronounced.

In sentence composing section, the students were encouraged to write down as many Chinese sentences as they can. Chances were there were often strokes either to the left or to the right missing in a character. When Xu added the missed strokes together with humorous comments, the students laughed again and easily remembered the correct ones.

Walter Payton is one of the 41 public schools in Chicago that offer Chinese classes. Some 60 certified full-time Chinese teachers like Xu are offering Chinese courses in four levels to some 11,000 elementary and middle school students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

"CPS offers 12 foreign languages for students to choose," said Jane Lu, CPS Chinese world language coordinator and director of the Confucius Institute in Chicago. "But in 2018, Chinese surpassed French to become the second most chosen foreign language."

Lu attributed it to the rapid development and rising of China on the world's stage. By choosing to learn Chinese, "the students are aiming at the potentials China has, and investing in the future."

Sixteen-year-old Steven Norinsky is a junior at Walter Payton. He started to learn Chinese in elementary school, and has kept learning ever since. "I plan to learn it throughout high school for the rest of my time here," he said.

"I chose Chinese because I think it would be the most valuable language to learn," Norinsky explained. "It's more valuable to know a language that more people speak and especially the United States has a lot of relations with China."

Norinsky said he believes that learning Chinese will help him in his career in the future.

CPS started to offer Chinese as a second language option in 1999. Only several schools had Chinese classes until 2006, when the Confucius Institute in Chicago was established.

The institute is responsible for coordinating Chinese courses and training Chinese teachers in CPS. Establishment of the Confucius Institute has added wings to Chinese teaching in CPS, Lu said.

The institute has not stopped on this. It sends more than 20 CPS students to China for exchange and study every year. "Only after having personal experiences of China would the students find a fair and objective knowledge about the country and share it with others," Lu stressed.

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2019-10-12 07:15:36
<![CDATA[Dark, light and white brews]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/12/content_37515124.htm One of the best known methods of Chinese cooking is to slowly simmer poultry and meats in a saucy, spiced brew.

This style of braising is known as lu, after the flavorful brew the food is cooked in. All over China from region to region, there is always a recipe for braising, a version of lu.

In the north, the braising brew is dark and redolent of strong spices, notably that of star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and Sichuan peppercorns. The heavy dark soy sauce colors the braising liquid and hence, the goods.

Duck gizzards, beef shins, pig trotters, tongues, pieces of liver, sometimes even whole spring chickens will go into the constantly simmering pot.

In a separate pot, pieces of hard and soft tofu, bean curd skins and other tofu products will also cook. These are never mixed with the meats because the tofu may start off an unwanted fermenting.

One thing that differentiates the northeastern brews from the other regions. The meats are lifted from the pot and drained, then cooled. They are then displayed, and sliced and packed off only when an order comes in. The braising liquid is almost never seen.

The northern braises are also more full-flavored, salty and strong. This tradition harks back to times when there was little refrigeration and the meats depended on salt to keep palatable.

As we travel south, another famous brew appears. This is Nanjing's famous saltwater duck.

Its name is deceptively simple, but the duck is subjected to a dry rub marinade first and then steeped in a lao lu, a braising liquid that has seen the presence of countless ducks. As a result, this brew captures their essence and improves with age.

There have been many stories about how that pot of braising liquid has survived war and pestilence when chefs risked their lives to protect their precious brew.

Personally, I know of a respected chef who had transferred half a pot to a newly opened branch restaurant. An unknowing apprentice took a look at the dirty-looking brew and threw it out with the dishwater. Needless to say, that reckless act cut short his culinary ambitions.

The Nanjing saltwater duck has become a signature dish of the city, and its flavors more than match its reputation. It uses a spicy dry rub that is carefully brushed off before it is lowered into the simmering broth where it is kept just below boiling.

You can call this the original sous vide. The slow bath in the flavorful stock allows the flavors to penetrate every fiber, and the result is a tender duck with flesh that is exceedingly savory.

As a southerner, and a Cantonese to boot, I take pride in the braised foods of my home province, where all manner of lu, from light to dark flavor everything from pigeons to ducks, geese to chickens.

Here, the braising brews are flavored by light and dark soy sauces, the best Shaoxing wine, and even fermented bean curds.

There are the rose-scented soy chickens, still pink in the bones but with flesh that melts in the mouth. They are soaked in flavored soy brews started with gingers, scallions and scented with Shaoxing wine and meiguilu, a rose-steeped liquor originally from Tianjin.

That's the upmarket version. For the common folks, a basin of simmering low gaiyik will serve many and accompany heaping bowls of rice.

Low gaiyik or braised chicken wings, is more a generic rather than specific name. In addition to the chicken wings, there are intestines, gizzards, salted vegetables, tofu, bean curd skins all simmering happily together in a thick brew made from red fermented bean curd or nanru.

You could order a mixed plate and together with rice, it would make a delicious meal.

Cantonese brews are always started with aromatics that include ginger, scallions or even garlic. The spices are less prominent and a little piece of cinnamon or a couple of star anise pods are all that are needed.

One main ingredient is sugar, either crystallized rock sugar, or the flat golden slabs of natural cane sugar.

Once you get the basic brew right, you can cook almost anything in it, from pigeons to belly pork, trotters to gizzards.

For poultry such as duck and geese, galangal and shallots are added to the starter, a culinary influence brought back by Chaoshan cooks who returned from Southeast Asia.

The blue ginger adds a distinctive fragrance to the birds, and the shallots melt into the braising brew for added sweetness.

There is a whole cookbook to be written about lu shui and all its distinctive variations. Let's start with just one recipe.

 

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2019-10-12 07:15:36
<![CDATA[Turning over a new leaf: The lowly cabbage has become a star]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/12/content_37515123.htm

Here's a sentence that might come as a surprise: Cabbage is cool.

That taken-for-granted vegetable, that sturdy, dense staple of many a poor, ancestral homeland, is finally getting respect.

"It's all about how it is prepared, how it's elevated," says Paul Kahan, a James Beard award-winning chef in Chicago and self-professed cabbage freak.

He thinks that because cabbage has mainly been associated with sustenance, it hasn't been given its due.

Cabbage is part of most of the world's cooking history. Perhaps most famously, it was one of the only sources of sustenance in famine-ravaged Ireland in the mid-19th century. Thus the classic Irish dish corned beef and cabbage, not to mention colcannon.

In China, there's cabbage sauteed with bean curd. In England, cabbage cooked with potatoes and other vegetables in bubble and squeak. In Norway, the hot and sour surkal. In the US, coleslaw. Fermented and pickled cabbage dishes abound, including kimchi in South Korea, and sauerkraut in Poland, Germany and other parts of middle and Eastern Europe. Stuffed cabbage rolls are part of just about every cuisine, form golabki in Poland to holishkes in Jewish cooking to sarma in Croatia.

There's more, but the point is: In all times and places, cabbage has been valued for its plenteousness, cheapness, long shelf life, and ability to be preserved for an even longer shelf life. It can be eaten raw or cooked in pretty much any way a vegetable can be cooked.

Now, it's also trendy.

"It's just delicious," says Kahan.

He has been on the cabbage bandwagon for years, serving it at his upscale Chicago restaurants in various guises. At Publican, they char wedges of cabbage in a wood-burning hearth and then finish them in a pan with butter and shallots. Kahan remembers being inspired by a dish made by New Orleans chef Alon Shaya: "It was the first time I ever saw a chunk of cabbage served at a restaurant."

And that's how kitchen trends start - chefs get inspired, borrowing from other restaurants and other cultures; food publications take their cues from the chefs; and suddenly, cabbage recipes proliferate.

Robert Schueller, the "Produce Guru" at Melissa's Produce, a specialty company out of Los Angeles, says chefs and restaurants are the clear drivers behind the cabbage movement. Cabbage is being used as everything from a taco topping (common in Mexico) to a base or nest for menu items such as marinated fish. Chefs like how cabbage maintains a crisper texture than other greens when served with warm foods, he says.

"We have seen a rise in Napa cabbage, too, which is used in Asian stir fries, fermentation and pickling, all of which are gaining in popularity. The most interesting thing is that the rise of Napa is not just in Asian groceries and restaurants," Schueller says.

Gabriel Kreuther gets creative with cabbage at his eponymous restaurant in New York City. He purees well-cooked cabbage as a base for some garnishes; uses it in a side dish with trumpet mushrooms warmed in duck fat; and serves up a simple slaw of shredded cabbage, onion, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, maybe with some julienned gruyere cheese mixed in.

"It goes with everything; it's refreshing, it gets better with a few days macerating time, it's soft and crunchy, it's healthy," Kreuther says.

At the restaurant, they make their own sauerkraut, a dish he grew up with in his native Alsace region of France. Kreuther serves the sauerkraut in a smoked sturgeon; his sauerkraut tartlet topped with caviar mousseline is in a filo pastry shell and served under a wine glass filled with smoke.

Kreuther likes mixing poor man's food with luxury ingredients and seeing how they play against each other. That explains another dish on his menu: layers of squab breast and foie gras wrapped with cabbage leaves, and then encased in Tunisian brik dough and seared until the outside is crispy.

And how do people react when they see cabbage on this highbrow menu?

"People pooh-pooh cabbage," he says, "but when they taste it well prepared they say, 'Oh, I didn't realize cabbage could be so delicious!'"

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2019-10-12 07:15:36
<![CDATA[When nature becomes a stage]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/12/content_37515122.htm A new interactive show about Mount E'mei, in Sichuan province, uses the area to showcase the culture and tradition of the people living there

Above the ground covered with small white stones are several tile-eaves, as if the actual houses are buried inside the whiteness. With fog arising from the ground, you can stroll around to see people from all walks of life - a fortune-teller, an elderly porter, a monk sitting on the ground and four people playing mahjong on a table.

Suddenly a young woman comes up and asks: "Have you seen the sea of clouds on Mount E'mei? Do you believe the sea of clouds also have a life?"

The scene is a prelude to the recently premiered Unique Mount E'mei, which is set in the mountain in Sichuan province. And these performers represent people's lives in the sea of clouds.

After that, the audience sees a performance with holographic projection and can walk around for several immersive shows where they can watch performers closely and interact with them.

The show combines the mountain's history and Buddhist culture, with traditional Chinese values.

Unique Mount E'mei is the first installment of the Unique series of director Wang Chaoge and she also plans to produce a show in the series based on classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber.

"I want to excel using innovation. This production showcases the beauty of traditional Chinese aesthetics," she says.

Speaking about her work, she says: "Artists and audiences should be equal. So, I don't intend to educate anyone. I just share my opinions in my work, which appeal to both refined and popular tastes."

In 2003, Wang codirected Impression Liu Sanjie with Zhang Yimou and Fan Yue, and it remains one of China's most popular and profitable tourist shows. The Impression series are not indoor. And they're all set on famous mountains or the banks of rivers or lakes, which serve as the natural stage backdrop.

Separately, in 2013, Wang produced Encore Pingyao in ancient Pingyao city, in Shanxi province. And it was the first time that she invited the audience to walk around in a space to watch performance, rather than being seated. After that, she produced the Encore series at popular destinations such as Dunhuang in Gansu province and Mount Wutai in Shanxi province.

For her current show, Wang and her team renovated Gaohe village at the foot of Mount E'mei into a 20,000-square-meter theater, with 27 courtyards, 48 houses and 395 rooms. And villagers have been relocated.

The story is set in 1980, two years after China's national policy of reform and opening-up was launched. And the audience sees dramas in several courtyards based on a true story about a construction company from Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, which came to the village to hire workers.

For young villagers at that time, it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to move away from being farmers in the mountains. And they are longing to go to the big cities to ensure a better lifestyle for their family. And they don't know they will never be able to overcome their yearning for home.

Viewers are divided into two groups and each group watch three different dramas. As the production team prepared 17 dramas in total for the show, it means that one will have to watch the show at least six times to see all of it.

After the performances, the audience can roam around the village freely and interact with the performers such as a barber, a street vendor and an old man playing Chinese chess. And the performers will share handwritten letters with the audience about things that weigh on their minds - for example, about a daughter's memory of her father, a soldier who does not return.

Wang Ge, who's in charge of architecture, says the village has the capacity to host an audience of 1,000 people.

And to ensure safety the team have reinforced the old residences while maintaining their original appearance.

Wang Chaoge has also recruited some elderly villagers for the show, and she and her team lived in the village with them for months to train them.

One of the elderly actors, who is in his 60s, is surnamed Zhang. Earlier, the man, who was a driver, used to play mahjong - a popular form of amusement among people in Sichuan province - to kill time. Now, he's glad that he can be an actor in the show and he likes his new lifestyle.

Speaking about the plan to involve the elderly in the show, Wang Chaoge says: "It's very energy-consuming to teach old villagers how to act. It takes more time for them to master one simple movement because they have no idea about the basics. For example, they always avoid eye contact while talking to you.

"Initially, my colleagues wanted to hire new performers but I persuaded them to go for those who were born and bred there. Actually, they're acting themselves in the show. And it turns out I'm right."

Wang Chaoge hopes that Unique Mount E'mei will touch tourists and arouse their interest in the mountain's culture and history.

"I don't like the attitudes of those who travel to Mount E'mei only for photos or to see monkeys. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it's better to come here for its culture rather than just entertainment."

 

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2019-10-12 07:15:36
<![CDATA[Table tennis becomes increasingly popular among girls in northern Afghanistan]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/12/content_37515121.htm SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan - "I've been playing ping-pong (table tennis) since I was 9 years old, and I play every day as it's a popular sport among girls here in Jawzjan," said 17-year-old Afghan teenage girl Nargis Faiz.

Wearing sports gear and holding a paddle, Faiz told Xinhua that she has been playing ping-pong over the past eight years with a dream to earn the title of champion in table tennis.

Jawzjan province with Shiberghan as its capital 390 kilometers north of Kabul has been regarded as a relatively troubled province as Taliban militants are operational in parts of the country.

However, the ambitious athlete has downplayed the security concerns, saying she has continued playing her favorite sport free of fear.

"I am enjoying the support of my family and my parents encourage me to continue playing ping-pong, therefore I have no concerns about the security problems and regularly attend practice at the venue in Shiberghan city to improve my skills," Faiz explained.

In conservative and patriarchal Afghanistan where many people especially in the countryside deeply believe in tribal traditions, it can be difficult for some girls to ignore the traditional customs and leave home to play sports.

Nevertheless, Faiz and some other like-minded girls have regularly left their homes to promote sport for women in the traditional society.

"Of course there are challenges, especially the security problems facing us, but we have to be brave and overcome all the obstacles and challenges," said Basira, a member of Afghanistan's ping-pong team.

"If we want to become a champion, we have to ignore all the threats," Basira added.

Basira, who has been practicing ping-pong over the past seven years and attended competitions in Jawzjan's provincial capital Shiberghan, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul and the western city of Herat, said happily that the number of girls joining ping-pong, football and fitness activities is constantly increasing in Shiberghan.

Afghan youngsters including girls have made tremendous achievements in sports over the past 18 years following the collapse of the Taliban's six-year reign in late 2001.

Afghan athletes have won medals at both regional and international competitions, including at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

"Currently, there are 33 females who are members of Jawzjan's provincial ping-pong team and the number of those wanting to join is rising," Mashal Hashimi, the head of the Ping-Pong Federation in Jawzjan province, told Xinhua.

 

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2019-10-12 07:15:36
<![CDATA[Ensuring a brighter future]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/12/content_37515120.htm From protecting a saltwater lake to restoring land degraded by desertification, Qinghai province is making every effort to create a better environment

In the past three years, Qinghai province has spared no effort to improve its ecology. Its grassland coverage increased by 26 percent over the previous year, and its record on saving endangered animals is also getting better.

The Qarhan Salt Lake in Golmud city, in the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan autonomous prefecture, boasts a crystal clear sky and beautiful scenery, and attracts many tourists from all over the country.

The Qarhan Salt Lake, which is a strategic resource, is located in the southern part of the Qaidam Basin in Qinghai province. It is the largest salt lake in China and one of the most famous inland salt lakes in the world.

 

1. The Qarhan Salt Lake has developed into a tourist attraction. 2. The locals have the habit of wearing valuable jewelry. 3. High-altitude poplars. 4. The IBC project production workshop of China Power Investment Corporation's Yellow River Hydropower Solar Power Co Ltd. 5. The greenhouse of the Renda Cooperative in Hongliu village, Golmud city. 6. The relocated herdsmen in Changjiangyuan village. Zou Hong / China Daily

While the government strives to protect its freshwater resources, the locals are also working to preserve Qarhan Salt Lake.

When the work to preserve the lake began, there were no birds in the sky, no grass on the ground, only the desolate scene of the blowing wind and running sheep.

But through 60 years of development, the people there have created a 10,000-hectare salt field. And with water, grass and birds, the area has developed into a tourist attraction. The Gobi Desert has now turned into a paradise of fish and birds.

Changjiangyuan village in the Tangula Mountain township is named after the source of the Yangtze River.

The village is no longer at its original site, and it has moved from a remote grassland to the outskirts of Golmud city in Qinghai province.

The former nomads no longer take their livestock to graze on the grasslands, but now protect the grasslands to earn an income.

Fifteen years ago, 128 herders living on the plateau at an altitude of 4,700 meters moved to the source of the Yangtze River, in response to the national Sanjiangyuan ecological protection policy. Now the Sanjiangyuan water is clearer and the mountains are greener.

The local people are now protecting the grasslands. And each household in the village has a formal grassland contract awarded by the State. So they take the responsibility for patrolling the grassland, monitoring changes in the environment, and consciously protecting the environment and maintaining the ecological balance.

In addition to protecting ecologically sensitive areas, Qinghai province is also restoring land that has been degraded by desertification. The first shelter forest three years ago was nothing but sand.

Now, this sand control project has brought in tangible benefits to the local people. And the wind and sand control has improved the environment for future generations.

As a result, the future of Qinghai now not only seems brighter but also greener.

The ecological protection of Qinghai is also inseparable from the effective promotion of green industries and policies.

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2019-10-12 07:15:36
<![CDATA[Painting the different sides of Setouchi]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/07/content_37513982.htm Famed for its transition from the austere to the artistic, Japan's Seto Inland Sea and its coastal areas might be an obvious draw for culture vultures, but there are many other perspectives from which to view the region.

While the story of Setouchi's transformation from a post-industrial wasteland into a wonderland of contemporary art has evolved into something of a modern-day myth, the mix of Japanese culture, food and jaw-dropping landscapes has also played a major part in shaping the arty-pelago.

Ranked No 7 on the list of"52 Places to Go in 2019" by the New York Times, Japan's Seto Inland Sea and its coastal areas - where works by Claude Monet, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Zhu Zheqin (Dadawa), Tadao Ando, and a host of other world-class artists, are scattered across the 350 or so islands in the region - offer many temptations for art and culture lovers, as well as those who are looking for something different.

Beauty meets curiosity

"Even people who are less familiar with art cannot deny the ability to find something with which to be connected on the island, as it provokes one to look at the world differently," said Masashi Eda, who came to work on Naoshima as a hotel staff member just five months ago.

Describing himself as an "art insulator", the 36-year-old from Okayama traveled and worked in a dozen Japanese cities before he found the tranquility and a sense of solace and inspiration that he was looking for on Naoshima.

"Throughout my life, I never thought I would somehow have a connection with art," said Eda, "I always thought that it was something to do with the rich people, however, moving to Naoshima has changed me, because when I see the paintings of the water lilies, I almost feel as if the artist himself is reaching out to me. It's like I am able to interact and communicate with him and even thank him for bringing tranquility to my heart.

"This is something that I had never seen, heard or experienced before and it's fantastic," Eda explains, adding that he now understands why people say "when curiosity and beauty meet, art is born".

Eda may not able to name the person who elicited in him these never-before-experienced feelings, but the five paintings he enjoyed at the 2004-built Chichu Art Museum are part of the Water Lilies series produced by the late French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

Fascinated by the effect that light had on his subjects, the entire Water Lilies series is composed of 250 paintings portraying the ponds of Monet's estate in Giverny, France. A famous anecdote recounts that the great master would work on several paintings at the same time, but only for a few minutes each day, in order to capture the fading light at the right moment.

Showing the paintings under the museum's natural lighting, Eda says that Chichu has designed the perfect setting in which to display the paintings that depicts the unique and crafted nature of Water Lilies.

"People can easily fall into a deep mediation in a space like that," Eda notes.

If enjoying the paintings is not enough, the museum has also created a garden consisting of nearly 200 kinds of flowers and trees similar to those planted at Giverny to offer visitors a tangible way to experience nature the way Monet sought to capture in his paintings.

Adjacent to the Chichu is the Lee Ufan Museum. One of the more recent additions to Naoshima, the venue was opened in 2010 for the first Setouchi Triennale, a contemporary art festival held every three years.

Named after the Korean artist Lee Ufan, who has been working and teaching in Japan, the museum displays large installations made of stone, concrete and huge slabs of iron.

For a glimpse into where Setouchi's transformation began, look no further than Benesse House Museum, the first venue to integrate a museum with a hotel and positioned at the vanguard of the rejuvenation project which turned the once struggling region into a burgeoning art hub.

Built in 1992 and designed by Tadao Ando, it is built on high ground overlooking the Seto Inland Sea. Inside, artworks are found not just within galleries, but in all parts of the building, as well as in the nearby forest and scattered locations along the seashore, displaying a perfect example of the coexistence of nature, art and architecture.

Culinary art on show

A 60-minute ferry ride will transfer visitors from Naoshima's Miyanoura Port to Teshima's Karato Port, where Shohei Watarai has been making Sanuki Udon for almost 10 years.

There are many types of Udon - a type of thick, wheat flour noodle - but perhaps the most well-known one, both in Japan and abroad, is Sanuki Udon from Kagawa prefecture, an area that boasts the highest Udon consumption rate in Japan.

"In Japan, many prefectures have their own type of regional Udon and they differ in thickness, shape and preparation. The Sanuki Udon is unique because it's square cut, firm and supple," Watarai explains while adjusting a twisted white bandana wrapped around his forehead.

Perfect hot, cold, or anywhere in between, Watarai's narrow restaurant serves only Udon, at different temperatures, with a bowl of broth.

According to Watarai, he learned to cook Udon almost the same way as when it was first introduced to the country by Japanese monk, Kukai, who returned with the recipe from Tang Dynasty (618-907) China.

"As an Udon cook, the most important thing is to keep the original taste of the noodle, so I barely add anything into my cooking, just a few green onions on top," Watarai says, noting that he wants more people to experience Setouchi's culinary art, as well its sculptures and paintings.

Peddling into paradise

When Arnav Ranganathan, a cyclist from the United States, arrived in Shodoshima he had already finished the 70-kilometer Shimanami Kaido - an epic biking route in Japan that connects the main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku.

"Ever since I heard about the trail I knew I wanted to do it, because in every aspect it sounds like a cycling paradise," Ranganathan says, unable to hide his excitement.

Flanked by the sea and mountains, and offering a topography that has just the right amount of undulation - as well as its gentle sunshine, spectacular view and historic attractions - the Setouchi region is regarded as Mecca for cyclists from around the world.

The Shimanami Kaido is a set of seven bridges that cross the Seto Inland Sea connecting six islands. Riders can cycle the whole course or opt to just complete small sections and take a boat or a bus to another destination.

Compared with Shimanami Kaido, Ranganathan regards the cycling course on Shodoshima as just a relaxing stretch for amateurs, but he was still impressed by the olive tree-covered island and its mysterious places of Buddhist pilgrimage.

"The Olive Park of Shodoshima is a common destination for cyclists. It is located up on a hill, where you can lie back on the grass and revel in the view of the sea and sky," Ranganathan adds.

"It was an awesome ride," he concludes, "I finished the course in two days, taking a few breaks for pictures and to enjoy the local cuisine. It was definitely the highlight of my visit to Japan."

 

A monster spider displayed at Yokai Art Museum in Shodoshima, Kagawa prefecture, Japan.Wang Xu/china Daily

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2019-10-07 06:53:55
<![CDATA[Teshima reflects art of region's success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/07/content_37513981.htm

I have spent the past 10 years of my life believing I knew how to appreciate art, but sitting on a concrete floor watching water droplets skitter across the smooth surface at Teshima Art Museum, I wasn't so sure anymore.

For a start, TAM's dropletshaped edifice is empty. Or to be more precise, there is no artwork or any object on display. There is not even a single pillar. The vast domed roof has two giant oval openings on each side in order to let natural light, wind and the ambient sound from outside to flood in.

In the interior space, even the slightest movement echoes. You are literally forbidden from doing anything but watch, sit and walk.

I was told that visitors are invited to feel nature in its purest form, through water, light and air. However, people around me seemed equally confused as they stared at beads of water bubbling up from tiny holes in the floor.

Some, it seems, have a predetermined direction, because they gathered into little pools upon the smooth surface. Others, I think, just zig and zag as erratically and irregularly as nature intended, but may wet your pants as you sit in silent contemplation or lay there, gazing at the cupola above.

After 20 or 30 minutes, you'll either fall asleep or desperately want to float out.

Outside the museum, the view is just as arresting, but not as confusing. Standing on a hill overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, it sits surrounded by a rice terrace that was restored in collaboration with local residents.

As someone once told me, "art is a piece of the artist put out for people to see. It makes us think or see things through the eyes of others." I think that's why people find art attractive; it is such an intricate thing to understand and everyone can look at the same piece and see it in a different way.

TAM is just one of 18 museums, galleries and projects scattered across the rural islands that, together, form a unique creative paradise. The story behind them is just as intriguing as any conceptual artwork that may reside, upon, within or around any of them.

It started in the 1980s when Soichiro Fukutake, a billionaire businessman, wanted to change three of the islands that didn't take a share of Japan's rapid industrialization, but had instead been forgotten as "wastelands" - refineries were built on Naoshima and Inujima, and illegal waste was dumped on Teshima.

With the help of "the king of concrete", Tadao Ando, Fukutake used contemporary art to realize his vision which, as a result, went far beyond an economic reboot and created an artistic utopia, showing a simpler, slower way of life alongside a plethora of world-class art.

For people who tire of metropolitan life and want to venture to a more off-the-beaten-path locale, Setouchi is, in every sense, a place to find a fresh perspective.

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2019-10-07 06:53:55
<![CDATA[Pharma firms step into cosmetics industry]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/07/content_37513980.htm Low R&D expenses and high profit margins make it an attractive transition option for traditional drug enterprises

"When I heard about lipsticks produced by a company that makes dermatitis cream, I thought it was funny. What does the lipstick smell like? I think I will definitely buy one when it comes out."

This was the response from Shen Li, a 22-year-old student in Shanghai, when she heard 999pyp, a brand under Chinese pharmaceutical giant CR Sanjiu famous for producing Compound Dex, was about to introduce a set of lipsticks.

According to the company, the set is composed of three lipsticks in different colors - bright red, sunset red, and bright orange, which will be sent out as a gift.

Market insiders said that traditional pharmaceutical enterprises stepping into the cosmetics industry was nothing new. Compared with medicine, the cosmetics business has relatively low research and development expenses and a low admittance threshold, and its gross profit margin is high, making it the best transition option for traditional pharmaceutical enterprises.

They noted that in recent years, unsatisfactory main businesses or a need for a multi-format layout had forced a host of old and famous drug brands to make the transition into the wider health industry. These enterprises are embracing new retail, crossover marketing and social media, to build younger brand images.

More than a decade ago, traditional drug companies, such as Yunnan Baiyao and Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd, began to look at the toothpaste category.

And the beverage segment, including mineral water, functional drinks and herbal tea, is another target area. The trademark dispute between Wanglaoji and JDB popularized the herbal tea produced by Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd, while other enterprises, such as Beijing Tongrentang Group Co Ltd, Xiuzheng Pharmaceutical Group, Taiji Group, also tapped into the sector.

In recent years, the cosmetics industry has become a favorite of traditional drug enterprises. Tongrentang sells sleeping masks, while the skin care kit manufactured by Zhangzhou Pien Tze Huang Pharmaceutical Co Ltd is popular among the millennial generation.

"I have been using skin care masks from Tongrentang for over two years. I trust the products because I trust the brand. It has many masks with different functions such as whitening, firming and moisturizing. And the prices are reasonable. The average price for a mask is less than 10 yuan ($1.4)," said Ma Yuanyuan, a 22-year-old student in Beijing.

Traditional pharmaceutical enterprises have the advantage of quality control systems, which is the breakthrough point for them to enter the daily chemical industry, market insiders said.

And some of them have already succeeded in making the transition. According to Yunnan Baiyao's financial report in the first half of fiscal year 2019, the company transformed from a traditional Chinese patent medicine enterprise into a forerunner in China's wider health industry.

In the first half of this year, the sales revenue of Yunnan Baiyao's health product subsidiary surged by 5.1 percent year-on-year to 2.47 billion yuan, with a net profit of 960 million yuan, roughly equating the same period in the previous year, the report said.

Meanwhile, the market share of its toothpaste business grew 20.1 percent year-on-year, ranking first across China.

Wuhan-headquartered brand Mayinglong Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd, is well-known for its hemorrhoid ointment. In 2009, the company expanded its business by launching an eye cream. Last year, it completed business integration and established a health company, covering functional cosmetics, functional food, baby care, and anorectal care products.

In its financial report of fiscal year 2018, the company said that it was undergoing strategic transformation, expanding its business from the pharmaceutical industry to pharmaceutical circulation, hospital treatment and the wider health industry.

The sales revenue of the "other products" category reached 463 million yuan, taking up 21.06 percent of its total income, the report said.

This summer, Mayinglong launched a lipstick kit at a price of 399 yuan. The kit includes three lipsticks in light pink, crimson and maple-leaf red.

The incongruity of a hemorrhoid ointment company selling lipsticks made the lipsticks a success on the internet. One online comment said "Now I am good from head to toe."

In July, the monthly sales volume of Mayinglong lipstick on its online flagship shop surpassed 900, and most of the feedback online was positive.

"Because drug regulation is becoming stricter, many traditional pharmaceutical enterprises are turning to the daily chemical sector for new growth points, Mayinglong is one of them. However, our previous attempts were not successful," Xia Tian, from the bond department of Mayinglong, told Beijing Business Today.

Xia said that using social media to promote cosmetics sales is becoming a trend. "The way that social media convey information is suitable for makeup promotion, in that they show the difference between before and after wearing makeup. This is why we entered the cosmetics sector."

But why lipsticks?

Market insiders said that the fan-powered economy and social media-powered economy triggered the marketing strategy upgrade. The cosmetics market is becoming increasingly fragmented, and more unique and personalized brands are emerging, bringing opportunities.

And most importantly, as they noted, the lipstick economy is becoming increasingly popular. Even the prices of lipsticks from luxury brands are reasonable. For example, a Chanel lipstick only costs 300 to 400 yuan, but it is not possible to buy a Chanel purse for less than 10,000 yuan. Therefore, lipsticks have become a luxury that everyone can afford.

A survey conducted by industry consulting service website askci.com showed that 63 percent of consumers will choose lipstick when they can only pick three types of makeup. In 2017, the market volume of lip makeup reached 9.24 billion yuan, growing 29.2 percent year-on-year.

In addition, male consumers also contributed to the growth of the lipstick economy. According to the 2017 lipstick consumption report issued by Alibaba Group, 24 percent of lipstick consumption was by male consumers.

"Nevertheless, research and development into the colors of lipsticks is complicated. The current three colors cannot fully satisfy consumer demand. We need to think of how to produce distinctive colors next time. Besides, consumers' acceptance of our products remains to be tested by the market," Xia added.

Liang Jian, a professional from healthcare information provider med.sina.com, said that whether traditional drug enterprises can achieve sustainable development in crossover marketing is questionable.

"Chinese consumers, especially young ones, care about brand value when buying daily chemical products such as cosmetics. Therefore, it is not easy to get consumers to accept crossover products from a traditional pharmaceutical brand.

"After all, industrial barriers exist between drugs and daily chemical products. Even if the crossover products are popular among consumers in the first place, many of them buy the products on impulse and their enthusiasm won't last," he said.

Chen Qiaoshan, a medical analyst at Beijing-based market consultancy Analysys, said that whether traditional pharmaceutical enterprises will succeed in the cosmetics field remains to be seen.

"In terms of research and development, producing cosmetics is easier for a traditional drug company than producing drugs. If it succeeds, it can further explore its cosmetics business. If it fails, at least it caught public attention and promoted its brand image," she said.

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2019-10-07 06:57:28
<![CDATA[Two brands are better than one for fashionable young Chinese consumers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/07/content_37513979.htm It's 10 o'clock in the morning and a crowd of people is hurtling through a shopping mall. Some drop shoes or mobile phones, but they keep running.

The shoppers sweep through the store, battling with each other to reach merchandise, ripping samples from models when there is nothing left on the shelves.

This was the scene when Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo joined hands with New York-based graffiti artist Kaws to launch a T-shirt collection on June 3 in China.

"I had no idea what they were scrambling for, but it seemed like something cool so I joined them," a female customer told China Daily in Beijing.

Meanwhile, the Kaws Uniqlo collection on Uniqlo's online store was sold out three seconds after its launch.

The T-shirts, which were originally sold for 99 yuan ($13.9), were traded on secondhand e-commerce platforms for as much as 400 yuan.

Eventually, the combined online and offline sales of the T-shirts in China surpassed that in the United States, making China the top sales market in the world.

Market insiders said that the reason why the joint marketing by Uniqlo and Kaws was successful in China is that Chinese consumers have a herd mentality. Even if they knew little about Kaws, tens of thousands of people battling for the T-shirts made them want to do the same.

In addition, the celebrity effect works for Chinese consumers. When fans saw Chinese superstars such as Ni Ni, Jing Boran, and Yang Yang wearing the Kaws Uniqlo collection they didn't hesitate to follow the lead of their idols, said industry experts.

Also, Kaws had announced on social media that this crossover branding would be the last time he cooperated with Uniqlo, making Chinese consumers think this was a chance they could not miss.

"Hunger marketing stimulates consumers' desire to purchase. Crossover banding is now a hot term among all industries. Brand collaboration arouses consumers' curiosity, giving them a new reason to consume. It is a'one plus one is greater than two' effect. The brand image is promoted, and sales also go up," they said.

Apart from Uniqlo and Kaws, other brands are also joining hands to find new growth points in China. Mosquito repellent-flavored cocktails introduced by Six God, a sub-brand under cosmetics brand Jahwa, and cosmetics firm Rio; cosmetics in Coca-Cola patterned packaging developed by South Korean brand The Face Shop and Atlanta-headquartered Coca-Cola; and spice-flavored lipsticks launched by Chinese fast food chain Zhouheiya and skin care brand Unifon have all become bestsellers among Chinese consumers, especially younger ones.

"The post-90s generation is becoming a new driving force for China's consumption market. They have a high marginal propensity to consume, emphasize individuality, and like to share and express personal ideas, therefore innovative products are more likely to appeal to them," said a report from United States consulting firm McKinsey.

Luan Lan, a partner at McKinsey's Shanghai office, noted that brands should include newly emerged consumption groups into their overall plans, so that they can tailor specific marketing strategies for them.

"Brands will gain great advantage if they do so," Luan said.

According to a recent report released by online marketing service provider Shanghai Bingjun Technology Co, brand crossovers tend to favor the cosmetics sector, as the growth rate of the sector is much higher than that of the clothes and shoes category. Its net profit rate can reach 30 percent to 50 percent.

"Young consumers, especially young female consumers, cannot resist cosmetics. This is why many brands are stepping into this sector," said the report.

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2019-10-07 06:57:28
<![CDATA[A TRAVELING MUSICIAN]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/05/content_37513918.htm Love of travel has led a young independent musician to the tourism industry. And Luo Yunyao feels quite proud of what she is doing at the moment.

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Catty Luo, who is working on her next album, finds inspiration through her passion to see new places and experience new cultures, Yang Feiyue reports.

Love of travel has led a young independent musician to the tourism industry. And Luo Yunyao feels quite proud of what she is doing at the moment.

The young woman, better known as Catty Luo, was born in Guangzhou, the capital of South China's Guangdong province. So far, she has released one album, two EPs and several singles.

Luo now works in Japan, in the hotel services division of Ctrip, a big Chinese travel agency.

Her job is to help communication between Japanese hotels and Chinese tourism enterprises and travelers.

"Our major responsibility is to make hotels and travelers deal with each other, and maintain business relations between hotels and Ctrip," Luo says.

Meanwhile, the increasing popularity of Japan among Chinese travelers has put quite a lot of pressure on Luo, yet it has also showed her the significance of what she does.

China is now the biggest source of tourists for Japan, with mainlanders paying 4.53 million visits to the island country in the first half of the year, taking up nearly 30 percent of the total, according to the Japan Tourism Organization.

The big tourist number means more work. "There are more emergencies that require to be addressed," says Luo.

For example, when a typhoon recently hit Shanghai, Luo and her team had to work with hotels and travelers to iron out possible differences regarding cancellations of bookings.

"We had to make sure the hotels understood the circumstances and helped customers to cut their losses," says Luo.

Four years of study in Japan since 2012 has given Luo fluency in Japanese and a firm grasp of the local culture and traditions.

She has got the hang of the language when she interned at a local train station and interacted with passengers during her college years.

Luo took the Ctrip job in April after she found office work doesn't necessarily restrict her freedom.

Fortunately, the job allows her to get useful travel information and subsidies, while helping travelers.

Luo had quite a free life before.

As a child she had piano and accordion lessons which predisposed her to music. But she chose to be a model after her graduation from a Japanese college in 2017.

"The job was flexible and enabled me to focus on my music as well," Luo says.

All of Luo's music works are a labor of love and a considerable part of them are inspirations from her travels.

Luo has been into serious travel on her own for years and has left her footprints in 27 countries so far.

She took a trip alone to Europe in 2010.

"The good thing about traveling on my own is that I can go wherever I fancy without making compromises for others' preferences," she says.

"Moreover, as I don't have people around me to talk to, I am more willing to communicate with locals and make new friends."

Luo has often enjoyed the full measure of local kindness during her trips.

Once, strangers took her to hospital when she fell off an escalator in Spain during her first European trip in 2010.

She then received local assistance to catch the train heading for her next destination France.

When she was in Italy in 2015, an Italian hotel owner lent her 200 euros when her mobile phone and purse were stolen, and said she could pay him back after returning to China.

Luo eventually turned down the gesture, but said that the Italian's good-heartedness had left a lasting impression.

She says that during her travels she made friends that she wouldn't dream of, such as a grandfather who ran a family hotel in Turkey, adventurous spirits who motorcycled into the jungle with her in Myanmar, and relatives from the wedding of her Indian friend.

"In the past, I felt pretty stressed whenever I arrived in a new place, because I worried that I might bump into some unfriendly people or trouble," she says.

But, after meeting many good people in those countries, Luo discovered that people are connected and don't act very much differently whatever their nationalities.

"Although some differences exist because of different backgrounds, mutual understanding can be reached through honest communication," she says.

These experiences have made Luo believe that travel is the best way to understand the world.

Now, before her departure for a destination, Luo says she reads relevant books about the place's history and culture, and this has often turned out to be grist for her music mill.

Luo developed her first single Tirta Empul in June 2017, right after her trip to Bali, Indonesia.

Among her other unforgettable experiences are watching a flamenco performance at a tavern in Spain; the Le Nozze di Figaro in Austria and the Phantom of the Opera in the United Kingdom.

The whirling dance in Turkey and a Kathakali dance performance in India are also etched in her memory, she says.

"It (seeing the shows) was purely out of interest at the beginning," Luo says. "But later, I gradually realized that I could apply what I had learned from travel to my own music."

Then, Luo began to make a point of interacting with local musicians, after the performances.

In her days in Tokyo, she often performed with musicians from all over the world. However, she now travels to absorb, and get inspired by traditional ethnic customs and music.

"Now, I write travel log and compile music based on those experiences," she says.

Luo says she is working on her next album, and is hoping to add more Chinese ethnic elements to her work.

For Luo, it is better to travel 10,000 miles than to read 10,000 books.

"Knowledge from the books is always going to be limited, and, if you can, I would suggest get a firsthand experience," she says.

Although her job at Ctrip entails lots of routine work, Luo believes it is meaningful for her.

"At the moment, the Chinese are at the receiving end of considerable prejudice, and I hope my job can make Japanese hotels better understand Chinese enterprises and people, thus endearing China to the Japanese," she says.

"If things go this way in the long run, Chinese tourists will enjoy better services and experiences in Japan, while more Japanese tourists might travel in China."

She says her ultimate goal is to help the world better understand China.

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2019-10-05 06:50:18
<![CDATA[Hangzhou offers creative experiences to Japanese travelers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/05/content_37513917.htm Traditional Yueju Opera, tea-tasting and calligraphy are what visitors to Hangzhou from Japan can experience now.

These activities are part of the Meeting in Hangzhou program, which is part of the efforts by the Hangzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, TV and Tourism to upgrade Hangzhou's appeal as an international destination and to attract more travelers from Japan.

The program will run until October to let visitors experience the vibe of Hangzhou and to understand the essence of what the city has to offer.

The program was launched in August and key Japanese opinion leaders were invited to make trips to local UNESCO culture heritage sites, such as West Lake, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, as well as tourism sites that have gone viral on the internet. There, distinctive local culture experiences covering seals, art, light shows, silk and Buddhism, were also arranged for the visitors.

Their experiences were recorded and then showcased via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Japan is an important source of inbound tourists for Hangzhou. The city received 243,200 Japanese travel visits in 2018, up 12.55 percent as compared with the previous year.

Japanese travelers see the city as filled with ancient charm and majestic landscapes, the Hangzhou bureau says.

The idea of the Meeting in Hangzhou program is to further tap into local tourism resources and develop new experiences for Japanese travelers.

Meanwhile, the Hangzhou authority staged a tourism carnival in the streets of Tokyo in September to let the Japanese savor a slice of Hangzhou at close quarters.

Separately, the Meeting in Hangzhou program also aims to encourage young Japanese netizens to come up with creative ways of traveling in Hangzhou using social media, and 15 winners will be picked.

"The interaction via social media will pique young Japanese travelers' curiosity and stimulate Hangzhou's potential as a destination," says Zhang Ansheng, a senior official from the Hangzhou bureau.

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2019-10-05 06:50:18
<![CDATA[Digital success story]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512983.htm

Taiwan singer-songwriter Jay Chou's hit with his latest single shows how licensed services in the Chinese music market are faring

After a very long wait, Jay Chou launched his latest single, entitled Won't Cry, and a surprise video of the single at 11 pm on Sept 16.

By 3:30 pm on Sept 17, the single, written by lyricist Vincent Fang and Chou, which features Taiwan pop-rock band Mayday's lead vocalist Ashin, sold copies worth 20 million yuan ($2.81 million), with each single selling for 3 yuan.

The music video, starring Japanese actress Ayaka Miyoshi and Japanese actor Watanabe Keisuke, was viewed over 10 million times within eight hours.

It was a record for China's digital music sales, but it wasn't entirely surprising.

Since the 40-year-old Taiwan singer-songwriter released his debut album, entitled Jay, in 2001, he has become one of Mandarin pop's biggest stars with his style of R&B, love ballads and rap, which often saw him include classical music and traditional Chinese instruments in his work.

In July 2016, he released his 14th studio album, Bedtime Stories, and since then, fans have been waiting for new songs from him.

Chou's success with his latest single shows how licensed digital services in the Chinese music market are doing.

In 2014, Tencent Music Entertainment Group began working with record labels to release digital albums. For starters, it released Chou's album, Aiyo, Not Bad, in December 2014.

According to Tencent Music Entertainment Group's second quarter 2019 financial report, the company - which has three major online-music services in China: QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music - has 31 million paying online music users, up 33 percent year-on-year.

The company ended the second quarter with 652 million mobile monthly active users.

"The Chinese music market is now viewed as having enormous untapped potential thanks to constant digital transformation," says TC Pan, vice-president of Tencent Music Entertainment Group, Content Co-op & Rights Management, who attended the Music Matters 2019 event, which was held from Sept 13 to 18 in Singapore.

Now in its 14th year, Music Matters, with live performances and forums, is a global platform for the music industry in Asia.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group has attended the event since 2016 with the Chinese music market in focus during the forums.

In the early 2000s, due to rampant online piracy, China's music market faced decline with record companies shutting down and indie musicians leaving the industry. But the market took a turn for the better in 2011, when QQ Music worked out a partnership with a lot of music labels, including major companies - Warner Music, Sony Music and Universal Music - as well as independent labels.

The move allowed QQ Music to become these labels' sole distributor in the Chinese market and helped them fight piracy.

In 2015, the National Copyright Administration notice was issued, stipulating that online music delivery platforms had to remove all unauthorized songs. This was a major move in the fight against rampant piracy in the industry.

In 2018, China, a new entrant in the global top 10 the previous year, rose to the seventh position, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

During the event in Singapore, Pan also said that the company had mapped out plans to boost the music market by combining music with films and video games, thus breaking the boundaries and barriers between music, film, video games and other forms of entertainment.

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2019-09-28 06:58:50
<![CDATA[Sodagreen singer goes solo with Spaceman]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512982.htm

On Jan 1, 2017, Taiwan band, Sodagreen, announced a three-year break, leaving fans shocked and sad. The band was founded in 2001 by six students of the National Chengchi University in Taiwan and was a hit on the local indie music scene. Later, the band, which was an award-winner at the Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards, gained a large fan base in Asia.

During their break, some of the members furthered their studies abroad while the bassist Shie Shin-yi got married and became a mother.

The lead vocalist Wu Tsing-fong, who is also the songwriter of the band, launched a solo career with his debut solo album, Spaceman, featuring 12 original songs, on Sept 6.

Speaking about the break, Wu says: "I spent the first year at home reading over 100 books and traveling to watch concerts of my favorite singer-songwriters, like American singer-songwriter Tori Amos.

"I had gotten used to a busy life with the band, releasing albums and performing worldwide. And suddenly I didn't know what to do. I was very anxious then."

The break from the band offered Wu a chance to slow down. And he wanted to have a totally different lifestyle so he stopped writing songs in the first year. However, in April 2018, when he was invited to perform as a soloist at the SpringWave Music & Art Festival held annually in Kenting, Wu thought about launching a solo career. And since he had been with the band for many years, Wu didn't have any solo works. So, to perform at the festival, Wu wrote a song, entitled Everybody Woohoo.

At 36, the singer-songwriter, who graduated from the National Chengchi University with a major in Chinese, is good in delivering and portraying emotions through his poetic and romantic lyrics, though he is shy in public.

Speaking about the album, he said: "It turned out to be a very personal work about my fear, courage, loneliness and my communication with other people.

"Music can inspire the work that brings changes. My feelings are like pieces scattered around on the ground, which have been in me for a long time. I picked them up little by little while writing the songs.

"I don't play any instrument on the album but a little piano. And without the help of the band members, I completed the songs with my piano playing and humming," he adds.

The title song, Spaceman, has an intro of over one minute, involving musical instruments, such as the piano, guitar, violin and drums, and tells the story of a spaceman returning to Earth after years in a space station alone.

Another song, The Carnival of Babel, was inspired by a novel, The Tower of Babel by Australian writer Morris West, which Wu read in 2017.

"None of the songs are like what I wrote for Sodagreen. And I was very surprised when the album was completed," Wu says. "At the same time, I felt nervous because with the band I felt safe. Now, I am a soloist and I have to face people on my own."

Some of his fans posted on Wu's Sina Weibo account, which has over 10 million followers, saying that "you are capable of turning something ordinary into a romance", while others look forward to his reunion with Sodagreen.

During the past three years, Wu also showed up at reality shows, such as a talent show, The Coming One, filmed for the Chinese streaming platform Tencent Video; and The Big Band, which was produced by iQiyi and focused on Chinese indie rock bands.

"I would never attend those shows if I was with the band as I was afraid of speaking in public. But now I have opened up and have adjusted to my new role as a soloist," he says.

The three-year break of Sodagreen is coming to an end soon. Though he didn't disclose the plan of the band, Wu insists that he will return to the band as vocalist and his solo career will be suspended.

"I have kind of enjoyed the transition between my role with the band and my role as a soloist. It's like different ways of expressing myself," Wu says.

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2019-09-28 06:58:50
<![CDATA[Music label offers boost to Asia's EDM artists]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512981.htm

Norwegian DJ and record producer Alan Walker and Hong Kong singer-actor Nicholas Tse are working on a new collaboration, which will fuse elements of electronic music with Tse's rock background, and will be released later this year.

The two announced this during the annual Music Matters conference in Singapore on Sept 19. Their collaboration is being done under a label called Liquid State, a collaboration between Tencent Music Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment. The label is the new home for electronic artists from Asia and beyond, which was launched 18 months ago in Hong Kong.

"Nicholas and I have been talking about a collaboration for nearly a year now, so we are delighted to announce that we are close to completing something magical that brings together our different music styles and cultures," says Walker, the ambassador for Liquid State. He is best known for his 2015 single, Faded. The single has so far sold more than 9.4 million copies worldwide in addition to being streamed more than 1.6 billion times on digital platforms.

"I am so excited to be able to collaborate with Alan on our upcoming music. This project combines influences from both of our rock and electronic backgrounds," Tse says.

Electronic music, one of the fastest-growing music genres in China, attracts young music lovers through online streaming as well as live experiences.

While developing and showcasing the abundant existing local talent, Liquid State also introduced its newly-signed Dutch artist, R3HAB, at the event in Singapore.

Fadil El Ghoul, better known by his stage name, R3HAB, has forged a name for himself as one of the leading artists in electronic music over the past 10 years.

As a part of his deal with Liquid State, R3HAB will release new tracks through the label, focusing on the Asia market, while licensing his 190-plus track catalog for release worldwide.

Speaking about the deal with R3HAB, Andy Ng, vice-president of Tencent Music Entertainment, says: "I've had the pleasure of seeing R3HAB come to China to perform on numerous occasions in the last year, and he is an artist that appreciates and understands the Asian music landscape."

As for Liquid State's prospects, Gunnar Greve, the managing director of the label, says: "This is only the beginning for us, and we are very pleased with the success of the label in such a short time. There is still such an incredible amount of untapped talent across China and Asia as a whole, who we hope to find, develop and take to the world."

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2019-09-28 06:58:50
<![CDATA[Food for new mothers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512980.htm

When it comes to the 'sitting month', a good diet is key to a mom's recovery

A woman invests a lot of energy and effort into producing a new baby. Her body literally feeds on itself to make sure her child grows healthily in the womb. And then there is the tremendous feat of giving birth.

That is why the Chinese take such special care in looking after the new mother, especially in the 30 days after birth. We call this the "sitting month", a confinement period when the mother quietly rests at home getting to know her new baby better, and to allow her body to recuperate.

This is also the period when she is fed a diet tailored to her special needs. In many cases, a professional confinement nanny would be employed to look after mother and child, and her duties would include cooking for the mother.

 

From left: Black chicken soup with dried angelica root and jujubes; pig trotters in sweet vinegar; chicken soup with lots of ginger to soothe the postnatal flatulence. Photos Provided to China Daily

In many families, however, this is when the mothers and mothers-in-law come and stay, and help cook and clean for the new couple.

They would bring along age-old recipes specially designed for the confinement month.

My family has southern roots, so when my mother helped me through the confinement month, she used a mixture of both Cantonese and Fujianese recipes.

New mothers are forbidden to drink raw water. Instead dried longan pulp and dried Chinese jujubes are boiled together every morning, and the big jug would be fed to the nursing mother all day.

This is because longans and jujubes are the traditional "blood boosters", and they are quick energy drinks.

Special dishes are cooked during this period, with a lot of ginger to soothe the postnatal flatulence. The Chinese believe that ginger, with its natural heat, will also prevent excessive coolness.

The most common dish is chicken stir-fried in sesame oil with ginger, and stewed in quality rice wine. The alcohol evaporates in the cooking, but the fragrance remains, and this is a tonic dish which is eaten frequently.

If the mother had lost blood during birth, she will be fed plenty of liver. Fresh pig liver is carefully cleaned and slivered and stir-fried with plenty of ginger and sesame oil.

Similarly, a soup made of carefully cleaned pig liver and kidneys are dropped into boiling water seasoned with ginger slivers. This hot soup is supposed to cleanse the blood.

Silky chicken, with its black bones, lean meat and thin subcutaneous fat is a favorite ingredient for soup. Thin pieces of dried angelica root (danggui) is believed to help the womb recover from its recent trauma and so the mother is fed this as often as the family can afford.

Another dish that is kept bubbling on the stove is stewed pig trotters in sweet vinegar.

This is a time consuming dish using plenty of whole old ginger, roasted for best effect, and a special vinegar brew that is tart and sweet. Lots of pig trotters are carefully cleaned and blanched and added to the simmering ginger-flavored vinegar broth.

Sometimes, hard boiled eggs are added.

In some southern regions, bowls of vinegared pig trotters, portions of savory glutinous rice and red-dyed hard boiled eggs would be distributed to relatives to announce the arrival of the baby.

To vary the diet, some mothers-in-law will prepare a small virgin chicken and stuff it into a thoroughly cleansed pig stomach. The whole thing is then simmered in a soup flavored with white peppercorns. The end result is a very tender chicken, flavorful tripe and a nice hot soup to warm the stomach.

Steamed milk custards with egg white, sweet egg custards, ginger-flavored junkets are also desserts to help the new mother get more calcium. But, the mother in confinement is strictly discouraged from eating chilled or frozen food.

By the same token, they are also discouraged from taking cold showers and from washing their hair. However, I think this is a throwback to rural times when a bath involved drawing water from the well.

I asked my husband's relatives about confinement traditions in the northern regions, and I found them a lot simpler, even Spartan.

Millet porridge is a must, because northerners believe it is easily digested and good for new mothers.

Eggs are eaten often, hard-boiled, scrambled or dropped into soup.

Brown sugar is dissolved in water, and this is fed to the new mothers. Sometimes, the syrup is served with a poached egg in it.

For mothers who have difficulty nursing, little river carps are deep-fried then boiled to produce a milky broth. This is believed to help the mammary glands produce more milk.

Large pork bones or pig trotters are also made into soup to help supplement collagen and calcium.

Generally, the rule is to keep mother and child warm, and well-fed. I would think in these days when all sorts of ingredients are widely available, the main point is to cook and eat with an eye on balanced nutrition.

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2019-09-28 06:58:50
<![CDATA[Beer brand courts young drinkers with awareness campaign]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512979.htm

Just before China's annual "9/9 National Philanthropy Day", international booze conglomerate, AB InBev celebrated the latest iteration of its "Smart Drinking, No Drink & Drive" campaign with a major gala on the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River.

The drinks company took advantage of the philanthropic gathering to release its latest public-awareness animation, a hip-hop composition titled Never Drink and Drive, which was coproduced with the Forbidden City and stars Harbin Beer's Generation Z virtual mascot, Hajiang, as well as the brand's first nonalcoholic beer (NAB). The film seeks to address the country's fast-changing social landscape in which more young people are taking to the roads after enjoying a drink.

Described as a "multicultural hybrid", which mixes computer graphics and hip-hop with palace and period dramas, the film centers around Hajiang, with a thought-provoking plot constructed to appeal to China's rising Generation Z consumers.

In the story, Hajiang travels back in time and becomes a royal driver, where she guides the emperor using lessons learned by three of China's most famous historical figures from the once-glorious Tang Dynasty (618-907) who were undone by too much booze.

Legendary poet Li Bai, the always-gracious concubine Yang Yuhuan and high-ranking official He Zhizhang, all embarrassed themselves when over indulgence turned into social disaster. By revisiting these court-based calamities, Hajiang presents a lively lesson which makes the emperor agree to "never drink and drive", preventing a potential royal accident in the process. The plot has also been given a practical boost from the Shanghai Traffic Police, which send one of its top officers to co-star in the video, joining Hajiang in saving the emperor from drunken disaster and helping deliver the campaign's message with a humorous, yet official tone.

Frank Wang, vice-president of legal and corporate affairs at AB InBev APAC, said: "By retelling these stories, we want to illustrate that drunken driving can do more than just harm one's reputation, but can jeopardize one's life and that of others as well."

The company's new nonalcoholic beer also enjoys a star turn in the animated film, enriching the time-travel plot with a modern-day touch. Harbin NAB serves as not only Hajiang's safe, but indulgent solution to the emperor's thirst, but also as a call-to-action from AB InBev to its Gen Z customers to make smarter choices before getting behind the wheel.

As the brand's first-of-its-kind offering in China, Harbin NAB comes with an eye-catching look that carries the rich cultural overtones from the campaign film. The can is designed with distinctive Chinese-style elements and colors - red palace walls, yellow dragon symbols, crimson royal seals, and the classic look of Hajiang in ancient costume and the imperially dressed emperor. There are even gift packs which include a royal edict, handwritten by His Majesty, that forbids all acts of drunken driving, as well as an ancient-style paper fan, a card case reminding drinkers to name a designated driver, and a range of no-drunken-driving-themed accessories, like adhesive tape and phone holder ring.

He Yong, deputy secretary-general of the China Alcoholic Drinks Association and secretary-general of the association's beer branch, offered his approval of such product-driven action: "As a trade association, we've always taken responsibility. Promoting smart drinking is never something that is easily achieved overnight, but requires unbending long-term commitment.

"We hope more industry players can also join AB InBev in taking part in this meaningful cause to promote smart drinking and social responsibility."

Immediately following her public debut at the gala, virtual character Hajiang expressed her wish to join Shanghai's volunteer team for promoting civilized traffic practices. Wang Liang, deputy chief of the Traffic Police General Brigade, under the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, welcomed the move: "Hajiang's involvement makes her our first-ever virtual volunteer. We'd like to thank AB InBev for its continuous, diversified attempts to fight drunken-driving, as well as its contribution to building a harmonious road traffic safety environment in Shanghai."

The drinks company also seeks to elevate its contribution to the "Traffic Safety Education and Promotion Program", an initiative directed by the Ministry of Public Security Traffic Management Bureau.

Partnering with the Forbidden City and the China Children's Press & Publication Group to design a palace-themed "traffic safety education magic box of special meanings", the kit is aimed at helping children and teenagers quickly get to grips with understanding road safety in a fun way.

The company is also teaming up with multiple partners, perhaps most notably, car-hailing platform Didi Chuxing.

In a bid to stop young revelers from driving, Didi Chuxing and Harbin Beer will jointly issue taxi coupons in more than 100 cities.

Wang Jing, secretary-general of the China Road Traffic Safety Association, said: "Only when we all jointly address drunken driving as a society can this illegal act be effectively reined in and related traffic accidents be effectively controlled."

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2019-09-28 06:58:50
<![CDATA[Books that speak volumes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512978.htm

An exhibition at the National Library of China in Beijing illustrates how books published between the 15th and 19th centuries allowed China and the West to gain insights into one another

In most history books, the Manchu Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Emperor Kangxi is depicted as nursing great ambitions to make his country strong and prosperous.

But under his reign (1662-1722) the empire is known for its exclusion, Sino-foreign trade and communications having been strictly curbed.

But that page of history does have another side. Anyone seeing a Manchu-language edition of Euclid's Elements at a new exhibition in the National Library of China is likely to gain a new understanding of this emperor.

 

Thanks to a group of European missionaries serving for the imperial court, Kangxi was exposed to Western natural sciences and technology. He was obviously a keen student of Elements, using red ink to highlight certain sections.

"The emperor believed his divine power derived from heaven," Zhao Daying, a researcher at the library, says.

"He thus felt that he was given the privilege of knowing the rules of nature and of the universe. But that privilege did not extend to others; he did not disseminate what he learned to a larger circle at all."

More than 300 precious ancient books throughout Chinese history, collected from 40 public institutions and 30 individuals nationwide, are now on display in an exhibition celebrating the 110th anniversary of the National Library of China that opened on Sept 7.

Compared with other national treasures in the library that tell of the country's history in a matter-of-fact way, this exhibition comes across as truly exotic. As with Kangxi's geometry textbook, dozens of other exhibit give visitors a special insight into Sino-Western communication.

In the footsteps of the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), European missionaries continued to come to China in the late Ming (1368-1644) and early Qing dynasties, introducing important Western books of the time to the country.

The Belgian Ferdinand Verbiest, also an astronomer, was Kangxi's first teacher of Western sciences. A collection of illustrations presenting his astronomical instruments, printed in 1674, is displayed in the exhibition in Beijing. The book in which they are contained is on loan from Liaoning Provincial Library.

The Qing rulers obviously had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, evidenced by the fact that they were willing to plow themselves headlong into original works, language barriers notwithstanding.

In the Epitome of the Almagest, printed in Venice in 1496, are remarks written in red ink, indicating that it was reviewed by an emperor. The work consists of the observations of the German scholar Johannes Regiomontanus on Almagest, by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy.

This book is particularly precious because it is one of the rare remaining books printed in Europe before the 16th century, Zhao says, of which the National Library of China possesses just five.

The library now houses about 60,000 copies of ancient books in Western languages, not counting works in Russian.

Despite that paucity - there are nearly 3 million ancient books in the library - Zhao says many of the Western books in the collection are priceless. Space for the 110th anniversary was limited, so it was extremely difficult for her and her team to decide which books should go on display, she says.

Other highlights include a Latin version of Copernicus' The Revolution of Heavenly Spheres from 1566, De humani corporis fabrica, a milestone in human autonomy, printed in Basel in 1543, aversion of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum from Antwerp from 1570 that represents the world's best mapping technique in the 16th century, and Navigations and Travels by Giovanni Battista Ramusio, an Italian collection of explorers' firsthand accounts of their travels, from 1583, those explorers including Marco Polo.

"Whenever Marco Polo is talked about, studies usually focus on the accounts of scholars who came much later," Zhao says. "However, we believe Ramusio probably saw the original manuscript of The Travels of Marco Polo in his lifetime because some records in this book are rarely mentioned in other versions.

"As we prepared for the exhibition, we were surprised at how many comments we came across. That will no doubt inspire new perspectives in studies of Marco Polo."

By accident or design, many missionaries who came to China from the late Ming to the early Qing dynasties, acted like Marco Polo in reconnecting the cultural knots between East and West that had been cut off for centuries following the wane of the ancient Silk Road.

One essential task in such cross-cultural communication would have been compiling bilingual and multilingual dictionaries, some of which are on display in the exhibition.

The difficulties that the French Sinologist Alexander de la Charme would have had to overcome as he wrote a French-Chinese-Mongolian-Manchu dictionary from 1758 to 1767 are barely imaginable.

The 17th-century Italian missionary Basilio Brollo de Gemona spent 24 years in China and com-piled a Chinese-Latin dictionary.

"Among the dictionaries Western missionaries compiled in those days, this is without doubt the best bilingual one," Zhao says. "However, one drawback is that it is extremely heavy, needing two people to carry it."

Westerners' knowledge of China also improved greatly in this multicultural interaction. As modern cartography began to make its mark, Chinese maps began to resemble those that we see today, says Weng Yingfang, a librarian in charge of Western map studies at the library.

She singles out Martino Martini's Novus Atlas Sinensis (new Chinese atlas), printed in Amsterdam in 1655.

"It's the most authoritative reference in the Western world then relating to Chinese geography. It's based on his travel all around the country."

However, in the atlas the Great Wall is located much further north than it really is, and some researchers have postulated that Martini, who lived in southern China, in fact never had any firsthand knowledge of the wall.

The exhibition depicts works related to early modern technology as well as anatomy and mathematics being introduced to China by means of Chinese-translated versions of original works of the time, and in the other direction Chinese philosophy and history were widely promoted in Europe.

For example, Confucius Sinarum Philosophus (The Chinese philosopher Confucius), printed in Paris in 1687, was the first comprehensive writing on Confucianism in Europe.

The library set up its team specializing in the cataloging of its collection of ancient books in Western languages last year. That team consists of just five people, Zhao says.

"One person can make catalogs for six or seven books a day. That really is the limit, so it's going to take years to complete the job."

Despite that heavy workload she is keen for the library to acquire many more valuable works.

"Ancient books on China will always be our focus. And It will be great if we can get more pre-16th century Western works. The study of ancient Western books in China has just taken off."

Restoration of these books can be painstaking and requires great patience.

Hou Yuran has spent the past decade in the conservation room of the library, the only restorer in the library specializing in ancient Western books.

Hou, who graduated from the University of London having studied paper conservation, opted for the library job only out of curiosity, she says, but now sees it as a vocation.

"In restoring ancient Chinese books the thing you are mainly dealing with is damaged paper, whereas with Western books it is the spines that are the most damaged, which is because of different ways of binding.

"In restoring Chinese books the emphasis is on traditional craftsmanship. When I'm fixing Western books I find it sometimes makes sense to use traditional Chinese methods rather than relying on what I learned in London."

Nevertheless, the principles of restoring Western and Chinese books are similar, she says. These include minimum intervention, ensuring the book retains its old look, and for future reference leaving a record saying where a work has been restored.

"If you compare conserving ancient books to sitting on a cold bench, for those of us who look after Western books the bench is even colder. But it's never boring. You get so caught up in it that your sole concern is turning out something of top quality."

The Western texts in the library are put on display far less frequently than their Chinese counterparts, and on those rare occasions there is great demand for Hou's expertise.

"My favorite working rhythm - just sitting there - is disrupted," she jokes. "However, the public finally get to see all the work we've been doing, and that's great."

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2019-09-28 06:58:27
<![CDATA[Missive that went missing for centuries]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512977.htm

Treasure trove of texts in languages dead and alive tells story of thriving communications

It's a letter that slumbered in the desert for 1,000 years undelivered and unanswered, having been lost in transit somehow as it was on its way to a place far off in the West.

In the ninth-century scribbling, unearthed in Hotan prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, a Jewish merchant reels off a greeting to the expected recipient before cutting to the chase: he wants his contact to obtain some sheep from his landlord no matter the cost.

The one-page letter, written in Persian using Hebrew script, is now on display in an exhibition at the National Library of China that brings to light an all but forgotten aspect of the ancient Silk Road, the network of Eurasian trade routes that thrived for much of the period between the second century BC and the 14th century.

 

Maitrisimit, dating back to no later than the ninth century, was found in Hami prefecture in Xinjiang and written in Kuchean, the earliest known archaeological discovery of drama scripts in China. Photos by Wang Kaihao / China Daily

"Nowadays barely anyone seems to know about how active Jewish traders were in the eastern part of the Silk Road," says Liu Bo, a researcher in the ancient books department of the national library. "That letter not only throws light on this research field but also gives people a new understanding of the Silk Road."

Since 2005 the library has collected more than 700 ancient manuscripts from Hotan, which Liu says has greatly helped studies on the Western Region (a term historians use to denote Xinjiang and Central Asia).

"Numerous caravans and explorers shuttled along the routes bringing frequent cultural communications," Liu says. "Each person on the routes may have traveled only on a small section of this huge network, but as their stories are put together we can get a much broader picture of the Silk Road."

The library's text collections abound with ancient tales and stories that tell of the prosperity along the eastern section of the Silk Road not only in Chinese but also in many ancient Indo-European languages, some of which no longer exist, but hints of which are on display in the exhibition.

Maitrisimit, dating back to no later than the ninth century, was found in Hami prefecture in Xinjiang and written in Kuchean, the earliest known archaeological discovery of drama scripts in China. It includes 27 acts that follow various anecdotes of Maitreya, the Laughing Buddha.

Another outstanding exhibit from Hotan, the Buddhist Golden Light Sutra written in Khotanese, can also be dated back to the 8th to 9th centuries. Buddhism was a crucial medium for cultural communication of the time, Liu says.

"Many Buddhist sutras were brought in from India and translated into Chinese in Chang'an (what is today Xi'an, Shaanxi province). However, their influence expanded westward again along the Silk Road."

The Biography of Master Sanzang, written in Huihu (ancient Uygur) language, found in Xinjiang, and which hails the great Tang Dynasty (618-907) monk's contribution to Buddhism, is also on display in the exhibition

When it comes to the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road, Dunhuang, Gansu province, probably offers an incomparable reference for today's studies.

In 1900, 60,000 ancient documents in many different languages were discovered in one of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, also known as the "library cave". The encyclopedic manuscripts spanned almost a millennium, and religion plays a key theme in the documents.

Many Dunhuang manuscripts were snatched and taken to the West, but the National Library of China is fortunate to have 16,000 of those that were left. A few of the most precious ones are now publicly shown.

Vinaya (Buddhist principles) in Four Parts, written in 417, is the earliest known work among Dunhuang manuscripts now held in China. In a post script to the Lotus Sutra, written in 968, a monk vividly describes his difficulties in traveling to India, which Liu says "has filled many voids in studies of extant files".

A scripture of Manichaeism, a religion whose genesis was in what is today Iran in the third century, and which once held wide sway across Eurasia, is also among the exhibited manuscripts.

Only three scriptures of Manichaeism were found in Dunhuang, the other two being in France.

"These documents marking the history of the Silk Road are like windows of accessibility for academia worldwide," Liu says.

"Western scholars can easily find familiar cultural elements that echo their own. That will also inspire today's people to think of modern issues from a cross-cultural perspective."

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2019-09-28 06:58:27
<![CDATA[Jewels brought home - but it takes patience]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512976.htm

During the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 a fire set off in the uprising in the Hanlin Library in Beijing destroyed copies of one of its most prized treasures: the Yongle Dadian, the world's largest paper encyclopedia, from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Some of the copies that survived were looted later by the invading Eight-Power Allied Forces from the imperial library of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Exactly how many copies of the encyclopedia were taken remains a mystery.

Among the 300-odd precious ancient books now on display in the National Library of China to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the founding of the library are some of the country's cultural treasures that were eventually returned from overseas.

Two copies of Yongle Dadian, among 67 such books that were returned by governments of the Soviet Union and of East Germany during the 1950s as a token of friendship, are among them. However, water stains mar some of their pages.

"Some copies of Yongle Dadian are now housed in libraries or are in collectors' hands around the world," Zhao Qian, a researcher at the National Library of China, says. "However, the opportunities for their being returned as a result of such intergovernmental cooperation are few and far between."

In 2009 the National Cultural Heritage Administration allocated a special fund to buy one copy of Yongle Dadian at what was said to be "a relatively low price" from a Canadian-Chinese collector. The books was transferred to the national library in 2013.

Zhao, an expert on ancient Chinese books, says that sometimes repatriating the country's precious books is like a race against time. In the world antique's market, ancient Chinese books are a particularly sought-after genre, a set of books sometimes fetching as much as 100 million yuan ($14 million).

"There's a long approval process if a public institution wants to buy a collection," Zhao says. On one occasion, minutes before a private collector was about to seal a deal on one particular book, the institution managed to contact the seller and buy the book.

The National Library of China has inherited former royal collections of books that can be dated to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

"Perhaps it's a nice home for these books when they return from overseas," Zhao says. "What we really appreciate is that many Chinese auction houses put the national interest first. Whenever they get books from overseas, they usually contact us first to see whether we are keen to have them."

The library began to collect anything that might be regarded as a treasure from overseas shortly after the founding of New China. For example, Chen Qinghua, a banker and a well-known collector of ancient books, left the mainland for Hong Kong in 1949, taking many precious books, including rare Song Dynasty printed versions. His family later migrated to the United States.

In 1956 and 1965 the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai approved spending to get some of them back to China, and in 2004 the library received the rest from Chen's son. Some of the books Chen previously owned are on display in the current exhibition.

However, Zhao says the price of ancient books often makes them unaffordable to the library.

"But if some Chinese collectors can get them back, at least that brings them home."

Three million ancient Chinese books are estimated to be in public or private collections overseas, said Lin Shitian, director of the executive office of the National Center for the Preservation and Conservation of Ancient Books.

"We've undertaken a survey worldwide to establish a database for these books," Lin says, and in it there are about 500,000 entries from 40 public institutions.

Zhao regrets that some books may never return to China, at least physically.

He tells of once hearing about a Japanese collector who wanted to sell some important Chinese books, but when he arrived in Japan to make inquiries he found that the books had been listed as cultural relics that could not leave the country.

"Digitization is one way of sharing resources and beginning cooperative studies."

Thanks to that, 19 copies of Yongle Dadian have come home to the National Library of China from the University of Oxford.

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2019-09-28 06:58:27
<![CDATA[Forum to connect business leaders]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/22/content_37511575.htm This year's event will focus on opening-up and innovation to boost world economic development

At a time of increasing trade uncertainties, the Hongqiao International Economic Forum - a platform connecting leaders from different industries during the China International Import Expo - will improve understanding and even offer solutions for the challenges facing a slowing global economy.

Assistant Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin said that this year's forum, which will be held on Nov 5, will try to address the challenges facing world economic development by focusing on opening-up and innovation.

Up to 50 experts from all over the world will deliver speeches and exchange opinions with other attendants, said Ren. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun and Nobel Laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides have confirmed their attendance at the forum.

Similar to last year, this year's Hongqiao International Economic Forum will consist of an opening ceremony in the morning followed by four parallel sessions. As world GDP growth slows and world trade has remained stagnant since the global financial crisis in 2008, one parallel session will explore the future direction for multilateral and regional cooperation. While in another, the role of e-commerce platforms in world trade will be discussed.

Faced with the opportunities and challenges brought by economic globalization, efforts should be made to explore the right path for policies facilitating trade and investment. Therefore, one of the parallel sessions will discuss the roles of the government and multinational companies in the process of improving the business environment, said Ren.

"Against that backdrop, open cooperation will help inject more vitality into the world investment environment. Governments should improve their services to companies to create a stable, fair, transparent and open business environment," he said.

A total of 1,500 guests will be invited to attend the second Hongqiao International Economic Forum, and each of its sub-forums will have 800 guests taking part. The total number of participants is expected to surpass the first forum held in 2018, said Chen Chao, deputy director-general of the department of international trade and economic affairs at the Ministry of Commerce.

Kong Fuan, deputy director-general of China International Import Expo Bureau, said the highlight of this year's Hongqiao International Economic Forum is its new membership system, which includes four levels - diamond, platinum, gold and silver.

The forum's member companies can enjoy various rights according to different categories. Once they have gained membership, it can be used for three years. Many domestic and global companies have applied for memberships at different levels. The applicants include multinationals, State-owned enterprises and many private companies, covering food, medicine and healthcare, transportation, information technology, finance and other fields, said Kong.

To create more convenient conditions for participating businesses in domestic and global markets, Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based think tank, suggested that from a long-term perspective, the government should consider issuing a travel card for CIIE participants similar to the APEC Business Travel Card, allowing card holders to use a special immigration lane and enjoy streamlined clearance.

"Through CIIE, we saw China's determination to build a more open business environment, promote globalization in the market and to meet people's expectations for a better life," said Lan Zhenzhen, vice-president of L'Oreal China.

Lan said the company benefits from the many policies, such as tax and fee cuts, and loosened market access, which help the development of foreign companies in China. The company displayed more than 500 products during last year's event.

Global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte also plans to double its exhibition space to showcase more of its advanced technologies and services in intelligent city, intelligent medical care and intelligent finance this year, as the company sealed over 10 deals during the first CIIE in 2018, mainly on digital transformation and globalization with its Chinese partners.

The CIIE gives exhibitors from around the world a chance to show their advantages and explore opportunities for cooperation, said Liu Minghua, innovation partner of Deloitte China, adding that it also showcases Shanghai's ability to attract quality foreign investment, its sound infrastructure, vast talent pool and strong government support for high-tech industries and various innovative activities.

In October 2018, the World Bank released the Doing Business 2019 report, which measures regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. China ranked 46th among the 190 surveyed economies, significantly up from 78th a year earlier. Shanghai's contribution was weighed at 55 percent while the rest came from Beijing.

Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of commerce, said the purpose of holding the CIIE is not simply to increase imports, but also to focus more on optimizing the import structure and providing companies access to more advanced technologies and ideas, while maintaining stable growth in exports.

"Through the CIIE platform, we aim to build an international platform for new technologies and ideas, support high-quality consumption, expand imports of high-quality products and services, and offer more choices for Chinese consumers," Wang said.

According to the CIIE Bureau, the organizer also welcomes more private and small-and medium-sized enterprises to take part. It will set up news conference areas for companies to release their latest products, technologies and services.

In addition to showing the healthy changes in China's business environment to global companies, Wang said the expo will help provide more channels for domestic companies to adopt advanced technologies, equipment and services and promote their development and industrial upgrading, while boosting high-quality development of China's economy.

On a larger scale than the inaugural event last year, the second CIIE will inject new vitality and create impetus to China's new round of reform and opening-up, said Qu Weixi, vice-president of Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

A moderate increase in imports will enable China to better integrate itself into the world production system and labor division, give full play to its comparative advantages and gain more benefits in trade, he said.

A new high-end consumer goods exhibition area will be set up, conforming to the wave of consumption upgrading. Augmented reality, virtual reality, pension services, outdoor cooking equipment and automated driving are some of the innovations and service solutions that will be on display at this year's event, according to the organizer.

The CIIE will also hold an exhibition for different countries and regions who want to display their development achievements and industries this year. It aims to improve the influence of countries and enhance international economic cooperation. The event will show the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration.

He Wei contributed to the story.

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2019-09-22 06:57:58
<![CDATA[What they say]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/22/content_37511574.htm The China International Import Expo offers the global community a rare opportunity to promote trade communication and business exchange. From the perspective of Deloitte, our company signed memorandums of understanding with numerous companies last year, and has promised to help our business partners discover new revenues using digital technologies and go global. We applied to attend the expo again this year and our exhibition booth will be double the size it was last year. We think it's very meaningful that China proposes win-win cooperation amid international trade uncertainties.

Liu Minghua, innovation partner, Deloitte China

It was a great pleasure for us to attend last year's China International Import Expo. The expo has drawn crowds to some of our most innovative products, and we see huge market potential in China. We are pleased to see that the Chinese government is launching foreign-friendly policies to attract businesses and investment to the domestic market. We can see that this year's expo is working to promote communication between various entities in the hope of win-win cooperation. The Chinese government is also working hard to foster a good business environment for both domestic and overseas businesses.

Lan Zhenzhen, vice-president, L'Oreal China

The Chinese government has rolled out a series of policies to support imports, including reducing tariffs and encouraging imports from cross-border e-commerce. Such moves show that China welcomes business exchanges with other countries and regions, and that China's increasingly wealthy consumers want to buy products from overseas. China is becoming the destination of choice for global investors and is open to goods imported from global markets. The China International Import Expo offers consumers and businesses great opportunities for communication, and helps countries to achieve win-win economic cooperation.

Wang Jian, a professor of global economics and trade at the University of International Business and Economics

The China International Import Expo this year will hold talks on business environment, artificial intelligence and e-commerce. China has been making efforts to foster a good business environment, and is working to attract more overseas investors. In addition, China is on a fast track in developing AI and e-commerce, two strong engines to drive global economic development. The world needs communication and cooperation for various communities to have a shared future and sustainable economic development, and the expo offers great opportunities.

Qu Weixi, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation

China Daily

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2019-09-22 06:57:58
<![CDATA[Major sessions associated with the second CIIE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/22/content_37511573.htm SESSION 1

THEME: Opening-up, Regulation and Business Environment: the Role of Governments and Perspectives of Multinationals

BACKGROUND: The improved business environment is crucial to boost market dynamics and further attract international investment. It has become a common pursuit of different countries to advance their domestic economic transformation. Faced with the opportunities and challenges in economic globalization, cooperation is of great importance to facilitate international trade.

CONTENT: The session will invite all parties to discuss ways of improving the business environment from the perspective of the government and companies, which will in turn promote global economic development.

SESSION 2

THEME: Artificial Intelligence and Innovative Development: Ideas, Technology and Markets

BACKGROUND: As a new phase of industrial revolution begins, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence are thriving all over the world and have grown into a new economic driving force. New business models based on digitalization, networking and smart technologies have started to take shape, changing the global industrial structure. New opportunities and challenges have also surfaced.

CONTENT: The session will discuss how new technologies and ideas are nurtured with the help of AI, and how will these ideas can be applied in real situations. New issues related to laws and regulations, employment, and governance in the age of AI will also be discussed. Participants will discuss ways of propelling world economic development and market integration with the help of new technologies.

SESSION 3

THEME: WTO Reform and Free Trade Agreements: Options and Prospects

BACKGROUND: Ever since the global financial crisis in 2008, world trade, cross-border investment, bank loans and the development of the supply chain have all experienced contraction or stagnation compared to global GDP growth. A cover story of The Economist said that "slowbalization" has become the new development mode of the world economy.

Meanwhile, bilateral or regional relations of economies have become increasingly close. FTAs such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have been reached. Therefore, reform is imperative for the WTO, which is the best representative of a multilateral trade system.

CONTENT: The session will discuss the future of multilateral and regional cooperation mechanisms, how these mechanisms will influence companies and consumers. It will also discuss the role of WTO reform and FTA negotiations.

SESSION 4

THEME: E-commerce in the Digital Era: New Platform and New Vision (the Global E-commerce Forum)

BACKGROUND: In the digital age, technologies such as mobile internet, cloud computing and big data are being widely used. New business models like the sharing economy have mushroomed. The innovative development of e-commerce has helped to create a win-win situation in the world economy and trade. Logistics and infrastructure construction has been boosted and there is deeper production and supply chain integration.

CONTENT: The session will demonstrate the new platforms of opening-up created by e-commerce businesses. It will also discuss the opportunities in continued economic and trade cooperation brought by Silk-Road E-commerce.

China Daily

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2019-09-22 06:57:58
<![CDATA[A colorful spectacle on Shanghai's streets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/22/content_37511572.htm City throws open its doors to welcome visitors from all around the world, He Qi reports.

Featuring a green mountain, the Shimao Quarry Hotel, a telescope, buildings, bicycles and flowers, the float of the Sheshan National Tourist and Holiday Resort was among the most impressive at the opening parade of the Shanghai Tourism Festival on Sept 14.

According to the resort, which was showcasing a float for the first time at the festival, which runs through Oct 6, the decorative platform had to be redesigned multiple times due to safety concerns arising from the number of elements on it.

"Since Songjiang district has launched many landmarks in recent years, we wanted to integrate and promote as many of our resources as possible," explains Zhou Yan, deputy director of the Sheshan National Tourist and Holiday Resort's management committee.

"We have the highest mountain in Shanghai, the world's deepest subterranean five-star hotel, the relics of Jiangnan culture, an astronomical and seismological observatory, a botanical garden and many ecotourism resorts. We wanted to display them all to show that Sheshan is the backyard of Shanghai."

The float parade has been one of the most anticipated segments of the festival since the first float made its way through People's Square in 1993. This year, the parade kicked off at the Shanghai Times Square on Huaihai Middle Road.

Themed "70 Years of Glory, Beauty and Joy", the parade featured 1,500 performers and 25 floats from 19 countries and regions.

As the host city, Shanghai brought out the floats from theme parks, high-end resorts and local brands, including Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, Sheshan National Tourist and Holiday Resort and jewelry company Lao Feng Xiang.

This year marked the sixth time that Shanghai Disney Resort participated in the opening ceremony parade of the Shanghai Tourism Festival with its Duffy Express float.

"Since this was a night parade, light played a major role in how we designed the float. The float was created with several light boxes of varying shapes and sizes," says Denny Newell, director, creative and production, entertainment, Shanghai Disney Resort.

"We also paid close attention to the details, combining both Chinese elements and familiar Disney iconography. Some of these elements include the Chinese pattern used as the background for the train's carriage, and the Mickey-head-shaped Chinese knots found throughout the design."

Newell adds that the most challenging aspect of the float was figuring out how to disguise the truck that carries the float.

"We looked at how to use negative space to create illusion and divert the eye. There are also height restrictions and the team does several site walks to be sure the float will make it safely down the route," he says.

"With 12 assigned floats attending the parade in 1993, more departments and enterprises have applied to become a part of the event in recent years, and we selected the floats according to the districts and brands," said Chen Jian, a representative of the organizing committee office of the Shanghai Tourism Festival.

Apart from the growing number of floats, the quality of the decorated platforms has also improved.

"In the past, we found that the lights used on the floats were not bright enough and the colors were not diverse enough. Now, the LED lights we use are brighter and they also allow us to adjust the colors and save on energy," says Chen.

Twenty-five floats will parade through the city's districts in the coming days. After the parade, they will be parked at the Shanghai Yuehu Sculpture Park in Songjiang district from Sept 29 to Oct 6 for tourists to view.

 

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2019-09-22 06:57:58
<![CDATA[More to see and do at this year's tourism festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/22/content_37511571.htm The 2019 Shanghai Tourism Festival will feature a record number of activities as participants will get to choose from more than 100 events related to food, hotel, transportation, shopping and entertainment.

The festival opened on Sept 14 and will end on Oct 6.

As one of the highlights of the tourism festival, the inaugural Shanghai Food Festival kicked off on Sept 13 with the launch of a Shanghai food map that includes seven major gastronomical hubs, five featured towns, a local breakfast guide and more than 10 Shanghai-style dishes such as sauteed shrimps and smoked fish.

Available at scenic spots, hotels and tourist sites for free, the map features 33 Shanghai restaurants selected through industry recommendation and evaluations from experts and consumers.

On the same day, six sister cities from countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, including Chiang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand, Budapest in Hungary, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and Manila in the Philippines, signed a joint agreement on culture and tourism with Shanghai to promote the bilateral tourism cooperation and development.

Activities organized by these countries will also be held during the tourism festival, including a performance during the opening ceremony and a folk culture exhibition.

As part of the festival, the prices of tickets to 79 scenic spots, museums and art galleries in the city will be halved through Sept 21.More than 1,900 cultural and creative products will also be made available at exclusive shops, popup stores and vending machines during the event. Consumers will enjoy a 12 percent discount on these items during the festival.

Another aspect of the festival is the Yangtze River Delta Region Culture and Tourism Fair, which will be attended by hundreds of leisure resorts, theme parks, homestays and cultural and creative enterprises from the region. The fair, which aims to provide a platform for exchange, trade and promotion, will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Shanghai International Resort in Pudong New Area.

In addition, The Phoenix Cup Shanghai Riding Festival and the first Yangtze River Delta Cultural Tourism Photography Interactive Exhibition will be held during the festival. The Huangpu River cruise, the lighting fixtures on both sides of the river, and the cruise tourism festival in Baoshan and Hongkou districts have also been upgraded in preparation for the festival.

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2019-09-22 06:57:58
<![CDATA[Merging old facades with virtual tech]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/22/content_37511570.htm Visitors to the Hengfu Style and Features Pavilion can now learn more about the stories of historical buildings in the city through multimedia presentations that can be accessed by scanning a QR code or by clicking an icon on the display screen within the pavilion.

Built in 1930, the architecture in which the pavilion is located is now used as a virtual museum for the historical structures located along Hengshan Road and Fuxing Road, allowing visitors to view iconic buildings in augmented reality and read descriptions about them.

The pavilion also has a reference room with an interface that can display buildings and roads, the celebrities who once occupied the residences in the city, and more than 20,000 archived documents.

The pavilion is working in tandem with the city's Architecture Readable Project, which was launched in 2018. Co-promoted by the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism and six district governments - Xuhui, Hongkou, Huangpu, Jing'an, Yangpu and Changning - the project aims to help the public learn more about the city's historic architecture. There are currently more than 1,000 old buildings that people can read about thanks to this initiative. These buildings received 7.65 million visitors in the first half of this year.

According to the authorities, the city is planning to add another 142 old buildings to the database by the end of this year. The six districts in the city are also aiming to make QR codes available at 2,180 buildings by the first half of next year.

To welcome the Shanghai Tourism Festival, the Architecture Readable Project has been upgraded to include an English guide, videos and virtual reality elements.

"To promote the development of the tourism industry, we have jointly launched 87 distinctive architectural city-walk routes that allow visitors to learn more about Shanghai," says Yu Xiufen, the director of Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism.

Each district will have unique offerings during the tourism festival. In Jing'an, visitors can experience a virtual reality tour of 101 locations within the district. There will also be immersive experiences at places such as the Site of the Second National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Jing'an Villa, the Ohel Rachel Synagogue, the Shanghai Natural History Museum and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

"Historical buildings are the foundation and soul of a city. We will further expand the reach of readable buildings and use advanced technology to infuse life into these structures," says Liu Xie, deputy governor of Jing'an district.

Meanwhile, Xuhui district, which has 253 historic buildings, has set up teams to provide interpretation service for tourists during the festival, while Changning district has cooperated with media brand Time Out and review site Dianping to compile high-quality Chinese and English guides and develop an online system that recommends nearby facilities, restaurants and cultural experience activities.

]]>
2019-09-22 06:57:58
<![CDATA[Grasping how Chinese operas can sing throughout time]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511312.htm I recently sat in a children's classroom, clutching a spear, and stretching and rubbing my aching body.

I'd joined a lesson for kids studying Peking Opera for a documentary shoot.

And I was quickly realizing that performing this genre is not only more difficult but also more painful than it looks.

Virtually every pose was like a stress position, with the greatest amount of strain put on the hands and fingers that often should curl backward.

The straps securing the four flags to my back skewered my spine and shoulders into a misconfigured posture.

And the headdress designed to tug my face toward my scalp, against gravity's natural direction, left me with a magnificent headache and stiff cheeks.

The 8-to-10-year-olds had made Peking Opera basics look easy. But they aren't, I know now.

Even the "stroking the beard" motion, which is simply scooping up fake facial hair and flipping its bottom upward with a theatrical wrist flick, is far trickier than it appears.

The teacher had selected the move to teach me as a first-timer because it's about the easiest.

But I failed to execute it - maybe a couple-dozen times. Definitely every time.

I'd presumed performing Peking Opera was like playing piano - easy to grasp the fundamentals but difficult to master.

Instead, I found, even the easiest parts are pretty darn hard.

Makeup alone can take three hours. I'd heard this previously. But it was different to actually undergo the process.

I got the least-elaborate facial paint. It took an hour but still required several more layers than I'd imagined.

Oh! Did my face itch! But I couldn't scratch it - even a little - lest I undo the extensive labor invested in applying the makeup.

I wanted to test my phone's facial recognition but didn't get a chance. Later, I sent photos to my wife. She, at least, didn't recognize me.

I didn't recognize myself without glasses - or with them.

It took about 20 minutes, a dozen wet wipes and a lot of running water to retrieve my real face.

The experience instilled a newfound admiration for not only the ancient art form but also the new generation carrying it into the future.

It made me realize, more deeply, the challenges to preserving Chinese operas' various genres and titles.

It's not just that they're waning in popularity among audiences, especially in the era of viral videos.

Those who aspire to become performers must overcome obvious hardship like small audiences and low pay, plus those that are less immediately apparent, such as physical discomfort and spiritual devotion.

It's virtually impossible to truly conquer the techniques unless one starts at a young age, the teacher told me.

Anyone who takes a break - even for a short while - must restart training from scratch, he said.

Some have criticized innovative attempts to carry Chinese operas into contemporary times.

A growing number of troupes are incorporating such elements as pop music, multimedia formats and contemporary motifs.

Purists may poke their noses skyward.

But tradition isn't static.

Chinese operas have continued to adapt over centuries and decades, and shouldn't stop - especially now.

I thought about this as I watched one of the kids leave the studio.

The boy, about 9, hopped off the building's stoop and nonchalantly bounced his umbrella's handle off his knee to open it, using a move we'd tried with spears in class.

He was deploying the art form's legacy in real life, offstage.

I watched, kneading my shoulders, as he skipped into the downpour.

Before attending the class, I'd decided to leave Chinese operas' futures to the professionals-present and future.

That meant something different at that moment.

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2019-09-20 07:46:12
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511311.htm Man makes 3D prosthetic fingers for amputees

Yang Decai from Northeast China got interested in 3D printing in June. He came up with an idea to make 3D printed prosthetic fingers to help amputees regain the use of their hands. The prosthesis can simulate the motion of a finger, allowing amputees to grasp objects. So far, he has helped five people with the prosthetic fingers. A video posted by the Ziniu News on Sina Weibo showed a man, 28, from Guangdong province, clicking a mouse with his mechanical finger made by Yang. He told the Ziniu News that he lost the first two segments of his right index finger four years ago, and thanks to his "magic finger," he can once again grab things.

Chengdu school offers 'gender-specific' classes

A primary school in Chengdu, Sichuan province, offering "gender-specific" courses has gone viral. The courses segregate students based on their gender, reinforcing stereotypes. The Chengdu Caotang Primary School has introduced voluntary knitting classes for girls, while offering boys courses involving making model planes, rockets, and cars. Many netizens said gender-specific courses only promote gender inequality and strengthen traditional gender stereotypes.

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2019-09-20 07:46:12
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511310.htm Tech: Alipay debuts smart bus service

A customized bus armed with artificial intelligence, created by Alipay, has hit the road in Shanghai. The bus works like a taxi, with users able to book a seat using their mobile phone, traveling from door to office with more ease, said Alipay. The commute can take 30 percent less time compared with standard bus services while the cost is 10 percent of a taxi fare. Alipay aims to promote QR-based smart commuting across the country within three years. Zhang Guohua, dean of Comprehensive Transportation Research Institute at the National Development and Reform Commission, said the customized bus can improve efficiency and environmental protection all at the same time.

Video: UK engineer's impressions of China

As the People's Republic of China prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Oct 1, our website is featuring a series of videos, China at 70, on expats living in the country and their impression of its development. In the latest episode, we interviewed British engineer Angus Black. He came to China in 1990, not knowing what the country was like or where its future would lead. Yet after he arrived, he was astounded not only by how smart and efficient the people were, but also how quickly the country has developed, especially in science and technology.

Biz: Musk, Jack Ma are 'inspiring leaders'

Elon Musk, CEO of electric carmaker Tesla, was named the most inspiring leader in tech by tech recruitment website Hired. Musk is also the founder and CEO of rocket company SpaceX, and CEO of Neuralink and The Boring Company. Alibaba's Jack Ma took fifth place on the website's list, according to Hired's 2019 Brand Health Report. Ma left his high-profile position as Alibaba's chairman on Sept 10. According to Forbes' Billionaires list, Ma and Musk ranked 21st and 40th, with wealth of $37.3 billion and $22.3 billion respectively. The annual report collected responses from more than 3,600 tech workers who used Hired's online platform in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada during June and July. Visit our website to find out more about the list.

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2019-09-20 07:46:12
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511309.htm The Crossroad

When: Oct 2-6, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

In the winter of 1948, a blizzard hits the Yangtze-Huaihe river valleys, where the Kuomintang and Communist armies fought decisively to determine the destiny of China.

The Northwest Army was a renowned anti-Japanese force. Four of its famous generals have to make a tough decision. Generals Ma Ze'an, Zhang Yufeng, Zheng Yihu and Zhou Keren become sworn brothers amid the flames of war and agree to stick together in life and death. Where is the road ahead? Everyone is at the crossroad.

Daddy Long Legs

When: Oct 17-19, 22-26, 29-Nov 1, 7:30 pm; Oct 19, 20, 26 and 27, 2 pm

Where: Ke Center for the Contemporary Ars, Shanghai

Daddy Long Legs is a stage musical written by John Caird, with music and lyrics by Paul Gordon. It is based on the 1912 novel of the same name by Jean Webster.

Set in turn-of-the-century New England, the musical tells the story of orphan Jerusha Abbott of the John Grier Home and her mysterious benefactor who agrees to send her to college. She dubs him "Daddy Long Legs" after seeing his elongated shadow. Under the conditions of her benefactor, Jerusha sends him a letter once a month, describing her newfound experiences with life outside the orphanage.

La Finta Giardiniera (The Pretended Garden-Girl)

When: Oct 18, 20 and 22, 7:30 pm

Where: Shangyin Opera House, Shanghai

La Finta Giardiniera is a three-act Italian opera composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1774. It was premiered in Munich, Germany, in 1775 when he was 18 years old.

Led by Diego Fasolis, this is part of a special project dedicated to the rendition of 18th-century works on original instruments by the Scala Orchestra's baroque ensemble. This is its first Mozart work.

Premiered at the Glyndebourne Festival in 2014, it tells the story of Count Belfiore and Violante, who were lovers until Belfiore stabbed Violante in a quarrel. Mistakenly believing Violante to be dead, Belfiore has become engaged to the jealous Arminda. Violante, meanwhile, has disguised herself as the gardener Sandrina in order to confront Belfiore. As more complications arise, lunacy ensues. In a fit of jealousy Arminda kidnaps Violante. When Violante is found both she and Belfiore nearly go mad until eventually Violante decides to forgive Belfiore.

Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute)

When: Oct 21, 23 and 24, 7:30 pm

Where: Shangyin Opera House, Shanghai

Staying on the Mozart theme, this was the last opera he composed. The libretto is based on Martin Christoph Wieland's fairytale Lulu's Magic Flute. In 1780, Emanuel Schikaneder adapted the story and wrote the libretto for Die Zauberflote. The opera premiered in Vienna in 1791.

In the opera, a prince from a far-off land in search of a vaguely suicidal princess rubs shoulders with a giant serpent, a boastful but cowardly bird catcher, the Queen of the Night and a seemingly shadowy High Priest imposing strange rites of passage.

This production marks the first step of the collaboration between La Scala Theater, its singing academy and director Peter Stein. Stein has been committed to a new opera production each year and is responsible for the training and teaching of the young artists.

En Attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot)

When: Nov 1 and 2, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Widely regarded as the most significant play of the 20th century, En Attendant Godot is something every theater lover should see at least once.

What playwright Samuel Beckett built with this work was a monument - not of stones, but of words - to the mysteries of existence, and his towering achievement moves and unsettles audiences like no other play.

On a lonely road beneath a barren tree, two vagabonds wait for a man named Godot. As the evening unfolds, a desperate, humorous and unchanging universe is revealed, delighting and challenging all those who experience it.

The Phantom of the Opera

When: Nov 8 and 9, 7:30 pm

Where: Erqi Theater, Beijing

The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Charles Hart. Richard Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber composed the musical together. Stilgoe also provided additional lyrics.

Based on the French novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux, its central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daae, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius living in the subterranean labyrinth beneath the Paris Opera House.

As Christine's star rises, and a handsome suitor from her past enters the picture, the Phantom grows mad, terrorizing the opera house owners and company with his murderous ways. Still, Christine finds herself drawn to the mystery man.

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2019-09-20 07:46:12
<![CDATA[A colorful spectacle on Shanghai's streets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511308.htm City throws open its doors to welcome visitors from all around the world, He Qi reports.

Featuring a green mountain, the Shimao Quarry Hotel, a telescope, buildings, bicycles and flowers, the float of the Sheshan National Tourist and Holiday Resort was among the most impressive at the opening parade of the Shanghai Tourism Festival on Sept 14.

According to the resort, which was showcasing a float for the first time at the festival, which runs through Oct 6, the decorative platform had to be redesigned multiple times due to safety concerns arising from the number of elements on it.

"Since Songjiang district has launched many landmarks in recent years, we wanted to integrate and promote as many of our resources as possible," explains Zhou Yan, deputy director of the Sheshan National Tourist and Holiday Resort's management committee.

"We have the highest mountain in Shanghai, the world's deepest subterranean five-star hotel, the relics of Jiangnan culture, an astronomical and seismological observatory, a botanical garden and many ecotourism resorts. We wanted to display them all to show that Sheshan is the backyard of Shanghai."

The float parade has been one of the most anticipated segments of the festival since the first float made its way through People's Square in 1993. This year, the parade kicked off at the Shanghai Times Square on Huaihai Middle Road.

Themed "70 Years of Glory, Beauty and Joy", the parade featured 1,500 performers and 25 floats from 19 countries and regions.

As the host city, Shanghai brought out the floats from theme parks, high-end resorts and local brands, including Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, Sheshan National Tourist and Holiday Resort and jewelry company Lao Feng Xiang.

This year marked the sixth time that Shanghai Disney Resort participated in the opening ceremony parade of the Shanghai Tourism Festival with its Duffy Express float.

"Since this was a night parade, light played a major role in how we designed the float. The float was created with several light boxes of varying shapes and sizes," says Denny Newell, director, creative and production, entertainment, Shanghai Disney Resort.

"We also paid close attention to the details, combining both Chinese elements and familiar Disney iconography. Some of these elements include the Chinese pattern used as the background for the train's carriage, and the Mickey-head-shaped Chinese knots found throughout the design."

Newell adds that the most challenging aspect of the float was figuring out how to disguise the truck that carries the float.

"We looked at how to use negative space to create illusion and divert the eye. There are also height restrictions and the team does several site walks to be sure the float will make it safely down the route," he says.

"With 12 assigned floats attending the parade in 1993, more departments and enterprises have applied to become a part of the event in recent years, and we selected the floats according to the districts and brands," said Chen Jian, a representative of the organizing committee office of the Shanghai Tourism Festival.

Apart from the growing number of floats, the quality of the decorated platforms has also improved.

"In the past, we found that the lights used on the floats were not bright enough and the colors were not diverse enough. Now, the LED lights we use are brighter and they also allow us to adjust the colors and save on energy," says Chen.

Twenty-five floats will parade through the city's districts in the coming days. After the parade, they will be parked at the Shanghai Yuehu Sculpture Park in Songjiang district from Sept 29 to Oct 6 for tourists to view.

 

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2019-09-20 07:45:19
<![CDATA[More to see and do at this year's tourism festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511307.htm

The 2019 Shanghai Tourism Festival will feature a record number of activities as participants will get to choose from more than 100 events related to food, hotel, transportation, shopping and entertainment.

The festival opened on Sept 14 and will end on Oct 6.

As one of the highlights of the tourism festival, the inaugural Shanghai Food Festival kicked off on Sept 13 with the launch of a Shanghai food map that includes seven major gastronomical hubs, five featured towns, a local breakfast guide and more than 10 Shanghai-style dishes such as sauteed shrimps and smoked fish.

Available at scenic spots, hotels and tourist sites for free, the map features 33 Shanghai restaurants selected through industry recommendation and evaluations from experts and consumers.

On the same day, six sister cities from countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, including Chiang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand, Budapest in Hungary, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and Manila in the Philippines, signed a joint agreement on culture and tourism with Shanghai to promote the bilateral tourism cooperation and development.

Activities organized by these countries will also be held during the tourism festival, including a performance during the opening ceremony and a folk culture exhibition.

As part of the festival, the prices of tickets to 79 scenic spots, museums and art galleries in the city will be halved through Sept 21.More than 1,900 cultural and creative products will also be made available at exclusive shops, popup stores and vending machines during the event. Consumers will enjoy a 12 percent discount on these items during the festival.

Another aspect of the festival is the Yangtze River Delta Region Culture and Tourism Fair, which will be attended by hundreds of leisure resorts, theme parks, homestays and cultural and creative enterprises from the region. The fair, which aims to provide a platform for exchange, trade and promotion, will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Shanghai International Resort in Pudong New Area.

In addition, The Phoenix Cup Shanghai Riding Festival and the first Yangtze River Delta Cultural Tourism Photography Interactive Exhibition will be held during the festival. The Huangpu River cruise, the lighting fixtures on both sides of the river, and the cruise tourism festival in Baoshan and Hongkou districts have also been upgraded in preparation for the festival.

]]>
2019-09-20 07:45:19
<![CDATA[Merging old facades with virtual tech]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511306.htm Visitors to the Hengfu Style and Features Pavilion can now learn more about the stories of historical buildings in the city through multimedia presentations that can be accessed by scanning a QR code or by clicking an icon on the display screen within the pavilion.

Built in 1930, the architecture in which the pavilion is located is now used as a virtual museum for the historical structures located along Hengshan Road and Fuxing Road, allowing visitors to view iconic buildings in augmented reality and read descriptions about them.

The pavilion also has a reference room with an interface that can display buildings and roads, the celebrities who once occupied the residences in the city, and more than 20,000 archived documents.

The pavilion is working in tandem with the city's Architecture Readable Project, which was launched in 2018. Co-promoted by the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism and six district governments - Xuhui, Hongkou, Huangpu, Jing'an, Yangpu and Changning - the project aims to help the public learn more about the city's historic architecture. There are currently more than 1,000 old buildings that people can read about thanks to this initiative. These buildings received 7.65 million visitors in the first half of this year.

According to the authorities, the city is planning to add another 142 old buildings to the database by the end of this year. The six districts in the city are also aiming to make QR codes available at 2,180 buildings by the first half of next year.

To welcome the Shanghai Tourism Festival, the Architecture Readable Project has been upgraded to include an English guide, videos and virtual reality elements.

"To promote the development of the tourism industry, we have jointly launched 87 distinctive architectural city-walk routes that allow visitors to learn more about Shanghai," says Yu Xiufen, the director of Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism.

Each district will have unique offerings during the tourism festival. In Jing'an, visitors can experience a virtual reality tour of 101 locations within the district. There will also be immersive experiences at places such as the Site of the Second National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Jing'an Villa, the Ohel Rachel Synagogue, the Shanghai Natural History Museum and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

"Historical buildings are the foundation and soul of a city. We will further expand the reach of readable buildings and use advanced technology to infuse life into these structures," says Liu Xie, deputy governor of Jing'an district.

Meanwhile, Xuhui district, which has 253 historic buildings, has set up teams to provide interpretation service for tourists during the festival, while Changning district has cooperated with media brand Time Out and review site Dianping to compile high-quality Chinese and English guides and develop an online system that recommends nearby facilities, restaurants and cultural experience activities.

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2019-09-20 07:45:19
<![CDATA[The paradox of prosperity]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511305.htm An economist looks at how improved material wealth coincides with rising inequality and gives special attention to China's role in the global economy, Andrew Moody reports in London.

Douglas McWilliams believes China is a classic case of the paradox at the heart of the global economy.

Although it has delivered 800 million out of poverty in the past 40 years, the gap between rich and poor has also grown, something the Chinese government is very determined to address.

This, though, is a global phenomenon and one that the well-known British economist addresses in his new book, The Inequality Paradox: How Capitalism Can Work for Everyone, which was officially launched earlier this month.

 

Douglas McWilliams speaks about his new book at the central London office of his economics consultancy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Photos by Nick J.B. Moore / For China Daily

"China has made the biggest single contribution to the fall in global poverty in human history and progress is still being made," the 67-year-old says.

China aims to entirely eliminate extreme poverty by the end of next year.

"But within China, as with other countries, inequality has increased as poverty has decreased. This is the paradox."

Inequality is now a central issue of economic debate. It is a particular problem in the West, where many feel left behind since the global financial crisis of 2008. And this has given rise to increasing disaffection and rising populism.

It was also addressed by the French economist Thomas Piketty in his seminal 2013 book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century. He blamed the problem on the rich seeing a greater rise in the value of their assets than the increase in wages of those who have to work for a living.

McWilliams, who was speaking at the central London office of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the economics consultancy he founded more than 25 years ago and of which he is executive deputy chairman, thinks Piketty is only partly right.

"What he argues is about 20 percent true. IMF studies that have looked at this carefully do point to people with assets exploiting others being part of the story. I think, though, Piketty's explanation misses the real driving point," he says.

McWilliams believes what has driven inequality is globalization - which China has largely benefitted from - and technology with the Fourth Industrial Revolution threatening to destroy jobs in the developing as well as the developed world.

"With globalization, you have had nearly three-quarters of the world's population suddenly becoming economically active in just a few decades. This is bound to be disruptive. It has created increased inequality in the West, but it has also been associated with a significant reduction of poverty in the East," he says.

McWilliams insists Donald Trump-style protectionism is no answer to globalization.

"King Canute (the 11th-century English Viking king, who tried to hold back the tide) had similar ideas. But it didn't work, did it? China, in fact, is one of the best examples of isolationism not working. It looked in on itself after the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) voyages of Zheng He and hardly developed for several centuries afterwards."

McWilliams believes such technologies as artificial intelligence and robotics, which will destroy vast swaths of jobs, pose huge challenges to policymakers if societies don't become more equal.

"It is no longer just about machines replacing people but machines making the machines that replace people," he says.

"People will just have to find new things to do. In the UK, we have actually had the growth of the lifestyle economy with the number of people claiming to be musicians going up nearly five times and, similarly, writers three times."

He believes the only solution may be that everyone becomes entitled to a universal basic income and that this might be more imminent than many currently think.

"In some of the oil states in the Middle East, there is already an effective basic income. My maths says the economics in the US start to add up in about 10 years' time, and in Europe and China is about 20 to 25 years' time."

McWilliams was partly brought up in Asia. His father was a civil engineer in Malaysia before McWilliams returned to the UK to attend the Roman Catholic independent school Stonyhurst College in Lancashire before studying economics at Oxford.

He has held a number of prominent jobs, including stints as chief economic adviser to the Confederation of British Industry, the leading US-business organization, and an economic adviser to former UK chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne.

His latest book comes just three years after the success of his first, The Flat White Economy, which looked at how the growth of media, internet and creative businesses was transforming economies.

McWilliams says the issue of inequality is not so important to people when they are being delivered from poverty. It's only later when people become concerned about disparities in their material wealth.

"When you are starving, you just want food. When you are well off, you start to demand luxury goods. In China, you cannot ignore the fact that life expectancy has gone up as well as nutritional standards, and health has massively improved," he says.

McWilliams says globalization and technology can have an exponential effect on disparity. In the book, he cities the fact that England soccer player Wayne Rooney earned 53 times more than the legendary Bobby Charlton of an earlier era.

"This was because Rooney played on the global stage, whereas when Bobby Charlton played, even people in the UK couldn't watch him on the TV since only a very few matches were broadcast live," he says.

McWilliams believes that one of the ways to reduce inequality is through education, and that is why countries like China are right to place emphasis on this.

"There is no greater determinant of how much people will earn in their lives than their level of education. I was brought up in Asia, and my mother ran a kindergarten. The thing that humbled me is that poor people would pay half their salaries to educate their children. I think we have slightly lost that in the West."

Unlike Piketty, McWilliams does not believe that taxing the rich is a solution to reducing inequality.

"Piketty argues that if you shoot the rich the problem goes away. I don't believe that."

McWilliams' consultancy earlier this year produced a report on how the Belt and Road Initiative would boost global GDP by 4.2 percent in 2040. It has also produced several other reports on China's economy.

"I am confident about the China economy because the government has done all that it needs to do to get to the next level, and, therefore, it is unlikely to get stuck in the middle-income trap."

On the UK, he supported Brexit in the referendum but insists he is not a "head-banger" on the subject and is increasingly frustrated by the uncertainty it is creating.

"My guess now is that whatever happens it is going to be hugely disruptive, and the pain will have been prolonged by the fact the country has taken so long to make up its mind."

As for inequality across the world, McWilliams says that after writing the book, which is persuasive and, arguably, easily one of the best on the subject so far, he is pessimistic.

"I think we are going to have to fight, and fight very hard, to prevent the gaps in society from widening," he says.

The Inequality Paradox: How Capitalism Can Work for Everyone by Douglas McWilliams (Abrams Press).

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2019-09-20 07:45:19
<![CDATA[Country musician wants to promote Chinese artists in US]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/20/content_37511304.htm Stokes Nielson has a dream - to make Chinese pop singers big in the United States.

He wants to find talented Chinese, who could one day become as popular as the K-pop band BTS from Seoul.

Nielson was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, known as the "home of country music", where the music industry has an economic impact of about $10 billion a year.

The 2000 graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville dived into the music industry as a singer, producer, recording artist and songwriter. The award-winning songwriter has also been nominated for the Academy of Country Music Award three times. Nielson has produced original content for such leading artists as Tim McGraw, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez.

 

US musician Stokes Nielson meets Chinese pop singer Yiyang Qianxi of TFBoys during one of his tours in China. Nielson has promoted Chinese pop singers in the US via radio programs over the past few years. Provided to China Daily

He's the founder of Channel Greatness, a media content provider and online video channel-building company. Nielson also consults for major brands and broadcast companies.

Nielson befriended a music group from Shanghai at the Grammy Awards ceremony five years ago. They asked him if he could help to bring some exposure to Chinese artists in the US.

"They also suggested that I start to think about making songs available to the Chinese audience as well when I write," Nielson says.

"That started my real collaboration."

In the past few years, Nielson has promoted Chinese pop singer Zhang Liangying (Jane Zhang) and Yiyang Qianxi (Jackson Yee) of TFBoys in the US via radio programs. He brought Zhang to the Grammys and set up interviews for her with top 40 US pop stations.

"They talked about her music and played her songs," he recalls.

Nielson did an interview with Yi in China and had it aired over major US pop stations. He also became friends with Chinese Canadian actor-singer Kris Wu.

"In the US, the audience generally discovers singers through radio. We started introducing these Chinese artists to Americans," Nielson says.

He says he considers Zhang, Yi and Wu "fantastic" artists.

"Jane Zhang is one of the best pure singers on the planet. Her vocal range is amazing. Kris Wu is very creative. His new song, Freedom, proves that he is a wonderful lyricist. Jackson Yee is an amazing dancer. Each of them can compete with any on the planet," Nielson adds.

However, Chinese artists still need marketing and promotion to make it in the US."You have to learn about the American market. It's different from China."

Nielson says this is an exciting period of growth in China's music industry.

"China's film industry is very mature, the music industry is an emerging economy, and there are a lot of opportunities. A lot of music artists can benefit by having a collaborator in the US where the music industry is very mature," he says.

He says he believes a Chinese pop singer will connect with American audiences in a major way in the next four or five years.

"I want to be part of that story when it happens. I want to find, discover and promote that artist here. When I go back to China in September, one of my purposes is to become more aware of the new artists," says Nielson, who on average travels to China four times a year.

Nielson also wants US artists to treat China as an equal market. He finds such opportunities in China, especially in cities such as Chengdu and Chongqing.

"We have been hearing news about the tariff issues between China and the US. We need to look at the broader story - these are two great nations that are trying to find out equitable ways to work together," Nielson says.

"I want to do as much as possible with my counterparts in China to build a true bridge good for creativity and money. I believe music can build a bridge of understanding for the two cultures."

Recently, Nielson took a group of Chinese listeners of a Shanghai radio station to a Nashville studio, where one of his client artists was recording.

"They learned the lyrics in the studio. We had them sing, and they are recorded in the production. They are part of the song, which is coming out this fall. That's the kind of cultural bridge I am talking about," Nielson says.

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2019-09-20 07:45:19
<![CDATA[Bai hoping to stay hot as bigger rewards beckon]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510987.htm Bai Zhengkai is primed to continue his remarkable season on the PGA Tour Series-China at this week's Zhuzhou Classic at Xiangshui Bay Golf Club.

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Rookie continues to close on coveted Korn Ferry spot

Bai Zhengkai is primed to continue his remarkable season on the PGA Tour Series-China at this week's Zhuzhou Classic at Xiangshui Bay Golf Club.

Coming off his runner-up finish last week in Haikou, the 22-year-old from Shantou, Guangdong province, has jumped to sixth place on the order of merit and a strong showing this week could vault him into the top five.

The top five finishers at the end of the season will earn tickets to next year's North America-based Korn Ferry Tour, while those finishing sixth to 10th will bypass the tour's early qualifying events and advance directly to the final stage.

Considering he has played five fewer tournaments than any of the players ranked above him, Bai's progress in his first season on the PGA Tour Series-China marks a major breakthrough. He missed the first few events while attending classes at the University of Central Florida, but is now taking his courses online.

If all goes well, Bai could be a college graduate playing alongside his compatriots and good friends Yuan Yechun and Dou Zecheng on next year's Korn Ferry circuit.

"I know all the Chinese players on the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA Tour; we've all played and trained together in the US so I'm hoping to join them soon," said Bai, who takes lessons with renowned Canadian coach Sean Foley.

"I came to the PGA Tour Series-China to try to get on the Korn Ferry Tour, so I'm really happy with where I am right now. I've made some good scores and had some good results, but I still have a lot of work to do. I need to work harder and play better."

Bai has recorded three top-10 finishes, including a victory at the Huangshan Championship, where he defeated American David Kocher by two strokes to earn his first professional triumph.

With just the Macao Championship (Oct 7-13) and Hong Kong's Clearwater Bay Open (Oct 14-20) remaining after this week, Bai is less than 2,000 yuan ($282) behind France's Cyril Bouniol for fifth place on the order of merit.

"I'm hoping to have another good week. Zhuzhou is a very good course in great condition, and I think I have a good plan for it," said Bai.

"Hopefully I can get off to a good start. From now on, every tournament is very important so I need to have a couple more good ones to get into the top five. It would be nice if this week was one of them."

Meanwhile, Bai plans to wait until after the tournament to sample some of Hunan's famous spicy food.

"I'm from Guangdong and we don't eat much spicy food there. Out here, the food is a little bit too spicy for me, so I probably will wait until after the tournament to try it," he said.

 

A runner-up finish last week in Haikou has boosted Bai Zhengkai's confidence for the PGA Tour Series-China Zhuzhou Classic this week. Provided to China Daily

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2019-09-19 08:15:46
<![CDATA[Digest]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510986.htm Basketball

CBA denies report of Li's resignation

The Chinese Basketball Association on Wednesday denied reports that Li Nan had resigned as head coach of Team China in the wake of the host's dismal World Cup campaign.

Sina.com reported earlier on Wednesday that Li had submitted his resignation but that it had not yet been approved by the General Administration of Sport of China.

Team China failed to advance from Group A at the World Cup after losses to Poland and Venezuela, eventually finishing 24th - making qualification for next year's Tokyo Olympics a virtual impossibility.

Sina.com's report set Chinese social media alight, with related topics viewed more than 65 million times on Weibo within an hour of being posted.

While some fans continued to vent their anger at Li, many argued his squad's World Cup flop merely highlighted the gap in quality between China and basketball's powerhouses.

Malaysia hails hoops exchange as 'diplomacy'

Malaysia will use its relationship with China to improve its basketball performance as sports diplomacy is set to enhance people-to-people ties between the two countries, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the launch of the Malaysia-China Basketball Exchange Program, Saifuddin hailed the exchange program as "sports diplomacy", through which Malaysian players and coaches can learn from their Chinese counterparts.

"China remains a leading powerhouse in Asian basketball, so I'm sure our players and coaches will gain a lot of experience in their training and in their interactions with the Chinese," the minister said.

The program will see Malaysia's women's team head to Tianjin this month to play four friendly matches against local teams.

Table Tennis

China's women rule Asian championships

China blanked Japan 3-0 to take the women's team title at the Asian championships in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday evening.

Liu Shiwen and Chen Meng dominated their Japanese rivals with identical 3-0 scores while Sun Yingsha outclassed her opponent 3-1.

In the opening match, Liu needed just 17 minutes to vanquish Miu Hirano 13-11, 11-4, 11-3. Chen then downed Kasumi Ishikawa 11-9, 12-10, 11-1 before Sun conceded the third game in her 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 romp over Hitomi Sato.

"We must do our best to keep our glory since our opponents in Asia are getting stronger, and they push us to be stronger," Cheng said.

Winter Sports

Shanghai showcase will feature world's best

The ISU Shanghai Trophy in short-track speed skating, figure skating and synchronized skating will be held at the city's Oriental Sports Center from Oct 3-5, the competition's organizing committee announced on Tuesday.

Top performers from China, Russia, Hungary and other countries and regions will take part, including Chinese figure skating pair Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who won this year's world championships, and Peng Cheng and Jin Yang, who placed fourth at the worlds.

China's Jin Boyang, who took gold at the 2018 Four Continents Championships, will also compete.

The entry list of nearly 60 short-track speed skaters includes 23-year-old Han Tianyu, who will lead the Chinese team, and Hungary's Liu brothers, winners at last year's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Badminton

Super Dan's Olympic bid suffers fresh blow

Chinese stalwart Lin Dan crashed out of the China Open on Tuesday, dropping his first-round match in straight sets to top seed Kento Momota of Japan in Changzhou, Jiangsu province.

Lin, who turns 36 next month, lost 14-21, 14-21 in 49 minutes.

"The result could have been different if I was better on the details," said Lin, aka Super Dan."I wasn't as patient as my opponent. I prepared well, but I didn't perform that well."

The lethargic Lin said his lack of energy might have been a factor, but "that reason is not acceptable".

Despite the loss, the two-time Olympic champion is still eyeing one of the maximum two tickets for the men's singles for Tokyo 2020.

"The rule is simple - whoever gets more points gets the ticket. I can only work harder to overcome the difficulties," Lin said.

Rugby Union

Wales banishes Howley over betting allegations

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has returned home from the World Cup in Japan for a potential breach of betting regulations.

The Welsh Rugby Union said on Tuesday that Howley had "returned to Wales to assist with an investigation in relation to a potential breach of World Rugby regulation 6, specifically betting on rugby union".

Betting on any rugby game is outlawed for players, coaches and match officials.

The 48-year-old former Wales captain has been part of Warren Gatland's coaching team since 2008.

Former Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, who was due to succeed Howley as attack specialist after the tournament, will join the squad later this week. Wales' opening World Cup game is against Georgia on Sept 23.

Baseball

Twins set record with five 30-homer sluggers

The Minnesota Twins have set another MLB home run record, becoming the first team in history to have five players go deep 30 or more times in one season.

On Tuesday night, Miguel Sano gave the Twins the all-time mark with his 30th homer, a three-run shot off Chicago White Sox left-hander Ross Detwiler.

Nelson Cruz (37), Max Kepler (36), Eddie Rosario (31) and Mitch Garver (30) hit the plateau ahead of Sano.

The Twins earlier broke the single-season record of 267 homers, set last year by the New York Yankees. Sano's 482-foot blast in the third inning gave Minnesota 289 on the season.

Xinhua - Agencies

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2019-09-19 08:15:46
<![CDATA[MAKING MASCOTS COME TO LIFE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510985.htm A cute panda "from the future" and a traditional red lantern signifying China's past were unveiled as the respective mascots for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on Tuesday, ratcheting up anticipation for the 2022 Winter Games.

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A behind-the-scenes look at how a panda and a red lantern won the hearts of 2022 Games organizers

A cute panda "from the future" and a traditional red lantern signifying China's past were unveiled as the respective mascots for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on Tuesday, ratcheting up anticipation for the 2022 Winter Games.

Just over a year since submissions were first invited for the project, panda Bing Dwen Dwen and red lantern Shuey Rhon Rhon were revealed as the winners at Beijing's Shougang Ice Hockey Arena.

The 2022 organizing committee is confident the pair will resonate with the world.

"Today is an important step on Beijing's historic journey as the first city in Olympic history to host both summer and winter editions of the Games," said International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach.

"The mascot will be a wonderful ambassador for both China and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games."

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons said the mascot "is a message of the future to the future generation of Chinese people who will be inspired by the amazing faith of the Paralympic athletes".

Added Gao Tian, vice-director of the culture and ceremonies department of the organizing committee: "The two mascots are a combination of inheritance and innovation, culture and technology, as well as the Olympic Games and daily life."

Back to the future

Bing Dwen Dwen is described as a panda wearing an icy shell that is stylized as a sports helmet. The outfit is similar to a spacesuit, so the panda can be imagined as a winter sports athlete from the future. The ice shell also allows for the addition of new elements.

Many details of the design reference signature elements of the 2022 Games.

A series of colored floating lines around its head resemble tracks on an ice rink, similar to Games venue the National Speed Skating Oval, aka the "Ice Ribbon". The rings are also a nod to the implementation of ultra-fast 5G technology and are meant to empower the panda.

Bing means "ice" in Chinese, which is a symbol of purity and toughness, in line with the spirit of the Olympics. Dwen suggests health and ingenuity, with the repetition of the word giving it a more informal, friendly feel. Altogether, Bing Dwen Dwen is a representation of physical strength, mental toughness and the spirit of the Olympics.

Paralympic mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon is equally intricate in its meaning. It resembles an iconic Chinese red lantern commonly seen on doors and streets during Chinese New Year, which in 2022 falls three days before the Olympic Games opening ceremony. Red lanterns symbolize happiness, harvest and affluence, while the crown-like ruyi is a symbol of sovereignty in Chinese culture.

Shuey Rhon Rhon's head is adorned with paper cuttings of pigeons, a common motif in Chinese culture. Their arrangement forms the shape of the Temple of Heaven, one of Beijing's most famous landmarks. The blush on the mascot's cheeks adds a festive feel, with the color red associated with good luck.

Billed as the first-ever luminous Olympic mascot, Shuey Rhon Rhon is intended to convey a message of lighting up people's dreams and symbolizes friendship, courage and persistence. It is also a representation of the unbending will and fighting spirit of the Paralympic athletes.

Shuey means "snow" in Chinese, while Rhon Rhon are two different Chinese characters with the same pronunciation, meaning inclusiveness and integration respectively. The name symbolizes harmony and exchanges between different cultures, and building a community with a shared future.

"The mascots draw inspiration from China's rich culture, at the same time reflecting the Chinese philosophy of communicating with the world and reaching out to the future," explained review panel member Zhang Yiwu, a professor at the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of Peking University.

Tough decision

The 2022 organizing committee launched a global appeal for mascot design proposals on Aug 8 last year, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

Elementary and high school students across China were encouraged to create their own mascots for the Winter Games. Nearly 15 million students from 45,000 schools were involved, with their designs used as barometers of what appeals to kids.

"When we visited schools in northern China, we could tell they were familiar with winter sports and had a great passion for them. When we visited southern cities, students came with curiosity and listened attentively. The contrast left a deep impression on me, but all of them were happily involved in the designs," recalled Piao Xuedong, the organizing committee's marketing director.

When the two-month submission period closed on Oct 31, a total of 5,816 designs were spread over 100 desks in a room inside the Beijing 2022 headquarters at Shougang Industrial Park.

Submissions were received from all over the world - 35 countries and regions in total - while the designers ranged in age from 3 to 75. Among the more commonly used ideas were indigenous deers, pandas and tigers, and cultural symbols such as dragon dancing and the Great Wall.

According to the organizing committee, the number of design proposals was nearly three times that of the 2008 Games.

"There was a lot of diversity, with everyone from little children to professionals submitting proposals. It's interesting to see the different directions people have taken," said panel member Alexis Georgacopoulos, director of the University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the IOC is based.

The 18-person review panel was comprised of experts from fields including graphic design, animation, children's literature and marketing, and after two days of evaluation whittled the submissions down to 100 possibles on Jan 7. The next day, the panel compiled a shortlist of 10 designs.

The panel was guided by an online survey that sought to discover the public's preference for features such as color and personality of the mascots.

"A great number of the designs were quite creative, and that really amazed me," said panel member Lin Cunzhen, who designed the emblems for Beijing 2022.

Sleepless nights

Three of the final 10 were the work of a team from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in balmy southern China.

"I told my students that the fact they have never seen real snow actually frees their creativity and imagination," said team leader Cao Xue.

One of their ideas was the original design of Bing Dwen Dwen, which started life as a bingtanghulu - a traditional Beijing street snack of syrup-coated hawthorn on a stick. The hardened syrup later became Bing Dwen Dwen's ice shell.

After making the shortlist, Cao established an elite team to conduct modifications, a process that chief designer Liu Pingyun described as "purgatory".

Liu was pursuing a doctorate degree in Macao when he heard the exciting news from Cao. For nearly a month, he traveled daily between Macao and Guangzhou, regularly working into the early hours.

Every week, Liu and members of the team traveled to Beijing to submit their refined designs in person to ensure confidentiality and receive advice for further adjustments.

As suggested, the ice shell was retained from the original design, but the inside changed from a bingtanghulu to a dumpling, and later to a tiger, a deer and a rabbit.

Liu counted 21 major refinements in all, each made following hundreds of drafts that featured countless changes to gestures, decorations and facial expressions.

In April, it was finally decided that the mascot would be a panda.

"As long as we have an innovative design, the mascot is certain to have its own charm, because the panda is internationally known as a symbol of China," said Jiang Xiaoyu, leader of the review panel.

"We don't need to explain anything to have it understood across different cultures."

However, the key question was, as Lin Cunzhen put it: "How can we tell it's the mascot for the Winter Olympics and not for other events?"

After another month of sleepless nights, the team came up with the idea of adding the Ice Ribbon's ringed tracks.

"It was a huge breakthrough. The mascot took on a brand new look," Liu recalled.

Bright sparks

At the same time, another team from Jilin College of the Arts was racking their brains over a design that was eventually chosen as the mascot for the Paralympic Games.

For Jiang Yufan, the student who drew the original sketch, red lanterns along the streets during Spring Festival were associated with happy memories of her hometown in the Lesser Khingan Mountains in northwest China's Heilongjiang province.

"I was totally at a loss for words when my professor told me my design was shortlisted. I thought she was joking," Jiang recalled.

The expert panel advised the Jilin team to retain the concept of the red lantern but to come up with a different design.

With the firm support of the college, president Guo Chunfang assembled an elite team of professors and students to revise the design throughout the winter vacation and Spring Festival.

Their trickiest task was how to give the lantern its own personality.

To solve the puzzle, chief designer Wu Yibo traveled between Changchun and Beijing over 30 times to submit revisions and consult with the panel.

The team even hung a lantern in their workshop to get the creative juices flowing, and threw snowballs against the wall to get a better idea of how the blush on Shuey Rhon Rhon's cheek should look.

After much debate and discussion, the elements of pigeons, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall were added to represent the host city. They also added the ruyi on the lantern's head - traditionally a staff to symbolize royalty but which is also the shape of the ski jump venue at the Games.

Professor Jiao Qiang epitomized the hard work and sacrifice of the Jilin team, with his daughter constantly by his side at the workshop because no one else could look after her.

"I saw a set of memes designed by the Jilin team showing Shuey Rhon Rhon hugging a snowman and I was very impressed. Later I came to know that it was drawn by Jiao Qiang, and that he was thinking of his daughter when he came up with the design," Lin Cunzhen said.

After consulting representatives from all walks of life, the IOC and IPC, the 2022 organizing committee announced the winners on Aug 21.

"At that moment, all the scenes over the past seven months flashed through my mind like a movie," said Bing Dwen Dwen team leader Cao, who burst into tears upon hearing the news.

"We thought we were called here to receive advice, as we had been so many times before. When the result was announced, we were all surprised and were very emotional. Our dream suddenly came true at that moment."

 

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2019-09-19 08:15:46
<![CDATA[Deliveries provide home comfort in a place far from home]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510984.htm How do you ensure the last remnants in a toothpaste tube do not go waste? Squeeze the tube with all your might or twist it to bring the paste out. That is the only way I know, or rather, knew, and that is what I had learned from my elders as a child.

But I made a startling discovery recently. I found a device that doesn't require you to strain your sinews to squeeze out the toothpaste.

Resembling a miniature cane crusher, the contraption comes with two rectangular metal frames, with a knob on the side. The tube - toothpaste or shaving cream - sandwiched between these frames, and the knob turned in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction, will squeeze out the toothpaste. Without a bead of sweat.

I found it by accident on Taobao when looking for a kitchen appliance. On the cellphone screen, it looked more like a pair of handcuffs. I clicked on the image, which led me to a video.

Only when I played it did I realize its utility. I'm not sure if I would buy the device, but I loved the idea.

After this experience, watching Taobao videos has become a sort of pastime with me. I must say I stumbled upon quite a few innovative gadgets, the notable ones being the egg breaker, nutcracker and a device for removing seeds from fruit. I couldn't resist buying the nutcracker, though. Cracking walnuts was never this easy.

Videos apart, the site has been my lifeline. With the exception of fruit, vegetables and milk, which I buy from the nearest supermarket, I order most of the foodstuff, including pickles and ghee, here.

When I first arrived in Beijing from India, I had no clue I wouldn't get many of the ingredients needed for Indian cooking in the local stores.

Through interactions with friends and colleagues, and those on chat groups, I was relieved to learn that I could procure them from Taobao and other online stores exclusively dealing in Indian foodstuffs.

I was initially apprehensive about using Taobao because it was in Mandarin. Then I learned I could use English search words to look for things.

I had another hurdle to cross: the registration. While my colleagues helped me in typing out the delivery address in Mandarin, I managed to fill in the other details, including name, and the telephone and identification numbers.

I took help from a colleague again to make my first online purchase: toor dal, an essential ingredient in most Indian kitchens. I was glad I could now start cooking.

As days went by, I began to order foodstuffs on a regular basis, but one challenge still remained. Each time I ordered something and it was ready for delivery, the courier boys would call to inform me about it.

Since I didn't understand the language, I didn't know how to answer them. I came up with an alternative. I got the delivery address changed.

Now, I don't have to step out to collect the parcels; they are delivered to my doorstep. The calls have almost stopped now.

Meanwhile, shopping on the site has been smooth, though I had a problem after one order was delivered. A shoe rack that I ordered came in a sealed box containing dozens of wooden pieces, a complex jigsaw puzzle I could not solve despite the manual. I called a number mentioned in the manual for assistance, but drew no response.

The solution: I found a computer expert who helped me put together all the pieces, and I ended up paying almost four times the price of the rack itself.

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2019-09-19 08:15:24
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510983.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Sept 19, 1988, Zhuang Yong became the first Chinese swimmer to win an Olympic medal, with silver in the 100-meter freestyle at the 24th Olympic Games in Seoul, as seen in this item from China Daily.

In 1992, she went one better with gold in the 100-meter freestyle, beating world record holder Jenny Thompson of the United States, at the 25th Olympic Games in Barcelona. It was China's first gold medal in swimming.

Fu Mingxia, 13, won the women's 10m platform event, giving the country its second gold medal at the same Olympics.

China continues to record remarkable achievements in the international aquatic arena.

At the swimming events of the 2012 London Olympic Games, Sun Yang struck gold in the men's 400m and 1,500m freestyle, and compatriot Ye Shiwen clinched two golds in the women's 200m and 400m individual medley.

Sun won the gold medal in the men's 200m freestyle at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Ning Zetao became Asia's first world champion in the men's 100m freestyle at the 2015 world championships in Kazan, Russia. He officially announced his retirement on his 26th birthday this year.

At the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in July, China topped the medal table with 16 golds, 11 silvers and 3 bronzes, maintaining its dominance throughout the 17-day swimming tournament.

One month later, at the second leg of the FINA Swimming World Cup in Jinan, Shandong province, China collected seven gold medals. The tournament includes seven legs, qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics.

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2019-09-19 08:15:24
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510982.htm Universal Studios Beijing is set to open in 2021

Set to open its doors in 2021, the long-awaited Universal Studios Beijing will become the fifth Universal Studios-branded theme park in the world. It is actually the third in Asia, after Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore. It will be supplemented with two hotels and a shopping center, as well as seven themed zones surrounding a lake. As per standard Universal Studios themed park requirements, most of the Beijing park will be themed zones based on a movie, book, or a television series which are Universal-owned assets.

Study hints 'biological age' can be reversed

A small trial study carried out in California, United States, has suggested that it might be possible to reverse the body's epigenetic clock - a measurement of our biological age. A set of drugs could be used to have the Benjamin Button-style effect on patients. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a 2008 Hollywood fantasy romantic drama that shows the main character becoming younger after a certain age. The test results even surprised the scientists working on the experiment, who emphasized caution. The study was carried out on a very small set of subjects with no control group. However, the findings are far from being conclusive proof that we can reverse our biological age.

Check more posts online.

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2019-09-19 08:15:24
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510981.htm Video: British man has passion for education

Johan Knapp is a British man with a passion for his job. He currently works as a counselor at an education and technology company in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. He aims to use his technical background and business experience to help the people of the city create incredible things. Knapp is also fond of Chinese culture with a particular interest in poetry.

Science: Researchers find mass-packed star

Astronomers at West Virginia University in the United States have discovered the biggest neutron star to date. It packs 2.17 times the mass of the sun into a sphere only 20 to 30 kilometers wide. This measurement approaches the limits of how massive and compact a single object can become without crushing itself into a black hole, according to the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy. The neutron star is a rapidly spinning, dense celestial object that consists primarily of closely packed neutrons and results from the collapse of a much larger stellar body. A single sugar-cube worth of neutron-star material would weigh 100 million metric tons on Earth. Researchers from West Virginia University uncovered the star, approximately 4,600 light-years from Earth, through their Green Bank Telescope in the US.

Society: V signs can reveal fingerprints

Flicking a V, a sign of victory, in photos, could give away personal data via fingerprints, according to internet security experts. When fingertips in photos face the camera and photos are taken within 1.5 meters of them, information can be disclosed, Zhang Wei, a deputy with the Shanghai Information Security Association, said during the 2019 China Cybersecurity Week. Fingerprint information can be extracted from photos and made into fingerprint patterns. Criminals can use these patterns to access recognition technology, such as door locks or payment systems, experts warned.

Travel: New guidelines for South Pole tourism

All Chinese travel agencies must submit applications before organizing trips to the South Pole scientific research station, according to a guideline issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The ministry started receiving its first paper applications on Sunday. These papers must include an application to visit the country's first Antarctic research station Great Wall, a business certificate, a written safety guarantee and an environmental commitment, the ministry said. The regulation seeks to better protect the polar environment and normalize research activities. China is now the second-largest source of tourists to Antarctica after the United States.

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2019-09-19 08:15:24
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510980.htm Battle Of Shanghai

When: Sept 30, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

The acrobatic play, The Battle of Shanghai, is a collaboration between the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe and the Shanghai Circus School to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The play portrays how soldiers sacrificed their lives to protect and liberate the city in 1949. It features diverse elements of acrobatics, magic, dance and traditional Chinese theater to tell a touching story.

The show has around 80 performers. Multimedia methods, an impelling score and innovative choreography combine to depict spectacular scenes on stage.

Don't Call Me Mozart - Music Prodigy Alma Deutscher and Her Works

When: Oct 12, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

Alma Deutscher has not yet become a household name, but it seems only a matter of time.

An accomplished pianist and violinist in the United Kingdom, she is also a composer, having written concertos for piano and violin, as well as an opera. Deutscher, who has been called by some "a new Mozart", is 14 years old.

At the age of 7, she completed a short opera The Sweeper of Dreams. At 9, she wrote a concerto for violin and orchestra. At 10, she wrote her first full-length opera, Cinderella, which had its European premiere in Vienna in 2016 under the patronage of conductor Zubin Mehta. At 12, Deutscher premiered her first piano concerto.

The Gin Game

When: Oct 17-20, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The Gin Game was the first play by playwright D.L. Coburn and recognized as his most prestigious work. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1978 and later was staged in many languages and performed all over the world.

In the play, while enjoying their games of gin, two elder residents engage in lengthy conversations about their families and their lives in the outside world.

Gradually, each conversation becomes a battle, much like the ongoing gin games, as each player tries to expose the other's weaknesses.

Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute)

When: Oct 21, 23 and 24, 7:30 pm

Where: Shangyin Opera House, Shanghai

This was the last opera composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The libretto is based on Martin Christoph Wieland's fairytale Lulu's Magic Flute. In 1780, Emanuel Schikaneder adapted the story and wrote the libretto for Die Zauberflote. The opera premiered in Vienna in 1791.

In the opera, a prince from a far-off land in search of a vaguely suicidal princess rubs shoulders with a giant serpent, a boastful but cowardly bird catcher, the Queen of the Night and a seemingly shadowy High Priest imposing strange rites of passage.

This production marks the first step of the collaboration between La Scala Theater, its singing academy and director Peter Stein. Stein has been committed to a new opera production each year and is responsible for the training and teaching of the young artists.

En Attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot)

When: Nov 1 and 2, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Widely regarded as the most significant play of the 20th century, En Attendant Godot is something every theater lover should see at least once.

What playwright Samuel Beckett built with this work was a monument - not of stones, but of words - to the mysteries of existence, and his towering achievement moves and unsettles audiences like no other play.

On a lonely road beneath a barren tree, two vagabonds wait for a man named Godot. As the evening unfolds, a desperate, humorous and unchanging universe is revealed, delighting and challenging all those who experience it.

The Phantom of the Opera

When: Nov 8 and 9, 7:30 pm

Where: Erqi Theater, Beijing

The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. Richard Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber wrote the musical's book together. Stilgoe also provided additional lyrics.

Based on the French novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux, its central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daae, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius living in the subterranean labyrinth beneath the Paris Opera House.

As Christine's star rises, and a handsome suitor from her past enters the picture, the Phantom grows mad, terrorizing the opera house owners and company with his murderous ways. Still, Christine finds herself drawn to the mystery man.

Blue Man Group in Beijing

When: Nov 27 to Dec 1, Dec 3-5 and Dec 8, 7:30 pm; Dec 1, 2:30 pm

Where: Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, Beijing

Blue Man Group is a performance art company formed in Brazil in 1987 that is known worldwide for its various stage productions.

The group typically incorporates many different categories of music and art, both popular and obscure, in its shows.

The crazy, colorful and cool performing arts phenomenon has performed for more than 35 million people.

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2019-09-19 08:15:24
<![CDATA[Landmark discoveries]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510979.htm In 1957, 20-year-old Li Boqian, a sophomore undergraduate at the school of history at Peking University, had to choose a specific direction for his studies. Hearing that archaeologists have the chance to travel a lot, Li thought it would be fun to pick that subject.

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Chinese archaeology still relies on the dedication of its practitioners despite the advances made over the past decades, Wang Kaihao reports.

In 1957, 20-year-old Li Boqian, a sophomore undergraduate at the school of history at Peking University, had to choose a specific direction for his studies. Hearing that archaeologists have the chance to travel a lot, Li thought it would be fun to pick that subject.

Yet, he did not expect to be glued to it for a lifetime.

"It became my destiny," the 82-year-old tells China Daily. "Much emphasis was placed on archaeology even in the early years of New China when the country was still enduring tough times. Because of that, everyone (in archaeological circles) was eager to make a contribution using the knowledge they had gained at university."

Halted by the civil war, Chinese archaeology resumed shortly after the founding of New China in 1949. In 1950, the country's first archaeological excavation took place in Huixian county, Central China's Henan province.

"It just took around 10 people - that was how everything got started,"Li recalls.

In 1952, Peking University became the first Chinese educational institution to nurture students of archaeology major.

Chen Xingcan, head of Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says majors in archaeology and cultural heritage conservation are now offered by over 100 Chinese universities. Currently, more than 60 institutions and 2,000 individuals in China hold licenses to lead archaeological excavations.

Over the years, the team continued to build their experience - and muscles - as they tried to keep pace with the country's rapid economic development.

"Large-scale urbanization and the construction of infrastructure from the 1990s presented new challenges in terms of the conservation of heritage sites," Chen says. "The demand for archaeological research increased, and brought us many new opportunities."

China's cultural relic protection laws stipulate that archaeological investigation must be undertaken before construction can begin on any new major infrastructure project.

During the early 1980s, about 100 archaeological surveys were undertaken every year, and this number has risen to nearly 1,000 now, according to Wang Wei, director of the Society of Chinese Archaeology.

Legend to history

In 1928, the discovery of the Yinxu Ruins, the remains of a capital city that existed during the latter part of the Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC) in Henan, lifted a shroud that hung over Chinese archaeology and also helped the Shang Dynasty to emerge from legend into actual history due to the abundant findings of oracle bones - China's earliest known form of written characters.

"Unlike many other ancient civilizations, China had a particular tradition of keeping detailed records of history throughout ancient times," Li says.

Records of the Grand Historian, or Shiji, compiled by Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) historian Sima Qian, remains a monumental reference work for archaeological studies.

According to the book, the Xia Dynasty (c. 21st century-16th century BC), the first central kingdom with a vast land in China, once set its capital in an area around today's Luoyang in Henan. Following this clue, archaeologists located the Erlitou relic site in Luoyang in 1959. As the biggest capital city ruins of its time in East Asia, it is widely considered in Chinese academia as the location of the Xia capital, according to Wang.

"However, old theories also once led people to form stereotypical views that the origins of Chinese civilization must lie in the Central China Plain," Li says.

Nevertheless, a boom in the number of discoveries indicating early-stage civilizations over the following decades have gradually changed archaeologists' minds. Ranging from the western bank of Liaohe River in Northeast China, throughout Central China to the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, these findings appeared like stars on a clear night all across the country.

Many brilliant discoveries unknown to history were revealed by the shovels of the archaeologists there.

For example, the 5,300-year-old archaeological ruins of Liangzhu city in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, famed for its gradual discovery of outstanding ceremonial jade pieces, the palatial city of a regional state, and a complex dam system - thought to be the world's earliest - became China's latest entries on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in July, signifying global recognition for the 5,000-year Chinese civilization, according to Liu Bin, director of the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.

"We began to realize that Chinese civilization formed in unison, yet with diversity," Wang from the Society of Chinese Archaeology says."About 5,000 years ago, hierarchical societies and metropolises began to mushroom all over today's China. Central China rose in prominence as a hub for civilization about 4,500 years ago - absorbing different cultural elements, mixing them together and later influencing a much wider region."

Power of new technology

Archaeology is not only about social science. Radiocarbon dating, a technology used to measure the age of artifacts unearthed at archaeological sites - which, according to Li, has an accuracy deviation of no more than 5 percent - began to be widely used in China in the 1990s.

However, methods in natural science have since gone far beyond.

"Research discoveries pertaining to plants, animals, the natural environment, climate change and many other fields in the natural sciences, are widely employed by archaeologists," Song Xinchao, deputy director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, says. "That means when you farm the same area of a field, your yield can greatly improve, and details can be scrutinized in a hi-tech lab, which has better conditions for conservation."

Chen explains that orthodox historical records from ancient China mostly cover dynastic politics, so the information gleaned by leveraging the natural sciences can help people today to more comprehensively understand society in the past.

"We used to focus on unearthed objects," he says."But now we look at the bigger picture to evaluate human settlements."

In Liangzhu, for instance, Liu's team is researching unearthed plant seeds and animal bones in a lab in a bid to uncover the dietary habits of people in the area 5,000 years ago. He also wants to find out how such a brilliant civilization disappeared 4,300 years ago. Research focusing on soil and hydrological environment may unveil evidence of a prehistoric flood.

Developments and techniques being used in land-based research on human settlements is being employed in other archaeological arenas in China, sometimes in a way that has not been seen elsewhere in the world. In 2007, a special water tank was used to salvage Nanhai One - a Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) shipwreck off the coast of Guangdong province - in order to move it to a museum laboratory for excavation from the mud and sand.

"Nowadays, archaeology students at Peking University have so much more to learn than we did," Li says, smiling. "However, no matter how many hi-tech methods are used in labs, fieldwork remains the foundation. An archaeologist still has to start by learning how to use a spade."

A global perspective

Modern archaeology was introduced in China in the 1920s by Johan Gunnar Andersson, a Swedish geologist and archaeologist. He discovered Yangshao Neolithic Culture in Henan in 1921.

Some of the earliest Chinese archaeologists were trained overseas. For example, Xia Nai, the founder of archaeology in New China, got his PhD in Egyptology from the University of London.

"They always had a dream to lead archaeological teams to better see the world," Chen recalls.

Chen says following China's reform and opening-up in the 1980s, cross-border academic exchanges in the field of archaeology has been frequent, and the past decade has witnessed many Chinese archaeologists realizing their predecessors' dream conducting research on foreign land.

Chinese archaeologists are currently overseeing excavations in more than 30 countries around the world.

"Some programs will help our own research back here in China, as we share the trade routes, like the Silk Road," Chen says. "From ancient Egypt and Maya civilization, which seem less connected to us, we can still learn a great deal through comparative studies about early-stage civilizations."

He continues: "If we want to understand the unique features of Chinese civilization, we have to know what the characteristics of others are."

Chen says it was almost a blank in China to explore the concept of prehistoric communication between China, West Asia and Europe. But greater inclusiveness has been nurtured in recent years, as mutual learning about different civilizations is known to be essential for modern world's understanding of the past, he says.

"There is the booming scenario of ancient people and societies from across the Eurasian landmass learning from each other before written recordings existed," Chen says."Going abroad to conduct research enables us to learn more about it."

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2019-09-19 08:14:56
<![CDATA[Warrior's work]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510978.htm Meng Xiaoqiang, the publisher of the Chinese magazine Movie View, says he was impressed by leading actress Zhang Ziyi's "perfectionism" when he was a film reporter 20 years ago.

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An event highlights Zhang Ziyi's films over the past 20 years, Wang Ru reports.

Meng Xiaoqiang, the publisher of the Chinese magazine Movie View, says he was impressed by leading actress Zhang Ziyi's "perfectionism" when he was a film reporter 20 years ago.

"One day after I interviewed her at her home, she called to request another interview since she thought she had not answered well enough the first time. Of all the stars I have interviewed, she is the only one who has made such a request," Meng said at the opening ceremony of a screening event of Zhang's films held in Beijing on Sept 10.

Zhang also attended the ceremony to talk about her work and the development of Chinese cinema.

Organized by the China Film Archive and Movie View, the event, Zhang Ziyi and Her Film Career: A 20-Year Retrospective, ran until Sept 14.

Zhang started her career in 1999 by playing the role of Zhaodi in The Road Home, and has taken part in over 30 films, mostly as the female lead, since then.

Hou Yong, the main cinematographer of The Road Home, said at the same ceremony his first impression of Zhang was that she was a regular young woman, with a bit of a naughty streak.

"Zhang and other actors and actresses were taken by the assistant director of the movie to the countryside two months before filming to observe daily rural life, and practice carrying water so that they could behave like the villagers in the film," Hou added.

Zhang said at the time she was ignorant about acting. She was asked to cry during one scene, but she found she couldn't do it. As a result, director Zhang Yimou frightened her by saying they would leave her alone in the mountains at night to confront the wolves there if she still could not do it, and she finally managed to cry for the scene.

The film earned Zhang Ziyi, then a 20-year-old undergraduate, the best actress award at the 23rd Hundred Flowers Film Festival, one of China's top cinema events, in 2000.

She then won this award again in 2014 for her performance in the film The Grandmaster (2013). Zhang Ziyi has won many top honors in Chinese cinema over the years at events including the Huabiao Film Awards, the Golden Rooster Awards, the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards.

Huang Haikun, chief editor of Movie View, said at the event's opening that director Ang Lee told a story about Zhang Ziyi in his biography while she shot his Oscar-winning film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When hoisted up for fight sequences in the 2000 film, Zhang Ziyi didn't flinch in the face of danger. She didn't appear to protect her head or face during the shoot.

Zhang Ziyi explained that she was inexperienced at the time and lacked awareness about the need to protect herself while shooting tough fight sequences.

"All I was concerned about was finishing my work every day as well as I could, investing all my emotions and energy into shaping the character (Jen Yu)," she said.

"I do not behave like that now since I need to be responsible for my family, but it seems that kind of effort (hard work) has pushed me to where I am today."

When asked why she is so tough at work, Zhang Ziyi said it could be related to her experience of learning how to dance during childhood.

"I entered a dance school at the age of 11 but I was not a talented dancer. I knew I wouldn't ever be a good student but I was afraid of being last. So I kept making the effort, and the habit of working hard was formed during the six years I stayed there," she added.

Zhang Ziyi said the turning point in her career came in 2004 while filming the movie 2046, during which she started to find out that she could inject emotions into her character and express herself through her acting much more. "Since then, I have nurtured both self-confidence and a greater interest in acting."

Huang said the years between 1999 and 2019 also witnessed the fastest development of Chinese cinema.

Zhang Ziyi agrees, adding that she has been "lucky to be able to develop in her career alongside the growth of Chinese films".

Speaking about the changes in the Chinese film industry over the past 20 years, she said: "Twenty years ago, film technology was undeveloped, and we used measuring tapes to decide where we should stand when acting. Now technology has advanced and films are digital. But making films used to be a professional's job, now anyone can make a film."

The audience watched The Road Home after the opening ceremony, and six other major films by Zhang Ziyi were shown during the event.

 

From left: Huang Haikun, chief editor of Movie View, actress Zhang Ziyi, cinematographer Hou Yong and Zuo Heng, a researcher at the China Film Art Research Center, talk about Zhang's films at the opening ceremony of a retrospective event on Sept 10. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-09-19 08:14:56
<![CDATA[Legendary performer Yanni to play at Beijing Pop Festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510977.htm In 1997, Greek composer and performer, Yanni, was the first Western artist to perform at the historic Forbidden City in Beijing, which made him one of the most popular Western musicians among Chinese fans. Between 1997 and 2015, the Grammy-nominated musician launched five tours to China that have included visits to more cities, including Shanghai, Chengdu in Sichuan province and Guangzhou in Guangdong province. On Nov 9 and 10, Yanni will return to China with two performances at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing that will feature one of his most famous songs, Nightingale, which he wrote for China after that first concert in 1997.

Yanni's performances will be part of the upcoming annual Beijing International Pop Music Festival, which will be held in the capital from October to November.

Featuring live concerts, master classes and forums, the festival will gather together international acts including German piano duo Olha Chipak and Oleksiy Kushnir, Inner Mongolian rock band Hanggai, and Beijing-based folk band Xiaojuan and Residents From the Valley.

Jiang Tao, general manager of Chia Tai Music Group, the organizer of the festival, notes that the event was first launched in 2015 with six indoor concerts held in the capital.

From 2015 to 2018, the festival has hosted 35 groups from across the globe and has, so far, attracted a total audience of over 8 million both on the internet and at the festival's live venues.

"This year, we present the festival with the theme 'crossover'. We've confirmed four acts so far, but more will follow and will cover a diverse range of music genres," Jiang says in Beijing.

The eponymous lead vocalist of the band Xiaojuan and Residents From the Valley, is known for her soothing voice and original folk sounds. Founded 10 years ago by Xiaojuan and her husband, guitarist Li Qiang, the band performs in Beijing every spring on the day of Guyu, which literally translates as "grain rain", one of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms.

"This year, we perform during autumn and the theme of our show will be to use music to portray a man's entire life, from his childhood to his twilight years," says Xiaojuan, adding that, as well as the four members of the band, a contemporary dancer and an electronic musician will join the group for the performance.

In 2018, about 24,000 indoor concerts were held around the country, an increase of more than 8.5 percent compared to the previous year, showcasing the booming market for live music performances, says Song Guanlin, deputy director of the China Association of Performing Arts.

Song adds that Chinese audiences have embraced a variety of music styles ever since the country started to produce its own original pop material during the early 1980s.

"We will also bring international musicians to campuses to host master classes and forums, providing the next generation with the latest information about, and developments in, the world of pop music," Song says.

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2019-09-19 08:14:56
<![CDATA[Supercomputing star]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510976.htm When it comes to supercomputing - a field dominated by men - it's unusual to see a woman in high places. But here she is.

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Women like Lu Yutong are a rare exception in this field, Li Wenfang reports in Guangzhou.

When it comes to supercomputing - a field dominated by men - it's unusual to see a woman in high places. But here she is.

Lu Yutong served as the first program chair for the world's oldest conference dealing with high-performance computing, the ISC, which was held in Frankfurt, Germany, in June.

Lu is unusual in China, too. She is director of the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and one of 10 fellows of the conference, a group of people deemed to have made important contributions to the advancement of high-performance computing.

Although she has been participating in the event for 10 years and was the first Chinese to deliver a keynote speech at the event in 2015, she sees herself as representing something bigger - the global position of China and the influence of the country's technological achievements.

"If not me, someone else would do it sooner or later," she says, adding that the relatively small club of people devoted to high-performance computing worldwide wants more participation - from research to volunteer work.

Gender equation

Gender parity remains elusive among researchers, according to a UNESCO science report in 2015. Globally, women's participation in research is something of a leaky pipe, it says.

Women are actively pursuing bachelor's and master's degrees and even outnumber men at those levels, with 53 percent of graduates, the report says. But their numbers drop off abruptly at the PhD level. Suddenly, male graduates (57 percent) overtake women. The discrepancy widens at the researcher level, the report says, with men representing 72 percent of the pool globally.

"The sheer drop in female researchers to less than 30 percent globally indicates that serious barriers remain to the full participation of women in science and engineering," the report says."At the transition from master's to PhD level then, as they climb the rungs of the career ladder, a number of women are lost to science. Even women who embark on a career in science or engineering often leave their jobs for family reasons or change career paths more often than men."

Nevertheless, Lu says, in the field of supercomputing, where men greatly outnumber women, they are not competitors but colleagues, because the project is massive and calls for concerted cooperation in a team of only a few hundred people.

"We work for the same cause," Lu says. "I don't think women have obstacles in scientific research. They are by no means inferior in intelligence or capability to men. They should not set limits on themselves and should instead make their presence felt in their professions, capitalizing on their strong logic and communication skills."

Lu's career in supercomputing started before university graduation, when one of her teachers was involved in the development of the Yinhe-2. Back then, all the programs used character-based interfaces and any typographical error would mean starting the work all over again.

Lu needed to concentrate and take every step patiently.

"The older generation of workers for the Yinhe project developed the processor and all the hardware and software independently and with meticulous care," she says. "Their spirit has been passed on all the way to Tianhe-2."

Power game

China continues to be at the cutting edge of supercomputing as measured by number of systems, according to a semiannual ranking of the Top 500 published at the 2019 supercomputing conference. With 219 systems, it had more than the 116 in the United States and the 29 in Japan.

US-built supercomputers, dubbed Summit and Sierra, retained the first two positions for overall computing power.

China's Sunway Taihu Light supercomputer held the third position and China's Tianhe-2A at Lu's center was fourth on the list. Competition is fierce, and different systems worldwide seem to take turns leading the pack, Lu says. Tianhe-2 scored No 1 for six consecutive times after being installed in Guangzhou in 2013.

What differentiates Tianhe-2 from other systems is its ability to foster applications, she says.

Direct users surged from fewer than 700 to 3,600 last year, including more than 500 corporate users. Nearly half of the uses are located in Guangdong province, the largest provincial-level economy in China.

"Local governments hope we will support their industrial transformations and upgrades. Supercomputing has a rather high threshold for enterprises to use. So we have developed different application platforms for various fields to allow researchers to use it through tools they are familiar with," Lu says.

The center has developed six applications in the fields of smart cities and artificial intelligence; astronomy and geophysics; atmospheric and marine environments; biopharmaceuticals and health; strategic engineering and advanced manufacturing; and new energy and new materials.

"Supercomputing means creativity. And it plays a very important role in building an international innovation center in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area," Lu says.

Supercomputing capacity, which allows talented people to move higher from their already high standing, helps attract them to the region, she says.

Following the dream

Lu's center, which is operated and managed by the Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University, plans to double or triple the Tianhe-2's capacity by next year and to upgrade the entire system in the five-year period after that.

Lu, who holds a doctorate from the National University of Defense Technology, is deputy chief designer for the Yinhe (Galaxy) supercomputers, as well as the Tianhe-1 and Tianhe-2.

"Everybody has a dream of becoming a scientist in childhood," says Lu, smiling. And she learned about the successful development of Yinhe-1, the country's first supercomputer, in 1983, when she was in high school. So, she applied to the university and started down the high-tech road.

She transferred to the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou in 2016 and improved its structure and management system. She is currently director of the China Computer Federation's committee for women's computing.

As for the low share of women in the science-and-technology workforce, she says: "I was barely aware of this issue before I joined the committee for women's computing. But I have been lucky. I didn't feel gender inequality in my teams, either in ability or effectiveness. Women took long night shifts, without resorting to cigarettes."

Female scientists excel in some particular ways, she says. While keeping in mind the full technological spectrum, they are better with details. And they communicate well, Lu says, adding that teamwork and coordination are crucial in large projects like supercomputing.

But women are even less present in the supercomputing field than in some other science sectors, such as biotech, she says, noting that there were more women at the international supercomputer conference this year than last.

"I tell myself and my students, including women, don't set limits on yourself. There is no substantial difference in the working ability between men and women," Lu says.

"Women are not doing some work as much as men for various reasons, but that doesn't mean they are not able to do it. As society and the economy develop, women are increasingly being freed from family chores. And they will accomplish more as they reach their full potential."

A number of the research achievements made with the aid of Tianhe-2 were published in international science journals, including Nature, Cell and Science.

And corporate clients of Tianhe-2 include automobile makers, shipbuilders, wind-power generators and home-appliance producers.

Research success

Fast is the watchword: An industrial design or genetic analysis, for example, which may normally require three to six months, can be completed in an hour using the supercomputer.

The system also supports smartcity applications, including traffic management.

So far, seven subcenters have been established in Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, Huizhou and Foshan in Guangdong to facilitate innovation. And others are being considered for Dongguan and Zhaoqing.

Midea, a leading home-appliances maker in China, has been using the services of the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou since 2017. And with digital-simulation technology, calculation time can be reduced from two to three weeks to one or two days, says Chen Feifan, advanced research senior engineer of the group's small-domestic-appliance division.

"Midea has been speeding up its input in fundamental technology research," Chen says.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's Fok Ying-tung Research Institute has been aided by the supercomputer center in doing oceanic-simulation research involving the South China Sea, as well as for research in biomacromolecule simulation, nanotechnology and mechanical engineering, says Gao Min, division manager at the institute.

A great deal of tech research would be impossible without supercomputers, he says.

Through a multiservice transfer platform, the supercomputing system is connected through its subcenter at Gao's institute in Guangzhou's Nansha district to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, from which the system extends to some other universities in Hong Kong.

Universities also use the services of the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou. And many teachers are using it in a substantial way, Gao says. He hopes to extend the service to all eight universities in Hong Kong.

A supercomputer alliance covering Guangdong and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions was set up last year.

Contact the writer at liwenfang@chinadaily.com.cn

Xie Jiamin contributed to this story.

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2019-09-19 08:14:56
<![CDATA[COMAC says production of C919 to start later this year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510972.htm Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, the manufacturer of China's first home-built narrow-body passenger jet C919, said it will start manufacturing the first aircraft later this year and it aims to get airworthiness certification and deliver to China Eastern Airlines in two to three years.

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Move will help aviation industry get involved in global supply chain system

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, the manufacturer of China's first home-built narrow-body passenger jet C919, said it will start manufacturing the first aircraft later this year and it aims to get airworthiness certification and deliver to China Eastern Airlines in two to three years.

Now, four C919 test jets - the 101,102, 103 and 104 prototypes - are in intense flying tests, static tests and other ground tests at test bases including Yanliang district in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, Dongying in Shandong province, and Nanchang in Jiangxi province. Another two new test jets, the 105 and 106, will be put into tests within this year. So far, 815 orders have been placed for the C919 from home and abroad.

"The manufacturing of the C919 will help the Chinese aviation industry to be involved in the world's supply chain system of large aircraft, and China will be able to acquire valuable experience," said Wang Yanan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine.

"The C919 still needs to undergo several tests to showcase that it is a safe, fuel-efficient, and convenient aircraft. The Chinese aviation industry could transform from a manufacturing giant to an innovation power," he said.

Meanwhile, the CR929 long-range wide-body aircraft, which is co-developed by China and Russia, has finished conceptual designs, and now it is in the stage of selecting suppliers.

"Aero engine makers General Electric Aviation of the United States and Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc of the United Kingdom, among others, are in the bidding process, and we will announce the result at a later stage," Yang Yang, deputy general manager of marketing and sales at COMAC, said at the ongoing Aviation Expo China in Beijing on Wednesday.

The CR929 will mainly target markets in China, Russia and other Asia-Pacific countries. Its competing models include the Airbus'A330 and Boeing's B787.

Besides, the ARJ21, China's first home built regional passenger jetliner, has already been put into use with 15 aircraft by Chengdu Airlines and Genghis Khan Airlines. In August, three major State-owned airlines - Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines - each ordered 35 new ARJ21 aircraft, indicating the model will start all-around commercial use in the country.

"The market for the ARJ21 is better than we expected. We have an order of 596 aircraft, and about 200 of them have been put into production plan. Now, we have two production lines in Shanghai," Yang said.

"With a growing demand from customers, we will be able to expand the annual capacity to about 50 in total. We are also looking at the opportunities to export the aircraft to Southeast Asian countries and Africa," he said.

In late August, the ARJ21 aircraft undertook a three-day demonstration flight in Southwest China, to showcase its performance in plateau areas. COMAC said the plateau market would become an important growth segment for the aircraft, as the model is suitable to fly in highland areas.

Separately, COMAC released its forecast for China's aviation market in the next 20 years on Wednesday. It predicted Chinese airlines would need 10,344 airplanes by 2038. Boeing released its forecast on Tuesday and raised its forecast for China, saying that over the next 20 years, Chinese carriers will need 8,090 new airplanes.

 

A model of passenger jet C919 is displayed at the Aviation Expo China in Beijing. Chen Xiaogen / For China Daily

]]>
2019-09-19 08:12:54
<![CDATA[Airbus pledges to enhance cooperation in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510971.htm

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SE said it is committed to speeding up and deepening its long-term cooperation with Chinese aviation industry players, with an upcoming production ramp-up of the A320 aircraft at its final assembly line in Tianjin.

By the end of the year, Airbus will assemble six A320 aircraft a month in Tianjin, a 50 percent increase compared with its initial capacity. So far, the Tianjin facility, which has been in operation for more than a decade, has delivered more than 440 A320 aircraft, according to the company.

The Tianjin A320 final assembly line, the third-largest single-aisle assembly line for Airbus after Toulouse in France and Hamburg in Germany, is on track to becoming the company's manufacturing center in Asia. It has delivered 16 A320 aircraft to non-Chinese airlines, and is in talks with more foreign carriers for more orders.

"Cooperating with China Mobile, the Tianjin center started to use 5G networks in late August. With 5G networks, we can connect video cameras, guided vehicles and vibration sensors with 5G mobile phones. We hope to better understand the advantages of the technology, and then apply it to our global factories," said George Xu, CEO of Airbus China.

In addition, Airbus signed a cooperation agreement with Aviation Industry Corp of China Ltd to enhance its single-aisle aircraft (A319 and A320) fuselage equipping in Tianjin. The first delivery of a China-equipped single-aisle fuselage is scheduled in the second quarter of 2021. The agreement was signed during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to China in early September.

"The agreement signifies that industrial cooperation between Airbus and China has expanded from the assembly of structural parts to more complicated fuselage systems. In the future, the production rate of the fuselage equipping will be in line with the Tianjin center, and reach a production rate of six aircraft a month," Xu said.

Meanwhile, the completion and delivery center of A330 in Tianjin, the company's first wide-body completion and delivery center outside Europe, will soon shift its work to deliver A330neo and A350 in the next few years.

"More international suppliers have shown interest in expanding their business in China, and we are in talks with those suppliers. We would like to form a vertical integration supply chain in China, meaning we will purchase raw materials, do the parts assembly, then the aircraft assembly in China. We also hope to train and develop more local Chinese suppliers that are in line with global standards," said Francois Mery, chief operating officer of Airbus China.

Lin Zhijie, an aviation industry analyst, said: "Chinese aviation industry players are undertaking more important manufacturing work for global aircraft manufacturers, indicating their technologies and skills have been more recognized."

Airbus now takes about 50 percent of the market share in China, compared with 9 percent in 1996.The Tianjin manufacturing center has helped the company significantly raise its market share against archrival Boeing Co of the United States.

The total value of industrial cooperation between Airbus and Chinese aviation industry reached $900 million in 2018, and it is expected to hit $1 billion in 2020.

]]>
2019-09-19 08:12:54
<![CDATA[Huawei eyeing cutting edge in computing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510970.htm Huawei Technologies Co underlined its long-term commitment to computing on Wednesday, by unveiling the world's fastest artificial intelligence training cluster and its $1.5 billion investment plan to support third-party software and hardware developers.

The move came as Huawei sees computing as a technology of the utmost importance to building a fully connected, intelligent world and it eyes an expanded presence in the computing market which research company Gartner Inc forecast will be worth more than $2 trillion by 2023.

"We believe that connectivity and computing will be woven into the fabric of everything and are worth our continuous investment," said Hu Houkun, rotating chairman of Huawei.

According to Hu, Huawei already has made significant strides in connectivity for the past 30 years, from 2G all the way up to 5G.

In terms of computing, Huawei will continue investing with a strategy that focuses on four key areas. "We will push the boundaries of architecture, invest in processors for all scenarios, keep clear business boundaries, and build an open ecosystem," Hu added.

The senior executive highlighted that the evolution of computing has come to a inflection point, with AI-enabled computing becoming mainstream and offering tons of emerging opportunities for Huawei.

On Wednesday, the company unveiled what it said is the world's fastest AI training cluster, Atlas 900, which will help make AI more readily available for different fields of scientific research and business innovation.

Atlas 900 combines the power of thousands of Ascend processors, and Huawei showcased how fast Atlas 900 is with an example of using it in astronomy.

Usually, if an astronomer wanted to find a celestial body with specific features in a sky map which contains more than 200,000 stars, it would take 169 days of full-time work.

But Atlas 900 is able to scan through mountains of data to locate and identify a specific type of star in only 10 seconds, Huawei said.

As part of its broader push to build a vibrant ecosystem, Huawei also announced that it will invest $1.5 billion to help cultivate five million more third-party software and hardware developers on its computing platform over the next five years, up from the current number of 1.3 million.

The money will be used to help developers develop the next generation of intelligent applications and solutions. Half of the plan includes developers who use Huawei's Kunpeng server chips. Kunpeng is based on the ARM architecture, a chip design developed by the British company Arm Holdings and commonly used in smartphones and tablets.

A string of companies had tried to develop server chips based on ARM, but most of them failed.

Huawei said many experts are worried that ARM-based server chips can not deliver computing performance strong enough for internet data centers. But it has leveraged its own technological prowess to solve the problem, which can be seen in the increasing use of its Kunpeng products by many tech companies.

Charlie Dai, principal analyst at Forrester, a business strategy and economic consultancy, said Huawei's computing strategy demonstrates the importance of leveraging holistic hardware and software spectrum and fully unleashing the power of AI in the cloud era.

ARM-based chips have unique value for computing. Huawei's investment in ARM-based servers not only supports broader business scenarios. It also effectively improves business agility in the increasingly dynamic macroeconomic environments, Dai added.

]]>
2019-09-19 08:12:54
<![CDATA[Key rail projects to boost regional socioeconomic development]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/19/content_37510969.htm

China is accelerating the planning of a number of key railway projects, as the government looks to boost connectivity and fuel its prodigious economic growth, according to the country's top economic regulator.

Meng Wei, spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission, said strengthening railway infrastructure construction will play a key role in improving public transport, boosting regional economic and social development, and fostering a robust market.

"To give full play to the basic supporting role of the railway to major strategic plans - the coordinated development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the development of the Yangtze River economic belt, and the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the NDRC and related parties are speeding up the preparation of the specialized transportation planning," Meng said on Wednesday during an NDRC news conference in Beijing. "Several major projects have begun initial work. When the conditions are in place, they'll get approved."

China invested 449.6 billion yuan ($63.4 billion) in rail fixed assets in the first eight months of 2019,NDRC data showed.

According to the 2019 government report, 800 billion yuan will be invested in railway construction by the end of this year.

"We will work with related parties to focus on targeted investment and effective investment, to promote economic and social development,"Meng added.

The announced investment drive comes as the Chinese economy moderated in August amid mounting downward pressure.

In the first eight months of 2019, investment in fixed assets, excluding rural households, surged 5.5 percent year-on-year, 0.2 percentage point lower than that in the first seven months, data from National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Meanwhile, investment in infrastructure increased 4.2 percent year-on-year, 0.4 percentage point higher than that in the first seven months. Among the total infrastructure investment, investment in rail transport increased by 11 percent.

Experts said the focus of steady investment in the second half of 2019 is to stabilize manufacturing investment and increase investment in infrastructure.

"Despite some structural highlights, the slower growth in production, investment and consumption means that we are likely to see a slowdown in economic growth in the third quarter," Orient Securities said in a new research note. "We need to focus on the infrastructure investment, which will be key to stabilize the investment."

Tang Jianwei, chief researcher at the Financial Research Center of the Bank of Communications, noted in a new report that the significant jump in infrastructure investment came as the government has taken a series of measures to boost infrastructure construction and address inadequacies.

"As the country ramps up the issuance of local government bonds and the construction industry recovers, we may see strong growth in infrastructure investment," Tang said.

]]>
2019-09-19 08:12:54
<![CDATA[Study tours, camps gaining in popularity]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/15/content_37510004.htm While still seen as a luxury by many, demand is growing for domestic and overseas educational adventures for children

Summer vacation is fast becoming an expensive undertaking for many Chinese parents, especially with the growing popularity of study tours among Chinese students.

Study tours, which offer experiential learning during travel and have a comparatively long history in developed countries, have become increasingly popular in China in recent years.

In the 1990s, Chinese students began going to summer camps to visit scenic spots and historical sites, and to interact with nature. And study tours have gained in popularity in China in the 21st century.

 

A student on a study tour learns to make a birdcage in Kala village, Danzhai county, Guizhou province. Cai Jingyi / For China Daily

 

According to a white paper on study tours and camp education jointly issued by domestic leading education group New Oriental Education and consulting company i-research in 2019, 31.21 million people participated in study tours at home and abroad in 2018, with 30.16 million people participating domestically and about 1.05 million people going overseas last year.

The industry's overall market scale was about 94.6 billion yuan ($13.3 billion) in 2018, and the market will maintain an annual growth rate of at least 20 percent in the future, according to the white paper.

Other surveys also show Chinese families' growing enthusiasm and consumption power in the sector. Leading domestic online travel agency Ctrip recently released its 2019 summer study tour report based on the bookings on the Ctrip study tour platform. In the summer of 2019, the average amount spent on a single summer study tour was 8,641 yuan, while the average amount per family was about 22,000 yuan.

Many social and economic factors have contributed to the success of the study tour industry. Because study tours involve education and traveling, both tourism and education authorities have issued documents to support their development.

The Outline for National Travel and Leisure issued by the State Council in 2013 promoted the concept of study tours for the first time. The State Council further issued a guidance on promoting tourism industry reform and development in 2014 to encourage social educational organizations to provide study tour products such as summer and winter camps. In 2016, the Ministry of Education issued a document on promoting primary and middle school study tours, incorporating the practice into primary and middle school's teaching programs.

In a nation that places an emphasis on education, most Chinese parents spare no expense when it comes to their children's education and the enthusiasm for investing in education is increasing in line with the rapid social and economic development, especially considering that the majority of Chinese families have only one or two children.

But to a large extent study tours still seem to be a luxury rather than a necessity for many Chinese students. The increasing demand for study tours has much to do with the growth in size of the middle-income group, and transition from exam-oriented education to quality education in contemporary China.

Last year, the spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics Mao Shengyong said the population of China's middle-income group has exceeded 300 million, according to conservative estimates, which accounts for 30 percent of the global middle-income group. And the young parents among them are the main clients of study tours.

Children participating in study tour activities are mainly primary and middle school students. And their parents are always well-educated and from the post-1970 and post-1980 generations that work and live in first-and second-tier cities.

Study tours have become part of a trend among these young well-educated middle-income parents, as they tend to pay more attention to their children's all-round physical and mental development, rather than simply wanting them to get high scores in tests.

Although the industry is growing, market concentration is comparatively low and there is far from sufficient competition. According to the white paper, there are estimated to be several thousand domestic market players, while the market share of the industry's leading companies is between 1 and 2 percent.

"High decentralization is the nature of not only the study tour industry but also the entire education industry," said Hao Jingfang, Hugo award winner and the founder of Tongxing Education, a Beijing-based liberal education institution that organizes project-based learning study tour camps for children aged from 4 to 12 years old.

"The joint market share of leading domestic education groups New Oriental Education and TAL education is less than 5 percent," Hao said. "It is hard to form a monopoly in the children's education field, especially for offline scenarios like study tours."

That's why quite a few study tour organizations are sparing no efforts to attract customers by offering unique features. As most domestic study tour projects focus on natural education or camp education, pragmatic quality education studio LTBH (Learn to be Human), which was founded by several graduates of Peking University, aims to build a link between urban kids and traditional Chinese rural culture and intangible heritage.

"Inspired by famous Chinese sociologist, Peking University professor Fei Xiaotong's masterpiece From the Soil - The Foundations of Chinese Society, we want to help children observe and understand the countryside and rural society through sociological methods such as field trips," said Su Bangxing, co-founder of LTBH, "that's what we called pragmatic quality education."

Statistics show that overseas study tours only account for a small market portion despite the fact that the average expenditure on an overseas study tour of 20,000 to 50,000 yuan per person is much higher than the 3,000 to 8,000 yuan spent on a domestic study tour.

"The target customers of overseas study tours are comparatively rich, and many overseas study tours are designed to help the students apply for overseas courses," said Hao.

The main players in the overseas study tour market are well-known education organizations with high market recognition, overseas study application agencies with the advantage of foreign educational resources and some small customized training studios.

JStudio is an overseas study training studio aimed at students of architecture and landscape design applying to further their studies at foreign universities. The design-theme study tour in England it organizes is a side product of their overseas study application business. The tour guides are foreign academic leaders and professional designers and students visit the world's leading design offices during the trip.

"The biggest advantage of our study tour is our professional training studio," said Dong Huaguan, co-founder of JStudio. "Which is not only a training organization but also a research organization that can help these students in their overseas academic studies."

Various kinds of study tours show the industry in China is still a blue ocean. Hao said, China's study tour industry is "big enough and diversified enough to let both big companies and small studios thrive together."

Contact the writer at wangyiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

]]>
2019-09-15 12:46:09
<![CDATA[Safety and positive learning experiences are top two concerns for parents]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/13/content_37510003.htm Like many areas of the education industry, although the participants in study tours are students, the customers with a final say are their parents.

While many parents that send their children on study tours are not sensitive to price, they expect more from a study tour than simply having a good time as they cost more than an ordinary trip.

Mission Education's report on the study tour industry shows that more than half of the parents who send their children on study tours do so to allow them to see the world and make friends. And safety and the learning experience are the parents' top two concerns in choosing study tours for their children.

As a typical young middle-income parent with a higher education background, Wu Jing, a communication professor at Peking University, has sent her 12-year-old son A Gu on domestic and overseas study tours several times.

In the Changbai mountains in Jilin province, A Gu and his friends enjoyed dramatic landscapes and experienced local customs; in Weihai, Shandong province, they saw how fishermen live and gained a better understanding of the fishing industry.

When A Gu was only 10 years old, Wu sent him on a 20-day scientific exploration tour of the North Pole, during which students visited, observed and conducted research on scientific frontier issues including the polar environment, geological evolution, biological diversity and global climate change.

The polar exploration tour provided a rare opportunity for students to conduct scientific research. Many middle school students who participated in the tour published research papers and won domestic youth science and technology prizes after they returned from the tour, which will help them apply to overseas universities. This is one reason the exploration tour, which costs more than 120,000 yuan per person, attracts so many students and their parents.

Wu, who considers herself a relaxed parent, didn't expect too many academic achievements from her son because of the trip. For her, it provided an opportunity for him to experience nature. "I just thought it would be cool to travel to the Arctic Ocean and visit the Polar region when I first heard about the exploration tour program," Wu said. "It will be an important memory for him as the Arctic Ocean is melting due to global warming."

But Guo Ren, a global partner at Beijing Yingke Law Firm's Shanghai office, thinks there's not much time left for her 11-year-old daughter Deng Guo to participate in study tours that are mainly for fun, due to increasing academic pressure.

The sixth grader has just come back from a cultural exchange program in Russia. As a dancer with the Shanghai Hand-in-Hand Youth Art Troupe, she had a wonderful time in Russia with local adolescents.

This visit was the first time Deng had traveled abroad without her parents. Although she faced some difficulties such as doing her laundry, she never felt homesick or lonely in Russia.

"I enjoyed the trip very much," said Deng, "and I'd love to dance around the world with my friends."

Guo is still planning to send her daughter on overseas study tours, but mainly for academic purposes. She plans to send her daughter abroad during winter vacation next year to study at a US primary school together with local students for one month.

Guo expects this study tour, which is expensive, will help her daughter improve her spoken English. "Many families I know have sent their children on similar overseas study tours," she said.

Although many parents spare no expense when it comes to their children's education, not all parents are willing to send their children on study tours. Wen Jin, a mother of a teenage girl, said she won't send her daughter on a study tour because of safety concerns.

"I feel worried about my daughter traveling alone without a guardian, because I have heard too many tragic stories from the media," Wen said. "Given that children are not always able to protect themselves, I will not send my daughter on a study tour alone before she is 18 years old."

Su Bangxing, co-founder of study tour organization LTBH, admits safety is a significant issue for study tours, especially those in remote areas.

"We take multiple measures to ensure the children's safety during study tours," Su said. "Meanwhile we also encourage families to participate in our parent-child camps to dispel doubts."

To some extent, parents' preferences and concerns shape the study tour market, and the industry can only thrive by meeting the needs of the families.

Contact the writer at wangyiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily Global 09/13/2019 page8)

]]>
2019-09-13 08:13:13
<![CDATA[Study tours, camps gaining in popularity]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/13/content_37509937.htm While still seen as a luxury by many, demand is growing for domestic and overseas educational adventures for children

Summer vacation is fast becoming an expensive undertaking for many Chinese parents, especially with the growing popularity of study tours among Chinese students.

Study tours, which offer experiential learning during travel and have a comparatively long history in developed countries, have become increasingly popular in China in recent years.

In the 1990s, Chinese students began going to summer camps to visit scenic spots and historical sites, and to interact with nature. And study tours have gained in popularity in China in the 21st century.

 

A student on a study tour learns to make a birdcage in Kala village, Danzhai county, Guizhou province. Cai Jingyi / For China Daily

 

A student talks to a woman from the Miao ethnic group at a fair in Danzhai county, Guizhou province. Chen Yule / For China Daily

According to a white paper on study tours and camp education jointly issued by domestic leading education group New Oriental Education and consulting company i-research in 2019, 31.21 million people participated in study tours at home and abroad in 2018, with 30.16 million people participating domestically and about 1.05 million people going overseas last year.

The industry's overall market scale was about 94.6 billion yuan ($13.3 billion) in 2018, and the market will maintain an annual growth rate of at least 20 percent in the future, according to the white paper.

Other surveys also show Chinese families' growing enthusiasm and consumption power in the sector. Leading domestic online travel agency Ctrip recently released its 2019 summer study tour report based on the bookings on the Ctrip study tour platform. In the summer of 2019, the average amount spent on a single summer study tour was 8,641 yuan, while the average amount per family was about 22,000 yuan.

Many social and economic factors have contributed to the success of the study tour industry. Because study tours involve education and traveling, both tourism and education authorities have issued documents to support their development.

The Outline for National Travel and Leisure issued by the State Council in 2013 promoted the concept of study tours for the first time. The State Council further issued a guidance on promoting tourism industry reform and development in 2014 to encourage social educational organizations to provide study tour products such as summer and winter camps. In 2016, the Ministry of Education issued a document on promoting primary and middle school study tours, incorporating the practice into primary and middle school's teaching programs.

In a nation that places an emphasis on education, most Chinese parents spare no expense when it comes to their children's education and the enthusiasm for investing in education is increasing in line with the rapid social and economic development, especially considering that the majority of Chinese families have only one or two children.

But to a large extent study tours still seem to be a luxury rather than a necessity for many Chinese students. The increasing demand for study tours has much to do with the growth in size of the middle-income group, and transition from exam-oriented education to quality education in contemporary China.

Last year, the spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics Mao Shengyong said the population of China's middle-income group has exceeded 300 million, according to conservative estimates, which accounts for 30 percent of the global middle-income group. And the young parents among them are the main clients of study tours.

Children participating in study tour activities are mainly primary and middle school students. And their parents are always well-educated and from the post-1970 and post-1980 generations that work and live in first-and second-tier cities.

Study tours have become part of a trend among these young well-educated middle-income parents, as they tend to pay more attention to their children's all-round physical and mental development, rather than simply wanting them to get high scores in tests.

Although the industry is growing, market concentration is comparatively low and there is far from sufficient competition. According to the white paper, there are estimated to be several thousand domestic market players, while the market share of the industry's leading companies is between 1 and 2 percent.

"High decentralization is the nature of not only the study tour industry but also the entire education industry," said Hao Jingfang, Hugo award winner and the founder of Tongxing Education, a Beijing-based liberal education institution that organizes project-based learning study tour camps for children aged from 4 to 12 years old.

"The joint market share of leading domestic education groups New Oriental Education and TAL education is less than 5 percent," Hao said. "It is hard to form a monopoly in the children's education field, especially for offline scenarios like study tours."

That's why quite a few study tour organizations are sparing no efforts to attract customers by offering unique features. As most domestic study tour projects focus on natural education or camp education, pragmatic quality education studio LTBH (Learn to be Human), which was founded by several graduates of Peking University, aims to build a link between urban kids and traditional Chinese rural culture and intangible heritage.

"Inspired by famous Chinese sociologist, Peking University professor Fei Xiaotong's masterpiece From the Soil - The Foundations of Chinese Society, we want to help children observe and understand the countryside and rural society through sociological methods such as field trips," said Su Bangxing, co-founder of LTBH, "that's what we called pragmatic quality education."

Statistics show that overseas study tours only account for a small market portion despite the fact that the average expenditure on an overseas study tour of 20,000 to 50,000 yuan per person is much higher than the 3,000 to 8,000 yuan spent on a domestic study tour.

"The target customers of overseas study tours are comparatively rich, and many overseas study tours are designed to help the students apply for overseas courses," said Hao.

The main players in the overseas study tour market are well-known education organizations with high market recognition, overseas study application agencies with the advantage of foreign educational resources and some small customized training studios.

JStudio is an overseas study training studio aimed at students of architecture and landscape design applying to further their studies at foreign universities. The design-theme study tour in England it organizes is a side product of their overseas study application business. The tour guides are foreign academic leaders and professional designers and students visit the world's leading design offices during the trip.

"The biggest advantage of our study tour is our professional training studio," said Dong Huaguan, co-founder of JStudio. "Which is not only a training organization but also a research organization that can help these students in their overseas academic studies."

Various kinds of study tours show the industry in China is still a blue ocean. Hao said, China's study tour industry is "big enough and diversified enough to let both big companies and small studios thrive together."

Contact the writer at wangyiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 09/13/2019 page8)

]]>
2019-09-13 08:13:13
<![CDATA[Safety and positive learning experiences are top two concerns for parents]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/13/content_37509936.htm

Like many areas of the education industry, although the participants in study tours are students, the customers with a final say are their parents.

While many parents that send their children on study tours are not sensitive to price, they expect more from a study tour than simply having a good time as they cost more than an ordinary trip.

Mission Education's report on the study tour industry shows that more than half of the parents who send their children on study tours do so to allow them to see the world and make friends. And safety and the learning experience are the parents' top two concerns in choosing study tours for their children.

As a typical young middle-income parent with a higher education background, Wu Jing, a communication professor at Peking University, has sent her 12-year-old son A Gu on domestic and overseas study tours several times.

In the Changbai mountains in Jilin province, A Gu and his friends enjoyed dramatic landscapes and experienced local customs; in Weihai, Shandong province, they saw how fishermen live and gained a better understanding of the fishing industry.

When A Gu was only 10 years old, Wu sent him on a 20-day scientific exploration tour of the North Pole, during which students visited, observed and conducted research on scientific frontier issues including the polar environment, geological evolution, biological diversity and global climate change.

The polar exploration tour provided a rare opportunity for students to conduct scientific research. Many middle school students who participated in the tour published research papers and won domestic youth science and technology prizes after they returned from the tour, which will help them apply to overseas universities. This is one reason the exploration tour, which costs more than 120,000 yuan per person, attracts so many students and their parents.

Wu, who considers herself a relaxed parent, didn't expect too many academic achievements from her son because of the trip. For her, it provided an opportunity for him to experience nature. "I just thought it would be cool to travel to the Arctic Ocean and visit the Polar region when I first heard about the exploration tour program," Wu said. "It will be an important memory for him as the Arctic Ocean is melting due to global warming."

But Guo Ren, a global partner at Beijing Yingke Law Firm's Shanghai office, thinks there's not much time left for her 11-year-old daughter Deng Guo to participate in study tours that are mainly for fun, due to increasing academic pressure.

The sixth grader has just come back from a cultural exchange program in Russia. As a dancer with the Shanghai Hand-in-Hand Youth Art Troupe, she had a wonderful time in Russia with local adolescents.

This visit was the first time Deng had traveled abroad without her parents. Although she faced some difficulties such as doing her laundry, she never felt homesick or lonely in Russia.

"I enjoyed the trip very much," said Deng, "and I'd love to dance around the world with my friends."

Guo is still planning to send her daughter on overseas study tours, but mainly for academic purposes. She plans to send her daughter abroad during winter vacation next year to study at a US primary school together with local students for one month.

Guo expects this study tour, which is expensive, will help her daughter improve her spoken English. "Many families I know have sent their children on similar overseas study tours," she said.

Although many parents spare no expense when it comes to their children's education, not all parents are willing to send their children on study tours. Wen Jin, a mother of a teenage girl, said she won't send her daughter on a study tour because of safety concerns.

"I feel worried about my daughter traveling alone without a guardian, because I have heard too many tragic stories from the media," Wen said. "Given that children are not always able to protect themselves, I will not send my daughter on a study tour alone before she is 18 years old."

Su Bangxing, co-founder of study tour organization LTBH, admits safety is a significant issue for study tours, especially those in remote areas.

"We take multiple measures to ensure the children's safety during study tours," Su said. "Meanwhile we also encourage families to participate in our parent-child camps to dispel doubts."

To some extent, parents' preferences and concerns shape the study tour market, and the industry can only thrive by meeting the needs of the families.

Contact the writer at wangyiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 09/13/2019 page8)

]]>
2019-09-13 08:13:13
<![CDATA[Enjoying new prosperity]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/13/content_37509935.htm Jinggangshan, a county-level city in Jiangxi province, was officially removed from the poverty list in February 2017. In 2016, President Xi Jinping stressed poverty alleviation be made a top priority in the Shenshan village of Jinggangshan, and three years after the local government took concrete measures, the village has completely eliminated poverty. Over the past three years, the number of tourists and income from tourism both have increased by more than 25 percent, enriching local households some of which now provide homestays and catering services.

 

The sculpture of a torch, which represents the Jinggangshan revolutionary spirit, in Jinggang Mountain, Jiangxi province, on Aug 23. The Jinggang Mountain is the Chinese revolutionary base and the starting point of the Long March. Photos by Wang Jing and Xu Jingxing / China Daily

 

Zhu Taosheng, a local villager of Ciping township, sweeps the sidewalks as part of a job provided for him by Dajing village, on Aug 25.

 

Peng Xiaying, the recipient of a national award for poverty alleviation, introduces the poverty reduction situation of local villagers to tourists in Maopingxiang township, Jiangxi province, on Aug 23.

(China Daily 09/13/2019 page7)

]]>
2019-09-13 08:12:54
<![CDATA[Cloudy outlook brings sunshine to online group]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/13/content_37509934.htm Avid followers of sky phenomena keep their feet on the ground as they look to the heavens

Clouds are often depicted in dramatic ways. Storm clouds gathering can be an ominous sign, white fluffy ones show that all is well with the world. It is not surprising then that a group of cloud spotters in China formed a WeChat group to share their images.

They send out alerts that a certain type of cloud has been seen or is expected at certain locations, allowing people nearby to grab the opportunity of taking a photo or recording it.

Ji Yun, 32, is a Beijing freelance cloud chaser and set up the online group in 2013.

 

Dark clouds gather over the Yangtze River to herald the arrival of Typhoon Lekima in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, last month. Provided to China Daily

In October that year, he received a message from a friend, saying there were rare cloud formations drifting toward southeastern Beijing. He then boarded a high-speed train to chase them.

"As soon as I got the information, I rushed out of my home. I took some pictures, but the clouds drifted away quickly. After guessing where they were likely to head, I took a train to Tianjin and finally managed to take several wonderful pictures in the Wuqing district," he said.

What he was chasing after were Asperitus clouds. These clouds are dark and suggest an approaching storm, but strangely they almost always dissipate without one.

They are particularly common in the Plains states of the United States, often during the morning or midday hours following thunderstorm activity.

"This is an extremely rare type of cloud. As far as I know, they have only been spotted in China a couple of times. So it is worthy of chasing and recording," Ji said.

Why clouds form in certain ways can also tell us a lot about the weather. This is vital for people who make their living at sea or farmers, he said.

The online group has more than 900 fans nationwide.

The group invented a game in which all the members were divided into two teams, south and north, based on their location.

If a member in one of the southern provinces sends a picture of clouds, the south team score and vice-versa.

The game sparks discussion and team members feel engaged with all areas of the country, Ji said.

"Quite a few times some members inadvertently shared a photo in our group which we realized was a particularly rare phenomenon. Other members would congratulate those who 'witnessed history' in the group," he said.

In 2014, a photographer in the group took a picture of a twin rainbow in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and sent it. Ji put it on his website and offered an explanation that sparked an immediate response overseas.

Alexandar Haussmann, a rainbow expert at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, noticed it online and contacted the group via email. The expert said that this twin rainbow photo should be deemed one of the most valuable records of its kind.

Wei Xiaojun, a 24-year-old photographer in Beijing, joined this group in 2015. He has sent about 40 photos of clouds to the group.

"I always carry a small camera with me. If I look up and find something, I will take a snap. I don't have enough knowledge about what kind of cloud it is, so I would send it to the group and wait for professional analysis," he said.

Ji said that he hoped that the model of real-time cloud reporting should be promoted and refined to attract more people to join.

"People in all major cities across the country should gather to form a local live observation group. Anyone who discovers a new cloud can report its movement and let the people in the downstream of the cloud prepare to observe it. In that way, all kinds of celestial phenomena and events can be recorded comprehensively, scientifically and accurately," he said.

Ji knows what type of clouds may form over certain geographic locations.

For example, in the bitter cold of North China, it is possible to see ice halos. These are formed when light interacts with ice.

In southwestern area, with high humidity levels, rainbows are common while in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Qinghai province in Northwest China, some rare or strange celestial phenomena are more likely to appear due to the extreme nature and complexity of the climate.

Ji's cloud group is not alone. In 2005, Gavin Pretor-Pinney launched the Cloud Appreciation Society in Britain. This is a nonprofit association for cloud lovers. Its members are drawn from 120 countries.

They are all united, Gavin Pretor-Pinney said, in the belief that clouds are the most dynamic, evocative and poetic aspect of nature. And in a Ted speech in 2013, he pointed out that clouds can often bring a sense of happiness.

Zhang Chao, an editor of an astronomical science publication in Beijing, said clouds may look friendly and pretty, but their formation is due to real science that must be understood.

"Clouds often form in unexpected ways. I once spotted a horseshoe-shaped cloud. I stared at it and felt every moment was precious and amazing. The cloud changed fast, just in three or five seconds, into different shapes that you could never imagine. It was a joy to see this rare thing."

Just watching clouds float above people and change shapes allows them to feel poetic and appreciate the beauty of our world, Zhang said.

lihongyang@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Refracted light forms an ice halo optical phenomenon above the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in the Tibet autonomous region. Photos by Ji Yun / For China Daily

(China Daily 09/13/2019 page6)

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2019-09-13 08:12:39
<![CDATA[Sky of delight provides treats for those ready to gaze upward]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/13/content_37509933.htm Wang Chen, a 38-year-old popular science writer

The first time that I felt a sense of happiness and serenity watching clouds was in primary school. My neighbor also gave me a number of comics and one of them had a yellow-brown cover. It was called Judge Weather by Clouds.

I liked it, not just because of the clouds, but because of sayings and poems about the clouds in it. "Clouds of a hook shape in the sky, rain will fall on the ground" was one that I remember and another was "When chaotic clouds are stirred up, strong wind and heavy rain will show up". They sounded cool. These have stayed in my mind and heart rather than, say, Tang poetry, or the multiplication table.

One day about two years before the college entrance exam, on my way to school, I saw a quite strange and beautiful rainbow. I felt it was magical. It was small and short with a sharp arc. Catching sight of it was lucky. It made me think that youth is like this rainbow; beautiful and precious. Then I wrote my first song named The Rainbow in the Cloud.

In 2003 I started to take some cloud pictures, and decided to collect and organize them in an album in 2006. This is a long goal and hobby of quiet passion. It cannot be rushed.

At that time, I was not very clear about the types of clouds, because I had never read a professional book. I always confused with some types.

Then I came up with an idea that no matter what clouds I saw, I would take photos first, as a record. It is advice I would give to any cloud spotter.

In recent years, I feel that Chinese people's interest in clouds has increased, with a growing number of enthusiasts going online to discuss it.

I think that one reason for this may be technology. Mobile phones can now take excellent pictures, so most people have a phone with them and can take a shot of a cloud that fascinates them and share it with others.

In addition, there is a greater appreciation of the natural sciences. Clouds are an important natural phenomenon.

Another important reason is that the country has increasingly realized the importance of educating people on the natural world and the importance it has on the economy.

For example, more science books have been published with support from the government. This tends to be good for the environment, and I value it very much.

Wang Chen spoke with Li Hongyang.

(China Daily 09/13/2019 page6)

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2019-09-13 08:12:39
<![CDATA[Revisiting a forgotten passion]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/08/content_37508657.htm Piano schools for the elderly are offering many a chance to reignite their love for a musical instrument that was once considered a luxury item that few could afford, Zhou Wenting reports.

Zhang Lingxin, a 65-year-old retired school teacher in Shanghai, can now play two piano songs, Auld Lang Syne and Butterfly Lovers, or Liang Zhu, the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet, after learning the piano for two years.

"I loved music when I was a little girl and learning to play the piano was my childhood dream. But having a piano was a luxury back then. Very few families could afford one," Zhang says.

"Now, when I get the chance to play the piano, I feel that my childhood dream has finally come true. The children of today may not feel the same way," she says.

Two decades ago, Shanghai became the country's first city where community schools offered piano lessons to the elderly. Every year, nearly 2,000 piano classes are organized. According to official statistics, about 100,000 senior citizens have participated in these classes.

Lyu Lunyu from the teaching department of the administration of Shanghai's community schools for the elderly says that most of the senior citizens in these classes never had the chance to learn the piano during their youth.

"A very small number of them learned piano for a short time during their childhood or teenage years but stopped as the parents didn't believe that it was a worthwhile pursuit," he says.

Although she thoroughly enjoys playing the piano, Zhang lamented that she is not able to pick up the discipline as quickly as she would like. She says she envies how quickly her grandson has progressed since he started to learn the piano two years ago at the age of 6.

"Playing the piano is about having the mind process a piano score before sending signals to our 10 fingers. But for us the elderly, the whole process is very much slower. Very often when I focus on my right hand, my left hand goes idle," she says.

Zhang pays only 200 yuan ($28) per semester to attend a two-hour piano class at a community elderly school once a week. Most of the students at this school, she says, are aged between 60 and 80 and have little or no experience in playing music. These elderly students start by learning the basics, such as the proper way to sit and hand gestures, and practice for at least two hours a day. Assignments are given during each class to help students execute what they have learned.

Zhang says that it is common for elderly people to forget what the teacher taught during the class the moment they arrive home. As such, they need to take extra measures to ensure they don't fall behind.

"As soon as I get home, I would practice repeatedly what the teacher taught so that I don't forget. Such perseverance also comes from the happiness and sense of achievement of mastering new skills and not setting limits for ourselves. It is very satisfying when we can interpret a piece very smoothly or play a song without stopping," she says.

Piano educators from around the world have said that learning the piano is an activity that only becomes common when a society has achieved a certain level of prosperity. Some experts have also pointed out that China's strong presence in the piano manufacturing industry in recent years has also provided its citizens with more opportunities to purchase higher quality pianos.

"Over the past decade, a lot of good piano makers have come into being in China and this has made pianos more affordable, in turn allowing many people to own one at home and enjoy playing music by themselves," says Maxim Mogilevsky, a pianist from Russia.

"Earlier this year, the International Tchaikovsky Competition used a Chinese brand of piano for the first time. Many participants said they loved the sound and wanted to buy the Yangtze River pianos. Meanwhile, the number of imported pianos for China is rising dramatically," he adds.

Ma Runqiu, 62, first learned the piano in her 30s when she sent her son for piano lessons. She says that she even made the effort to observe her son during lessons and book separate sessions for herself.

However, due to work commitments, Ma had to stop learning the piano after a year. Her son also stopped playing the piano after learning it for two years.

"But whenever I saw the piano at home, I felt like it was constantly reminding me to start learning again," she says.

Ma only did so after retiring seven years ago. In mid-August, she won a seat in the national final for the senior group at the 12th Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition - a special section dedicated to elderly piano players - where she went on to win second prize.

She confesses that she didn't take the piano seriously before because she believed that it was only meant for children and young people.

"I only changed my mind when I had an opportunity to perform onstage for our community. This made me believe that we should treat it seriously as piano playing is so elegant," she says.

Zhu Yafen, a renowned piano educator and the former dean of the piano department at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, says some of the elderly piano learners at the school were people who took piano lessons when they were young but stopped because of work commitments.

"A true love of music is like a true friendship - it will withstand the test of time," she says.

Contact the writer at zhouwenting@chinadaily.com.cn

Proof of music as a health remedy

Russian Pianist Maxim Mogilevsky says that music is a unique universal language that has been scientifically proven to stimulate the production of dopamine, one of the chemicals in the brain that induces happiness.

"When you are playing music, it is healing your soul and body," he says.

That was exactly the case of Jin Yan, a 57-year-old retired bank clerk in Shanghai, who says that it was the piano that lifted her out of depression after she was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago.

"My sister encouraged me to take piano lessons together. She hoped that it could be a way for me to find happiness again while getting some exercise after the surgery," she says.

"Those pleasant piano tunes reminded me of the happy times from my early childhood days when my parents would sing the same tunes to me. This helped me to pull through that dark period in my life," says Jin.

Mo Zhiyong, 68, is another person who can attest how learning the piano can lift a person's mood and provide health benefits. Mo suffered from a cerebral ischemic stroke five years ago and has since been practicing the piano for an hour every day for four years to improve his motor skills.

"I just didn't want my child to worry about my health and I took the doctor's advice. Gradually I found practicing playing the piano also cured my forgetfulness and my memory is now better than several years ago," says the Shanghai native.

He says jokingly that he chose to learn to play the piano rather than play mahjong as the former is more meaningful.

He says that some of his peers have also been learning the piano in an attempt to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

"We believe that the more we exercise with our minds and hands, the more we can mitigate the effects of aging," he says.

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2019-09-08 10:05:51
<![CDATA[Vehicle of design philosophy makes stop on the Bund]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/08/content_37508656.htm The Bauhaus caravan arrived at the Bund Finance Center in Shanghai on Aug 24 to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Hochschule fur Gestaltung, the first modern design college in the world.

Located in Germany, the college is now called the Bauhaus-Universitat Weimar. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the Bauhaus caravan started its 10-month global tour in January.

Designed by German architect Van Bo Le Mentzel, the caravan features more than 40 Bauhaus art books and has already been to cities such as Dessau and Berlin in Germany and Kinshasa in Congo. Its China tour started in Shandong province on May 26 and will include stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing.

"The purpose of the tour is to spread the Bauhaus design concept. We want to let the public understand the value and significance of design and encourage designers to rethink their position and future value to society," says Chi Wei, the founder of the +86 Design Sharing Platform.

According to Chi, who is also the initiator of the Bauhaus tour, the Deutscher Werkbund, a German association of artists, used to drive the caravan to factories and cities to discuss what society needed to do to prepare for the arrival of the Industrial Age. All the predictions about modern society and industrialization that were proposed by the experts from Bauhaus eventually became reality.

Today, the Bauhaus caravan tour continues to invite well-known scholars and designers, including the dean of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and a design consultant to the Palace Museum, to come into the caravan and discuss the relationship between art, science and human ecology over the next 100 years.

"Through the collision of ideas, discussions will help to build a design school that is open to the public, spreads the value of ideas, and triggers social interaction," Chi says.

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2019-09-08 10:05:51
<![CDATA[Malaysian chef offers up a bite of Baba Nyonya culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/08/content_37508655.htm KUALA LUMPUR - One weekend in the kitchen of her restaurant during the early hours of the morning, Karen Tee Kwee Ling is busy preparing cakes for her hordes of breakfast customers.

Tee, along with her mother Linda Yau Sew Luan and several other workers, turn out hundreds of traditional cakes and desserts, collectively known as kuih to Malaysians, but the infusion of unique ingredients from her "Baba Nyonya" background makes her handmade confections stand out from the rest.

The Baba Nyonya are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay Peninsula centuries ago and have developed a unique culture, blending Chinese and Malay elements.

"The taste is different, the ingredients are different - these are not typical cakes. We have a particular flavor that we prefer, lots of screw pine goes into the process," she explains.

The popularity of Tee's cakes and deserts lies in the recipes that were passed down through her family. Her grandmother started making kuih for local coffee shops in Tampin, a small town 120 kilometers from the capital of Kuala Lumpur, in the late 1940s.

Tee's mother Yau learned all the secrets in the family kitchen, before opening her own restaurant in Tampin.

It was Tee who brought the family flavor to Kuala Lumpur. Tee has been making various kinds of kuih since her childhood, having learned the recipes from her grandmother and mother, a fact demonstrated by her ability to prepare 50 cakes in just 10 minutes.

Tee focuses on three types of kuih. The first one is the angku, or red tortoise cake, a small oval-shaped Chinese pastry with soft sticky glutinous rice flour skin, wrapped around a sweet filling. It is molded to resemble a tortoise shell and presented resting on a square piece of banana leaf, typically marked with the Chinese character for longevity.

Her other specialty is koci, a type of dumpling found in Malay cuisine, which has a skin made from glutinous rice flour and is stuffed with coconut and palm sugar.

"We make the traditional koci, not just the usual type with black glutinous rice, but also the original blue version with coconut and sesame filling. Not many people make it now as you have to dye the skin using blue pea (ternatea) petals.

The ingredient is expensive to buy, so she grows her own, along with curry leaves and other ingredients from her hometown in Tampin.

The last is chai kuih, a savory dumpling with plain white skin that has a filling of dried prawns.

All three types of dumplings are cooked for between 10 and 15 minutes in a steamer capable of handling 400 pieces at a time, before being placed on banana leaves, or wrapped in them as in the case of koci.

Tee's restaurant specializes in Baba Nyonya style cooking, using aromatic screw pine leaves as well as lemon grass, lime leaves and curry leaves - lending the dishes a sharp and tangy flavor not usually found in Malaysian fare.

Tee was proud of the special Baba Nyonya flavor she inherited from her family, but for her, it was not only the recipe that was passed down from one generation to the next, but also the techniques for making the cakes.

"My grandmother and mother taught me to prepare my food with honesty and patience, to use the purest ingredients to hand, and to ensure what I make will satisfy my customers," she says as she works on shaping and filling the cakes.

Xinhua

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2019-09-08 10:05:51
<![CDATA[A disciple's lot: laying stones along a very long road]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/07/content_37508588.htm

Often departing from the beaten track in remote parts of China, a photographer evokes the refinement of Chinese paintings and of nature itself

Michael Cherney loves taking pictures of mountains. And he loves taking those pictures the way they were painted by ancient Chinese landscape artists centuries or millennia ago.

One frame, a narrow strip of rolling hills taken on the plateaus of northwestern China, is dominated by the interplay between black and white and the multiple shades of gray in between. A meandering, monochrome composition, it is evocative of those ancient Chinese works in which ink was applied to paper in a few sweeping strokes to maximize the sense of grandeur.

 

From top: Mount Hua Album from the Bounded By Mountains series, 2005; Northern Song Spirit Road from the Bounded By Mountains series, 2005; Level Trees, Distant Mountains series, 2009; part of Twilight Cranes, 2007; part of Ten Thousand Li of the Yangtze River series, 2012; Cherney's Map of Mountains and Seas, 2012 is dominated by the interplay of black and white and the multiple grays in between. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

And it's not just the wide-angled pictures. Close-up shots of wrinkled mountain ridges fill the entire frame in one view from his Yi Mountain Passages series. The rugged texture of the land has often been created by dragging a dry brush across the paper, and by dabbing a few dots of ink here and there.

Then there are the trees on the mountains. In his Level Trees, Distant Mountains series, wintry branches are fully revealed against the dusky sky. Such austerity recalls the equally frugal depictions of trees often found in landscapes from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), which Cherney adored for having embraced "reductionism" in art.

The American Jewish artist believes that by focusing his lens on nature he has found a way of aligning himself with "an aesthetic that's most beautifully and uniquely Chinese" without taking up a brush.

"Ancient Chinese landscape painters extracted their whole vocabulary from nature," he says, pointing to the various effects their inky brush made on the absorbent rice paper, effects intended to depict everything from a dripping, misty riverside scene to a gnarled tree and a wind-whipped rock.

Shot with a Leica using 35 mm film, his beguiling black-and-white pictures have often been mistaken for ink paintings.

Yet from the day photography was born in the mid-19th century it was thought that it would replace painting - landscapes and portraits in particular - rather than reconjuring its magic.

"In the West, photography was viewed with great suspicion by painters who feared that the new invention might render their old art obsolete," says Cherney, pointing to the Hudson River School painters who romanticized the American landscape by capturing it at its most sublime.

This often included, among others, a stormy sky and an equally tempestuous sea, both reflective of the drama of light.

"To seize the fleeting moment - this was exactly what photography was invented to do," he says. "However, with traditional Chinese landscape painting the intention was completely different."

The Chinese were less preoccupied with the faithful recording of what they saw than with the expression of feelings these views had aroused inside them, he says. In doing so they were assisted by the brushworks they had "borrowed" from nature and kept refining.

"It's about capturing the essential rather than the ephemeral, the transcendental rather than the transient," says Cherney, who over the past 20 years has traveled all over China in search of scenery that overlaps with his mind's rubbing of those age-old traces of ink.

Google Maps and GPS facilitate the preparation, but help from locals has been critical once he is out in the wild.

"When I was photographing the Three Gorges as part of my Ten Thousand Li of the Yangtze River series (one li is equivalent to 0.5 kilometers), a local farmer who has lived his entire life atop the peak overlooking one of the gorges cut a path for us with his machete, through the last several hundred meters of foliage to a rocky outcropping. It was directly above the gorge, somewhere he himself hadn't visited in quite a number of years."

Not all surprises were pleasant ones: what appears in an ancient scroll as a mighty, mist-wreathed mountain may in reality just be a hillock.

Another time, Cherney traveled a long distance to the warm-weathered southeastern China, having seen a Yuan Dynasty masterpiece depicting a swath of water and the corrugated, tree-interspersed mountains along its bank. What he found, instead, was a lush green that carpeted the entire landscape. (Another example of the ancient Chinese landscape artists' tendency to paint as much from imagination as from observation.)

Despite his infatuation with the painted surface, Cherney has long gone well beneath it.

"Mine is an art-history approach. In the West people go to national parks, the Grand Canyon, for example, to see magnificent landscapes as undisturbed nature. In China, as you scale the fabled mountains you are confronted not only with natural beauty, but also ancient works of calligraphy chiseled on cliffs. This makes you ever aware of the fact that you are traveling on the same path that has been traveled by those who have come before. My work is about putting one stone on a very long road."

This means to steep oneself in the country's literary tradition, to soak in the nuances, to let the mood sink in, and ultimately to journey to whatever place had been a stage to the drama of history, real or imaginary. It could also mean the quest for a visual equivalent to a beautiful line that sends the artist's heart aquiver.

Amid his sequence of photographs taken of the ancient path leading to a 12th-century emperor's burial ground in central China is one shot that features a motorcyclist. Whooshing into the frame from its left side, under the silent gaze of the tomb guards, the man and his mount constitute a worldly contrast to the site's other-worldly solemnity.

The pictures are mounted in the traditional Chinese format of an accordion fold album, and can thus be viewed one leaf at a time.

"The rhythm of viewing is suddenly interrupted when one arrives at this particular frame," Cherney says.

It will pick up with the next frame, but a jarring note has been dropped into the requiem of history.

A similar contrast occurred when Cherney, photographing in a Buddhist cave-dotted area in southwestern China, was led by a local cultural official into a common household nestled at the foot of a mountain. Through the front door and the living quarters, Cherney found himself standing in the middle of the family kitchen staring into a millennium-old stone carving on the rocky mountain slope that served as the kitchen's back wall.

"There it was, a carved Buddha presiding over a retinue of seasoning bottles placed horizontally on a shelf along the stone wall, face blackened by cooking," Cherney says. "My company told me that this was probably the best way to protect the carving without spending money - no one would run into another person's home and cut the Buddha's head off."

One of his most thoughtful bodies of work is of cranes in their endangered homeland in Poyang Lake in southern China. Cherney is equally inspired by a 17th-century Japanese painting and an ancient stone-carved piece of Chinese calligraphy, with deep cracks across the stele vaguely resembling birds spreading their wings.

And vague could be said of the elegant images, an effect achieved by excessive enlargement.

"The loss of detail is meant to invite interpretation from the viewer," says Cherney, who practices Chinese calligraphy himself.

"In this case it adds resonance: the original writing is the author's lamentation on the death of his crane, while mine is a pictorial epitaph to a divine creature that is losing their habitat."

Cherney's work "is done with the great sophistication that draws on the subtleties of China's most scholarly and esoteric traditions", said Jerome Silbergeld, professor of Chinese art history at Princeton University, where Cherney's works have gone on display.

In 2016 Cherney encountered a book titled The River, the Plain and the State. Written by Ling Zhang, history professor at Boston College, the book chronicles the flooding of the Yellow River, China's second-longest and one closely linked to the birth of Chinese civilization, during the country's Northern Song Dynasty between 1048 and 1128.

Intrigued, Cherney contacted the author, collected more information and read maps ancient and modern before starting work on what is known as his River Schema series. Photographing extensively along the river's middle reaches covering 1,200 kilometers, Cherney waded into the river of history long after the physical river had changed course, been tamed, or, in certain sections, dried up.

"Some areas once inundated are a great distance from where the river flows now, " Cherney says. "In addition to historical site, I also photographed locations that are of importance today, such as where the South-North Water Transfer Project intersects with the river," he says, referring to the controversial project aimed at diverting huge quantities of water from the Yangtze River, China's longest, in the south to Yellow River Basin in the arid north.

"I position my works somewhere between a poem and a document," he says.

While he has often worked "hard to crop away evidence of the present day to convey a sense of expansive nature", he has, on an equal number of occasions, chosen to retain vestiges of human activity within the unfurling wildness.

His Ten Thousand Li of the Yangtze River series, comprised of 42 pictures taken over five years, is a case in point. Standing in the small islet in the middle of the river is not a smattering of trees but densely packed skyscrapers. Yet with their sharp contour softened by the all-enveloping mist, the buildings seem to have merged with their surroundings, receding slowly into the background. Soon they will become history.

Here and there one discovers a half-built bridge, a giant mining pit interspersed with modern machinery, or a couple of dozen sand-drudging boats that lie idling on the quiet river the same way a raft might have done a few centuries back. The cacophony is toned down by the muted palette of black and white.

"I love to photograph places that have accumulated a great deal of history - my strongest works combine history's grandeur with an aesthetic that supports it," Cherney says. "Meanwhile I would also like to see evidence of something happening now, something that defines this particular moment in the continuum of history. This imbues my photographs with meaning."

The search for that meaning has been eventful.

In 1991 Cherney graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton with an East Asian history and language major. The next year he went to Beijing to study Chinese. "Soon after I was diagnosed with cancer and had to come back to the US for treatment. When I was cured and went back to China two years later I felt like I was going through a rebirth. And I wanted to really appreciate and observe life around me."

And observing life through a viewfinder seemed a natural choice, since around that time Cherney rediscovered the works of his late maternal grandfather, a photographer for the New York Daily News best known for his dramatically lit sports pictures.

One group of Cherney's earliest works involves a trip to a remote corner in Sichuan province in southwestern China, where the country's "last pony-express rider delivering mail on horseback to eight villages on round trips that took half a month to complete".

"The mountain was so steep and the rain so heavy that any road was washed away not long after it had been built. Today I still have the postal bag a rider gave me as a memento."

That experience culminated in a photo essay that was published in the Canadian travel magazine Outpost. "Usually there was an editor's note at the end of an essay telling readers how to get there. But with mine, the editor just dropped a line which effectively said: 'Don't bother!'"

In retrospect, the adventurous streak has always been there. But the narrative style has changed completely.

Each time after returning from his photographic travels and having the film developed, Cherney searched the film frame for qi (a Chinese term meaning spirit or energy). Qi is not the type of energy that animates a group of dancers, but one that invigorates the brushstrokes, painted or written.

This is usually separated from the clicking of the shutter by weeks or even months.

"Most Chinese painters did not do plein-air painting," Cherney says.

"After extensive travel they returned home to paint from memory. I choose whatever has stayed with me."

That memory is printed on Chinese rice paper and then mounted.

"The picture comes alive when the white comes through from behind," says Cherney, referring to the age-old Chinese practice of putting an extra layer of white paper at the back of the flimsy painting. He never digitally alters his photographs because they are "nature's gifts".

Most of Cherney's works are severely cropped, leaving a long horizontal slice that sometimes runs the visual gamut from dense to spartan. The inspiration comes from a hand scroll, which the artist deems emblematic of the Chinese way of seeing and storytelling.

"For centuries in the West, landscape painting has followed rules of fixed perspective. Instead of committing themselves to a linear perspective, ancient Chinese artists invite their viewers for a journey through a scroll, with changing views and shifting perspectives."

So the best way to appreciate a Cherney is to do what a member of the literati in ancient China did: to retreat to one's private chamber and have the scroll in hand revealed, bit by bit.

"What he's doing has enabled him to discover the literati deep inside himself," says Huang Dong, Cherney's Chinese wife of 26 years. The two first met on a train to the Great Wall in Beijing.

"I was then a student at Beijing Language and Culture University considering following in the footsteps of my father, a businessman who traded between the US and Asia," Cherney says. "These days my father often says, 'I don't quite understand what my son does exactly, but I'm proud of him.'"

At the end of each trip he returns home to Beijing, where the 50-year-old can hop into a taxi and give any young driver an education of the city's evolution over the past 30 years.

Cultural identity, art history, environmental commentary - Cherney's works are so topical that museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, have become his No 1 collectors.

Silbergeld, the Princeton professor, referring to Cherney using his Chinese name, says: "Qiu Mai's work is the cutting-edge demonstration of artistic globalization: if Asian artists can so readily 'come west', then what is it to prevent large numbers of future Western artists from 'going Asia'?"

Cherney's Chinese name means wheat in the autumn. For Chinese, wheat, bent under the weight of its ripened ears, is a symbol of humility. Humbled by "an artistic legacy under which one might teeter", as Cherney puts it, he nevertheless approaches the task with reverence and gusto.

And it is no coincidence that the Chinese saying he cherishes most comes from the mouth of a 14th-century painter-poet, talking about the journey of an artist, inside and out:

"I am a disciple of my mind, my mind of my eye, and my eye of the mountain."

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2019-09-07 07:28:29
<![CDATA[Getting off the beaten path can often lead to rich rewards]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508328.htm Many of us have memories of discovering secret places - either literal or imaginary - when we were growing up. They are places that often remain with us, places to which we can return in our minds, either to catch a break from hectic daily life or simply to revisit a joyful time or place.

One of the most memorable vacations I had as a child was a trip to Grand Bahama Island, one of the northernmost islands of the Bahamas and near Florida in the United States.

One afternoon, I found a secluded place along a sand dune, enclosed by palm trees and broadleafed sea grape shrubs.

No one could see me, though I could hear the sounds of sea gulls and ocean waves. It is a special memory that sparked an interest in the 18th-century novel Robinson Crusoe by British author Daniel Defoe about a castaway sailor who survives for years on a remote tropical island. I think it also helped propel me to explore far beyond my home in the US.

While we sometimes discover such places by accident, it usually takes at least a small measure of adventurous spirit to find them.

China is a wonderful place to make such discoveries, which we have done several times while living in Shanghai and Beijing. Even if the discoveries aren't exclusive, finding places that are not so obvious can be rewarding.

One of our favorite parks in Beijing is Huangcaowan Country Park, a great place for a bicycle trip out past the Fourth Ring Road. It is a little less manicured than other parks, but the trails are delightful and I've never seen it crowded. On a recent weekend, my wife wanted to get off one of the main trails paved with bricks and stone to see where a dirt trail would take us. (That's one reason we are so compatible!)

It looked like it might peter out beyond a bend that took it behind some trees. We passed a rough stretch of old paved walkway and then discovered a new trail, beautifully landscaped and skillfully paved with stones, between a canal and the walls of local business campuses and industries.

It stretched out for about 1 kilometer, and while there were a few others on the trail, it felt like our own secret place - a reward for getting off the beaten path, so to speak.

One of our favorite places in Shanghai is Zhujiajiao, a water town with a history of more than 1,700 years. The ancient town in Shanghai's suburbs has gotten more crowded, especially since the city's subway system was extended to the area. Passing through its narrow lanes can be a squeeze, especially on weekends and holidays.

But last time we went, we found a bed-and-breakfast far back in the maze of lanes, where tourists thin out and a better picture of real life on the ancient canals emerges.

The home we rented was old but comfortable, exactly what we wanted. We waved at a little girl and her mother enjoying the sunshine at an open window across the canal. The eateries and tea houses were often in the homes of the proprietors.

We'd see members of three generations of residents walking by or discussing a family issue outside our door - this was the genuine life of Zhujiajiao, undoubtedly unchanged for centuries.

Making wonderful memories like these is worth the extra effort to find them.

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2019-09-06 07:59:19
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508327.htm Asia's largest underground complex takes shape

Primary construction work on the massive Optics Valley Square, the largest underground urban complex in Asia, was completed on Sunday in Wuhan, Hubei province. Included in the construction project was the building of three subway lines and two utility tunnels, which created 1.8 million cubic meters of excavated soil. It's expected the daily passenger flow through the complex will reach 400,000. Zheng Guanghui, vice-general manager of the business department of Wuhan Metro, said construction work began at the end of 2014 and involved a total area of 146,000 square meters in floor space, equivalent to 21 standard football fields, with workers digging as deep as 34 meters.

The Queen's Corgi, is a special treat for dogs

More than 100 corgi owners have brought their dogs to a Harbin theater in Heilongjiang province to watch The Queen's Corgi. During the screening, many dogs appear transfixed by the animation, while others seem anxious in the surroundings. A man surnamed Meng said he organized the activity to raise awareness of dog training and well-trained dogs should be allowed into more public places to enjoy the surroundings.

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2019-09-06 07:59:19
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508326.htm Video: Humans share stage with virtual peers

The AI+Art Journey of Wonder in Shanghai last week featured performances that integrated artificial intelligence with modern dance and folk songs, as well as piano performances that were complemented with holograms and 3D images. Luo Tianyi, one of the most popular virtual idols developed by Yamaha in collaboration with Shanghai Henian Information Technology Co, was the co-host alongside compere Zhou Junfu. The highlight of the event was an Italian robot playing the piano while singing a song accompanied by real singers. Dai Xiaorong, a professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music who was the art director of the event, said that she found that AI can create more space and inspiration for artistic creation and bring the audience a unique experience that integrates art, science and technology.

Photos: Patrol robot debuts in Shanghai

Shanghai's first police patrol robot has made its debut on Nanjing Road, the city's major commercial thoroughfare. The robot has face recognition functions and can broadcast content and transfer on-site images in real time. A policeman with the East Nanjing Road Police Station said that it can patrol 24 hours a day. The robocop is equipped with four cameras, one infrared thermal imaging camera and one camera with changeable focal length, which has 360-degree vision that transmits footage to police in real time. In addition to surveillance, the robot also broadcasts safety tips to pedestrians.

Society: Farmer festival to promote agriculture

The second Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival will be celebrated nationwide on Sept 23, with a wide range of activities, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Major activities will include concerts, an agricultural cultural fair and training to help farmers better utilize smartphones. The 10 winners of the model farmers awards will also be unveiled, the ministry said. Local authorities are encouraged to celebrate the festival in ways that promote consumption of agricultural goods and services, develop rural industries and culture, and boost farmers' incomes.

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2019-09-06 07:59:19
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508325.htm Deling and Cixi

When: Sept 11-14, 7:30 pm; Sept 15, 2 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

The drama Deling and Cixi was first put on stage in Hong Kong in 1998 and has gained widespread acclaim from both audience and insiders.

Deling was a princess in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) who was brought up and educated in Europe. The drama tells a story about the conflict between Deling and Empress Dowager Cixi.

Goran Sollscher Guitar Recital

When: Sept 15, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Goran Sollscher is a Swedish award-winning virtuoso classical guitarist known for his broad range of musical interpretations, ranging from Bach to the Beatles. Sollscher's international career began during his education at the Royal Conservatory of Copenhagen in Denmark when at the age of 23 he won the Concours International de Guitare in Paris in 1978. He was signed by German record label Deutsche Grammophon, the largest label featuring classical guitarists.

Hamlet

When: Sept 21 and 22, 7:30 pm

Where: 1862 Theater, Shanghai

Set in Denmark, Shakespeare's best-known play depicts Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle, Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother.

Armazem Theater Company from Brazil showcases a Hamlet full of sound and fury. Hamlet no longer pretends madness, gains the stature of a non-hero, and becomes a character involved in a political game much bigger than him. Pressed against the wall, he absorbs the madness of his time and becomes a destructive, tormented, lethal subject.

The Three Body Problem: Remembrance of Earth's Past

When: Sept 26-28, 7:30 pm; Sept 28, 2 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Theater

The Three Body Problem drama is adapted from Liu Cixin's novel of the same name, the first Chinese science fiction winner of a Hugo Award for Best Novel. That was in 2016.

Motivated by pressure from fans of The Three Body Problem, the Lotus Lee Drama Company in Shanghai has invested more than 10 million yuan ($1.39 million) in the play.

It is a two-hour production made memorable with the help of 3D, holographic displays, drones and other stunning special effects.

Angel's Bone

When: Oct 18 and 19, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Poly Theater

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner Angel's Bone follows the plight of two fallen angels whose nostalgia for Earthly delights finds them far from heaven. They are found battered and bruised from their long journey by a man and his wife, who have longed for a better life than their modest middle-class status allows.

Nevertheless, the couple set out to nurse the wounded angels back to health: they bathe them, wash the dirt from their nails... then lock them in a room, leaving them a claw foot bathtub for a shared bed, and decide to exploit these magical beings for wealth and personal gains. Angel's Bone melds chamber music, theater, pop music, spoken word, opera, cabaret and electronics, exploring the dark effects and motivations behind modern-day slavery and the trafficking industry.

Le Rouge et Le Noir (French)

When: Oct 3-20, times vary

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Based on the French classic novel Le Rouge et Le Noir (The Red and the Black) by Stendhal, a pseudonym for Henri Beyle (1783-1842) considered the father of modern fiction, this rock opera is an adaptation by musical artist Francois Chouquet. It tells the story of a lowborn but ambitious young man in the Napoleonic era who seeks to rise beyond his station through a mixture of determination, deception, hard work and hypocrisy, as told through rock music, with all the accouterments of opera - big hair, big outfits, big vocals and 3D multimedia effects.

A live rock band provides the accompaniment for international hits such as La Gloire a mes Genoux and Dans le Noir je Vois Rouge. The show is in French, with Chinese subtitles.

Exchange

When: Nov 14-17, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Exchange is a collaboration between Cloud Gate Dance Theater and TAO Dance Theater. The last program Lin Hwaimin curates before his retirement from Cloud Gate broadens the horizons of the company and brings to its audience the unexpected and the enthralling. In addition to presenting his Autumn River, Lin invited two choreographers at their innovative heights - Tao Ye, the artistic director of TAO Dance Theater, and Cheng Tsung-lung, Lin's successor - to choreograph each other's troupes, culminating with Tao's 12, staged by Cloud Gate dancers and Cheng's Multiplication, performed by TAO dancers.

Blue Man Group in Beijing

When: Nov 27-Dec 1, Dec 3-5 and 8, 7:30 pm; Dec 1, 2:30 pm

Where: Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, Beijing

Blue Man Group is a performance art company formed in Brazil in 1987, known worldwide for its various stage productions which typically incorporate many different categories of music and art, both popular and obscure, in their performances. The crazy, colorful and cool performing arts phenomenon have performed for over 35 million people.

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2019-09-06 07:59:19
<![CDATA[The hand that's shocked and able]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508324.htm Chinese neurosurgeon, Tian Hong, is bringing his patients relief from debilitating motor function disorders with skill and compassion, Li Yingxue reports.

Li Xiaoyun, 62, lies awake, blinking, as doctor Tian Hong finishes drilling two holes in her skull.

Into both of the freshly-bored cavities, each about 14 millimeters in diameter, he gently inserts a 1.25 mm probe electrode.

 

Tian Hong performs a deep brain stimulation surgery on a patient. Photos Provided to China Daily

When the probe electrodes make contact with the brain nucleus, as planned, Tian turns on the power. Suddenly, the tremor in Li's hands, an affliction from which she's suffered for nearly 20 years, just stops and her hands lie still for the first time in decades.

Before surgery, Tian had asked Li to complete a series of seemingly everyday tasks, which, because of her shaking hands, proved to be insurmountable challenges. They included holding a glass of liquid, writing her name and touching her fingertip to his.

Now, Tian asks Li to poke a chopstick into the opening of a small bottle, something which until minutes ago would have been an impossible task. But now? Slowly, but steadily, she manages to do so.

Tian instructs her to count aloud from one to five and to perform a few other simple tasks, just to make sure her other functions are not being affected by the electrodes, while in the background a monitor frantically displays the signals emanating from them.

The four-hour operation continues as Tian signals to her anesthetist to put Li to sleep for the next partthe installation of permanent electrodes, their extension wire and an internal pulse generator.

Without the need for further incisions, Tian is able to insert all three components into the sleeping Lithe wire runs under her skin, down along her neck and is linked to the generator, which is placed just below the clavicle.

One month later, with her daughter Jin Jin, Li returns to Tian's office at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing's Chaoyang district. The device was not switched on immediately after the surgery to give the brain time to recover from the minor wounds inflicted during surgery. That means Li's hands still shake, for the next few moments, at least.

After assessing data from her operation, and adjusting the settings of the implanted device accordingly via a remote control, Tian presses the power button.

Immediately, her hands stop shaking. Tian once again asks Li to write down her name, and her handwriting is close to perfect. Then the chopstick test is passed with flying colors as Li, with the adroitness of her youth, successfully picks up a small pill with the bamboo implements.

"It is a miracle!" Jin exclaims, with tears in her eyes, "a real medical miracle."

"Watching doctor Tian change the parameters of the device was just like watching him change the channel of a television. When he found the right channel, the miracle happened," Jin recalls.

After witnessing her hardship for the past 20 years, Jin was so excited to see her mother's steady hands working as they used to.

"At first, it was just one of her hands that started shaking, so she trained herself to use the other hand to eat. This disease developed slowly, but in the past three years, it gradually took over both of them, and then her head and, eventually, she could not eat by herself anymore," says Jin.

"My dad and I had to take turns to feed her each meal. My mom is tough, though, and she would not let us help her get dressed, even though it took her a long time to manage with the tremors in her hands," says Jin.

In Kunming, Yunnan province, Jin had consulted with many local hospitals and tried different medicines, but no doctor gave a confirmed diagnosis of her mother's condition, which gradually worsened.

In April, Jin's sister saw an online video of Tian performing brain surgery on a 69-year-old man from Dezhou, Shandong province, curing his shaking hands. She immediately forwarded the video to Jin. It was clear then that Tian was Li's best hope of a rescue from the grip of this debilitating illness.

Associate chief physician at the neurosurgery department of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Tian specializes in diagnosing and treating epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.

After studying Li's symptoms, Tian suggested that Jin bring her mother to Beijing for a more detailed examination.

"Doctor Tian diagnosed my mom with essential tremor and suggested the deep brain stimulation procedure and the electrode implants," says Jin.

Surgery always carries risk and none more so than brain surgery. Tian was careful to lay the dangers out for Li and Jin.

"Unlike a routine surgery, such as removing a tumor, DBS is a functional surgery which carries the risk that the patient may lose some essential functions after surgery. It's more of an exploratory procedure," says Tian.

According to Tian, unlike surgery that save people's lives, DBS surgery simply aims to improve the patient's quality of life, noting that, "because movement disorders are not fatal, the patient has to decide whether they want to take the risk or not."

Tian says that, because most of the movement disorder patients he treats have suffered with their respective conditions for years, many have developed mental disorders as a result. Equally, family members who've witnessed the deterioration of their loved ones, and have to care for them, often manifest mental and emotional complaints as well.

"Sometimes neurologists also have to act as psychiatrists, especially before surgery," says Tian.

After weighing up the pros and cons, the chance of having her normal life back was too great a reward, so Li opted for surgery.

"My confidence in the surgery came from Tian. He is passionate and professional, and he is gentle and kind to all of his patients. We are lucky to have met him," says Jin.

Preparation for surgery is key, as Tian needs to locate the nidus of the condition. It goes without saying that the brain is a complicated organ, with a network of millions of cells and neurons. Locating the root of the problem, therefore, is not always that easy. Tian needs to use a combination of experience and technology to detect it.

"The nidus is like an enemy that has disguised itself and infiltrated an army unit," says Tian. "What's more, it has made itself so integral to the working of the unit, that if you take it down, you need to have a good one to take its place."

The electrode is that replacement and the success of the surgery relies on finding the exact position to place the electrode - in this case, nuclei around 5 mm in diameter.

"It's not just about managing to hit the target. You have to hit the bull's-eye," says Tian.

After Tian is happy the device works normally, he gives Jin leave to take her mother home to Kunming to recuperate. One of the tolls taken on Li's body by the condition, however, is that the years of shaking has sapped the strength in her arms, so she needs more time to recover. She also has to avoid the induction cooker because of its magnetic field, and be wary of thunderstorms.

"Compared to not being able to fend for herself these inconveniences are a small price to pay. The recovery process is worth it as she is getting better," says Jin.

The battery powering the device planted in Li's brain will last for at least 20 years, and each year, Li will need to visit Tian for a brief review, but that is all. Tian is also able to monitor Li's electrodes remotely and adjust their parameters as necessary.

Before her condition took hold, Li used to help out in the cafeteria of a local school and was a good cook. Jin has missed her mother's cooking, especially her fried chili with pork, and she hopes that, in the future, she'll be able to enjoy her mom's cooking once again - as long as it's done on a good old gas stove, of course.

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2019-09-06 07:59:00
<![CDATA[The brains of the operation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508323.htm

Aug 19 is the second Chinese Doctors' Day. Tian Hong, associate chief physician at the neurosurgery department of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, spends his morning with outpatients and his evening performing brain surgery.

"The surgery went well, and that is my way to celebrate the doctors' day," Tian writes on his WeChat moments.

It is a regular day for himbesides taking on new patients, each week he will prepare for and perform around three or four brain surgeries.

Growing up in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the 44-year-old did his master's degree in neurosurgery at Norman Bethune Health Science Center of Jilin University in Changchun, Jilin province.

"I found it interesting studying the brain. I was impressed by a surgery where the patient remained awake while a tumor was being removed because the surgeon needed to check whether there was an effect on his brain functions," Tian says.

In 2011, he was the visiting scholar at Barrow Neurological Institute in United States and he joined the China-Japan Friendship Hospital's neurology department in 2014.

Now, Tian specializes in diagnosing and treating epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. He has successfully performed hundreds of brain surgeries, especially deep brain stimulation, a neurosurgical procedure involving the placement of a medical device called a neurostimulator in the brain to treat Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.

Besides treating patients and exploring new solutions to movement disorders, Tian is also keen to educate the public more about epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

"All of these disorders need to be diagnosed by neurologists," Tian says.

Tian thinks epilepsy is a public health issue."People always have a misunderstanding of epilepsy. Some think it cannot be treated, and others are afraid of those who suffer from it, but they should not be discriminated against," says Tian.

"On the other hand, some people do not pay enough attention to sufferers of the condition. They should not drive or swim, because an attack when driving or swimming will not only put their lives in danger, but also the lives of others."

Tian thinks people should learn to treat epilepsy in an emergency situation, because if an attack lasts for more than five minutes, the patient's life will be in danger.

According to Tian, of all 5 million Parkinson's disease sufferers in the world, China accounts for more than 2.2 million of them, and it's a disease that people should pay more attention to in their elderly parents.

"Even though we do not know the real cause of Parkinson's disease, we can control the disease with medicine, and if it gets too bad, surgery can also help to improve the quality of life of the sufferer," says Tian.

Looking at his phone he notices that someone had commented on his WeChat post.

It is from the daughter of one of his patients and it reads: "Thanks for your hard work! Get some rest!"

It was the best Doctors' Day gift he could have received.

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2019-09-06 07:59:00
<![CDATA[NCPA drama set for anniversary debut]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508322.htm To mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the National Center for the Performing Arts will premiere its new play The Crossroad in Beijing on Oct 2.

Following the fortunes of four soldiers serving with the Northwest Field Army, one of the main forces of the People's Liberation Army during China's War of Liberation (1946-49), the production is based on real-life stories from the battlefield, according to Zhao Tiechun, vice-president of the NCPA.

Zhao says it took the NCPA two years to prepare the script for the play, which will run through Oct 6.

"We revised the script six times, and the play is now set against the backdrop of the winter of 1948. To collect historical material and learn more about the real stories of the soldiers and their families, we had to travel to many cities in China, including Huai'an and Nanjing in Jiangsu province," says the play's scriptwriter Li Baoqun in Beijing. "These heroes fulfilled their obligations and showed their loyalty to the country. We pay tribute to them while celebrating the birthday of the nation with this play."

The Crossroad opens with the scene of a blizzard hitting areas near the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers, where a decisive battle is about to take place. The stage set, says designer Zhang Wu, will feature many metallic elements - from "flying bullets" to railway tracks.

The lead actors include 61-year-old Wu Jing'an, who plays the role of Zhang Yuefeng. The award-winning actor is known for his work in both film and TV dramas.

"Zhang Yuefeng is a brave soldier, who encourages other soldiers to fight amid the flames of war," says Wu during a recent rehearsal of the play at the NCPA. "A man has to make choices at all times. During those war years, making a choice was a serious issue. He lived on the battlefield and had to make a choice between his family and his duty."

Other cast members include actors Hong Tao, Zong Ping and young actors from the NCPA Drama Ensemble.

"When you watch a play in the theater, you either get something new, which you don't know, or get something old, which you may have already forgotten. In the case of The Crossroad, we wanted to show the audience something from the past, which may not be familiar to younger theatergoers," says director Gao Xiaodong.

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2019-09-06 07:59:00
<![CDATA[Mystic charm]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508321.htm Yunggie Ma, whose music is inspired by Monba folk culture, is set to perform at the Stallion World Music Festival, Chen Nan reports.

When Yunggie Ma entered the room, she immediately made an impression on the audience. It might have been her waist-long hair or her bohemian dress. When she started to sing, people applauded her powerful voice. The soft-spoken 33-year-old ethnic Monba singer asked them: "What did you see through my chanting?"

"I saw tropical rainforests," said an audience member. "I saw mountains," replied another.

"I am glad that the melody took you on different journeys," Yunggie Ma replied. She was performing in Chengdu, Sichuan province, and announced her upcoming shows, set to take place there and in Shanghai.

Entitled Lotus Secret Concert, the shows are part of the Stallion World Music Festival, which will be held in the two cities over Sept 13-15, featuring Spanish singer-songwriter Ana Alcaide, a 13-piece Japanese orchestra, Turtle Island, and a Grammy-winning band from France called Deep Forest.

Yunggie Ma now lives in Shanghai. She was born in Nyingchi in the Tibet autonomous region. Her music is inspired by folk stories of the Monba ethnic group. Many of her songs are dedicated to her hometown. During the shows this month, she will rearrange old hits as well as perform new songs adapted from Monba folk music.

"Most of the Monba folk stories and songs are related to the Monba migration story dating back about 400 years and the ethnic group's connection with nature," she says.

"My roots are the source of my inspiration."

Yunggie Ma left her hometown in 2005 to study film and theater at the Communication University of China in Beijing. The Monba influence in her life continued. In 2010, after the Galongla Tunnel, a difficult part of the Medog highway project in Tibet, was completed, she traveled to Medog county, which is under the administration of Nyingchi city, to learn more about her community.

With a population of around 10,000, mostly made up of the Monba and Lhoba ethnic groups, Medog is located on the southern slope of the Himalayas.

In 2013, the highway opened to traffic, linking the outside world with the remote county.

"My grandparents told me a lot of stories about the Monba people - this has been like a seed growing in my heart," she says, adding that she often listens to folk songs sung by her grandmother that she had recorded using her phone.

During a trip to Medog, she learned that the county's other name, Baimagang, means "a hidden lotus flower", which is mysterious and isolated from the outside world. Inspired by such journeys, Yunggie Ma released her debut album, Lament for the World of Suffering: The Sacred Land of the Lotus, in 2016.

All six songs are performed in the Monba language, which she learned as a child from her grandparents.

Elegy, for example, is a song about some young geese crying for their dead mother. The pilgrims passing by are touched by their plight and begin to chant hymns. Get Together is a song that her grandmother sang before family reunion dinners.

"When you listen to her songs, you can 'see' the blue sky, high mountains and animals living in her hometown. With her music, you can also explore the mysterious world of the Monba people," says Song Yuzhe, a self-taught musician who blends traditional Chinese and contemporary music.

In 2009, Yunggie Ma joined Dawanggang, a Beijing band founded by Song. After three years with the band, she left to discover more about herself, Monba music and her ancestors' history.

Yunggie Ma made her first breakthrough after performing on reality TV shows, such as CCTV's Youth Singer Competition and Chinese Idol, a local version of the American and British shows.

Despite her popularity, Yunggie Ma withdrew from the limelight. In 2014, she gave birth to a girl. She wrote a song, Let's Fly in the Water, as a gift to her daughter when she turned 1 year old. While she now lives in Shanghai, Yunggie Ma visits her remote hometown every year along with her daughter.

"My voice is a gift from my ancestors. They have given me faith and energy."

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2019-09-06 07:59:00
<![CDATA[Malaysian chef offers up a bite of Baba Nyonya culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508320.htm KUALA LUMPUR - One weekend in the kitchen of her restaurant during the early hours of the morning, Karen Tee Kwee Ling is busy preparing cakes for her hordes of breakfast customers.

Tee, along with her mother Linda Yau Sew Luan and several other workers, turn out hundreds of traditional cakes and desserts, collectively known as kuih to Malaysians, but the infusion of unique ingredients from her "Baba Nyonya" background makes her handmade confections stand out from the rest.

The Baba Nyonya are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay Peninsula centuries ago and have developed a unique culture, blending Chinese and Malay elements.

"The taste is different, the ingredients are different - these are not typical cakes. We have a particular flavor that we prefer, lots of screw pine goes into the process," she explains.

The popularity of Tee's cakes and deserts lies in the recipes that were passed down through her family. Her grandmother started making kuih for local coffee shops in Tampin, a small town 120 kilometers from the capital of Kuala Lumpur, in the late 1940s.

Tee's mother Yau learned all the secrets in the family kitchen, before opening her own restaurant in Tampin.

It was Tee who brought the family flavor to Kuala Lumpur. Tee has been making various kinds of kuih since her childhood, having learned the recipes from her grandmother and mother, a fact demonstrated by her ability to prepare 50 cakes in just 10 minutes.

Tee focuses on three types of kuih. The first one is the angku, or red tortoise cake, a small oval-shaped Chinese pastry with soft sticky glutinous rice flour skin, wrapped around a sweet filling. It is molded to resemble a tortoise shell and presented resting on a square piece of banana leaf, typically marked with the Chinese character for longevity.

Her other specialty is koci, a type of dumpling found in Malay cuisine, which has a skin made from glutinous rice flour and is stuffed with coconut and palm sugar.

"We make the traditional koci, not just the usual type with black glutinous rice, but also the original blue version with coconut and sesame filling. Not many people make it now as you have to dye the skin using blue pea (ternatea) petals.

The ingredient is expensive to buy, so she grows her own, along with curry leaves and other ingredients from her hometown in Tampin.

The last is chai kuih, a savory dumpling with plain white skin that has a filling of dried prawns.

All three types of dumplings are cooked for between 10 and 15 minutes in a steamer capable of handling 400 pieces at a time, before being placed on banana leaves, or wrapped in them as in the case of koci.

Tee's restaurant specializes in Baba Nyonya style cooking, using aromatic screw pine leaves as well as lemon grass, lime leaves and curry leaves - lending the dishes a sharp and tangy flavor not usually found in Malaysian fare.

Tee was proud of the special Baba Nyonya flavor she inherited from her family, but for her, it was not only the recipe that was passed down from one generation to the next, but also the techniques for making the cakes.

"My grandmother and mother taught me to prepare my food with honesty and patience, to use the purest ingredients to hand, and to ensure what I make will satisfy my customers," she says as she works on shaping and filling the cakes.

Xinhua

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2019-09-06 07:59:00
<![CDATA[Revisiting a forgotten passion]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508319.htm Piano schools for the elderly are offering many a chance to reignite their love for a musical instrument that was once considered a luxury item that few could afford, Zhou Wenting reports.

Zhang Lingxin, a 65-year-old retired school teacher in Shanghai, can now play two piano songs, Auld Lang Syne and Butterfly Lovers, or Liang Zhu, the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet, after learning the piano for two years.

"I loved music when I was a little girl and learning to play the piano was my childhood dream. But having a piano was a luxury back then. Very few families could afford one," Zhang says.

"Now, when I get the chance to play the piano, I feel that my childhood dream has finally come true. The children of today may not feel the same way," she says.

 

Students at the Hubei University for the Elderly learn to play piano in Wuhan. China's strong presence in the piano manufacturing industry makes the instrument more affordable, and many elderly citizens have decided to pursue their love of music. Cheng Min / Xinhua

 

Two decades ago, Shanghai became the country's first city where community schools offered piano lessons to the elderly. Every year, nearly 2,000 piano classes are organized. According to official statistics, about 100,000 senior citizens have participated in these classes.

Lyu Lunyu from the teaching department of the administration of Shanghai's community schools for the elderly says that most of the senior citizens in these classes never had the chance to learn the piano during their youth.

"A very small number of them learned piano for a short time during their childhood or teenage years but stopped as the parents didn't believe that it was a worthwhile pursuit," he says.

Although she thoroughly enjoys playing the piano, Zhang lamented that she is not able to pick up the discipline as quickly as she would like. She says she envies how quickly her grandson has progressed since he started to learn the piano two years ago at the age of 6.

"Playing the piano is about having the mind process a piano score before sending signals to our 10 fingers. But for us the elderly, the whole process is very much slower. Very often when I focus on my right hand, my left hand goes idle," she says.

Zhang pays only 200 yuan ($28) per semester to attend a two-hour piano class at a community elderly school once a week. Most of the students at this school, she says, are aged between 60 and 80 and have little or no experience in playing music. These elderly students start by learning the basics, such as the proper way to sit and hand gestures, and practice for at least two hours a day. Assignments are given during each class to help students execute what they have learned.

Zhang says that it is common for elderly people to forget what the teacher taught during the class the moment they arrive home. As such, they need to take extra measures to ensure they don't fall behind.

"As soon as I get home, I would practice repeatedly what the teacher taught so that I don't forget. Such perseverance also comes from the happiness and sense of achievement of mastering new skills and not setting limits for ourselves. It is very satisfying when we can interpret a piece very smoothly or play a song without stopping," she says.

Piano educators from around the world have said that learning the piano is an activity that only becomes common when a society has achieved a certain level of prosperity. Some experts have also pointed out that China's strong presence in the piano manufacturing industry in recent years has also provided its citizens with more opportunities to purchase higher quality pianos.

"Over the past decade, a lot of good piano makers have come into being in China and this has made pianos more affordable, in turn allowing many people to own one at home and enjoy playing music by themselves," says Maxim Mogilevsky, a pianist from Russia.

"Earlier this year, the International Tchaikovsky Competition used a Chinese brand of piano for the first time. Many participants said they loved the sound and wanted to buy the Yangtze River pianos. Meanwhile, the number of imported pianos for China is rising dramatically," he adds.

Ma Runqiu, 62, first learned the piano in her 30s when she sent her son for piano lessons. She says that she even made the effort to observe her son during lessons and book separate sessions for herself.

However, due to work commitments, Ma had to stop learning the piano after a year. Her son also stopped playing the piano after learning it for two years.

"But whenever I saw the piano at home, I felt like it was constantly reminding me to start learning again," she says.

Ma only did so after retiring seven years ago. In mid-August, she won a seat in the national final for the senior group at the 12th Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition - a special section dedicated to elderly piano players - where she went on to win second prize.

She confesses that she didn't take the piano seriously before because she believed that it was only meant for children and young people.

"I only changed my mind when I had an opportunity to perform onstage for our community. This made me believe that we should treat it seriously as piano playing is so elegant," she says.

Zhu Yafen, a renowned piano educator and the former dean of the piano department at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, says some of the elderly piano learners at the school were people who took piano lessons when they were young but stopped because of work commitments.

"A true love of music is like a true friendship - it will withstand the test of time," she says.

Contact the writer at zhouwenting@chinadaily.com.cn

Proof of music as a health remedy

Russian Pianist Maxim Mogilevsky says that music is a unique universal language that has been scientifically proven to stimulate the production of dopamine, one of the chemicals in the brain that induces happiness.

"When you are playing music, it is healing your soul and body," he says.

That was exactly the case of Jin Yan, a 57-year-old retired bank clerk in Shanghai, who says that it was the piano that lifted her out of depression after she was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago.

"My sister encouraged me to take piano lessons together. She hoped that it could be a way for me to find happiness again while getting some exercise after the surgery," she says.

"Those pleasant piano tunes reminded me of the happy times from my early childhood days when my parents would sing the same tunes to me. This helped me to pull through that dark period in my life," says Jin.

Mo Zhiyong, 68, is another person who can attest how learning the piano can lift a person's mood and provide health benefits. Mo suffered from a cerebral ischemic stroke five years ago and has since been practicing the piano for an hour every day for four years to improve his motor skills.

"I just didn't want my child to worry about my health and I took the doctor's advice. Gradually I found practicing playing the piano also cured my forgetfulness and my memory is now better than several years ago," says the Shanghai native.

He says jokingly that he chose to learn to play the piano rather than play mahjong as the former is more meaningful.

He says that some of his peers have also been learning the piano in an attempt to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

"We believe that the more we exercise with our minds and hands, the more we can mitigate the effects of aging," he says.

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2019-09-06 07:59:00
<![CDATA[Vehicle of design philosophy makes stop on the Bund]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/06/content_37508318.htm The Bauhaus caravan arrived at the Bund Finance Center in Shanghai on Aug 24 to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Hochschule fur Gestaltung, the first modern design college in the world.

Located in Germany, the college is now called the Bauhaus-Universitat Weimar. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the Bauhaus caravan started its 10-month global tour in January.

Designed by German architect Van Bo Le Mentzel, the caravan features more than 40 Bauhaus art books and has already been to cities such as Dessau and Berlin in Germany and Kinshasa in Congo. Its China tour started in Shandong province on May 26 and will include stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing.

"The purpose of the tour is to spread the Bauhaus design concept. We want to let the public understand the value and significance of design and encourage designers to rethink their position and future value to society," says Chi Wei, the founder of the +86 Design Sharing Platform.

According to Chi, who is also the initiator of the Bauhaus tour, the Deutscher Werkbund, a German association of artists, used to drive the caravan to factories and cities to discuss what society needed to do to prepare for the arrival of the Industrial Age. All the predictions about modern society and industrialization that were proposed by the experts from Bauhaus eventually became reality.

Today, the Bauhaus caravan tour continues to invite well-known scholars and designers, including the dean of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and a design consultant to the Palace Museum, to come into the caravan and discuss the relationship between art, science and human ecology over the next 100 years.

"Through the collision of ideas, discussions will help to build a design school that is open to the public, spreads the value of ideas, and triggers social interaction," Chi says.

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2019-09-06 07:59:00
<![CDATA[Of bulls, bears and stags in choppy global markets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508045.htm If you are an avid follower of what is right now happening in stock markets around the world, you may perhaps say Mark Twain's famous quote is not wide of the mark: "October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February."

I am not a votary of Twain or, for that matter, P.G.Wodehouse who insisted that "You have to speculate if you want to accumulate". The reason is not far to seek as investing in the stocks is not exactly my cup of tea.

So, I was a bit taken aback when I chanced upon an e-mail from an old acquaintance in Hong Kong prodding me to invest in the Chinese stock markets as it offered excellent, never-seen-before returns on investment.

Though a business journalist with more than three decades of experience under my belt, covering both the stock and commodity markets extensively, I have never been an investor in them myself, partly due to conflict of interest and also because I did not have enough capital to even consider such investments. I was also puzzled as sentiment about the capital market was not exactly high due to lingering geopolitical uncertainties.

M. Manikandan, a capital market investor and my old friend from Chennai often used to say investing in the capital markets was akin to gambling. "There is something called lady luck or beginner's luck that sucks you in. After the first flush, you are hooked and your ambitions keep climbing to a point of no return. There comes a time when you become a hopeless addict."

Yet, I have often wondered why is that there is so much interest in Chinese stocks and related investments, considering that up until now very little of the huge market was open to international investors. But recent indications that the government wanted more overseas participation and the fact that Chinese stocks were one of the best performing in the world this year have triggered renewed interest among the investor community.

Foreign investors are believed to have pumped in $18 billion in Chinese stocks during the first two months of this year, according to data from French investment bank BNP Paribas. Although A-share holdings by foreign investors are still not that big, it is set to change after its weighting increases in key emerging market gauges, experts said.

David Millhouse, head of China research at Forsyth Barr Asia Ltd, an investment firm in Hong Kong, told me that though the trade friction is unfortunate and creates challenges for investors, the Chinese capital markets are still a very important and growing part of global investors' portfolios.

"The China Securities and Regulatory Commission has done a commendable job of improving capital market regulations in recent years, and also improving corporate disclosure. Additionally, reform initiatives like the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock connect programs have made investing in China's stock markets significantly easier for international funds," he said.

"I believe China will continue to push forward with opening-up and reforming their financial markets, and this will drive foreign interest regardless of short term trade-related volatility," he said.

Alexander Treves, investment specialist, emerging markets and Asia-Pacific equities at J.P. Morgan Asset Management believed that investors could expect another generation of transformational earnings growth ahead, along with rising valuations that more fully reflect the positive changes in China, which was not always the case in the past.

Treves said that until recently, domestic growth and market performance were de-linked. Most investors did not have access to the most dynamic, highest growth parts of the market. Shares available to international investors were predominantly in State-owned enterprises listed offshore in Hong Kong.

"Today, although China's overall growth may be slowing, foreign investors have more opportunities to capture structural growth in the consumer, healthcare and IT sectors. As the traditional sectors (energy, telecom, utilities and financials) have receded in importance, internet retailers, media and software companies have come to the fore - an evolution we believe is still in its early stages," he said.

Kai Kong Chay, senior portfolio manager for China equities at Manulife Investment Management, the global wealth and asset management unit of Canada-based Manulife Financial Corp, said in a commentary that when the fog of uncertainty stemming from policies by the United States finally dissipates, significant opportunities will emerge for global investors in China.

"We believe the bifurcation of global technological supply chains into two camps - the US and China - is a real possibility that may potentially bring about short-term pain, but also serve as a long-term catalyst for Chinese companies to boost their competitiveness on a more urgent timeline," he said.

All said, the stock market is indeed a barometer to gauge which way the economy is headed. It does not matter whether you are a bull, bear or a stag!

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2019-09-05 07:43:15
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508044.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Sept 5, 1983, the country's then biggest water diversion project, which directed water from the Luanhe River in Hebei province to Tianjin, a major port and industrial city, started operations, as seen in the item from China Daily.

The project aimed to put an end to Tianjin's reliance on the salty Haihe River for drinking water. Its water supply distance has extended to 234 kilometers, and the amount available to about 2 billion cubic meters.

Water diversion projects have played an important role in easing water shortages.

The South-to-North Water Diversion Project carries 9.5 billion cubic meters of water every year through canals and pipes from the Danjiangkou reservoir in Hubei province to Henan and Hebei provinces as well as Tianjin and Beijing.

Thanks to the project, water resources in Beijing have been recovering, with the underground water level rising since 2016.

The project, proposed in 1952 and approved by the State Council in 2002, aims to optimize water resources using three main routes - the east, middle and west - designed to take water from the lower, middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze.

The first stage of the east route began operations in 2013, sending water to Shandong province.

In 2014, the middle route started transferring water to areas in North China including Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province.

The central authorities decided in 2014 to establish 172 major water conservation projects. As of last year, 134 have been approved, while 132 have started construction, including 23 that have been completed.

The investment in the ongoing construction of water conservation projects has exceeded 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion).

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2019-09-05 07:43:15
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508043.htm Inventor dons jet suit to fly letter over open water

It's not usually regarded as the most exciting job, but one postman has spiced up his delivery thanks to a jet-powered suit. British inventor Richard Browning donned an Iron Man-like suit to fly a letter 1.3 kilometers from Hampshire to the Isle of Wight this week - over open water. The incredible feat was inspired by German entrepreneur Gerhard Zucker, who tried to send post by rocket to the Isle of Wight in 1934. While Zucker's attempt failed, Browning's flight was a resounding success. His suit contains five turbines that run on jet fuel, giving him more than 1,000 brake horsepower.

Students set record for Dutch-style skips

Three students from a Shanghai middle school have set a new Guinness World Record for double Dutch-style rope skips with 143 jumps in 30 seconds. Huang Junkai, Jiang Dali and Jin Zhenyu, all from No 3 Middle School, set the record on a China Central Television program called First Class, aired to usher in the new school year. The three set the previous record two years ago with 133 skips.

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2019-09-05 07:43:15
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508042.htm Reading: Czech writer's books now in Chinese

The Chinese version of a short novel collection by renowned Czech writer Zdenek Sverak has been released. The collection embodies four books, including Female Audience and Missing Love. The writer's 19 most important short novel pieces were selected, including the original story that was the basis for the film Kolya, which won the best foreign-language Academy Award in 1997. Sverak is one of the best-known names in Czech cinema. He is an actor and screenwriter and didn't begin writing novels until he was 72. What highlights his literary works is inspirations from mundane daily life, and then casting a humorous and warm perspective on imperfect everyday trivia. His books are so well-received among Czech readers that 1 million copies have been sold.

Theater: Gemini Man set for sliver screen

Gemini Man, a US science fiction action film directed by Oscar award-winning director Ang Lee, is set to hit Chinese theaters on Oct 18. The movie stars Will Smith as Henry Brogan. He is an aging assassin who tried to get out of the business but finds himself in the ultimate battle: fighting his own clone who is 25 years younger than him and at the peak of his abilities. Lee won the Academy Award for Best Director twice, in 2013 for Life of Pi and in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain.

Travel: Destinations for Mid-Autumn holiday

As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, vacations are being planned. Falling on Sept 13, it's one of the most important traditional Chinese festivals. In ancient China, emperors offered sacrifices to the moon in autumn and to the sun in spring. Later aristocrats and literary figures helped to expand the ceremonies to the common people. Nowadays, eating mooncakes and family gatherings are customary. Over the three-day holiday next week, many will travel back to their hometowns. Our website selected 12 destinations from home and abroad for your reference.

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2019-09-05 07:43:15
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508041.htm Swan Lake

When: Sept 5-8, 7:30 pm; Sept 7, 2:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake returns with a fresh look for the 21st century.

Retaining all the iconic elements of the original production loved by millions around the world, Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherson (set and costumes) and Paule Constable (lighting) create an exciting re-imagining of the classic production.

Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotional, Bourne's Swan Lake is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corpsde-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.

Collecting more than 30 international theater awards including an Olivier in the United Kingdom and three Tony Awards on Broadway, Bourne's powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky's beloved tale is a passionate and contemporary Swan Lakef or our times.

Queen Real Tribute: Bohemian Rhapsody

When: Sept 7, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Exhibition Center Theater

Queen Real Tribute, a band established in April 2006, is composed of professional musicians who played in Europe with the famous stars of Queen.

They are not only great musicians but big fans, so they started to play Queen songs to preserve the memory of one of the greatest rock bands of all time, with its phenomenal singer Freddie Mercury.

During 2007 and 2008, Queen Real Tribute performed numerous concerts around Eastern Europe and soon became one of the biggest Queen tribute bands in the world.

At the end of 2008, it recorded a live DVD video, Magic Rhapsody. The lead guitarist uses the same type of guitar as Queen's Brian May, and also plays using coins, which produces the uniquely Queenesque guitar tone. The band's lead singer wears clothes like Mercury's, and copies his moves.

The Chainsmokers: 2019 Live in Shanghai

When: Sept 10, 8 pm

Where: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai

Alex Pall and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers have evolved into a dominating musical force with a diverse repertoire of songs that have led them to become one of music's hottest recording acts. Their signature sound deftly reaches across the indie, progressive and pop realms.

The duo's evolution as producers and songwriters has seen them develop some of the biggest breakthrough songs over the course of the last few years. In 2016, they catapulted to worldwide stardom with three certified multiplatinum hits. Roses from their gold-certified debut EP, Bouquet, became a platinum smash that shot to the top of Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart and Don't Let Me Down, which is included on the duo's second platinum-selling EP Collage, made the top 5 in the Billboard Hot 100. The duo won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording for the track at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Hamlet

When: Sept 21 and 22, 7:30 pm

Where: 1862 Theater, Shanghai

Set in Denmark, Shakespeare's best-known play depicts Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle, Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother.

Armazem Theater Company from Brazil showcases a Hamlet full of sound and fury. Hamlet no longer pretends madness, gains the stature of a non-hero, and becomes a character involved in a political game much bigger than him. Pressed against the wall, he absorbs the madness of his time and becomes a destructive, tormented, lethal subject.

Le Rouge et Le Noir: L'Opera Rock (French)

When: Oct 3-20, times vary

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Based on the French classic novel Le Rouge et Le Noir (The Red and the Black) by Stendhal, the pseudonym for Henri Beyle (1783-1842), and father of modern fiction, this rock opera tells the story of a lowborn but ambitious young man in the Napoleonic era.

He seeks to rise beyond his station through a mixture of determination, deception, hard work and hypocrisy, as told through rock music, with all the accouterments of opera - big hair, big outfits, big vocals and 3D multimedia effects.

A live rock band provides the accompaniment for international hits such as La Gloire a mes Genoux and Dans le Noir je Vois Rouge.

The show is in French, with Chinese subtitles.

Exchange

When: Nov 14-17, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Exchange is a collaboration between Cloud Gate Dance Theater and TAO Dance Theater. The last program Lin Hwaimin curates before his retirement from Cloud Gate broadens the horizons of the company and brings to its audience the unexpected and the enthralling.

In addition to presenting his Autumn River, Lin invited two choreographers at their innovative heights - Tao Ye, the artistic director of TAO Dance Theater, and Cheng Tsung-lung, Lin's successor - to choreograph each other's troupes, culminating with Tao's 12, staged by Cloud Gate dancers and Cheng's Multiplication, performed by TAO dancers.

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2019-09-05 07:43:15
<![CDATA[Shores of sustainability]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508040.htm Not all human effort yields an immediate effect, and when it comes to environmental protection, it's clear that for any endeavor to succeed, there must be a communal will to persevere.

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Following President Xi Jinping's visit to Erhai Lake in 2015, local officials and residents teamed up to tackle pollution and restore the ecosystem at the Yunnan beauty spot, Fang Aiqing reports.

Editor's Note: As the People's Republic of China prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Oct 1, China Daily is featuring a series of articles about regions that President Xi Jinping visited in recent years. They explore what has happened since.

Not all human effort yields an immediate effect, and when it comes to environmental protection, it's clear that for any endeavor to succeed, there must be a communal will to persevere.

In the case of the Dali Bai autonomous prefecture, where tourism income reached 79.5 billion yuan ($11.1 billion) last year, the protection of Erhai Lake and its poetic setting against the backdrop of Cangshan Mountain in Yunnan province, has become a focus for everyone living in the area since 2015.

During his visit to the prefecture in January that year, President Xi Jinping highlighted the importance of protecting Erhai Lake, which marked a key turning point in the salvage battle to improve water quality there.

Erhai Lake is the seventh-largest freshwater lake in China, and the main source of domestic water for locals in the region.

Yet for years mass tourism, population growth, agricultural pollution and the direct discharge of domestic sewage into the lake had resulted in a significant deterioration in water quality.

Two massive outbreaks of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) occurred separately in 1996 and 2003, causing water visibility to drop to as low as around 1 meter.

Since President Xi's visit in 2015, local government officials, entrepreneurs and ordinary residents rallied behind efforts to reduce pollution, restore the ecosystem, improve monitoring methods, and rebuild eco-friendly, value-added agricultural and tourism industries.

Network of pipelines

Since 2015, around 18 billion yuan has been poured into infrastructure projects designed to prevent pollutants from entering the lake, an important step toward remedying the situation.

This was partly achieved by setting up a domestic sewage collection and treatment system of 19 sewage treatment plants, a sewage pipe network that extends 4,461.6 kilometers, 120,700 septic tanks and several other key facilities.

Around 80,000 households and guesthouses in the drainage basin around the lake had at least one small septic tank installed as part of a partially-funded government program.

Li Dechang, from Gusheng village in Wanqiao township, now has two septic tanks in the grounds of his home, which doubles up as a guesthouse business.

He planted vegetables and placed flower pots over the sunken tanks to disguise them and cover up any odors - and his guests remain unaware of their presence to this day.

In January 2015, President Xi visited Li's home and spoke highly of his Bai-style residence and his close family relationship.

All the domestic wastewater from the kitchen, toilets and washing machine is collected in the tanks along with sewage from the toilets and the livestock and poultry barns, drawn into branch pipes, nicknamed "capillaries" by the locals, before being fed to the sewage treatment plants via the main pipe.

Over 96 percent of the sewage generated in the city of Dali, where the government of the Dali Bai autonomous prefecture is located, is now purified before it's discharged - and certainly not into the lake.

Since purified water is not clean enough for daily use but is precious in agricultural irrigation, the water from treatment plants in Shuanglang and a few other towns around the lake are pumped to villages lacking water in the mountains.

Gao Zhihong, Party secretary of the city of Dali, says the difficulty of building such a huge and elaborate system lies in the design of the run of the pipelines and communicating with local residents, not only in terms of negotiating land transfers, but also by persuading them to partly rebuild their houses to install the tanks.

He says he seldom had days off during the years of 2016 and 2017-he had visited every village in the region to convince the villagers to embrace the plan, and help them to overcome their initial reservations.

Restoring the ecology

In some areas around the lake, mainly in parts of the city of Dali and Eryuan county, the farming and tourism industries, major sources of income over the years, have been transformed.

For instance, it is banned to plant garlic, a practice which requires large amounts of water and fertilizer, and so is the use of fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorus.

Now, individual farmers can transfer parcels of land to larger-scale operations run by local or external enterprises planting cash crops like blueberries and cherries. The farmers are offered guaranteed jobs at these enterprises.

Nearly 2,500 restaurants and guesthouses around the lake were closed for 18 months from April 2017 while the sewage networks were being constructed.

Despite the controversy and questions raised, the region's sewage and garbage disposal systems - and tourist infrastructure like roads, parking lots and service centers - were all significantly improved over this period.

And ecological restoration efforts are also gathering pace.

Yang Jianping, deputy director of the city-level administrative bureau of Erhai Lake, says they are exploring ways to remove fields, cottages and roads from the lake shore and turn it back to a natural waterfront, lined with trees, grass, ditches and wetland.

This would allow the silt, leaves, straw and pollutants from the rain-wash or the runoff from the fields to be retained at the lake shore.

So far, the 1-kilometer-long test section of this ecological corridor, which also serves as a recreational and fitness park, has worked well. Another 50 km section is due to be completed later this year, Yang says.

By trading short-term profit for managed sustainability, Dali's efforts are starting to pay off. The quality of the lake water met with the second grade of the national standard for surface waters for seven months and the third grade for five months last year - the best results since 2015.

Second and third grade surface waters are fit to be used in daily life, and for aquaculture or aquatic animal habitats.

This year, the water quality remained at the second grade in the first five months and the third grade for June and July, accompanied by the advancing rainy season. The nearshore waters seem clearer, and there have been no large-scale outbreaks of algae bloom so far.

Testing the water

Zhu Jiang, deputy director of the prefecture's environmental monitoring station, joined an onboard water monitoring test out on the lake on Aug 22.

The weekly monitoring of 24 indexes takes place at 11 positions marked by geographic coordinates during the warm weather between July and November every year, to complement regular monthly monitoring sessions for 64 indexes.

At each position, Zhu and his colleagues take water samples, obtaining results for seven of the indexes at the scene, while leaving the rest to be analyzed at the laboratory.

That cloudy day, the water visibility at one of the intake points was 1.9 meters, about 0.2 to 0.3 meters better than same period two years previously, he says.

The 8 milligrams per liter of chlorophyll A, compared to over 15 mg/L in previous years during the summer months, together with an algal cell density of 17 million/L, suggest a relatively low algae concentration in the lake.

While there's not too much pressure to prevent cyanobacteria so far, a delayed rainy season and higher water temperatures this year will still raise alarm bells with Zhu.

The temperate weather in Daliwith its relatively cool summers and mild winters - encourages the growth of organisms, which explains the continuous threat of algae blooms despite the generally stable water quality.

"Erhai Lake is delicate," says Wang Xinze, a professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University's Dali Research Institute.

It's easily affected by exogenous pollution and changes to its ecosystem, making environmental protection work more difficult, Wang says, offering a response to critics who say the prefecture has devoted too much money, time and effort to a project that failed to produce a leapfrog effect in terms of improving water quality.

Water from 27 main rivers and the rainwater that empties into the lake usually remains in the lake for four years, leading to a longer reaction period for the prefecture's pollution abatement efforts, he says.

Smart monitoring platform

Having worked in this field for nearly three decades, Zhu realizes that work pressure can mount as the frequency of monitoring increases, and additional onboard surveys are often needed when weather patterns alter. Their findings help to support more accurate and targeted policymaking decisions by the local government.

To further boost their data support, a smart monitoring and management information platform that integrates statistics from 13 government bodies, research institutes and technology companies has been set up.

Besides artificial monitoring, remote sensing and the use of drones to obtain aerial images, 265 other automatic monitoring facilities also provide real-time feedback on the water quality and quantity situation, says Li Yifeng, deputy director of the prefecture-level administrative bureau of Erhai Lake.

The smart platform provides data on the water quality of the lake and its upstream rivers, while serving as a surveillance system to catch illegal acts of pollution, and track sewage flows and treatment volumes.

The platform can predict hourly changes in the water quality three days in advance based on previous models of variations, which also helps to assess the effectiveness of prior work.

According to Li Yifeng, it cost 12 million yuan to complete the first phase of the platform aimed at integrating resources and sharing data, and an estimated further 25 million yuan will be invested on developing the second phase, which is under construction, and aims to streamline the way the platform operates and coordinate efforts between the different governmental bodies.

Chen Jian, the prefecture's Party secretary, says they have successfully managed to prevent the decline of the lake's water quality and stabilize it.

"Most importantly, structural changes have been seen in the ecological environment," Chen says, adding that it is encouraging to see the achievements of their systematic approach.

However, from his perspective, the water quality of the lake has far from reached sustainable levels, and substantial improvements in the ecosystem are yet to be realized. "There might be a long period of fluctuation. I think it's enough for us to ensure that the current measures will continue," Wang says.

 

From top: Erhai Lake has gone through substantial protection and water improvement measures, a priority for the Dali Bai autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province since President Xi Jinping's visit in 2015. Environmental protection staff take samples to monitor water quality of the lake on Aug 22. Workers cut weeds at a farm in Dali. Some farmers have transferred their land to enterprises running larger-scale farming of cash crops, and become their employees. Photos by Wang Zhuangfei / China Daily

 

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2019-09-05 07:42:44
<![CDATA[Guesthouses around Erhai Lake reopen]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508039.htm Protecting the Erhai Lake has become a priority for the Dali Bai autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Yunnan province since President Xi Jinping's visit there in January 2015.

In recent years, efforts have been made to transform tourism, more specifically the operation of guesthouses that were loosely regulated and had contributed to the eutrophication of water.

The closing of nearly 2,500 restaurants and guesthouses around the lake for 18 months beginning in April 2017 had caused controversy in the media. However, 1,791 of the venues have since resumed business. Short-term pain is inevitable, but the sector has made progress when exploring alternative ways to develop tourism, says Gao Zhihong, Party secretary of the city of Dali.

In Shuanglang town, on the northeast shore of the lake, 485 restaurants and guesthouses reopened to capitalize on the first rush season of summer after the resumption of business late last year.

During the fallow 18 months, a sewage collection and treatment system was installed, telecommunication lines and solar water heaters were concealed, and roads and parking lots were improved - things that the local people didn't have the time to do in the past. From January to July, the town received 1.19 million visits from Chinese and overseas guests, generating an income of more than 1 billion yuan ($139.8 million).

Zhao Yihai, president of the local inn industry association, says the visitor numbers are picking up, but business has not yet returned to its previous levels, because many potential visitors are not aware of the resumption of service. Since the first guesthouse opened in 2007, tourism has gradually grown to be one of the town's main industries. A large number of residents work directly or indirectly in the field.

Zhao says the town's economy was hit hard, but guesthouse operators have eventually overcome their aversions and have realized what a clean lake means to their life and business.

Jiang Cuocuo, enamored by the sunset and clouds there, started his guesthouse in 2013 and witnessed a spurt of visitors from 2014 to 2016.

The original drainage system was not sufficient to dispose of sewage generated by tourists. Fire engines had to be used to draw sewage out and take it to other places in the city of Dali for purification. The government had to encourage the operators to install sewage treatment facilities themselves, while investing on building a new sewage treatment plant and pipeline networks which have since been put into operation.

Jiang says he devoted his time to redesigning and renovating his guesthouse, and to reflect on how to improve client experience.

"Now I really cherish the opportunity to run a guesthouse here again," he says.

"We stopped for a while, but the market and people's demands keep growing," Zhao says, adding that the local industry is cultivating cultural appeal based on the landscapes to make visitors stay longer and experience more of them.

Gao says the town has been inviting renowned artists to help cultivate a cultural tourism industry.

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2019-09-05 07:42:44
<![CDATA[Cinema's warm summer]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508038.htm Despite predictions that it would be a lackluster box-office season due to a first half slowdown, the summer has just concluded with a happy ending.

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After a relatively slow first half, the box office in China is catching up, thanks to a combination of Hollywood and domestic hits, Xu Fan reports.

Despite predictions that it would be a lackluster box-office season due to a first half slowdown, the summer has just concluded with a happy ending.

Official statistic shows that the summer - usually a lucrative period lasting from June to August - raked in 17.65 billion yuan ($2.46 billion), surging 1.6 percent year-on-year, according to China Movie Data Information Network. The box office figure represents a record high for the past five years.

Nearly 130 new films were released during the three months. Among them, 21 films saw their box-office receipts surpassing 100 million yuan, and five blockbusters earned more than 1 billion yuan each.

Theater admissions climbed to 500 million, slightly more than 496 million recorded during the same period in 2018 and surpassing 474 million in 2017 by a considerable margin.

Although tickets are becoming more expensive, bigger screens - which charge higher prices - are preferable.

A report from Beacon - a movie data tracker affiliated to Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group - shows the average ticket price rose to 35.32 yuan per person this summer, 2.4 percent higher than last year.

Maoyan's film-revenue tracker finds that Imax China's box-office takings rose 18.2 percent this summer, compared to the same period last year, marking the best performance ever for Imax.

The biggest surprise of the summer was the domestic dark horse, Ne Zha, an animated retelling of a well-known figure in Chinese mythology. It was the top contributor to the box office bonanza.

Exploring modern topics such as parenting and self-control through an ancient tale with exquisite animation, the story about a rebellious hero has become a runaway hit, grossing a whopping 4.74 billion yuan as of Tuesday.

An even more unexpected surprise is that Ne Zha recently overtook sci-fi epic The Wandering Earth to claim the spot for second highest-grossing film of all time in China's box-office charts. This happened shortly after it supplanted Disney's Zootopia as the country's top-performing animated release to date at the beginning of August.

In addition to its domestic screening extending to two months (the usual theater run rarely extends past a month), Ne Zha has also made a foray into eight other countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Singapore.

Annie Walker, founder of Well Go USA Entertainment, which exclusively distributes Ne Zha in North America, says the movie is performing well and has pulled in more than $1.16 million in its opening weekend with a limited run across 66 Imax theaters in the US and Canada.

The film's run will be expanded to at least 130 screens, with some rolling out in 2D format on Friday, she adds.

Following the phenomenal hit of Ne Zha, the second-highest-grossing film this summer is actor Huang Xiaoming's latest effort, The Bravest, which has earned 1.65 billion yuan, turning out to be his best performing film in recent years.

Based on the real-life events surrounding a pipeline explosion in Northeast China's port city of Dalian in July 2010, the tear-jerking film concerns a group of elite firefighters who battle a massive inferno that has put all the residents of the city in peril.

Huang, who stars as one of the firefighters, says he feels encouraged to see the movie has attracted a significant number of theatergoers.

Noting that The Bravest "is the first film of its kind that focuses on firefighters" - a rarely-covered subject for domestic filmmakers - Huang says the movie reveals the human side of those firefighting heroes, depicting them not only as heroes who always rush into the most dangerous situations when a disaster takes place, but also as ordinary people with real-life flaws.

From learning how to quickly put on their firefighting gear, to rope climb dozens of meters high above the ground, Huang and the other actors were trained for more than a month by a domestic squadron of real firemen.

The big-budget film also constructed a life-size replica of the Dalian port's oil tank storage area in a studio located in Hebei province, covering an area of 50,000 square meters and using 50 fire engines. Instead of generating images by computer, much of the blaze and explosion in the film are real and were re-created on set.

Rao Shuguang, president of the China Film Critics Association, says The Bravest has raised the bar for Chinese disaster films, signifying the domestic industry has improved in producing big action sequences.

Aside from Ne Zha and The Bravest, four other Chinese films - The White Storm 2: Drug Lords, Looking Up, Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy, and My Best Summer - have squeezed their way into the top 10 highest-grossing films of the summer, outnumbering foreign titles.

However, Hollywood is still the most powerful rival for domestic filmmakers.

Following Spider-Man: Far from Home, which grossed 1.41 billion yuan, making it the third highest-performing summer movie, Fast &Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is now the fifth highest-grossing flick and Disney's remake The Lion King sitting in the seventh place.

Japanese Oscar-winning animated classic Spirited Away, which grossed nearly 490 million yuan, is the only non-Hollywood film in the top 10.

"Summer vacation is one of the most lucrative box-office seasons in China. Unlike a few years ago when Hollywood imports were the most popular, domestic theatergoers now have diversifying tastes and have become more discerning," says Rao.

"This summer has been a good lesson for local filmmakers, giving hints about the direction they can shift focus and efforts to," he adds.

 

Top: Now foraying into overseas markets, the runaway hit Ne Zha is the top contributor to China's box-office bonanza this summer.

Middle and above: Actor Huang Xiaoming stars as a heroic firefighter in the real event-adapted film The Bravest, which has grossed 1.65 billion yuan to be the second highest-grossing film in the summer. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-09-05 07:42:44
<![CDATA[Chinese stories pack the screens at festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508037.htm

CHICAGO - A packed audience enjoyed the preview showing of Chinese dark comedy Dying to Survive, a teaser for the ninth season of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema film festival in Chicago that kicked off on Aug 28.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema, organizer of the eponymous film festival, presented the film at a theater in downtown Chicago.

"The word 'nine' rhymes with 'forever' in Chinese," Sophia Wong Boccio, founder and executive director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema, says.

"So the ninth season is a special one and we hope it also means that the film festival will continue well into the future."

This will also be the "biggest Chinese film screening season", with five films from the Chinese mainland, three from Hong Kong and one from Taiwan to be screened, Boccio says.

"We have never featured so many Chinese films in one season before," she adds.

Besides the featured preview of Dying to Survive, other films from China include Crossing the Border by Huo Meng, The Enigma of the Arrival by Song Wen, Wushu Orphan by Huang Huang and Shadow by Zhang Yimou.

"Films have been thoughtfully curated to represent authentic voices of Asia," says Boccio. "A majority of which will be Chicago premieres."

The genres of the films in this season include musicals, courtroom thrillers, family dramas and comedies.

Dying to Survive is based on a true story. Cheng Yong is under contract to help a sick man obtain illegally-imported medicine for leukemia.

However, he soon finds himself in a gang of unlikely smugglers striving to help thousands of patients get access to the much-needed medicine at reasonable prices, until they're reported to the police.

The feature film, which was the debut of director Wen Muye and starred Xu Zheng, won for best actor, best new director and best original screenplay at the 2018 Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan.

Veteran attendee of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema film festival, Andy Salk, says: "It's a treat to meet with Asian filmmakers and ask them questions directly at discussion sessions."

Boccio says: "Our goal is to help our audiences learn to accept different cultures and be inspired by the stories told by filmmakers from Asia."

Seventeen films from China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines will be shown at the festival, and 15 special guests made up of actors, actresses and filmmakers will meet with the audiences.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema's season nine will run from Tuesday through Oct 10.

Xinhua

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2019-09-05 07:42:44
<![CDATA[Commercial alley promoting cultural heritage opens in Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508036.htm A commercial alley to promote intangible cultural heritage and ethnic artworks was inaugurated at the 22 International Art Plaza in downtown Beijing on Saturday.

The 1,000-meter-long alley, located near Beijing's central business district, gathered around 40 booths featuring works of ethnic artists from across the country for its opening day.

Clad in traditional dress and headgear, ethnic Mongolian singer Morigen, who was born and raised in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region's Alxa League, performed folk songs featuring Urtin Duu, or long song - an ancient form of folk-singing - as she opened the event.

Open on weekends, the alley, named Hong Yun Fang, is designed to become a popular haunt for tourists as well as people living in the capital, just like Panjiayuan Antique Market, a landmark for collectors and traders, and Nanluoguxiang, a busy south-north commercial street hidden among the hutong.

According to Wei Qing, co-initiator of the commercial alley, the goal is about trying to integrate intangible cultural heritage artworks into people's daily lives.

"We will launch live performances, exhibitions and workshops that actually make that art and culture more accessible to people," Wei says.

The 22 International Art Plaza, which is home to art pieces from the nearby Today Art Museum, one of the few private art museums in Beijing, as well as several coffee shops and restaurants, has become a popular location among young city dwellers.

The new commercial alley will reach people who "may not normally have access to intangible cultural heritage artworks or think about those cultural elements within our contemporary society," says Yi Li, founder of Mammoth-Market, a partner company in the alley. The company has collaborated with over 30 artists listed as successors of national and provincial intangible cultural heritage since September, bringing their works to bigger cities in China.

"This kind of market will give those old skills and artworks a broader audience," Yi says. "Since most people who come to our markets are of the younger generation, the products can hopefully get promoted on social media."

One of the artists is Yang Hui, 32, who specializes in ta pian, or rubbings. She learned the technique from her father when she was a teenager. In 2010, she opened her own shop focusing on creative products related to ta pian.

With the products, such as traditional Chinese fans in various shapes and sizes, she displayed her techniques in her booth at the opening event.

"I loved going to museums when I was a child. The items from ancient times displayed in the museums made me wonder about their stories," she recalls. "What I do now is simply translate something from the past to the present."

 

 

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2019-09-05 07:42:44
<![CDATA[Grandma on a mission]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/05/content_37508035.htm Jiang Lijuan sits in her chair and slowly goes through a photo album, page by page. The 88-year-old knows the stories behind the pictures - stories of several thousand girls from remote areas of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region whom she once helped to return to school after they had dropped out because they couldn't afford the 80 yuan ($11) tuition fee.

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Many girls from families living in poverty are returning to schools in Ningxia, thanks to the efforts of an elderly woman, Hu Dongmei and Zhang Xiaomin report in Yinchuan.

Jiang Lijuan sits in her chair and slowly goes through a photo album, page by page. The 88-year-old knows the stories behind the pictures - stories of several thousand girls from remote areas of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region whom she once helped to return to school after they had dropped out because they couldn't afford the 80 yuan ($11) tuition fee.

Over the past 25 years, Jiang has raised 5 million yuan to help girls from poor families, but she doesn't focus on the money. She's more interested in the people.

"Look at these two little girls," she says. "They envied the kids who had leather shoes."

She knows every child in every photo.

"This is Du Juan from Yanchi county. I saw her frequently until she went to college. There are many college students whom I supported. We took this picture when we went to Guyuan together," Jiang says.

Jiang's story started in 1994, when she learned from TV news that 17,000 girls in Guyuan had lost their chance for an education because their families couldn't pay tuition. She was shocked.

"It's only 80 yuan, which isn't much," she says.

"But it's a big deal for girls to be educated. Girls today are the mothers of the future, and their education levels will directly affect the lives of their kids. They have a great responsibility to change the backwardness in remote areas, and we have to help them."

Previously, Jiang was a staff member of a residential committee in Yinchuan, the regional capital. She mobilized her family to support three girls. Then, she enlisted the help of seven female colleagues to send another nine girls back to school.

After that came her letter to the Ningxia Women's Federation asking for donations from the 29 units of the Spring Buds project in Ningxia. The project, led by the All-China Women's Federation, a government agency, was launched in 1989 with the aim of getting girls back into classrooms and to improve conditions for teachers in impoverished areas.

Jiang bustled around government institutions and companies, and met with ordinary people to raise money. Many were moved by the stories of the girls, and some donated immediately.

Sometimes, Jiang was met with sharp rebuffs. She remembers the criticism of people who didn't want to give, and their words hurt. "Is this a big deal that you need to worry about?" some asked. "There are so many poor people in the world. How can you help them all?"

Worse, they attacked her age and retirement status: "At your age, people usually rest at home. What are you running around for?"

Jiang let the negativity roll off. She focused on finding the next generous giver.

In September 1996, the first Spring Buds course sponsored by the Xiguan residential committee, where Jiang had worked, opened in Guyuan with 46 girls in attendance.

In the following years, more courses started in Ningxia, including in Yanchi, Tongxin, Xiji, Haiyuan and Pengyang.

Jiang was fondly called the "Spring Buds grandma".

"I found her!" Ding Caiting recalls exclaiming to her 10-year-old daughter as she read a book, Living Like Lei Feng, about people who have followed the example of selfless Chinese role models. "The 'Spring Buds grandma' is the one who helped me when I was your age!"

Today, Ding is a doctor in Yinchuan's Xingqing district. She'd picked up the book while participating in a volunteer activity.

"I never imagined that the person sponsoring me would be a grandma," Ding says.

"She has great love."

From the book, she discovered that Jiang was not rich, as she had thought earlier, but was an ordinary person who lived on a pension. With tenacious perseverance, she had overcome the pain of hypertension, a heart disease and diabetes to work on behalf of the children.

"My daughter said we should thank Grandma Jiang. If I hadn't returned to school with her support, I would not have such a good life today," Ding adds.

Jiang's story has inspired many to join the effort. In her handwritten Spring Buds notebook, she has recorded the details of contributors - their names, telephone numbers, places of residence and the amount of money donated. It lists more than 500 people from different walks of life.

In 2007, a Chinese person living in the United States contacted Jiang and donated more than 1.4 million yuan after reading a media report about her.

Jiang has been awarded as a "charity leader" in China. Her work has boosted the development of education in Ningxia, observers say.

"Our family doesn't care too much about the awards," says Cui Wei, Jiang's daughter.

"My mother is just doing what she likes."

More people are now doing charity work, she adds.

Jiang shares her motivation for helping others: "I'm an orphan. I know the feeling of loneliness and what it means to need help."

She was 13 when both of her parents died, and she had to live with her relatives.

In recent years, with the implementation of the compulsory nine-year education in the country, the enrollment rate of primary and secondary school students has risen, so Jiang has shifted her focus to supporting students in high schools and colleges.

Contact the writer at hudongmei@chinadaily.com.cn

Zhang Tao contributed to the story.

 

Jiang Lijuan visits a primary school in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region to see the girls she has helped to return to school.

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2019-09-05 07:42:44
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507707.htm Henan farmer builds crop of Transformers

Duan Shaojie, 59, from Luoyang, Henan province, retired from the military at a relatively young age - leaving him with plenty of time to indulge in creative pursuits. His robotic creations range from 2 to 13 meters in height. Duan started to think big after seeing Transformers in 2013. His first project was a 13-meter-tall titan built in the image of big-rig Autobot leader Optimus Prime. The entire process took around two months. According to his son, the family now earns around 1 million yuan ($139,660) per year - with a large proportion of this coming from sales of Duan's sculptures.

Elon Musk spotted eating baozi in Beijing

Elon Musk paid a visit to Shanghai last week to attend the 2019 World Artificial Intelligence Conference. On Friday, the chief executive officer of Tesla Inc was spotted at a baozi (stuffed buns) restaurant in Beijing, sampling some Chinese cuisine. The video went viral on social media. He has often hit the headlines for trying local delicacies. Last year, he was spotted at a jianbing stall in Shanghai.

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2019-09-04 07:20:32
<![CDATA[Surprises in the dark comic book world beneath Gotham]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507709.htm As I roamed around downtown Manhattan while on vacation in the United States last month, I was awestruck by the city's subway system.

This was not the kind of awe one feels when watching a fireworks display, walking on the Great Wall or standing on the rim the Grand Canyon - things that are awesome in a good way, and something you might want to experience more than once.

The New York City subway system is the opposite. Unlike Beijing's clean and bright subways, it evokes the dark, eerily awesome horror of a Batman movie, a sort of dystopian nightmare in which you try to run away from evil but find yourself unable to move. Edvard Munch's painting The Scream captures the feeling.

The New York subway was used in the 1990 movie Ghost, in which invisible spirits of the departed, trapped in limbo between this world and the next, leap from one lurching, clattering coach to another and occasionally focus their mental energy on objects in the earthly world to play tricks on the living.

Descending the narrow concrete stairs into the catacombs of the 34th Street station, I exchanged sunshine for the dank subterranean cavern that houses Gotham's noisy rattletraps. It's like entering the Bat Cave, a realm of faint lights populated by all manner of leering comic-book figures - denizens of dimness who seemed to be competing for the most pierced body parts, outrageous tattoos, intimidating expressions or purple hair.

Many faces seemed dead, like mannequins inured to the monotony of mass transit and lost in their own thoughts. They looked straight ahead, avoiding eye contact - the New York mask. And these days everybody uses earbuds, and who knows what they're listening to.

A few wore suits and carried briefcases, but those were the exceptions. This was not the domain of uptown lawyers or stockbrokers. This was a world apart, one dominated, in my imagination, by 1930s gangsters, eccentric Jokers and, of course, the Caped Crusader.

Having entered the claustrophobic, and odorous, bowels beneath the city, I wondered if I would ever see the light of day again. Perhaps I would be sucked into a comic book and remain trapped forever in a two-dimensional prison.

Struggling from the platform up the old-fashioned steel steps of a battered, aluminum-clad carriage was like passing through a time warp into a bygone era - the 1940s perhaps - in the post-art deco age but still with plenty of leftover artifacts. There was no safe, level step into the train, as there is in Beijing. It's a dangerous climb. If you're not careful, you can fall beneath the wheels and their massive coiled shock absorbers, never to be seen again. There are no security officers. It's everyone for himself. Where was the legendary New York helpfulness for strangers I had heard so much about?

I must admit I'm a sucker for time travel, so climbing the old-fashioned ladder was actually entertaining. But then the train started rolling, and real terror began.

As it gained speed, the carriages rocked wildly from side to side, madly screeching, rumbling and roaring through the underground tunnels as the wheels attempted, with marginal success, to stay atop the rails. The other riders didn't seem to notice.

This was unfamiliar territory, and so I lost track of the stations. Signage seemed nonexistent. You just had to know where you were going, and how many stops it would be. And if you don't know the secrets... well, tough luck, see you after your mugging in some rough neighborhood where you didn't intend to go.

I soon realized in this alien environment that I was going to need help. So I wound up my courage and asked a rough-looking guy standing nearby with a tattoo of a cobra encircling his neck and face how to get to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.

The moment I spoke, the New York mask came down. The man smiled and his voice surprised me - friendly, earnest and helpful, not a bit intimidating, a ray of light in the darkness. He patiently explained where we were now and how many stops remained.

There's a lesson in all this. Overall, Beijing's subway is far superior to New York's, if one's sole focus is mechanics. The Manhattan system is much older, and it's uniquely difficult to make upgrades beneath the narrow city streets.

But then there are the people, who are fundamentally the same around the world, despite cultural differences and communication barriers. I have benefited from the kindness of strangers in China, too - as much or more than in my own country, where at least I know the language.

The moral of this story is simple: Withhold judgment. Appearances can be deceiving. Our greatest fears often turn out to be self-generated, comic-book illusions.

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2019-09-04 07:20:32
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507708.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Sept 4, 1995, the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women opened at Beijing International Convention Center, as seen in the item from China Daily.

During the 11-day conference, delegates from home and abroad discussed and adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action that aimed at achieving greater equality and opportunity for women.

Thanks to decadeslong efforts in promoting gender equality, increasing numbers of Chinese women have ventured and excelled in fields that used to be dominated by men.

In 2012, Liu Yang became the country's first female astronaut and took part in the 13-day Shenzhou IX mission. In 2013, the country's first two female oceanauts were selected, and they carried out their inaugural dive in the submersible Jiaolong, in the southwest Indian Ocean in 2015.

The same year Tu Youyou, an 85-year-old female pharmacologist, was awarded the country's first Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for creating an anti-malarial drug that saved millions of people across the world.

With a marked improvement in the status of women, China has also striven to accelerate the global women's movement and promote gender equality in the world.

In 2015, during a high-level summit at the UN headquarters in New York, President Xi Jinping put forward a four-point proposal on promoting gender equality and women's all-around development worldwide, such as developing vocational and lifelong education opportunities for women.

To support women's development worldwide and the work of UN Women, China donated $10 million to the UN for the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the realization of the related goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015.

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2019-09-04 07:20:32
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507706.htm Trends: News show attracts young viewers

Xinwen Lianbo (China Central Television's flagship news program at 7 pm) has been on the air since 1978 and has taken to using the short video apps such as Douyin and Kuaishou to reach younger audiences with its bulletins. Since CCTV News opened an account on Douyin nine months ago, it has begun publishing shorter videos and switched to using vertically formatted videos better suited to being watched on a phone screen. The first short video posted on the Douyin account of Xinwen Lianbo featured anchor Kang Hui. Within a day, it had 15 million followers and topped Douyin's list of its most popular accounts. Xinwen Lianbo has since opened an account on Kuaishou, another popular short video app, and has gained more than 12 million followers.

People: 'Sponge boy' to study in Beijing

Melvin Chua, 23, knows every narrow street of an urban district called Pembo in the Philippines' capital city Manila like the back of his hand. Come rain or shine, he used to walk those streets for more than six hours every day selling sponges and dish cleaners to support his family. He has been doing this for 13 years and was given the nickname of "sponge boy". But soon, he will walk the Beijing streets, after being awarded a scholarship by the Chinese government this year. He and 79 other Philippine students will take up their study in several universities in China. Melvin got into the Renmin University of China, his first choice, to take up a master in business administration.

Music: Taylor Swift's Lover sets new record

The latest album by Taylor Swift Lover broke records for an international artist in China. Swift, a singer and songwriter from the United States, is known for writing songs about her personal life. She has released a total of seven studio albums: Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010), Red (2012),1989 (2014), Reputation (2017), and Lover.

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2019-09-04 07:20:32
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507705.htm Vita Bergen China Tour

When: Sept 13, 9 pm

Where: Dusk Dawn Club, Beijing

Vita Bergen, led by singer and multi-instrumentalist William Hellstrom, has emerged as one of Sweden's most talked-about under-the-radar bands. With award nominations, sold-out tours, US and pan-European collaborations with brands like Apple, Toyota and Google, it has arrived in the big time. With more than 100 gigs on the European indie-music scene, the melodic, explosive, pop-orientated group has made the journey from the underground scene in its hometown of Gothenburg to the main stages of festivals across Europe.

Vita Bergen got their international breakthrough with the release of their first album Disconnection. The band is the essence of emotional indie-pop music. Other notable achievements include a No 1 spot on the Swedish iTunes-album chart, and one of the 30 most played Swedish tracks during all of 2017 on the biggest radio station in Sweden.

La Bayadere

Bolshoi Ballet

When: Sept 22, 7 pm

Where: Guangzhou Opera House, Guangdong province

This classic ballet has four acts and seven tableaux and was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and performed to a score composed by Ludwig Minkus.

The production debuted in St. Petersburg in 1877 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theater. The enduring tale of love, betrayal, and redemption is considered one of the best-loved classical ballets of all time. It illuminates the tragic tale of the temple dancer Nikiya's doomed love for the warrior Solor and their ultimate redemption.

Bob Dylan, Retrospectrum

When: Sept 28 to Jan 5(closed on Monday), 10 am to 6 pm

Where: Modern Art Museum, Shanghai

Bob Dylan, Retrospectrum - the world's largest traveling collection of the singer-songwriter's art, is coming to Shanghai.

The collection of more than 300 items, dating from the 1960s to the present day, includes manuscripts, sketches, oil paintings, sculptures and image data and reveals Dylan's multiple talents.

Dylan, one of the most influential groundbreaking artists of the 20th century and the first musician to win a Nobel Prize, has long been honored as a postmodern bard for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

He has been also fond of painting since childhood, and has extended his artistic creativity to the visual arts since the 1960s. His art has been on display at museums such as Britain's National Portrait Gallery and Museum Gunzenhauser in Germany.

Russian Maestros - A Piano Trio Concert

When: Sept 28, 7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Oriental Art Center

Leonid Zhelezny is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory Central School of Music where he studied under Aleksander Vinnitskiy. In 2010 he won second prize at the Beethoven International Competition in Vienna.

Vladimir Balshin was born in 1973 in Moscow. After graduating from the Moscow Conservatory he continued his postgraduate studies there in the class of Natalia Shakhovskaya. As a member of the Russo Quartet he received tuition from Mikhail Kopelman and Valentin Berlinsky, both longstanding members of the Borodin Quartet.

Andrey Pisarev has won prizes in every piano competition he has entered, including the Beethoven Competition in Vienna in 1985, the International Piano Competition in Tokyo and the Paloma O'Shea International Piano Competition in Santander in 1987.

He has performed in Russia and other countries since the age of 8.

Wuthering Heights

When: Oct 18-20, 7:30 pm

Where: Nine Theater, Beijing

Emily Bronte's only novel, Wuthering Heights, was published in 1847 under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell.

This tale of passion and revenge has thrilled readers and audiences alike for generations.

With its element of Gothic fiction and moorland setting, the novel has inspired adaptations ranging from films, televisions to dramas.

Chapterhouse Theater Company from the United Kingdom is proud to present the wild and tempestuous love story of Wuthering Heights, set on the beautiful and mysterious Yorkshire moors. Can Catherine and Heathcliff's love endure, or will the forces of nature tear them apart?

Perhaps, Perhaps ... Quizas

When: Oct 5-7 and Oct 9-13,7:30 pm

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

Created, directed and performed by Mexican mime artist and clown Gabriela Munoz, Perhaps, Perhaps ... Quizas premiered in New York in 2010, and has since been performed around the world at various clown festivals.

It toys with the ideas of love and emotional connection. Is "the one" or even "a one" out there? Perhaps.

A lovelorn woman in a wedding dress gorging herself with cake sounds like a cliche romcom, not of the best kind, but Munoz's childlike playfulness involving the audience saves her from becoming a grotesque caricature.

The show begins with a film, with the heroine unsuccessfully stalking a waiter, who catches her romantic interest.

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2019-09-04 07:20:32
<![CDATA[The ingredients of success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507704.htm Zhou Xiaohui has cooked up a surefire recipe for success. The ingredients are a dash of hard work, a spoonful of imaginative cooking, a good stock of personality, sauteed and spiced up with popularity.

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Online food celebrities cook up a menu of imagination to whet our appetites, Xing Wen reports.

Zhou Xiaohui has cooked up a surefire recipe for success. The ingredients are a dash of hard work, a spoonful of imaginative cooking, a good stock of personality, sauteed and spiced up with popularity.

Zhou, 25, is one of a growing number of Chinese gourmets who have successfully served up a feast of content on YouTube. Based in Chengdu, Sichuan province, Zhou boasts more than 7.3 million online followers, making her the most popular Chinese food blogger.

Best known for her hit series of "office cooking" videos, published under the moniker, Ms Yeah, Zhou's most famous video is one that she released in July 2017, which notched up a total of 100 million views within a week.

In the video, Ms Yeah, a female office worker, carries a cup and seems anxious as she waits in a long line to get a drink from a small soy milk machine stationed in her workplace. Suddenly she gets a flash of inspiration, and goes outside to buy watermelons from a vendor instead.

She then skillfully carves them into enticing offerings of flowers, dragons, and even Angry Birds. She tempts her colleagues, still waiting in line, to gorge on the succulent sculptures. None can resist and, minutes later, a giggling Ms Yeah has the soy-milk machine all to herself.

Versatility, ingenuity and the solving of conundrums are part of her cooking appeal. She can conjure up treats in the most unlikely of settings. Making hotpot with a water dispenser, barbecuing meat with a garment steamer and cooking jianbing guozi, a snack consisting of deep fried dough sticks rolled in a thin pancake, on a computer mainframe case.

"The novelty combination of cookery and the office setting appeals to curious audiences and foodies around the world," explains Zhou.

Another advantage is that the short video is devoid of any dialogue, so there is no language barrier. "The lack of words makes my videos popular with foreign viewers," says Zhou.

Instant fame is nothing new. Many have tried, few have succeeded. Being able to cook is no guarantee of success and will not necessarily make someone an overnight sensation like Zhou, Jin Xu points out. Jin is president of the international department of the Onion Group, a leading multichannel network operator in China.

The group has signed up more than 200 vloggers in bid to help them to become influencers, Jin says, pointing out that Ms Yeah is one such example. Zhou has been working at the company since graduating with a broadcasting and TV directing major from Sichuan Normal University. The creation of Ms Yeah is the result of careful and calculated teamwork by the company.

Zhou is the leader of a 10-member team who creates the office cooking videos, each episode of which has garnered about 6 million views on YouTube.

She also serves as a "chief career planner" for the vloggers that are signed up with the company. "I feel so excited that I could explore more possibilities in fields that once were unfamiliar to me," says Zhou, who admits that the work helped her acquire more skills, such as logical thinking and better communication, which fit well with her appealing, down-to-earth personality.

Last June, she became the only Chinese vlogger invited by Facebook to attend Vid-Con in the United States - a major multi-genre online video conference for digital content creators worldwide. "I am proud that I could represent Chinese creators and share my ideas about how to produce hit videos at the conference," she says. "Meanwhile, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to produce work featuring Chinese characteristics with an international outlook."

Many viewers leave comments, hoping to interact with their favorite vloggers. One of them, Tabassum Shaikh, says: "Hi, Ms Yeah, your videos are just amazing. They give me a sense of relief from the stress and hard work of my day and keep me going."

Ms Yeah's "office cooking" videos, Jin says, show creativity, humor and a sense of rebellion against a dull, boring office atmosphere.

Feeding a common interest

Ms Yeah's most recent effort to "further secure a larger foreign fan base" was a video released last month in which she spends a day with Gavin Thomas, a widely-known 9-year-old boy from the US whose meme-worthy "fake smile" has made him an internet-famous celebrity. When he gets hungry, she makes him a burger utilizing a USB-powered "heating pad" that people use for keeping warm in areas of China where offices are not centrally heated.

Like Zhou, other online personalities with significant domestic appeal have also sought the spotlight of the global stage.

The secret to success, though, lies in food. "Food emotionally connects us. For instance, people will often choose to enjoy food with their friends or family members," says Jin.

Chinese cuisine has a unique appeal in the West, Jin adds. "That explains why culinary videos produced by Chinese creators are popular among foreign audiences."

Cooks, like food, come in many different flavors. One plump character clad in a gray cotton suit, with eyes hidden by a wide-brimmed straw hat boasts 1 million subscribers on YouTube. He was initially created by a duo working under the user-name Shyo Video.

The character is acted by Li Junling, 29, a former worker at an optical fiber manufacturing factory in Chengdu. In the videos, he cooks in the wild, out among the trees and sunshine, before devouring his food with gusto. The dialogue-free videos show him running around, living off the land, and catching fish, chickens or rabbits to cook and eat.

Rise of a factory worker

These hit videos are the combined effort of Li and his high school classmate, Li Guilong, a freelance photographer who initially invited him to shoot videos in 2017, because of Li Junling's "offbeat sense of humor".

Li Junling used to labor for 12 hours a day in the factory. "Although I earned a stable salary, it was a professionally fallow period during which I could hardly make further progress or get promotion," he recalls, adding that, with a pregnant wife, he hoped to earn more money. He decided to quit the factory and started to make short videos with his friend.

The two then went back to their hometown Mianyang, and searched for rural settings in which to film.

Initially, they just focused on cooking in secluded places, but this failed to impress audiences. "It was a tough beginning for us. We only made 300 yuan ($42) for a month back then," recollects Li Junling.

Like their food, they had to spice up the series. Humorous plots, special effects and inspirational background music were added. "We could see from the increasing numbers of followers and comments on each video platform that these adjustments worked well," he says.

During the process, he learned how to add music, edit videos and cook authentic local Sichuan province dishes, such as suanlafen, or sour and spicy rice noodles and laziji, chicken with chili peppers - in scenic areas in the mountains or by the river.

The countryside-oriented visuals have helped propel them to global recognition.

"I seldom traveled to places outside of Sichuan before," says Li Junling, but now, due to their newly acquired fame, he has been to California and shared stories with foreign counterparts, which "broadened both my horizons and my circle of friends".

Li Guilong adds that the Shyo Video team has grown from the pair of them, but still consists of friends who were mostly high school classmates. The money has also started to come in.

"The team's monthly income has reached 200,000 yuan, mainly from advertisement and offline activities," says Li Guilong. "I'm so delighted that I can buy a big apartment in Mianyang for my family now."

The many languages in the videos' comments show Shyo Video's global appeal. English, Thai, Korean, Japanese and Chinese are just a few to be found offering feedback. Timing, like good flavoring, is of the essence when creating something that appeals to a wide variety of tastes, as one comment encapsulates. It reads: "I like your videos for two key reasons - always a theater-scene-styled opening, and in five minutes the video is complete, compared to other vloggers who go on for longer. Fight on."

According to Jin, it's easy for high-quality video producers to make a profit on YouTube, which counts over 2 billion monthly users. "And the platform has a system that helps to match suitable advertisers with vloggers' content, which in turn offers them more time to concentrate on creating better videos," Jin says. "However, the priority for vloggers always lies in ensuring the quality of the content and trying to break through the noise in a very populated space."

A modern view of ancient China

Li Ziqi, 29, another vlogger has also tapped into the appeal of rural settings. Li has garnered more than 18 million followers on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, and boasts more than 6 million subscribers on YouTube. These numbers make Li the second most influential vlogger from China on the international video-sharing platform.

Li started shooting short videos in 2016, inspired by the self-sufficient lifestyle of ancient Chinese people. A young woman of the post-1990 generation, she looks elegant with long braids in her hair and always clad in exquisite traditional dresses. In her short videos, she has picked ripe cherries to make jam and has harvested peaches to make sweet wine. She has also showed how to grind beans to make soy milk and then condense the liquid to create tofu.

Most viewers found that the lifestyle depicted and the picturesque landscapes displayed in Li Ziqi's videos help them find inner peace and give them a psychological break from their stressful and busy urban routine.

One subscriber, Liam Lowentha, comments: "I have insurmountable respect and admiration for this woman. Not just from what I see in the videos, but the fact she's bringing back to life an archaic way of doing things. Because of her I've learned a lot about culture, process and reaction. I've also gained several new skills."

Aside from showcasing how to cook, Li Ziqi has even demonstrated other ancient skills, such as embroidery, movable-type printing, dyeing cloth and making furniture. She has impressed her viewers with both her manual dexterity and the charm of China's traditional handicrafts and techniques.

She has spent two years making paper from tree barks, brushes out of rabbit hair, and other stationery with natural materials.

"As an increasingly influential vlogger," she says, "I hope I can show the world the wondrous cultural heritage of China."

 

From top: Zhou Xiaohui, better known as Ms Yeah, is the most popular Chinese vlogger on the video platform YouTube. Li Junling usually cooks in the wild and lives off the land. Li Ziqi, who has garnered over 6 million subscribers on YouTube for her pastoral lifestyle, peels beans to make tofu. Photos provided to China Daily

 

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2019-09-04 07:19:46
<![CDATA[The time of their lives]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507703.htm In justifying the length of time it has taken to complete his latest project, veteran director Zhang Tongdao will probably point to his American counterpart, Richard Linklater, who spent 12 years filming the drama, Boyhood.

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Since 2006, veteran director Zhang Tongdao has trained his lens on a dozen children, continuously documenting their failures and fortunes for a series of films and TV shows, Wang Kaihao reports.

In justifying the length of time it has taken to complete his latest project, veteran director Zhang Tongdao will probably point to his American counterpart, Richard Linklater, who spent 12 years filming the drama, Boyhood.

However, while Linklater's piece was fictional, Zhang's long-term production about human growth is compellingly real.

Since 2006, Zhang's lens has followed more than a dozen young people who were born after 2000 - those often referred to globally as Generation Z, or Gen Z, but colloquially known as the "post-2000" or "post-00" generation in China. When he first started the project, the children were attending a kindergarten in Beijing. However, as his camera kept rolling, audiences grew up with them as the magic of time unraveled their real-life dramas.

With the footage he has collected over the past 12 years, he has released two films and one TV documentary - Kids Kingdom in 2009, Post-00 Generation (TV) in 2017 and Born in 2000 in 2019 - recording different periods of the children's lives, from kindergarten, to middle school, then to high school and college.

"Time is the best screenwriter," explains 54-year-old Zhang, who also works as a media professor at Beijing Normal University. "All I need to do is record."

In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization. It wasn't long before Chinese families began to travel abroad more often, own cars, and on the whole grow wealthier, he says.

"I had a feeling that the post-00 generation, growing up in that social context, would become a thoroughly different type of adult," Zhang explains. "As a documentary director, I wanted to show the change happening from the very beginning."

He released Kids Kingdom in 2009, a film that recorded the children's daily lives in kindergarten, to show human nature from their perspective without any dramatic performances.

Inevitably, some stereotypical labels, like how "self-centered" kids of that generation are, arise in the documentary. However, Zhang's point of view suggests that, if one looks at it from a different perspective, it could be seen as a manifesto that declares their personality.

In the film, one of the children, barely 3 years old, explains why he remains silent most of time by stating: "Everyone has their own choice. This is what I like, and it is my right to do so."

"We were surprised, but convinced," the director says. "Imagine if, in the future, a group of people with even more open minds and independent thoughts could represent China in the world arena - we would naturally turn a page on the way we deal with international affairs."

Life finds its own way

To reflect the development of the children as a result of their choices, a five-episode TV documentary, Post-00 Generation, was broadcast on China Central Television in 2017.The best friends from kindergarten each set off on different paths in life, whether by accepting an "orthodox "education at schools in Beijing, or by living abroad. Some things, however, did not change: The boy who had "his own choice" is still not talkative in public, even in his teens.

For the production team, Chi Yiyang and Wang Sirou, both 18 now, are "two children with outstanding personalities and with the most attractive stories" among the group in Kids Kingdom.

The latest production in Zhang's long-term project, Born in 2000, features the two young people, who were deliberately omitted from Post-00 Generation, and hit art house cinema screens across the nation on Sept 3.

According to executive director Yu Ming, the team extracted nearly 300 hours of footage of just Chi and Wang from among the total 1,000-plus hours of material that has been accumulated since the start of the project.

"It was not an anthropological experiment to gather an abundance of material from a series of samples," Yu says. "But there were so many surprises that we had to keep our camera rolling."

Chi, once the naughtiest boy in the kindergarten who always wanted to be a "hero", faces new challenges. Feeling aimless at school, Chi says that he doesn't even know what he wants to do in the future. He rediscovers his sense of confidence and purpose on the field, representing China at a global competition as part of its national youth American football team.

Wang, who is called Rose in the documentary, has dreamed of being a "princess" since she was a little girl. However, studying in the United States at a Texas high school, far from her parents, she struggles with the harsh realities of her situation. Tense relationships with her host families and classmates make her doubt whether she made the right choice to study abroad.

As the documentary unfolds, her story reveals a silver lining that will have a huge impact on her future.

"What really impressed me is that the parents were very supportive of their offspring's personal decisions," Zhang says. "When problems arose, they didn't scold their children, but worked through the issue and tried to be reasonable."

According to Fan Qipeng, producer of Born in 2000, the documentary is set to be screened in the US later this year, giving overseas audiences a fresh understanding of China's younger generation.

New age, new challenge

Kids Kingdom and Post-00 Generation have both enjoyed much critical acclaim, winning awards from various TV and film festivals at home and abroad, as well as being highly rated on Chinese review site Douban, scoring over 8 points out of 10.

The director expects Born in 2000 to inspire deeper thinking among Chinese parents about the education of their children, who face a plethora of anxiety-inducing scenarios unknown to previous generations and confront increasing amounts of pressure.

When asked if people in the documentary have remained "genuine "in the time they have grown up in front of the camera, Zhang is pragmatic in his answer.

"No documentary can be 100 percent true, and an adult will always 'perform' before the camera in some way," he concedes. "However, how many people can keep up a performance if they are recorded for years? Time will always reveal the answer."

Zhang also notes that, in recent years, his project has been confronted with accusations of not being "representative" enough. The question, he recalls goes something like this: "How can several kids from a few middle-class families in downtown Beijing speak for a whole generation?"

His response is thoughtful. "No individual can represent a whole generation from every perspective. However, DNA of the time is left on every individual.

"Growing pains, like puppy love, failure and confusion, as reflected in the documentary can be shared by a whole generation, no matter whether it's a child in a big city or a small county," Zhang explains.

The director adds that he has benefited from this 12-year journey on a deeply personal level.

"I respect my own two children. One of them is also of the post-2000 generation and, therefore, has a very good relationship with the youngsters on the screen," he says with a smile.

"Even with my own children, I have a habit of recording their life. I plan to edit the footage into short films and present them as gifts at their weddings in the future."

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2019-09-04 07:19:46
<![CDATA[Immortalizing high school years through photography]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507702.htm While many of her peers view high school life as one that revolves around stress and piles of test papers and textbooks, Ye Zhiling from Shanghai Zhangyan High School has sought to debunk this notion with a traditional camera.

The 18-year-old, who in June passed the gaokao, or the National College Entrance Examination, has taken more than 1,500 photos of school life since 2016. Her images are now featured in an album titled My High School Life.

The images depict every aspect of life in school, from fellow students napping at their desk during class breaks, to teachers peeking in to check out what students were doing, and girls applying facial masks in their dormitories.

"I like the picture of students performing Yueju Opera (a genre of Chinese opera), because I think it shows just how rich school life is," she says.

Another of her favorites is an image which shows a meeting aimed at enhancing students' confidence before the gaokao.

"It's a valuable photo that captures the excitement and stress before the exams. Many of the students burst into tears," she says.

She also likes those photos that show rays of sunlight entering the classroom.

"These pictures record both the growth of the school and my classmates. They will evoke happy memories of our generation in the future," she adds.

Ye first picked up photography during her spare time spent at a youth activity center near her home during her junior middle school days, and she has since won several awards at local and national photography competitions. She believes that photography is a simple and direct way of expressing her feelings.

She says that it was a teacher at the activity center who encouraged her to document her high school life through photography in 2016.

"Using film makes for more unique photos due to the factors involved during developing, which isn't required for images taken by high-tech digital cameras or mobile phones. I like the images taken with film cameras. They just look better," she explains.

Her first camera was a secondhand one bought using her own pocket money. Her mother later bought her a new one.

"I fully support her hobby of recording life with a camera. Photography helps her relax and appreciate the beauty of life amid her studies," says Ye's mother, Wu Baofang.

Now majoring in exhibition economy and management at the Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, Ye says she will continue taking pictures at university.

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2019-09-04 07:19:46
<![CDATA[King of the court]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507701.htm Basketball is a game of net gains and on the court of life Luo Xiangjian continues to score slam dunks. Luo, 25, lost a leg when he was a child but he has established himself as a household name in the second season of the reality show, Dunk of China, which "tipped off" on Aug 25.

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Despite childhood hardships, basketball fan Luo Xiangjian scores in the game of life, Chen Nan reports.

Basketball is a game of net gains and on the court of life Luo Xiangjian continues to score slam dunks. Luo, 25, lost a leg when he was a child but he has established himself as a household name in the second season of the reality show, Dunk of China, which "tipped off" on Aug 25.

The reality show, produced by video streaming platform Youku, involves 120 basketball players from professional teams and universities, as well as talented amateurs. They compete in groups led by four celebrities, including former Chinese basketball player Sun Yue and Nick Young from the United States.

Luo is one of the competitors in the one-on-one format. After he scored an impressive three-pointer, the spectators and competitors awarded him a standing ovation.

"Basketball is more than a sport to me," says Luo. At 1.78 meters tall the amateur basketball player, who is based in Kunming, Yunnan province, exudes a joie de vivre. "It gave me confidence and an opportunity to meet people while also seeing the world.

"Whenever I play basketball, people look at me because I only have one leg, but I never feel intimidated. I am proud of my accomplishments."

He works with Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group as an architectural designer, but his passion has always been basketball, and the sport has given him a focus. Last year, he was chosen as a torchbearer for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Luo became a keen viewer of the reality show during its first season, which aired in 2018. Joining the show this year, he wanted to share his passion for the game.

"It is the first time that I have participated in a reality show. Some of the competitors knew my story and they encouraged me. This enhanced my love for the game," Luo says. His right leg was amputated below the knee, when he was 5, after he stumbled on a piece of unexploded ordnance while playing with his friends in the mountains along the Vietnam border near Malipo, a small village in Yunnan province where he was born and grew up.

"My parents were devastated, but I was too young to fully understand the situation then. The only thing I knew was that I was different from other boys of my age," recalls Luo. His father was a factory worker and his mother took care of Luo and his younger sister.

On Luo's first day at primary school, his optimistic and easy-going personality saw him quickly make friends. Luo first fell in love with the sport at age 10, when he first picked up a basketball, which made him so happy, despite being unable to stand for long periods. The more he practiced, the more he loved playing, and the more he found joy and confidence in it. He also became a fan of the NBA, and its star players, such as Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

With the support of his family, Luo started training in earnest. Every day, before and after school, he stood on his left foot for hours to master his balance and did strenuous leg exercises.

"Though I knew I was different from other people, I never thought it was impossible for me to play basketball," says Luo. "I fell many times and it took me a very long time to finally score. My goal is to never give up."

When off the court, he uses a prosthetic limb, but when playing basketball, he takes it off. He doesn't want to hide anything. His honest approach has won him many admirers, as has his undoubted skill. Few players are able to match his scoring ability.

Besides basketball, Luo also practiced other sports, such as the high jump, the long jump and swimming.

When Luo was a sophomore at Southwest Forestry University, studying a major in architectural design in 2014, he won two gold medals for the high jump. He cleared the 1.7-meter bar and also won the long jump, leaping 3.5 meters during the Yunnan Paralympic Games that year. In the summer of 2018, when his hero Wade came to Kunming, Luo was able to show off his skills in front of his idol.

"I dreamed about becoming an athlete since I was a child. When I saw people stand up and applaud and cheer me, I was very happy," he says.

His participation in the reality show has also gained him many followers. Hundreds commented online about his performance on the show. One of them posted: "With just one leg, he can chase his basketball dream. We should all be as courageous as him." Another echoed the viewpoint: "Such bravery and perseverance is inspirational."

Sun Yue, one of the stars in the show, and a former Chinese basketball international, says of Luo: "He fuels the competitive spirit in other basketball players. His passion and enjoyment for the game is obvious."

"Basketball is an important part of youth culture," says Cui Shaolong, director of the show. "It is also one of the most popular sports in the country, catering to people of different ages, occupations and regions.

"We not only want to display the skills of the players but also their stories in pursuit of their basketball dreams."

 

Luo Xiangjian prepares to shoot against other competitors in the reality show, Dunk of China. Photos provided to China Daily

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2019-09-04 07:19:46
<![CDATA[Latvian scholar reveals China's success secrets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507700.htm

RIGA - China's achievements of the past few decades came from a huge and dedicated labor force as well as the strong character of the Chinese people, a renowned Latvian Sinologist said in a recent interview.

Professor Peteris Pildegovics, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Latvia and founder of the Latvian embassy in Beijing, has devoted over 50 years of his life to Chinese studies.

Pildegovics said that of the roughly 1.4 billion inhabitants of China, about 900 million make up the country's labor force. This is the basis of China's success over the past few decades.

Citing the construction of railways in China's Tibet autonomous region as an example, he said only young, strong and healthy people were selected as builders, as they had to work in high-altitude conditions.

The rail tracks have been laid at an altitude of 4,000-5,000 meters, and the trains have been built like aircraft - they are airtight so that passengers do not suffer oxygen deficiency while traveling through the mountainous terrain.

In December last year, he visited Zhuhai, a special economic zone near Guangzhou, and saw the "magnificent" Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world's longest cross-sea bridge.

"The purposefulness, patriotism and enormous diligence - characteristic of the Chinese people - allow them to cope with grandiose tasks," he said.

Noting that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative "has stunned the whole world", Pildegovics said the"16+1 Cooperation "model, created by China and 16 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, promotes cooperation among these countries within the BRI framework.

"Riga hosted a '16+1' conference, and we learned how this project was being developed in Romania and Poland, for instance," he said.

Pildegovics said the Chinese dream of building an all-round well-off society means the prosperity of the whole nation, of every citizen. "China is already very close to completing this mammoth task, to fulfilling this dream. The goal has been set at the highest level for several years already, with colossal resources being poured into this work," he said.

Xinhua

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2019-09-04 07:19:46
<![CDATA[First 'courier college' set up in Nanjing, Jiangsu]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507699.htm NANJING - A university in East China's Jiangsu province recently established the country's first "courier college" to boost China's fast-growing courier sector.

Based in Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, the college was jointly set up by the university's School of Modern Posts and Suning Logistics.

The college's first students will be recruited from couriers across the country, who will receive skills training certificates after attending courses including "effective communication and stress management" and "safety management of express terminals", said Sun Zhixin, dean of the school.

"Psychology and linguistics are among the skills that a good courier must master," said Sun Anning, head of the province's express association, while encouraging couriers to enhance their skills and improve the reputation of the profession.

Fueled by online shopping and food delivery apps, China's courier sector has experienced exponential growth.

The number of China's delivery staff grew 50 percent from 2016 to 2018, reaching nearly 3 million, according to a report jointly published by CBNData and Suning.

"More young people are joining the express delivery industry as couriers, but the mobility of this job remains high, mainly due to lack of career planning and social recognition," said Jiang Bo, vice-director of Jiangsu provincial postal administration.

In July, the Chinese government issued a notice to highlight vocational training of couriers and encourage cooperation between companies and educational institutions.

Xinhua

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2019-09-04 07:19:46
<![CDATA[Teens' severe inactivity may cause health risks]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/04/content_37507698.htm COPENHAGEN - A report recently published in Copenhagen has revealed that only a quarter of Danish school children aged 11 to 15 meet the recommended requirement of at least an hour of physical activity per day.

This is the conclusion of a report released by the Danish National Board of Health.

For the first time, the report used motion sensors to provide an objective measurement of the activity level of Danish children.

In all, 1,677 children in 5th, 7th and 9th grade agreed to have motion sensors applied to their hips for nearly a week.

The results were staggering. Three-quarters of children aged between 11 to 15 years old were revealed to spend almost 11 hours a day during the week being seated or generally inactive.

On the weekends, that figure increased to more than 12 hours a day.

"It confirms what we suspected from previous studies and foreign studies, where we can see that Denmark is doing poorly on this point," the report's author, Tue Kristensen, told the Berlingske newspaper.

Jens Troelsen, a professor at the University of Southern Denmark and head of the Active Living research unit, called the findings a "public health problem", warning that they could create "serious consequences for our health system" due to diseases that accompany physical inactivity.

Troelsen also pointed the finger at mobile phones, the internet and computer games as the major culprit behind Danish children's inactivity.

"My very best bet is that the screen plays a big role. After all, the number of screens has multiplied over the past 10 to 20 years, so there will soon be no children in Denmark who do not have a screen in front of them in the form of a smartphone or tablet," said Troelsen, speaking to the tabloid BT.

Xinhua

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2019-09-04 07:19:46
<![CDATA[Police brighten foreigner's rainy afternoon with kindness]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507362.htm The rain is pouring and we're huffing and puffing. A jog around the 2.2-kilometer track at the National Olympic Sports Center has turned into a trudge through showers as our feet splash through the newly formed puddles brought by a cluster of clouds blanketing the Beijing sky. It all happened in the past 30 minutes, but our soaked shirts suggest we've been running in the rain the entire day, or that we've just stepped out of a pool after swimming with our clothes on.

My running partner, Kim, and I head to our usual, favorite spot at the end of the loop. There, our water bottles, phone chargers and electrolyte power packets will be waiting patiently behind a small hospitality building where the park's security guards rest when they're not escorting cars through the entrance. We've regularly left our belongings there during the dozen or so times we've jogged at the track, and without fail, they've been there for us when we return.

Only this time, in the pouring rain, our items are gone. Most of them, at least. My $15 aluminum water bottle and $15 portable charger are missing, but for some reason the packets of Pocari Sweat powder are still lying on the ground.

Kim and I questioned why such a thing would happen. Who would be petty enough to steal a water bottle and a battery charger? To make matters worse, we had completed a lap just 15 minutes earlier, meaning our items were swiped between 4:30 pm and 4:45 pm.

Kim, disgusted, has had enough. She's older than me, but can mostly match my pace as we crank out several kilometers in a row together. I occasionally feel up for running a couple extra laps when she heads home and today is one of those days, despite the rain. I'm livid too, and my frustration carries into the next lap. I'm going to quit soon because my anger has completely destroyed my focus. The rain is making my clothing feel much heavier than normal.

But then, a security guard! Walking alone in the rain, like me. I approach him, pull out my soaking wet phone and type a simple message for the English-to-Mandarin translation app.

"Some of my belongings have been stolen. Can you help me?"

Before long, I'm being walked back to the park's police office. The officer, who looks to be in his mid-20s, offers to let me wear his official hat to protect myself from the rain.

I'm seated on the second floor with three officers around me. I'm a little intimidated and starting to think I made the wrong choice. But they offer me a cigarette, a bowl of vegetables and rice, and soon I'm with the captain heading in an official police car over to a separate security office.

There, I saw one of the coolest things I've seen to date in Beijing.

In the style of a sci-fi movie, a fourth-floor door opens to a room full of glowing surveillance footage. Every inch of the massive park is shown on dozens of separate cameras, displayed together on a giant, wall-to-wall screen. In a chair, an officer keeps an eye on as much of the action as possible.

"What time were your items taken?" he asks me via a translation app.

A couple hours have passed since the theft. I ask the officer to set the time to 4:30 pm. He not only sets the time, but zooms out on the narrowly-focused camera so the backside of the hospitality building is now in the center of the screen. Next to the officer and me, five other uniformed police gaze solemnly at the projections.

At 4:30 pm, the video shows Kim stretching next to our belongings before catching up with me. She takes a drink from the water bottle next to mine, and before I can react, the officers are grilling me with questions.

"Who is that woman? What is her relationship to you? How long have you known her?" they ask. Fair questions, considering the circumstances. I'm overwhelmed, shaking at this point because I know Kim didn't take my items. I urge the officers to wait and watch the rest of the film.

Two minutes after Kim takes off to catch up with me, an elderly woman staggers over to my belongings. She stops, examines them, then motions over for another woman. The couple examine my stuff, looks around to make sure they're not being watched and place the items in a bag before taking off.

There's chatter in Mandarin from the officers surrounding me. Then more questions for me, some very odd, and a few statements.

"Why did you leave your belongings here?"

"That's not theft because you left your items unattended."

"What are you doing in Beijing? Are you a study-abroad student or a full-time resident?"

I answered. Then, after five minutes of waiting around, a phone call.

"Your items have been located, and we will be bringing them to you shortly."

Awesome! We exited the memorable security room, walked downstairs and the two ladies seen on camera earlier in the day now stood in front of me. They smiled and laughed amidst what seemed like angry chatter and handed me the same red bag with my two belongings sitting inside, perfectly intact.

I'm not sure exactly who those people were or the connection they had with the police. But I'm thankful they collectively cut me a break, even for items of small value.

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2019-09-03 07:30:34
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507361.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

China has been launching polar and geosynchronous orbit meteorological satellites since 1988.

On Sept 3, 1990, the country's second Fengyun-1 experimental satellite was launched as seen in the item from China Daily.

Over the past 50 years, 16 weather satellites from the Fengyun series were launched and eight of them are functioning and detailing meteorological situations in China and around the world.

Weather satellites are used to monitor natural phenomena such as typhoons and storms, and to provide meteorological information for studying global climate change.

Fengyun satellites have played an effective role in providing information on natural disasters for countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative - an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes - in the past year.

Information and data garnered by these satellites are available to about 90 countries and regions around the globe, as well as 2,600 users in China, according to statistics from China Meteorological Administration.

By 2025, the country plans to send 11 more meteorological satellites into orbit to further improve its weather forecasting accuracy and ability to cope with natural hazards, according to China National Space Administration.

The planned satellites include three Fengyun-3 satellites in polar orbit, two Fengyun-4 satellites in geostationary orbit, a dawn-dusk orbit climate satellite, a high-precision greenhouse gas detection satellite and a hyperspectral satellite.

China also aims to send a microwave detection satellite into the geostationary orbit to enhance its ability to predict and monitor fast-changing typhoons, rainstorms and other extreme weather. The satellite will work with the Fengyun-4 series to improve forecasting of rainfall and climate.

A precipitation radar measurement satellite is also planned to improve the accuracy of numerical forecasting of precipitation.

Scientists and engineers also started work on the Fengyun-5 and 6 series.

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2019-09-03 07:30:34
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507360.htm Bus service for elderly shoppers launched

Dalian Passenger Transport Group initiated five bus services in Dalian, Liaoning province, on Friday to transport senior passengers to grocery stores. The group said the service aims to encourage off-peak trips for the elderly. The buses run every half an hour from 9 am to 11 am every day. The buses are equipped to store shopping.

Xi'an follows Shanghai on garbage classification

China has been accelerating a garbage sorting campaign nationwide, since Shanghai, the first place to join the campaign, required all households and offices to start sorting their trash from July 1. On Sunday, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, started implementing waste-sorting regulations. According to a plan issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, all 46 major cities in China should have trash sorting systems in place by 2020; and all cities at or above prefecture level should have done so by 2025.

Check more posts online.

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2019-09-03 07:30:34
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507359.htm Society: Greater Bay Area radio begins

The first radio service for the Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Greater Bay Area started broadcasting on Sunday morning. Radio Greater Bay, under the China Media Group, will broadcast 21 hours a day at FM 101.2 Megahertz and AM 1215 Kilohertz. Its programs will focus on finance, technology and innovation, as well as information on entrepreneurship and employment. The broadcast is in the local Cantonese, Hakka and Chaoshan dialects.

Rankings: Tokyo keeps world's safest city title

Tokyo was named the world's safest city for the third time in a row, while Hong Kong plummeted to 20th place, said a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Overall, six Asia-Pacific cities are among the top 10 according to the EIU's 2019 Safe Cities index released on Thursday. The index ranks 60 cities across 57 indicators covering digital, health, infrastructure and personal security. Other cities in the top 10 include Osaka, Amsterdam, Sydney, Toronto and Washington.

People: Oldest scuba diver breaks his record

Ray Woolley, the world's oldest scuba diver, broke his own world record at 96, by diving on Saturday to the Zenobia shipwreck off the Larnaca coast, one of the world's best known diving spots, the organizers of the event said. Woolley, a British veteran of World War II living in Cyprus, celebrated his 96th birthday last week. The organizers said he stayed at a depth of 42.5 meters for 48 minutes, breaking his own Guinness world record set a year ago as the oldest scuba diver, after diving to the Zenobia and staying for 44 minutes at a depth of 40.6 meters. "It's just unbelievable. I've been diving now for 59 years and these are the sort of dives that you remember because there are so many divers with you," Woolley said, of the other 47 divers who swam with him. "If I can still dive and my buddies are willing to dive with me I hope I can do it again next year," he added.

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2019-09-03 07:30:34
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507358.htm Lebanon Hanover's China Tour

When: Sept 4, 8:30 pm

Where: Omni Space, Beijing

The duo of Larissa Iceglass and William Maybelline from the Berlin cold-wave and postpunk band Lebanon Hanover are true romantics of the modern age. They admire William Wordsworth and are fascinated by the beauty of art nouveau aesthetics, exploring British seashores and forests at night as well as being inspired by the urbanism of Berlin.

Lebanon Hanover is known for the minimalist efficiency of their music.

There's not a note or phrase wasted. Their albums are an honest result of two forsaken manic depressives, blending lush synthesizers with wavy guitars on top of Maybelline's solid strong basslines.

Since the release of the band's critically-acclaimed debut album The World Is Getting Colder, they have established themselves as one of the most successful genre-defining acts throughout Europe.

Swan Lake

When: Sept 5-8, 7:30 pm; Sept 7, 2:30 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake returns with a fresh look for the 21st Century.

Retaining all the iconic elements of the original production loved by millions around the world, Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherson (set and costumes) and Paule Constable (lighting) create an exciting re-imagining of the classic production.

Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotional, Bourne's Swan Lake is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corpsde-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.

Collecting more than 30 international theater awards including an Olivier in the United Kingdom and three Tony Awards on Broadway, Bourne's powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky's beloved tale is a passionate and contemporary Swan Lakef or our times.

Sweet Osmanthus in August

When: Sept 5-6, 7 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Five decades ago, Chinese opera The Red Guards on Honghu Lake, was created and performed by Hubei Provincial Opera and Dance Theater. Its popularity spread from Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, across the whole country.

The popular repertoire became a classic Chinese National Opera, and won the Outstanding Performance Award at the First Chinese Opera Festival in 2011.

In October 2014, when the Second Chinese Opera Festival was held in Wuhan, the dance group upheld the excellent traditions of the national opera, and staged the large-scale original opera Sweet Osmanthus in August at the opening ceremony.

This opera won seven awards, including Repertoire, Music Composition, Director, Screenplay and Performance.

The story focuses on a woman's fate and the pursuit of ideals and beliefs during the Agrarian Revolutionary War (1927-37).

Leonardo and His Outstanding Circle

When: Sept 12-Dec 8 (closed on Monday), 9:30 am-5:30 pm

Where: CAFA Art Museum, Beijing

Leonardo da Vinci died at the age of 67 in 1519. The 500th anniversary of his death sees his work being celebrated around the globe.

He was a genius driven by insatiable curiosity that led him to explore ideas in science, math, architecture, design, engineering, geology, cartography, sculpting, drawing and, of course, painting.

His surviving body of work as a painter is remarkably slim: Fewer than 20 artworks can be comfortably attributed to him, although two of them - Mona Lisa and The Last Supper - are easily among the most famous in the world.

LEO

When: Sept 12-22, times vary

Where: Shanghai Grand Theater

Y2D Productions' LEO is a mind-bending, funny, surreal, and surprisingly touching work that challenges the senses and tests perceptions of reality through the clever interplay of live performance and video projection. It leaves audience members wondering which way is up.

It has been presented over 900 times in more than 35 countries, and continues to tour all around the world.

It is the unusual journey of an otherwise ordinary man whose world becomes physically unhinged.

On one side of the stage, there's a screen: vertical, rectangular. Beside it, there's a room with a ceiling, floor, two walls and a light bulb. Inside the room, a performer sprawls on the floor, feet pressed up against a red wall. That room and everything he does in it appears on-screen, but tilted 90 degrees.

Hamlet

When: Sept 21 and 22, 7:30 pm

Where: 1862 Theater, Shanghai

Set in Denmark, Shakespeare's best-known play depicts Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle, Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother.

Armazem Theater Company from Brazil showcases a Hamlet full of sound and fury. Hamlet no longer pretends madness, gains the stature of a non-hero, and becomes a character involved in a political game much bigger than him. Pressed against the wall, he absorbs the madness of his time and becomes a destructive, tormented, lethal subject.

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2019-09-03 07:30:34
<![CDATA[Profusion of grandeur]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507357.htm From royal gowns to jewelry and dinnerware, the stunning exhibits at a new show in Beijing conjure up the splendor of Russian court ceremonies, Wang Kaihao reports.

When visitors step into the Shenwumen (Gate of Divine Prowess) Gallery at Beijing's Palace Museum, it feels almost as if they are attending a lavish coronation ceremony put on for a Russian czar from centuries ago.

More than 150 cultural relics from Moscow Kremlin Museums, the former imperial palace of the Romanov Dynasty (1613-1917), have been brought to Beijing for the ongoing exhibition Russian Court Ceremony, which runs through Nov 8.

And perhaps, the Palace Museum - China's imperial palace from 1420 to 1911 which is also known as the Forbidden City - is the ideal place to host these precious exhibits, echoing their beauty through its own imperial grandeur.

Starting with a 1717 portrait of Peter the Great, another 200 years of history unfolds.

"He revolutionized court ceremonies in line with (Western) European traditions," Svetlana Amelekhina, the Russian curator of the exhibition, says.

She adds that these grand and solemn ceremonies followed established procedures that were invested with special political powers to help underline the legitimacy of Czarist rule.

From royal gowns and decorations to documentary archives, old photos and prints, the exhibits on display across eight sections cover the entire coronation procedure - from the opening announcements to the ceremony itself, through to the parades and extravagant banquets.

Almost every detail of the ceremonies is portrayed through the cultural relics.

The exquisite horse-riding gear, the formal attire worn by the riders, the grooms' silver swords and the ceremonial canopies help to conjure up the splendor of the scene.

Czarina Anna Ivanovna's crown, Catherine I's coronation gown, Alexander II's military uniform, and religious items used for coronations and a profusion of jewelry, including brooches, bracelets and necklaces, help to crate an even stronger impression.

One section of the exhibition was designed especially to depict royal banquets through a diverse set of dinnerware. When they cast an eye over a small salt dispenser made of gilded agate, visitors will find it easy to imagine the magnificence of the setting.

Most of the exhibits are "precious items that have been permitted to leave the Moscow Kremlin Museums", according to Amelekhina.

Although the Romanov dynasty moved its capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 1712, the most important ceremonies continued to be held at the Assumption Cathedral next to the Kremlin in Moscow.

"As a time-honored tradition, every Russian monarch since the 15th century has been crowned there," the curator says.

She adds that the exhibits are also a reflection of cultural communication between China and Russia.

"For example, the costumes may be woven in Russia or France, but they are made of silk from China," Amelekhina says.

The curator adds that many czars, especially the last monarch Nicolas II, were avid lovers of Chinese art, and a royal collection of Chinese artifacts was built up over the years.

"We might need another exhibition entirely to display them," she says.

Cooperation between China and Russia has been developing for well over a decade, as Lou Wei, deputy director of the Palace Museum, tells China Daily. Moscow Kremlin Museums first held an exhibition at the Beijing museum in 2006.

"However, the previous exhibition was a general selection of items from the Kremlin," Lou says. "As people's understanding of Russian culture improves, we need to narrow down the big topic to better introduce the history through a more specific theme."

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. In March, an exhibition put together by the Palace Museum opened at the Kremlin to display court rituals under the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-95), the peak of social prosperity during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

"It was almost contemporaneous of what is being shown at the Russian counterpart of our museum," Lou says. "We would like to create cultural resonance by sharing similar topics."

He adds that future cultural cooperation will be expanded to fields beyond exhibitions.

The Palace Museum was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, while the Moscow Kremlin followed suit three years later in 1990.Lou says exchanges of experience managing world heritage sites and training of expertise in cultural relic conservation could be a new focus.

 

Visitors look at cultural relics on loan from Moscow Kremlin Museums at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Jiang Dong / China Daily

 
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2019-09-03 07:30:14
<![CDATA[Chinese dance drama to debut in Seattle]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507356.htm SAN FRANCISCO - The classical Chinese dance drama Butterfly Lovers is set for its debut at the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle this week as part of an arts festival currently underway in the United States. The two-hour dance drama, also known as "Chinese Romeo and Juliet", is a romantic tragedy set in ancient China.

It has been choreographed by dance director Li Hengda.

With a cast of young artists from the Beijing Dance Academy, the dance drama will bring one of four most treasured tragic love stories in China to audiences on the US West Coast.

"The drama combines the elegant style and expressive techniques of classical Chinese dance but is delivered in the universal language of dancing to tell an old story in a new way," Li says.

This artistic creation of the legendary tragic romance between Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai employs a lot of traditional styles unique to Chinese dance with new techniques of expression and music often found in American symphonies, he adds.

The drama exemplifies traditional Chinese values, such as filial duty, loyalty and honor and features many unique characteristics of Chinese art, Li continues.

"I've lived in the US for more than 20 years, but I think what is most splendid and appealing to American audiences is the special characteristics of the Chinese nation, such as the Chinese artistic conception of poetic interpretation and the expression of passion."

The drama, which was presented in two shows at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts late last week, is part of the Sixth Across Pacific-China Arts Festival that kicked off in San Francisco on Thursday. The dance drama will be staged in Seattle from Thursday through Saturday.

Xinhua

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2019-09-03 07:30:14
<![CDATA[Famous violinists take to the stage to honor Sheng Zhongguo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507355.htm Top Chinese violinists, including Lyu Siqing and Liu Yunzhi, will gather in Beijing to give a concert commemorating the life of their late compatriot, Sheng Zhongguo, who died of a heart attack in Beijing on Sept 9, 2018, at the age of 77.

The concert will be held at the Forbidden City Concert Hall on Sunday.

Sheng, considered one of China's most talented violinists, was known for his interpretation of the Butterfly Lovers violin concerto, composed in 1959 by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang when they were students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Initiated by Sheng's wife, Japanese pianist Hiroko Seta, the concert, with four sections, will feature repertoires including Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano by French composer Cesar Franck, Pastoral Song by Chinese composer Han Shakun, and The Spring of Xinjiang by Chinese composers Ma Yaoxian and Li Zhonghan.

Chinese violinist Liu Yunzhi will open the concert with Meditation, the famous violin piece from French composer Jules Massenet's opera, Thais. The concert will close with the Butterfly Lovers violin concerto, performed jointly by all of the violinists.

"My husband believed that musicians are like warriors and the stage is like a battlefield. He took each of his performance seriously and the best way to pay tribute to him is through music," said Seta in Beijing on Thursday, who will perform at the concert alongside the Chinese violinists.

Since 1987, Sheng had been performing at annual concerts held in Japan, where he donated part of the proceeds to medical foundations for overseas students. It was there that he met his wife, with whom he performed at the concerts. During the upcoming commemoration concert, Seta will "share the stage" with her husband through his previous recordings.

"I came to China with my husband about 30 years ago and I've witnessed the development of China's classical music scene. He was very excited about the younger generation and taught many students," the pianist adds.

During the concert, six of those students will perform music pieces adapted from Romanian Folk Dances, a suite of six short piano pieces composed by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok in 1915.

"We miss him, not only for his solid technique as a violinist, but also as a great teacher. I can still recall when, ahead of my concerts, Sheng would invite me to his home and let me use his violins, which are very valuable," says Xie Nan, one of Sheng's former students performing at the concert.

Born in Chongqing, Sheng began studying the violin at the age of 5, taking lessons from his father, Sheng Xue. He gave his first public performance at 7, and at 9, he made his first solo recording with the Wuhan People's Broadcasting Station, playing music by Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.

In 1954, Sheng Zhongguo began studying at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and, in 1960, furthered his musical studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow under the great Russian violinist, Leonid Kogan. After returning to China in 1964, Sheng gave concerts as a soloist with the China National Symphony Orchestra.

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2019-09-03 07:30:14
<![CDATA[An appeal beyond borders]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507354.htm A Beijing-based travel summit is building partnerships with overseas agencies and discussing ways of enticing more tourists to visit the mainland, Yang Feiyue reports.

Nimesha Sarangi made her 40th trip to China in August. Working in outbound-tourism operations for Sri Lankan travel agency Jetwing Holidays means she has been dealing with the Chinese market since 2011.

"I've been to many places across the country, especially Beijing," Sarangi says.

"Whenever there's a new destination or hotel, I'll come and learn about it and then promote it among the people back in my country."

 

Top: Foreign tourists visit a Beijing hutong (alleyway). Above left: A foreign visitor poses with bronze statues in front of a Beijing eatery on Qianmen street. Above right: A participant of the recent Beijing Tourism Global Distribution Partnership Summit practices Chinese calligraphy during the event. Photos Provided to China Daily and By Yang Feiyue / China Daily

 

Business has been good at her agency.

"We've seen a 10 to 20 percent growth every year over the past few years," Sarangi says.

Just a few weeks ago, she traveled with 80 tourists from Sri Lanka to Beijing.

Sarangi expects to bring about 2,000 travelers to the capital this year.

"They love to travel here because of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City," Sarangi says.

"Shopping and local food are also on their list of favorite things to do."

Direct flights connecting Sri Lanka to Beijing and the welcoming nature of Chinese people have also helped fuel the Sri Lankans' enthusiasm to travel to the capital, she says.

Sarangi is among the 60 overseas travel-service providers, who attended the Beijing Tourism Global Distribution Partnership Summit in late August.

The summit was hosted by Beijing's municipal culture and tourism bureau with the aim of developing a global network of travel-business partners for Beijing to boost its inbound tourism.

The summit was launched in 2018 and aspires to reach 100 foreign travel partners within three years.

"We keep them updated on tourism resources (in Beijing) for free on a regular basis so they can promote them on platforms in their respective markets," says Cao Pengcheng, deputy director of the Beijing's culture and tourism bureau.

The partners will also be invited to experience unique travel experiences in Beijing every year, in addition to joining events like the summit.

"This way, they can come up with better tourism products based on the requirements of travelers from their countries," Cao says.

Each year, funds will be allocated to help publicize those products, Cao says.

At the summit, German travel agency China Tour presented driving programs from Berlin to Beijing.

Hutong (alleyways) and night-tour programs have also been created. And tourism operators overseas are making a point of encouraging their compatriots to take public transport and travel like locals.

Terry Dale, president of the United States Tour Operators Association, was amazed by the sights of the capital during his stay for the summit.

"Everything is so clean, and I feel very safe. And those are the attributes that are becoming more important to US travelers," Dale says.

Dale says he thinks that US tour operators have only scratched the surface when it comes to organizing trips to China, and to Beijing specifically.

"I think what they're looking for today is more exploration of neighborhoods, and they want to feel that they get to know the local people," says Dale.

"There's an appetite for it, and it is growing."

Dale says he will share his Beijing experiences with US tour operators to help them find and develop opportunities.

Randall Deer from Australia-based Ignite Travel says that his agency expects to bring 200,000 travelers to Beijing this year.

"Australia has seen the fastest growth in tourists to Beijing," Deer says.

His agency has experienced annual growth of 30 to 40 percent in recent years.

The tourism-partnership summit will focus on promoting the Winter Olympics and traditional Chinese medicine.

"We believe Beijing has great potential to further develop its inbound tourism," Cao says.

The municipality has been receiving about 4 million inbound visits every year.

Beijing offers 144-hour visa-free transit and shopping-rebate policies to entice travelers from abroad to visit the capital.

Tourism products featuring local cultural elements have been developed in recent years, such as the ancient royal city along the Central Axis.

The Beijing Enamel Factory has attracted inbound travelers' curiosity over the years.

The site offers traditional art that dates back more than 600 years. Now, items purchased there are eligible for tax rebates.

"Most visitors are individual travelers from the US and Europe," says Yi Fucheng, chair of the factory.

They come to visit the plant's museum and then learn to make the art from scratch.

The factory will work with the Beijing culture and tourism bureau to develop more experience-based programs for travelers from abroad.

"We may teach them to make small items, such as bottles and daily utensils," Yi says.

The Beijing bureau recently unveiled a three-year plan for the reform and opening-up of culture and tourism.

It will push for customs rules and better tax-free shopping policies to make things easier for inbound tourists to get tax refunds.

Additionally, foreigners will be allowed to invest in entertainment facilities without restraints on the amount.

Support will also be given to cultural information, creative design and game development.

More favorable policies toward travel for meetings, conferences and exhibitions - or MICE travel - will be launched in the future to boost the number of inbound travelers in that sector, according to Cao.

To date, the Beijing bureau has not only increased efforts in major foreign markets, including the US, Japan, South Korea and Germany, but also has engaged in close cooperation with travel players in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, such as the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Malaysia and Poland.

"China has been one of the biggest outbound-tourism destinations for the Middle East," says Cashion Vettom from the Khimji's House of Travel in Oman.

His agency deals with 500,000 travelers to China every year, and 70 percent of them have Beijing in mind when booking, Vettom says.

The Beijing authority will continue to use the tourism-partnership summit to upgrade the international appeal of the municipality.

During the recent summit, Sarangi, along with her fellow attendees, explored destinations that offer immersive travel experiences in Beijing.

She visited Beijing WTown - or Gubei Watertown - in Gubeikou town in Miyun district, where she was stunned by the beautiful and precipitous Simatai Great Wall and intriguing local folk customs.

Sarangi also experienced traditional book assembly in the National Library and enjoyed Chinese acrobatics at close quarters.

The renovated steel-industry park, the Olympic-themed pavilion and Peking Opera experiences impressed her.

The programs were developed when the Beijing authorities integrated local culture and tourism resources last year.

"These places and programs can be introduced to our clients, especially those who have visited China before, but are looking for new experiences," Sarangi says.

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2019-09-03 07:30:14
<![CDATA[Travelers take to home-sharing options for unique experiences]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507353.htm A growing number of Chinese visitors are seeking authentic local experiences via online home-sharing listings.

A report by the State Information Center reveals that revenue from home-sharing listings in China reached about 16.5 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) in 2018, a 37.5 percent increase over 2017.

"China's over 400 million millennials have become the country's major travelers," says Peng Tao, president of Airbnb China, a home-sharing platform. "They seek personalized travel experiences and like to explore the world. It's one of the factors that is boosting Airbnb's growth in China."

Airbnb recently released a report about Chinese visitors' travel in summer. There has been a big increase for Airbnb Plus - the highest-quality homes on the platformas more visitors seek well-decorated and cozy places.

Airbnb's business in metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai is still booming in summer, and orders in third-and fourth-tier cities are also on the rise.

For example, demand in the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Qinghai province has shown a big increase due to its picturesque Chaka Salt Lake that shows clear reflections of the sky, clouds and tourists, like a mirror.

In other domestic destinations, Chinese visitors often relax in farm-stays, single-family houses or resorts. During outbound trips, they went for unique listings like islands.

Airbnb's data also show that the favorite overseas destinations for Chinese visitors in the summer are Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. The visa waiver offered to Chinese visitors to Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina saw the number of Chinese travelers increase four times over the previous year.

Popular overseas destinations for Chinese born after 1995 are Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Popular domestic destinations among this group are Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Emerging domestic destinations in summer for those born after '95 are Changchun in Jilin province, Wuhu in Anhui province, Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, Taiyuan in Shanxi province and Foshan in Guangdong province.

Nine out of 10 family travelers opt for a house with a kitchen.

In summer, families also like to travel to the regions surrounding the cities where they live. So, road trips are a common way to travel. Popular routes include those from Beijing to Hebei province's Zhangjiakou or Chengde.

Chen Muru, who's in charge of Airbnb's marketing in China, says: "Seasonal marketing is always essential, like for the summer vacation, the National Holiday and the Spring Festival.

"As more Chinese travelers are now familiar with the shared economy and are enjoying its benefits and convenience, Airbnb aims to further segment our consumer market."

She says that when consumers first started to learn about home-sharing, Airbnb's marketing strategy was to localize the brand in China and target Chinese millennials to ensure they felt a sense of belonging on their trips.

"The stories of our hosts and guests - be they celebrities or ordinary people - are all true. That's why these stories are moving," she says.

Li Hao is a professional Airbnb host and has about 30 listings on the platform.

Shanghai recently implemented its first regulations on waste management, and hosts like Li have started to teach guests how to sort out household waste with a bilingual guidebook.

He encourages guests to engage in waste sorting by offering them discounts or small gifts.

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2019-09-03 07:30:14
<![CDATA[Ways to bridge gaps]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507352.htm A Chinese consulate encourages Americans to learn about China's language and culture, Lia Zhu reports in San Francisco.

When he started to learn Chinese as a mechanical-engineering student at the University of California-Berkeley 18 years ago, Adam Wright had little idea that the language would connect him to his future wife or help him land his current job.

"When I studied at Berkeley, more than half my friends were Chinese, so I was immersed in Chinese culture. If I wanted to get to know them a little bit deeper, I felt it was important for me to learn Chinese," says Wright, director of manufacturing at San Francisco-based NanoCore Technologies.

 

Wang Donghua, Chinese consul general in San Francisco, shows at a recent reception at his residence a black-and-white photo of Thomas Gold, a retired professor at UC Berkeley, when Gold was studying at Fudan University in Shanghai in 1979. Lia Zhu / China Daily

"As soon as I started to learn, I discovered that I really enjoyed it," he says.

Wright studied Chinese at Yunnan Normal University from 2008 to 2009. He's now a fluent speaker. He says the skill has helped him to gain a deeper understanding of China and easily establish personal relationships with Chinese people, which is why he was hired for his current job.

His company's 3D printers can print solid metal parts, and all the manufacturing is done in China.

"It's very important to speak with a factory owner and get to know them. Because of my Chinese ability, I get better treatment," Wright says.

To help other Americans improve their Chinese-language skills, Wright has organized a network of more than 50 people, including American students who have studied in China and Chinese-language learners, to meet regularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. The group has also partnered with the Chinese consulate in San Francisco to provide a platform for Americans in the region, who are interested in Chinese language and culture.

Wang Donghua, the consul general in San Francisco, recently hosted a reception at his residence for the group to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China.

Wang encouraged his guests, including college students and retired professors, to continue learning about the Chinese language and culture, and to contribute to the friendship between Chinese and Americans, especially amid the current trade tensions.

A guest at the reception, Thomas Gold, who was among the first US-government-funded exchange students, had returned to the US after his visit to China in 1979.Gold shared his experiences as a student in Shanghai.

He later became a sociology professor at UC Berkeley and worked as the executive director of a program for Chinese-language studies there from 2006 to 2016. He expressed his concern over the lack of knowledge of China among many Americans.

"China-US relations in 1979 gave people an optimistic expectation. I hope the two countries can go back to the optimistic level of 1979.Otherwise, the 50 years I spent on people-to-people relationships would be a waste," Gold says in Chinese.

Wright says trade tensions have affected his life. His previous company went out of business, and his current company can't start mass production because of increased tariffs.

"All our manufacturing is done in China, so to avoid the high duty, we are waiting for the tariffs to go away before we start mass production," he says. "The company is doing smaller production now, because the tax is more affordable for smaller orders. As soon as we start larger orders, the 25 percent tax would be unbelievable."

Wright says part of the reason behind current tensions is that many Americans don't really know about China, and the misconceptions they have are potentially damaging to bilateral relations.

"I will share my own experiences and my photos in China with people (in the US), or take my friends to China as a tour guide. I want to show them what the real China is," he says. Contact the writer at liazhu@chinadailyusa.com

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2019-09-03 07:30:14
<![CDATA[Beijing show pays tribute to print artist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/03/content_37507351.htm At the opening of a Beijing exhibition dedicated to late print artist Wu Shi (1912-98) in 2011, noted author and scholar Shu Yi said Wu Shi's works show an admiration for Qi Baishi, the modern master of classic Chinese art. It was from Qi that Wu Shi inherited the core value of xieyi, a style of drawing the spirit of subjects and privileging the spontaneity of the lines.

Shu also said that Wu Shi was deeply influenced by German artist Kaethe Kollwitz (1867-1945), whose prints advocated care for those in destitution, starvation and the working class.

Kollwitz's works were introduced to China in the early 20th century by Lu Xun, the prominent writer who loved her work very much. He passionately promoted Kollwitz's art to young Chinese artists like Wu Shi, who were inspired to create works concerning social problems and voicing the issues of underprivileged communities.

 

Top: Wu Shi's 1957 print, Accomplishment, is on show. Above: A visitor takes pictures of Wu Shi's work at the ongoing exhibition. Photos by Jiang Dong / China Daily and Provided to China Daily

Shu's comments on Wu Shi well summarized his art, which the artist used to address the needs of his country and its people.

Wu Shi's family recently donated more than 100 pieces from his oeuvre to the National Museum of China. And they are on show at the exhibition, Flames of Art, at the museum through Oct 13.

Wu Shi, who was born with the name Feng Zishu in Hunan province, received formal training in art in Shanghai in the early 1930s. In 1943, he joined the New Fourth Army, which was led by the Communist Party of China. As he fought for his nation, he created prints to show the livelihoods of the people and to encourage them.

He produced a body of work in the 1930s and '40s that encouraged people to stand up to the Japanese invaders and to fight for national independence.

"Wu Shi worked as an editor at several newspapers during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45). He published in these newspapers many prints themed on the resistance," says Zheng Yan, curator of the National Museum of China.

"The original pieces were lost, but we were able to find copies, so the audience can get a comprehensive picture of Wu Shi's work during the war," she says.

In the decades after the founding of New China in 1949, Wu Shi turned his attention to depicting a panoramic view of social and industrial construction across the country, and some of his works have become iconic pieces of 20th-century Chinese art.

Two such prints on show are Harvest, which portrays a lively landscape of people resting in an extensive field of wheat, and Accomplishment, which depicts the construction of a bridge.

Wu Shi taught at the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in Wuhan after retiring from army. He revisited villages in which he'd once lived as a soldier. There, he used art to showcase the settlements and landscapes - this time, in the form of Chinese ink paintings. Dozens of these pieces are also on show at the National Museum of Art exhibition.

Zheng the curator says the character shi, meaning stone in Chinese, from Wu Shi's name perfectly demonstrates his attitude toward art.

"He came from the village where Qi Baishi lived and said that, as a child, he often watched Qi painting. He chose shi for his name from Qi's name to show his respect for him," she says.

"Also, the character indicates a fighting spirit and integrity, both of which he embraced throughout his life."

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2019-09-03 07:30:14
<![CDATA[World leaders fiddle while rainforests burn, ice caps retreat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/02/content_37507111.htm There's an internet meme doing the rounds at the moment depicting a sign hanging in a bookshop window that succinctly captures the global zeitgeist: "Please note: The Post-apocalyptical Fiction section has been moved to Current Affairs".

As the world swelters through one of the hottest recorded summers in human history and the polar caps melt at ever-increasing rates and glaciers simply disappear from the face of the Earth, another looming climate catastrophe made the headlines recently.

Dramatic footage of fires raging in Brazil's Amazon rainforests stunned the world, as vast plumes of smoke billowing into the skies plunged the city of Sao Paulo into virtual darkness one afternoon - more than 2,500 kilometers away from their source in Rondonia state. More shocking still, as news of the catastrophe spread - ironically like wildfire - it soon became clear that the fires did not occur naturally but were sparked by human hands.

The country's National Space Research Institute (INPE), which monitors deforestation, has recorded more than 75,000 wildfires across Brazil this year, an 80 percent rise over last year. Half originated in the Amazon region, most of them in the last month alone.

Often referred to as the planet's lungs, the world's largest rainforest produces 20 percent of the oxygen for the Earth's atmosphere and is considered vital in slowing global warming.

Scientist Alberto Setzer of the institute told CNN that 99 percent of the fires were the result of human action, "either on purpose or by accident", ranging from small agricultural tracts to deforestation related to large-scale agribusiness - which is widely taken to mean soybean and livestock production.

When the fires first made the news, Brazil's right-leaning President Jair Bolsonaro initially suggested that activists may have started them to damage his government's credibility.

Yet his critics countered that it was Bolsonaro who has been stoking the fires, both literally and metaphorically, by following through on his campaign promises to relax environmental controls and encourage farmers, loggers and ranchers to clear forests for development.

International pledges at the recent G7 summit reached $20 million, on top of $12 million from Britain and $11 million from Canada, China Daily reported. While helpful, these are small sums compared with the amount raised to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral or the $1 billion already paid into a global environmental fund to help the Amazon over the past decade.

Yet with donors like Norway and Germany cutting donations to Brazilian forestry projects, citing a lack of commitment to curbing deforestation, and with Bolsonaro accusing rich countries of treating the region like a "colony", we appear to be facing a serious political impasse.

Finland said last month it was considering a ban on Brazilian beef and soy imports to force the country to take action, and is urging the EU to follow suit, the Helsinki Times reported. Finland's Mika Lintila and Chile's Felipe Larrain Bascunan are two finance ministers in a global coalition looking to harness economic and fiscal policies to combat climate change.

The strident move could spark unwanted political and economic fallout at a time of escalating global trade tensions, rather than consolidate international efforts.

Either way, I for one am considering a move espoused by British author and journalist George Monbiot, who suggested that "defending the living world and its people requires a shift from meat to a plant-based diet." But that's a subject for another column entirely.

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2019-09-02 07:43:38
<![CDATA[This Day, That Year]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/02/content_37507110.htm Editor's note: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China.

On Sept 2, 1958, China Central Television (formerly Beijing Television) went into official operation. For the first time, domestic TV signals were broadcast in Beijing.

In 1972, CCTV conducted its first simultaneous satellite broadcasts nationwide.

From 1973, it began broadcasting experimentally in color on its second channel, and fully converted to color broadcasting by 1977.

By 1985, CCTV had become a leading television network in China, and by 1987 its popularity had soared due to the adaptation and presentation of Dream of the Red Chamber.

The 36-episode TV series was the first Chinese television drama to enter the global market.

In December 1996, CCTV's website began trial operations, and on Sept 2,2008, a new CCTV headquarters was opened to mark its 50th anniversary, as seen in an item from China Daily.

CCTV currently has a network of about 50 channels, broadcasting different programs, and is accessible to more than 1 billion viewers. The broadcaster provides programming in different languages.

CCTV has opened offices in dozens of countries and regions as well as at the United Nations.

It dispatches reporters to cover major events in various parts of the world, whenever such events take place.

Its rapid development over the past six decades reflects the dramatic changes in the country's television sector. In 1978, China had fewer than one television set per 100 people. In 1987, the country overtook Japan as the world's largest manufacturer of TV sets, and in 2016 it produced 58 percent of them.

Since Dream of the Red Chamber, China has become one of the largest producers of content for television and online, with at least 400 dramas a year, half of them sold overseas.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said that in China more than 1,600 domestic movies and television productions have been translated into 36 languages in recent years, including English, French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese, and they have been aired, or are currently being aired, in more than 100 countries.

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2019-09-02 07:43:38
<![CDATA[On our Sina Weibo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/02/content_37507109.htm Face changing app sparks privacy concerns

Face-swap app Zao has gone viral on social media, but those who have used it were warned of potential risks. The main attraction of the app is that people can replace the face of actors or actresses in movies with their own to produce a video clip that puts themselves in scenes like Titanic or Romeo and Juliet. Many people have tried and shared such video clips on WeChat Moments, creating a stir. Developed by dating app Momo, it uses artificial intelligence technology to swap faces for its users. Industry observers warned that authorization of photos to commercial companies may invite stealth capture of facial features that can be used to duplicate a face. It may pose dangers in functions like payments through facial recognition. In the United States, imagery produced by the technology are called deepfakes. Hollywood star Gal Gadot was a victim of the technology, with pictures manipulated to make a pornographic video. It is being boycotted in the US.

Digital driver's licenses OK to pay fines

This month, Shanghai residents can use digital versions of their driver's licenses and vehicle licenses when paying fines for traffic offenses. By simply confirming their license information on the app Suishenban and Shanghai Jiaojing, they can show digital versions of their licenses to the police without the hard copy, according to local authorities. However, for offenses in which one's driver's license can be revoked or temporarily withheld, the hard copy must be produced.

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2019-09-02 07:43:38
<![CDATA[On chinadaily.com.cn]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/02/content_37507108.htm Culture: Gaokao drama earns high marks

A Little Reunion, a hit TV drama that puts the spotlight on the gaokao, the national college entrance exam, came to an end on Tuesday, wrapping up heated discussions on social media over the past month. Adapted from best-selling writer Lu Yingong's eponymous novel, it focuses on three families - an optimistic couple with a poorly performing son and a genius nephew; a divorced couple who later reunite for the sake of their daughter; and a pair of officials struggling to reconnect with their rebellious son after a six-year absence from his life.

Science: FAST has found 93 pulsars

China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, has identified 93 new pulsars since October 2017, according to the National Astronomical Observatories. A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits two beams of electromagnetic radiation. Since the first time FAST reported it had found pulsars, in October 2017, the telescope has detected 132 promising pulsar candidates, and 93 of them have been confirmed. Pulsar observation is an important task for FAST, which can be used to confirm the existence of gravitational radiation and black holes, and help solve many other major questions in physics.

World: Pedestrian lanes for phone users in UK

Two 75-meter-long pedestrian lanes for phone users have been designated in central Manchester, the United Kingdom, after new research by AO-Mobile found that 96 percent of people say others have bumped into them because they were busy looking at their phones. The lanes are thought to be the first of their kind in Europe. According to a survey of 1,500 people, 75 percent of people admitted to walking and talking on their phones at the same time, while 70 percent also said they regularly walk and text at the same time.

Video: The Glories of the Minya Konka

Western Sichuan province features a tapestry of majestic mountains. Most of these run north to south, where the Dadu, Yalong, Jinsha and other rivers race through. The Indian subcontinent and the Eurasian continent collide here, forming a magnificent mountainous region. It is one of the most diverse natural landscapes on the planet - and that diversity also extends to culture and biology. The highest peak of the Hengduan Mountains, Minya Konka, is the highest of a series of peaks at an altitude of 7,556 meters. Documentary The Glories of the Minya Konka tells stories of biodiversity through images taken at the Gonggashan National Nature Reserve.

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2019-09-02 07:43:38
<![CDATA[What's on]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/02/content_37507107.htm Queen Real Tribute: Bohemian Rhapsody

When: Sept 7, 7:30 pm

Where: Beijing Exhibition Center Theater

Queen Real Tribute, a band established in April 2006, is composed of professional musicians who played in Europe with the famous stars of Queen. They are not only great musicians but big fans, so they started to play Queen songs to preserve the memory of one of the greatest rock bands of all time, with its phenomenal singer Freddie Mercury.

During 2007 and 2008, Queen Real Tribute performed numerous concerts around Eastern Europe and soon became one of the biggest Queen tribute bands in the world.

At the end of 2008, it recorded a live DVD video, Magic Rhapsody. During 2009 it received many invitations from abroad, which produced concerts in Europe that burnished their international reputation.

The lead guitarist uses the same type of guitar as Queen's Brian May, and also plays using coins, which produces the uniquely Queenesque guitar tone. The band's lead singer wears clothes like Freddy Mercury's, and copies Mercury's moves.

The Chainsmokers: 2019 Live in Shanghai

When: Sept 10, 8 pm

Where: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai

Alex Pall and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers have evolved into a dominating musical force with a diverse repertoire of songs that have led them to become one of music's hottest recording acts. Their signature sound deftly reaches across the indie, progressive and pop realms.

The duo's evolution as producers and songwriters has seen them develop some of the biggest breakthrough songs over the course of the last few years.

In 2016, they catapulted to worldwide stardom with three certified multiplatinum hits. Rosesf rom their gold-certified debut EP, Bouquet, became a platinum smash that shot to the top of Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Don't Let Me Down, which is included on the duo's second platinum-selling EP Collage, made the top five in the Billboard Hot 100 hit listed.

The duo won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording for the track at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Tosca

When: Sept 11, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

Tosca is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini. It tells the story of opera singer Florio Tosca, painter Mario Cavaradossi and a corrupt police chief, Baron Scarpia. The drama involves political prisoners, deceit, murder and Tosca's fiery defiance and rebellion, protecting the freedom and autonomy she holds dear in the face of Scarpia's lust.

While working at the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle in Rome in 1880, the painter Cavaradossi agrees to assist a political prisoner, Cesare Angelotti, in his efforts to escape. Scarpia, whose political ambitions thinly disguise his unparalleled cruelty, is on Angelotti's trail and quickly discovers Cavaradossi's involvement.

The Three Body Problem: Remembrance of Earth's Past

When: Sept 26-28, 7:30 pm; Sept 28, 2 pm

Where: Beijing Tianqiao Theater

The Three Body Problem drama is adapted from Liu Cixin's novel of the same name, the first Chinese science fiction winner of a Hugo Award for Best Novel. That was in 2016.

Motivated by tremendous pressure from theater peers and fans of The Three Body Problem, the Lotus Lee Drama Company in Shanghai has invested more than 10 million yuan ($1.39 million) in the play.

It is a two-hour play made fantastical with the help of 3D, holographic displays, drones and other stunning special effects.

Le Rouge et Le Noir: L'Opera Rock (French)

When: Oct 3-20, times vary

Where: Shanghai Culture Square

Based on the French classic novel Le Rouge et Le Noir (The Red and the Black) by Stendhal, father of modern fiction, this rock opera is an adaptation of Fran?ois Chouquet.

It tells the story of a lowborn but ambitious young man in the Napoleonic era who seeks to rise beyond his station through a mixture of determination, deception, hard work and hypocrisy, as told through rock music, with all the accouterments of opera - big hair, big outfits, big vocals and 3D multimedia effects.

A live rock band provides the accompaniment for international hits such as La Gloire a mes Genoux and Dans le Noir je Vois Rouge.

The show is in French, with Chinese subtitles.

The Crossroad

When: Oct 2-6, 7:30 pm

Where: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing

In the winter of 1948, a blizzard hits the Yangtze-Huaihe river valleys, where the Kuomintang and Communist armies fought decisively to determine the destiny of China.

The Northwest Army was a renowned anti-Japanese force. Four of its famous generals have to make a tough decision. Generals Ma Ze'an, Zhang Yufeng, Zheng Yihu and Zhou Keren become sworn brothers amid the flames of war and agree to stick together in life and death. Where is the road ahead? Everyone is at the crossroad.

Sekai no Owari: The Colors Tour 2019

When: Nov 18, 8 pm

Where: Beijing Expo Theater

Sekai no Owari is one of Japan's most popular and skilled creative groups. It has four members: Nakajin (lead guitar, sound production); Fukase (lead vocals, group conceptualist); Saori (stage production, piano); and the masked clown DJ Love (sonic palette, comedic stage banter).

These four childhood friends collectively managed the live music venue, club Earth, which they built from the ground up. The members lived on the premises as they developed the concept and direction of what would eventually become Sekai no Owari.

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2019-09-02 07:43:38
<![CDATA[A passion for periodicals]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/02/content_37507106.htm When Yury Tavrovskiy was a student at St. Petersburg State University in the 1960s, he learned Chinese language and calligraphy, read poems from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and novels of essayist and translator Lu Xun (1881-1936), and also studied the oracle-bone inscriptions of ancient China.

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An exhibition at this year's BIBF featured 4,000 books and 1,000 magazines in four categories, including rare first editions, Wang Ru reports.

When Yury Tavrovskiy was a student at St. Petersburg State University in the 1960s, he learned Chinese language and calligraphy, read poems from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and novels of essayist and translator Lu Xun (1881-1936), and also studied the oracle-bone inscriptions of ancient China.

His knowledge about China helped him in his later career as a Russian Sinologist who wrote and translated works about China. On Aug 20, Tavrovskiy received an award during this year's Special Book Award of China for his work introducing Chinese culture to the world.

Tavrovskiy's photos and other representative works were featured at an exhibition of selected fine publications over the past 70 years to mark the establishment of the People's Republic of China at this year's Beijing International Book Fair, which was held over Aug 21-25.

Organized by the National Press and Publication Administration and the China National Publications Import & Export Group, the exhibition was held to show the development of Chinese publications since the founding of New China.

The Exhibition of Select Publications to celebrate the 70th anniversary was divided into four sections: journals, imported and exported publications, award-winning books and classic books published after 1949.

The journal section featured more than 1,000 magazines, including award-winning titles and famous first issues. The highlight was a copy of China Youth magazine published in 1963 that bears Chairman Mao Zedong's inscription "learning from Lei Feng".

"Many Chinese people are familiar with this saying, which encourages them to learn from role model Lei Feng, but they may not know this saying first appeared in this magazine because China Youth wanted to publish a special issue at that time to commemorate Lei, and Chairman Mao wrote this inscription for it," says Duan Yanwen, chief editor of the China Periodical Yearbook and the curator of the journal section of the exhibition.

Magazines which published the original versions of famous novels like Hugo Award winner Liu Cixin's The Wandering Earth and Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan's Red Sorghum, as well as Nobel Prize winning scientist Tu Youyou's essay about the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, were also on display.

In a section dedicated to longstanding titles, a periodical called the Chinese Medical Journal was set out on display.

"Established in 1887 under the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1871-1908) in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), this journal is considered to be the oldest magazine which is still published today in China," says Duan.

At the imported and exported publications section, visitors can chart the introduction of foreign books to China and Chinese books to the outside world. In recent years, especially since President Xi Jinping first proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, Chinese books have been translated into an increasing number of languages. Some examples of works translated into Swedish, Vietnamese and Arabic could be seen at the exhibition.

According to the organizers, countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative were the most popular destinations in terms of copyright deals, and books about Chinese political ideas, literature, science and technology, and children's books were the most well-received genres among foreign publishers.

Many of the Chinese books that have already been translated into multiple languages displayed at the exhibition centered on political theory, especially Xi's theories and visions, literary works by Lu Xun, Liu's science fiction works and even some picture books.

Photos and representative works of 15 foreign writers, translators and publishers who made important contributions to the spread of Chinese culture around the world were also listed in this category, including Tavrovskiy's work Xi Jinping: Governance Thought in Shape, the first book published in Russia featuring the writings of Xi.

"I want to help Russians understand more about China, which I believe is beneficial not only to both countries, but also to the shared future of humanity," Tavrovskiy said at the awards ceremony of this year's Special Book Award of China.

The exhibition of award-winning books included I Belonged to You, China Album and Elegant Song: The Visible Civilization - winners of the annual China's Books award, and the Chinese Government Award for Publishing winner New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy.

The exhibition of classic books published after 1949 featured a range of iconic 20th century titles, including the Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Keep the Red Flag Flying and The Song of Youth.

A total of more than 4,000 books were displayed at the exhibition.

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2019-09-02 07:43:17
<![CDATA[Variety show, The Big Band, gets rock rolling again]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/02/content_37507105.htm BEIJING - Frequent rainfall across China has not been able to dampen the enthusiasm for rock music this summer.

Rock music is thumping on more Chinese eardrums than ever before and becoming more "word on the street" than "underground culture" as it moves into the mainstream. This is thanks, in part, to the variety show The Big Band, which has captivated Chinese audiences with its focus on indie music and rock culture.

Aimed at bringing lesser-known rock and indie bands to the fore and giving them a platform to perform for the masses, the show took the format of a competition among 31 bands whose styles range from indie rock, metal and punk to funk, British pop, reggae and more. Concluding earlier last month, the program has indeed ignited heated discussion this summer.

On China's micro-blogging platform, Sina Weibo, the hashtag #TheBigBand has been posted over 5.2 million times. The show has also garnered more than 400,000 "bullet words" - a way that viewers respond to live videos online - on the streaming platform iQiyi.

"It has succeeded in building a platform to let audiences see China's authentic band culture and the people behind it," Cui Longyang, an indie musician in Beijing, says.

"But rock 'n' roll has been there all along, thanks to hundreds of thousands of rock lovers who have never given up on their dreams," Cui adds, referring to all the hardworking musicians who ply their trade in bars and clubs across the length and breadth of China.

Much like drummer Wang He, 31, and his band Zhi Ren. To realize a rock 'n' roll dream that he harbored for more than a decade, Wang co-founded the band earlier this year, recruiting rock-loving friends and colleagues that include an employee of a State-owned company, a senior manager and a firefighter.

In July, the band made their debut in Beijing and entertained a full house of around 500 people. "We enjoyed the performance and decided to continue," Wang explains. "Even my boss was there to support us and one of our friends got so excited that he jumped onto the stage and danced with us."

With most of the members having a day job, Wang's band has to set aside time to practice.

"Every Saturday our firefighting guitarist travels 30 minutes by train from another city to meet us, and four weeks before the performance, everyone took leave from work," Wang recalls.

As the main meeting place for the band, Wang's home is always filled with laughter and music. Dozens of postcards from fans and friends pile up in a metal basket that hangs on the wall.

Ren Lu, who fronts the band, says apart from support from friends and fans, it is their unswerving passion for music that keeps the band together.

"If you trace back to the very beginning, the 1980s and 1990s were the heydays of Chinese rock 'n' roll. At that time, the genre, which was full of idealism and vitality, exploded like a musical bomb among Chinese people born in the 1960s and 1970s," says Wang Jiang, a pop music critic in Shanghai.

The genre's influence, however, has since withered, as the new millennium ushered in an era of rapid economic growth in the country. People were too busy for the so-called rock 'n' roll spirit, Wang adds.

Some suggest that China's rock spirit is once again returning, echoing its golden era, but this is much more than 40-and 50-somethings getting nostalgic. According to Maoyan, a movie and TV rating platform, people aged between 18 and 30 account for 58 percent of The Big Band's audience, and one-quarter of the audience is aged between 18 and 24.

"Bars and clubs are now flooded with the songs of the bands on the show, such as The Face, and my favorite, Hedgehog," says Hu Qihong, a 26-year-old rock fan. "Beyond the music, the show lets me know who the rockers really are."

"Variety shows and mobile music apps have brought indie music to the public, especially young people, and has broken down cultural barriers," Wang He says. "Underground and indie music can now reach a wider audience, instead of a group of niche listeners."

In 2018, China hosted 263 music festivals, more than three times the total in 2011, with Shanghai, Chengdu and Beijing being the most popular cities for putting on live shows, according to a report released by China Music Business News earlier this year.

Zuo Ye, a music critic and live music venue manager in Beijing, says his club held more than 150 live concerts last year, a number that has grown by around 10 percent annually over recent years.

"Given the better overall environment, the success of The Big Band is understandable," Zuo says. "Since 2010, China's rock bands have matured in almost every aspect, including the quality of their music and their performances."

Xinhua

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2019-09-02 07:43:17
<![CDATA[From screen to grill]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/01/content_37506928.htm A new skewer restaurant inspired by a hit food documentary proves that the way to people's hearts is truly through the stomach, Xu Junqian reports.

It is 3 pm on a weekday and most of the spaces at the Knowledge and Innovation Community commercial hub in the northwest of Shanghai are devoid of people.

Given that it's the summer holidays, even the restaurants, cafes and nail salons along the community's main street, which are normally filled with students, have fallen silent as well.

Yet, one sign of life in this area is at a new restaurant called The Story of Chuan'er.

 

Top, above and above right: A customer enjoys skewers while staff members busily prepare food at the newly-opened The Story of Chuan'er, a Shanghai restaurant named after a popular six-episode food documentary, offering most of the items featured in the series. Photos Provided to China Daily

Since opening on Aug 17, the two-floor restaurant has been drawing hordes of foodies, and the queues only seem to get longer by the day. The restaurant opens for business at 5 pm, but the queue outside stretches around two blocks from as early as noon.

The restaurant is inspired by a massively popular six-episode food documentary of the same name that premiered last summer. Created by a production team based in Shanghai, the show was an immediate hit with audiences, setting a viewership record with an audience of more than 52 million, according to Bilibili, the online video platform where the show is hosted. Bilibili is a well-known streaming platform among teenagers due to its extensive collection of animations.

Sun Yang, the investor and owner behind the Shanghai eatery, was just one of the viewers who was enthralled by what he saw.

The 29-year-old restaurateur, who runs several bars and cafes in the city, says he stumbled upon the show while browsing through the site that his son often visits. After just one episode, Sun was hooked - finishing the entire series that same night.

"For me, the part I can identify with the most is not the food, but the people around the food - the patrons, the cooks and the owners," says Sun, who worked in the television industry for several years before making the switch to the food and beverage sector.

Sun, who has always enjoyed skewered food since he was a child, then decided to expand his business portfolio with a restaurant that sold his favorite foods, with the main selling point being that his establishment would offer most of the items featured in the documentary.

"Although the people in the northern and southern parts of China have very different cuisines and eating habits, everyone has skewers for a late-night supper in China. It is so embedded in our culture that everyone has at least one or two stories related to skewered food," he says.

To prepare for the opening of the new restaurant, Sun spent the past year traveling with a chef to each of the 27 places featured in the documentary. All the skewers sold in his restaurant are created based on the dishes shown in the series. They include grilled lamb on red willow branch from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, chicken's feet, and even pig's eyeballs and nasal muscles.

Sun admits that he also spent a significant amount of time convincing the executives of the production team to issue him a license to become the documentary's official outlet. He reveals that he spent 5 million yuan ($697,621), which is inclusive of the licensing fee, to set up the 160-square-meter store that can accommodate 140 seats.

Sun estimates that 80 percent of his customers are die-hard fans of the documentary. Li Yiren, a 19-year-old college student, is one of them.

"This is the first time that I've spent so much time queuing to eat at a restaurant," says Li.

"Me being here is just like a person craving a trip to Disneyland after watching Disney cartoons. I am demonstrating my support for the documentary by patronizing this shop," she adds.

Accompanied by her mother, who took a day off especially for the meal, Li says this was their second attempt at dining at the restaurant. The first time they came was on the opening day during dinner hours. They were told that the number of people waiting in line then had already outnumbered the total capacity the restaurant could accommodate before it closed at 3 am the following day.

Having watched the documentary three times, Li says the show not only whetted her appetite for the skewers, but also helped her to empathize with the roadside vendors who sell this food.

Her thoughts were shared by those from the production team.

Chen Yingjie, the director of the show, notes in one of his public speeches that the purpose of the documentary was not just to show how tantalizing grilled food is. He also hoped the audience, especially those from the younger generation, would be encouraged to take their eyes off their mobile devices and observe the life of others around them.

Skewers, or grilled food, makes up the second-largest food category after hot pot, according to Dianping, the country's largest directory for restaurants. In 2018, there were more than 290,000 skewer joints in the country that were listed on the site.

Research from Dianping shows that more than 80 percent of skewer outlets are family-owned businesses, and 70 percent of them do not survive for more than a year due to problems such as market saturation, the rising cost of ingredients and labor, and local government efforts to clean up roadside stalls due to hygiene concerns.

According to Chen, of the 500 or so skewer places they scouted, around half of them had closed within a year.

"This is a really special group of people. The people selling skewers are so ubiquitous, yet so invisible. Therefore, if you tell their stories in the right way, it can somehow manage to resonate with a massive section of society, if not the entire nation," says Chen.

Sun, who reveals that he is already looking to open a second outlet, says that he wants to change people's perceptions of skewered food.

"The documentary could be a breakthrough for the industry in terms of undergoing an upgrade. Skewer joints can be turned into venues like bars, where people go to unwind after a long day at work or a miserable breakup, or just for a celebration," he says.

Statistics seem to back Sun's approach. According to a national survey carried out by listings website Koubei, skewers were found to be the most popular food category for those born in the 1990s, and the second-most popular for those born in the 1980s.

"People don't walk into a restaurant just because they are hungry. They are after an experience," Sun adds.

"As the catering business becomes more and more competitive, we need to appeal to diners in a variety of ways. The unique vibe that skewer restaurants offer could be one of them."

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2019-09-01 14:13:33
<![CDATA[China's late-night bites]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/01/content_37506927.htm In the wake of the overwhelming reception to the food documentary A Bite of China in 2014, many similar shows have been produced and aired in the country to showcase the diversity of China's culinary culture.

While some programs focus on particular types of cuisine like spicy Sichuan food, others channel the viewers' attention to specific topics like seafood or offer profiles of the many chefs who have come to define the modern gastronomic landscape of the country.

Some of the foods featured in these shows are commonly enjoyed during late night suppers, and although they might not be as famous and prevalent as barbecue skewers, they are no less heartwarming and satisfying than grilled meat. Here are three of China's favorite late-night bites.

 

Some of Chinese people's favorite late-night bites: chicken ribs (left) originated from Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province, pepper soup (center), a breakfast staple in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and worm jelly (right), a snack in coastal cities in Fujian province. Photos Provided to China Daily

Chicken ribs (ji jia)

Originating from Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province, grilled chicken ribs are considered by the locals as the equivalent of fried chicken in South Korea. It is believed that this undesirable part of a chicken first found its way to local people's dining tables in the 1950s when workers needed something to complement their alcoholic drinks after a late-night shift.

While there are a variety of ways to prepare this dish, the most unique method involves grilling the ribs at 450 C, the same temperature that metal is smelted, to make the bones crispy while retaining much of the moisture.

Pepper soup (hu la tang)

This dish is a breakfast staple in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, which was first created during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It only became popular as a late-night supper snack in the 1990s thanks to a retired truck driver who had previously found it difficult to find something to warm his stomach after finishing work at midnight.

Today, the street where this retired truck driver's shop is located has become one of the most vibrant destinations for supper in this former ancient capital of China. The soup base is made of beef stock and some of the common ingredients include vegetables and meatballs.

Worm jelly (tu sun dong)

A popular snack in coastal cities in East China's Fujian province, this cold dish is made by boiling a sea worm till it disintegrates before letting it cool, hence turning the mixture into gelatin. In the past, this dish was usually served by street vendors who wandered around the alleys and enticed people with vivid descriptions of the taste of the jelly. Customers usually add a variety of condiments, from wasabi and garlic to vinegar and ginger, before consuming the jelly. And, since the Chinese name of the dish literally translates as "bamboo shoot jelly", many customers have accidentally consumed it without knowing its true nature.

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2019-09-01 14:13:33
<![CDATA[Coastal attractions]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/01/content_37506926.htm If you are looking to sample the authentic tastes of east Guangdong's Chaoshan region, one standout Beijing eatery is the ideal port from which to set sail on your culinary voyage, Li Yingxue reports.

By the middle of August, the fishing season in the South China Sea reopens after a 108-day hiatus. Hundreds of boats set off to sea, returning with a feast of seafood, large and small, for the dinner tables of Guangdong province: from Chaozhou to Shantou and Zhanjiang to Jiangmen.

Some 2,000 kilometers north of the Chaoshan region, Yang Yingzhong, executive chef at Chao Cafe in Beijing, is busy selecting freshly-caught seafood to update his seasonal menu.

"There are thousands of different types of seafood to choose from, and, as the fishing season continues, an even wider selection of fish appears on the market," says Yang.

As a native of Chaoshan, Yang specializes in bringing his hometown flavors to Chao Cafe, and the new fishing season gives him more opportunity to present authentic Chaoshan cuisine.

Yang is keen on fresh ingredients. According to him, 90 percent of the ingredients he uses are shipped from Chaoshan, and he uses only ingredients during their peak season. "For example, the best time to eat razor clams is June, so I only sell this dish for one month each year," says Yang.

Cold fish rice is a traditional dish in Chaoshan, but it does not contain any rice. Yang says the dish was originally invented by local fishmen.

"When they go out fishing, they usually spend a dozen days at sea. So when their rice supplies ran out, they would cook a few fish from their catch to make a meal, which the fishmen called 'fish rice'," Yang explains.

The fishmen would use seawater to boil the fish, which they would eat when it cooled down, and it gradually became a staple dish in the Chaoshan region.

Yang's cold fish dish can be made with various kinds of seafood, from frozen hard-shell crab to squid and yellow croaker.

Salted ingredients are another tradition from Yang's hometown, where seafood is frozen for one night before being salted, covered in sauce and eaten raw. At Chao Cafe, Yang has only added one such dish - salted shrimp - to the menu as he thinks people from the north are not very familiar with this way of eating seafood.

Yang has upgraded the dish so that the live shrimp is marinated in a sauce which includes coriander, sesame oil, chili oil and soy sauce for 10 minutes.

Deep-fried Puning bean curd is a must-try with Chinese chive sauce. The outside of the tofu is crisp, and the inside is as tender as egg tofu.

The soybeans grown in Puning, Guangdong province, are famed for their quality and rich flavor, which is equally apparent in Puning bean curd and Puning fermented soy bean sauce.

The sauce is an important seasoning in Chaoshan cuisine. It's also the key ingredient for several of Yang's signature dishes. The sauce is saltier than most others and it releases its aroma when it's boiled with seafood.

"Sixty percent of my dishes use Puning soy bean sauce. For some of them, it's not that obvious on the surface, but the flavor often comes from the sauce, such as my steamed fish dishes. I usually brush the fish with soy sauce before steaming them," says Yang.

Boiled crab with Puning soy bean sauce is another example. Even though Yang chooses crabs shipped live from Sri Lanka on an eight-hour flight instead of local crustaceans, the flavor of Puning soy bean sauce still gives the dish a taste of Chaoshan.

The crabs are marinated with Puning soy bean sauce before they're boiled in a pot, where Yang places a layer of onion mixed with ginger on the bottom. After 18 minutes, Yang adds more Puning soy sauce to the mix before leaving it to cook thoroughly.

"The first step imbues the crab meat with the flavor of the sauce, while the second adds the aroma of Puning sauce to the dish," Yang explains.

There is also a type of "lion's head" fish which can be boiled with Puning soy bean sauce. "The fish has fins that fan out when it senses danger, which resembles a lion's mane," Yang explains.

Threadfins can be cooked in several ways - steamed with plum sauce, boiled with soy sauce or steamed with preserved vegetables.

Marinated dishes are also typical of Chaoshan cuisine, where the goose dishes are a highlight. Each part of the bird - head, feet, breast, wings or liver - has its own special flavor when marinated. Marinated goose head is seen as the ultimate poultry dish from the region.

According to Yang, the best goose meat comes from the birds in their first year, and the feet and wings are edible in older birds, but the heads are not edible until the geese reach their fourth year.

"The other parts of a 4-year-old goose are not that delicious. That's why the head is so expensive," says Yang.

Boiled and sliced Zhanjiang-style chicken is a dish that uses free-range chickens aged between 120 and 130 days that are sourced from the city in the southwest of Guangdong.

Fried pork and shrimp meat balls is a traditional local snack which uses fried tofu skin to make a wrap of diced shrimp, pork and water chestnuts.

Moving to Beijing in 2008, Yang joined the team at Chao Cafe two years ago. When he first arrived in Beijing, he discovered that most Chaoshan restaurants in the capital seemed rather expensive, but over the past few years, he has noticed more small restaurants specializing in Chaoshan cuisine have been popping up across the city.

"The key to Chaoshan cuisine is its unique, fresh ingredients, which can never be replaced. Each season, there are different fresh ingredients to cook," says Yang. "My goal is simply to take the authentic flavors from my hometown to distant corners of the world."

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2019-09-01 14:13:33
<![CDATA[US seafood restaurant chain opens new outlet]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/01/content_37506925.htm Red Lobster, one of the world's largest seafood restaurant chains from the United States, has opened operations in Beijing in the vibrant Taikoo Li Sanlitun mall. The capital's branch of Red Lobster offers the chain's iconic dishes, including live Maine lobsters imported from the US.

According to Kalamidas Panagiotis, the brand's corporate executive chef in Asia, its signature live lobster can be put into various preparations featuring a variety of flavors and styles.

Steaming is the preferred method of preparation as the seafood is cooked at a precise heat level and timing before being served with butter.

 

The newly opened Beijing branch of US restaurant chain, Red Lobster, offers a range of choices for seafood lovers. Photos Provided to China Daily

"Fra Diavolo is a delicious traditional Italian tomato sauce with a kick of spice, while Thermidor is a French-style grilled lobster with a creamy mushroom and white wine sauce, served with a flavorful cheese crust," Panagiotis says.

Another choice for seafood lovers who enjoy variety is the Ultimate Feast, a platter of North American lobster tail, steamed wild-caught snow crab legs, signature handcrafted garlic shrimp scampi and crispy fried shrimp, served with a cocktail sauce and butter.

According to Panagiotis, chili fried lobster with cashew nuts is a dish exclusive to the Beijing branch, which has been inspired by local tastes and cooking techniques.

"Here, fresh lobster meat is stir-fried with aromatic Sichuan red chili and crunchy cashew nuts to create layers of flavor that will wow the taste buds," says Panagiotis.

Hawaiian coconut shrimp in a crispy coconut coating served with signature pina colada sauce is a must-try, the chef says, "because it's exactly the same product you will find anywhere in the world."

Red lobster salad, white wine and roasted garlic mussels, and New England lobster and shrimp roll are some other classics on offer, and pair well with Red Lobster's signature cocktails, like the Shrimp-wreck Mary or the Lobsterita.

The portions at Red Lobster are large, as Panagiotis prepares them for people to share in groups, which he says follows the American style.

The first Red Lobster opened in Lakeland, Florida in 1968. It has grown internationally over the past decade, with 750 restaurants in 12 countries, including Kuwait, Japan, Brazil, Malaysia and Mexico. The Beijing restaurant is the second one in China after Shanghai.

Kim Lopdrup, the CEO of Red Lobster, says the chain was encouraged by the support and popularity of Red Lobster in Shanghai, and is delighted to be expanding to Beijing.

"Serving the brand's world-famous 'ultimate seafood dining experience' to guests around the world is a promise we have been delivering on for the last 50 years," says Lopdrup.

"With China being a very important market for us, we are committed to bringing the authentic Red Lobster experience to more seafood lovers across China," he says.

Located in a two-story building in Sanlitun, the Beijing branch has a bright red logo that stands out in stark contrast to its surroundings to create a bold, eye-catching aesthetic.

The contemporary and inviting interior features the brand's signature nautical look in the welcome lobby and communal dining area.

"Our servers will invite diners to pick the live lobsters themselves, and take a photo of them with the lobster," says Panagiotis. "Families with kids find it very interesting to catch the lobsters themselves."

The live lobsters are shipped to the restaurant every two days.

Panagiotis says diners in China love lobsters. "We sell about 200 percent more live lobsters here than we do in the US," he says.

The restaurant also features an intimate private dining room in taupe, cornflower blue and soft brown, and an outdoor deck for those who enjoy alfresco dining.

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2019-09-01 14:13:33
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/01/content_37506924.htm Get Happi, for goodness sake

Happi Sake is a creative izakaya featuring sake pairing with Japanese barbecue. Grilled shellfish and wild snapper are the signature choices, as the shellfish is juicy and sweet, while the snapper is crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. A dozen different flavors of sake are available with a highlight being the aptly named happi, which pairs well with most of the roasted fare.

No 13 Xinyuanjie, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8569-3898.

Lighthaus bar, a beacon in the night

Located in the bustling Sanlitun area of Beijing, Lighthaus bar is a bright spot in the city center after dark. Its menu features nearly 50 cocktails with the highlight arguably being the suitably-monikered Beacon in Sanlitun. Using rum as its base liquor, pineapple and lemon juice add a fresh, but sour flavor. Nonalcohol cocktails are also available for nondrinkers and, of course, designated drivers.

2F, Nansanlitun Lu (road), Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6597-9230.

Chicken soup for the soul

Hong Kong restaurant, Happy Green Hotpot, opened its first branch in Beijing in August. The restaurant's hotpot features an authentic Hong Kong-style soup base and fresh ingredients. For the perfect taste, the chicken soup has to be boiled for more than eight hours with shellfish and different spices, and ranks among the musttries, alongside the seafood and lobster soups.

No 2 Huayuanlu, Haidian district, Beijing. 010-8203-0077.

A pu'er Yunnan experience

Each year when the rainy season arrives in Yunnan province, chef Zhang Jianhui from Rainbow Yunnan restaurant in Beijing adds a special wild mushroom hotpot to the menu. The soup of the hotpot is made with aged chicken and duck with Chinese ham, while all the mushrooms are freshly picked and shipped in from Yunnan. The meal is best finished off with a pot of pu'er tea from Yunnan.

5F, Yunnan Dasha, 3rd Northeast Ring Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6452-1808.

Beijing breaks Elephant Ground

Elephant Grounds' first flagship cafe on the Chinese mainland is set to open in the Sanlitun area of Beijing. Besides being popular for its different coffee flavors, its ice cream sandwich is also a must-try. The yogurt bowl with berries is a feast for both the eyes and the palate, and its colorful plating matches its fresh flavor.

S5-15, No 19 Sanlitun, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6409-4833.

China Daily

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2019-09-01 14:13:33
<![CDATA[From engineer to 'tribal chief ']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/01/content_37506923.htm A Chinese man works in Nigeria on railway projects, Shi Baoyin reports in Zhengzhou.

It was a sunny morning in Abuja on April 21 as a group of residents - mostly local tribal chiefs - gathered for a ceremony. Amid their applause and cheers, a Chinese man was declared "Wakilin Ayyuka", a local honorary title that translates as "engineering chief".

The man is 34-year-old Kong Tao, general manager of China Civil Engineering Construction Corp Nigeria Ltd.

"The title is similar to that of the local chiefs, but different," Kong says, laughing. "The locals are in charge of actual things, while my title is only honorary."

 

Kong Tao, general manager of China Civil Engineering Construction Corp Nigeria Ltd, receives the title, "Wakilin Ayyuka", a local honorary title, given by leaders of the tribal communities in Nigeria's capital Abuja, in recognition of his contribution to the construction of railways. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Kong was given the title by the leaders of the many distinct tribal communities in the area, in recognition of his contribution to the construction of railways. During his stay in Nigeria, his company built the metro railway of Abuja and another line linking the capital with the agricultural city of Kaduna.

For lack of money, construction of the railways took almost 10 years, during which time the staff changed. Kong, who may be the most persistent among them, managed to work through the whole process.

The metro railway, the first in West Africa, is 45 kilometers long, with 12 passenger stations. It links the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to the Central Business District of Abuja.

The Abuja-Kaduna railway was the first to be built to Chinese standards in Africa. Muhammadu Buhari, the president of Nigeria, attended the launching ceremony and addressed a gathering there.

With the completion of the metro train and the intercity line, the local economy prospered, benefiting from the easier exchange of goods and promotion of business. Some of the villagers near the stations replaced their modestly equipped buildings with updated, concrete ones. Construction materials markets also emerged.

A native of Puyang, Henan province, Kong first visited Nigeria in 2010. Before his graduation, he had never been to Africa. The only impressions he had about the continent were through images of grasslands and wildlife.

Upon his arrival, he found the local tribal chiefs to be influential. For example, his program needed material for a road base. But when a village was identified with the most suitable soil for the job, its residents objected, saying that the land was for growing crops. Only a chief had the right to change it for other uses. And so Kong had to talk with the chief.

Kong decided to put down roots. He is learning the Hausa language and pays attention to local customs and culture. More importantly, the honorary title has given him much influence. Whenever he shows his name card with "Wakilin Ayyuka" on it, residents welcome him and treat him as one of their own, he says.

Friendships with the people quickly followed. Frequently, he exchanges gifts with them. During his holidays - twice a year and 20 days each - he brings Chinese products for his friends.

"The gifts can be quite common in China, such as electronics produced by Chinese enterprises, but they are quite rare there," he says.

In return, his African friends often give him mangoes and other fruit they grow.

That's where there are cultural gaps between China and Africa: In China, people usually do not open gifts immediately, but in Africa, etiquette requires that a gift is opened and praised in the presence of the giver. If it is food, it's eaten immediately. Kong gradually got used to such new customs.

Unlike in China, where there are plenty of designers and technicians, working conditions are not similar in Nigeria. Kong frequently faced a talent shortage for his programs. So he had to become a multitasker. As a construction engineer, he had learned about electricity and trains, but he had to learn more.

"Maybe that's also why I was soon promoted to general engineer," he says.

In order to fill in the gaps, Kong and his team trained large numbers of local workers to fill the vacancies. His company set up a team to provide technical support for the staff of Nigerian Railway Corp. In their training program, the Chinese technical support team provided basic training for the Nigerian staff to enable them to gradually master the skills of operation, maintenance and management of the Abuja-Kaduna Railway.

For example, the railway system of Nigeria relied heavily on manual labor for signaling. The local staff needed detailed training to master the new computer-based control system.

Nowadays, the technical support team only provides services for some difficult operation and maintenance technology, key positions for safe operations, risk management and emergency response. Other daily operations are handled by the Nigerians.

The contributions of the Chinese team have been recognized. Before Kong, there were about 10 Chinese who had been given the honorary title of chief in their respective fields, mostly for their contributions to the local economy and prosperity of the people.

All are testimonies to the friendship between China and Africa.

Kong says living conditions in Africa are not so good or convenient as in China, but the work has been rewarding.

"We went through many hardships, but I'm thankful to be there," he says. "Time has already rewarded our efforts with prosperity, and we are glad that people can enjoy a better economy."

Kong says he will stay in Nigeria, at least for the near future. His family is in Beijing, so he will return home one day, but as long as he lives in Africa, he will promote intercultural exchanges.

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2019-09-01 14:13:33
<![CDATA[Goals flow as Italy goes on the attack]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/31/content_37506884.htm

Early action shows notoriously cagey Serie A is ditching defensive tendencies

ROME - A seven-goal thriller won by never-say-die Napoli over full-throttle Fiorentina. An entertaining six-goal draw between Roma and Genoa. Inter Milan's authoritative 4-0 shutout of Lecce in Antonio Conte's debut.

And not a single scoreless draw.

If there's anything to be learned from the opening weekend of Serie A, it's that free-flowing, attacking soccer may have finally arrived in the Italian league - and catenaccio could be history.

There were 33 goals scored over 10 matches for an average of 3.3 goals per game - considerably more than the 2.7 goals per game the league has averaged for the past two seasons.

The last time Serie A averaged more than three goals per game over an entire season came in 1950-51.

"This was just a little glimmer. Now we need to become dynamite," Conte said of his revamped squad.

With offensive-minded coaches like Conte and Maurizio Sarri at Juventus returning to Serie A and the addition of attack-minded Paulo Fonseca at Roma, plus Vincenzo Montella back at Fiorentina, goals should come in abundance.

"Their squads promote collective football that promotes organized creativity with a considerable sense of adventure," former AC Milan and Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi wrote before the season began in an editorial for Gazzetta dello Sport.

"So it could be a blessing for our league, which generally doesn't tend toward those traits," added Sacchi, who was something of a novelty when he first employed forward-thinking tactics in the 1980s.

Gian Piero Gasperini at Atalanta is another coach who favors offense and after a surprise third-place finish and Champions League berth last season, the Bergamo-based squad was at it again, coming back from two goals down for a 3-2 win at Spal.

Lazio also scored three in a shutout of Sampdoria.

In what is being hyped as the most competitive Serie A in years, perhaps the lone holdout in the new offensive wave remains Juventus, which has not yet fully adopted the swift passing game preferred by Sarri.

With Sarri watching at home sick with pneumonia, Juventus controlled and risked little after taking an early lead in a 1-0 victory at Parma.

The Juventus performance was the closest thing to catenaccio - a tactic of lockdown defense - seen over the weekend.

Aiding the increase in goals is that the VAR (video assistant referee) is in its third season of use by Serie A, meaning defenders can no longer get away with as many cynical fouls.

New, stricter handball rules also favor the strikers, as seen when Fiorentina was awarded an early penalty against Napoli.

Perhaps in anticipation of more goals, the average attendance for the opening weekend was over 26,000 - led by the 64,000 at San Siro to witness Inter's four-goal romp. The 26,000 barrier had not been broken for the first weekend since Serie A enlarged to 20 teams in 2004-05 - nor had that many fans shown up for an August weekend, which is during Italy's summer vacation period, in a decade.

Expect more big crowds this weekend with two high-profile matches: eight-time defending champion Juventus against last season's runner-up Napoli and the Rome derby.

"Resistance to change reigns large in our country," Sacchi said. "But we might just be about to witness a different season in which overwrought tactics, defensiveness and fear could make way for strategy, emotions and courage like hardly seen before over the last 60 to 70 years."

Associated Press

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2019-08-31 07:22:20
<![CDATA[Digest]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/31/content_37506883.htm Tennis

Wang and Zhang advance at US Open

Chinese No 1 Wang Qiang beat Belgium's Alison Van Uytvanck to reach the third round of the US Open on Thursday.

Wang's compatriot Zhang Shuai also advanced after beating Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3.

Wang, seeded 18th, met some resistance in the opening set, but still eased to a 7-5, 6-4 victory in one hour and 39 minutes.

The 27-year-old Wang will next face Fiona Ferro of France, who overcame compatriot Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3. Zhang, seeded 33rd, faces a tough test against Britain's 16th seed Johanna Konta.

Soccer

United flop Sanchez joins Inter on loan

Alexis Sanchez joined Italian giant Inter Milan on a season-long loan from Manchester United, both clubs announced on Thursday.

Sanchez, 30, has endured a miserable time at Old Trafford since joining the Red Devils in January 2018 as reportedly the highest-paid player in the Premier League.

The Chilean former Arsenal forward scored just five goals in 45 appearances for United and has not featured so far this season.

"Alexis Sanchez is officially an Inter player. The Chilean has joined the Nerazzurri from Manchester United on a loan deal that will last until 30 June 2020," Inter said in a statement.

Sanchez will join forces with former United teammate Romelu Lukaku, who moved to Italy in a 65-million-euro ($73 million) deal earlier this month, as Inter bids to end Juventus' eight-year domination of Italian soccer in Antonio Conte's first season in charge.

Hoeness to step down as Bayern president

Uli Hoeness on Thursday officially told Bayern Munich he is stepping down as president of the Bundesliga champion, the club said in a statement.

At a meeting of the club's board, the 67-year-old confirmed reports he will not be seeking re-election in November with former Adidas boss Herbert Hainer poised to replace him. Hoeness will, however, retain his place on Bayern's supervisory board.

On Wednesday, former Bavarian state president Edmund Stoiber, a long-time member of Bayern's supervisory board, shed light on the reasons why Hoeness has decided to step down.

Stoiber, who described Hoeness as the "soul, head and heart" of the club, said persistent disagreements with chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, most importantly over the appointment of Niko Kovac as head coach, had brought matters to a head.

Basketball

Arrest warrant issued for Lakers' Cousins

Alabama police issued an arrest warrant for Los Angeles Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, multiple media outlets reported on Thursday.

The Mobile municipal court lists a charge of third-degree harassing communications but provides no specific details about the alleged incident.

The warrant comes two days after celebrity-news website TMZ released an audio recording, allegedly of Cousins threatening to harm his ex-girlfriend during an argument about their 7-year-old son.

The NBA and the Lakers both released statements on Tuesday saying that they were investigating the allegations.

Xinhua - Agencies

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2019-08-31 07:22:20
<![CDATA[The rough 'N' tumble]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/31/content_37506882.htm Athletes put their bodies on the line in this week's selection of our favorite sports pics

 

Patrick Schenk (top) and Sven Schurtenberger get to grips with each other during the Swiss Alpine Wrestling and Herdsman Festival in Zug, Switzerland, on Aug 25. AP

 

Roma's Lorenzo Pellegrini takes a boot to the face from Genoa's Christian Kouame during a Serie A match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Aug 25. AP

 

Kazakhstan's Gusman Kyrgyzbayev (right) and Yeldos Smetov tangle during an under-60 kilogram contest at the World Judo Championships at Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, on Aug 25. Reuters

 

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (front) and Arsenal defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles contest a high ball during an English Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool, on Aug 24. The host won 3-1 thanks to goals from Joel Matip and Mo Salah (two). AP

 

Daniel Ekuale of the Cleveland Browns tackles Mark Thompson of the Detroit Lions during the first quarter of an NFL preseason game at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, on Aug 29. The Browns won 20-16 as the Lions finished preseason with a 0-4 record. AFP

 

Legia Warsaw's Sandro Kulenovic leaps for a header in between Rangers pair Ryan Jack (left) and Sheyi Ojo during the second leg of a Europa League playoff at Ibrox in Glasgow on Aug 29. Rangers won 1-0 on the night and on aggregate to book a spot in the group stage. Reuters

(China Daily 08/31/2019 page16)

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2019-08-31 07:22:20
<![CDATA[Aspiring tales about aspirations]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/25/content_37505356.htm A new book presents stories linking ordinary people and the Chinese dream, Wang Ru reports.

The China Development Research Foundation has begun a project called the Chinese Dream of Ordinary People to chronicle ordinary people's ideas of the Chinese dream. The results have been published in a namesake book.

"When we held this year's China Development Forum, we considered what theme we could discuss with foreign delegates there, and the Chinese dream occurred to us," says Lu Mai, vice-chairman of the board of directors of the CDRF, who is also the chief editor of the new book that was launched in Beijing on July 27.

 

Experts and scholars from the China Development Research Foundation and universities join a discussion about the new book, The Chinese Dream of Ordinary People. Wang Ru / China Daily

"The American dream has been widely discussed in many books, and we wanted to see what the Chinese dream means to ordinary Chinese people."

Lu says questions were asked about the lives of low-income Chinese people and if social mobility had become easier in China.

The foundation cooperated with Dataway, a market-research company in Beijing, on a survey during this year's Spring Festival holiday.

The book highlights 40 case studies. It includes stories of ordinary people of different ages, who live in different places and have different jobs. Some enjoy successful lives while others face obstacles and are confused about their futures.

One looks at two people, who grew up in the same village as friends and their families are close, but their life experiences are different. Sun Jiu (a pseudonym) left home, started his own business and became the head of a real estate company, while Sun Yuan (pseudonym) stayed in their village as a farmer and died from disease in 2008.

Although they remained good friends, they had different attitudes toward life. Sun Jiu encouraged Sun Yuan's son to leave home and keep up with the times. But the father didn't allow it since he believed that staying with family members in their village was a better choice. After Sun Yuan's death, Sun Jiu said, according to the book: "The world is developing. If you do not develop, you could easily perish."

While Sun Jiu seems to be successful in his career, he suffers great anxiety because his business has met with some difficulties. And his son, he says in the book, "has let him down".

"We have tried to reflect the changes in ordinary people's lives. Most stories are about progress and pursuing dreams, but some are about unsuccessful lives. Successful or not, this is life," Lu says.

According to the research, education has played an important role in human development in China, and receiving education had become a turning point in many people's lives, it notes.

"We found that education - especially the restoration of the college entrance exams in 1977 - played an important role in changing many people's lives. And it also helped to promote mobility in society. So, we could say education is an important way to deal with social injustice," Lu adds.

The story of a man surnamed Jin, who changed his life through education, is presented as another case study in the book. Born in a poor rural family, Jin worked as a teacher in his village before the restoration of the college entrance exams. He was admitted to Hebei Normal University after taking the exam. He worked in the local government after graduation. Years later, he started to work in the central government, and his life is very different now.

Xu Xianchun, director of the China Data Center at Tsinghua University, cites his own experience as a testimony to the importance of education.

"I was shortsighted before I entered university at age 22. But university education gave me both knowledge and vision, and helped my further development. I believe education changes lives and helps people to realize their dreams," Xu says.

The research discovered that the "spirit of struggle" is deeply rooted in Chinese people's minds and is "a great driver for people to realize their dreams", Lu says.

Xu says: "Although people have different conditions and backgrounds, their spirit and efforts will help everyone to change their lives to some extent, as well as contribute to national development."

The book also reveals such famous people's stories as that of Lang Ping, head coach of China's women's volleyball team.

"It shows the lives of people from different walks of life, including their pursuits, efforts and dreams," Xu says.

An English translation will be published soon.

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2019-08-25 09:22:04
<![CDATA[Shanghai orchestra marks 140th year with Edinburgh festival debut]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/25/content_37505355.htm EDINBURGH, Britain - An appreciative audience enjoyed a concert performed by the 140-year-old Shanghai Symphony Orchestra on Monday night.

The show marked the first time a Chinese orchestra has participated in the Edinburgh International Festival, the world's leading performing-arts event.

The concert featured Chinese and Western works, including Wu Xing (The Five Elements) by leading Chinese composer Chen Qigang and Dmitry Shostakovich's Symphony No 5 in D minor. Renowned US cellist Alisa Weilerstein collaborated with the orchestra with a performance of Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor.

The concert ended with Beautiful Night, a piece of traditional Chinese music, which garnered a round of applause and cheers from the audience of 2,000, who packed the famous Usher Hall.

"The performance was intriguing and fantastic," says audience member Rosalind Stoddart, who was visiting the Scottish capital from Northamptonshire, adding that she was very impressed by Chen's opening piece.

"The music was very Chinese, which I haven't heard before ... It was beautifully played - very exciting and experimental," she says.

This year marks the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. In recent years, however, while performing classical Western music, the orchestra has made great efforts to create Chinese musical works to showcase Chinese culture to a global audience.

Music director Yu Long says that the Shanghai orchestra has developed a quality deserving of respect from its peers and audiences worldwide, especially over the 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China.

"The orchestra is a good window through which global audiences can view Chinese culture," he says.

The Edinburgh International Festival, which was created in 1947, has presented breathtaking performances from some of the best musicians and artists in the world. This year's festival kicked off on Aug 2 and will run through Aug 26.

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will continue its 140th-anniversary global tour with a performance in London next week.

Xinhua

 

Left: US cellist Alisa Weilerstein plays with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra during a performance of Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor at the Edinburgh concert on Monday. Right: The 140-year-old Chinese orchestra performs both Chinese and Western works during the Edinburgh International Festival. Photos Provided to China Daily

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2019-08-25 09:22:04
<![CDATA[Fresh start, just desserts]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/25/content_37505354.htm A classic Cantonese eatery and firm favorite with Beijing gourmets, Xin Ming Yuen is marking its move to a swish new venue with a modernized menu, Li Yingxue reports.

Xin Ming Yuen has been a firm fixture of Beijing's dining circuit for over a decade. The restaurant is making a fresh start this month with new premises, new decor and a brand-new menu.

After six months of preparation, the new eatery on the first floor of Parkview Green has opened its doors to customers with an innovative new interior that combines aspects of traditional Chinese architecture with a range of diverse cultural elements from centuries of Chinese history.

 

Clockwise from main picture: Deep-fried swan-turnip pastry, Peking roast duck, rock-salt baked chicken and double-boiled grouper soup are the highlights of Xin Ming Yuen restaurant in Beijing. Photos Provided to China Daily

With peacock green and bright yellow as its base colors, the restaurant was designed to be an artistic dining space that combines classic Chinese style with the modern, according to the restaurant's general manager, Edmund Chan.

"The restaurant aims to offer authentic Hong Kong flavors to diners in the capital," says Chan.

"After operating for 11 years, we recognized the fact that the majority of our diners are from northern China, and they enjoy stronger, heavier flavors. We didn't want to change the flavor of our Cantonese specialties, so we added some new dishes from Sichuan, Beijing and Huaiyang cuisines," he says.

One example is Peking roast duck, a creation perfected by chef Zhao Chenggui during his time in Hong Kong.

When he was working in Hong Kong several years ago, his Peking duck became a favorite with celebrity actors like Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and Tony Leung.

The 40-year-old started to learn how to make the famous dish 20 years ago.

"There are three steps to make Peking duck - cleaning, roasting and slicing - and each one takes several years to master," says Zhao.

To perfect his skills, Zhao worked in several Peking-duck restaurants to learn all the variations.

For Xin Ming Yuen, Zhao has condensed his two decades of experience into his own version of Peking duck and has designed his own oven in the kitchen.

"To select the species of duck is the first challenge. In the past, I used 32-to 38-day-old ducks, but now I choose ones around 28 days old that weigh about 2.5 kilograms from a farm in Beijing's suburbs," says Zhao. "This is because a duck of this size has the best balance between the fat under its skin and the moisture of its meat."

The duck has to go through several steps in the two days before it's served. It's cleaned 12 hours after it's defrosted and left to dry for hours before it's ready to be cooked. Each duck is brushed with a special sauce to make the skin shiny and crisp before it's oven-roasted for 75 minutes.

Zhao has created a soup base he pours in the duck breast before the roasting process to prevent the meat from drying out. "I add wolfberries and Chinese dates to the broth, which are good for health but don't override the ducks' flavors," says Zhao.

The duck is sliced into between 88 and 100 pieces and divided across three plates - one containing pure skin, one with breast meat, and one that combines skin and leg meat.

"If there is no fat left between the skin and the meat, and the skin melts in your mouth, the duck is cooked perfectly," says Zhao.

The chef has also prepared two sauces for the duck - one is a steamed-and-fermented flour sauce, while the other is a garlic sauce with sugar and sesame oil.

Presentation is also important to Zhao, who likes to slice the duck for his diners and show them how to best savor its flavors.

"The skin should be dipped in sugar, and the breast should be eaten with the special fermented-flour sauce, while the meat from the duck leg with the skin on should be combined with the garlic sauce, slices of cucumber and scallion, and wrapped in the lotus-leaf shaped pancake," says Zhao.

"We strongly recommend our diners finish the duck within 5 to 10 minutes after we serve it. Otherwise, the duck will get cold and lose its delicious flavor," he says.

Executive chef Lau Shuncheung also brings his 30 years of Cantonese-cooking experience to the table, presenting his signature rock-salt baked chicken and deep-fried crispy chicken from Hong Kong to the capital.

Both dishes use a breed of chicken from Guangdong province that has to be dried for four hours before it's cooked.

"Unlike traditional deep-fried chicken, where the whole bird is fried in oil, I hang the chicken up and pour hot oil over the carcass for 20 minutes to ensure the meat crisps evenly," says Lau.

This dish has to be preordered a day in advance. Lau completes 90 percent of the process before setting the chicken aside for a few hours to dry out before the diners arrive. He finishes cooking it just before it is served.

Grouper is another key ingredient for Lau. He uses different parts of the fish to make several dishes - the spine is braised in gravy, while the filets are cooked in fish bouillon or chili soups.

"Each part of the fish needs a separate cooking method to make its flavor shine, and the cooking times also vary," says Lau.

Lau thinks the key to Cantonese cuisine is to keep the original flavors of the fresh ingredients.

His wok-fried abalone with scallions proves his skills in Cantonese cooking as it only takes two minutes to make - the fresh abalone is pan-fried for just a minute before scallions are added and fried along with it over a high heat for a minute more.

"When the abalone starts to curl, it means it's ready and you need to plate it straight away. The key is you have to keep watching it and turn off the heat at the right moment," he says.

According to Lau, the deep-fried swan-turnip pastry and the ground-almond cream with egg white are the two must-try traditional Cantonese desserts at the restaurant.

"I stick to the same flavors as I cook in Hong Kong with all my dishes, no matter where my diners come from," says Lau.

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2019-08-25 09:22:04
<![CDATA[New French eatery offers a unique culinary experience]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/25/content_37505353.htm Cocottine features a decor scheme that brings to mind the sparkling sea and sky of the Cote d'Azur in France. Its interior design captures the atmosphere of a French bistro.

The new restaurant, which opened in July in Parkview Green mall in Beijing, has a distinctly southern French soul.

It's a melting pot of diverse cultural influences. Cocottine's cuisine not only includes southern French-style food but also incorporates flavors from Spain, Italy, North Africa and further afield.

Cocottine is a new sub-brand of Groupe Flo. According to its managing director, Jimmu Loh, the new concept aims to transport diners to a bistro in the south of France through a dining experience that engages all five senses.

According to Loh, the inspiration for the restaurant's name comes from the French word cocotte, which is a type of cooking pot that is a central part of French cuisine. The pots are popular with everyone from home cooks to world-renowned chefs.

A cocotte is typically made of enameled cast iron, which generates even, gentle heat that creates succulent and flavorful dishes without the need to add liquid or extra fat.

Usually dishes cooked en cocotte - the French term for this method of cooking - use larger cuts of meat, making them perfect for sharing.

Aiming to capture this sense of conviviality, Cocottine serves many dishes in cocottes for diners to share.

The restaurant's signature showstopper is spicy tomato crayfish from Cote d'Azur, which is served in a cocotte. It is a unique French interpretation of a Chinese dish - inspired by a visiting Michelin-starred chef, who enjoyed eating spicy crayfish when visiting Beijing but felt the sauce they served had too much oil.

Cocottine's crayfish is slowly cooked in a cocotte for five hours. This allows their juices to combine with a sauce of tomatoes and dozens of aromatic herbs and spices, as well as a hint of mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorn.

Cocottine's osso bucco is a dish presented in a cocotte alongside creamy mashed potatoes. A crosscut beef shank on the bone is slowly cooked with vegetables and a reduction of red wine for up to 12 hours, leaving the meat meltingly tender.

Cocottine's unique take on Portuguese egg tarts is a highlight among desserts. Unlike the usually heavy pastry, the tart is replaced with a light puff-pastry cup, and the addition of walnuts to the custard filling adds welcome texture.

Topped with a final sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar, Loh recommends enjoying the egg tarts alongside a strong coffee, specially brewed in a traditional Italian-style stove-top coffee maker.

"Today's average Beijing diner is well-traveled and open to sampling global flavors and cuisines. By serving a menu that champions the diverse influences that have come together to create what we know as French cuisine, Cocottine offers these adventurous diners a unique culinary experience," says Loh.

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2019-08-25 09:22:04
<![CDATA[Boutique bookstores lead retail resurgence]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/25/content_37505352.htm Smaller, more specialized brick-and-mortar outlets are helping to boost sales for China's bookselling industry, Zhang Kun reports.

The flagship store of Duoyun Books was arguably the most popular among the bevy of supporting venues of the recently concluded Aug 14-20 Shanghai Book Fair, drawing hordes of visitors, many of whom waited for hours outside the store.

Located on the 52nd story of Shanghai Tower, the tallest building in the country, the bookstore was one of more than 100 locations in the city that held special events related to the annual fair, such as book signings, workshops and talks by authors. Five lectures and book readings were held at Duoyun Books during the fair. The bookstore only recently opened on Aug 12.

According to He Xiaomin, the public relations manager of the store, visitors often had to wait for an hour before they could even take the elevator up to the bookstore. On Saturday, the bookstore received more than 4,000 customers and achieved sales amounting to 130,000 yuan ($18,393).

Duoyun Books is a member of the Shanghai Century Publishing Group. The brand's first store opened last year at Guangfulin Park, the site where relics of ancient culture dating back to the Neolithic Age were unearthed. According to Wang Lan, president of the group, the Guangfulin shop "represents the city's history, and the flagship store at Shanghai Tower represents the height of modern development in the city".

According to Zhongjin Yiyun Technology Co Ltd, which surveyed more than 5,000 bookshops all over the country in the first half of 2019, small and medium-sized bookstores such as the new Duoyun branch have been important contributors to the resurgence of brick-and-mortar bookstores.

Zhu Ying, vice-president of the technology company that provides big data analysis for the publishing and bookselling industries, said at a recent publishing industry forum that brick-and-mortar bookstores in the country achieved sales of 2.4 billion yuan in the first half of this year, an increase of 4.69 percent over the previous year.

He points out that while large book malls are still the leaders in sales, accounting for half of the total sales volume, this growth was largely driven by small and medium-sized bookstores with annual sales of under 8 million yuan.

Liu Xiaokai, a senior publishing official, also revealed at the same forum that "brick-and-mortar bookstores managed to achieve gradual growth despite instabilities in the economy, and this reflects the resilience of the industry".

Liu suggests that bookstores must find a distinctive competitive edge by exploring indigenous resources and local characteristics in order to stand out. He also praised how China's bookstores have been integrating diverse services, developing cultural merchandise and creating new consumption models.

Xiaofeng Bookstore, which is based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is one example of how this integration has paid off. The store, which has been around for more than two decades, has participated in the Shanghai Book Fair for seven consecutive years.

"We have 15 stores altogether and 400,000 members now, but we started as a small neighborhood shop 23 years ago," said Zhu Yufang, the general manager of the bookstore, during a forum at the book fair.

"Through the years we have sold or given out more than 280,000 canvas shopping bags, and we now see people carrying them around the streets and using them to carry the vegetables they buy. We have blended into the community through these efforts."

Several Xiaofeng bookstores are located in museums such as the China Silk Museum and the Liangzhu Museum in Zhejiang. The decor and range of books stocked at these shops, notes Zhu, have been tailored to suit museumgoers.

In 2016, Xiaofeng Bookstore opened an outlet in the Zhejiang People's Hospital. Pictures of a child with an intravenous drip reading a book was widely credited for raising the profile of the shop across the nation.

"More than 70 hospitals around the country approached us, inviting us to open bookshops on their premises, but we turned them all down. We couldn't figure out how to make a profit from them because internet sensations don't offer sustainable revenues," explains Zhu.

Xiaofeng currently operates three hospitals bookshops in Hangzhou.

In a move to create a stable revenue stream, Xiaofeng entered the wholesale business, collaborated with other enterprises like Alibaba and developed cultural merchandise that proved popular at the Shanghai Book Fair.

"Our staff are greatly inspired by the enthusiastic customers at the Shanghai Book Fair that visit our pavilion every year," says Zhu.

"We love to hear firsthand feedback from the customers at the fair. And we hope more people in Shanghai will visit Hangzhou and find Xiaofeng Bookstore a worthwhile destination."

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2019-08-25 09:22:04
<![CDATA[Artists and authors discuss their unique notions of 'homeland']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/25/content_37505351.htm Thirty authors, poets and scholars from 10 countries and regions participated in Shanghai International Literary Week this year, appearing at dialogues, workshops, book launches and other events from Aug 13 to Monday.

Shanghai International Literary Week has been a part of the Shanghai Book Fair for the past nine years. The opening forum of the festival, which this year was themed "Homeland", took place at the JIL Bookstore in Hongkou district on Aug 13.

John Howe, an artist from Canada, launched his book A Middle-earth Traveler: From Bag End to Mordor - John Howe's Sketches of Middle-earth, during the event. Howe illustrates many of J.R.R. Tolkien's works including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. He was also one of the conceptual designers for Peter Jackson's movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

His book was published in Chinese by the Shanghai People's Publishing House and Wenjing Book. An exhibition of his original sketches and lithograph prints is currently being held at Sinan Mansions through Aug 31. A total of 105 pieces are on display, including some widely popular scenes from The Lord of the Rings.

During the event, the 61-year-old artist spoke about his family history and how his grandparents migrated from Britain to Canada. Howe, who lives in Switzerland with his Iranian wife, then shared his perception of "homeland", referring to the Welsh concept of hiraeth, which means "the longing for home".

"Homeland for me speaks of a longing for a home you might never return to, a home which may never even have existed at all," he says. "It is a notion tied to the collective and the personal past, a nostalgia for what was or should have been.

"This longing for the fantastic and the sublime is like an unbreakable thread that connects one with images outside of us, outside of the world we live in. Homeland is where the imagination lives."

Ma Yuan, a renowned Chinese novelist, shares his experience of settling down in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, after he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor. In 2008, he settled in Guniangzhai in the Nannuo Mountains in Xishuangbanna, which is famous for its Pu'er tea.

"Eight years ago, I chose this place as my destination. I became an honorary villager of Guniangzhai and six years later I completed my new novel Guniangzhai. I am completely a part of this place and I will become a handful of dust in the mountains. Guniangzhai will be my ultimate homeland, and where my story ends," says the 66-year-old novelist.

Xu Zechen, who recently won the prestigious Mao Dun Literature Prize for his novel Going North, also speaks about people's growing detachment from the land and how the identity of one's homeland can be lost.

In his dialogue with Japanese author Keiichiro Hirano, the Beijing-based writer says: "I hope that a city, despite its growth, can retain the passage where we can return to the past. It should not cut off the past completely and leave us hanging mid-air, becoming modern orphans."

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2019-08-25 09:22:04
<![CDATA[China's most famous dictionary goes on show]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/25/content_37505350.htm An exhibition at the Shanghai Book Fair showcased the history of Cihai, one of the most comprehensive dictionaries in China.

The exhibition which featured the achievements of dictionary compilation in China was presented by the Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House. More than 20 authoritative dictionaries and encyclopedias were on display, from the Xinhua Dictionary aimed at the general public to the Encyclopedia of China.

The most important exhibit was Cihai, a large-scale encyclopedic dictionary in Chinese which was described by Li Yuming, director of the China Society of Lexicography, as "an important pillar of Chinese lexicography" and "one of the best comprehensive dictionaries in China".

In 1979, the three-volume edition of Cihai was published after several trial editions and revisions, marking a major milestone in modern Chinese lexicography and publication. The dictionary used to be so widely sought-after that people had to present their marriage certificates before they could buy a copy.

Lexicologists in China began to work on compiling Cihai as early as 1915. In 1928, Shu Xincheng took over as the chief editor, and under his leadership the first edition was produced in 1936, representing a milestone in China's history of publishing.

The original manuscripts of the first edition of Cihai from the 1920s were also on show at the exhibition, and according to Wang Wei, a librarian with the Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House, this was the first time the manuscripts were displayed in public.

In 1957, Mao Zedong gave the instruction that Cihai should be revised and updated. He then assigned the task to lexicologists at the Zhonghua Book Company. The editorial commission of Cihai was founded in 1958 in Shanghai.

"Cihai is comprehensively revised every 10 years," says Lang Jingjing, a lexicographer with the Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House. "Usually, as soon as a revised edition comes out, work begins on revising and updating the following edition."

A new illustrated edition of Cihai is expected to be released in October. Although the publishing house declined to reveal more information, it was previously reported by the Wenhui Daily that an online version will be released simultaneously with the print edition. According to the Shanghai-based newspaper, the latest edition of Cihai will have a computer edition, an app, and a WeChat edition. Each copy of the physical book will also come with a unique QR code that people can scan and register as a member.

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2019-08-25 09:22:04
<![CDATA[Amazon river permanent source of inspiration for Chinese writer, Nobel Laureate]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505344.htm The Amazon River, which flows through Peru, Colombia and Brazil, has been a permanent source of inspiration for China's Nobel literature prize winner Mo Yan.

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For Nobel literature prize winner Mo Yan, rivers represent something of a lifelong obsession

The Amazon River, which flows through Peru, Colombia and Brazil, has been a permanent source of inspiration for China's Nobel literature prize winner Mo Yan.

The river is present throughout his work, Mo Yan said recently in a speech at a conference hosted by the Diego Portales University here in Santiago, with the theme of "Rivers and my literature".

As a child, Mo Yan thought the stream that ran behind his home in China was the biggest in the world, till he was older to realize it was actually a "minor" river even in China.

"When I did military service I saw many rivers and I realized that mine was truly insignificant," said the author, who became a Nobel laureate in 2012.

The realization led him read about other rivers, like the Amazon, the world's largest by volume.

Many years later, Mo Yan was invited to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina. He said he accepted, though his ultimate goal was to see the Amazon, the river with the largest drainage basin in the world, covering an area of more than 7 million square kilometers.

"The day after (the match) I traveled to Manaus and spent a week on a cruise along the Amazon," said the author of Red Sorghum and numerous other books.

"From the plane, I could see the panoramic view of the river. I had seen several large rivers before, but none can compare with the Amazon in its greatness, beauty and vitality," he recalled.

On the river cruise, he was fascinated by the way the river branched off, which looked like the "blood vessels of the earth", representing life and serving as a literary source, he said.

Mo Yan's vast knowledge of and admiration for Latin American literature was spotlighted at the conference. Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez all "influenced" his writing, Mo Yan said.

He confessed that he kept a story that was "very similar" to one by Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in 1982, because "we cannot" write better than the Colombia-born author.

Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, his most important book and a Latin American classic, has served as a model, said Mo Yan.

"A lot of stories take place on ships and are a source for literature," he said, citing Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, a romance that develops on a river.

While the river behind his childhood home has run dry, said Mo Yan, he can always rely on the abundant waters of the Amazon for inspiration.

"I will simply imagine that the Amazon is my river, the river of my childhood. It will give me inspiration, guidance and confidence, as many readers do," he said.

At the conference, Mo Yan was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Diego Portales University, the highest academic distinction from the university.

The Chinese writer will be traveling to other cities, following his visit to Santiago.

Mo Yan was born in 1955 and grew up in Shandong province in eastern China.

In awarding him the Nobel Prize, the judges described him as a writer "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary".

 

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2019-08-24 06:35:54
<![CDATA[NY 'tiger mom' hothouses nine daughters with Mandarin lessons]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505343.htm

NEW YORK - It is not uncommon for non-Chinese heritage people to learn Mandarin nowadays as the world's oldest written language is becoming increasingly popular with the rapid rise of China.

But it is phenomenal that 58-year-old Lynn Berat, who holds two PhDs from Yale University, kind of "forced" her nine daughters to learn Mandarin from infancy in a bid to have them well-prepared to be what she called "citizens of the world".

Completely bilingual

Berat fell in love with Chinese culture when she was giving lectures at Peking University in early 1980s. She quickly realized the Chinese language is "pictographic" and "very different" from Indo-European languages.

"It requires a greater effort than a language with an alphabet. Chinese seemed to be something that they (her children) should learn from infancy," Berat said.

"If they were going to learn it, then they needed to be completely bilingual. And so we're working on that," she said.

Berat has actually created a purely Mandarin speaking environment for her nine girls, now aged from 11-19, ever since they were born: a Mandarin-speaking nanny, a Chinese/English bilingual kindergarten and primary school as well as various extracurricular courses including Chinese dances, musical instruments and chorus.

"So their life has really been sort of all Chinese all the time," Berat said. "Living in New York, it's been possible to immerse them deeply in Chinese language and culture."

The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Chinese population outside Asia, with the number of Chinese Americans estimated at about 800,000.

Interestingly, when Berat's youngest ones, twin sisters Logan and Lachlan attended the bilingual Pre-K at the age of 4, both of them easily passed the Chinese test but failed in the assessment of English.

It was such a "highly irregular thing" for children whose parent's home language was English. They would have been sent to a school for children with "severe learning disabilities" if the teacher and the principal had not known the stories of their older sisters.

"I have to say you have no idea how proud I am of that because to me, it meant that they were really working hard with their brains for Chinese. It kind of indicates the degree of our commitment to the Chinese."

Apart from Chinese, all her girls have also learnt Spanish and French, and can speak Albanian, which is Berat's mother tongue.

Global century

For the reason why she put on such a high priority for her children to learn Mandarin, Berat sounded very forward looking and very deep in thought.

"I feel very strongly of technological change in invention that this century is the global century," she said. "And to be a global citizen, you really have to know the world, and the more languages and cultures that you really know intimately, the better it is (for you)," she emphasized.

"My hope for them from the beginning has been that they will be citizens of the world, we're pushing them in that direction," she said.

The emerging economies including China, India have been changing the political, economic and cultural landscapes of the world in the past decades, said Berat, who has been to more than 120 countries so far.

Though India "isn't quite awakened yet," the speed of China's development is "very impressive," she said.

"No one had expected" that China would become the second-largest economy after the United States when she first visited China's capital city of Beijing, Berat said.

"When one didn't know what would happen with China at that stage, obviously we can see now how things develop," she said.

Naturally, Mandarin Chinese is getting popular in the United States and other parts of the world, she said.

"Chinese is the 'flavor of the month' in many ways," said Berat, borrowing an expression of local ice cream store pushing "the flavor that's popular at the moment."

Lifelong commitment

"I thought I was a tiger mom," Berat chuckled when asked how she managed to have all of her girls keep on learning Chinese. "It's not negotiable. They don't complain because they know there's no hope. But then they do it. That's it."

"It's not just textbook learning. You know, this has been their life. Their friends are Chinese. They've been in the Chinese cultural knowledge competitions... it's really been, for them, a lifelong commitment," said Berat, who herself is a strong lover of Chinese culture and history.

"You know, it really even for me is an astonishing way. But I feel all this effort has been worth it because they do get it. I think what's exceptional about them is because they've been deeply immersed in Chinese culture," she said.

"I think they are also beginning to understand that they have a very unique set of life skills," she said. "I think that's a great gift. I don't know how much they realize it's the gift that they have. But I think as they get older, increasingly they will appreciate it."

Her oldest daughter Lindsay is studying international politics in Chinese as a sophomore at the Shanghai campus of New York University. She aspires to find a job in the United Nations after graduation.

"I am very thankful to my mom. Learning Mandarin has opened new windows for my life, and I got many more opportunities than my peers to experience the world," Lindsay said in fluent Mandarin.

Xinhua

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2019-08-24 06:35:54
<![CDATA[Polo position]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505342.htm When you initially considered setting up a Hong Kong polo club, did you envisage it would take as long as it has?

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Equestrian entrepreneur Dave Savage of Asia World Polo has been instrumental in the sport's return to Hong Kong

When you initially considered setting up a Hong Kong polo club, did you envisage it would take as long as it has?

The Hong Kong Polo Team was founded out of our pure enthusiasm for the sport, toward the end of 2013, by Asia World Polo; we played our first friendly in November that same year in Thailand.

At the time, we realized that because of the lack of polo facilities in Hong Kong, it was the only major city in the world without a polo club or polo team. I knew from the outset that this was going to be a long process, as I had heard stories of others who had tried and failed.

It's also a case of having to start from the ground up and win the hearts and minds, find the land, gain the support of the equestrian community and secure the funding. In our mission, #bringingpolobacktohongkong, the magic ingredients are belief, resilience and patience.

Tell us about the soon-to-open facility in Sai Kung. What can we expect?

If we can find the funding or secure investors, the plan is to build an equestrian center that not only caters to polo enthusiasts, but also to the wider community to genuinely make polo and riding available to all. There are already large numbers of people on waiting lists to join riding schools in Hong Kong, so I guess there will be a little demand.

How many horses would you keep there, and can you give us a sense of the facilities or setup?

We plan to accommodate around 100 horses, a polo arena, stables, a riding school, and facilities for the Riding for the Disabled Association and other worthy charitable organizations that could benefit, such as disadvantaged children's societies. We also plan to introduce a program to retrain and rehome retired racehorses.

For beginners, what will a lesson or clinic entail and cost?

The great thing is these days you don't need a string of polo ponies and an introduction from an elite member club to get started. If you can afford to rent a horse for an hour twice a month, or preferably once a week, you cannot only learn to play polo, but also to ride and be involved in a wonderfully engaging and supportive community. We can help with directing you to polo clubs and clinics that train you.

The average cost is HK$800 ($102) to HK$1,200 per hour. If you compare that to golf or sailing, it's very achievable. Andy Leung - a member of our polo team - has started a beginners' polo team with periodic training camps in Tianjin, and is recruiting new novice players and riders regularly from the local community.

We also have the Hong Kong Polo Academy, based in Beijing, which can provide polo clinics, group lessons and introduction weekends.

Your aim is to make polo accessible for all. For someone with a modicum of sporting ability who has never played polo or ridden horses before, but has interest, how long do you imagine it takes them to learn?

It's fair to say that I had a modicum of sporting ability - I liked badminton, tennis, cycling, skiing and scuba-diving, but it's also fair to say I wasn't particularly good at any of those disciplines. And that's my point; you don't have to be good at a particular sport to enjoy it. We're not all destined to be Olympic athletes, but polo and horse riding will certainly get you in good shape.

I didn't start taking riding and polo lessons until I was 40 and I played my first tournament before I was 41. Six months to a year is a good estimate if you train once or twice a week.

What's the standard size of a polo pitch?

A full-size competition polo field is around 140 by 300 meters, but we are planning for arena polo, which is about the size of a football pitch - around 100 by 50 meters.

Where does the Hong Kong Polo Team's circuit take them?

So far, we have played in Beijing, Tianjin, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, England, Kuala Lumpur and Manila. We have also been invited to compete in polo tournaments all around the world. We've fought our way to and played in eight tournament finals. Astonishingly, with nowhere to practice and no polo ponies in Hong Kong, I'm very proud to say that we've won five of those finals, including the highly regarded and coveted Singapore Polo Open title in 2016.

We have notable luminaries in the city like Raphael le Masne de Chermont, Aron Harilela and Kwan Lo, who have played polo for so long, but is there a leading or emerging female polo player in the city - an equivalent of the golf world's Tiffany Chan?

The wonderful thing about polo, as I said earlier, is that it's an inclusive sport. Men and women can play at the same level - and even on the same team. On our team, Lynly Fong was voted Asia's Best Female Player in 2016. We also have some new local, rising female stars coming up the ranks.

For example, Jessie Chang was awarded Most Valuable Player at Polo After Dark in Hong Kong in November for her efforts in the Hong Kong Beginner's Polo Cup in Tianjin. As a reward, she will be given an opportunity to play on the main team sometime this season as a wild-card try-out.

How dangerous is polo relative to showjumping or horse racing?

Polo is no more of a risk than other similar fast sports - probably less dangerous, statistically, than skiing, for example. If you fall off a horse while showjumping, racing or playing polo, the bruises are about the same.

- CDLP

 

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2019-08-24 06:35:54
<![CDATA[Falling for seafood hook, line and sinker]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505341.htm In a harbor city such as Hong Kong, where fish is the staple diet of so many, it's hard to catch and sustain the attention and appetites of diners. But such has been the case with the restaurant, oyster and cocktail bar Fishsteria, run by chefowner Gianni Caprioli. Having hooked the piscatorial taste buds of seafood lovers amid the hustle and bustle of Queen's Road East in Wan Chai since its opening in 2015, it has now spawned a more laid-back sister restaurant, Fishsteria Waterside, in Kennedy Town. The new space, while still buzzy, overlooks the harbor and offers more easy-going dining, with floor-to-ceiling windows and bespoke light fittings crafted from the skeleton of a classic Italian rowboat.

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Fishsteria casts its net wider with a new waterside restaurant in Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

In a harbor city such as Hong Kong, where fish is the staple diet of so many, it's hard to catch and sustain the attention and appetites of diners. But such has been the case with the restaurant, oyster and cocktail bar Fishsteria, run by chefowner Gianni Caprioli. Having hooked the piscatorial taste buds of seafood lovers amid the hustle and bustle of Queen's Road East in Wan Chai since its opening in 2015, it has now spawned a more laid-back sister restaurant, Fishsteria Waterside, in Kennedy Town. The new space, while still buzzy, overlooks the harbor and offers more easy-going dining, with floor-to-ceiling windows and bespoke light fittings crafted from the skeleton of a classic Italian rowboat.

Much like the Wan Chai original, expect clams, oysters, crabs and bluefin tuna, as well as sustainable Italian sea bass, Alaskan king crab, Dover sole from southern France and the oh-so-delectable calamari. Familiar dishes such as the famous Fishsteria lobster roll (HK$168 or $21.4) and tuna poke focaccia (HK$138) with lean tuna and creamy burrata, Italian tomatoes and rocket pesto still feature - and they're joined by new creations, which include scallops and apple ceviche with lime (HK$198) and sea urchin chitarra (HK$288), featuring fresh square egg spaghetti. And loyalists will cheer to see the renowned giant macaroni lobster with brandy tomato sauce (HK$548) retained on this new menu.

"We're excited to open our doors and invite our friends in Kennedy Town to experience our unique brand of Fishsteria hospitality," says chef Caprioli. "Our new menu features some of my most exciting creations yet, and I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends dive into our lovingly made food in our new waterside setting."

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2019-08-24 06:35:54
<![CDATA[From Russia with love]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505340.htm Xiao Yu is already quite the traveler, having been to Russia a couple of times, remarkable given that she is just 4 years old. However, Yu is no normal tourist, her visits to the Black Sea coastal resort of Sochi being about much more than rest and recreation.

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Close encounters with a marine kind offer children a better life

Xiao Yu is already quite the traveler, having been to Russia a couple of times, remarkable given that she is just 4 years old. However, Yu is no normal tourist, her visits to the Black Sea coastal resort of Sochi being about much more than rest and recreation.

Those visits are seen as vital to how her next few years unfold, for Yu is autistic, and in Sochi she has had encounters with a very special kind of specialist that is hoped will help her eventually lead something that more closely resembles a normal life.

That specialist - more exactly two of them - is a dolphin, contact with which is said to be beneficial to children like Yu.

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. In some severe cases autistic children may have trouble learning to speak or make eye contact. However, many children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders are able to live normal lives with the help of therapy.

Dealing with autistic children is of course challenging for anyone unfamiliar with the condition, not the least parents who in most cases only over many months or even several years become aware that something is not quite right with their child.

When it became clear that Yu was autistic her parents sought various treatments for their daughter, although autism is incurable. Treatments that are available aim to help those with the condition make the most of their lives, and it was in a joint therapy program for autistic children set up by China and Russia last year that Yu's mother felt she had finally found what she was looking for.

That program, in which Chinese children with autism visit Sochi to undergo dolphin-assisted therapy, is supported by the government of Sochi and the China Foundation for Disabled Persons. It was first held last October and again in mid-June to July.

During her latest stay at the Red Star Dolphinarium, Yu and nine other children underwent dolphin therapy once a day. In the treatment each child was accompanied by a dolphin trainer, a Russian therapist, a Chinese trainer, an interpreter and the two dolphins.

With the help of professional therapists, the children played games with the dolphins and underwent treatment such as acupoint pressure therapy and ultrasonic sound wave stimulation.

Each dolphin therapy session lasts 25 minutes, comprising five minutes of interactive games, five minutes of the children engaging their hands with the dolphins, five minutes of exercises with feet and legs, and 10 minutes of underwater treatment, said a dolphin therapist who did not want to be identified.

"Children thoroughly touch dolphins using their foreheads, ears, shoulders, necks and bodies, thus enabling the sound waves of dolphins to establish an internal recycling."

It is recommended that autistic children receive such therapy no more than twice every year, the trainer said.

"We don't want the children to have therapy too often because their bodies need time to take in what they have experienced."

Dolphin-assisted therapy is not without controversy, there being no scientific evidence of its benefits, even if it is argued that the communicative experience for the children can be of no harm, and animal welfare activists object to the way animals are forced into their role as therapists, first of all by being in captivity.

However, even if Yu's mother is aware of such objections, she talks enthusiastically of the progress she thinks Yu has made since first traveling to Sochi.

From Yu's first encounter with the dolphins she was surprised to see how her daughter enjoyed playing with them and was not only willing but keen to jump into the swimming pool to play with the dolphins.

This year Yu's performance during the therapy was much better, her mother said, and she even engaged reporters in dialogue.

Reporter: "How old are you?"

Yu: "I'm 4."

Reporter: "Is this the first time you've seen dolphins?"

Yu: "No. It's the second time."

Yu's mother says her daughter also made much progress after her first round of dolphin assisted therapy in Sochi last year.

Then Yu and seven other autistic children spent two weeks in Sochi with the support of the China Foundation for Disabled Persons and First Automobile Works Group Corp.

"She is now much more emotional," Yu's mother said. "She used to have no contact with anyone, and didn't care if you were happy or angry. She is performing better in kindergarten, too."

More than 10 children from China have now visited Sochi to undergo dolphin-assisted therapy and have had very positive results, says Anatoly Pakhomov, the mayor of Sochi.

"The dolphin therapy is a unique method that Russia has created for treating autism. I'm glad our Chinese partner chose our therapy and chose to come to Sochi."

During the period of the treatment this year, the Sochi government and the China Foundation for Disabled Persons met to discuss long-term collaboration with mutual training, about dolphin therapy techniques, academic exchanges by autism experts from China and Russia, and collaboration between the two on treatment and recovery of autistic children from both countries.

"We hope the Sochi government and China Foundation for Disabled Persons can establish a more stable long-term partnership, and we will continue to provide the necessary assistance and support," Pakhomov said.

Jia Meixiang, head physician of pediatrics at Peking University Sixth Hospital and an expert on autism who followed the team to Russia both last year and this year, said that going by observations and reports over the past six months, the children who took part in the dolphin-assisted therapy last year have had improvement in their condition.

"From what I have heard from all eight families who went to Russia last year, their children made progress in social communication. For example, previously some children not only did not like animals, but would not even look at animals in front of them. But after taking the dolphin therapy that has changed, and they are even interacting with pets. In addition, some children have transferred their attention from animals to people, starting to talk with their parents.

"Nevertheless, as a new treatment for autism dolphin-assisted therapy is not 100 percent sure to be affective for all autistic children. As experts continue to investigate the pathological causes of autism, what we can do is to use the therapy to create intervention training."

The China Foundation for Disabled Persons Autism Child Rehabilitation Center was opened in May last year in Haikou, Hainan province.

Jia said the new rehabilitation center will service more Chinese autistic children, and may signal the start of more collaboration between China and Russia in the field.

"Sochi's and Hainan's climates are similar. If we start doing dolphin assisted therapy in China, the new rehabilitation base will be able to service more families. After all, it's not cheap for families to travel to Russia for the treatment."

China and Russia have collaborated in psychological treatment before, notably 11 years ago.

Under an agreement in 2008 by Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and the Chinese President Hu Jintao, 1,570 primary and high school students affected by the Wenchuan earthquake of May 8 that year were evacuated to the Russian Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok to recuperate.

Nearly 70,000 people died and about 18,000 were missing after the magnitude 8.0 earthquake devastated the county in Sichuan province.

One of those evacuated to Vladivostok was a severely traumatized He Yujiao, whose father died in the quake. Ten years later she would recall how when she arrived at the Ocean All-Russia Children's Care Center she was tired and devastated and that Russian teachers and students welcomed her and other survivors in Chinese and made them feel at home.

The staff prepared spicy noodles, food the children ate at home, to help them feel at ease. The location also helped. They awoke to the sound of ocean waves that had a soothing effect, and the children were encouraged to swim and to skate.

"Our plan was to help them leave behind the memories of the tragedy through psychological therapy," a teacher at the center said.

When it was time for the children to return to China, almost everyone had gained weight, and they hugged their teachers and friends and promised to return one day.

During a state visit to Russia in March 2013, President Xi Jinping recounted at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations the story of Russia's prompt assistance.

Last year Xi and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, visited the Ocean All-Russia Children's Care Center and met some of the children from Wenchuan who had been taken care of 10 years earlier.

In his address at the event, Xi said the two countries are good neighbors and partners and have helped each other in difficult times.

Collaboration between the two countries in child psychology therapy is just in its initial stages, Jia said.

"We expect to establish long-term collaboration and that more Chinese children will benefit from the exchanges between China and Russia."

renqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-08-24 06:35:54
<![CDATA[Loofah, edible and functional]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505339.htm

Westerners know the loofah as a bathroom accessory, a natural sponge for scrubbing and cleaning. To the Chinese, however, it offers both food and functionality.

The loofah grows fast and in spring it is sowed as soon as the first frosts are over. Before long, its graceful tendrils wind upward, reaching to the warming sun,

By early summer, the flowers are blooming and the tiny gourds would form. It only takes about one or two weeks for the fruit to mature, so farmers need to know the exact time to harvest. Too early, and the loofah will not be sweet enough. Too late, it becomes tough and fibrous and can only be left on the vine to dry into sponges.

There are two main varieties of edible loofah grown in China.

South of the Yangtze River, the loofah has a rough skin with vertical ridges running down the fruit. This is the angled loofah, more popularly grown in the southern provinces.

Up north, a more drought-resistant loofah has lost its spines, but not its tough skin. The smoother skinned loofah is the variety grown in northern provinces.

Because it fruits in summer, the loofah has become the vegetable of the season.

In the north, it is thinly sliced and fried with scrambled eggs for an easy vegetable dish. It is cut into wedges and made into soup with a sprinkle of salted krill.

But it is in the southern provinces that the loofah, also known as silky gourd or sigua, comes into its own.

It is so beloved that it can be simply steamed with minced garlic. Very tender gourds are peeled and cut into long strips and topped with minced garlic, then steamed quickly over high heat. The result is a refreshing dish that connoisseurs swear is better than meat.

In Chaoshan, loofah is used in starchy omelets paired with prawns.

A layer of batter made with sweet potato starch is ladled onto a hot griddle. Loofah strips and shelled shrimps are spread out evenly, and more starch and beaten eggs poured on. A splash of fish sauce is all the seasoning needed.

The mixture is gently cooked till the bottom goes crisp.

The omelet pancake is then flipped over on a plate to show off its golden crisp batter with bits of green and pink showing through.

Taste-wise, it packs a double whammy of umami with the loofah and shrimps contributing their natural sugars.

The tactile appeal of this dish is obvious, with the crackle of batter, the sponginess of tender loofah, the slight bite of fresh shrimp and the egg holding the textures all together.

Loofah is also a lucrative commercial crop.

In our Yunnan home, the local market often offers loofah products that are extra stocks from the factory nearby.

There are the whole dried loofah, bleached and baked and looped into a thick rope. Guaranteed to keep your back well-scrubbed.

Cropped pieces of dried loofah are also sold for the kitchen sink, and they work better than the wire scrubs any day, and are also more environmentally friendly.

There are original soaps-on-the-rope, too. Homemade soaps using the local osmanthus and lavender are melted and poured into sections of sun-bleached loofah.

The result is a convenient scrub and clean beauty product.

We started planting loofah in our Beijing garden a few years ago. At first, it shared space with the grapes, but we soon found that it grew better in strong sunshine and gave it its own garden arch.

The seeds germinate quickly, and once the vines are about man height, they start blooming.

This when you have to pay more attention to this seemingly fuss-free gourd. Once the bright yellow flowers appear, they need to be hand pollinated for better fruiting.

Tiny elongated fruits appear soon after and if you want a healthy harvest, you must pinch off the smaller fruits.

Loofah likes water, and regular dousing is a must. The fruits are ready for eating when they are about 20-30 centimeters long.

You can also keep a few on the vine to mature further. By autumn, they should be brown and dry. Cut off the top and tail and simply shake out the black seeds for next year's crop.

Whack the gourd against a hard surface to shed the dried skin and pieces of loose fiber. What's left is nature's gift. You can cut the sections to suit your own use in the kitchen or bathroom.

Loofah dries hard but softens with water. If you have the space, try planting this beautiful summer vegetable. It will reward your efforts with an edible and functional bounty.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-08-24 06:35:54
<![CDATA[UK brand takes the art route]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505338.htm

Tony Wang, who has been living in London since high school, says: "The weather is always the best topic to start a conversation with here, and complaining about wet shoes and a destroyed hairstyle can bring people closer.

"I spend most of my time thinking about two things: what to eat, except potato, and what to wear to handle another cold, windy, rainy day."

As early as 1894, John Barbour had already noticed the trouble that came with volatile weather and also the need for waterproof clothing. So, he started by supplying oilskins to outdoor workers, such as fishermen and sailors.

He soon opened his first store, named J. Barbour & Sons, in South Shields, a port on the River Tyne in the northeast of England.

Now, 125 years later, Barbour is a family business that's been passed down five generations.

The brand's most iconic product, the jacket with a rugged weatherproof waxed cotton shell, corduroy collar, corrosion-proof brass buttons and pockets for storage and drainage eyelets, has been improved over the decades, but it is still manufactured by hand.

The brand has now reached over 40 countries, including China. And it gathered three Royal Warrants as manufacturers of waterproof and protective clothing: 1974 from the Duke of Edinburgh; 1982 from the Queen and in 1987 from the Prince of Wales.

On the official website of Barbour, many people share their stories related to the brand.

One of them is Laura Hiscox, who writes: "The slightly waxy feel and reassuring touch of a Barbour jacket has been in my memory since I was single digit in age ... I grew up wearing a wax jacket, learning how to ride and care for horses, walking with my parents in the countryside, being sure to have it at music festivals.

"When I was given a leaving gift from an estate I was working at they gave me vouchers to get a new Barbour, knowing mine was decades old. I went and modernized my jacket and got the one I still wear today."

Nina Planck, who is the founder of the London Farmers Markets, claims that she never regrets the decision of purchasing a Barbour jacket.

Writing about it, she goes: I went to an agricultural supply store asking for a waterproof jacket I could wear in all seasons that would resist scratchy things, like twigs and briars, and might be roomy enough to go over a woolly jumper on cold walks. It would have pockets and be comfortable and durable. I'll never forget the man in the shop telling me, 'I know just the thing,' in that confident cheery way of British country people, and when he brought it, it was indeed perfect."

This year, the British brand Barbour marks its 125th anniversary. And besides improving the classic and professional jackets, Barbour has also been attracting more consumers with the artsy sense.

For this, it has been collaborating with other brands and artists, including Engineered Garments, a fashion brand from Japan; and Alexa Chung, a British model and BBC presenter, who owns a namesake fashion brand.

Most recently, Barbour made the paintings of Hayden Kays, a London-based artist, wearable.

At the end of June, Kays was invited to celebrate the launch of the collaboration at Galeries Lafayette Shopping Mall in Shanghai.

Kays brought two paintings this time, presenting the importance of love. One is named Look Into My Love, a colorful circle like a bull's-eye.

"This work is hypnotic, because I think love can make me go crazy. Love is great, and everyone loves love," he says.

In the other work, Those Who Suffer Love, red and blue pigments are blended together like two pieces of a heart with a sentence written in between:" I will love you until the hot runs cold." Kays says that it's a love poem for his girlfriend.

Barbour now uses these paintings on T-shirts. And the latter doesn't fill the whole blank canvas but only the left-hand side, taking the position of the left atrium like a broken heart.

Born in 1985 in the United Kingdom, Kays was interested in drawing and creation from childhood. And he claims that life experience is where his inspiration comes from.

"I don't know if the exact moment and experience is going to be important ... It's just about connecting the dots and shaping them into an idea," Kays says.

Kays says Barbour is an amazing partner, "the brand has got such a strong British identity and heritage, and at the same time, connects British brands and artists to Chinese consumers through collaboration."

"I'm excited to see people wearing my artworks thousands of miles away from home," Kays says.

Lyu Yi, the general sales manager of China Outfitters Holdings Limited Company, who's managing the development of Barbour in China, says: "Barbour is maintaining its British genes by combining its sense of fashion and art, to add extra artistic value to clothing."

xuhaoyu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2019-08-24 06:35:54
<![CDATA[New life under the lights]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505337.htm The night economy can reflect a city's style to a certain extent, and it also showcases the city's business level and consumption habits.

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Beijing is looking for new ways to boost business in the capital after sunset

The night economy can reflect a city's style to a certain extent, and it also showcases the city's business level and consumption habits.

Therefore, the night economy is an important indicator of the openness and dynamism of a city's economy.

Since the beginning of this year, Beijing has paid more attention to the development of its "night economy".

The night economy has become a chance for Beijing to create an international feel. For now, Beijing is gradually optimizing its night public transportation service by launching a "late-night canteen" special dining district and a special boutique night market, and by encouraging enterprises to prolong operations, so as to boost the capital's night economy.

 

In addition to having a "late-night canteen" and late-night gymnasiums, theaters will also enrich the night life of Beijingers.

Meanwhile, many commercial projects have found new opportunities to jointly promote night economic development.

Some comprehensive shopping malls will bring together catering and fashion accessories tenants to create late-night markets where consumers can not only eat, but also buy and play.

The plan is for the consumers to get used to going out at night, which is conducive to the boosting of urban business.

Photos by Feng Yongbin

 

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2019-08-24 06:35:54
<![CDATA[In the night, curiosity knocks]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/24/content_37505336.htm What does it take to extinguish the fire of curiosity? A few drops of rain, a few gusts of wind or a full-blown typhoon?

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Museums are throwing off the shackles of convention and time to pull in the crowds

What does it take to extinguish the fire of curiosity? A few drops of rain, a few gusts of wind or a full-blown typhoon?

Officials of the Shanghai Museum got an answer to those questions when it threw its doors open to the public on the evening of Aug 9.

Typhoon Lekima, packing winds of 185 km/h, was just a few hours from making landfall in neighboring Zhejiang province, so many people in Shanghai averse to bad weather may well have thought that this would be a night to stay home.

In the event, more than 700 people chose to brave the rain and strong winds that Typhoon Lekima brought to the city and visit the Shanghai Museum.

"We made the reservation on the museum WeChat service a week ago," said Julie Wang, a Shanghai schoolteacher who attended with her daughter and several other parents and children.

"I also thought the rain might keep a lot of people away and it would be less crowded."

The parents prepared pamphlets and PowerPoint files on a tablet, teaching the children, all preschoolers from a single class, about the exhibition Arts of the Great Ocean, Pacific Art Collection from the Musee du quai Branly-Jacques-Chirac in Paris.

Walking among the carved oars, feather masks and wood sculptures, Wang occasionally brought to the children's attention patterns, figures and interesting details in the exhibits.

"We often see fine arts from China and the West in the museum, but this exhibition is quite different and a rare opportunity to see the Pacific art," Wang said.

Shanghai Museum began to extend its opening hours into the evening in 2017 when the exhibition A History of the World in 100 Objects attracted many enthusiastic visitors, who were willing to line up for hours waiting to see it.

"We started opening in the evening on more than 20 days over three months to meet demand," said Xia Beibei, a member of the museum staff. Since then the museum has often held "Night of the Museum" events.

Earlier this year the municipality called on museums and public facilities to extend their services into the evening in a campaign to vitalize the city's night life. Shanghai Museum was one of 14 institutions to move rapidly to remain open in the evening.

A number of cinemas, libraries and bookshops in the downtown Huangpu district and suburban Baoshan district also extended their services to stay open into the wee hours.

Other cities in China are trying to revitalize night life, too. In Guangzhou, Guangdong province, six museums have been opened in the evening over summer.

"For a long time night life in Guangzhou consisted mainly of dining and shopping," Mao Ziming, a journalist, wrote in Guangzhou Daily.

"People want to do other things in the evening. Museums and bookstores are now staying open late and some subway lines are staying open later into the night."

Shanghai Museum has two exhibition halls for evening visitors. In addition to the Pacific art exhibition on the ground floor, there is an exhibition of 15th century Jingdezhen porcelain on the second floor.

For the two exhibitions the museum has extended its opening hours to 9 pm on some Fridays, said Li Feng, deputy director of the museum.

"These are the most popular special exhibitions for this period, and we've also got lectures, educational workshops and other events on other evenings."

Anyone wanting to visit the museum in the evening is required to make a reservation through WeChat, and the number of visitors has been capped at 2,000.

"We are finding those 2,000 are snapped up within 20 minutes of their being made available," said Sun Luyao, a museum spokeswoman.

"Of course, when we announced the opening hours for Aug 9 we were unaware of the approaching typhoon, and once we became aware of it was too late to make other arrangements."

"So we decided to go ahead with what we were doing, taking steps to ensure that everybody would have a safe and pleasant visit."

The museum was closed the next day.

As the museum expected, not all of the 2,000 who had made reservations turned up the previous evening. Among those who did were Wang Junhan, 9, his mother and some of his classmates at the Shanghai Fushan Zhengda Foreign Language Primary School.

"During the day there's always a long line of people at the gate, and in the evening it's less crowded and quieter, so that's a much better time to come," said Junhan's mother, who did not want to be identified.

"I've been with my son to the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London," said the mother, who works in the finance industry.

"The exhibitions one sees in China's museums are just as good as anything you see anywhere else, but it would be great if they had games for children so they could have a bit of fun, whether with adventures or puzzle games."

Huang Hui, a security officer in the exhibition hall, said those who visit the exhibitions in the evening tend to be quieter and spend more time appreciating the exhibits.

Among the visitors on the evening of Aug 9 were Wang Xuan of Shanghai, in her 20s, and a friend. They had opted to visit the museum that rainy evening because "during the day in summer it's just too hot," Wang Xuan said.

She felt happy and refreshed, she said, a bonus being that "we don't have to go to work tomorrow."

For all the balm that a relaxing night visit may deliver to visitors, extended hours also obviously place more pressure on museum staff, among them those who take care of maintenance and security.

The Memorial for the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China in the Xintiandi district of Shanghai, opened as a trial on the evenings of July 1 and 5, receiving an average of 5,000 visitors each day, and "it is a new challenge to ensure the safety of the memorial and cultural relics", a museum official said.

Opening in the evening requires more staff and other resources, said Qiu Zhengping, deputy director of the Shanghai History Museum, one of the 14 museums to extend into night hours every Friday since July.

"Each department needs to have someone staying on for the evening, involving security and property management staff."

In addition, some exhibition items are ill-suited to long exposure to the light, and some new media interactive devices were designed to operate eight hours a day.

The history museum put back its Friday closing time from 5 pm to 8 pm, and had between 800 and 1,000 visitors on each of the evening openings, the maximum allowed being 1,700, Qiu said.

For Shanghai History Museum's night openings it introduced a hands-on program allowing visitors to touch some ceramic pieces and bones. They were also given the chance to make a wood print with patterns replicated from the exhibits.

An American visitor to Shanghai History Museum on Aug 9 said night openings were not unusual in New York, the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum being among those that have them.

Among the visitors to the museum on the evening of Aug 9 was Chen Xin, 45, a history teacher, who visited with her husband and daughter.

"We all have to work during the day, so there's limited time for us to be together," Chen said.

Another thing that motivated them to visit the museum in the evening was the fact that there would be fewer people there than in the day, she said.

"We were able to enjoy some of the exhibits all by ourselves, something that could never happen during the day."

Wang Junlin contributed to the story.

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

The exhibition Arts of the Great Ocean, Pacific Art Collection from the Musee du quai Branly-Jacques-Chirac in Paris and the exhibition of 15th century Jingdezhen porcelain at the Shanghai Museum. Photos by Gao Erqiang / China Daily 

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<![CDATA[Answering the call of the wild to escape the urban jungle]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-08/21/content_37504069.htm For a couple of weeks every summer, I "go feral". I "become a Sasquatch". I literally answer the call of the wild.

That is, I hop on a plane from Beijing to escape into northern Michigan's woods, where my family and I camp in a treehouse without electricity, running water and - importantly - internet.

Every bath is in a lake. Every meal is cooked over a campfire. And birdcalls replace the chirps of mobile-phone notifications.

It's the perfect retreat from life in the Chinese capital, a metropolis that I love dearly.

But I'm delighted to trade its urban jungle for the deciduous forests of my hometown for a couple of weeks a year.

That is, to swap high-rises for towering trees, crowds for wildlife and car horns for coyote calls.

My family and I spend the days fishing, swimming, hiking, kayaking, tubing, riding all-terrain vehicles and, sometimes, just sitting and absorbing nature in its purest forms.

I grew up in this countryside.

But my kids wer