版权所有 - 中国日报�(ChinaDaily) China Daily <![CDATA[The golden soup everyone is talking about]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107727.htm

This autumn, foodies in Beijing are flocking to restaurants serving a new broth featuring fish maw and chicken that has taken the hotpot scene by storm, Dong Fangyu reports.

As the weather gets progressively colder during autumn, the queues at hotpot restaurants all over China inevitably become longer as diners seek reprieve from the chills in a bubbling pot of broth.

While there are many different types of broth available, one of the most popular types these days is fish maw and chicken, also known as huajiao ji, a svelte golden broth that is chock-full of collagen.

Huajiao refers to fish maw, the dried swim bladders of large fish like croaker. The ingredient is considered as premium as sea cucumber, bird's nest and abalone, and contains nutrients that can help nourish one's lungs and kidneys.

 

Having Luck Hotpot features a decor that mimicks the atmosphere of the iconic Hong Kong-style streetside stalls. The hotpot establishment sells about 200 chickens every day which are, along with fish maw, the main ingredients for the restaurant's best-selling broth. Photos by Feng Yongbin / China Daily

The massive popularity of huajiao ji is evidenced by the countless diners posting photos of their meal on social networking sites such as Sina Weibo and Xiaohongshu. Many of these were posted from Having Luck Hotpot in Beijing's Chaoyang district.

But the restaurant is by no means the inventor of this special broth. It is widely believed that Market Hotpot in Mongkok, Hong Kong, was the first restaurant to pioneer this broth which later became a hit among television celebrities and online personalities.

This trend then spread to the Chinese mainland recently, with a host of Cantonese-style seafood hotpot outlets launching their own versions of the huajiao ji soup base. This month, the famous Taiwan-style hotpot chain Coucou jumped on the bandwagon, introducing the broth to its 40 outlets across China.

Established in October 2017, Having Luck Hotpot currently has two branches in Beijing, with a third slated to open in December. The restaurant started out as specialist in Cantonese-style soup bases - it has 23 broths on its menu - before establishing its name as one of the first in Beijing to sell huajiao ji. Such is the popularity of this hotpot establishment that it sells 200 chickens every day. On weekends, it is common for diners to spend up to two hours queuing for a table.

In line with the owner Zhao Guanheng's objective of making fresh seafood and premium ingredients affordable for the masses, Having Luck Hotpot's huajiao ji broth, which includes a whole chicken and 100 grams of fish maw, is priced at a modest 288 yuan ($41.5).

Apart from the popular broth and the standard hotpot accompaniments, the restaurant also offers innovative dishes such as house-made balls containing foie gras and beef, as well as crispy cheese sausage options, both of which pair well with their soup bases.

Another ideal accompaniment to the huajiao ji broth is the humble rice. Most diners like adding cooked rice to the soup at the end of the meal to create what is called "golden soaked rice", a mushy mixture that goes well with diced mushrooms and Cantonese-style cured sausages.

One of the ways Having Luck Hotpot stands out from the competition is its ambience. The hotpot establishment has decided to mimick the atmosphere of the iconic Hong Kong-style dai pai dong, or streetside stalls, though all its seatings remain indoors. Situated alongside the seats are large tanks containing live seafood that diners can pick themselves.

"Today's diners not only care about the food on a plate, but also a sense of place. You need to have a unique character to distinguish yourself from the pack," explains Zhao.

The main selling point of Having Luck Hotpot is, of course, the taste and quality of its broth. Zhao is fastidious when it comes to the soup base. He only uses free-range, corn-fed Qingyuan chickens from Guangdong province. These chickens also need to be between 105 and 115 days-old, an age range he says results in the best-tasting soup base.

"I have tried broths using chickens aged under 105 days and over 115 days, and the taste is distinctively different compared to those that are just one or two days older or younger," he says.

The chicken found in Having Luck Hotpot's special broth is boiled till it is 80 percent cooked before being dunked into cold water, resulting in a chewy texture and a slippery, spongy skin. The broth, on the other hand, contains a combination of fish maw, chicken feet, beef bones, duck, pumpkin, and is cooked for no less than eight hours before it is served.

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2018-10-20 07:34:32
<![CDATA[New restaurant offers spicy choice]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107726.htm

Beijing foodies who enjoy Sichuan hotpot now have something to cheer about - the highly popular restaurant Dian Tai Xiang from Chengdu has finally made its way to the Chinese capital.

While the new restaurant has only been open for slightly over a month, business has been brisk, much to the chagrin of its fans - customers have had to queue for as long as seven hours for a table.

Dian Tai Xiang's chef-owner Tang Yi says that it took him seven years to persuade Liu Peng, a hotpot master in Chongqing, to take him on as an apprentice.

After three years of learning the craft, Tang opened Dian Tai Xiang, which is named after the alley in Chongqing where Liu earned his chops at a hotpot eatery called Big Dragon 20 years ago.

Sporting a nostalgic decor that reminds diners of 1980s China, Dian Tai Xiang is renowned for its broths that, although spicy, boast a masterful fix of flavors that is a result of the meticulous preparation process. Each of the chilies used in the broth are prepared individually before being thrown into the mix, and this approach allows diners to taste the different layers of spice instead of being overwhelmed from the get-go.

Tang reveals that the different chilies need to be first boiled until they are of certain textures. The only way to gauge this texture, he adds, is through feel. "The feeling is intangible. It's a skill one needs to practice many times before knowing how to get it just right," he quips.

The second step of the preparation process is blow-drying the chilies using an electric fan so that they can fully emit their distinct fragrances. Following this, the chilies are stored at 0 C for 12 hours before going through the next step of dry-frying.

Having to spend three to four hours at a stretch, dry-frying the chilies is both a technical and labor-consuming process. When frying the chilies, the chef has to observe the changes in the colors of the chilies and the oil, and the changes in the smell, as these factors would signal the start of the next step - the adding of the other condiments. Turning off the heat at the right time is another critical step.

"It is a matter for conjecture. You have to listen to the sounds of chilies bursting in the oil," he says. "The taste is different if you dish out the chilies several seconds earlier or later."

For those who have low tolerance for spicy food, Dian Tai Xiang's Beijing outlet also offers a divided pot that comes with a non-spicy option.

 

Dian Tai Xiang is renowned for its spicy broths which boast a masterful fix of flavors. Photos Provided to China Daily

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2018-10-20 07:34:32
<![CDATA[Famous hotpot joint finds a new specialty]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107725.htm

The specialty Cantonese-style hotpot brand Biao Ge Yang Ji, which distinguishes itself from the competition with its two signature soup bases - lamb and chicken, has recently added a new outlet in the Chinese capital.

Called Biao Ge Hong Kong Seafood Hotpot, the new establishment is located in a three-story building in the prime district of Liangmaqiao in Beijing. Like the main brand, the new restaurant also has two signature hotpot broths: fish maw and chicken, and fish maw and garoupa.

The monthly rent here is in the hundreds of thousands of yuan, but chef-owner Cai Jiajun is confident that the restaurant's Cantonese offerings would be popular enough for it to be a success.

"The market for Cantonese hotpot has only just started in Beijing," explains Cai. "Having a fiery hotpot is a transient pleasure. More and more people now prefer healthy and nourishing hotpots."

The main draw of Biao Ge, Cai adds, is the fish maw, a highly prized ingredient commonly used in Cantonese soups.

Fish maw is believed to be a good source of collagen, which helps one maintain a good complexion. It is also rich in phosphorus and calcium and is hence especially popular among women who are pregnant or who have just given birth. While fish maw is rather tasteless on its own, it does soak up the flavors of the broth well, resulting in a gelatinous texture that diners love.

"People used to associate fish maw with a luxurious delicacy that was exclusive to affluent families in the 1970s in Hong Kong. But a lot more people are able to enjoy it today because fish maw is becoming more affordable thanks to the greater availability of different fish as well as growing income levels," he says.

The price of fish maw varies significantly, depending on the type of fish. Cai says that a kilogram of dried fish maw on the market can be bought for as low as 800 yuan ($115.5). High quality ones, on the other hand, can cost a whopping 30,000 yuan per kilogram.

"What we are using for the hotpot are South America fish maw from croakers. They are good enough and affordable to most diners," says Cai.

At Biao Ge, a half portion of the fish maw and chicken pot sells for 218 yuan. This includes 125 grams of fish maw, 125 grams of fish fins, and half a chicken. The rich broth is full of umami while the fish maw has an addictive, bouncy texture.

Apart from the sumptuous broth, other standout dishes at Biao Ge include the chicken feet stewed in soy sauce and fried tofu that comes with a crisp outer layer.

 

Fish maw is the main draw of Biao Ge. Provided to China Daily

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2018-10-20 07:34:32
<![CDATA[Penderecki masterpieces go on tour in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107724.htm Works by the renowned Polish composer will be performed in five cities from now till end of the month, Chen Nan reports.

In 1995, Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki finished his Violin Concerto No.2 Metamorphosen, 18 years after his Violin Concerto No.1.

Penderecki, who started working on the score in 1992, dedicated it to his friend, German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, who premiered it later that year with the London Symphony Orchestra.

The score was also featured in the album Penderecki: Violin Concerto No.2 Metamorphosen by German classical music record label Deutsche Grammophon in 1998. It also won two Grammy awards that year: Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with orchestra) and Best Classical Contemporary Composition.  

 

German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has embarked an ongoing China alongside Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra to mark the 85th birthday of Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki. Photos Provided to China Daily

"Few composers have demonstrated so many different colors and contradictions through their compositions," says the violinist Mutter in Beijing recently. "For me, this work is a physical and psychological challenge, which requires my best technical skills but yet give me tremendous musical fulfillment."

To mark Penderecki's 85th birthday, which falls on Nov 23, and in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence, Mutter played the Violin Concerto No.2 Metamorphosen alongside Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra under the baton of Polish conductor Maciej Tworek at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on Oct 17.

The performance also marked the start of the violinist's China tour with the orchestra.

Penderecki, who was also in Beijing, will join the tour which includes Shanghai on Oct 21, Changsha, Hunan province, on Oct 23, Xiamen, Fujian province, on Oct 26 and Fuzhou, Fujian province, on Oct 28.

Penderecki will be conducting Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, performing Antonín Dvorak's Symphony No.7.

"There is humanity in his music, not just techniques. His music makes us more human," Mutter adds. "Playing his pieces brings much more meaning to my life."

Besides Violin Concerto No.2 Metamorphosen, Mutter will also play Penderecki's La Follia for the solo violin during the ongoing China tour. She first premiered the piece in 2013 at the Carnegie Hall in New York.

Penderecki, who is hailed as "Poland's greatest living composer" by The Guardian, recalls that he was impressed by Mutter's performance decades ago when she was a 14-year-old performing Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major under the baton of the late conductor Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic. He has since been following the violinist's concerts and composing music works for her.

Deutsche Grammophon released a double album titled Hommage à Penderecki this August which showcases several of Penderecki's works for violin and piano or violin and orchestra. All of them feature the violinist Mutter.

Since his first visit to China more than 20 years ago, Penderecki has been visiting the country almost every year. In 2002, he was the conductor for the China Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra when they premiered his Symphony No. 3 at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. In 2016, he conducted the Beethoven Festival Orchestra at the Great Hall of the People in the Chinese capital.

"It has become a tradition for me to come to China. I have seen the audiences' enthusiasm for music, which cannot be compared to any other country," Penderecki says.

After studying composition under Franciszek Skolyszewski and later at the Kraków Academy of Music under Artur Malawski and Stanislaw Wiechowicz, Penderecki composed Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima in 1959, which is one of his best-known compositions. In the past six decades, Penderecki has composed more than 100 instrumental works, including 20 chamber works, 17 solo works and seven symphonies.

Besides music, the composer is also interested in gardening.

Wray Armstrong, the chairman of Armstrong Music & Arts - it is the organizer of the ongoing China tour of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Sinfonia Varsovia - can attest to this. He notes that he once visited Penderecki's home in Luslawice in southern Poland and was impressed by the garden the composer designed himself.

"There are over 1,800 species of trees in the garden and two labyrinths," says Penderecki's wife Elzbieta Penderecka in Beijing. "It's one of the largest private collections in Central Europe."

"I became involved in planting trees many years ago and this is my life and my love," Penderecki says. "I like walking among the trees and looking at them growing. It's the greatest joy in my life, even more than music."

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2018-10-20 07:33:46
<![CDATA[New brand bears good tidings for electronic music lovers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107723.htm

NetEase, Inc., one of China's leading internet services which boasts a following of more than 400 million online users, launched a new electronic music brand called Fever, or Fang Ci in Chinese, in Shanghai on Oct 12.

According to Jessie Wang, CEO of Fever, the brand will offer electronic music fans access to live shows, music tours, music production and VR-based online DJ games.

"Electronic music is one of the fastest-growing music genres in China, but compared to the West, the Chinese electronic music scene has only just started," says Wang in Shanghai.

 

NetEase, one of China's leading internet services, has launched an electronic music brand called Fever, which offers the country's 100 million fans live party experiences, VR-DJing and a music academy. Photos Provided to China Daily

According to NetEase Cloud Music, an online music streaming platform under NetEase, Inc., there is huge potential for development in China's electronic music market as there are presently more than 100 million fans of this music genre.

Before Fever was officially launched, it had held three themed electronic music parties in Shanghai and Chengdu, Sichuan province, in collaboration with Spanish electronic music promoter Elrow, a Barcelona-based party-maker which spans 33 countries and has sold over 2.5 million tickets to its global events.

Fever will continue this partnership with Elrow, with the next being in Shenzhen on Nov 10. Also slated are more than 20 shows in other Chinese cities in 2019.

"Many Chinese electronic music fans enjoy music through online streaming. We want to offer them live experiences which excite," says Wang, adding that the target audience of Fever is the younger generation in China, especially those who were born after 1990.

Wang adds that Ding Lei, the founder and CEO of NetEase, is also a big fan of electronic music and that it was his passion for the music genre that led to the birth of Fever.

"We've traveled with Ding worldwide to experience electronic music parties. Ding has learned the techniques of electronic music to better understand the genre," Wang adds.

Along with London-based Point Blank Music School, Fever will also launch an electronic music school in Hangzhou, the first of its kind in China, which offers students Bachelor of Arts certificates.

"We share the vision with Net-Ease and will offer a full-range of content for Chinese students, including electronic music production, sound engineering, DJing, singing and songwriting," says musician and producer Robert Cowan, who is the founder and CEO of Point Blank Music School.

Cowan founded the school in 1994 and has since expanded the institution to places including Los Angeles, Ibiza and Mumbai.

"The focus is to develop a new generation of local electronic music artists and producers who can share the stage with international artists," Wang says.

With regard to games, Fever will launch a VR-based DJ title called Electronauts that is backed by Net-Ease Games, the country's top online gaming service under Net-Ease and NetVios, a joint venture of NetEase and Survios, US game developer.

When playing Electronauts, players enter a VR environment where they can learn to be DJs before creating their own works that are performed to a virtual audience.

Electronic music, a music genre born in the late 19th century in Europe and the United States, took root in China in the 1990s. In 2009, China held its first home-grown electronic music festival, Intro, which was launched by Beijing-based record label Acupuncture Records.

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2018-10-20 07:33:46
<![CDATA[Fully booked]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107722.htm

Marlene Taschen opens up about her family's latest store, which is set to open a new chapter in Hong Kong's cultural scene

When art book publisher Taschen was looking at opening its first Asian store in Hong Kong a couple of years ago, the stars were about to align - both for the celebrated German company and for Hong Kong's stately new arts compound, Tai Kwun.

After being tipped off about the new multibillion-dollar development by Hong Kong restaurateur Bonnae Gokson, Marlene Taschen visited the site and "instantaneously fell in love" - and the feeling was reciprocated this summer when Taschen's 14th store materialized in the courtyard of the former Central Police Station. "It's the perfect match," she beams.

The 33-year-old found herself in the driver's seat when she was unexpectedly promoted to managing director of the firm two years ago by her father, Benedikt, the company's founder. "That was a funny idea of my father's," she recalls. "We were opening our store in Berlin, giving an interview to a German newspaper, and he just announced it!"

Such instinctive - and, some might say, impulsive - moves are a Taschen trait. "Everything has really happened from good intuition," she explains.

"We have never done market research. My father has always made his decisions based on what he likes and what he believes in, and we have a very similar vision."

That said, the daughter believes the move to Hong Kong was quite strategic: "We have seen growth in the area over the last years and the response we've gotten so far in Hong Kong has been very positive. It's a crossroads between East and West, and it's a very good point from which to do other things." She says the Hong Kong mentality and the language factor make the company feel at home, too. "It's not the same as, say, Tokyo, where communication may be really difficult."

While Taschen's books often straddle the culture and luxury markets, the company has accessible books for as little as HK$140 ($18). Taschen isn't tempted to emulate the extravagant marketing drives of other high-end Western brands in the Asia-Pacific region, including the mainland, which she feels has become "a bit saturated" with luxury items. "I think there's more demand for arts and culture now," she says. "Our company is not always run in the most commercial way - we are kind of an anachronistic business, doing books, but we also take the time we need to do things right. Some of our books take years to produce."

A case in point is the publisher's latest project, a collaboration with Ferrari that took 17 years to complete - coinciding neatly with the opening of the Hong Kong shop. The book's presentation case was created by acclaimed industrial designer Marc Newson in the shape of a racing engine.

While the long gestation of Taschen books doesn't allow the company to cater to specific markets such as Hong Kong, it will be on the lookout for artists, photographers and designers from the city to present to the rest of the world. "We want to reach out and make new relationships," she says. "I hope we can find collaborations with galleries, auction houses and so on." To this end, she wants the Hong Kong store to be a place for people of all stripes to meet. "I love the outside," she says, indicating the Tai Kwun courtyard. "I hope we will make good friends with the cafes around."

Taschen will host talks in conjunction with as yet undetermined local partners ("to mix it up a little bit") and established ones like the Financial Times. There will be book signings, raising the possibility that locals may get to meet a few of the publisher's star names, which include photographer David LaChapelle, cartoonist Robert Crumb and artist David Hockney.

Yet it's the more unassuming books that fuel her own passions. She opens one, Entryways of Milan, and points: "That is our color inspiration for the store - red, blue and yellow." It's a drawing by 20th-century architect and designer Gio Ponti, whose grandson Salvatore Licitra has worked on the interiors of Taschen's recent stores, including the one in Hong Kong. "This is the other thing about books - you get inspiration from them. A picture like this can inspire everything we see here."

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2018-10-20 07:33:09
<![CDATA[Chasing the pavement]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107721.htm

Ms Min: The journey from Taobao to Lane Crawford

Before starting her own shop on Taobao, London College of Fashion graduate Min Liu worked with contemporary Dutch house Viktor & Rolf and high-end Canadian brand Ports 1961. She didn't sell her own clothes at first, though; rather, she sold vintage fashion items sourced from all over the world, photographed by her in a whimsical style that mixed and matched the pieces with masks she bought in Europe. In 2010, she debuted the first fashion collection from her brand, Ms Min, on Taobao.

Within three years, Ms Min was noticed by high-end department store Lane Crawford and ended up being sold at its Shanghai flagship - she was one of the first three Chinese fashion brands selected by the store. A number of other renowned retailers followed, from Saks Fifth Avenue to Opening Ceremony. In 2016, Min opened her own boutique in Shanghai's most lavish shopping district, in the Shanghai Centre next to Christian Louboutin.

Now based in Xiamen, the fashion designer conveys classical Chinese beauty through modern aesthetics; her statement is vibrant, sharp and feminine. For the spring/summer 2018 collection, she crafts traditional mulberry silk floral motifs in golden threads and bold orange colors. In 2017, Ms Min launched a rouge collection with cosmetics brand MAC, inspired by the Chinese mythology of "round sky and square earth" (tian yuan di fang), using the traditional girly makeup hues of red and pink with hints of gold and silver. It marked the fourth China-themed limited collection presented by the cosmetics brand, following collaborations with photographer Chen Man, jewelry designer Baobao Wan and fashion maverick Chris Chang.

Focusing on e-commerce or not seems to be a question facing many fashion brands, but Min thinks that Taobao has given her a great opportunity to stay close to the market from the very beginning of her business. And though she's seen tremendous changes in the Chinese fashion market since she began - the rise of homegrown designers, global brands moving in and increased consumer purchasing power - she thinks there's still plenty of room for independent domestic designers to grow.

- CDLP

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2018-10-20 07:33:09
<![CDATA[In Wechat-dominated China, new messenger app scores sudden success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107720.htm

HONG KONG - Bullet Messenger, a Chinese messaging app, has racked up millions of downloads since its debut more than a month ago, using a stripped-down design to chip off a chunk of a sophisticated, billion-user market.

The Beijing-based company launched its app on Aug 20, and within a week became the most downloaded free offering on Apple Inc's App Store in China.

Analysts say its rapid ascent, driven by Chinese internet users' craving for alternatives to the ubiquitous WeChat, underscores just how fast China's mobile internet landscape can change.

"The cycle of disruption in the Chinese internet space is getting much, much faster," said Matthew Brennan, co-founder of tech consultancy China Channel.

"There is an increasingly large amount of easy money chasing increasingly fewer opportunities, while there is also a very large pool of talented entrepreneurs now, so people know how to scale businesses fast - there is an established playbook," he added.

Some analysts have described Bullet Messenger as a potential challenger to Tencent Holding's WeChat - although it lags far behind the Chinese super-app, which has more than 1 billion users.

Bullet's minimalist design stands out, as does a feature that instantly turns voice messages into text as the user speaks, and sends each voice message with a transcript that can be edited.

Users say the technology, supplied by Chinese voice technology firm iFlytek Co, allows them to chat faster without having to type or listen to voice recordings - a time-consuming act for the receiver that is considered impolite in WeChat etiquette in China.

WeChat offers a similar voice input function, but it is hidden in the app's interface and not commonly used. It also does not allow voice messages and transcripts to be sent simultaneously, as Bullet does.

Wang Guanran, a Shanghai-based senior analyst with Citic Securities, described Bullet's key advantage as being "lighter" than WeChat.

For example, WeChat's extra functions include payment and gaming, while Bullet only offers messaging and a newsfeed, and its interface allows users to respond to messages in fewer steps.

"In a time of information overload, it makes communication more simple," he said.

Cult following

Bullet, developed by Beijing Kuairu Technology, says it amassed 5 million registered users within 10 days of its launch. It is backed by Smartisan Technology, a niche smartphone maker founded by English-teacher-turned-entrepreneur Luo Yonghao.

Kuairu said it has a team of just 36 people with an average age of 27, and raised 150 million yuan ($22 million) from venture capital within seven days of the app's launch.

The company declined to give details and turned down a request for an interview.

Company registration records show Kuairu was registered in May with capital of 100,000 yuan.

Zhang Ji and Hao Xijie, both former Smartisan managers, are listed as its two directors, while Wang Li, chief operating officer of Chinese dating app Momo Inc was listed as the sole owner as of May 9.

Momo said Wang is an investor in Bullet but did not hold any position at Beijing Kuairu.

According to Chinese corporate database Tianyancha, Smartisan and two local venture capital firms, Chengwei Capital and Gaorong Capital, invested in August.

Chengwei and Gaorong did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New competition

The rapid rise of Bullet serves as a wake-up call for WeChat, analysts say, which has seen no serious challenger in China's mobile messaging world since it was launched in 2011.

"The Chinese consumer is considerably more fickle than the global average," Brennan said. "There are always new consumers willing to try new products and platforms."

The other mainstream option for messaging is QQ, with mobile and desktop versions, which is also run by Tencent and is popular among younger people. Liu Hai, 29, an auto engineer in Shanghai, said he downloaded Bullet in part out of curiosity, but also because he was frustrated with the number of work messages cluttering his WeChat account. "There are too many work group messages on WeChat. It feels like I am working all the time. I cannot even block it out on weekends," he said.

Liu said he was impressed with Bullet's speed and voice-recognition technology, which was able to decipher his southern Chinese accent. But he said he lost interest after three days because "nobody is actually on it."

"Also, when chatting at work, speaking to your phone looks kind of stupid," he added.

Smartisan's Luo said on his Weibo account, which has 15 million followers, that Bullet is simply providing a niche alternative to WeChat for users seeking faster communication.

"This is not a WeChat killer. Bullet is still tiny and has a lot to prove," said Brennan, who said it is "very, very difficult" to build a social network and make people stay.

Fans of Luo and Smartisan, meanwhile, are cheering the app's success as a comeback for the struggling smartphone maker.

Xu Kuo, 31, an entrepreneur who describes himself as a hardcore Smartisan fan, said via Bullet: "I am uninstalling WeChat to support Lao Luo."

Xinhua - Reuters

 

Bullet Messenger's boasts a feature that instantly turns voice messages into text as the user speaks, and sends each voice message with a transcript that can be edited. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

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2018-10-20 07:32:37
<![CDATA[High-tech option for students learning Chinese]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107719.htm

TROY, NY - To learn Chinese in this room, talk to the floating panda head.

The Mandarin-speaking avatar zips around a 360-degree restaurant scene in an artificial intelligence-driven instruction program that looks like a giant video game. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students testing the technology move inside the 12-foot-high, wrap-around projection to order virtual bean curd from the panda waiter, chat with Beijing market sellers and practice tai chi by mirroring moves of a watchful mentor.

"Definitely less anxiety than messing it up with a real human being," says Rahul Divekar, a computer science graduate student working on the project. "So compared to that anxiety, this is a lot more easy."

The "Mandarin Project" is a joint venture of RPI and IBM. Cognitive and Immersive Systems Laboratory researchers are developing a sort of smart room that can understand students' words, answer their questions and perceive their gestures. Lessons are presented as games or tasks, like ordering a meal out.

Divekar orders Peking duck "Beijing kaoya" and the panda fetches the virtual dish. Divekar says the food was good "Cai hen hao chi" but he can't pay the bill. No problem, the panda replies "ni keyi xi pan zi" you can wash the dishes.

Other scenes include an outdoor market and a garden, each a high-tech twist on cultural immersion.

"Our plan is to complete several scenes of real life in China, to let the student be able to have a virtual trip over there," says Hui Su, director of the lab at RPI.

Tests on the room with students studying Mandarin will continue this school year as they work on additional scenes, including an airport. A six-week course is being readied for the summer.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is ubiquitous in everything from call-center chat-bots to home assistants. Even some language instruction products on the market feature AI or virtual reality.

The Mandarin Project is notable for its scale and sophistication. Computers simultaneously interpret speech and gesture to keep a dialogue going. When a student points to a picture and asks "What's that?" computers can come up with an answer.

And feedback is immediate. When Divekar orders dou fu or tofu a voice responds "here's how close you got" and illustrates it with a graph of his intonation. Another voice gives the precise pronunciation.

Still, language teachers need not fear for their jobs just yet. Developers of the Mandarin Project say it isn't sophisticated enough right now to completely replace classroom instruction.

RPI president Shirley Ann Jackson foresees the same type of technology being applied to other spaces, such as corporate boardrooms. When the executives discuss a potential acquisition, the room will follow the group discussion and produce relevant information seamlessly into the debate.

"We're not at the end of the line," Jackson says, "but closer to the beginning."

Xinhua - AP

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2018-10-20 07:32:37
<![CDATA[Chinese agri-tech helps Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa prosper]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107718.htm

It has been only 21 months since China and Sao Tome and Principe resumed diplomatic relations, but the agrarian country in the Gulf of Guinea has already seen significant changes.

Thanks to the newly introduced cultivation technology from China, the output of maize there went up nearly 70 percent per hectare. New strains of Chinese cabbage, cucumber and tomato are growing larger than previous strains, and there are fewer parasites on goats that underwent the Chinese sterilization process.

These are just a few of the achievements Chinese agricultural technology has yielded in the country.

China and Sao Tome and Principe resumed diplomatic ties in December 2016. Shortly after, a team of four Chinese agricultural experts arrived at the launch of Chinese agricultural technical support project in the island nation, one of the 47 least developed countries listed by the United Nations.

According to Yang Yang, an official in charge of the project with China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, nearly 20 Chinese agricultural specialists have been involved in the project, which continues to progress smoothly.

In the rural areas of the country, Chinese experts are seen from farmhouses to pastures and fields, working tirelessly on improving local agricultural conditions. By devoting themselves to the project, they won the trust and praise of local people.

Helder Menezes, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Sao Tome and Principe, wrote a letter applauding the fine work of the Chinese experts.

A local farm owner asked for a Chinese national flag to hang on his farm with that of Sao Tome and Principe to demonstrate the friendship between the two countries.

Other Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa are experiencing the same benefits of the Chinese helping hand.

Valdemar Morais, an official in charge of food safety with the Angolan Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, participated in a training session on agricultural technology in China's Shaanxi province in July.

African countries are seeking development, and technical assistance from China is a golden opportunity, said Morais.

Agricultural experts from Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe also received training sessions on agricultural technologies in Guizhou and Hunan provinces.

In keeping with the China-Africa cooperation principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, China proposed in 2015 that cooperation in 10 areas including agriculture would be carried out in the following three years.

As the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation last month added further weight to the mutual ties, China-Africa relations will soon embark on a new journey. "We will step up efforts in promoting China-Africa cooperation in agricultural modernization so as to benefit more African countries," said Yang.

Xinhua

]]> 2018-10-20 07:44:09 <![CDATA[A different side to the cosmopolis]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107717.htm

Cozy bed and breakfast establishments are popping up on the outskirts of Shanghai, offering travelers a chance to view the city in a different light and experience rural life

To most people, the general impression of Shanghai is that of a megacity filled with modern, towering skyscrapers that are illuminated by a stunning array of neon lights come nightfall. The streets in the city are notoriously busy, and are often flanked by the glitzy shop fronts of luxury brands.

The word tranquillity is unlikely to be used to describe the city. The same can be said for the term "bed and breakfast". After all, Shanghai is not known as a countryside destination.

 

But this could soon change, with Chinese-style bed and breakfast businesses, also known as minsu, sprouting up in districts on the outskirts of Shanghai to provide travelers and weary city dwellers a different experience of the city.

The development of minsu in China first started as privately owned guesthouses around tourist sites. But because there are no well-known tourist sites in Shanghai's countryside areas, minsu in the city are limited to the water town of Zhujiajiao in Qingpu district, the beach area in Jinshan district, the Chuansha area where Disneyland is, and Chongming Island.

Ban Ri Xian, named after an ancient Chinese poem, is located on the idyllic Chongming Island in northwest Shanghai. This farm-style minsu offers guests the chance to experience rural life through activities such as planting rice seedlings, picking fruit, harvesting vegetables as well as fishing and watching birds.

Business has been brisk. Ban Ri Xian is always fully booked during the weekends, either by families or corporate team building groups.

The minsu, which is owned by Liu Haiqing, 45, has been singled out by the officials of the local Gangxi township as an exemplar of "rural vitalization" that others could follow. This rural vitalization strategy, proposed by President Xi Jinping at the 19th National Congress of the CPC a year ago, forms part of China's efforts to boost the development of rural areas through tourism.

"Minsu can link many things together," said Kang Qian, deputy head of Gangxi.

"It can incorporate experience programs, dining and other activities that would make tourists stay and spend."

Among those working at this minsu is Xing Haiyan, a Chongming native who previously worked in a marketing firm in downtown Shanghai.

"I took up this job because I wanted to show people what countryside life is like. I grew up on a farm so I know the joys of living in such an environment," said Xing, whose job involves organizing activities such as one-day family programs at the farm.

Xing is also in charge of the social media accounts, and it was through this medium that Geng Lijun discovered Ban Ri Xian. Geng, who has lived in downtown Shanghai all her life, loved the environment so much that she visited the minsu several times last year. These short getaways were also a good way for her son to learn things outside the classroom, she said.

"Time seems to pass more slowly when you're in the countryside. I feel like I can ponder about life and think about what I want to pursue."

Xing does not plan on being an employee for the rest of her life; she plans to set up her own farm-style minsu by the end of this year. The planned 15-room building would occupy two hectares of land. With local authorities striving to transform Chongming into a world-class ecological island, Xing is optimistic about her business venture because she expects more tourists to visit.

"I also want to inspire other farmers to renovate their own houses to a minsu. It will help them earn extra money in addition to the income they get from farming."

Another area where more and more such businesses are emerging is in eastern Shanghai, near the Disneyland Resort. Since the theme park opened in 2016 many nearby villagers have transformed their houses into bed and breakfast establishments to provide an alternative to the pricey hotel rooms at Disneyland. As part of efforts to regulate the growing market, the Pudong New Area government issued guidelines regarding the development of such businesses in 2016. Authorities issued the city's first minsu business license last year.

Su Yu, a minsu project in Lianmin village, was the first recipient of this license.

 

But instead of just branding itself as a cheaper accommodation alternative for Disneyland goers, Su Yu offers a range of activities for its guests, such as farming, pizza-making, pottery workshops and painting classes.

This project is run by Minzhu Fuxiang Minsu Culture, a joint venture between a minsu operator, a real estate company, a collective-owned enterprise of Lianmin village and a fund.

Zhou Hao, a public relations assistant for the project, said the joint venture company managed to get households involved in the project to agree on an annual rental fee ranging from 36,000 yuan to 150,000 yuan ($5,400 to 22,300). It then helped each family design their homes according to a unique theme. Six themed houses are available.

In addition to helping boost the incomes of villagers, the project generated more jobs as each venue would require chefs, security personnel and cleaners. Wang Guanlun, chief executive of the project, said during Shanghai International Minsu Conference in June last year that the project injected vitality into the village.

"When I first came to the village, I could barely see young people. Now, many young people have returned to the village to work. It is these changes I see that make me proud."

Wang Ying, who works as a conductor for the district's bus company, echoed that life in Lianmin village has indeed become more vibrant.

"Since Su Yu opened last year more visitors have definitely arrived. Our family has considered renting out our houses to the company, but we'll wait and see how it goes."

But while the move to regulate the market may be music to the ears of consumers, it has not been poorly received by some bed and breakfast operators.

"Our business has suddenly become illegal because of the introduction of licenses," said a woman who runs three home-stay properties in Pudong. "We don't dare advertise anymore."

It is difficult to obtain a business license because only registered companies can do so, she said, and becoming a registered company requires a certain amount of capital that many people lack.

The woman also lamented the costs needed to ensure that each minsu meets government regulations regarding safety standards.

"Having to meet all these standards drives up costs, thus reducing profitability. The development of the minsu industry needs standards, but there also needs to be some support from the government."

Xu Weiwan, director of the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration told the Shanghai news website Eastday that the city is monitoring the development of two pilot districts, Pudong and Jinshan, which have introduced minsu licenses and guidelines.

These regions have already published the guidelines and issued 10 licenses, Xu and these projects are usually fully-booked during weekends and holidays.

Over at Fengshou village in Minhang district, a tourism project which includes many minsu projects, was due to open in August, Shanghai Observer reported.

Airbnb, the US home-sharing platform, told China Daily that it has seen a big increase in the number of shared B&B homes and guests over the past few years.

"Outside Shanghai's downtown area, Songjiang and Chongming districts have registered a major increase in the number of people using our service. We see great potential in China's market. Young people born in the 1980s and 90s have a high acceptance for home-sharing, and they account for 80 percent of our customers," Xu said.

A report on home-sharing published by the State Information Center in May said about 3 million minsu were registered online in the country last year, with the transaction amount totaling 14.5 billion yuan, up 70 percent from 2016. The number of shared-homes in rural areas would double, and the market would be worth an estimated 50 billion yuan in 2020, the report said.

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2018-10-20 07:32:21
<![CDATA[Old Shanghai throws open welcoming arms]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107716.htm

Pan Rongda has always been mesmerized by the old neighborhoods in Hongkou district of Shanghai, an area where lanes intertwine, small markets ooze liveliness and shikumen-style houses have remained largely unchanged for more than a century.

The 30-something was born and raised in the area. The area, north of Suzhou Creek, has largely retained its old neighborhoods, a very local area with few skyscrapers and big shopping malls, thus evading tons of tourist groups.

"I love the old feeling here," Pan says. "I grew up in a nongtang (lane in Shanghainese dialect) in the area, and I'd like my guests to experience the localness of the city, too."

Pan runs a bed and breakfast guesthouse in Dongzhaoli, one of the lanes in the area where the early Communist leader and literary translator Qu Qiubai once lived, and opposite the entrance of the lane is the former residence of the renowned writer Lu Xun.

The 500-meter Tian'ai Road, or the road of sweet love, is within a three-minute walk, and local lovers go there to scrawl their names or commitment on the walls along the street. Many believe that if they walk the entire route their love will be forever blessed and they will never be separated.

Duolun Road, a pedestrian cultural street lined with teahouses, art galleries and antiques shops, is just a few blocks further. Many literary celebrities in modern China lived here in the first half of the 20th century.

The three-storied guesthouse Pan operates was built in the 1920s in shikumen-style, a traditional Shanghainese architectural style combining Western elements such as a terrace house structure and Chinese elements of the courtyard enclosed by a stone gate.

Pan lives in the attic and has listed the four rooms in the house on Airbnb, the online home-sharing platform, since summer last year.

Pan was a white-collar worker in multinational companies for eight years and on a whim decided to become a B&B owner.

"I just got bored of the routine work everyday, and wanted to try something else one day," Pan says.

It did not take her too long to open her first B&B business two years ago, which she expanded last year by renting this old house from a Hong Kong owner.

"I like this old house, and it happens to stand on the same street, Yinshan Road, where my parents got married."

Pan then renovated the house and turned it into a popular Airbnb listing.

"But I wouldn't call it a pure business, because I think the spirit of B&B is sharing. I live in the house and interact with my guests, help them plan the trips, tell them my stories and listen to theirs."

Fu Zhiyi, who worked in an advertising company in Hong Kong, went traveling in Shanghai last year and stayed in Pan's house. Fu, a history buff, fell in love with the old house and became so obsessed with the historical aspects of Shanghai that he quit his job and went back to work for Pan to run this old guesthouse.

Fu assiduously studies the history of the old lanes and the history of Shanghai, and apart from working on promoting Pan's guesthouse - which now has a name, Mani Papa - sometimes accompanies guests on walks around the city, imparting his local knowledge.

"I like the stories in the city, and the old house itself is the carrier of a lot of the culture and lore," Fu says. "Each old lane and house is a story book, telling different local tales against the backdrop of all-the-same high-rises being built in the context of globalization."

In her guesthouse, Pan also organizes cocktail workshop, a passion she has cultivated since quitting her office job, telling people about each drink and teaching them how to make a personal signature cocktail.

She also holds cocktail parties on the 18th of every month - 18 is her house number - and a movie night every Wednesday.

The 4-year-old Border Collie she adopted this year is also a reason for many guest to come back again and again.

Pan says that when she quit her office job she thought being a bed and breakfast host could give her a lot of freedom to "go and see the world", but it has turned out that she can barely leave the city because of it. Her rooms are often booked up by travelers from home and broad, especially on weekends and during summer holidays.

"But perhaps that's not too bad. It's the world that's coming to see me."

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2018-10-20 07:32:21
<![CDATA[TV DEAL A SLAM DUNK]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101047.htm Reality show, Dunk of China, has proved to be incredibly popular, perhaps in no small way due to the participation of Jeremy Lin, point guard for the NBA side, the Atlanta Hawks.

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Youku sells rights for Chinese basketball-themed show to Fox network, Wang Kaihao reports.

Reality show, Dunk of China, has proved to be incredibly popular, perhaps in no small way due to the participation of Jeremy Lin, point guard for the NBA side, the Atlanta Hawks.

The Chinese-American basketball star's appearance on the show - in which he and Taiwan singer, Jay Chow, captain a team of youngsters who play off against a team captained by Chinese actor, Li Yifeng, and domestic basketball star, Guo Ailun, on street ball courts - has helped it to win a rating of 8.4 out of 10 on TV and film review site Douban.

Dunk of China, which is produced and aired through Beijing-based Youku Tudou Inc, may also be a means to create greater cultural ties between the United States and China since the streaming platform, which is affiliated with Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group, signed a copyright agreement with American television distributor, Fox Networks Group, at TV industry trade show, MIPCOM, in Cannes, France, on Tuesday.

According to the agreement, Fox Networks will adapt Dunk of China for different countries and regions outside of the Chinese mainland, with Taiwan being targeted as the first market to get its own version of the show.

The agreement marks the first time that the rights to a Chinese internet-tailored variety show have been sold to a leading overseas distributor for localized adaptation.

"This will be the pride of China," said Fan Weiping, deputy director of the National Radio and Television Administration, who attended the trade fair in Cannes, held from Monday to Thursday.

He added that the deal will act as a pathfinder, ushering in opportunities for more high-quality original cultural content from China to be sold overseas.

"It was a good opportunity to buy Dunk of China and share such a brand-new program idea with more people," said Cora Yim, vice-president of Fox Networks Group in charge of the Asia-Pacific market. "It will offer a platform for more talented people in Asia to make top-level original content for the world's audiences."

Yang Weidong, head of Youku, said the agreement reflects global recognition for their creativity in making niche programs for younger audiences.

"We used to wrongly think that we could succeed if we were able to give young people either new aesthetics, new knowledge, or new storytelling," he said. "However, we now realize that all three elements have to be included if we want to make a hit."

In Dunk of China, dramatic individual storylines are mixed to reflect the journey of the players and the energy of the modern Chinese youth, in order to give the audience an experience - while watching the two teams compete - similar to that of watching a high-stakes professional game.

"We cannot be satisfied with a one-time success," Yang says. "We need the vision for a bigger picture to break the bottleneck of quality."

Consequently, 2018 has so far been successful for Youku, which has churned out several hit variety shows which would have probably been overshadowed by its stable of online drama series in previous years.

This Is Fighting Robots introduced the concept of robotic battles to a Chinese audience and gained 8.1 points on Douban, while Street Dance of China quickly became a phenomenon, winning 8.6 points on the same site and was licensed to be broadcast in Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

 

Chinese basketball star Yi Jianlian (first from left standing) and actor Li Yifeng (second from left standing) appear for Dunk of China, a variety show premiered through Youku in August. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[Exhibition on life in 1980s Chinatown]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101046.htm NEW YORK - The Museum of Chinese in America launched a documentary photo exhibition on Thursday, featuring daily life in New York City's Chinatown and how it has evolved since the 1980s.

Titled Interior Lives: Photographs of Chinese Americans in the 1980s, it is the largest exhibition of US photographer Bud Glick's work documenting New York City's Chinatown in the 1980s, according to MOCA.

For three years beginning in 1981, Glick was commissioned by MOCA to photograph the street life, people, and domestic scenes of Chinatown.

He earned the trust of the Chinatown residents and gained access to lives during a pivotal time when new waves of Chinese immigrants began to converge into Chinatown, altering the demographic landscape of what was then home to earlier migrations.

Calling the documentary a memorable journey to connect intimately with people in Chinatown, the photographer says he sees the exhibition as a continuation of that journey where he expects more people to connect with the stories told in the photos.

The exhibition is scheduled to run through March 24. And it will weave multimedia into its presentation to connect past and present using audio oral histories that organizers have recently recorded with individuals who were the subjects of the photos.

The organizers hope that the exhibition can help re-ignite conversations about how the experiences of Chinese communities in New York can contribute to the broader discussion on community, space and perseverance.

The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Chinese population outside Asia. The number of Chinese Americans here was estimated at 812,410 in 2015.

Xinhua

 

A visitor looks at exhibits at a traditional Chinese medicine exhibition held at the Museum of Chinese in America from April to September. Wang Ying / Xinhua

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[Sichuan cuisine gets star touch]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101045.htm On Oct 10, 2017, when chef Andre Chiang walked into his two-Michelin-starred Restaurant, Andre, in Singapore, he saw his staff working diligently. They knew exactly which guests were coming, where they would be seated, what they wanted to eat, and how to cook, season and create an unforgettable memory for each one of them.

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Celebrity chef Andre Chiang is working his magic with Chinese food after three decades of experience with French cuisine, Li Yingxue reports.

On Oct 10, 2017, when chef Andre Chiang walked into his two-Michelin-starred Restaurant, Andre, in Singapore, he saw his staff working diligently. They knew exactly which guests were coming, where they would be seated, what they wanted to eat, and how to cook, season and create an unforgettable memory for each one of them.

That's when Chiang decided to shut the restaurant down.

"It's like drawing a picture - I paint from scratch, little by little, and one day it's complete, you don't want to change any detail - all I need to do is to sign on the picture and it's perfect," says Chiang.

After three decades' experience in French cuisine, Chiang launched his first project involving Chinese cuisine at the end of 2017 when he agreed to be the creative and culinary director of The Bridge, a Sichuan cuisine restaurant in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

"Some may wonder what I can do to reshape Sichuan cuisine. My mission is to enhance its beauty, which has existed for centuries, strip out the unnecessary and reinstate the true elegance of original Sichuan cuisine," says Chiang.

Chiang, who was born in Taipei, was first exposed to the kitchen when he entered vocational school to learn cooking. Outside of his classes, he took part-time jobs at restaurants.

He worked at the Landis Tapei Hotel for one year when he worked for Paris 1930 and at the hotel's pastry kitchen.

He first worked at the Landis Taipei Hotel for a year, and then at Paris 1930.

At 20, Chiang became the executive chef of Paris 1930, becoming the youngest French cuisine executive chef in Taiwan.

"Each day I would arrive in the kitchen earlier than the others. When I saw the pots and pans neatly arranged and the clean kitchen counter, I felt the urge to cook, and I enjoyed the silence before the kitchen got busy," says Chiang.

Later, another opportunity knocked at Chiang's door after he helped French chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel during their time at Paris 1930 as guest chefs.

He impressed the twin brothers and was given an opportunity to work at their restaurant, Le Jardin des Sens, in France.

Chiang said yes immediately, and moved to France even though he did not know a word of French.

"As a French cuisine chef, I had to learn in France, and prepare authentic French cuisine that the French like," says Chiang.

In Paris, Chiang stuck to his habit of arriving in the kitchen an hour before anyone else, even though he often worked 16 hours per day.

"I was not a patch on anyone in the kitchen when I arrived, so I had to make an effort to improve my skills," says Chiang.

As well as learning from the brothers, Chiang spent his salary eating at Michelin-starred restaurants in France and took notes.

"Each payday, I'd jump on the cheap night train to explore France and taste the food."

In his third year at the brothers' restaurant, Chiang was assigned to help at their Paris eatery, Mansion Blanche, for a few days.

Later, Chiang ran the brothers' four restaurants in Asia - in Toyko, Bangkok, Shanghai and Singapore.

In 2008, Chiang launched his first restaurant, Jaan par Andre at Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and two years later, it was listed 39th among the world's 50 best restaurants.

That's when Chiang felt it was time to move on.

In October 2010, Chiang's Restaurant Andre opened in Singapore, with only 30 covers and five chefs.

He planted an olive tree in front of the restaurant, which was brought from France, and to make the tree feel like it was in France, Chiang even put ice on the soil to mimic winter.

In 2017, Chiang was introduced to Ni Yingke, owner of The Bridge, as she was reopening her newly decorated restaurant in Chengdu.

After their first meeting, Ni took Chiang to visit local markets and see the abundant fresh ingredients.

"You can find a Sichuan cuisine restaurant everywhere in the world," says Chiang. "But it's not only about spicy food - originally the cuisine had 24 flavors, but some of them are not easy to find now.

"Sichuan cuisine is like a lady with heavy makeup - she has a strong visual impact, but people forget what she looks like when she's not wearing makeup.

"She's also pretty," says Chiang.

Meanwhile, Chiang has studied the history of Sichuan cuisine and also learned traditional recipes from Sichuan master chefs.

Now, Chiang flies to Chengdu once a month to update the menu. The morning after he arrives, he wakes up early to visit the local market with Li Hongshun, the executive chef of The Bridge.

"To buy fresh local ingredients is one thing, but the other thing is to spend time with the chef, just the two of us. It's my way of developing a rapport," says Chiang.

In February, Chiang became the first Chinese chef to be presented with a lifetime achievement award by Asia's Best 50, as well as the youngest chef to receive the prize.

He wore a Chinese Tang suit to the ceremony and spoke in Chinese while delivering his acceptance speech.

Chiang now aims to be the coach of a scorer-like team.

"I used to be a star scorer player, but now I want to lead, tell them how to train, and spend more time off the field."

Besides The Bridge and other restaurants he manages, Chiang is working on two projects, including a new restaurant at Restaurant Andre's old location, a three-floor white house.

Chiang says that every decade he has a new mission, and he likens them to rockets.

Before turning 30, he was building the rocket, and between 30 and 40, the rocket was being prepared for launch.

"Now after 40, I need to make sure that the rocket stays in orbit," says Chiang.

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[A foodie's landmark in Chengdu]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101044.htm The Bridge, located at Anshun Bridge - one of Chengdu's most important historical landmarks - is the first restaurant project on the Chinese mainland by Chinese chef, Andre Chiang.

The origin of the bridge, depicted in Travels of Marco Polo, can be traced back to the 13th century. Hundreds of years later, The Bridge is a symbol of the dramatic changes witnessed by Chengdu over the years.

The interior of The Bridge was created by the founding partners of design agency Neri& Hu, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu.

The restaurant is their first project in southwestern China, and their design concept envisions a "hanging lantern" to recall the clarity and unity of the historical building.

Throughout the restaurant, imagery of Chinese mythological creatures offer a tangible link with the history of Anshun Bridge and Chengdu as a whole.

The restaurant, which can seat 270 guests over two floors, is divided into the 150-seat Salon de Bridge dining room, the reception lounge and two private dining rooms - Hanging Lantern and The Currents.

The restaurant offers both set menus and a la carte dining.

Chiang's exclusive "four chapters" set menu takes guests on a culinary journey in the style of a traditional Chinese banquet.

"We need to follow the way in which nature guides us and bring out the best flavor from local produce," says Chiang.

"My goal for The Bridge is to render into experience - for all senses and dimensions - the most intrinsic elements of Sichuan flavor."

The food that executive chef Li Hongshun provides presents a diverse perspective of Sichuan cuisine - from classic dishes and modern molecular gastronomy to obscure historical recipes thought to be lost to the mists of time.

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[Niujiufen brings famous beef to Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101043.htm Niujiufen, a restaurant from Quanzhou, Fujian province, is famous for its 108-year-old secret beef recipe.

The legacy began in 1910 when the first member from the Huang family moved to the Philippines to work as a chef. When he returned to Quanzhou and opened a beef restaurant years later, he brought with him Western ways of cooking and sought to improve upon the local beef dishes.

His braised beef ribs proved unexpectedly popular with his customers and with the rich sauces, the secret family recipe and signature beef soup, the restaurant began attracting foodies from far and wide.

While the brand, Niujiufen, was only formally established in 2014, Huang's original secret recipe has been passed down through four generations.

Now, a new era has dawned for Fujian's famous food. From last month, Lin Huicai, a patron of the Huang family's restaurant since he was a child, has taken over the Niujiufen brand and brought the Quanzhou flavor to Beijing, opening its first branch in the capital.

According to Lin, the name Niujiufen, when translated, means his beef is a nine out of 10 - because there is confidence in its flavor, and giving it 10 points would seem too boastful.

All the beef served comes from Australian bulls - one animal provides six cuts of meat, with each measuring somewhere between 30 and 35 centimeters long, weighing around a kilogram and boasting a fabulous texture.

"It is the sauce, which uses 21 kinds of herbs and spices and a dash of homemade 100-day-old liquor that makes the flavor of the steak unique," says Lin. "There are three rounds of seasoning with every dish."

The first batch of herbs and spices are put into the pot together with the beef for about 70 minutes, and 40 minutes after the heat is turned down, the second batch, including some curry, are added.

"Each pot of beef needs about four hours. We add the third batch and our liquor 30 minutes before it's finished," says Lin. "The steaks are slowly stewed on low heat, and each pot of stew will be only used once."

Lin refuses to do take-away for his food as he thinks it has to be eaten straight after being cooked, "or it will lose the fragrance".

Golden beef soup is another dish with which Lin insists on maintaining the traditional way of cooking to bring out the original flavor.

"When I was young, my neighbors could all make this soup, but now, people prefer to buy it," laments Lin. "I want to keep the homemade tradition going. That's why this bowl of soup is so popular."

The beef used to make the soup is taken from leg and the chefs cut it into strips before it's kneaded for a backbreaking 90 minutes in sweet-potato flour to make it tender.

"We add Quanzhou sweet potato flour twice during the process. One chef has to tenderize 40 kilograms of beef at one time, and by the time he is finished, it will be even heavier," Lin notes.

The key to ensuring a consistent flavor all year round is to maintain the same humidity and temperature. "We use an ice-cooled jar when we tenderize the beef in summer, because the warmth of the hands can influence the flavor," Lin explains.

Lin believes each ingredient has its own specialty, and he aims to bring each and every ingredient of his hometown's delicacy to as many people and places as possible, preserving the home-cooking skills for future generations.

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101042.htm Home to Huaiyang cuisine

From Oct 15 to 30, Zijin Mansion is cooperating with chefs from Huaiyangfu to create a special menu and bring authentic Huaiyang cuisine - including seasonal hairy crab - to foodies in Beijing. Huaiyangfu's signature dishes include rice-liquor-saturated crab, Gaoyou Lake double-yolked duck eggs, Yangzhou style chrysanthemum-shaped tofu soup with matsutake, steamed hairy crab from Gaoyou Lake and braised pork with abalone and black truffle.

5-15 Jinyu Hutong, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-8520-8989.

Honolulu Cafe's new branch

Opened in 1904, Hong Kong restaurant Honolulu Cafe opened its third branch in Beijing this month. Each cafe in Hong Kong has its specialty, and Honolulu Cafe's signature dishes are egg tarts, pineapple bread and coffee. Each one of its classic egg tarts has 192-layers of puff pastry, and they're perfectly paired with the cafe's Hong Kong-style coffee, while the best way to enjoy the freshly baked pineapple bread is with a generous knob of butter.

L5-08, 1 Chongwenmenwai Dajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing.

Bistrot B's fantastic four

Bistrot B is offering four gourmet signatures for the capital's foodies - a "quartet" of culinary hallmarks created by the restaurant's chef, Jarrod Verbiak. Signature charcuterie is Verbiak's masterpiece, blending French tradition and his own imaginative flair, which includes Patr Maison with whole-grain mustard, foie gras terrine with hawthorn gelee and brioche, and smoked garlic sausage with 36-month-aged comte cheese. The next three chapters are fresh seafood, succulent steak and homemade pasta.

Jing Guang Center, Hujialou, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6536-0066.

Get crabby at Sifangsanchuan

Crab season has come, and the Sichuan cuisine restaurant, Sifangsanchuan, in Beijing has launched a special crab menu until the end of November. Rice-liquor-saturated Yangcheng Lake hairy crab is its signature dish, as the crabs are marinated for 48 hours with yellow rice liquor, brandy, red sugar with ginger from Yunnan province and other ingredients before being steamed. Sauteed hairy crab with rice cakes in soy sauce and steamed buns with crabmeat are also must-tries.

2F, 1 Nansanlitun Lu, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8588-7150.

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[A TALE OF TWO TECH GIANTS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101041.htm Artificial intelligence expert Kai-fu Lee recently released his new book, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order. The book, published in both English and Chinese, is already on the best-selling lists for new titles on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Amazon China.

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China and the US are the two main pillars of AI technology, says Kai-fu Lee in his new book, Xing Yi reports in Shanghai.

Artificial intelligence expert Kai-fu Lee recently released his new book, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order. The book, published in both English and Chinese, is already on the best-selling lists for new titles on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Amazon China.

With bold predictions and a well-crafted narrative about the hot topic, the book is a good follow-up to a previous title, Artificial Intelligence, a primer to this field, co-written by Lee and tech writer Wang Yonggang last year.

Lee, 56, is the founder of Sinovation Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in many technology companies around the world.

The author, who graduated with a PhD in speech recognition from Carnegie Mellon University, was the Google China's former chief and once served in Apple Inc and Microsoft Research Asia.

With a strong academic background and rich experience in IT industries in both China and the United States, Lee writes with elegance and authority on the technological and economic transitions in our world brought about by AI, and the duopoly of China and the US in this game.

A survivor of lymphatic cancer, he also offers a humane solution to the imminent challenges looming ahead in our labor market and social system.

War of two kingdoms

In Lee's view, China and the US stand as two pillars of AI technology, and in the battle for AI supremacy, China will probably prevail.

In the book he predicts that China will have slight lead in AI development in five years.

"The US is leading the world in fundamental research in AI by at least 10 years," Lee said during a book talk in Shanghai last month. But he thinks that the lead doesn't give the US much advantage over China as the research in the academia is transparent and open.

And the diffusion of technological innovation in AI is measured in hours between Silicon Valley and Beijing's Zhongguancun, home to many Chinese IT giants.

But China's internet economy, such as the ubiquitous mobile payment systems and shared rides, gives it an incomparable edge, he says.

"The data is like the fossils oil for industrial growth in AI era, and China is the Saudi Arabia in this AI era," he says, adding that the number of China's mobile internet users are three times those in the US, and they are fueling computer's self-learning with tons of data generated daily.

"The only chance for the US to win back the lead will be if an American company develops another disruptive innovation like deep learning," he says. "However, I believe the odds are less than 10 percent."

He says that only seven major players are capable of making such technological breakthroughs. Four of them are in the US - Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft - while three are in China - Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

However, Lee sees Silicon Valley as complacent because US companies are more prone to stay within their comfort zones - Facebook in social media, Amazon in e-commerce - and overlook the innovations by their Chinese counterparts in the "hyper-competitive business landscape".

Another point Lee makes is that government policy plays a big role.

In his book, he praises the Chinese government's systematic planning and huge support for AI development, as the State Council released an ambitious strategy to build an AI industry worth $145 billion and become the leading AI power by 2030.

The strategy came two months after the country's top Go player, Ke Jie, was defeated by Google's AlphaGo artificial intelligence program in the ancient and demanding Chinese board game in 2017.

Lee says the launch of the strategy is China's "Sputnik moment" in AI technology.

Sputnik-1 was the former Soviet Union's first satellite that spurred the founding of NASA and US government support for space-technology development in the 1960s.

But he warned that a narrow understanding of the race in technological development will prevent human beings from together planning for a common future in this AI era.

The human element

Meanwhile, besides the development of AI technology, many are worried about a jobless future where robots, autonomous cars and machines will replace factory workers, shop cashiers and taxi drivers.

Just like what happened to workers during the industrial revolution two centuries ago.

Various reports and studies say that at least 20 percent to nearly half of the human workforce is at risk, and Lee said that AI will be able to perform 40-50 percent of human jobs in 15 years in a talk in Beijing last month.

But Lee is a half-glass-full kind of person.

"There's one thing AI cannot replace - it cannot love," he says.

"It cannot show empathy, trust, respect, so it cannot do jobs involving social interaction."

It sounds like a simple truth, but Lee learned the lesson the hard way.

Lee was a workaholic. He used to work day and night, replying to emails, attending meetings, giving speeches and writing blogs.

"I even planned for an important meeting while waiting for my daughter's birth outside the delivery room," he recalls.

The meaning of life dawned on Lee when he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 2013.

The fear of death made him rethink his way of living and realize the most important thing in life is not about being productive.

"Instead, it is about giving love to families, friends and others, and that's the strength of being human," he says.

"AlphaGo can beat human players, but it cannot experience happiness, and it doesn't have the longing for a hug after a victory."

In the book, Lee suggests that people focus on jobs that requires empathy, such as nursing, social work or elderly care, or work that demands creativity, such as art, teaching and writing.

He says that by doing monotonous and repetitive work, machines with AI technology can buy humanity more time to pursue the meaning of life.

"Looking back at the 34 years in my pursuing AI technology, I'm proud to see AI is creating immense value, changing business and the world, but I don't think that machines can finally replace human brain like I did at the age of 21," he writes.

"And I started to believe that our most valuable part is not brain, but heart."

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[Musician's concert is a mix of nature and culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101040.htm Take Your Ears to Travel, a concert by the contemporary musician Li Zhihui, recently started its world tour and is making its Beijing debut on Oct 19.

Li seeks to take his audience on a musical journey with the combination of traditional Chinese stringed and wind instruments, and modern Western electronic rhythms.

Some of his most popular pieces, such as Ink Painting Fenghuang City, Ancient Rhyme of Pingyao and Green Tiles, White Walls, Love for Huizhou, are inspired by his visits to the cities named in the titles.

"Just like how authors write travelogues, I like to document places where I travel through music," Li, 46, says.

He has been composing instrumental music since 2000 and landscape-inspired music since 2005.

For the Beijing concert, he chose 20 or so pieces from his over 400 compositions, covering fan favorites and those with regional musical elements.

"You can forget about all your troubles in life and go on a journey with our music to different parts of China," Li adds.

The Mountain of Qingcheng, a piece based on Mount Qingcheng, a tourist destination located in Chengdu, Sichuan province, is one of Li's most memorable compositions.

"As I was climbing the mountain one day (a few years ago), a tune suddenly came to me," Li says. "Then I went back to the mountain with recording devices to record the chirping of birds. I enjoyed the process a lot and the piece is without a doubt one of my favorites."

Li says he believes one has to feel relaxed in order to write relaxing music.

"It's the same for recording at studios. I want all musicians to be cheerful and laid-back, to create music with a kind of breezy ambience."

The popular Taiwan singer Chyi Yu calls Li's music "poetic" and "very Zen".

Li's Beijing concert promises to be interactive. During the performance of Prairie at the Edge of the Sky, for example, Li will dim the lights and ask audience members to close their eyes. With acoustics, the audience will be able to hear different sounds - the wind, grass, livestock and trains, as if on the prairie of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Li first employed this immersive approach in a 2014 charity concert for blind children.

While his CDs have been circulating around the world, Li first performed overseas at last year's Silk Road Chinese Ethno Music Festival at the Pula Arena in Croatia. Having received positive feedback from the foreign audience, Li is taking his music far and wide with this year's world tour.

"Music conveys a composer's feelings that are able to transcend geographic and cultural barriers," Li says.

"I hope my approach to storytelling will get more people from around the world to 'feel' the beauty of China and understand Chinese culture."

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[Chorus theme of ongoing Beijing art week]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/19/content_37101039.htm The Beijing International Art Week For Youth kicked off with a gala at Tsinghua University on Oct 15.

Six dance performances staged by students from the Beijing Dance Academy and Beijing Sport University, among other institutes, opened the weeklong event that will witness 17 concerts, 10 workshops and 10 master classes, which are expected to be attended by more than 2,000 students and teachers from some 20 countries, including the United States, Britain, Spain and Poland.

According to Wu Lingfen, the artistic director of the Beijing International Art Week For Youth, the event started in 2006 and was held in 2012, 2014 and 2016, with a different theme each year. This year, the theme is "chorus", with 24 choirs from 14 countries giving performances in the Chinese capital from Oct 16 to 21.

"Since 1987, Chinese schools have offered chorus lessons to students. It's a great way for students to start learning music," says Wu. "Besides enjoying music, young students can learn to work together and listen to each other in a choir."

Among the participating choirs is Balta, an all-female choir, which was founded in 1999 by Mara Marnauza, professor at the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Music Academy in Latvia. Marnauza is the choir's artistic director and conductor.

"This is the first time for us in China and we will perform nine songs, including Western classical songs and traditional Latvian folk songs," says Marnauza, who traveled to Beijing with 27 singers of the choir.

"Each country has its own unique chorus songs, which carry the country's culture and tradition. We not only present our own songs but also enjoy other countries' music."

Like Marnauza, it's also the first trip to China for 25-year-old student Sizwe, who is studying accounting at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. With 16 songs, including African folk songs and Western pop songs, Sizwe will perform with 56 students of the University of Johannesburg Choir, ages 19 to 26, in Beijing.

According to the conductor of the choir Renette Bouwer, the University of Johannesburg Choir has bloomed into "a musical hybrid that reflects the country's past and hope for its future".

Formed in 2005, the choir has traveled to many countries, including Austria, Germany and Belgium.

"Besides songs which are performed in four languages, we will also perform authentic African dance. I was very excited even during the rehearsal," says Sizwe, who started singing in school choirs at age 6.

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2018-10-19 08:00:13
<![CDATA[RIDING ON THE SLOW TRACK]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/18/content_37094550.htm Television producer Ren Chongrong remembers the day when she crawled through a window to board a train that was headed from Beijing to her hometown Chongqing in 1994.

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A documentary series soon to be aired on CCTV tells stories of China's legendary green trains, Xu Fan reports.

Television producer Ren Chongrong remembers the day when she crawled through a window to board a train that was headed from Beijing to her hometown Chongqing in 1994.

It was during a winter vacation for Ren, then a student at China Journalism College, which was based in Beijing and shut down in 2002.

After being literally pushed into the crowded carriage by two classmates, she found that the train started moving before the other two youngsters could get on board.

It was a "green-skinned" train, which was slow and crowded, and the journey was unforgettable, she says.

"As I failed to purchase a seat ticket, I sat with the luggage alone on the train floor for more than 30 hours," says Ren, 45, now working with state broadcaster China Central Television.

But the tough journey also provided Ren with spectacular views.

Along the route which stretches nearly 2,000 kilometers, she saw plains, hilly terrain, mountains and village houses. And that is etched in her mind and is an inspiration for the upcoming The Slow Train Home, a six-episode documentary series to air on CCTV's documentary channel from Oct 22 to 27, with a 25-minute episode being shown each night.

Featuring at least one passenger on a green train, the documentary was filmed by six teams comprising a total of 34 members who trekked totally 3,000 kilometers to cross more than 40 villages in the provinces of Guizhou, Sichuan, Heilongjiang and Shanxi, among others, and the Xinjiang autonomous region.

Green trains, once a major transport facility that was used from the 1950s until 1990s, are so named for the color of their external paint.

Their trademark characteristics include being powered by coal, running at a slow pace and shabby interiors without air conditioning or sleeper beds.

Now, with the expansion of high-speed train networks, these old-fashioned people carriers have mostly been phased out, with some still in operation to connect largely to remote or mountainous areas.

"But I believe the green slow trains have become an integral part of the collective memory of a generation, and a few still act as an important means to transport villagers in poverty-stricken areas," says Ren.

She adds that the slow trains, which are much cheaper and have nearer stations, are more affordable and effective especially in rural areas.

In the first episode of the series, travel writer Qi Dong alongside old-fashioned train enthusiast Ma Hao take a ride on the Chengdu-Kunming railway, a major line of around 1,000 kilometers between the two cities - the respective capitals of the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan.

In the course of their trip the duo encounter a series of unlikely passengers: A local herder who is traveling with 58 sheep, an ethnic Yi bride wearing gold jewelry on her way to meet her future husband in a remote village and a teenager going to pick up her younger brother from his primary school at the next station.

The ticket costs the herder 7.5 yuan ($1.09), and he doesn't need to pay for the sheep that he has brought along on the train to be sold at a market.

As for the siblings, they spend an hour climbing a mountain to get home.

"It's a train of stories of poverty and a hard life, but it's also a train full of hope," says Qi in the documentary.

The second episode is interwoven with a Uygur poet's journey to the place his grandfather was born and raised in the southern part of Xinjiang. And it features the No 7556, an Urumqi-Kashgar train, which covers China's longest "green-skinned" train route.

The entire distance is nearly 1,600 kilometers but it costs less than 80 yuan for a seat ticket.

In the third episode the focus is a steam-engine train in southern Sichuan, among the last few of this kind in the world.

And in the fourth, the makers of the series follow an art teacher on the Qiqihar-Heihe train in search of endangered red-crowned cranes and the ethnic Oroqen hunters in northeastern China.

As for the fifth episode, it features a diehard fan of renowned writer Shen Congwen on the Sichuan-Chongqing train who is exploring the mountainous town of Chadong, which inspired Shen's 1934 classic novel Border Town.

Finally, in the sixth episode, a music teacher and a PhD student trace the roots of a Jiangzhou Drum performance, an art form that dates back to around 1,400 years.

Speaking about the series, Ren says: "We hope the documentary will remind audiences of how wonderful life could be if you slow down the pace."  

 

 

Top left: A scene from the first episode of the CCTV documentary The Slow Train Home shows passengers and crew on board the No 5633 train on the ChengduKunming route. Top right: A poster of the TV documentary. Above: A steam train in Jiayang, Sichuan province, in the third episode. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-10-18 07:50:19
<![CDATA[THE MAN WHO LOVES CHINA]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/18/content_37094549.htm On his latest trip to Beijing, Oscar-winning director Malcolm Clarke recalled the first time he visited the Chinese capital in 1981.

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Since his first visit to Beijing in 1981, the country has had a special place in the life of filmmaker Malcolm Clarke, Xu Fan reports.

On his latest trip to Beijing, Oscar-winning director Malcolm Clarke recalled the first time he visited the Chinese capital in 1981.

At an event held by China International Communication Corp to announce a series of projects that will be coproduced with foreign partners, Clarke was invited to speak about, and share his experience of, making documentaries.

Since starting his nearly 40-year-long career as a filmmaker at the BBC, Clarke has traveled to 86 countries to shoot numerous documentary films.

In 1984, he won a best director Emmy for Soldiers of The Twilight, and followed that up with two Academy Awards for best documentary (short subject) for You Don't Have to Die in 1989 and The Lady in Number 6 in 2014.

For Clarke, however, China has been an important chapter of his life. Back in 1981 when Clarke had just moved from his native United Kingdom to New York to work for the American Broadcasting Company, he was assigned to the Chinese capital to carry out research for a new documentary project that was intended to examine the changes that had occurred in New China since it was founded in 1949.

"Lots of things were happening in China then. The country was just getting back on its feet," he recalls.

Like most foreign guests who visited China in the early 1980s, he stayed at the Beijing Hotel, which faces south toward Chang'an Avenue.

Every morning he would wake up to the ringing of bicycle bells and was astonished to look out of his window and see the street flooded with hundreds of locals biking their way to work.

Over the following nine months, Clarke traveled deeper into the country, from far-flung mountain villages in Sichuan province, to regions alongside the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, and he talked to people from many different walks of life.

"Once I got into the countryside, the locals were shocked and surprised at the unusual sight - in those days, my hair was still brown and I have blue eyes - yet, they were so incredibly kind and hospitable to me.

"I never saw anyone unemployed. Everyone seemed to be working really hard, and it was very clear to me that if somehow all this energy could be harnessed and driven in the right direction, China would become a country with colossal potential," he says.

Clarke was disappointed when ABC aborted the production of the documentary due to changes in the relationship between China and the United States, but nearly 30 years after his first Chinese tour, Clarke returned to the country in 2013 to direct Better Angels, a documentary suggested by former US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, and Nobel Prize-winning economist, Robert Mundell.

Directed by Clarke and coproduced by American producer William Mundell and Chinese producer Han Yi, the documentary - which looks into the future of China and the US through the eyes of ordinary people in the two countries - took nearly five years to complete.

As well as Better Angels, which is scheduled for release in China and the US in November, Clarke has also recently produced another Chinese-themed documentary, In My Eyes. Directed by Han Yi, the feature film follows the journey of Cao Shengkang, China's first known blind global backpacker - who has traveled alone to 34 countries on five continents.

Speaking about modern China, Clarke acknowledges that the country has completely changed since his first visit three decades ago, and Beijing has become an impressive international metropolis full of hope and opportunity.

"Some people call China's transformation the rise of China, but for me, it's actually the renaissance of China because, for many centuries, this country maintained the most sophisticated culture on the planet.

"It's really only in the last 200 years, under pressure from Western colonial powers that China's progress was thwarted. I think that now, however, China is rapidly re-establishing its rightful place as an innovative, exciting, technologically advanced country," says the filmmaker.

"One of the things I think China has yet to achieve, though, is a balance with the rest of the world, because the world still misunderstands China and, where misunderstandings exist, there is a place for fear to grow."

As a veteran storyteller, Clarke believes that finding an emotionally engaging way of telling stories about the Chinese people can help the rest of the world better understand the country.

"What is interesting about the Chinese way of making documentary films is that filmmakers often start with the written word, a script. Only after the script is written do they venture out and shoot images that fit what has been written." Clarke believes this approach inevitably excludes what to him is the richest aspect of documentary filmmaking: the spontaneity of events that happen on location "in the moment".

The things that could never be anticipated can often become the most powerful scenes in the final version of a documentary, he adds.

Clarke describes the country as "a gold mine" for documentary filmmakers and he says he plans to shoot two new features in the coming months.

After helping Chinese director Lu Chunqiao with her directorial debut - a film on some teenage survivors of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, he has used the true stories of the survivors as the inspiration for a film, which will be set in Sichuan province, during the disaster.

His second project will be a docudrama based upon the 2009 book, The Man Who Loved China, about British scientist Joseph Needham, who chronicled China's scientific achievements over the millennia in his masterpiece, Science and Civilisation in China.

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2018-10-18 07:50:19
<![CDATA[Monteverdi's classic opera gets the immersive touch]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/18/content_37094548.htm First there's a wedding followed by a funeral, then you meet the desperate groom, the God of Hope, the idol bride and the King of the Underworld.

Revelry, blessings, hangovers, infatuation, pitfalls, interrogations, gossip and judgment pass by one after another.

This is the rehearsal of immersive opera Orfeo, and the show will be staged at The Red in the Sanlitun area of Beijing from Friday through Sunday, as part of the 21st Beijing Music Festival.

Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, created between the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque period, is regarded as the origin of opera. And the story is based on the Greek legend of Orhoeus - a story of his descent to Hades and his fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to the living world.

Zou Shuang, the writer and director of Orfeo, attempts to engage a contemporary audience by retelling this ancient tale.

"We decided to present a production with the aim of revisiting the spirit of Monteverdi's time," says Zou, who invited international musicians and collaborators to join her.

"This has always been the spirit of the Beijing Music Festival - to encourage new work and to welcome international creative talent from all around the world to make something unique," says Zou.

Zou has used all the theater devices from both the old art of opera and immersive theater.

"The audience not only watch the wedding, but they are invited to participate as guests. The audience can wander through the entire space as if at an actual wedding," says Zou.

As the wedding reaches its climax, the death of Eurydice is announced. And Orfro's vision of happiness falls apart, and gradually a contemporary version of Orfeo's journey starts.

While searching for the murderer he navigates through social media and gossip columns that gradually transform into a vision of hell.

Instead of asking the question as in the original myth - why did Orfeo look back - the audience sees that he is entering a future that is identical to his past.

"Orfeo's dilemma is everyone's dilemma today, trapped in social media and capitalism," says Zou.

Born and raised in Beijing, and is now the co-founder of the New York-based composer and performer ensemble Invisible Anatomy, Fay Kueen Wang is the composer of Orfeo, and also plays Eurydice and Pluto in the opera.

Speaking about the upcoming performance in a warehouse, Wang says: "The space is empty, and it's a challenge for me to prepare everything with my team.

"When I wrote Orfeo, I quoted the recognizable theme in the prologue of Monteverdi's version, engaging in a musical conversation across the centuries.

"The rest of the music is all original, and it's hard to be labeled as any genre, though you might hear strains of Baroque and Gothic, of primitivism and techno, of psychedelic jazz and prog rock."

Wang believes that "looking back" at the end of Orfeo contains the eternal struggles of human history and society, and is to make a choice about the past, the future, the "inner world", and the "outside world" of a man.

"It reflects the entanglements, anxieties and fears of every modern individual," says Wang.

Europe-based countertenor Li Meili, known for his "hugely attractive voice", plays Orfeo in the show and mezzo soprano Zhang Yajie plays Music & Hope.

Students from the Central Academy of Drama's department of Western opera are the chorus, and Wang says he is impressed by their performance during rehearsals.

Wang says the story is not restricted by time and space, and can take place in any city.

"Orfeo reflects the collective fate of humanity, like a gigantic work of glitch art made with unconventional and even 'wrong' interpretations of beauty. It's a wild performance art."

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2018-10-18 07:50:19
<![CDATA[A HANDS ON ENTERPRISE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086710.htm The best package 11-year-old Zhang Jingtian ever received was his 3D-printed prosthetic hand.

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A social program is pioneering the emergent and cost-effective field of 3D-printed prostheses, especially for children, Jiang Yijing reports.

The best package 11-year-old Zhang Jingtian ever received was his 3D-printed prosthetic hand.

The courier delivered the box a day after Spring Festival in 2017.

"I've got my hand!" he yelled, repeatedly, after his mother helped him open it.

Zhang, who was born without a left hand, had long wished for a prosthesis, but it had always been too expensive.

However, his prosthetic came from the social enterprise, Hands On.

The group's founder, 30-year-old Zhang Yan, who works in Google's Beijing office, started to learn about the 3D printing of prosthetics through online research about three years ago.

"The high-tech production of prostheses caught my attention," he recalls.

"The more I learned, the more excited I became."

Realizing possibilities

While conducting research, he came across Yu Yang, who was raising money to produce a 3D-printed prosthesis for her son, Nan Nan, who's now 9 years old.

Yu told Zhang Yan that China has many children like Nan Nan with limb disabilities, but some parents can't afford the costs of surgery or prostheses.

Traditional prosthetic hands cost at least 150,000 yuan ($21,000), but 3D-printed hands are about 1,000 yuan.

"The huge price gap made me realize the value of 3D-printed prosthetics," Zhang Yan says.

"I decided to do something."

Yu introduced Zhang to a QQ chat group called Zheyi Tianshi (Angel With Broken Wings). The group had about 2,000 members, including parents, doctors and other people willing to help children with limb disabilities.

Through the group, Zhang Yan met 24-year-old Su Jiangzhou, a mechanical-engineering postgraduate student at the Beijing Institute of Technology, who has long focused on 3D printing.

Su won a prize for a 3D-printed hand he designed in a 2014 contest, but his creation wasn't that useful in application.

"I'm passionate about mechanical design and eager to see my work's value," Su says.

"I wanted to improve my design to make one that could be used."

Su later made contact with Enabling the Future, a global network sharing open-source designs of 3D-printed hands and arms.

"The designs they shared far exceeded mine at the time," Su says.

"I learned that their models hadn't been used in China. I asked for the group's support to introduce them to the country."

Zhang, Su and three friends founded Hands On in late 2015, and started using their free time to provide free 3D-printed hands for children.

Improving technology

Hands On initially relied on Enabling the Future's designs, but Su continued to do research and Hands On eventually developed its own products.

"Once we'd made progress with design, we found more families of children without prostheses and also started to contact people we'd helped before to offer them better replacements," Su recalls.

Their social enterprise has donated over 90 prostheses and helped 55 children, Su says.

It provided Nan Nan with upgraded 3D-printed hands.

"Nan Nan's palm and fingers were small, making it difficult to design a functional prosthesis for him," says Yu, who lives in Weihai in East China's Shandong province.

"Su has tried several times and has sent us three hands by now. Nan Nan couldn't hold much with the first model, but the later ones continued to improve.

"The newest hand can hold a cup using less strength than before."

The mother says she's grateful to see her boy become more outgoing and confident.

China is home to 2.46 million children between the ages of 6 and 14 who live with disabilities, including 480,000 who have limb disabilities, according to China's Second National Sample Survey on Disability.

Indeed, 3D printing may prove a dramatic shift for the group.

"We always wanted a prosthesis for my son," says Jingtian's mother, Liu Lizhao, "but the traditional kind costs too much."

Liu, who works as a journalist in Beijing, could afford to buy one, but her son has continued to grow quickly, meaning each of his prosthetics would soon become obsolete.

"So, we decided to give Hands On a try when we heard about it in 2016," she says.

Su designed the model based on the boy's information.

Jingtian held a cup with his left hand for the first time in his life about two months after he received his prosthetic.

"The 3D-printed hand assists my son with many daily activities and helps build his left arm's muscles," Liu says.

"It gives us hope that his disability can be entirely overcome someday, as the technology improves."

The 3D-printed hands are relatively cheap, but Hands On still struggles to cover costs.

Expanding outreach

The members ask charities for funds and also earn money by organizing corporate-volunteering workshops.

Hands On believes its team-building workshops on 3D-printed prostheses not only enable participants to act on social responsibilities but also raise public awareness about disabilities.

Equally, workshop participants have improved Hands On's products through useful suggestions.

"We have long-term cooperation with many big companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft and Bayer," Zhang says.

Mao Qingge, senior director of consumer products at Johnson & Johnson's Asia-Pacific Innovation Center, says: "Our workshop with Hands On is a social innovation, focused on welfare and philanthropy.

"We hope our professional technicians can put their experience, ability and knowledge to work for a philanthropic cause and become volunteers, who donate not only time but also provide professional skills and technology."

In 2017, Hands On began to cooperate with the Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network, a UK-based curriculum-development organization and awarding body, to provide education programs for Chinese high school students who are interested in technology.

Yuan Yichan, CEO of ASDAN's China branch, speaks highly of its cooperation with Hands On, saying the program gives students an opportunity to solve social problems.

Students in the program form groups of three to five. They take online courses about 3D printing and then join a weeklong camp to make 3D-printed hands.

"Students learn a lot, even if not all the prostheses they make can be used," Yuan says.

"About 10 percent of the students have gone on to found 3D-printing clubs at their schools."

About 200 kids have completed the program.

Fifty-five children from around China joined the fourth training session in Beijing in August and ASDAN has already started its fifth round of recruitment.

Also in August, Hands On won the coveted Asia-Pacific Youth Sustainable Development Goal Entrepreneurship Award at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship organized by the United Nations Development Programme.

It was one of eight winning teams, all of which are youth-led enterprises addressing social issues, says Beniam Gebrezghi, regional civil society and youth adviser with the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub.

Hands On was selected from among 17 teams that showcased at the forum out of over 850 social enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region that applied or were nominated.

Gebrezghi says: "We are happy to see that young people in this region are on their way to building a beautiful future. They have the awareness to solve the social issues and share the social responsibility to make sure that no one is left behind."

Zhang Yan says: "We cherish the UNDP's recognition. Our prostheses can only hold things lighter than 1 kilogram. We still have a long way to go to make hands that can hold heavier things and are affordable to most families, especially in rural areas."

Hands On has built many volunteer communities in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in the past two years to provide its models for others to study and to enable more people to participate in the cause.

Over 250 volunteers have joined the communities, and 10 have mastered the technology used to design and print prostheses.

Hands On has also started to build an online community to share its technology and models.

Potential and challenge

Dai Hongge, head of engineering-simulation-technology provider Pera Global (Beijing) Co Ltd's medical department, points out that 3D printing isn't even 35 years old, so there's much to explore in terms of its medical applications.

More hospitals and rehabilitation centers have begun to introduce this technology for treatments. They can scan the patients to get their metrics and print customized personal-rehabilitation-assistant devices.

"The 3D printing of prostheses enables our doctors to treat patients more effectively and more efficiently since it streamlines production," says Zhao Liwei, director of the prosthesis and orthosis fitting department of China's National Research Center for Rehabilitation Technical Aid.

Zhao, who has worked in rehabilitation-aid technology for over two decades, sees a bright future for 3D-printed prostheses. He points out the digital models provide specific data to research and share.

He says China's technology for 3D-printed prostheses lags behind that of Western countries.

It is unlikely that 3D-printed prostheses will fully replace traditional ones in the foreseeable future because of structural issues.

"The materials used in 3D printing are still limited," Zhao says.

"The 3D printer can't deal with some complicated details very well, so the development of 3D-printed prostheses in China needs more attention and we hope more young people will devote themselves to this field."

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[THE WORD ON THE STREET]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086709.htm Wang Zhanhei, a 27-year-old high school Chinese teacher from Shanghai, recently won the first Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize for her debut book Air Cannon.

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A 27-year-old high school teacher has won the inaugural Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize with a collection of short stories centered around an old community, Yang Yang reports.

Wang Zhanhei, a 27-year-old high school Chinese teacher from Shanghai, recently won the first Blancpain-Imaginist Literary Prize for her debut book Air Cannon.

Co-founded by Swiss luxury watch brand, Blancpain, and Chinese publisher brand Imaginist in March 2018, the annual prize was created to uncover the literary stars of the future, selecting excellent Chinese writers, under the age of 45, who show such potential. Winners will receive prize money of 300,000 yuan ($43,464), sponsored by Blancpain as encouragement and financial support for their creation.

Speaking about the prize, Jack Liao, Blancpain China brand manager, says: "There are many similarities between making a watch and creating a literary masterpiece, both requiring a great amount of finesse. With this prize, we want to discover young literary masters in China."

Leung Mantao, cultural ambassador for the watch brand, said at the award ceremony: "Most of the literary prizes in China have been won by older writers, so we thought about discovering the new force of Chinese literary creation."

In a nod to The Man Booker Prize in Britain, five judges with different literary tastes were invited to choose from 100 books, eventually shortlisting five: Air Cannon by Wang Zhanhei; The Pilot by Shuang Xuetao; Wake Me Up at Nine in the Morning by A Yi; I Walk Up Along the Firelight by Zhang Yueran, and The People Who Frequent My Mind by Shen Dacheng.

Singer-songwriter and popular online talk show host, Gao Xiaosong, one of the judges, says that the opinions of the panel were so divided that there was several rounds of voting required to determine the winner.

Wang, the youngest of the five shortlisted authors, eventually emerged victorious with the panel commenting on her book: "The young writer, who was born in 1991, tries to continue the tradition of realism established by the likes of Russian writer Anton Chekhov, and Chinese writer Shen Congwen. Plain and natural, her writing is detailed and constructed based on her dialect. She observes the life of common urban residents with cool, objective eyes without displaying either sympathy or disappointment."

Air Cannon comprises eight short stories, in which Wang shines a spotlight on marginalized people living in old communities similar to where she grew up. The so-called "Street Hero Series", which she has spent the past four years creating, are narrated from the perspective of a child.

The community that provides the centerpiece of the story was typical of those in small and middle-tier cities in the 1980s and 1990s. After decades of high-speed development, however, like its real-life counterparts, it has become an old community, mostly populated by retired, laid-off or immigrant workers - aging people and people with low incomes.

By depicting their daily life - the trivial incidents and gossip which are deeply connected with their living, aging, health and death - Wang allows the reader a taste of the mixed flavors in the life of the "little people".

The "street heroes" are not successful people, nor heroes in the common sense, but they are the uncles in the neighborhood who play mahjong all day long, aunts who dance regularly in the community's square, vegetable vendors, the owners of dumpling shops and firecracker shops, security guards - the people who give a community its life.

"Hero means a kind of vitality. If uncles and aunts call each other bro, sis or comrades, for a child in an old community, all the adults are tall and speak sonorously, so they might be called 'hero' as well," says Wang.

Life is not easy for them, but Wang's writing is not heavy. Rather, they are decent interesting people who have their own philosophy for life.

Wang started writing at high school to kill time between going to class and doing homework. When she went to university, she became a voracious reader, trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible. She resumed writing in 2014, during the first year of graduate studies for her master's degree at Fudan University.

"I used to worry that my writing would be crippled due to my limited knowledge, but when I started my graduate studies, I suddenly realized that I had something I wanted to say. So, in the following three years, I did very little of the research my graduate studies required, but wrote a lot as if I was trying to pay a debt that I owed before," she says.

Wang posted these short stories on her blog on douban.com without expecting to attract many readers. At first there were indeed few, but when she posted The Story of A Jing, readers of her work increased, which added to her confidence in a writing style that she decided to continue with. After being recommended to more readers by online platforms, Wang published several of her stories in periodicals, and then books.

Now her second book Jiedao Jianghu (Street Smart) has been published, she is creating more stories about those "Street Heroes", which she says she finds more interesting, the more she keeps writing.

As Wang seemingly confines her writing in the limited space of the old community, people encourage her to write more about the larger world.

However, she says she feels a power that urges her to write about the community.

As she explained in an article: "I feel obligated to present another kind of landscape that may not be counted as landscape at all, to show the people's inner state when confronted with decline, their endless spirit and vitality even when they are coming to the end of their historical destiny."

"So far, I have written more than 200,000 words, but unfortunately, I have not yet been able to walk out of the community," she continues. "I have always been attached to those people."

 

Clockwise from top left: Writer Wang Zhanhei, 27, is awarded the first BlancpainImaginist Literary Prize for her debut book Air Cannon on Sept 19. Leung Mantao, cultural ambassador for the watch brand. The five shortlisted authors with Leung and Jack Liao (left), Blancpain China brand manager. The book cover of Air Cannon. Wang speaks at the award ceremony. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[USING TECH TO WOO SCIENCE LOVERS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086708.htm Glasses that let the blind see, a robot that detects whether you are lying simply by looking at your facial expression, and special materials that make regular cloth arrow-proof or make regular paper hold water...

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A TV show is introducing cutting-edge technologies to keep its young fans engaged, Xing Yi reports in Shanghai.

Glasses that let the blind see, a robot that detects whether you are lying simply by looking at your facial expression, and special materials that make regular cloth arrow-proof or make regular paper hold water...

These are some of the advanced technologies being showcased nationwide in the second season of a popular variety show on science and technology - My Future.

It airs on Hunan Television, known for its entertainment shows, battling with talent shows and reality shows designed for young viewers.

The show, which is produced with help from the communication bureau of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, presents three products each week.

Speaking about the show, its producer Yang Hui says: "Science and technology change our lives and shape our futures, but there are very few variety shows about science and technology."

Yang, also the CEO of Visionary Media, worked for a year to produce the first season of the show - showcasing cutting-edge high-tech from around the world.

In the show, scientists are in the spotlight, introducing their inventions and inviting the audience to test them.

"We want our show to serve as a means of education for popular science, let the general public peek into the scientists' circles, and inspire young people to choose scientists as their role model and 'superstar'," she says.

In the first season, the show featured the chief scientists of big IT companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Intel.

Most of the technologies being featured in the current season are "made in China", and they are relevant to daily life, such as the companion robot and augmented reality navigation.

The ongoing season of the science TV show focuses on young people more than before.

And in order to attract more young viewers, it has young idols as guest hosts, including Wang Bowen, Xiong Ziqi and Liu Chenglin, who have millions of fans among China's post-millennials.

A young talk show performer Chi Zi is also part of the program.

The audience rating for the show topped all the programs aired in the same time slot on Thursday evenings among viewers aged between 4 and 23, according to Yang.

Speaking about loyal fans, Yang says: "I am so happy to learn that one little boy was so fond of our show that he watched every episode of our first season and bought our popular science book.

"So we invited him to participate in the filming for our second season."

At an entertainment industry forum held by European Broadcast Union in Berlin in September, the Chinese popular science TV show, My Future, was introduced to more than 100 European TV professionals as one of the creative programs from China, combining popular science with variety show.

 

 

Li Rui (left), TV host of science program, My Future, acts as the curator of a "future science museum" on the show and interacts with a robot of Ping An Micro-Expression Recognition Technology. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[Science TV programs gain viewership in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086707.htm

BEIJING - An increasing number of science-based TV programs are being created, and they are gaining viewership across all age groups in China.

A new survey showed that 76.1 percent of respondents say they enjoy watching science TV shows.

The survey released by China Youth Daily was based on answers from 2,003 respondents. Among them, 1.3 percent were born after 2000, 29.7 percent in the 1990s, 54 percent in the 1980s, 11.2 percent in the 1970s and 3.1 percent in the 1960s.

A total of 64.3 percent of the respondents think science TV programs meet their desire for learning more.

Meanwhile, respondents also express their discontent.

According to the survey, 36.5 percent think science programs are too entertaining, lacking a rigorous attitude, while 25.1 percent say they do not like programs with too much sophisticated science-based knowledge.

About 64.9 percent of the respondents like programs about leading scientists and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

Some respondents also suggest that science programs should incorporate celebrities, games and interactions with the audience.

Zhang Shaogang, a professor at the Communication University of China, says science programs are necessary for the country's TV programming field.

"Programs with entertaining games or contests can also make science engaging," says Zhang.

Xinhua

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[Study: in-class physical exercise good for students]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086706.htm CHICAGO - Five studies from the University of Michigan found that two-minute bursts of in-class exercise breaks increased the amount of daily exercise for elementary children without hurting math performance.

More importantly, when the practice was incorporated into classrooms across southeast Michigan, teachers found the breaks were manageable and didn't disrupt learning.

While 16 minutes doesn't sound like much, it adds up, says Rebecca Hasson, principal researcher and one of the lead authors. Kids are supposed to get an hour of exercise a day - 30 minutes of that during school. Most don't.

The Active Class Space lab studies examined the effect of activity breaks on mood, cognition, appetite and overall physical activity of 39 children. A study done in real classrooms tested the feasibility of implementing the method of "Interrupting Prolonged Sitting with Activity".

In the lab studies, kids aged 7 to 11 completed four experiments: eight hours of sitting, interrupted with two-minute low-, moderate- or high-intensity activity breaks, and eight hours of sitting interrupted with two minutes of sedentary screen time.

The researchers found that when the sitting was interrupted with high-intensity activity breaks, children maintained their usual activity levels away from the laboratory, thereby burning an additional 150 calories a day without overeating. Unlike adults, children in the study didn't compensate for the increased exercise by sitting around after school or by eating more, says Hasson.

While moods were higher immediately following the screen-time breaks compared to the activity breaks, children reported a more positive mood during both the sedentary and exercise conditions, and they subsequently rated the activity breaks as more fun.

Besides, after high-intensity activity, overweight and obese children enjoyed improved moods all day, says Hasson. This suggests children reflected upon the exercise and took more satisfaction in it.

All of the activity breaks elicited the same level of math performance. Then Hasson took the exercise breaks to real classrooms.

"We got a lot of pushback at first," says Hasson. "Teachers were worried it would make kids more rowdy, but 99 percent of kids were back on task within 30 seconds of doing activity breaks."

Initially, the researchers requested that teachers do 10 three-minute breaks, but most teachers averaged between five and six breaks totaling around 15 to 18 minutes of activity.

Schools in disadvantaged districts didn't complete as many activity breaks as schools in wealthier districts. Hasson is currently working to eliminate this disparity by adding elements of game playing - point scoring, competition and reward systems - to increase the enjoyment of physical activity in the children.

"Many kids don't have PE every day but they might have recess, and if they get 10 more minutes of activity there, it would meet the school's requirements," says Hasson. "This doesn't replace PE, it's a supplement. We're trying to create a culture of health throughout the entire school day, not just in the gym."

In the next step, the researchers will try five four-minute activity breaks totaling 20 minutes, and gauge the impact on mood, activity levels, calorie intake and cognition.

Xinhua

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[Chongyang: Out with the old, in with the elderly]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086705.htm Over 1,000 years ago, Chinese poet Wang Wei of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) wrote "I know my brothers would, with dogwood spray in hand, climb up mountain and miss me so far away" - to express his nostalgia during Chongyang Festival.

Today, it is still celebrated by people from China, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

The Chongyang Festival, or the Double Ninth Festival, which takes place on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month on the Chinese calendar, falls on Oct 17 this year.

According to I Ching, or Book of Changes, "nine" is a positive - or yang - number. Therefore, the ninth day of the ninth month means "double nine" or "double yang". Since "chong" means double in Chinese, it is also called "Chongyang" in China.

Through records in all kinds of notes and historical literature, scholars have dated Chongyang's history back to the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). It became widely celebrated after the Wei and Jin dynasties (220-420) and was officially declared to be a festival during the Tang Dynasty.

In ancient China, the Chongyang Festival was sometimes seen as a bad omen, as it fell in the late autumn when the weather turns cold and plants wither. So, it was not uncommon for superstitious folk to climb mountains, or find higher ground to avoid some perceived oncoming doom.

Today, customs during this festival include climbing mountains, enjoying chrysanthemum flowers, drinking chrysanthemum wine, eating crabs, wearing dogwood to drive away ghosts and composing poems.

Among all these customs, mountain climbing is the most important one since it is an activity that is believed to help one avoid misfortune. Moreover, standing on high ground and looking far into the distance on a balmy autumn day can help alleviate some of the seasonal depression and anxiety. If you can't find a mountain to hike up, there is another solution: Ascending buildings or towers will, apparently, also work. For example, Wang Bo, a man of letters in the Tang Dynasty once ascended a tower on the Chongyang Festival and wrote his representative work, A Tribute to King Teng's Tower.

Mountains aside, chrysanthemum symbolizes longevity, as well as integrity and chrysanthemum wine is seen as an auspicious drink to enjoy during the festival. It is believed that the custom originates from poet Tao Yuanming who lived during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) and was famous for his hermit's lifestyle and his special love for the flower.

Special food is usually an indispensable part of festivals, just like mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival and zongzi for the Dragon Boat Festival. So, for Chongyang, crabs are the snack du jour because that's when their meat is at its best. Chongyang cake, made of rice, is also a traditional festival food popular in the eastern part of China.

Today, thankfully, the Chongyang Festival has a more positive meaning. Since the pronunciation of nine in Chinese is the same as "eternal" or "forever", the festival is regarded as an especially auspicious day to wish longevity and health upon our senior citizens and people usually visit, or send greetings to, the senior members of their family.

As a result, in 1989, the Chinese government assigned yet another moniker to the festival to promote respect for the elderly: Senior Citizens' Festival.

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[Playlist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086704.htm Music

Brewing to savor

Hong Kong pop star Eason Chan will release his new Cantonese album, L.O.V.E, later this year. Dedicated to his band members, who toured with him during the Duo Eason Chan World Tour 2010-12, Chan invited the 13 band members, including drummer Jun Kung, guitarist Firman So, vocalist Cheung Kit-bong, to co-write and perform the 10 new songs of various styles with him, including All About Love, Sharing and Crazy Friends. It took Chan six years to complete the album, and to mark a full closure to the Duo Eason Chan World Tour, he will stage a concert along with the band, performing songs from the new album in Hong Kong. The concert date is yet to be announced.

The rap pair

Xie Ruitao, better known by his stage name Tizzy T, has released a new single, entitled Ghetto SuperBoi, featuring Taiwan rapper MC Hotdog. The song is a remixed version of MC Hotdog's earlier hit with the same title, which was released in 2012. The new version sees the young rapper Tizzy T rapping to a new arrangement featuring electronic music elements and a guitar riff. The 23-year-old Tizzy T rose to stardom after participating in the popular reality show, The Rap of China, in 2017, where he met MC Hotdog, one of the judges in the show, whose real name is Yao Chungjen.

Days in Greece

Guangzhou-based singer-songwriter Zhang Lushi recently released her new album, A Maudlin Geometry, in which she performs in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

Inspired by her experience of living in Greece during the past few years, Zhang wrote original songs featuring a variety of music styles, including jazz, pop and electronic music. She also played classical guitar and piano for the new album.

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[WHEN TRADITIONS OFFER LIVELIHOOD]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086703.htm Dorlma, a Tibetan woman who learned weaving from her family as a teenager, is now helping her family even more, thanks to a United Nations-funded training project on producing Tibetan carpets run by Yunnan Agricultural University.

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A training project run by Yunnan Agricultural University and funded by the United Nations is using heritage to provide economic sustenance, Cheng Yuezhu and Li Yingqing report.

Dorlma, a Tibetan woman who learned weaving from her family as a teenager, is now helping her family even more, thanks to a United Nations-funded training project on producing Tibetan carpets run by Yunnan Agricultural University.

So, now, while her husband works as a day laborer, the main income of the family comes from her weaving Tibetan carpets and separately selling handmade blankets, clothes and home ornaments, something she used to do earlier.

Speaking about the training, her first professional course in Tibetan carpet weaving, Dorlma says: "I was very thrilled to see the teacher weave carpets at the course. And I immediately learned the different patterns the teacher demonstrated, and really hope to further improve my weaving skills."

Dorlma is one of the beneficiaries of a project funded by the UN China Gender Fund for Research and Advocacy, which offers courses to women in Dechen county in the Dechen Tibet autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province.

The project - run by the Institute of New Rural Development at Yunnan Agricultural University, which began in last November - targets Tibetan women in Yunnan, and is expected to run through June 2019.

One of the main aims of the project is to find ways to encourage women's participation in community activities, and to increase the income of the migrant families.

The project that was devised by Du Fachun, the associate dean of the Institute of New Rural Development, was one of the seven ideas picked in 2017 for funding by UN-China Gender Fund 8th Batch Projects.

Speaking about the Yunnan university project, Ma Leijun, an officer from UN Woman China, says: "The UN pays special attention to the development of ethnic minority regions, especially the development of women. And as this project is concerned with the development of ethnic women, it met our selection criteria last year. It is also fairly mature in its project design, impact estimation and other submitted materials."

Meanwhile, the training courses, co-hosted by UN Women China, the Dechen Prefecture Women's Federation and the university, are based on research by the institute on the eco-migration areas of Dechen county.

"Most of the women attending the training moved to this place due to environmental issues or government mass relocation programs aimed at poverty alleviation," says Du.

"Also, most of the families live on state subsidies and face economic pressure due to a lack of regular income. Therefore, these women support their families by engaging in traditional industries."

Among the traditional industries the local women participate in are Tibetan carpet weaving and bee-keeping, according to an initial report of the project. The report also shows that many locals feel that the government should devote more effort to promote these two industries.

Giving her view on the courses, Sun Hongmei, the president of the Women's Federation of Dechen county, says: "The majority of those who attended the carpet-weaving course had a background in weaving. Also, the textile products they weave not only satisfy household use, but also help support the family. Besides, the weaving of carpets is not limited by time or space, and is easy to learn."

Another reason why Tibetan carpet-weaving is being promoted is to preserve the traditional handicraft. With the relocation, the locals no longer need Tibetan carpets to protect themselves from the cold, which led to the gradual decline of this traditional craft.

"With modern machines and practices brought in by experts from different regions, the traditional handicraft is seeing innovation," Du says.

Separately, another training course on beekeeping is being offered to the locals in Yangla township, located in the northeastern part of Dechen county, where over 90 percent of the residents are involved in the industry.

Before starting the course, the experts who were to run it visited farmers in Jiagong village and researched beekeeping methods there. And they found that Yangla township has an ideal environment and strong potential for bee-keeping, but there was a lack of technological support, management methods, and funding.

Of the 42 participants selected for the first course, more than half were female, consistent with the aims of the UN program.

Commenting on the male-female balance, Ma says: "In our overseas projects, we require a certain number of male participants, so as to break gender conventions.

As for the response from the community, Sun says the villagers are happy with the courses.

"The training has fueled the people's enthusiasm. Everyone seems interested and motivated."

The CGF, established in 2004 by the United Nations Theme Group on Gender, works on empowering women and reducing gender inequality in China, by offering financial support to a wide range of projects.

Speaking about the implications of this project, Ma says, "It shows me the importance of offering training to women. The ecology of this region is also worth taking into account."

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[NPU turns 80, more foreign students join]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086702.htm In recent years, Northwestern Polytechnical University has given priority to international cooperation in education and many foreign students have come to NPU for further studies.

NPU, a top university in China, based in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, was among the earliest in Northwest China to launch such programs.

The university is multidisciplinary and research-oriented, featuring programs in aviation, aerospace and marine technology engineering.

At the 80th anniversary celebrations of NPU in Xi'an on Saturday, Wang Jinsong, president of the university, said colleges and universities shoulder the task of cultivating talents, research, social service, cultural inheritance and innovation, as well as international exchanges and cooperation.

"NPU is striving to be a world-class university with global influence in aeronautics, astronautics, marine technology and other fields, and regards educating students as a core mission and takes talent cultivation as an essential task," he said.

To date, NPU has made cooperative agreements with 14 of the world's top 200 universities, covering many fields. About 1,800 students are taking the outbound study programs, a number that has grown by over 60 percent during the past year. University of Oxford, Cambridge, Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization and the International Labor Organization, many world-class universities and international organizations are also destinations for NPU teachers and students.

Recently, NPU has signed agreements on talent cultivation with Warwick University in the United Kingdom, University of Technology of Belfort-Montbeliard and National Institute of Applied Science in France, the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and the Mahanakorn University of Technology in Thailand.

QMES, an engineering school jointly launched by NPU and Queen Mary University of London in 2015, set a model for international talent cultivation cooperation.

Andrew Bushby, professor and director of the Nano Vision Center of Queen Mary University of London, and executive vice-president of QMES, expressed his willingness to see cooperation between both sides and felt it could promote relations between the two cities.

NPU has established channels to recruit foreign students in senior high schools by organizing high-tech lectures and activities and to inspire their passions on technology and innovation.

The Belt and Road Aerospace Innovation Alliance, launched by NPU and the Chinese Society of Astronautics in last April, is a joint effort inspired by the Belt and Road Initiative, and intends to be a platform for talent development, production, teaching and knowledge transfer in the aerospace field.

At present, 51 universities, research institutions and academic organizations in China, the United States, Russia, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, Egypt, Algeria, UK, Australia and other countries involved in BRI have joined the alliance.

The Sino-Australian Engineering Universities Consortium was launched on Oct 12 at NPU. The consortium includes nine domestic universities of The Excellence League and four leading engineering universities of The Australian Technology Network of Universities.

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[Cosmetics company's program boosts recruitment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/17/content_37086701.htm During the National Day holiday week when most of Gao Lingjie's classmates engaged themselves in uploading CVs on job-seeking platforms or preparing to traipse around campus recruitment fairs for a satisfactory job offer, the 23-year-old could lean back and chill-out as she had already settled the matter of future prospects.

The postgraduate's outstanding performance at the 2018 L'Oreal China on-Campus Charity Sale has secured her the opportunity to be a management trainee with the French cosmetics giant after her graduation from Nanjing University next year.

The annual event, in which students organize their own sales force and sell beauty products to their peers and teachers was launched by L'Oreal China and the China Youth Development Foundation, also known as CYDF, in 2003. The L'Oreal group also sent mentors to train the novice salespeople and help them devise marketing strategies and set up sales counters.

According to Yang Chunlei, deputy secretary-general of CYDF, over the past 16 years, the event has taken place in 27 Chinese universities, including Peking University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University and Nanjing University. The charity campaign has donated a sum of 33 million yuan ($4.8 million) to around 5,000 poor college students.

However, this year marked the first time the company tied the charity activity to its campus recruitment plans.

"We found many students who once volunteered in the on-campus charity sale wanted to apply to be an intern or a management trainee with the company," says Lan Zhenzhen, vice-president of L'Oreal China. "We began to use the event as a new recruiting channel to spur on those young participants."

Students who stood out in the activity could get a pass card to interview for the company's summer intern program, ensuring that they wouldn't get missed by HR in the flood of resumes that the HR team receives.

"It's a great opportunity for university students to fit in with the needs of the world of work," says Gao. "When we were selling cosmetic products during the activity, we were actually selling ourselves to L'Oreal."

The advertising major went through a tense few months in this spring, gathering teammates and running warm-ups for the final pop-up store, online and offline. She and her team finally raised over 300,000 yuan of the total 3.5 million yuan revenue garnered by this year's program.

"The campaign tested our marketing skills and problem-solving abilities, and the sales volume was like a sort of KPI (key performance indicator)," she says. "It encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and offered us a stage to show our mettle and be seen by potential employers, while skipping the conventional recruiting process."

"It's a win-win approach to promote their idea of charity and hire high-quality employees," says Lan Zhenzhen. "I hope we can encourage more young people to join the campaign and enjoy the useful social experience that the platform provides."

For Sichuan University senior, Li Yanliu, the experience in on-campus charity sales helped her to develop a deeper understanding of the "new retail" concept.

"Even on a small campus, there are customers from different age groups. We have to foresee their demands and hold some orchestrated promotional activities to attract a certain target group, giving them both an in-shop and an online purchase experience," says the 21-year-old, adding that the event sparked her interest in marketing and gave her a clear direction for her future career.

To gear up for the opening of their L'Oreal pop-up store, Li's team ran a series of warm-up activities, like free makeovers across the three campuses of the university. They even visited a nearby primary school to distribute handmade gifts and brochures on June 1, Children's Day in China.

Guan Zhiwei, a student at the school of business and management at Shanghai International Studies University, also tried to switch his perspective from that of a consumer to that of a seller during the activity.

"The sale exposed us to the society and market, which differs from the activities inaugurated by the student union," says Guan. "I was better able to exploit the chance of networking during the nationwide campaign."

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2018-10-17 07:28:55
<![CDATA[DRAWING ON A WIDER CANVAS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/16/content_37079039.htm In 1944, an overturned boat near Chongqing brought a premature end to the ambition of Tang Yihe, an artist and educator. He was on board, traveling to attend a conference of the China national fine arts council, before falling victim to the Yangtze River at the age of 39. He had directed the oil painting department of the Wuchang Fine Art School where he graduated, and he would have been elected a standing member of the council at the meeting.

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Three exhibitions at the National Art Museum show the evolution of the country and its artistic expression, Lin Qi reports.

In 1944, an overturned boat near Chongqing brought a premature end to the ambition of Tang Yihe, an artist and educator. He was on board, traveling to attend a conference of the China national fine arts council, before falling victim to the Yangtze River at the age of 39. He had directed the oil painting department of the Wuchang Fine Art School where he graduated, and he would have been elected a standing member of the council at the meeting.

Born in Wuchang, now a district of Wuhan, Hubei province, Tang took little interest in inheriting the family-operated traditional Chinese medicine practice. Rather, he engaged with the arts, and he saw art education an important means to empower his people and his country.

During his studies at the prestigious National High School of Fine Arts in Paris in the early 1930s, Tang won the long-standing Prix de Rome, a government-sponsored prize that awarded its winners scholarships for a residence in Rome to gain a deeper attainment of artistic appreciation. After graduation he returned to Wuchang and a country in turmoil, at a time when his motherland was confronted with the looming threat of war and social instability.

Tang, however, left behind a small legacy despite his short-lived career. The few of his works in existence embrace a strong patriotic spirit, and he focused on the anguish of people living on the lower rungs of the societal ladder.

One example is July 7, an oil painting created by Tang in 1940 to commemorate the Lugou Bridge (also known as the Marco Polo Bridge) Incident that marked the beginning of Japan's full-scale invasion of China in July 1937.

Tang didn't complete the painting due to wartime difficulties, leaving the background unfinished and blank. He only managed to depict a group of marching people, forced to leave their invaded hometowns, and who took to the streets to call for others to stand up against invaders.

The painting is now in the collection of the National Art Museum of China, and had been exhibited many times. It is currently on show again as part of an ongoing exhibition at the museum, Up from the Yangtze. Set to run until Oct 21, it highlights dozens of paintings, sculptures, watercolors and prints by both Hubei-born artists and those who once studied and worked in the province.

Ji Shaofeng, the director of the Wuhan-based Hubei Museum of Art, says Tang was one of those who pioneered the teaching of oil painting in the early 20th-century China; Tang and his colleagues at the Wuchang Fine Art School, a private institution, contributed greatly to the proliferation of oil painting in the province.

"They established a realistic approach with deep concerns with the common people's livelihood, and they forged a color scheme of purity and dignity. Their style distinguished Hubei as a rising art hub at the time from those in Beijing and Shanghai," Ji says. "Their legacies are being carried forward by artists in Hubei."

Up from the Yangtze is one of the several shows at the National Art Museum of China to mark the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up this year.

A second exhibition, which also runs until Sunday, reviews the development of classic Chinese painting and calligraphy by the teachers at the Nanjing University of the Arts over the past 40 years. The school in Jiangsu province boasts a rich tradition of classic art, not least through late modern masters such as Huang Binhong, Zhang Daqian and Pan Tianshou, who either taught or studied there.

The National Art Museum of China has also selected 100 artworks from its collection, largely produced over the past four decades, to mount a third show - which, again, ends Sunday - entitled Dawn of Spring Breeze. It features many iconic works that show the transition from the dominating socialist realism to much more diverse styles embraced by Chinese artists, reflecting a cultural dimension to the country's opening-up.

Father, an oil-on-canvas portrait by Luo Zhongli, which was painted in 1980 and is widely viewed as a "monumental" piece by critics, is part of the exhibition. It is arguably one of the most well traveled works in the National Art Museum's collection, appearing at many domestic exhibitions over the years.

The wrinkled, dark face of an elderly man from the countryside takes as much space as possible on the canvas, which measures 210 by 150 centimeters. It was considered so striking at the time, and it transmits a humanity and warmth that has moved generations of viewers.

Luo was inspired to create the painting when he spotted a farmer, shivering with cold, in a Sichuan village in 1975. "It was on the day of chuxi (Chinese New Year's Eve). Rain was pouring and turning to snow. It was awfully cold," he recalls.

"He leaned against the wall of a toilet near where I lived. He put both of his crossed hands in sleeves for warmth, and smoked a long-stemmed pipe. He waited, all day long, changing from one position to another."

He was touched by the man's expression which was etched with loneliness and perseverance - a face which would later become an iconic expression in Chinese art history and symbolic of all the Chinese fathers who suffer to support their families.

Wu Weishan, the director of the National Art Museum of China, says the past four decades witnessed not only progress in artistic creation but also a rising awareness of museums and art galleries among the public.

"I am on duty during holidays like the first day of the lunar Chinese New Year and the National Day on Oct 1. I feel that looking at the visitors is the most touching scene one can see at a museum," he says. "It was hard to believe in the past that families would spend holidays and other important days at museums, but now it is not uncommon - not only at the National Art Museum, but also at museums at provincial and city levels. Additionally, art is decorating people's homes.

"When I went to university in the 1980s, people's clothes and hairstyles looked alike. Today, people hold open, diverse opinions of art, and people's aesthetic understanding of beauty is extensive and become a part of their sense of identity."

Contact the writer at linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

9 am-5 pm, closed on Mondays. 1 Wusi Dajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-6400-1476

 

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2018-10-16 08:05:46
<![CDATA[DISCOVERING RWANDA'S REWARDS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/16/content_37079038.htm A mountain gorilla beats its chest in the pounding rain. Another member of its troop sits silently in a bamboo thicket.

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A growing number of Chinese are exploring the African country's culture, wildlife and scenery, Xu Lin reports.

A mountain gorilla beats its chest in the pounding rain. Another member of its troop sits silently in a bamboo thicket.

Li Qing is thrilled to closely observe over a dozen mountain gorillas in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, one of the critically endangered primate's few remaining habitats.

"It was amazing!" says the Beijing-based office worker, who visited the country for a week recently.

"It's like King Kong but in real life. The leader is as large as three humans. I watched them with awe. I didn't know what they'd do next."

Tourists usually track the primates with local guides who understand the gorillas' communications. Li believes she was lucky because the creatures stay stationary in rainy weather.

Rwanda is the epitome of Africa: It's home to virgin forests, crater lakes, green mountains, wild animals and unique cultures.

The country is actively courting Chinese visitors.

Tourism is the country's largest service export and is projected to continue growing at over 10 percent annually, according to the Rwandan embassy in Beijing.

It welcomed nearly 41,000 visitors from Asia in 2017, 5,833 of whom were Chinese.

China ranks second in visitor numbers from the Asia-Pacific region, after India.

The country started to offer visas on arrival for all foreign visitors from Jan 1, at a cost of $30.

"More travel agencies from Rwanda are joining promotional events in China in the past two years," says Ge Yongchao, who customizes African itineraries for Beijing-based 6renyou.com, which specializes in bespoke tours.

"They're optimistic about the Chinese market."

She says African destinations popular among Chinese are South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Morocco. Most Chinese take group tours to these countries.

But few agencies offer group packages to Rwanda.

"Cost is the main reason," she says.

"The $1,500 gorilla-tracking trek is too expensive for ordinary travelers. So, it's better to book a customized trip or contact a local travel agency for itineraries in advance."

She suggests visitors to Rwanda also visit neighboring countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, to diversify their trips.

"Experienced outbound travelers, who've already visited Europe and the United States, are more likely to travel to Africa, which is farther away and more expensive. Many choose Africa as a destination for luxury travel."

The destination appeals to everyone from young adults who enjoy adventure to elderly people who like photography, she says. However, it may not be ideal for kids, since it takes about four or five hours to drive between major destinations.

"The biggest advantage is that it's very safe," says Ye Xiaochen, an architect from a State-owned company in Beijing, who has worked in Rwanda for over half a decade.

"There are no wars or diseases like Ebola. Rwanda has very clean streets. The locals pay attention to hygiene and never litter. They're friendly and hospitable with Chinese, and they like to greet strangers."

She believes it's a great destination for first-time visitors to Africa because of its beauty and culture, and proximity to countries that are popular destinations.

While many visit Rwanda to see the gorillas, Ye suggests also visiting tea plantations and cycling around Lake Kivu on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Li says it was "fantastic" to experience the culture.

"I was moved to tears when I saw young people enthusiastically perform ancient dances," she recalls.

Also, the growing number of Chinese companies investing in Rwanda creates a huge demand for translators, including locals, many of whom are trained by the Confucius Institute and become proficient quickly.

Indeed, this is just another of many ways in which the country is becoming more interesting and accessible to Chinese travelers.

An aerial view of tea plantations and forests in Rwanda, an emerging destination for Chinese tourists. Meng Linglong/li Qing/for China Daily 

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2018-10-16 08:05:46
<![CDATA[Kenya to tap Africa to grow tourism]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/16/content_37079037.htm NAIROBI - Kenya's tourism marketers have laid out plans to regard Africa as a key regional market to grow its tourism business, a senior official says.

Kenya Tourism Board CEO Betty Radier said earlier this month that Nairobi is also partnering with the rest of East Africa to provide a wider offering for travelers from West Africa, led by Nigeria.

"We are actively engaging with travel agents and tour operators in Nigeria to expose them to the diverse tourist offering in Kenya and the rest of East Africa that would be of interest to travelers from Nigeria and the rest of West Africa," Radier said on the sidelines of the recent Magical Kenya Travel Expo in Nairobi.

Radier says bilateral discussions are ongoing between the tourism ministries of Kenya and Sierra Leone to step up collaboration and travel between the two countries.

About 150 tourism buyers and 20 international media personalities visited a recent three-day expo.

Radier says the expo enabled Kenya to bring together players in Africa's tourism sector to get better insight into the diverse and authentic tourism products that Kenya has to offer.

"We are encouraged that the expo has over the last eight years grown into the ideal platform for business-to-business meetings between leading African products and top-producing global buyers," she says.

This, Radier says, serves to ensure continued business growth and development for Kenya's tourism industry.

She says the expo that drew travel-trade partners from across the continent is helping Kenya to be part of efforts to grow a unified brand for Africa as a destination.

According to the United Nations' World Tourism Organization, the number of outbound African travelers will reach 62 million by 2030 as the continent gradually emerges not only as a tourism destination but also as a tourist-source market.

Africa is Kenya's second-biggest source market by region, contributing 29 percent of total tourist arrivals to Kenya in 2017, according to the KTB.

Kenya has stepped up its marketing blitz to woo key source markets in the wake of a decrease in tourist arrivals caused by spates of insecurity brought about by acts of terrorism from al-Shabab and travel advisories issued by countries that provide key source markets.

The KTB says Uganda is Kenya's top tourism source market in Africa, accounting for 61,542 arrivals - or 6.4 percent - in 2017. In 2016, 51,023 visitors came from Uganda.

Tourism is the second-largest source of foreign exchange revenue for Kenya, after tea. The main tourist attractions are photo safaris through national parks and game reserves, although the country has been diversifying to other areas like ecotourism, conferences and cultural experiences.

Xinhua

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2018-10-16 08:05:46
<![CDATA[REMEMBERING THE CHANGES THROUGH MUSIC]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/16/content_37079036.htm At the ongoing Beijing Music Festival - an annual event featuring world-class musicians and concerts, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Tan Lihua gave a performance called Embracing the New Era: Chinese Music Concert, to mark the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in the capital.

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The Beijing Symphony Orchestra performs a concert to mark the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, Chen Nan reports.

At the ongoing Beijing Music Festival - an annual event featuring world-class musicians and concerts, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Tan Lihua gave a performance called Embracing the New Era: Chinese Music Concert, to mark the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in the capital.

The first half of the concert featured three pieces by Chinese composers: Yang Qing's Symphonic Poem: The Narration of Beijing; Chen Peixun's Aira of Snow and the fourth movement of Bao Yuankai's Peking Opera Symphony.

According to Tan, the artistic director and conductor of the orchestra and vice-president of the Chinese Musicians' Association, the repertory focused on massive changes in China since the reform and opening-up began.

"In the past 40 years we have not only performed Western classical music works, but also devoted ourselves to writing our own music," Tan says. "In the last four decades, a large amount of original Chinese music was created and we feel proud that these works have not only been performed in China, but have also been performed by international orchestras."

Symphonic Poem: The Narration of Beijing was written by Chinese composer Yang, a classmate of Tan at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, for the Beijing Symphony Orchestra to mark the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Tan, who premiered the work in 2008 with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, says: "It uses local nursery rhymes and qinshu, a traditional art form that combines storytelling, singing and music instruments.

"The music unfolds bit by bit, and is a tribute to Beijing and its people."

As for Bao's symphony, it contains four movements: Jing - The Painted Face, A Solemn Andante; Chou - The Comedian, A Humorous Presto; Dan - The Lady, A Profound Largo and Sheng - The Man, A Brillante Allegro.

With the techniques of Western classical music composition, the work is based on four different role types in Peking Opera - the 200-year-old traditional Chinese art form that combines singing, dancing and martial arts.

The piece was also commissioned by the orchestra and premiered in 2006 by Tan in Beijing.

Speaking about his work, Bao, 74, who was born in Beijing and graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1967, says: "I wanted to present the profound and rich spiritual world of Peking Opera through classical music."

Bao, who took almost a year to complete his Peking Opera Symphony, says he used to listen to Peking Opera as a child and was always interested in painting Peking Opera characters.

Commenting on Bao's work, Tan says: "Thanks to his (Bao's) interpretation, audiences from different cultures can enjoy the beauty and spirit of Peking Opera."

Bao says that despite the development of classical music in China in the past 40 years, he is concerned that Chinese traditional music has not been promoted as greatly as Western classical music.

"Music schools in China put a lot of effort into Western classical music rather than traditional Chinese music. It's harmful for our culture," says Bao.

The second half of the concert was Embracing the New Era Symphonic Suit, a special arrangement by Chinese composer Dong Yuexuan, who adapted popular Chinese songs, including On the Hopeful Field, Pearl of the East and I Love You, China.

The songs, Tan says, represent the big events in China over the past 40 years.

For example, On the Hopeful Field celebrates the start of the reform and opening-up and Pearl of the East marks the handover of Hong Kong in 1997.

Looking back over the past four decades, Tan says classical music has developed very quickly in China.

Before 1978, there were four symphony orchestras in China but now the number is more than 80 across the country.

"The reform and opening-up made China powerful and changed people's lives.

"The booming classical music scene means that the Chinese composers now want to write more original material," says Tan.

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2018-10-16 08:05:46
<![CDATA[Architect's 'suitcase house' aimed at young people]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/16/content_37079035.htm When humans are forced to settle down on Mars, might we at last start to think about the way we live on Earth? With this question in mind, architect Li Hu has designed a suitcase-like house to explore how people could have minimalistic lifestyle that only meets the essential requirements for survival.

The about 4-square-meter house, on display at China House Vision exhibition in Beijing, discusses future houses and comprises two parts: a hard case that includes the kitchen, toilet, bathroom and air conditioning unit, and an inflatable ballon-like living space used for activities such as reading, drinking tea, doing exercises or enjoying the landscape through windows.

"That's enough," Li says.

He calls it the "Mars case" to imagine a future where people will view or "use" their houses as conveniently as suitcases. All the resources in such a house are visioned to be recyclable - air, water, energy and even waste.

Kenya Hara, curator of the exhibition and a well-known designer, says Li's exhibit rethinks the concept of home under an extreme situation, with "a sense of science fiction".

The architect assumes a future situation when people are forced to migrate to Mars as the Earth would not be able to support them further. Li started the project last year.

"It criticizes society for its consumption and materialism. In fact, the project is aimed at giving people a warning about their lifestyles. I hope it never happens that one day we have to settle down on Mars," says Li.

The architect says he promotes minimalism and an eco-friendly lifestyle. He rides a bicycle to work in Beijing where he established Open Architecture's office in a hutong (alley) in 2008. Previously, he worked as a partner at Steven Holl Architects in New York, where he also commuted similarly to work.

For Li, home is a place for people to do private things, such as sleeping and taking a shower. Other functional areas can be shared.

"I think people's houses are too big and there are many wasted spaces," Li says.

Besides the vision of living on Mars, the project also explores small housing, especially in big cities.

Li says his "Mars case" can be used by young people, who have just finished college and joined new jobs, as a model for affordable housing. He even infuses a romantic sense to the case that people may realize their nomadic lifestyle by putting the case on a car and move freely around the world.

But the model is "still a prototype", he adds.

"Architecture is a way for me to solve problems that I care about. I keep coming up with questions and allow people to find answers through my works," says Li.

Li is known for his innovative architect in China, such as the UCCA Dune Art Museum in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, and the Tank Museum in Shanghai. He is also working on a building for a tech company in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, that is designed on the concept of "villages in urban areas", a local style of community used to be common in Shenzhen during its urbanization.

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2018-10-16 08:05:46
<![CDATA[43 composers to present classical works at upcoming festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/16/content_37079034.htm Composer Ye Xiaogang says 1978 was a special year.

Ye, then 23, came to Beijing and began his studies at the Central Conservatory of Music. He was born in a musicians' family in Shanghai and started learning the piano at age 4. He and some of his peers, including Tan Dun, Zhou Long and Qu Xiaosong, were among the first students to be admitted to the conservatory that year after the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) had ended.

The same year, China initiated its reform and opening-up, which touched different aspects of citizens' lives, including classical music.

Ye, now chairman of the Chinese Musicians' Association and a teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music, has co-initiated the sixth China Symphony Festival - Chinese Symphony in Retrospect, which centers on showcasing the achievements in classical music in China over the past 40 years of economic reforms.

Kicking off on Oct 27 at the Bluthner Grand Theatre in Qingdao, Shandong province, the festival, with nine concerts featuring 46 original music pieces by 43 Chinese composers, will end at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on Jan 15.

At the opening concert, under the baton of Hu Yongyan, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra will play repertories, including Scent of Green Mango for piano and orchestra by Ye, Fantasies Symphoniques Farewell My Concubine for guzheng (Chinese zither), xiao (Chinese flute), soprano and orchestra by Guan Xia and 1911 Overture for orchestra by Zhou.

Other highlights include bamboo flute concerto No 2 Wild Fire by Guo Wenjing; Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds by Tan; and Red Silk Dance for piano and orchestra by Bright Sheng. Ye's Symphony No 5, Lu Xun, inspired by the late writer Lu Xun, will conclude the festival with a performance by the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Stefan Malzew.

"Western classical music started taking root in China less than 100 years ago and has achieved a lot, especially since the reform and opening-up started," says Ye, 63.

"The works we've selected for the festival document and reflect the changes in the country over the past 40 years."

The originality and creativity of Chinese composers has been among important changes in China's classical music scene in the four decades, according to Ye.

"The merger of Western classical music and Chinese culture has made the works of Chinese composers unique," Ye says.

Chinese composer Guan Xia, 61, the former director of the China National Symphony Orchestra, says the upcoming festival is among the largest on the mainland in terms of both the number of participating composers and music pieces to be presented.

"We discussed the number of Chinese composers who are capable of writing large symphonic works and after listing the names we could think of fewer than 70," he says.

"The upcoming festival will showcase 43 composers. It is a rare opportunity to enjoy their works over a little more than two months," Guan adds.

Guan graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1985. His Symphony No 1, entitled Hu Huan, and Symphony No 2, entitled Hope, both depict his observation of social changes in China.

"Today, Chinese composers, especially from the younger generations, showcase a diversity of music styles through their compositions," says composer Qin Wenchen, a vice-president of the Central Conservatory of Music.

Qin's suona (double-reeded horn) concerto Calling for Phoenix, and violin concerto The Border of Mountains will also be performed at the festival.

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2018-10-16 08:05:46
<![CDATA[Celebrating a memorable song]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/15/content_37070982.htm Li Guyi is to perform Homeland Love to mark 40 years of China's reform and opening-up, Chen Nan reports.

In 1980, Chinese singer Li Guyi performed a song, entitled Homeland Love, a mellow love ballad written by Ma Jinghua and Zhang Peiji, which made the then 36-year-old singer of the Central Symphony Orchestra - now known as China National Symphony Orchestra - into a household name in China.

"The song was well received by audiences and I was asked to sing it again and again when I performed across the nation then," recalls Li, 74, who once gave 72 performances in 50 days nationwide.

However, her performance also became controversial. Instead of using a solid, wide vocal range while singing, a style which dominated the music scene in the country then, Li sounded sweet, easy and used air-breathing singing, a pop-singing style that challenged the aesthetics of singing in China at the time.

The lyrics of the song were also criticized heavily by critics and some audiences as "decadent music".

Disappointed and sad, Li was set to give up singing the song anymore when the turning point came in 1983.

That year, she was invited to perform six songs at China Central Television's first Spring Festival Gala, known as chunwan in Chinese, one of the most-watched annual shows in Chinese broadcast on the eve of the Lunar New Year.

But Homeland Love was not included on the list.

Then, a lot of viewers called in, asking for Li to perform the song at the gala. And the gala's director Huang Yihe made the decision to broadcast Li's performance of the song.

Since then, Homeland Love has become a hit, and is one of Li's most popular songs.

"It's a beautiful song and most importantly, audience views about art started to change thanks to the reform and liberation of thought that went on through the 1980s," says Li.

"It was during that time that China started to develop its own pop music, which offered a platform for songwriters to create original material."

As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of China's reform and opening-up, the veteran singer will hold a concert in Beijing on Thursday, which will see her perform Homeland Love again.

Li's students, over 20 professional Chinese singers, including Fu Disheng, Wang Lida and Zhang Ye, will join Li, performing over 30 songs written by Chinese songwriters since the reform and opening-up process began in 1978.

"China's reform and opening-up not only brought economic opportunity for the country, but also offered a change for musicians," says Li.

"Before the reform and opening-up, songs performed on TV were similar - grand performances dealing with big topics. But after that, a diversity of music styles started to emerge and songwriters tended to depict personal emotions."

During the concert, Li will perform her best-known hits, including Homeland Love, My Motherland and Me and Unforgettable Tonight, a song which has been used as the closing song for the annual Spring Festival Gala for 32 years.

Speaking about Unforgettable Tonight, Song Guanlin, the general manager of the China Oriental Performing Arts Group, the organizer of Li's upcoming concert, says: "It is a slow, smooth song, which is like a happy ending to the gala. For Chinese audiences, the gala is not over until it is performed. It has become a tradition."

Li, who was born in Kunming, Yunnan province, began her music and theater career at the age of 15, when she started studying huaguxi opera, a folk music and dance art form in Hunan, at the Hunan Art Institute.

She then worked with the Hunan Huaguxi Opera Theater from 1961 to 1974 as an actress.

And after becoming a solo singer with the Central Symphony Orchestra in 1974, Li has toured with the orchestra to perform in China and abroad, including in France, the United States and Japan.

She also received training in Western vocal performance and combined it with Chinese singing techniques. Besides, she promotes original Chinese songs featuring musical elements from Chinese folk operas and ethnic groups.

"It's an approach I use when I teach young Chinese singers - to learn and sing Chinese folk operas first," says Li.

"There are over 300 forms of Chinese operas and different techniques of singing used by Chinese ethnic groups. Those art forms are unique treasures, which deserve further study and promotion.

"When you look back on Chinese songs written during the 1980s, you feel that the lyrics are poetic and the melodies are inspired by Chinese tradition," says Li.

"During the past 40 years, the Chinese music scene has blossomed. I hope that the new generation of musicians, who are often influenced by the West, base their music on their Chinese roots."

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2018-10-15 07:41:57
<![CDATA[Music label marks 120th milestone in imperial style]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/15/content_37070981.htm Audiences might still remember the impressive opera production of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot - conducted under the baton of Zubin Mehta and directed by Zhang Yimou - that was performed at Beijing's historical Imperial Ancestral Temple, which is located just outside the Forbidden City, in September 1998.

That same venue - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - was once again awash with melody on Wednesday, when Universal Music Group's Deutsche Grammophon, the world's oldest classical music label, launched its 120th-anniversary celebrations by hosting a gala concert there. Musicians from around the world shared the stage, performing for an audience of over 1,200.

Under the baton of maestro Yu Long, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra opened the concert with a special arrangement of Chinese composer Liu Tianhua's work, Enchanted Night. Then, the orchestra performed German composer Carl Orff's Carmina Burana accompanied by Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, British tenor, Toby Spence, and French baritone, Ludovic Tezier, as well as the Shanghai Spring Children's Choir.

Afterward, French pianist, Helene Grimaud, took the stage for Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major before Norwegian violinist, Mari Samuelsen, took the solo lead in November, a piece from Max Richter's Memoryhouse, a seminal work of contemporary neoclassical composition from 2002.

"The gala concert was unforgettable," says Clemens Trautmann, president of Deutsche Grammophon. "The concert's historic nature was enhanced by its iconic setting - in front of the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the walls of the Forbidden City. Those exquisite buildings echoed to the magnificent sounds of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Singakademie and an international cast of soloists under the direction of maestro Yu, the first Chinese conductor ever to perform there."

Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov performed Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. The 27-year-old virtuoso pianist, a leading member of Deutsche Grammophon's younger generation of artists, was accompanied by Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, which was their first collaboration.

"We had a mutual musical language, which made our cooperation successful," says Trifonov. "I was very excited, even when I did rehearsal with Yu and the Orchestra."

"I visited Forbidden City as a tourist when I performed in Beijing a couple of years ago, but I have never performed at such a historic site before," he recalls. "The performance cannot be compared to any that I have done before, which was quite amazing."

Trifonov, who began playing piano at 5 years old, studied under Tatiana Zelikman at Moscow's famous Gnessin School of Music.

In February 2013, he made his debut at Carnegie Hall in a concert recorded by Deutsche Grammophon for an album that was released later that year. In January, Trifonov was awarded the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his album, Transcendental-Complete Liszt Etudes.

In June, Yu, arguably China's most well-known conductor on the international scene, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra also signed with Deutsche Grammophon, becoming the Berlin-based label's first Chinese conductor and orchestra. Their first recording with the famous yellow label will be released in 2019 to mark the 140th anniversary of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the oldest symphony orchestra in China, whose history dates back to 1879 when it was known as the Shanghai Public Band.

Deutsche Grammophon's Imperial Ancestral Temple concert marked the beginning of a series of international programs, including the release of a collection of newly digitized rare archive recordings (The Shellac Project) and new albums of high-profile performances.

The record label also introduced China to its project, Yellow Lounge - which aims to introduce clubbers to live classical music - with a performance at Beijing's Mao Livehouse featuring British-Irish classical violinist, Daniel Hope, Chinese clarinetist, Wang Tao, and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra back in September. The project was born in 2001 in Berlin's techno clubs, and since then, Yellow Lounge has organized over 130 club nights, each attracting up to 1,000 guests and a massive following through both traditional channels and social media.

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2018-10-15 07:41:57
<![CDATA[Chicken soup to warm heart and soul]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/14/content_37073121.htm Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

My husband and I are back in Kunming, Yunnan province, for the autumn. Away from the urban lights and hustle and bustle, we are settling back into our country routine.

Here, the highlight of the day is the morning harvest, when I can wander out to the fruit trees and vegetable patch and see what's ripe and ready.

 

Chicken soup with traditional Chinese herbs. Provided to China Daily

The osmanthus bushes at the bottom of the garden will yield handfuls of dew-damp buds. These go into the teapot with the oolong tea leaves, and they will last us for a morning and an afternoon.

For my breakfast yogurt, there are the tiny, honey-sweet strawberries, so juicy they break apart with the touch of a spoon. If I'm greedy, I can pluck a few wrinkled purple passion fruits and scoop out the aromatic pulp to add to the yogurt.

There are also the little, sweet, crisp persimmons, so heavy on the branches that they touch the lawn.

The gardeners have thoughtfully sowed baby bok choy and coriander ahead of our return, and the leaves are now ready to be harvested. Additional, unexpected salad ingredients are the nasturtium buds and tender leaves growing all over our rockery.

Together with my carefully nurtured Italian rocket leaves, they will all make a tasty, healthy bowl of greens.

Our silky chicken mother hen is foraging among the rosemary bushes, and her brood of five chicks are scratching for worms and bugs under her indulgent tutelage. Sometimes, a fallen persimmon gets them chirping excitedly.

My spouse teases me and suggests chicken soup for dinner, knowing full well that Mrs Socks will never go into the pot.

But yes, chicken soup is a ritual for us in Yunnan, because the chicken here is so delicious. Reared free range and still sold live, the chickens from our village market truly taste like chicken, unlike the bland birds of Beijing.

Because the quality is excellent, the simplest cooking method is enough, although soup is still our favorite.

Too many of us are divorced from the reality of the food chain.

Chickens do not magically appear as wing and leg parts, headless and clawless, neatly packed into styrofoam trays. In our village market, you get to see them in their full-feathered glory.

First, there are the brown hens with their red roosters. They are the big birds, easily hitting 2 kilograms or more. If you wanted a fatty bird with softer meat, you chose the hen. Local chefs, however, are partial to the roosters, saying their well-muscled meat is more deeply flavorful.

Then, there are the black chickens, a cross between the silky chickens and the reds. They are big as well, but what sets them apart is that their skin, bones and even meat are tinted with a dark pigment. They taste just like the other chickens, but their color adds an exotic touch.

The true silkies are delicate birds that weigh only about 1.5 kg on average.

These birds are beautiful. Their skin and bones are black, but they are covered in a downy snow-white cloak of feathers. Coupled with their red wattles and blue ear patches, they look as if they belong more to a tropical aviary, rather than the barnyard.

Even their toes are covered in fluffy white, hence the name for our pet chicken.

Silky chickens have long been a favorite of Chinese mothers when they think of chicken soup. The birds are slightly gamey, but they are beloved because they have very little subcutaneous fat.

They are so flavorful that all they need are a few slices of ginger to bring out the best in them. Ginger and chicken are the perfect match, and the herb accentuates the meat with an almost magical fragrance.

In Yunnan, they use a special earthenware container with a funnel inside the pot to steam the chicken. The high heat, steam and condensation extract the juices with amazing efficiency and what results is ... essence of chicken.

Traditional Chinese herbs such as wolfberries, also known as goji berries, are often paired with silky chicken. And if the heat is high and headaches are frequent, a few slices of tianma, or gastrodia, are added. This is the bulbous root of a highland orchid treasured for its medical benefits.

Is chicken soup really that good for you? Well, Chinese and Jewish mothers alike are firm believers in a bowl of piping hot chicken soup for body and soul, and the matriarchs of these two formidable clans cannot be wrong, can they?

Medical science agrees to a certain extent. When the body is wracked by a bubbling cold or a bout of flu, the taste buds can be soothed with a bowl of savory chicken soup.

The nutrients will help the body on its road to recovery, and the salt in the soup will replenish some of the phosphates lost. Hot soup will also help to clear congested sinuses. Additional vitamins from the vegetables used in the soup can do no harm, either.

Whether you believe in their curative powers or not, a few tried and tested recipes for chicken soup can only boost your repertoire of recipes, just in case.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipes

Chicken soup with root vegetables

1 free-range chicken, dressed

2 potatoes

1 large carrot

2-3 sticks celery

1 large onion

2-3 large tomatoes

1-2 slices ginger

Prepare the chicken by skinning it and removing all visible fat around the neck and inside the cavity. Clean out any entrails, blood clots or lungs. Rinse and season inside and out with salt.

Peel the potatoes and carrots and cut into 0.5-cm cubes.

Dice the onions, and cut the tomatoes into halves, squeezing out the pulp. String the celery stalks and dice.

Heat up a pot of water and blanch the chicken. Discard the water and rinse the chicken.

Bring 3 liters of water to boil and then add the chicken, diced vegetables and ginger slices. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove the chicken and ginger slices, and shred the meat, discarding the bones.

To serve, pile a portion of shredded chicken in a bowl and pour the soup and vegetables over. Season with salt and pepper. A dash of sesame oil improves the flavor.

Black chicken, mushrooms and goji berry soup

1 silky chicken

A handful of dried mushrooms

1-2 slices ginger

1 tablespoon wolfberries/goji berries

Remove all visible fat from the chicken. Don't skin it, because the mushrooms will absorb the chicken fat. Clean it well inside and out and rub with plenty of salt.

You can use dried Chinese black mushrooms or shiitake, but in Yunnan, we have the luxury of using dried matsutake, chanterelle, morel or porcini mushrooms. Soak the mushrooms well to rehydrate them.

Place all the ingredients except the goji berries in a pot and cover with cold water. Slowly bring to a rolling simmer and keep it simmering for an hour. Remember to skim off any scum or froth that rises.

Season to taste and add the goji berries before serving. This will preserve their natural vitamins and bright color.

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2018-10-14 13:43:22
<![CDATA[Anyone for a white rabbit? China's massive snacks industry goes ballistic]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/14/content_37073120.htm Rising affluence has radically changed the nation's diet, causing long-term health implications

"Snacks? I don't think we had the concept in my childhood," recalls Gao Cuiling, now 54 years old, while reminiscing about being a girl back in the 1960s.

That may well be, but nowadays she's busy taking care of her one-year-old granddaughter and fretting about how to prevent the baby from gobbling snacks that might taste good but aren't suitable for her from a nutritional standpoint.

Gao's early memories are shared by many of her generation. During the 1960s, China's total grain output had increased, but by today's standards it was meager. And the production record set in the 1960s was still only 210 million metric tons, equivalent to 280 kilograms per person for the whole year. That's enough to fill peoples' bellies, but not enough to support any vibrant national snack-producing industry.

 

Yuan Jinghao and Zhu Xinyu, two cousins born in 2008 and 2009, proudly pose with their snacks. However, the daily amount of snacks they are allowed to eat is limited. Provided to China Daily

The snacks made at the time were more like luxuries, beyond the reach of ordinary folk. Back in 1959, ABC Mickey Mouse Sweets - which later morphed to become the famous White Rabbit Creamy Candy and whose history can be traced back to Shanghai in the 1940s - accounted for such a high percent age of the monthly salary of an average worker during that period that it was considered luxurious.

Things fared a little better in the late 1970s. "During festivals we got some additional foods such as sweet rice dumplings for Lantern Festival, or rice cakes for Dragon Boat Festival," Gao said.

"They're probably the earliest snacks in my memory, if you insist on calling them that," she adds.

It was after the reform and opening-up in 1978 that China's economy really took off, which in turn caused a food boom. In the 1980s, China's food production kept growing and eventually reached 400 million tons in 1989, double the record set in the 1960s.

That also marked the start of the massive consumption of snacks in the country.

According to the theory of human needs espoused by eminent US psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1940s, food is a dominant, core imperative.

A look at history also shows that when a nation emerges from poverty, the first thing people do is to move their palates and stomachs into more expensive fare.

Back in the 1980s, Chinese who were just acquiring a taste for the good life were creative in sniffing out the snacks they liked, which in turn created enormous business opportunities.

ABC Mickey Mouse Sweets, which had already been renamed to White Rabbit Creamy Candy, seized the opportunity and forged its prime place in the pantheon of the national snacks industry.

A previous luxury, it repositioned itself successfully, leaving consumers nationwide with the idea that "You can now enjoy luxury, too", winning it warm affection with consumers that remains to this day.

In the hall of fame for drinks, the most successful brand has to be Jianlibao.

At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, China's women's volleyball team won gold, inspiring and fueling sports mania and national pride overnight.

Jianlibao capitalized on that, popularizing the concept of "sports drinks" with China's consumers with such success that at one point its share of the country's soda market was as high as 70 percent.

For some born in the 1980s, Jianlibao was pretty much the only soft drink they would think of drinking during the summer.

There are a raft of other examples from the period. Popsicles in orange, apple, pineapple and other flavors gained popularity, too, while canned fruits, mostly brewed in sweet drinkable water, became preferred gifts for those visiting patients in hospitals.

Those who came of age in the 1980s appear fond of recapturing their youth. Just do an online search on "snacks in the 1980s" and you get 930,000 results on search engine Baidu.

On Sina Weibo - China's micro blog platform - there is the longstanding topic#Snacks in the 1980s#, has recorded more than 100 million hits.

Even today, people surfing e-commerce platforms can easily buy snacks with packages and flavors exactly the same as those of the 1980s. "I buy this only to wake up the taste inside my heart," is a typical comment about such products.

Yet the snacks industry in this period was not without its problems. A lack of proper laws and regulations saw a fairly high percentage of snacks produced in illegal underground workshops.

Some even produced pirate products carrying fake trademarks of famous brands, or registered trademarks designed to be easily confused with leading names.

For example, when White Rabbit really took off, some businesses registered Grey Rabbit or Small White Rabbit. White Rabbit bared its teeth in response, registering some similar trademarks first to avoid them being registered by others, among them Black Rabbit candy. That trademark has been held by White Rabbit ever since, just to head off imitators.

After a decade of development and competition, China's snack market had two major characteristics in the 1990s: Stricter regulation and internationalization.

In 1995, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the nation's top legislature, passed the Food Hygeine Law, which clearly required law enforcers at all levels to target underground illegal workshops producing low-quality foods or offerings under fake brands.

Until then, a high percentage of these kinds of foods were actually sold at schools and targeted the young.

These illegal products finally disappeared from the market through stricter enforcement. They might still exist here and there, far from the main urban areas, but the total amount has decreased significantly.

Global brands also jumped on the bandwagon, rushing into China. Spanish brand Cola Gao made its first appearance in 1990 and ruled the roost for quite a few years.

A nutritious product made of cocoa powder, it emits a chocolate aroma when brewed in hot milk, making it a popular drink with children.

Yao Wenjun, born in 1991 and now working in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, witnessed the changes as a girl.

"During my six years at primary school, the number of foreign snack brands near my school grew from none to three, or one every two years," she said with a smile. "Every snack shop gave us a feeling of happiness."

US fast food giants KFC and McDonald's were among the international brands that moved into China during the period, along with rivals such as Subway and Pizza Hut.

Interestingly, the difference in the meaning of the word "lunch" for Chinese people and Westerners made their roles different in China. For many in the West, lunch is often a sandwich or roll, ordered to go and eaten on the run within half an hour.

In China, however, lunch is a substantial meal - no less important than breakfast or supper. As a result, the fried chicken and sandwiches sold by KFC and McDonald's were seen more as leisure snacks when they first came out in China.

An inevitable result of people eating more fast food and other high-calory snacks, both domestic and global brands, was obesity.

According to the Danone Institute, which specializes in nutritional research, the obesity rate for Chinese age 7 to 18 had risen eight times by 2000 compared with 1985; for the subgroup age 17 to 18, the rate was up 21.5 times.

That's why, since the beginning of the new century, "control" has become a key word in the lexicon of parents, reflecting their new attitude on family snacks.

Some parents have cut back on their children's weekly allowance or pocket money, while others have imposed strict discipline at home and set limits on the amount of snacks they can consume.

Yuan Jinghao and Zhu Xinyu, cousins born in 2008 and 2009, have experienced both measures. Yuan is allowed to spend only 20 yuan ($2.9; 2.5 euros; £2.2) a week on snacks, while Zhu is allowed to have only one small bag of snacks each day, with a weight not exceeding 150 grams.

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2018-10-14 13:43:22
<![CDATA[Snacks prove the easy route to happiness]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/14/content_37073119.htm Refined and delicious foods can bring a profound sense of joy and contentment, but for some, a simple snack is enough to bring instant gratification.

"Having meals gives me life, but eating snacks brings me joy," says Xu Shuyang, a graduate student at Tianjin University.

For Xu, snacks are an irresistible pleasure. "I'm afraid of putting on weight, but I can't give them up, so I prefer snacks with lower calories and I usually increase my exercise routine after eating them."

For some foodies, varying snacks with different flavors is all the rage.

"It's impossible for me to give up snacks, although I know many can be considered junk food, because they taste so good," says Zhou Jinmei, 23, a graduate student from Sichuan province.

She says she likes to tuck into some snacks after a good meal, but sometimes skips meals when she has been filled up with snacks beforehand.

According to Zhou, meals are too formal, while the snack is a kind of instant food that she can reach out for whenever she is hungry, having as much as she likes and storing the rest.

Besides, she adds, compared with the standard menus in formal restaurants and canteens, new kinds of attractive snacks are being produced all the time.

At grocery stores or in supermarkets, where all kinds of snacks of various flavors are on display, Zhou enjoys multiple choices according to her mood, including the option of trying out new products.

Zhou's friend, Long Lefan from Hunan province, adds that eating snacks is a kind of "bonus happiness" that became a habit in childhood.

"We had snacks on the way home after school as a bonus, which gave me the energy to do my homework afterward," Long says.

For Long, satisfying her appetite with snacks is a simple way to get - and to give others - satisfaction.

She says she was once moved by her niece who told her that she was happy for a whole day because of the ice cream Long had bought her.

In addition to eating snacks, storing snacks brings happiness to Zhao Chen, from Jiangxi province. "Buying a lot of snacks makes me happy, which gives me satisfaction in abundance," She says.

"I can control myself, so that I only eat a few snacks at a time, but I can't stop buying them."

When asked why she doesn't stock supplies for regular meals, she demurs.

"Snacks are my instant satisfaction. For meals, whatever I cook, I have to wait."

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2018-10-14 13:43:22
<![CDATA[Natural attraction]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/14/content_37073118.htm A retreat near the Great Wall offers visitors a taste of rural charm

From a glazed-tile factory to a popular getaway, the Brickyard Retreat is hot on the tourist map for its rural charm and Great Wall of China experience.

However, the resort wouldn't have happened if it weren't for a chance encounter at the foot of the Great Wall in the 1990s.

Founder Jim Spear, who hails from the United States, has settled in Beijing's Beigou village and runs a tourism business there with his family.

 

Jim Spear from the US transformed a site near the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in Beijing into a tourist resort. Photos Provided to China Daily

It all started one day in the early 1990s when he brought an old army buddy from South Korea to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall on his first visit to China.

"A villager who was operating a souvenir stall struck up a conversation with me. I'm sure he was thinking about selling me a T-shirt," says Spear.

He told the villager that he was not interested in buying a souvenir but envied him for living in such a beautiful place just under the Great Wall.

To his surprise, the villager said he'd help Spear get a house.

"That's how I got a house at the Great Wall instead of a Great Wall T-shirt," says Spear.

The village near Mutianyu was literally at the end of the road and there was almost no modern infrastructure - few paved roads, no sewers, no trash collection and limited electricity, he says.

"We had to pay for our own transformer, poles and wires to make our house livable when we moved here full time in 2005."

But the primitive conditions also made for a unique rural lifestyle.

"It's changed a lot with modern conveniences and many newly built homes, but it is still an authentic village community," says Spear.

"Our village is quiet. The views are incredible, and the air is usually fresh and clear."

His house is at the top of a little cul-de-sac paved with stone that winds up the canyon side away from the public road. There's also a large plot with vegetable gardens and a chestnut orchard.

Spear applied his design skills to transform the rural site into a tourist resort.

He leased an abandoned village primary school in early 2006, and since then his enterprise has grown to include lodgings, restaurants, value-added agricultural products and crafts.

The Brickyard Retreat is now his main venture and comprises a 25-room heritage hotel and 11 vacation homes in three nearby villages.

"Our business has grown every year since we started in 2006," says Spear.

When his business started, more than 90 percent of the guests were foreigners. Today, Chinese nationals account for about 60 percent of his guests.

"I am delighted that so many Chinese guests enjoy and appreciate our offerings," he says.

Visitors to his place enjoy the peaceful environment as well as hiking, bicycling, exploring nearby villages and trying local restaurants, he says.

Guests also enjoy playing petanque, cards or mahjong in the card room, or soaking in the outdoor Jacuzzi. The resort also has a gym and offers spa treatments.

Children's movies and games are available in the video room, and there's also a playground.

"The most gratifying thing about being an innkeeper is the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world," Spear says.

He says he enjoys his life in Beigou with his wife, Liang Tang.

"My life is pretty idyllic, close to nature, and yet still part of our village community," he says.

A typical day for Spear starts before the sun rises when he makes himself a large cup of strong Yunnan coffee and checks his email.

"Later I spend an hour or two working, mostly planning and designing projects for clients, because my mind is freshest at dawn," he says.

Later in the day, he visits construction sites, spends some time in his studio at the Schoolhouse and returns to the Brickyard Retreat to meet with colleagues and greet guests before enjoying the sauna and a massage.

He is also working on three residences for clients and the master plan and architectural design for a village near the Three Gorges Dam in Central China's Hubei province.

Speaking about his decision to settle in China, Spear says he wanted to live and work in China and be a part of the changes and reforms that were just getting started back then.

"My field at University of California, Berkeley, was Chinese politics," he says. "I have never regretted my decision to leave academia. And my expatriate life in China has turned out, at least to me, to be an extraordinary adventure."

Spear's resort has also helped villages near Mutianyu become recognized as tourism destinations.

"We also preferentially employ local people," he says.

Visitors sometimes tell Spear how lucky these villages are that he moved there and invested. But he has a different perspective.

"I feel I am tremendously lucky that my neighbors allowed me and my family to live here," he says. "I hope that in some small measure I have repaid their kindness and generosity."

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2018-10-14 13:43:22
<![CDATA[Moment in the sun]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/14/content_37073117.htm A character to brighten up your day - or night

In the midst of the dog days of summer, Chinese netizens like to jokingly express gratitude to two figures from history: Willis Carrier, inventor of the modern air-conditioning unit, and mythological archer Hou Yi (后羿). According to legend, there used to be 10 suns in the sky, but Hou Yi shot down nine of them to protect the planet's inhabitants from burning to a cinder.

In Chinese, the characters 日(rì) and 阳(yáng) both represent the sun. The oracle bone script of the character 阳 developed over 3,000 years ago, and consisted of a "mountain" radical, 阜 (fù), on the left, and a representation of the rising sun, or 日, on the right. Its original meaning was "the side of a mountain exposed to the sun".

In ancient Chinese philosophy, yang (阳) and yin (阴) are the opposite principles or forces co-existing in nature and human affairs. Pairs like the sun and moon, life and death, and male and female can all be represented by yin and yang. The 阳历 (yáng lì, solar calendar, or Gregorian calendar) was developed based on the rotation of the Earth around the sun, while the traditional 阴历 (yīn lì, lunar calendar) in China corresponded to the moon's orbit around the globe; and 阳间 (yáng jiān) refers to the world of flesh (or what we would call "reality"), while 阴间 (yīn jiān) refers to the spirit world, including the afterlife.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, upsetting the balance of these opposing natures, or 阴阳失调 (yīn yáng shī tiáo), is the root of most illnesses in the human body. Even in modern medicine, the Chinese word for a negative test result is 阴性(yīn xìng, yin-type), while a positive result is called 阳性 (yáng xìng, yang-type). For example: 他的病毒检测结果为阴性. (Tāde bìng dú jiǎn cè jié guǒ wéi yīn xìng. He tested negative for the virus.)

Generally, as indicated by most yin and yang related expressions, 阳 represents the positive or bright side, whereas 阴is negative and dark. For example, a conspiracy or underhanded scheme is called a 阴谋 (yīn móu). Other terms involving 阴, such as 阴暗 (yīn àn, dim, dark), 阴沉 (yīn chén, overcast, gloomy), 阴毒 (yīn dú, treacherous and vicious), and 阴狠 (yīn hěn, sly and vicious) describe a host of undesirable traits.

Where gender is concerned, 阳 is the character traditionally associated with men, and 阴 with women: 阳刚 (yáng gāng) describes traditional masculine qualities (strong and tough), whereas 阴柔 (yīn róu) refers to feminine ones (gentle and soft). Typical ancient attitudes about gender differences - many of which remain today - were reflected in the Family Precepts to Descendants (《训子孙文》, xùn zǐ sūn wén), an essay by Chinese historian, writer and politician Sima Guang (司马光) of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127): "The husband is the sky, the sun and yang; the wife is the Earth, the moon and yin."

The phrase 太阳 (tài yáng) refers to the sun. More specifically, 朝阳 (zhāo yáng) is the rising sun and 夕阳 (xī yáng) the setting sun. These terms can also serve as adjectives such as 朝阳产业 (zhāo yáng chǎn yè, emerging industries) and 夕阳产业 (xī yáng chǎn yè, declining industries). To express regret for all life's ephemera, you can quote a line from poet Li Shangyin (李商隐) of the late Tang Dynasty (618-907) - 夕阳无限好,只是近黄昏。 (Xī yáng wú xiàn hǎo, zhǐ shì jìn huáng hūn), meaning that "the setting sun is unrivaled in splendor; pity that the dusk fast approaches".)

The phrase for sunshine is 阳光 (yáng guāng), the source of 太阳能 (tài yáng néng, solar energy). For a trip to the beach on a sunny day, you may need to protect yourself with gear such as 太阳镜 (tài yáng jìng, sunglasses) and 太阳伞 (tài yáng sǎn, parasol).

The character 阳 can be used to describe other warm, bright or powerful subjects: 阳春 (yáng chūn) is a warm spring, and 阳光少年 (yáng guāng shào nián) are energetic youths. 阳关大道 (yáng guān dà dào), originally referring to the ancient Yangguan Pass along the ancient Silk Road in Dunhuang, Gansu province, has evolved to mean a metaphorical road to prosperity. If two collaborators do not see eye to eye on any matter, they may dissolve the partnership by saying, 你走你的阳关道,我走我的独木桥 (Nǐ zǒu nǐ de yáng guān dào, wǒ zǒu wǒ de dú mù qiáo. "You take the wide and easy road; I will cross the narrow log bridge.")

Due to their opposition, 阴 and 阳 appear together in expressions related to unexpected or troubled topics. For example, 阴差阳错 (yīn chā yáng cuò, yin and yang are mismatched), refers to mistakes arising from a strange combinations of circumstances. A person who is eccentric or abnormal is called 阴阳怪气 (yīn yáng guài qì, yin and yang are strange).

There is even an idiom 阴盛阳衰 (yīn shèng yáng shuāi, yin rises, yang falls) for a situation where women outperform men (but not the other way around). Traditionalists in China are always concerned that men will be emasculated by highly educated and high-achieving women. They ought to remember, though, that as in the yin-yang symbol, the two seemingly contrary forces are actually complementary and interdependent in the natural world. A healthy physique, a truly balanced society and a prosperous country are all the product of yin and yang equally.

Courtesy of The World of Chinese; www.theworldofchinese.com.cn

The World of Chinese

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2018-10-14 13:43:22
<![CDATA[A labor of love]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065530.htm Hong Kong pop singer Eason Chan shares the B-side story of his latest album L.O.V.E. during his recent visit to Beijing, Chen Nan reports.

Hong Kong pop singer Eason Chan put up 66 shows for his Duo World Tour which spanned from March 2010 to December 2012. During the tour, he came up with the idea of having each of his 13 band members, including drummer Jun Kung, guitarist Firman So and vocalist Cheung Kit-bong, write their own songs.

The result of this idea is Chan's latest album, entitled L.O.V.E. Comprising a diversity of music styles, including love ballads, blues, reggae and jazz, the energy of the songs in L.O.V.E. is different from those in Chan's other albums.

But the band members did not merely write the songs - they also performed their creations together.

Chan is now scheduled to put up a live concert with the band in Hong Kong where they would perform songs from the new album. The date has yet to be announced. "We spent so much time together during the tour. There is so much love amongst all of us. We became a family," says Chan during an interview in Beijing. "Some of them have never written songs before so it was quite a challenge for them. Each of the songs has a unique character and the whole album celebrates the wonderful times we have spent together."

Chan and the band members first recorded the songs when they were in London in 2012 for a performance at the O2 Arena. They had initially wanted to do the recordings at Abbey Road Studios, which is famous for its association with The Beatles. As the space was unavailable, they decided to put together their songs at Metropolis Studios instead.

The album was planned for release in 2013, but Chan postponed the launch as he was bogged down by his tours and other recording commitments.

"After the Duo World Tour, I felt slightly depressed and couldn't get used to life off the tour. I found myself doing nothing at home but watching videos of my previous concerts. I was not in the right mood for another new album then. I decided to leave the album aside for a while," explains Chan.

On April 22, 2018, exactly six years since that fateful recording session in London, the musicians recorded the final song The Album in Hong Kong. Chan had personally designed the cover for the album, which features 13 stars encircling the word "love".

Born in Hong Kong, Chan, 44, graduated from Kingston University with a degree in architecture and later trained as a singer at the Royal Academy of Music in the United Kingdom.

He started his music career as a singer in 1995 by winning Hong Kong's New Talent Singing Awards Competition, and has since released 89 records, sales of which have totaled in excess of 20 million copies. Chan has performed more than 300 solo concerts in over 80 cities worldwide, and has received 170 Best Male Singer awards as well as three prestigious Golden Melody Awards. The singer also has his own music label EAS Music - it was launched this August - that aims to groom young musical talents.  

 

Award-winning pop singer Eason Chan has dedicated his latest album to his band members. Photos Provided to China Daily

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2018-10-13 07:29:05
<![CDATA[With two fits, get extra tricks]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065529.htm St. Jerome wrote, "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best."

How does that apply to this deal? What is South's good line of play in four spades after West leads an obvious singleton club? What is the better defense by East-West?

Note South's jump to four spades. When North made his takeout double, he was going to assume that South had six or seven points. South, with a trick more than that, was right to jump to game. When an opponent opens with a three-level pre-empt, then leads a different suit, that card is a singleton. (Also, Andy Robson, an English expert, advises that if the preemptor leads his own suit, assume he has a singleton in your trump suit.)

If South had led a trump at trick two, East could have taken the trick and given his partner a club ruff. Then West could have exited with a diamond and waited for two heart winners.

However, South saw a chance if he could denude West of diamonds. So, declarer cashed his diamond king, played a diamond to the ace and ruffed the diamond jack. Then he led a trump to East's ace. If East had given his partner the ruff, West would have been end-played, forced to open up the hearts and give South a trick with his king. Instead, East shifted to his heart queen. (Yes, the nine would have been preferable.) South covered with his king, and West took the trick. Now, in desperation, West continued with a low heart. Bingo - East won with his nine and delivered the lethal ruff. Brilliant!

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2018-10-13 07:28:45
<![CDATA[Old clothes get new life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065528.htm Hong Kong is leading the way when it comes to recycling textiles

Recently, the nonprofit H&M Foundation and the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel opened two textile recycling facilities in Hong Kong.

This is the first time that hydrothermal recycling technology, which won the top award at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, is being used on a large scale.

In addition, a miniaturized Garment-To-Garment Recycling System, has been set up as a result of a collaboration between HKRITA and Novetex Textiles Limited.

The facilities are a result of an innovative partnership with HKRITA to accelerate research in textile recycling; and to speed up the development of a closed loop for textiles to safeguard the environment.

In September 2017, a year into the four-year long partnership with the foundation, HKRITA came up with the hydrothermal method of recycling cotton and polyester blends - which used to be considered unrecyclable - into new fibers.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor, and Yang Weixiong, the secretary for Innovation and Technology Bureau attended the opening ceremony of a new pre-industrial size facility using this technology.

Speaking at the event, Lam Cheng said that when it came to waste textiles, the region produced 120,000 tons in 2016. And she said that the new environmental production line would help the reindustrialization of the region.

She also added that the government is devoted to promoting reindustrialization by providing infrastructure, financial resources, technical support, and training.

Separately, the innovation lead of the H&M Foundation, Erik Bang said: "This (recycling) is a significant step toward a new fashion industry that operates within the planetary boundaries.

"And as we scale up and make this technology freely available to the industry, we will reduce the dependence on limited natural resources to dress a growing global population."

Also, alongside the miniaturized Garment-To-Garment Recycling System a retail shop selling recycled garments was opened. So, customers can bring in their unwanted clothes, and watch the container-sized system recycle their garments.

"Seeing is believing, and when customers see what a valuable resource garments at end of life can be, they will take to recycling and recognize the difference their actions can make," says Bang.

The Garment-To-Garment Recycling System is the result of collaboration between HKRITA, the H&M Foundation and a textile-recycling mill and local spinning mill. The sys-tem is located at The Mills in the Centring district of Hong Kong, a newly repurposed former textile mill.

The system is placed in a container of 40 feet, exhibiting the complete production process. And the steps include sanitization of the collected garments, removing hard trims such as buttons and zippers, cutting the fabric into smaller pieces, opening and mixing fiber, carding, spinning, doubling, twisting, and eventually garment knitting.

Speaking about the recycling project, Edwin Keh, chief executive officer of HKRITA, says: "After successfully developing recycling technologies, we have devoted effort to put them into practice. Our recycling systems represent the industry's innovation efforts. These not only revitalize a decades-old industry, but also do it sustainably."

Cher Chui, the first customer of the retail shop, purchased knitwear costing more than HK$600 ($77).

Gloria Yao, the project development director of HKRITA, says that the selling price of recycled garments will come down once people accept the technology.

The H&M Foundation is projected to invest 5.8 million euros ($6.7 million) with HKRITA over four years.

The investment is made possible through the surplus from the H&M group's in-store garment collecting programs, which is donated to the H&M Foundation.

The H&M Foundation allocates 50 percent of the total surplus to research on textile recycling and the other 50 percent to projects focusing on equality and inclusion of marginalized groups.

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2018-10-13 07:28:29
<![CDATA[Tmall helps Maybelline New York lipstick make a big splash]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065527.htm The newly released Maybelline New York lipstick sold over 30,000 pieces in China on the day of its launch, the company said in Shanghai.

Maybelline New York, one of the largest American makeup brands and a subsidiary of L'Oreal, worked with Tmall, a brand of the Alibaba Group, for the launch.

According to Miao Leiqin, the market manager of Maybelline New York, the overall sales are expected to surpass last year's lipstick launch by Maybelline New York.

"The lipstick that we launched last year was very successful," says Miao. "But consumers now no longer only to choose the matte texture lipstick, but prefer the moist, clear and high luster product, so we launched the new product," Miao says.

Meanwhile, the latest Shine Compulsion Crush series has been released only in the Chinese market and is yet to be available in the US, Europe, and other Asian markets, says Miao.

Speaking about the event, Xiu Xun, the marketing director of the Tmall Brand Marketing Center, says: "Tmall Super Fans Day is the marketing IP that we launched this year. We define it as the brand's fan carnival."

Maybelline has worked with Tmall for a long time.

In March, Maybelline and Tmall launched the FIT Me Liquid foundation.

The sales of Fit Me exceeded 100,000 pieces on the day of its release, which broke three beauty makeup records - the top one sales of new products launched by Maybelline; the top one sales of new products launched by Tmall in the beauty makeup industry and top one sales of new foundation products of Tmall.

heqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-13 07:28:29
<![CDATA[Reaching impossible heights]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065526.htm Xia Boyu, who climbed Qomolangma on his fifth attempt to become China's first leg amputee to conquer the world's highest mountain at 8,844 meters, refuses to give up

Since he conquered the summit of Qomolangma recently, the 69-year-old leg amputee, Xia Boyu, has become an inspirational figure for the Chinese public with his story of never giving up.

After achieving the feat on May 14, he returned to Beijing to receive medical treatment. But over the past five months he has visited many parts of the country, giving speeches to the public about Qomolangma, the lack of oxygen there, the mountaineering equipment needed to climb it and the risks he faced.

"Although I stayed on the summit for less than 10 minutes, it took me more than 40 years to achieve my ambition," says Xia, who finally climbed the world's highest mountain on his fifth attempt - standing on the peak at 8,844 meters above sea level - to become China's first double-leg amputee to conquer Qomolangma.

He says that as he has no ankle joints - with both his legs amputated below the knees - and depends on his prosthetic limbs it is easy to slip and fall.

In 1975, Xia Boyu attempted to scale Qomolangma for the first time as a member of the Chinese mountaineering team, and encountered a blizzard. Then, his feet were frostbitten and his legs were amputated.

In 2014 and 2015, respectively, he was at the base camp of the south slope of Qomolangma in Nepal, but could not proceed due to an avalanche and an earthquake.

Later, in 2016, Xia tried to climb the mountain for the fourth time. But when he was less than 100 meters from the summit, a snowstorm blocked his way.

"I have been fighting mountains for my entire life. A film with me as the protagonist is being made," says Xia.

The story is compiled by Zhu Xingxin and translated by Zhang Lei.

 

Xia Boyu climbs the incense burner peak in the Beijing Xiangshan Park. Photos by Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

 

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2018-10-13 07:28:09
<![CDATA[Optical collusion]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065525.htm Shady Character brings the flavor of film noir to eyewear - and style sleuths are hot on the trail

Glasses don't have to be geeky or gawky - now you can exude an air of fatalism and even a hint of menace with these '70s throwbacks from Shady Character.

Like some nefarious conspiracy, the original brand was hatched in a basement in Manhattan back in the city's Gotham days. It gained notoriety after conspiring with the James Dean Foundation to resurrect the movie star's eyeglasses look. But it was to be a short-lived caper, as the eyewear racket was on the wane and the Shady crew had no choice but to pop a cap in it.

Contrary to belief, the dead do tell tales, and the Shady legend eventually reached the ears of The Light Company in Japan. They made comic artist Aaron Lang an offer he couldn't refuse, and he put pen to paper to exhume a few shifty types from the past - and from a familiar dystopian future - to sport the new Shady Character autumn/winter 2018 collection. Styles include Alpha, with classic Wellington frames, "bowtie" rivets and a "keyhole" nose bridge. These are fairly close to the James Dean model, but Alpha gives them a superfly '70s flavor. Then there's Mechanic, which combines Wellington and titanium frames, and features bowtie rivets adorning both arms and frame - channeling that Charles-Bronson-with-a-death-wish look. For the ladies, there's Sailor, a clever reinterpretation of the Wellington frame with a slightly raised "cat's eye" - perfect for dames with a burning secret.

Word on the street is that there's a Shady shipment coming in at the bay - Causeway Bay, to be exact - at I.T Hysan One, along with I.T Silvercord. But if you want to be in on the big buy, you'll need to look for the elusive Neith brand kiosks. Shady Character offers models for both sunglasses and spectacles, and there's a whisper that optometrists will be there to help with various lenses when the standalone store opens later in the year.

Things look to be on the level.

- CDLP  

 

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2018-10-13 07:28:01
<![CDATA[Back in Black]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065524.htm Vinyl's superior sonic qualities endear it to audiophiles, while younger people are beguiled by its aesthetics - not least of all the album covers

The march of progress often tramples viable older tech underfoot, only for it to make a comeback later. The boom in artificial fabrics such as nylon, polyester and neoprene last century was followed by a return to cotton, wool and silk, eliciting in many a sigh of relief and comfort. Could vinyl records be set to do the same?

As streaming and digital downloads have become dominant in our "connected world", the compact disc has gone the way of the dodo. This is partly because new computers rarely come with CD players built in, but also because the tangible aspects of CDs, such as the flimsy plastic and paper packaging, hardly inspire devotion. For those who want to hold and feel their music, old-style records are rapidly replacing CDs.

Vinyl sales are at a 25-year high, with pressing plants currently unable to keep up. Stores such as HMV are well-stocked with the black gold. Bands are excited about it, too - for one, 1980s legends Eurythmics are reissuing all their albums on vinyl this year.

For most of the 20th century, the vinyl album was embedded in the world's imagination and on its record shelves. But in the mid-'80s, the rug was pulled out from under music consumers when the CD was foisted on an unsuspecting public. It was digital, we were told, and therefore its reproduction must be perfect.

In fact, however, it was a step backward for audio quality. To make a digital recording, analogue signals have to be "sampled". The CD introduced the 44.1 kHz audio sampling rate, which takes "snapshots" of the analogue signal 44,100 times per second. Each snapshot is then measured with 16-bit accuracy, giving only 65,536 possible sonic values.

Thus, CDs don't capture the complete sound wave. Complex tones, such as trumpets or drum transients, may be distorted because they occur too fast to be converted adequately. On the other hand, the groove cut into a quality vinyl record mirrors the original sound's waveform with a much greater frequency range. And while the analogue output of a record player can be fed directly to your amplifier, digital players need to convert the signal back to analogue.

Barring dust, static or scratches, a quality vinyl record played on good equipment should be more accurate and richer than any CD - and even so-called "lossless" digital formats with much higher sampling and bit rates. While subtle surface noise is a facet of vinyl records, most people grow to appreciate the "atmosphere" it gives. Records do get worn over time, but if looked after properly, they're still far more durable than CDs (and possibly even the internet).

They're less likely to malfunction than CDs or digital files because, well, there's no such thing as a "vinyl virus".

Records also have a wow factor and were one of the most interesting cultural artefacts of the last century. A rite of passage for many music-addicted teens was to raid their parents' dusty record collections (and wardrobes) to discover older music and broaden their horizons. It could be argued that the widely bemoaned quality level of modern popular music (US musician Moby recently shamed it as "terrible - shallow and trite and unredeemable") is one consequence of this heirloom vacuum.

Vinyl's demise also killed the art of visual design. From the American jazz album covers of the '40s and '50s to those of rock and pop a few decades later, cover art became an indelible visual counterpoint to the music of these golden eras. Many bands were intimately involved in the creation of the covers - no surprise, given the art-school background of many.

After the CD format took over the market, vinyl clung to life as a minority interest and due to some DJs' preference for it. It only started to make a comeback in the late 2000s. From less than a million units sold in 2006, Deloitte projects global vinyl sales for this year at 40 million units, mostly in the US, UK and Japan, with a value of $1 billion - about 6 percent of broader music industry revenues. Looks like it's time to start building (or rebuilding) that record collection!

- CDLP

A Brief History of Vinyl

1877:

Thomas Edison invents the "tinfoil phonograph", an analogue sound-storage medium that allows immediate playback. It only achieves novelty status.

1887:

Edison replaces the foil sheet with a hollow wax cylinder and a viable market for sound recordings develops.

1894:

Edison rival Emile Berliner introduces the gramophone system. Instead of wax cylinders, it uses seven-inch discs made of hard rubber, with an inscribed spiral groove.

1910s:

Following a format war, the gramophone dominates.

1919:

Berliner's patents expire, leading to open season on the gramophone system. Standard"78s" are made of shellac, an insect resin.

1930s:

Vinyl plastic discs become common in professional contexts. They are lighter, longer-playing and yield less surface noise than shellac. But they're still too expensive for the home market.

1940s and 1950s:

Polyvinyl chloride becomes the dominant material for records. The 33 1�M3 rpm "long-play" (LP) and 45 rpm formats begin to replace 78s. ]]>
2018-10-13 07:28:01
<![CDATA[The nuts & bolts of memory]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065523.htm It may just look like a river crossing, but history and imagination flow through the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge's veins of iron and steel

As grand structures go, the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge has an unenviable job competing for public attention, and perhaps even affection, with the likes of the Great Wall of China and the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai.

In fact to those ignorant of the bridge's history it may not seem that remarkable. It was, after all, only the third bridge to be built over the great Yangtze, a couple of dozen bridges in China are longer, and its specifications may otherwise seem modest.

Yet the sum of the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge's importance far exceeds the number of its nuts and bolts, and few other man-made structures built since New China was founded in 1949 can rival it for political significance.

Indeed, for generations of Chinese, the double-decker bridge, whose construction was completed 50 years ago, has become the symbol of a collective memory and national pride. It was the first bridge over the Yangtze designed and built by China without foreign assistance.

For a period it was a must-see for foreign state leaders who visited Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, more than 600 foreign delegates visiting the site between 1968 and 1999.

Because the bridge was opened during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), it has often been linked with that red age. Its link with that era is indelible in the minds of many people, reinforced by the Soviet-style statues of workers, farmers and soldiers and sculptured waving red flags that adorn the bridge.

The time for more flag waving is now upon us, for the 50th anniversary of the bridge's opening, and we can be sure that amid the fanfare, the bridge will look better than it has since the day it was inaugurated.

That is thanks to a huge renovation project for which the 4,500-meter-long bridge was totally closed two years ago, after 48 years serving as an artery for the Beijing-Shanghai Railway and as road transport for Nanjing. Its reopening by the end of the year will, of course, coincide with that anniversary.

On the eve of the jubilee Lu Andong, 41, chair professor in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, is looking forward to arousing people's collective memories about the bridge and heralding its reopening in unusual ways.

"The bridge itself is just one element in a much larger cultural message," Lu says. "The physical materials make up a platform that reflect the memories of many Chinese people."

For the past three years Lu has made it his mission to collect those scattered memories in the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge Memory Project, and they went on public display in Bridge Memories: Exhibition of Artistic Works and Historical Materials of Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge at Jiangsu Art Museum last month. The exhibition, sponsored by the China National Arts Fund, will run until December before touring to other metropolises along the Yangtze River such as Wuhan and Chongqing - where the first two bridges over the Yangtze were built.

In the exhibition more than 50 fine art works - canvases, ink-and-washes, woodcut prints, and some more genres - depicting the bridge are on display. Most were created in the 1960s and 1970s, numerous fine art works with the bridge as a theme having been done by students and teachers from fine art schools at the time.

The works typically feature their times, some being paintings that are realistic reflections, but many more including scenes such as chimney jungles or lofty mountains by the river bank, which were then also widely used in publicity posters.

"The bridge is a great achievement of modern Chinese engineering and industrialization," Lu says.

"Such fictional scenes show optimism about the country's prosperity and an eagerness to prove how strong the Chinese people are."

In the earliest years, taking pictures of the bridge was all but prohibited, but that did not stop people decorating household items with paintings of it. Hundreds of such pieces on loan from private collections are on display in the exhibition, including purses, candy boxes, book covers, calendars, radios and even high school graduate certificates.

Lu contrasts the bridge with other political landmarks with national significance including the Tian'anmen Rostrum and the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Representations of the bridge, such as pictures on items of everyday use, were ubiquitous, he says, whereas such representations of the Tian'anmen Rostrum and the Great Hall of the People were restricted.

"So everyone's recognition of it becomes highly personal. When I talk about the bridge the first thing that comes to my mind is not a grandiose national emblem but the stories that people and their families tell."

In 2014 the railway administration asked Lu to be responsible for renovating the park at the southern end of the bridge. Lu, a Nanjing native, was thus inspired to design a series of projects to look for people's emotional connections.

"I didn't want just to create an architectural work and then say, 'That's it.' Protecting history is about much more than looking after built objects. What I wanted as the bridge was being revitalized was the public having a role in that work."

So he rejected any proposal to simply build a memorial hall or to work with a real estate developer to give the project a commercial dimension.

That in turn led to a forensic research of archives as he and his team pieced together a thorough, wide-ranging history of the bridge's construction. The exhibition includes original wooden models that were used to make bridge railings.

Images of key landmarks from all over China are used as relief decorations on the railings. It used to be said that "With one visit to the bridge you get to take a tour of the whole country."

The wooden models come from what had been regarded as junk in an old warehouse. Lu's team also interviewed hundreds of bridge builders, Nanjingers, artists and others for more information.

He found an interview with a veteran soldier who once guarded the bridge particularly moving.

"They didn't have barracks at first and had to live on an iron boat. As wind howled at night there was loud clanging and he could not sleep. They were very poor living conditions, but when he mimicked that sound - and it was most unpleasant - the thing that really resonated with me was his pride."

Now Lu plans to publish those tales through an online database.

"People will be able to bask in the warmth of those stories about the bridge and at the same time show respect for history."

In the bridge park project he has designed several "best spots to take pictures". Each will be decorated with numerous old family photos with the bridge as the background that he has collected over the past few years.

Memories can thus be passed on, he says, and officials archives related to the bridge will also be made public.

Many people are warming to Lu's ideas, and on Sept 9 last year bridge renovation was even halted by railway administration to let Lu run riot with his imagination and that of others.

Twenty groups of people were invited to perform on the bridge, each having three minutes on stage to express their affection for the structure in talent shows or by telling stories.

"Lu's project has renewed the life of this city's public space," says Liu Shengming, deputy Party chief of the Nanjing section administration of the Shanghai Railway Bureau.

"It connects physical space and intangible emotions and gives new meaning to the Yangtze River Bridge."

For Lu, someone with strong emotional attachments to his hometown, seeing new blood flow through the bridge's veins of iron and steel is a dream come true.

Lu returned to China to work at Nanjing University in 2012 after spending 11 years abroad. He studied architecture at Cambridge University before going on to become a research associate there and then spent a year at the Dessau Institute of Architecture in Germany. He has led many research projects on historical constructions in the Yangtze River Delta.

Living overseas has given him an international perspective from which to explain the Nanjing Bridge to the world, he says.

Last year he took an exhibition to the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, putting old items related to the bridge into transparent boxes. Last month he also showcased such historical thinking through another exhibition at the London Design Biennale.

The London exhibits will be moved to the bridge park on Saturday and will be displayed in a huge steel frame - once used to train workers renovating the bridge - to create a new experience for nostalgic Nanjingers.

This suggests that thinking outside the frame is needed not only in explaining the bridge to the world, but in re-explaining it to people in Nanjing, too.

Lu says the southern bridgehead tower will be used as a "vertical fine art gallery" in the future and the first floor will be turned into an exhibition hall on history of the bridge.

He recently launched a painting competition for children in Nanjing in which they can use their unstrained imagination to portray the bridge, and the winning works will be among the first to be displayed in the gallery.

"As the serious image of the bridge as a political icon fades, its historical, cultural and humanistic values linger on," Lu says.

"Why can't we make it soft and warm?"

People from those born in the 1930s to those born this century took part in all the art projects over the years, says Xu Huiquan, director of Jiangsu Fine Art Museum.

"That proves the bridge continues to be an important spiritual landmark and holder for our aesthetics, which have been tested by history."

Today, more than 60 bridges, including those being built, span the Yangtze River. In Nanjing alone there are five. As with high-speed rail, China is leading the world in building large bridges, and Xu reckons that a 50-year old bridge in Nanjing can take some of the credit for that.

"It was from when the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge was built that we began to have all these achievements."

wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-13 07:27:37
<![CDATA[A China perceived over 40 years]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065522.htm

CHICAGO - That is a trip he will never forget. In August 1975, as a member of the US first Congressional delegation to China, Adlai Ewing Stevenson III visited China for the first time.

Stevenson remembered the delegation arrived in Shanghai before taking train to Beijing, where they met then Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.

The US legislators visited China's major cities and rural areas during the 10-day trip. What he perceived then was poverty and the alienation of the people. "People in the streets did not dare be seen talking to foreigners."

"I remember bicycles. I don't remember any automobiles except our own automobiles." That was Stevenson's first impression of China.

Four years afterward in 1979, Deng visited the United States, and Stevenson was in his company. "I gave him a tour of Washington, took him to the Jefferson Memorial and showed him our Capitol."

"He was not a great communicator," Stevenson told Xinhua. But "he began the reform, and changed the world."

Coming from a political family in the US state of Illinois and serving as US senator from 1970 to 1981, Stevenson has had many chances to visit China in different capacities after retiring from politics.

He launched a joint venture in China to introduce advanced communication technologies in the 1990s, and acted as co-chairman of Huamei Capital, a US-China joint venture located in Chicago helping Chinese companies to invest in North American market in the 2000s.

As the chairman of the nonprofit Midwest US-China Association, Stevenson co-hosted China-US West Economic Cooperation Forum in Beijing in 2005.

"I commuted back and forth. Every time I went back to China, it was a different China by every dimension," recalled Stevenson, who is now an honorary professor of China's Renmin University.

"It became more and more developed, more and more crowded. Buildings are everywhere and streets are filled with automobiles, just a totally different country," he said.

"We tried to travel by train so we can see China on the ground, but pretty soon we were traveling by plane and then we could reach more places in China," he added.

Stevenson praised China's achievements in its "very rapid" development since reform and opening-up.

"China never has so many people lifted out of poverty so fast ... and its opening up and economic reforms began only 40 years ago," he said.

"We started the internet for China, now China has more internet users than in the US," Stevenson said. "China's development has been very, very, very, very rapid."

"It is much more open to foreign investment; it has cracked down on corruption," he commented.

"The changes are too big and too many to enumerate," Stevenson stressed.

And China has gone further beyond those. "China now promotes the development of other countries through investment in infrastructure ... Now China's influence spreads everywhere with its investment," he added.

Besides family photos, most of the photos presented on the wall and on the table in Stevenson's study were either taken in China or showing Stevenson being together with Chinese people.

"Now I travel and speak freely in China, and in English," Stevenson said with a happy smile. "I may have more good friends in China than here in the United States."

Stevenson still remembered well his last trip to China in May 2016. "Three reception dinners were given in my honor, and I have friends from all over, new friends as well as old, join me to welcome me, toast me."

"They all joined together and sang Auld Lang Syne. That was very touching," the 88-year-old said. "I would love to go back."

Xinhua

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2018-10-13 07:27:37
<![CDATA[Getting into the spirits]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065521.htm Sales of foreign alcohol brands used to be severely affected by the national anticorruption campaign, but many labels are now making a resurgence thanks to young and sophisticated consumers who are eager to explore new tastes

For Huang Qifang, the highlight of her wedding banquet in 2015 was not the luxurious feast at the JW Marriott hotel in Shanghai, nor showing off the Korean-style wedding photos she spent tens of thousands of yuan on.

Rather, it was the sight of a solitary bottle of Macallan 12 Year single malt whisky that was on one of the 20 tables. It is customary for the newlyweds to demonstrate their gratitude to their guests by serving premium alcohol at the banquet. The most common option is baijiu.

"Everyone was taking photos of the bottle and posting it on their social networks, calling me the first and coolest bride they have seen to offer whisky to guests," said Huang.

 

With the education of different brands, and the introduction of the Michelin restaurant guide, young local connoisseurs have grown more sophisticated and are looking for a different excitement on the palate. Photos Provided to China Daily

"And it was only priced at 380 yuan ($56) a bottle back then, much cheaper than the Wuliangye (Chinese liquor) I put on the other 19 tables," added the 33-year-old Shanghai native.

Huang and her husband - they both used to work in the food and beverage industry in Shanghai - are avid drinkers, spending an average of 6,000 yuan on wine and spirits every month, with whisky accounting for the lion's share.

"Some men splurge on cars. Some women splurge on shoes. We happen to share an interest in alcohol," said Huang, who admitted that she enjoys sipping "whatever gets her tipsy" with her husband every night since they got married.

In their home, their alcohol collection comprises craft beer, wine, gin and whisky.

"The tougher the day is, the pricier the drink we have. And whisky is definitely on the top," she added.

The couple is among the horde of young consumers today who are driving growth in the Chinese liquor market which has been stagnant since 2015 following the introduction of the anti-corruption campaign two years before. Sales of premium liquors like Chinese baijiu and brandy were severely affected by the crackdown as government officials were banned from gifting luxury items.

A 2014 report by Diageo, the world's biggest producer of spirits, showed that the company's revenue in China dropped by 14 percent that year, a result of the anti-corruption campaign.

But many foreign spirit brands and manufacturers have managed to weather the situation by readjusting their strategies in China to focus on the younger generation. In 2017, whisky sales in China soared by 19.5 percent year-on-year to hit 17.4 million liters in terms of imports, according to the Financial Times.

Chinese luxury industry watcher Rupert Hoogewerf, the founder and publisher of Hurun Report, once said that more than 80 percent of the young generation in China has increased their whisky consumption since 2015, with about 70 percent indicating that they would continue to drink more whisky over the next three years.

According to research by Hurun Report, a luxury publishing group based in Shanghai, the average retail price of a bottle of whisky in China is now 520 yuan, while about 30 percent of the consumers they surveyed said they are ready to spend more than 1,000 yuan on a purchase.

Diageo said that its sales in China in the first half of this year had grown 32 percent from the same period last year.

"In China, the consumption of brown liquids such as cognac and whisky has yet to grow. But we think the potential is great. Right now penetration is only at less than 1 percent. This means there is a lot more room for growth," said Jeff Lin, marketing director of Diageo China.

In China, the world's largest alcohol consumer, the sale of local white grain liquor, or baijiu, still far exceeds that of imported spirits. According to data from IWSR, an international alcohol beverage market data and analysis provider, imported spirits account for less than 2 percent of the overall alcohol market in China.

In July, luxury hotel brand Peninsula Shanghai partnered Scottish label Macallan to launch an exclusive 1991 vintage single malt whisky. There are only 220 bottles of this limited edition liquor which was aged in sherry oak casks. The price of the bottles range from 18,888 to 88,888 yuan, depending on the "auspiciousness" of their serial numbers.

"We have already ventured into collaborations with prestigious champagne and wine houses so we felt that it is now time for us to try to move into the world of spirits, especially whisky," said Frederik Van den Borre, the hotel's food and beverage manager.

"I don't think there is a particular trigger event that has boosted whisky consumption in China. It's just that with the education of different brands, and the introduction of the Michelin restaurant guide, young local connoisseurs have grown more sophisticated and are looking for a different excitement on the palate," he added.

Andrew Khan, vice president of LVMH's Moet Hennessy Diageo China marketing department, agreed that targeting the young crowd is the way to go these days. The brand's two key growth engines, he said, are the US and China markets.

In April, Moet Hennessy, which has been in China as early as 1869, launched its 12-day "Hennessy Declassified" campaign in Xiamen, Fujian province, that mimicked the settings of the popular theatrical production Sleep No More by offering young consumers an immersive experience about the production process of its cognac. The event received nearly 4,000 visitors, with about 1,400 signing up for the brand's tasting classes.

"I think the opportunity for spirits is enormous. It's a long game for us, which means that we are only at the beginning despite having been in China for many years now," said Khan.

"There are a lot of people out there who have little knowledge about Hennessy and we believe that is why they are not drinking it. So it's very important for us to share knowledge so that we can introduce our cognac to the new generation of consumers."

Part of Moet Hennessy's efforts to drive brand awareness involve working with Chinese restaurants where chefs design dishes that pair well with X.O. and V.S.O.P cognac. The first dining establishment the brand has partnered with in Shanghai is Cantonese restaurant Yanting, which is located in the St Regis Shanghai Jing'an.

There, Liu Junping, the restaurant's chef, has paired the cognac with Shunde cuisine, which is believed to be the source of Cantonese cuisine. Shunde cuisine is defined by its focus on preserving the original flavors of the ingredients. Dishes are never deep fried or slathered with heavy gravy or sauces.

For the cognac pairing menu, which is available till the end of the year, eight dishes, ranging from cold appetizers to the cuisine's signature fish soup, are complemented with two types of spirits.

"Most of the dishes we have picked feature very light flavoring so that diners can still savor the taste of the two spirits after enjoying the food," said Liu, who admitted this is also his first time pairing his creations with Western spirits.

"I think for whoever is interested in food and beverage, the surprise always lies in the conflict or contrast between different flavors and textures. What nature has gifted us has inspired us to create a variety of tricks on the palate," he added.

xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-13 07:27:21
<![CDATA[Craft beer brewery Stone Brewing opens first Asia outpost]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/13/content_37065520.htm Located in a charming old warehouse that used to be occupied by one of China's most prominent pharmaceutical companies, the Stone Brewing bar and restaurant in a quiet neighborhood in western Shanghai is the brand's first outpost in Asia and a demonstration of how far an independent brewery can go despite not being backed by major parent companies.

The brewery's facility in the city is equipped with a state-of-the-art tap control panel, the first in Asia, that allows for the calibration of carbon dioxide and nitrogen mixes so that the beers taste exactly as they should. The brewery has also developed an uninterrupted cold chain delivery system that would allow it to transport its beers to China at a consistent temperature that ranges between 2 and 8 C.

Stone Brewing's co-founder Greg Koch is well-known in the beer industry for his refusal to sell out to "Big Beer" entities. In fact, Stone Brewing even set up True Craft, a $100 million craft beer angel investor, in 2016 to help small breweries with funding so that they do not have to give up majority ownership to grow.

"Stone Brewing will never sell out. Stone Brewing is sacrosanct," Koch told Fortune Magazine in 2015.

"We're not interested in participating in a cash grab. There are two ways of operating a business - commodity or artisan. We operate as an artisan. We make decisions based on our passions."

Founded in 1996 in San Marcos, California, Stone Brewing has grown from seven employees and an annual production of 800 barrels to 1,100 employees and 330,000 barrels in 2015. It is currently the ninth largest brewery by sales volumes in the United States.

China Daily spoke to Koch on the opening day of their Shanghai outpost.

Why bring Stone Brewing to China now?

It seems like a perfect time. We are here because we are inspired and we want to be here. It's like when you are an artist, you want to bring your work to the people and place that inspire you back. China and this location in Shanghai definitely qualify.

The things that inspire me are the local craft beer scene and the progress and changes happening in China. To me it's very difficult to put the decision-making process into concrete business terms such as the number of people drinking craft beer here. That's too clinical to me.

I only visited China for the first time two years ago. Being here sparked the idea of bringing Stone Brewing to a Chinese city.

What's the biggest challenge you have encountered with this latest expansion?

The single biggest challenge is to find the right location. We were initially 50/50 between Shanghai and Beijing. And we chose Shanghai when we found this location. It just feels right.

Do you plan to open more branches in China?

There aren't such plans yet. I don't want to presume to know what the next three to five years is going to look like. I think our journey is not a well-paved path. We need to take a few steps and look around to decide whether we should turn left or right for the next step. We didn't have to come to China. This is a choice. It's not a part of some master plan.

How did you go about selecting the types of beer offered in Shanghai?

We are just being ourselves. If you go to our California taproom, you will find it's pretty much the same as the tap list here. We are not changing or trying to put on a different personality for Chinese drinkers.

We don't target. We do what we do, and it's up to you to decide whether you are going to pay an extra for our beer. If you are the person who would like to discover more flavors and characters, our job is to simply let you know that we exist.

Have you heard about Beer Lady in Shanghai (a middle-aged Shanghainese lady who sells more than 200 imported craft beers)?

Yes. It's fascinating. That's a place that takes the approach of having everything. It's a wonderful way for people to start their discovery of beer. I think what she does is great, and I don't mean to be disrespectful, but we are using a model of curation like in an art museum. We don't just take everything that exists and put it on the wall and say, "Okay, it's up to you to decide." Curated experiences are created by people who have an opinion and see the world from a unique perspective.

How do you think local consumers would perceive your brand?

A lot of consumers don't really know or ask about our standards of being dependable, realize the importance of freshness and our connection to local communities that we source our ingredients from. But that's okay. It's our job to tell them. But if they are interested to go a little bit deeper and learn about it, I want my consumers to feel proud about what they choose and be inspired. As an artisanal brand, we are also inspired by the great work of other people in the food and beverage industry.

xujunqian@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Stone Brewing's co-founder Greg Koch. Provided to China Daily

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2018-10-13 07:27:21
<![CDATA[THE EMPERORS' OLD CLOTHES]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/12/content_37061006.htm A new exhibition at Beijing's Capital Museum offers visitors a glimpse into royal lifestyle during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

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A new exhibition on Manchu-style outfits, utensils and furnishings offers visitors a glimpse into royal life during the Qing Dynasty, Fang Aiqing reports.

A new exhibition at Beijing's Capital Museum offers visitors a glimpse into royal lifestyle during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The more than 130 antiques on show are representative of the rich aesthetics at the time. With a combination of practicality and artistry, they demonstrate the development of craftsmanship during the middle Qing period.

One of the key exhibits is a yellow brocade changfu robe, emblazoned with dragons and clouds, that used to belong to Hong Taiji, one of the founders of the dynasty. It is the first time that the robe has been exhibited to the public.

Changfu was a type of Manchu garment, typical of the Qing era. Emperors, empresses and concubines usually dressed in changfu for festivals, celebrations and sacrificial rites.

The emperors also wore changfu to attend jingyan, lectures specifically held for them to study historical classics and improve their cultural literacy.

According to Tian Xinyou, the exhibition's curator, the changfu robe on display was in the traditional costume style of Manchu and since it was used before the dynasty moved to Beijing, its design had not yet been influenced by Han culture. The cuffs of the robe have a horseshoe-shaped design. Usually, the cuffs were turned up so that it was easier for Hong Taiji, the first emperor of the Qing Dynasty, to move and work, as one exhibit suggests. On cold days, however, the cuffs could be turned down to cover the back of his hands to keep warm.

Such a design complied with the compulsion of the Manchu to spend much of their time practicing archery and riding horses.

There are also a number of portraits on display, and that love of riding is evident in one that depicts Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) on horseback.

There are also a number of household utensils on display, especially those used for dinner, such as a silver hotpot decorated with gold-plated patterns of the Chinese character shou (longevity), as well as a black lacquer plate adorned with gold-outlined patterns of two Chinese landscape paintings.

There is also a small refrigerator on show. Without electricity, the royals of the Qing Dynasty used to use ice cubes to preserve food and fruits. The frame of the refrigerator on display is made of cloisonne enamel that is decorated with hollowed-out, gilded flower patterns on the four sides, while the handles are sculpted to look like lions with rings in their mouths. The middle of its wooden cover is embossed with a gold lacquer dragon.

The utensils were designed to add to the pleasure of the food, but moreover, they played an important role in distinguishing rank and practicing etiquette.

Emperors of the Qing Dynasty used to attach great importance to the study of Han culture. As well as calligraphy and paintings produced by both the emperors Kangxi and Qianlong, the exhibition recreates a typical Qing emperor's study and that of a royal living room, in order to provide visitors to the exhibition with a realistic example of how the royals enjoyed their surroundings.

Items, including jewelry boxes, fans and mirrors, which belonged to the concubines present a delicate and elegant touch. Several small powder cases demonstrate the high level of craftsmanship in glass-making at the time.

All of the exhibits on display, including costumes, accessories, utensils and furnishings, as well as works of calligraphy and art, are usually housed at the Shenyang Palace Museum in Northeast China's Liaoning province. They were moved there from Beijing in the 1950s.

The Shenyang Palace Museum, also called the Mukden Palace, was built in 1625. It was once the formal residence of Qing Dynasty founder Nurhaci and his son Hong Taiji, before the dynasty moved to Beijing in 1644.

Since then, Shenyang - named Mukden (Shengjing) at the time - had served as the alternate national capital. Between 1671 and 1829, the emperors Kangxi, Qianlong, Jiaqing and Daoguang made 10 visits to Shenyang and each spent a short time living there to worship their ancestors.

Emperor Qianlong paid four visits to Shenyang, not only launching renovations and expansion of the palace, but also storing a large number of treasures there.

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, many of the treasures housed at Mukden Palace were lost. However, the number of antiques in its collection has since increased from several thousand pieces in the early 1950s to more than 100,000 pieces.

Han Zhanming, director of the Capital Museum, says the exhibits are intertwined with the history of the Mukden Palace and, to some extent, demonstrate the life, etiquette, cultural beliefs and ethnic features of the Qing era.

Tian hopes that the exhibition will raise people's awareness of the Shenyang Palace Museum.

"The architectural style of the Mukden Palace is an important part of the history and culture of the Qing Dynasty before it moved to Beijing," she adds.

The exhibition, From Shengjing: Household Items of the Qing Royal Court, will run through Dec 2.

Contact the writer at fangaiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

9 am to 5 pm (no entry after 4 pm); through Dec 2(closed on Mondays). Capital Museum, 16 Fuxingmen Outer Street, Xicheng district, Beijing

 

Top and top right: Visitors at an exhibition featuring royal household items of Qing Dynasty at Beijing’s Capital Museum. Above Left: A small refrigerator made of cloisonne enamel, wood and gold lacquer used by the Qing royals. Above Right: Famille rose porcelain kettles made during the reigns of emperors Jiaqing (left) and Daoguang (right). Photos By Zou Hong / China Daily

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2018-10-12 07:40:21
<![CDATA[Chinese composer produces rare work with Norwegian violinist]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/12/content_37061005.htm Norwegian violinist Eldbjorg Hemsing vividly recalls her first meeting with renowned Chinese composer and conductor Tan Dun, saying it was full of good musical energy.

Tan is best known for his soundtrack for movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Ang Lee and Hero by Zhang Yimou.

He is also a recognized composer of orchestra and ensembles.

In 2010, Hemsing was invited to premiere Tan's violin concerto, Love, with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra as part of the World Expo in Shanghai.

Hemsing, 28, was nervous. And before she played the piece Tan asked Hemsing about her thoughts on the theme of the concerto and how she interpreted the story.

"The theme was love and its development was through three parts of music. I explained how I imagined the character in the music, and when I was finished, he said: 'That's exactly the way I describe it'," says Hemsing.

Since then, music has taken the two to a number of performances in China and Europe, as well as premieres, including the most recent Hemsing recording with Oslo Philharmonic of a full album of Tan's works, comprising the premieres of Fire Ritual-A Musical Ritual for Victims of War, Rhapsody and Fantasia, done along with Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.

The works musically connect two of Tan's biggest inspirations - the rich traditions of Peking Opera and the cultural impulses of New York.

Speaking about the Fire Ritual premiere in Oslo, Tan says as Oslo is a peaceful city and Norway a peaceful country, it was fitting for the piece commemorating peace and the victims of the war to be performed in the city, and that it was a magnificent experience and full of positive energy for the future.

"It was an honor to work with Norway's best - the Oslo Philharmonic and Eldbjorg Hemsing - on this piece. It was also an honor to share the love of China and the wishes of its people for a peaceful future through this piece," he says.

The duo will release the recordings in China alongside performances in January. But, before that, Hemsing will give three shows in Beijing and Shanghai over Oct 16-19, working with Tan again and featuring works by him and Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.

"My inspiration for the repertoire selection is China and Norway, a celebration of the cultural heritage of both countries," says Hemsing.

"The selected pieces celebrate the two cultures that constantly inspire me. And in a way my main objective is to use the music to focus on the connections that might have been previously overlooked, following the division between the East and the West."

The violinist says Tan has shown her the beauty and richness of China and the composer's strong cultural roots as well as the very contemporary melodies, in a way, that go "directly to her heart".

Like Tan, Hemsing also has her roots in traditional music.

As a child, she received classical violin training, besides learning Norwegian folk violin and Hardanger fiddle.

"In a way, the two very different music approaches have given me a very strong foundation and flexibility in both the music as well as the technical aspects.

"Though we are classically trained musicians we must not forget our roots, which have also inspired some of the music heroes, including Brahms, Bartok or Tan Dun," she says.

Hemsing, who was born in Nord-Aurdal, Norway, grew up in a family inclined to music, with her mother being a violinist.

Hemsing started her music career with her first performance for the royal family at the age of 6 and made her orchestra debut at the age of 11 with the Bergen Philharmonic.

Her debut album, which was released in March, is a pairing of Norwegian composer Hjalmar Borgstrom's violin concerto written in 1914 with the iconic Shostakovich violin concerto No 1.

"The violin concerto by Borgstrom reminds me of where I come from - the rugged landscape of Valdres and Jotunheimen, where the surrounding mountains rise dramatically over the valleys - and the music makes me yearn for my roots," she says, adding that after Borgstrom's death in 1925, the violin concerto was largely forgotten.

She also recorded albums of Dvorak's Violin Concerto and Suk's Fantasy and Love Song with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra in September.

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2018-10-12 07:40:21
<![CDATA[THE FRUIT OF HIS LABORS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/12/content_37061004.htm You could be fooled into thinking you were looking at a plate of fresh fruit. A strawberry, apple, pear, persimmon and carambola, each one invites you to bite into their juicy flesh. However, all the fruits on this plate have one thing in common - they are not what they seem and they all share one ingredient: flour. They are called mianguo, or "flour-based fruits".

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After five decades, Wang Zhiqiang continues to push the boundaries of traditional Chinese pastry making, Li Yingxue reports.

You could be fooled into thinking you were looking at a plate of fresh fruit. A strawberry, apple, pear, persimmon and carambola, each one invites you to bite into their juicy flesh. However, all the fruits on this plate have one thing in common - they are not what they seem and they all share one ingredient: flour. They are called mianguo, or "flour-based fruits".

Dubbed the "king of pastry", 70-year-old Wang Zhiqiang - who became a pastry chef for Chinese state banquets in his 20s - created mianguo with his apprentices.

It took him more than 20 years to perfect mianguo, and a whole decade just to figure out the perfect solution to creating the colors. He insists on using natural ingredients. The orange color of the persimmon comes from carrot, while the apple's verdant green is derived from spinach.

"We lost count of how many times we tried to simulate the colors. However, sometimes we'd find a good color, but when we steamed it, it would fade away," recalls Wang.

When cooking mianguo, Wang chooses to steam them instead of deep-frying or baking the pastries because it is a traditional Chinese cooking method and the healthier alternative.

"It's like making a steamed stuffed bun, but adding color and three-dimensional contouring," Wang explains.

Wang wants each of his mianguo to look exactly the same as the fruit upon which it is modeled. Taking the persimmon as an example, the leaves on top have to be curly, and the bottom of the persimmon usually has a black spot, which Wang replicates using black sesame.

From the dimpled skin of an orange and the gradient red to yellow coloring of the pear, to the white spot under the pedicel of the strawberry, Wang strives to mimic every tiny detail to ensure his mianguo are vivid recreations.

It's not just the outward appearance of each mianguo that is painstakingly replicated, but also the flavor. Each one tastes just like the fruit it is modeled upon, with Wang creating the fillings with minced, dried fruit.

Wang started to create his first mianguo in the 1990s, starting with carambola. After solving the problem of coloring, the second barrier was to maintain the shape, as the dough gets puffy when steamed and, if it is put on a plate while hot, the three-dimensional contouring will be destroyed.

"We tried different tools and steaming methods to solve the problem, and we finally nailed it by making a special holder. One of my apprentices won gold at a cooking competition by making the carambola," Wang says.

Over the years, Wang and his apprentices have expanded their repertoire to include a dozen fruits, and he encourages his apprentices to continue developing new types of mianguo.

Liu Jitong began studying at Wang's side in 2014.

"I've made pastry for over a decade, but after learning from Wang, I realized the heights that Chinese pastry can reach," he says. "I had heard about peach-shaped pastries for birthdays, but his mianguo are remarkably close to real fruit."

Liu started learning by making the apple dough, and Wang told him to go and buy one and just observe it.

"He said I must see through the apple, so I started to study its shape, color - - every detail."

With Wang's direction, Liu figured out how to make an apple mianguo, before creating a strawberry and a jujube.

Wang is now leading Liu and his team in developing mianguo for vegetables, and they have already created eggplants, bell peppers, mushrooms and cabbages.

"To make vegetables is much harder," Liu explains. "It is not only that the shape of the vegetable is more complicated to reproduce, but Wang wants us to make the flavor the same as the vegetable as well.

Unlike sweet, fruit-shaped mianguo, the vegetable ones are savory. The bell pepper mianguo uses green pepper with pork filling, while the cabbage uses the popular Chinese dish, spicy cabbage, inside.

"The cabbage is particularly difficult because it has so many layers. We need to make it layer by layer, but at the same time fill it so that people don't notice it is there," says Liu, who is currently learning how to make mianguo in the form of bitter gourd, which has an uneven, pustulous skin.

"Wang has made pastry for his whole career, and he now wants to pass his skills on to the next generation with the hope that traditional Chinese pastry can be revived," Liu explains.

To be a traditional Chinese pastry chef, the first thing one has to master is five wrappers - those for dumplings, steamed stuffed buns, shaomai, wontons and spring rolls.

Wang began learning his trade in 1964 when he was just 16 years old. He worked for Qianmen Hotel (now named Jianguo Hotel, Qianmen Beijing) until he turned 60, and now he is a consultant for Yulin Kaoya restaurant.

"For over five decades, I've only done one job - a pastry chef. It's an interesting thing, and I never thought of changing careers," says Wang.

Wang recalls that when he first started on his pastry-laden path, his masters wouldn't teach him too much, so he had to just observe, "stealing" learnable skills.

In 1971, Wang was appointed to make pastry for a state banquet commemorating an international table tennis competition, and he designed the cake to look like a pingpong paddle and used Chinese yam to make the ball.

A year later, during former US president Richard Nixon's visit to China, Wang designed a dish that resembled a panda playing with bamboo for the state banquet.

In 1992, he traveled to Japan to make pastry for his restaurant's Tokyo branch.

Wang has given hundreds of lessons around China since he started to teach Chinese pastry. He has also passed on his skills to more than 30 apprentices.

Zhang Hu started to learn from Wang in 2010. After more than a decade's pastry work under his belt, he is now a professional pastry teacher at a vocational school in Beijing.

"Wang always tells us, to be a good pastry chef, one must be a good person before mastering all the skills," Zhang says.

"He is humble and kind, but if we don't fulfill his request or our work doesn't meet his standards, he gets angry," Zhang says. "He is very strict with us, but he is willing to learn from anyone."

Wang treats his apprentices as if they were his own children, offering his help in every aspect of their lives. Zhang says when one of Wang's apprentices was competing in a competition, Wang gave up his sleep to help figure out how to make the entry work.

"He doesn't want us to make unrealistic pastry or impress the judges, but to make really good pastry that will be appreciated by society, and to improve our skills," Zhang says.

Currently, Wang and his team are working on designing a Chinese pastry set that replicates more than 20 classic traditional Chinese pastries but presents them in a smaller and more modern way.

"The set goes from sweet to savory and each dish is served in small portions so that the next generation can taste traditional Chinese pastry and learn about it," Wang says.  

Chinese “king of pastry” Wang Zhiqiang creates mianguo, which resemble both the appearance and flavor of fruits and vegetables. Photos provided to China Daily 

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2018-10-12 07:40:21
<![CDATA[Younger generation brings new spirit to wine region]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/12/content_37061003.htm The cement road extends straight into the distance of rolling hills.

At the other end, the city and the oasis fade away into a misty horizon.

The road is flanked by endless vines. The end of September is among the busiest days in the wine region at the eastern foothills of the Helan Mountains in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

Workers hurry to pick grapes. Clusters of bluish violet grapes, sweet and succulent, half-dressed in dense, verdant leaves wait for workers to end the game of hide-and-seek.

The recent years have seen a boom in the wine industry in the area, where the gravel soil, ample sunlight, dry air and wide temperature differences between day and night favor the growth of grapes.

Meanwhile, more talent from the younger generation are entering the local wine industry to take up the challenge of competing with their foreign counterparts.

Winemaker Lu Xinjun, 36, is one of them.

Lu was born in Tonghua, in Northeast China's Jilin province. His knowledge about wine was limited to thinking of it a sour or sweet grape-flavored alcoholic drink.

However, his horizons were widened after he enrolled at the wine college of the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University in Shaanxi province, in 2002, where he learned about wine - from growing grapes, making wine and marketing it.

After graduating in 2006, Lu started making wines at COFCO Wines & Spirits.

Then, two years ago, he moved his family to Yinchuan, in order to fulfill his dream to make wine that caters to Chinese taste.

Many of the wines popular in China now are better suited to Western cuisine, in which one kind of wine needs to match one or two dishes.

However, the Chinese have a number of dishes on the table all at once, often with several kinds of local cuisines coming together. Lu thinks Chinese need more easy-matching wines that are more balanced and soft.

To take his ideas forward, Lu, along with Chateau Tianfu GreatWall, has produced a red wine, blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Dornfelder, a kind of grape from Germany.

The wine has gained recognition through various tastings and awards in Berlin and London.

Li Zefu, managing director of Chateau Tianfu GreatWall, says the young people, usually with a professional background, are more innovative and capable of accepting new things.

"They tend to keep a closer watch on marketing trends and are sensitive of changes in consumer tastes," says Li, adding that the average age of the around 20 winemakers in the chateau is younger than 35.

Zhao Shihua, a researcher with the grape industry development department of Ningxia, says that more than 20 overseas returnees with master's degrees in wine-related professions have been brought to the area. Owners of local chateaus are also sending their children abroad to study the subject, Zhao adds.

Also, hundreds of college and vocational college students are majoring in wine-related professions in the region.

The younger generation of winemakers tend to pay more attention to improving their comprehensive abilities rather than focusing on technological processes. However, they still face risks.

"If the chateaus they work for are running badly, they cannot fulfill their potential," says Li.

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2018-10-12 07:40:21
<![CDATA[CHARMING WITH CINEMA]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/12/content_37061001.htm Only eight filmmakers have so far won the Palme d'Or twice, and Bille August is among them. It is the top award given at the annual Cannes Film Festival in France.

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Veteran Danish filmmaker, Bille August, screens his latest epic in Beijing, Xu Fan reports.

Only eight filmmakers have so far won the Palme d'Or twice, and Bille August is among them. It is the top award given at the annual Cannes Film Festival in France.

Nearly one year after the general screening in China of his directorial film The Chinese Widow that is set during World War II, August recently visited Beijing for a limited viewing of his latest epic A Fortunate Man. The film made its international debut at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in the city on Sept 27.

The Danish filmmaker says he hopes the film will be released in Chinese theaters as well.

Adapted from Nobel Prizewinning writer Henrik Pontoppidan's 1904 book, Lucky Per, the 168-minute film recreates 19th-century Denmark in spectacular sets. Starring native actor, Esben Smed Jensen, as the protagonist Per, the story follows the young man's ambition to break free from his father's patriarchal hold in Jutland to climb social ladders in Copenhagen, where he marries into a rich family, but encounters new hurdles.

The charm of cinema, according to August, 69, is to make the audience relate to the world on the other side of the big screen. The filmmaker says while Lucky Per is one of the greatest Danish literary works, only a small number of young moviegoers in his country may have read the book.

For that reason, he sees the box-office performance of the film in Denmark since its release there on Aug 30, as successful.

"American blockbusters are dominating Danish cinemas like what is happening (in other parts of the world), but it (the high revenue of his film) shows that audiences also need stories with substance," said August at the Danish Cultural Center in Beijing during his recent visit.

The film was made with a budget of $8 million, which August admits was one of the biggest challenges, as that is considered expensive by Danish standards.

August was trained as a cinematographer and photographer in Stockholm before joining the National Film School of Denmark where he graduated in cinematography in 1973.

August's international breakthrough came with Pelle the Conqueror, which won him his first Palme d'Or in 1988, and both an Oscar and a Golden Globe, the following year.

After receiving his second Palme d'Or in 1992 for The Best Intentions, written by Ingmar Bergman, August directed a string of big productions, including The House of the Spirits, Smilla's Sense of Snow, Return to Sender and Night Train to Lisbon.

His fascination with the silver screen started early.

"When I was a child, there was no television," he says, adding that back then, once a year, children from schools went to a cinema to watch a film, which was usually a Hollywood Western. One time, a cinema mistakenly screened Italian master Federico Fellini's La Strada, which won an Oscar in the foreign language category in 1957, and watching that film changed August's life.

Now a master himself, August has shifted part of his focus to China in recent years. In 2008, he was a jury member at the Shanghai International Film Festival and presided over the jury panel at the Beijing International Film Festival last year.

"I've always been fascinated by Chinese culture and I read a lot of Chinese novels and books," he says.

During the Shanghai festival, August was approached by Chinese producer Sun Peng and The Chinese Widow was made. Starring Chinese actress, Liu Yifei, and American actor, Emile Hirsch, The Chinese Widow is about a US pilot forced to land in eastern China in the early 1940s, who is rescued by a beautiful young woman, played by Liu, and their subsequent romance.

August visited China multiple times to do the historical background work for the film, according to China Movie Report.

"It (directing the movie) was almost like a dream that came true, because all of a sudden I was a part of Chinese culture," August adds.

What surprised him more was that he sensed almost no difference between filming in China and the West, although he once thought there would be problems with the language or cultural differences.

"The Chinese cast and crew were extremely committed and professional," he says.

China, which is the world's second-largest movie market, makes around 800 feature-length films each year, with nearly 10 percent being productions with foreign filmmakers as well.

"My favorite films are stories about interactions between people. The beauty of filmmaking makes me know about China and the daily life of Chinese people," says the director.

But he has also discovered some shortcomings in the country's movie industry.

"It's a pity that there is so much focus on fast money. I wish that Chinese producers would make more different films about human relationships."

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2018-10-12 07:40:21
<![CDATA[Young acrobats inject energy into tightrope walking]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/12/content_37061000.htm URUMQI - Nurman Guli wears sneakers most of the time - except when she is walking on a tightrope wearing high heels.

The 16-year-old acrobat might be the only tightrope walker in high heels in Xinjiang.

Tightrope walking is known as Dawazi in Xinjiang, and it is believed to have been performed for about 2,000 years.

Traditional Dawazi performers walk on a tightrope made of grass, 15 to 21 meters above the ground, without wearing a safety harness or any protective equipment.

Dawazi was given national intangible cultural heritage status in China in 2006.

"There is no one who can perform Dawazi wearing high heels like me," Guli says.

On 8-cm high heels, Guli can walk on a Dawazi, which is only about 3 cm in diameter.

"Walking on a 21-meter-high tightrope with high heels is more difficult than I thought at the beginning," she says. It took her almost a year to perfect the art.

Guli does not think performing Dawazi in high heels is different from wearing normal shoes, though it does require better control of her center of gravity.

Unlike steel wire, the Dawazi grass rope is softer, making it more difficult to balance on.

For Ayishahim Mamatmin, Guli's acrobatics teacher, the girl is the most talented and hard-working student in her school.

"Guli has an excellent sense of balance," she says.

Guli, who has been practicing Dawazi for more than 10 hours each day since she was 12, says: "I practice every day so I am ready all the time."

Guli is not alone in trying to do something unique.

Gulipia Ghilili, a 12-year-old Dawazi acrobat, can perform ballet steps on the tightrope.

"I want to be the first ballet dancer on the tightrope," she says.

Both girls are students at a Dawazi school in Yengisar county, which was launched by Adili Wuxor, who is in the seventh generation of a Dawazi family in Xinjiang.

Adili has several records in the Guinness World Records organization.

"My students are the future of Dawzai, and undoubtedly they will surpass me some day," says Adili.

After having performed Dawazi in big cities such as Shanghai and Xiamen, Guli dreams of performing on a bigger stage.

"I want to perform Dawazi in big events like the Olympic Games."

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2018-10-12 07:40:21
<![CDATA[Bob Dylan exhibition heads for China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/12/content_37060999.htm A collection of newly created handwritten lyrics and drawings of legendary musician Bob Dylan is on display in London ahead of an exhibition in Shanghai next year.

The exhibition Mondo Scripto is being held at the Halcyon Gallery before heading for a tour of Asia, America and Europe, including a stint at Shanghai's Museum of Modern Art, and gives fans a chance to view handwritten lyrics alongside original sketches by the 77-year-old American artist to illustrate the meaning or context of his songs.

"The fact that Dylan has done this is a gift to all of us ... Dylan has taken the care to rewrite, sometimes changing the words, sometimes changing the phraseology and then doing the drawing with them, which allows the individual to make an interpretation, is perhaps one of the most important historic art statements that has ever been made," Paul Green, president of Halcyon Gallery, says.

In a career spanning more than six decades, Dylan's masterful lyrics have intrigued and fascinated fans, provoked debate over their meaning, and even earned him the Nobel Prize in literature in 2016, the first time it was awarded to a musician in that category.

"Dylan is fairly cursory about what he does, but if you really look and study the songs, it literally does decode some part of the song. Sometimes it's fairly literal and sometimes it's completely not. And there are some things that are absolute statements on current American society," Green adds.

The exhibition is a treasure trove for Dylan fans, with well-known songs such as The Times They Are A-Changin', Blowin' In the Wind, songs that became anthems for the anti-war and civil rights movements in the United States of the 1960s - and Knockin' on Heaven's Door on display.

The influential singer-songwriter is also an author and has created works of art through painting, drawing and sculpting, and Green says a desire to show off this side of his personality was one of the motivations behind the exhibition.

"One of the most important issues in taking a retrospective, in taking his art to China is to once and for all establish him as one of the world's great artists," he says. "Taking the most extensive body of work ever seen to China underpins this."

Mondo Scripto will be shown at Halcyon Gallery from Friday, running through November, and at Shanghai's Museum of Modern Art in May 2019.

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2018-10-12 07:40:21
<![CDATA[A CLASSIC HOMECOMING]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/11/content_37053293.htm Walking down onto the stage through a thick cloud of smoke and loud music and to a wave of cheers from the appreciative audience, Jacky Cheung makes his grand entrance at a Hong Kong hotel ballroom.

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Pop star Jacky Cheung prepares to end a grueling two-year tour with a 15-show stint in Hong Kong, Chen Nan reports.

Walking down onto the stage through a thick cloud of smoke and loud music and to a wave of cheers from the appreciative audience, Jacky Cheung makes his grand entrance at a Hong Kong hotel ballroom.

"I'm still in the mood for these shows," the 57-year-old Cheung announces with a big smile.

He came clad in a bright pink jacket, silver turtleneck shirt and white pants. Cheung is one of Hong Kong's biggest pop stars and has been on his world tour since 2016.

After 191 shows around the globe, he will finally close The Classic Tour, with 15 shows at the Hong Kong Coliseum from Jan 11 to 29, 2019.

As he toasted the crew members who have joined him on his globe-trotting adventure over the past two years, including art director Yee Chung-man and music director Goh Kheng Long, Cheung was full of enthusiasm, while choking back tears of emotion.

"I often got stressed during the tour because lots of things tended to happen. Every week, we would repeat the same procedure and do the same things together," he says. "However, I was always refreshed when I went out on the stage. I practiced my singing at home before the tour began, but it never feels the same as when I sing in front of 10,000 fans."

The singer has made headlines while performing his sold-out shows, but not, as you would expect, for his stellar performances. More than 20 people wanted by police have been arrested at his concerts in the last six months, including a dozen people who were apprehended at his show in Xianyang, Shaanxi province, on Sept 30.

While fans give credit to Cheung's wide popularity, which appeals to people of different ages and all walks of life, the singer says that police relied mainly on facial recognition software to catch the criminals and that "they would be caught by police anyway, and that could happen anywhere, like in a supermarket or at a concert."

He said: "We just need to do the right thing."

It's not the first time that Cheung has embarked on a long and grueling tour schedule. Back in 1995, he had held his record-breaking 100-show world tour. Then, in 2010, Cheung started the Jacky Cheung 1/2 Century World Tour, which has a Guinness World Records' entry for "the largest combined audience of a live act in a year". Between December 2010 and December 2011, Cheung entertained more than 2 million people at more than 140 shows across 61 cities in China, the United States, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

"I prepared myself well for the long tour and what made The Classic Tour special is that I made so many plans for it, such as the song list, the dancing, the costumes and the stage set," he explained.

Referring to the aforementioned crew, he added: "Those people helped me bring my vision to stage, which was not easy."

As you would expect, the music has been the highlight of the tour. Though, while the audience know his songs well enough, Cheung offered his audience new arrangements and adapted some of his performances into a type of musical, an art form which has long been a fascination of the singer.

In 1997, he was the art director of, and played the leading role in, the groundbreaking Cantonese Broadway-style musical, entitled Snow.Wolf.Lake, which was enthusiastically received by both audiences and critics. After more than 40 consecutive full-house performances at the Hong Kong Coliseum, he adapted the musical and premiered a Mandarin version in Beijing in 2004.

"I love various styles of performance, which is in my nature. Although I am approaching 60, I still want to try something new. It's a way to surprise myself and to be different," he says.

Starting his career after winning a singing contest in 1984, Cheung quickly became one of the biggest Canto-pop stars, and is called "heavenly king" by his local followers.

In 1993, 4 million copies of Cheung's album, The Goodbye Kiss, were sold in Asia and, so far, he has nearly 70 albums under his belt, which have cumulatively sold more than 60 million copies worldwide.

His career hit a rough patch in 1988, when his Cantonese album, Dream in Grief, sold less than 10,000 copies and a year later, the singer started to act in films to make ends meet. However, it wasn't all that bad, winning two "best supporting actor" awards - first at the 8th Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in As Tears Go By (1989) and later receiving the Golden Horse for his role in Swordsman in 1990.

Unlike in his younger days, which were governed by tight schedules for recording and releasing albums and acting in movies, Cheung now concentrates on his music performance and his family life.

He likes being expressive on stage and enjoys the limelight, but after that, he returns home and lives a simple life, spending time with his family and watching TV dramas.

"We thank our family ancestors for the good things that happen, such as a successful career. I am lucky because I love performing and I have a talent for it," says Cheung. "People asked me, 'What's next after you finish the 15 shows in Hong Kong?' Well, I still want to tour, and I still have new ideas. I think about singing on stage forever, but I guess it depends on the definition of forever."

One of the best-selling singers from Hong Kong, 57-year-old Jacky Cheung will conclude his The Classic Tour in January with 15 performances at the Hong Kong Coliseum. Kicking off in Beijing in October 2016, the tour has brought 191 shows worldwide so far. Photos provided to China Daily 

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2018-10-11 07:52:12
<![CDATA[Precious artifacts find new platform through TV]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/11/content_37053292.htm Before the first season of the Nation's Greatest Treasures (previously called National Treasure) was aired last December, not many would have believed that cultural relics could create excitement on a TV variety show.

But the 10-episode show shown through China Central Television became a phenomenon.

It earned 9 points out of a total of 10 on Douban, one of China's major film and TV review websites.

CCTV's statistics show that it has attracted more than 2 billion views online.

A total of 27 cultural relics from nine key museums nationwide, which were recommended by the show, turned into star attractions. And the number of visitors at the nine museums during the Spring Festival holiday earlier this year increased by an average of 50 percent, compared with the same period in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the good news for fans of the program is that season two of the show will soon make its debut.

The announcement was made at a news conference on Tuesday at the Palace Museum in Beijing, one of the nine museums that participated in the inaugural season.

The premiere date has not been announced but it is expected to air by the end of this year.

Speaking about the program, Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, says: "Thanks to the show, cultural relics are no more just objects that have to be admired and have no relevance in our daily lives.

"People now realize that these items not only have a brilliant past but also a contemporary significance. And understanding our traditional culture will help us embrace the future."

In the first season, three key exhibits from one museum were selected for a 100-minute episode. And the items were introduced by entertainment stars through short historical dramas, while behind-the-scene stories were later told by scholars and other experts.

For viewers who enjoyed the actors' emotional performances, aimed at showcasing the legends associated with the cultural relics, there is more such drama in the upcoming season.

Yu Lei, the director of the show, says that the unexpected success of the first season put more pressure on her.

"As modern people's tastes in entertainment change fast, we were (initially) undecided on whether to keep it (the inaugural season format) as it was or adopt a new one."

Finally, her production team chose to keep the basic format "unchanged".

But Yu has introduced new elements to the show.

For instance, she says that musicals and dancing will be used in the stage drama section.

"It's better to use the advantage of the variety show format to showcase the beauty of these treasures."

The new season of Nation's Greatest Treasures also has 27 cultural relics from nine museums, as in the previous season.

And the Palace Museum remains in the cast once more, but the eight provincial-level museums from the first season have been replaced.

The newcomers to the show are Hebei Museum, Shanxi Museum, Shandong Museum, Guangdong Muse-um, Sichuan Museum, Yunnan Provincial Museum, Gansu Museum and Xinjiang Museum.

As for the artifacts, Luo Xiangjun, the director of Hebei Museum, says that its Changxin Palace Lamp, a bronze oil-lamp from the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), is part of the upcoming show. The lamp was used by the imperial family and represents the highest level of craftsmanship from that time.

Speaking about Shandong Museum, Guo Sike, the deputy director, says that one artifact related to Confucius will be on the show.

The city of Qufu in Shandong is the hometown of the Chinese educator and philosopher.

Many artifacts in these museums are well known.

For instance, an Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) bronze sculpture depicting a galloping sacred horse treading on a flying phoenix, which is often mistakenly called Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow, is the signature artifact of Gansu Museum. And its representations are also used by China Tourism in its promotion material.

As for the Guangdong Museum, it has many articles salvaged from ancient shipwrecks from the days of the Maritime Silk Road.

The Xinjiang Museum, on the other hand, is famed for its well-preserved tapestries dating back 2,000 years and 4,000-year-old mummies.

All these artifacts are connected to legends and offer immense possibilities when it comes to a TV show, according to the museum administrators.

"Museum administrators' mindsets have changed. We're not only custodians of treasures, but advocates for culture. It's our duty to bring our collections to life through the media," says Shan.

According to Yu, CCTV is also working with BBC World News for an international edition of the show, which will be aired through the British broadcaster.

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2018-10-11 07:52:12
<![CDATA[BOX OFFICE IN THE FALL]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/11/content_37053291.htm The Chinese box office fell to a decade low in earnings for a holiday season during this year's National Day holiday week.

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Film earnings suffer in China during this year's October holiday, a traditionally lucrative season, Xu Fan reports.

The Chinese box office fell to a decade low in earnings for a holiday season during this year's National Day holiday week.

Data from the China Film Administration show the box office made 1.9 billion yuan ($275 million), declining 27.58 percent year-on-year, from Oct 1 to 7.

Compared to 77.2 million movie tickets sold for the October holidays in 2017, the number for this year was 54 million, a 30 percent drop.

Spring Festival, the National Day holiday week and summer vacation are usually the most lucrative box-office seasons in China.

But not all was gloomy.

This year's overall box-office haul reached 50 million yuan on Oct 4, 47 days earlier than when the same figure was met last year, creating a record of using the shortest span to surpass the amount of money.

With star power and an intriguing plot, Project Gutenberg, which has Hong Kong actors Chow Yun-fat and Aaron Kwok, topped the holiday chart this year with 628 million yuan in the first week of October. Comedy troupe Mahua FunAge's feature film, Hello, Mrs Money, came in next with 408 million yuan, followed by Zhang Yimou's martial-arts film, Shadow, at 386 million yuan.

Directed and written by Felix Chong, the acclaimed Hong Kong veteran of crime thrillers, Project Gutenberg is also the highest-rated film of all the new films contending for the holiday box-office this year.

On the country's most popular review website, Douban, the story about counterfeiting US dollars earned 8.1 points, while Shadow got 7.5 points and Hello, Mrs Money received 5.1 points. Shadow has managed to salvage Zhang's filmmaking reputation since his last flop, The Great Wall, the biggest-budget Sino-US production boasting a cast including Matt Damon, Jing Tian and Andy Lau.

But seemingly a disappointment to China's theater operators, who gave Hello, Mrs Money the most screenings on the eve of the National Day box-office "battle", the film adapted from Mahua FunAge's popular stage show of the same title failed to tickle the audience's funny bone. While all three movies premiered on Sept 30, Hello, Mrs Money occupied 39.9 percent of the total holiday screenings. Shadow got 24.7 percent and Project Gutenberg received 20.5 percent.

For most industry watchers, Mahua's formula to create commercially successful comedies probably has lost its charm due to the shifting taste of the domestic audience.

Last year, the box-office champion for the National Day holiday week was Mahua's hit stage show adapted to film, Never Say Die, which earned 1.32 billion yuan in the October holiday.

"Hello, Mrs Money is about a man who disguises himself as a woman. But actor Huang Cailun's makeup - intended to make him look like a charming 'lady' - is obviously unconvincing to the audience," says Wang Xiaoyang, a film critic in Beijing.

"And some of the jokes in the film are a bit lousy."

But for Rao Shuguang, secretary-general of the China Film Association, the box-office decline in this holiday week is also due to an increase in online ticket prices, following the new policy. In the past, audiences could easily watch tentpole films at cheaper presold rates, with the cheapest being 9.9 yuan per person. But now most internet services sell tickets at 35 yuan or more.

"After years of rapid expansion, China's film industry has entered a new era to adjust its direction," Rao says. "Unlike the past, when an A-list cast member and aggressive marketing were useful to ticket sales, word-of-mouth praise has played a more decisive role to influence moviegoers' interest. It will encourage domestic filmmakers to create quality works and lead the industry on a better track."

 

 

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2018-10-11 07:52:12
<![CDATA[Venom dominates North American movie theaters]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/11/content_37053290.htm LOS ANGELES - Sony's superhero film, Venom, dominated the North American box office with an estimated $80.03 million on its opening weekend, marking the biggest October opening ever.

Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, the film is directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy as the lethal protector Venom, one of Marvel's most enigmatic, complex and daring characters. The plot follows journalist Eddie Brock, who is bound to an alien symbiote that gives him superpowers.

Venom topped the previous October opening weekend record of $55.7 million set by 2013's science-fiction film Gravity released by Warner Bros Pictures. The film has earned an epic $205.2 million globally, a new record for the month, according to studio figures collected by comScore.

"The highest-grossing October weekend of all time is on the books with a massive $174.5 million industry total as powered by the one-two punch of Venom and A Star Is Born. This easily tops the $151.5 million earned over the same weekend in 2015 when The Martian led the weekend," movie analyst Paul Dergarabedian with comScore writes in an email.

Venom, which reportedly cost around $100 million to make, received a "B+" rating from moviegoers on CinemaScore. But it received generally negative reviews from critics, with a mere 32 percent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Warner Bros' romantic drama A Star Is Born opened second with an estimated $41.25 million in its first weekend, well above expectations.

Costing a modest $40 million to produce, the remake of the 1937 film of the same name is Bradley Cooper's directorial debut, and stars Cooper and pop singer Lady Gaga, among others. The plot follows a hard-drinking musician who discovers and falls in love with a young singer, Lady Gaga's first lead role on the big screen.

Warner Bros' animated film, Smallfoot, came in third with an estimated $14.9 million in its second weekend, pushing its North American total to $42.76 million.

Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, the film features the voices of James Corden, Channing Tatum and Danny DeVito, among others. The movie, loosely based on the book Yeti Tracks by Sergio Pablos, follows a group of Himalayan yeti who come across a human, with each species thinking the other was just a myth.

Universal's comedy, Night School, moved to fourth with an estimated $12.27 million in its second weekend. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, and starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, the film follows a group of young adults who set out to earn their General Equivalency Diplomas.

Universal's fantasy comedy film, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, finished fifth with an estimated $7.29 million in its third weekend for a North American total of $55.05 million. The film, based on the kids book of the same name, follows a 10-year-old orphan who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house. The house is haunted by the original owner's ghost, who's about to end the world with a clock he had made and hidden within the house before his death.

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2018-10-11 07:52:12
<![CDATA[PLANTING A SEED]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046296.htm "We'd rather eat without meat than live without bamboo," is how the poem by Su Dongpo - one of the most popular poets of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) - explains the Chinese affinity for bamboo.

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A bamboo-gardening competition aims to inspire students' passion for design innovation, while cultivating young talent to fuel the nation's environmental industries, Chen Meiling reports.

"We'd rather eat without meat than live without bamboo," is how the poem by Su Dongpo - one of the most popular poets of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) - explains the Chinese affinity for bamboo.

The spirit of "constructing a human's homeland by melting into nature" was passed down to some modern-day youngsters, when a group of college students built their own mini bamboo gardens in the heart of Beijing recently.

Embraced by bushes and flowers, people in groups of two or three, sat on futons in the middle of a Moebius strip constructed from bamboo at Beijing Forestry University, chatting and drinking tea. The mottled shadow of leaves was cast on them and the aroma of flowers and grass filled the air.

By brainstorming, designing, modeling and eventually actually building their creations, landscape architecture majors got a chance to make their inspirations become reality at the first BFU International Garden-making Festival, held in Beijing from late September to early October.

Candidates were asked to use only bamboo and herbs. A total of 353 teams composed of 1,677 students from 112 universities worldwide attended the event. Only 15 designs were selected to be transformed into actual gardens, each occupying no more than 16 square meters.

Bamboo has, for a long time, been widely used in buildings in Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to Li Zhiyong, deputy director-general of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, co-organizer of the event.

"Bamboo is closely connected with our life," Li says.

The event aims to inspire students' passion for design, encourage innovative ideas, enhance the teamwork and develop the practical abilities of students. It's also meant to cultivate talent for the nation's green and environmental industries, according to An Lizhe, president of Beijing Forestry University, one of the organizers.

The students' creative ideas are diverse, as can be seen in the gardens displayed.

A ball-like bamboo structure with a split that serves as its entrance and a central light hanging from the top attracted many viewers' attention. According to the design team, the ball resembles an empty heart and the bamboo chips, in their disorder, are like messy hair - just what students majoring in architecture look like after staying up late to do homework. It is said that architects are among the professionals who sleep the least.

The breach in the spherical design appeared by accident, but they built on the idea and turned it into a unique and fun design, Chen Du, one of the team members who created the work, was quoted by China Science Daily as saying. The entrance seems like a gate to Shangri-La where visitors can enter and lie down in the curved space.

Another work, named Winding River and Flowing Mountain, connects bamboo tubes like nerve tissue, so that visitors can walk through it, appreciating the beauty of its geometric design.

Wang Ruofei, from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, says the team drew inspiration from an ancient Chinese drinking game, qushui liushang, in which intellectuals would sit by a little winding creek and make a cup float on it. They then took turns to drink and chant poems when the cup floated to them. It reflects the free-spirited, yet elegant, lifestyles of ancient Chinese intellectuals.

Yeon Woo-kim, a participating student from Kyung Hee University in South Korea, says it was inspiring to see other designs. She plans to return for next year's competition.

"Our team began with questioning the idea of why bamboo has to start from the ground and grow upward. So we flipped it upside down and made it falling bamboo," she says, adding that she hopes the design entertains visitors as they interact with it by hitting the bamboo to create music.

Judges of the contest came from a number of countries, such as China, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Dirk Sijmons, one of the judges, who's also former chair and professor of landscape architecture at Delft University of Technology, says he saw the students' enormous creativity.

"The way everyone made use of the specific qualities of the bamboo is fantastic. The 15 portfolios are really different from each other. Each has a concept and worked to that concept," Sijmons says.

The event offers opportunities for landscape architecture majors like Chen Yumeng, a senior from Tongji University in Shanghai, to create physical designs.

Chen's team built a cubic bamboo box with hanging flowers in its central space.

Chen says it was their first time actually constructing one of their designs. And, perhaps most importantly, they better understood the gap between creating a concept and the practical realities of building it.

"The biggest problem was how to stably fix the whole thing to the ground," she says.

"At first, we planned to use bolts, which turned out to be too short to punch through the bamboo. So we had to use belts made of plastic, iron and hemp rope."

She explains that the length, width and curvature of the bamboo in reality is not as consistent as when using computer-modeling software, which posed more challenges for the team during construction.

"We will pay more attention to the small details in the future," she says.

Wang Chuncheng, deputy director of the coordination bureau of the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition, the event's co-organizer, says the festival also aims to help the public learn more about the materials and techniques of gardening so they can improve their living environments.

Sun Zhaoren, another participant from Tsinghua University, agreed. "We've learned more about the application of bamboo and new ways to integrate it into gardens."

As well as the exhibition displaying the bamboo gardens, a series of events were held during the festival that welcomed the public's participation - including a lecture and a bamboo-product-making class. These introduced new varieties of flowers as well as gardening knowledge and skills.

Wang concludes that China is probably one of the countries with the longest history of gardening, yet it still doesn't have an internationally renowned gardening festival.

However, that may be about to change as Beijing will host a large-scale global gardening event in April 2019. Numerous international organizations from 65 countries are slated to participate, according to Wang.

He also hopes small gardens, similar to the ones on show at the competition, can be displayed at the expo, too.

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[Qinglong Hutong gets a new look thanks to renewal program]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046295.htm A year ago, cars and bicycles were parked messily in the alley under numerous cable wires hanging in the air along Qinglong Hutong, but now everything is in order.

From the cool black sign at the entrance of the hutong (traditional alleyways) to the flat asphalt road, the residents of Qinglong Hutong have seen fundamental changes in their neighborhood over the past year.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Qinglong Hutong Community Renewal Project was held on Sept 26, showcasing the first phase of the project. Separately, an exhibition was also held from Sept 22 to 29 to introduce the renewal project to the public.

Covering an area of 243,000 square meters, the project includes office buildings by the inner side of Second Ring Road on the northern side of the Qinglong Hutong that runs from east to west, residential courtyard homes on the southern side of the lane, and the neighboring areas of Dongzhimen Beixiaojie and Cangjingguan Hutong, respectively, to its east and west.

The first phase of the project covers the 1.2-kilometer-long main street, including construction of the lane's "outdoor urban living room", optimization of ground space, a garden, and the relocation of overhead power lines underground.

Wang Ning, Beijing's deputy mayor and vice-president of Beijing Design Week, says: "Two years ago, Copenhagen was chosen to be the guest city of the 2018 Beijing Design Week. Since then, both cities have worked closely on urban renewal and cultural creativity, especially for the Qinglong Hutong Community Renewal Project."

According to Wang, the design of the project combines Danish ideas and Beijing's image as an ancient city, and creates "a fresh model of a modern livable community in the core area of the Chinese capital".

Taking advantage of the opportunity offered by Beijing Design Week, the project is anchored on protection of the ancient city, remediation of multiple alleys and refined management of the metropolis.

It also contributes to the hutong-area upgrading in four respects, including community-environment enhancement, infrastructure transformation and life-quality improvement.

Copenhagen's mayor Frank Jensen says he was excited when Copenhagen was chosen as the guest city of this year's Beijing Design Week, a large design event in Asia.

"The Qinglong Hutong Community Renewal Project is one of the major events of the guest city program, and I hope the project can combine the hutong's cultural heritage and Copenhagen's sustainable solutions for cities," says Jensen.

The project's objectives are integrated with the Danish concept of livable-city construction, applying green, recyclable and sustainable Danish concepts of city design, energy saving and environmental protection.

Mads Jensen Moller, CEO of the Danish design company, Archiland, which has been working on the project since last year, has brought the Danish livability perspective to the program. And he is impressed with its first-phase feats.

Moller is happy to see that all the cables are down and invisible. Also, he says, there used to be a barrier between the northern-side office buildings and Qinglong Hutong.

"That wall is now removed, and there is a small public space in between - that is one of our ideas that has already been implemented," he says.

Moller originally planned a new parking lot to harbor the lane's scattered cars, but the idea hasn't been realized yet.

"I look forward to seeing what the area will look like in a few years," says Moller.

In the second phase, there will be a Sino-Danish innovation center, among other new additions.

 

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[REVIVING AN OLD BEAT]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046294.htm It's the Autumn Equinox and a bright full moon hangs in the sky. Jazz instrumentalists serenade her with colorful riffs and rhythmic sounds, which reverberate through the air filled with the scent of fresh grass as women in vintage dresses practice swing dance moves with their male partners. That was the scene at a Shanghai campsite on Sept 23, which sought to reproduce the atmosphere of the Paramount Hall in the 1930s - when the American Jazz movement finally reached China and the music was frequently performed by bands in city nightclubs.

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JZ music, with its festival, night club and music school is quickly cementing Shanghai's position at the epicenter of China's growing jazz scene, Xing Wen reports.

It's the Autumn Equinox and a bright full moon hangs in the sky. Jazz instrumentalists serenade her with colorful riffs and rhythmic sounds, which reverberate through the air filled with the scent of fresh grass as women in vintage dresses practice swing dance moves with their male partners. That was the scene at a Shanghai campsite on Sept 23, which sought to reproduce the atmosphere of the Paramount Hall in the 1930s - when the American Jazz movement finally reached China and the music was frequently performed by bands in city nightclubs.

The party, which oozed nostalgia, was a snapshot of the 14th JZ Festival Shanghai, where audiences could enjoy the musical feast presented by jazz maestros from both home and abroad, including American saxophonist Branford Marsalis, Spanish trumpeter Andrea Motis, Chinese singer-songwriter Li Quan, and pop diva Yuan Yawei, who is well-known for her soulful, signature jazzy music.

The two-day jazz festival, the biggest in China, originated at a local bar, named JZ club.

The first JZ club, located in the vicinity of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, usually attracted students from the conservatory, many of whom have now become influential musicians.

Chinese trumpeter Li Xiaochuan was among the venue's frequent visitors in the early 2000s.

"I went there almost every night when I studied at the conservatory. It's where I learned the rudiments of jazz," recalls Li.

Similarly, Li's schoolmates Chang Shilei and Zhao Ke, used to perform at the club and have since become well-known respectively as a singer-songwriter and a jazz singer, after performing on TV talent shows.

"I'm glad to see more young people starting to listen to, and play, jazz music," says Ren Yuqing, founder of JZ Music.

Ren opened the club in 2004 to offer a stage for jazz musicians, and initiated the festival in 2005 to "enjoy high-quality music with more people".

As a bassist himself, he says he is always ready to gather more people who share his passion for jazz to "play music and stay young".

Testing ground

For singer Yuan Yawei, who attended the event for the eighth time, performing at the festival is akin to a homecoming, as it has witnessed her growth from novice musician to a rising star.

"I am a fan of jazz," says Yuan. "Ren gave me the chance to sing on the stage eight years ago when few people knew me. The stage here always fills me with awe and respect, which urges me to really put on a great performance."

There's no doubt that JZ Music has solidified the jazz community in Shanghai by providing legions of music enthusiasts with a platform to display their talents and communicate with people of the same musical tastes. Moreover, it has been reaching out to young jazz lovers and educating them at the JZ school since 2006.

Yuan Yijie, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, has played classical guitar for 10 years, but decided to go in a different direction after becoming intrigued by jazz.

He started doing full-time courses at JZ school last year to help make the transition from playing classical music to jazz.

"Playing jazz relaxes me, while performing classical is just the opposite," says the 28-year-old.

He adds that he likes the joyful atmosphere of playing jazz in a band as it requires improvisation and collaborative exchanges among members.

"JZ offers me opportunities to perform on stage," says Yuan.

"I can find and address problems in rehearsals, learning how to collaborate with my peers and to better play in a jazz band."

Wu Zhanxu, 21, a senior from Tianjin Conservatory of Music, used the JZ school as a springboard to reach his dream university, the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in the United States.

Now an electric guitar player, he's trying to find his favorite sub-genre of jazz music and continue to learn it at the conservatory in Boston next year.

Wu once joined a four-week summer camp run by the JZ school to get an overview of the jazz music genre. And this year, when he could spend time to study the music form, he chose to enroll as a full-time student at the school.

"Jazz is a language for me," says Wu. "I learned to expand my 'vocabulary' and then express my thoughts using the existing chords to improvise."

At this year's festival, Wu staged a performance with his band, for which 24-year-old Long Yutong serves as the lead vocalist.

A bridge to extend

Different from Wu, who has received systematic musical training in university, Long, a law major, is a completely-untutored part-time singer.

"I've learned both theoretical knowledge and practical skills here," says Long. "The curricula range from the elementary to the profound, which is useful for untrained amateurs like me."

She adds that jazz helps her understand various styles of music from different cultures, which has helped her to break the habit of sticking to a single style.

Huang Jianyi, JZ school's headmaster, says that the institution aims to prevent young starters from wasting their time and energy by providing professional suggestions and creating a detailed and tailored study plan for them.

"Two decades ago, local jazz musicians of my age had to practice on our own as we lacked a domestic jazz education," says Huang, a pianist who later studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. "Luckily, now Shanghai has brought together the best jazz musicians in China, such as Chinese-American guitarist Lawrence Ku, and the atmosphere here is conducive to educating newcomers about the genre."

JZ school uses textbooks published by Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music, often inviting international faculty to run jazz workshops or master classes. This summer, teachers from Conservatorium van Amsterdam came to Shanghai and held a summer camp for JZ students.

"We want to serve as a bridge between Chinese jazz learners and foreign conservatories, helping to pave the way for those who want to study abroad," Huang says.

There's no doubt that the tight-knit jazz community in China has been winning hearts and minds, and gaining followers, over the past few years. However, it still remains that most Chinese music lovers can name world-class pop stars or rock 'n' roll musicians at the drop of a hat, but are still not so au fait with their jazz-playing counterparts.

Zhao Ke, a jazz singer-songwriter, encourages Chinese audiences to open their hearts and embrace different music styles.

"It takes time to vibe with a certain type of music," says Zhao.

A professional jazz singer since 1996, he keeps working on blending Chinese culture and traditional musical elements into his performances.

"Jazz is like a big net upon which we can knit varied elements," says Zhao. "With this in mind, I've been thinking about what is China's jazz music?"

Trumpet player Li Xiaochuan also wrestles with this question.

"The first step is to introduce jazz to the public," says Li. "Then we need to give it a Chinese flavor.

"That's what we are now seeking, but it encapsulates the effort made by several generations of Chinese jazz performers."

 

Above: Jazz lovers from home and abroad at the recent 14th JZ Festival Shanghai. Clockwise from top: Women dancing with their male partners at the festival; trumpet player Li Xiaochuan; a packed audience at the outdoor jazz show; and singer Yuan Yawei performing at the event, from where she started her journey to stardom. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[Sultan of swing builds empire from the bass]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046293.htm In the hit musical La La Land, the main character Sebastian Wilder is a jazz freak who is eager to revive his beloved music genre by opening a jazz club in Los Angeles.

On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Ren Yuqing embraces the same passion for jazz and had the same dream, eventually realizing it - and so much more. He not only owns a jazz club in Shanghai, but has gone even further than Ryan Gosling's Oscar-winning big screen persona did, founding the company JZ Music and organizing, arguably, the country's premier jazz festival, as well as being a producer, artist manager and music education provider.

"As for the difference between Sebastian and me, he is a jazz pianist while I play bass," the Beijing native says.

Ren was originally a professional bassist who used to play rock 'n' roll in the early 1990s. He once cooperated with the pioneers of Chinese rock including He Yong, Dou Wei and Cui Jian on stage, with fervent fans crowding around them and swaying to the beat.

Later, however, he was lured toward jazz, especially after he performed with saxophonist Liu Yuan, China's "godfather of jazz" - back in 1997.

"Jazz is the sort of music that could enlighten me and make me stay grounded, and I found the joy of being a jazz musician with the two-way chemistry between performers and audiences," says Ren.

In 2001, after two years' study in Singapore, he moved to Shanghai, a place he believed could be the fertile ground for laying down the roots of the country's jazz scene as the cosmopolitan city is a bastion of "open-mindedness and cultural diversity".

Three years later, he opened the first JZ club on the city's Fenyang Road, a high-ceilinged, dimly-lit venue in the finest traditions of the genre, which has since sprouted sister branches in Hangzhou, Wuhan and Guangzhou. Then the JZ Festival Shanghai followed.

"At a jazz festival, audiences can listen to songs they've never heard before," Ren says.

Before long, he noticed that some musicians in China lacked a real understanding of the music and their basic skills were a little lackluster, so he opened the JZ school in 2006, offering direction to professional jazz performance for students of musical instruments and the jazz oeuvre.

"The JZ school aims to teach the young learners the essence of jazz, how to add mood and texture to the music, and how to tell stories by playing their instruments," Ren says. "All the musicians should first learn how to listen."

Branford Marsalis, a world-famous jazz musician who performed at this year's JZ festival, also emphasizes the necessity of listening. "Music is an extension of culture and language," he says, adding that it's essential to immerse oneself in the jazz culture by reading books and appreciating the classics.

Ren's love for jazz is pure, as he believes good musicians play music to fill their hearts, but not their pockets.

The past two decades have seen Ren's efforts to promote jazz to Chinese audiences. He says the payback for him is when he sees the audiences at jazz gigs and festivals growing.

"Nowadays, music plays a big role in young people's lives," he says, noting that hip-hop music, which came to China in the 1980s, has gained a huge fan base because of a talent show, The Rap of China, which aired last year.

"As for jazz, I don't know when a jazz craze will sweep the country. Let nature takes its course," Ren says. "I hope people could open their hearts and open their ears; just try it."

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[CLEANING UP THE PLANET]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046292.htm BEIJING - More than 100,000 volunteers in 132 cities spent a weekend picking up plastic and other waste across the country, in a joint worldwide effort to clean up the planet.

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China joins global effort by mobilizing more than 1 million people to take part in the campaign

BEIJING - More than 100,000 volunteers in 132 cities spent a weekend picking up plastic and other waste across the country, in a joint worldwide effort to clean up the planet.

To celebrate the 10th World Cleanup Day on Sept 15, some 700 non-profit NGOs and social groups held activities aimed at cleaning up the environment and tackling the waste crisis throughout China, mobilizing an estimated 1 million-plus people.

It is the first time that China has participated in the event, which was launched in Estonia in 2008.

On Sept 15, an international civic action kicked off in the Pacific islands of Fiji and Vanuatu, and continued around the globe in a 24-hour marathon that ended in American Samoa.

More than 13 million people from 155 countries and regions joined forces to collect man-made non-degradable trash, according to World Cleanup Day headquarters, which called the event "the largest peacetime civic action in human history".

From snowcapped mountains to vast oceans, people united in taking action to remove waste from the environment to raise awareness of the severity of the crisis.

The Asian countries of Indonesia and Pakistan topped the volunteer chart with 3.3 and 3 million participants, respectively, while in Kyrgyzstan, volunteers accounted for 7 percent of the population.

"Today, I truly believe that, as humans, we do have more hope!" says Eva Truuverk, head of the managing board of the Let's Do It foundation, promoter of World Cleanup Day.

The nation in action

On the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Tsering Chozom and her squad of volunteers swept vast amounts of waste off major highways that bring millions of tourists to the region every year.

Since 2015, more than 200,000 travelers have taken part in the cause by helping local volunteers pick up trash along the "high roads to heaven".

On a national scale, another million people have signed up for the Beautiful Travel program that calls for civility and eco-conscious behavior as tourists.

Lin Peng, a young cyclist and travel aficionado, was alarmed at the damage that discarded waste caused in the sacred highlands when he rode his tricycle along the National Highway 318 from the southwestern province of Sichuan to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet autonomous region.

It took him 92 days to collect non-degradable trash, fill woven bags and hitchhike to the nearest disposal facility.

"I collected more than 500 bags of trash, and that didn't even make 1 percent of the waste I saw along the way," he said in an interview with Xinhua after coordinating a World Cleanup Day activity in his native Jiangxi province.

Lin soon plans to embark on another project to clean up the surrounding areas of Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, in a 500-kilometer-long journey that will take several months.

"My goal is to pick up all the trash scattered across the country, and with my own actions influence more travelers and ultimately society," he said.

"Where there is a will, every day can be and should be 'Cleanup Day'," says Ma Yongjian, a volunteer from Beijing who recently did "plogging" - jogging while picking up trash - with his friends in Yudong Park in the northwest of the city.

Work from the source

Red Bull cans, Nongfu Spring plastic bottles, cigarette packets and Hi-Tiger bottles were the top four waste products in Lin Peng's collection along the Sichuan-Tibet highway.

In Yudong Park, Ma Yongjian and his friends estimated that around 80 percent of the trash was cigarette butts, which, according to a recent study, are one of the most harmful and biggest manmade contaminants in our oceans.

In the meantime, thousands of single-use paper cups discarded along the Beijing International Marathon route drew criticism from the public for being "a competition for throwing away trash".

"We must change the way of living we are used to, to reduce waste from its source," says Joe Harvey, a British national and promoter of "zero waste" lifestyles in China.

He and his girlfriend Carrie Yu created The Bulk House, a brand that provides zero-waste solutions for daily living. In their store located in downtown Beijing, customers can find long-lasting stainless steel straws to replace plastic ones, or bio-detergents that leave no impact on the environment.

They are urging people to reduce or eliminate the use of plastic and single-use disposables, such as plastic utensils, bags and beverage bottles.

Sounding a note of caution, Mao Da, a specialist in environmental history at Beijing Normal University, says: "In recent years, the massive consumption and materialistic frenzy have worsened the waste situation as trash has been produced at a faster pace and in greater quantities."

 

 

A group of young people take part in a "plogging" event this June in Cologne, Germany. Provided to China Daily

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[FUDAN'S WORLDVIEW]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046291.htm Last October, Shanghai released its action plan to serve as a pioneer in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. The next month, Fudan University set up the Institute of Belt and Road and Global Governance.

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A Shanghai university is leveraging its international partnerships to help promote human progress at home and abroad, Cao Chen reports.

Last October, Shanghai released its action plan to serve as a pioneer in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. The next month, Fudan University set up the Institute of Belt and Road and Global Governance.

Fudan University, as one of China's top universities, has considered it a major responsibility to serve as a think tank to assist national strategies and facilitate international understanding as it strives to build itself into a world-class institute of excellence, according to the university management.

"We feel obliged to further facilitate international cooperation and communication among colleges, which shall be aimed to promote the development of human societies and serve the national strategies," says university President Xu Ningsheng.

China has embarked on a development trail with no precedent example to follow, according to Jiao Yang, the university's Party chief who serves as the director of the institute, citing the Belt and Road Initiative.

"As there is no existing model to follow, it takes intellectual support from higher education institutions to promote research on the initiative for policy insight and to facilitate high-level think tank exchange for overall, comprehensive and accurate decision-making," she says.

The university has been preparing for the institute's establishment since 2015 when Fudan chaired a think tank alliance for the initiative.

"The institute has continued to bring together experts and groom talent from across the world to discuss policies and matching strategies, forming an international highway for intellectual exchange and information sharing," Jiao says.

This is made possible thanks to Fudan's extensive cooperation with foreign institutes.

Supported by Fudan Development Institute, the university has built research centers for China studies at foreign universities in Latin America, North America and Europe since 2012, such as at University of California in the United States, University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico.

Xu Xian, director at Fudan-UC Center on Contemporary China, has witnessed the development of the center based at the University of California.

"To build research teams focusing their vision on China in a foreign country is a process requiring great effort, but when everything is done, these overseas centers for China studies will act as a driving force to facilitate academic exchanges and enhance mutual trust between nations," said Xu.

Fudan says it has also launched various exchange programs bringing foreign scholars from across the world to get a better understanding of China.

Geeta Kochhar, a visiting scholar from India, arrived at the university in May on a visiting scholar program sponsored by Fudan.

She set off the program with a round-table discussion on Sino-Indian relations, from which she sensed a strong interest in the attitude toward the Belt and Road Initiative among Chinese scholars based in India.

She has since devoted her time in Fudan to China's new economic policy and Sino-India relations.

"I hope to be able to better explain the relevant policies of the two countries, and to make a contribution to mutual understanding between the two governments," says Kochhar.

To help people to speak foreign language, like Kochhar, who is curious about China and its culture, Confucius Institute branches are gradually springing up at Fudan's partner universities overseas.

As the initiator and dean of Confucius Institute at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, Zhou Bing, also a professor of history at Fudan, says: "The institute is bridging the cultural gap between the two countries and trying to foster a research and teaching environment free from national boundaries."

Until 2017, the institute has enrolled 130,000 international students in Auckland, a city with a total population of less than 1.5 million. Cultural activities held by the institute have attracted more than 200,000 participants, Zhou adds.

Fudan has participated in advancing the establishment of seven Confucius Institute branches globally - including the one in Auckland - three of which have been evaluated as exemplary Confucius institute models in the world.

Academic cooperation is another vital element to achieve the goal of building a world-class university of excellence.

For instance, the Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-Inspired Intelligence at Fudan University has cooperated with foreign universities, like Cambridge University and Oxford University, on achieving outcomes that benefit artificial intelligence algorithms, intelligent diagnosis of brain diseases, brain-analogous chips and new medicine development.

Superior research has laid the foundation for the university's contribution to the world beyond academic circles, and shows humanitarian concern to countries in need. For example, in 2017, hospitals affiliated to Fudan University sent three medical teams of 30 people to Pakistan, Morocco and Madagascar to provide medical assistance.

Lu Hongzhou, a professor specializing in infectious diseases at Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center affiliated to Fudan University, is among those who have battled the outbreak of the Ebola virus in western Africa.

Lu taught locals about how to prevent and control the Ebola virus, and compiled textbooks in English for training doctors, as well as information pamphlets for the public.

He was praised by the local African government and international organizations.

"It is my job as a doctor to cure diseases and save patients, regardless of their gender or nationality," says Lu.

"There is more to do in the future."

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[Brazil's students to pursue aerospace courses in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046290.htm BRASILIA - A group of Brazilian students have recently started postgraduate studies at the Beihang University, previously known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, as part of the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite cooperation program, which turns 30 this year.

Thanks to the program, three groups of Brazilian students have already had the opportunity to hone their skills in China.

The cooperation goes beyond hardware to human resources, according to the president of the Brazilian Space Agency, Jose Raimundo Braga Coelho.

"Since China has the BUAA, which specifically works in the space field, we expanded our cooperation to the area of human resources," says Coelho.

"We have sent people to do postgraduate and specialization courses, all financed by China, which shows its great regard for Brazil," he adds.

The program which began in 1988 has become a model of South-South scientific and technological cooperation, benefiting both countries.

Currently, eight Brazilian universities offer degrees in the aerospace field, which in itself is already a great achievement, says Coelho.

The Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific, which was inaugurated at the BUAA in 2014, offers scholarships for Brazilian students in the master's and PhD programs in space technology.

Brazilian students, who are granted scholarships at the BUAA, take the required Mandarin courses and receive free lodging on campus and a monthly stipend.

Their studies range from global satellite navigation systems to space law.

"Space law is a very important topic," says Coelho, adding there is a need for the creation of laws for the peaceful use of space, and China has created this specific course.

Ana Paula Castro, a major of aerospace engineering who graduated from the University of Brasilia, is among the new batch of students who recently began studying in Beijing.

"When I found out about the opportunity to study space law, I was very interested, because in Brazil we don't have too many specialists in the area," says Castro.

"I think it can open many doors for me, and it could also be a way for me to contribute to the Brazilian aerospace sector."

Meanwhile, Castro has submitted a preliminary project on space garbage that "looks" 100 years into the future to see what might happen if measures are not taken now to regulate waste in space.

"A professor also proposed that I research the potential benefits of space for the world's poor communities," she says.

Leticia Santos Lula, another graduate of the University of Brasilia, is doing a master's degree in microsatellite technology in Beijing on the recommendation of one of her predecessors.

"A friend came last year to study ... He had other options in Brazil, but chose to do his master's in China and he told us it was a very good decision," says Lula.

She did not rule out staying on in China if the opportunity arises.

"I'm going with the hope that, along the way, other opportunities will come up. It could be in my academic career, in industry, if some opportunity presents itself to stay there I may go for it," she says.

 

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[UN official lauds Chinese school]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046289.htm UNITED NATIONS - The director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, Jorge Chediek, last month commended the leadership of the China Agricultural University for launching two major platforms for exchanges in agriculture and rural development.

At Global Thinkers Dialogue: China's South-South Cooperation in Agriculture, Chediek said the establishment of the China Belt and Road Institute for Agricultural Cooperation and the China Institute for South-South Cooperation in Agriculture will contribute to agricultural and rural development research and knowledge sharing, as well as promote agricultural cooperation and innovation worldwide.

Agriculture is the single largest employment sector in the world, providing livelihoods for 40 percent of the global population, he said.

"It is the largest source of income and jobs for rural households.

"One key way we can enhance agricultural and rural development is through South-South sharing of experiences," he added. "This can be attained through adopting, adapting and broadening best practices that promote agricultural development that is continuing to increase between developing countries."

He praised China as the leading agricultural producer among developing countries, saying it has made great strides in reducing hunger and has used its own experience to support other countries to follow suit.

He expressed the hope that dialogue will provide the opportunity to learn from China's expertise, best practice and the lessons it has learned in areas such as providing education and agricultural training, enhancing scientific research, and building and strengthening value chains.

Sun Qixin, president of the China Agricultural University, said that South-South cooperation has become an "undeniable" force in pushing forward global growth.

He presented "An Evaluation Framework for the South-South Cooperation and its Application in the China-Tanzania Cooperation" at the meeting, saying that this report aims to shed light on the tools and methods needed for this kind of cooperation.

Adonia Ayebare, ambassador of Uganda to the UN and president of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, noted at the meeting that Africa is a net food importer and that the region needs to overcome the daunting challenge of feeding 1.5 billion people by 2030, and approximately 2 billion people by 2050.

"There is, therefore, an enormous need and an opportunity for Africa to develop its agricultural sector," he said, underscoring the benefits of South-South cooperation for Africa's agricultural industries.

 

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[Airbus seeks ideas among innovators]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/10/content_37046288.htm

TIANJIN - Airbus has just launched its 2018 Fly Your Ideas global competition for the China region, encouraging young Chinese innovators to come up with unique ideas and solutions for the aerospace industry.

The contest was launched on Sept 14 at the Civil Aviation University of China in North China's Tianjin municipality, also the home of one of the assembly lines of the A320 aircraft family.

"Airbus is seeking innovative ideas and digital solutions that could change aerospace in the decades to come and create a safer, cleaner and better-connected world," said George Xu, CEO of Airbus China.

"China is not only a big market for Airbus but also a great innovative power that Airbus must appreciate and embrace. We have confidence in China's innovation power, especially among the younger generation," said Xu, in front of more than 700 students and aviation professionals at CAUC, one of China's major education bases for aerospace professionals.

Fly Your Ideas is a global competition for university students from all over the world to innovate for the future of the aerospace industry.

Since its launch in 2008, more than 20,000 students from around 650 universities in over 100 countries have participated in the event.

The focus of the 2018-2019 edition is digitalization. Global participants can propose their ideas and solutions to meet the challenges in electrification, data services, cyber security, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Six teams worldwide will compete to share a prize fund of 45,000 euros ($52,565) and the chance to take their idea forward within the industry.

Chinese students have participated in this competition with outstanding results.

In 2011, "Wing of Phoenix" from Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics University won the top prize, and "DAELead" from the University of Hong Kong was the global champion in 2017 with their innovative idea of "Private Stowage Compartment".

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2018-10-10 08:04:09
<![CDATA[Discounting all the differences, we're just not so different]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/08/content_37032500.htm I've lived in China for a number of years now. So long, in fact, that I feel - in my own, foreign way - well-acclimated to my surroundings.

Every few years, when I return to my native United States, I'll run into one or another old acquaintance, who invariably asks: "So, you live in China? What's that like?"

I'm usually at a loss for words at first. My immediate thought is, "It's normal." But then I recall the strong curiosity, excitement, the surprise and sometimes puzzlement I felt in my first few years here. I'll recall some detail or anecdote that conveys those feelings to tell my acquaintance.

People get accustomed to their surroundings. It takes some unusual event to remind you that nothing around you seemed so everyday at first as it is does now.

I witnessed just such an event a few weeks ago.

One of the greats of jazz music was coming to Beijing to give a few performances, and I managed to get tickets for the opening night.

I first heard of Arturo Sandoval in the mid-1980s. An acquaintance gave me a video of the Cuban - now Cuban-American - musician engaged in a battle of the trumpets with jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie.

Gillespie, one of the inventors in the late 1940s of a type of high-energy jazz whose progeny still rules the genre, looked grandfatherly next to the brash, young Sandoval, but he was still in top form.

Gillespie would lay out a searing set of notes that you'd never have expected would work together. He'd dart around the stratosphere like an iron-clawed swallow, hang in space, climb again and plummet back to Earth.

Sandoval would pick it up where Gillespie left off, weaving a Latin labyrinth around Gillespie's ideas. Each time anew, he would add a twist that somehow heightened the excitement. He simply couldn't be outdone.

It was stunning, and it was clear from Gillespie's reactions that he thought so, too.

The Beijing performance came a few weeks ago. Sandoval took the stage leading a typical jazz ensemble with the additional spicing of a Latin percussionist.

The first two numbers were hard-hitting to the n'th degree ... they received tepid applause.

In a change of pace, the third number was a more introspective jazz version of what I'm told is a familiar Chinese folk tune.

Again, lukewarm applause. Looking genuinely perplexed, Sandoval approached the microphone and asked if the audience appreciated the music, and if so, why so little reaction?

In the West, jazz audiences might shout encouragement to the musicians as they play. They'll certainly applaud and cheer, if not during, then at least after solos they like. They're raucous and boisterous.

It occurred to me that Sandoval might be unfamiliar with Chinese audiences, that he mistook a prevailing sense of courtesy and modesty for disinterest.

The performance continued and, like the then-young Cuban's answers to Gillespie's forays in the trumpet battle, outdid every expectation. Afterward, I waited amid a buoyant crowd of Chinese listeners in the club's foyer to congratulate the trumpeter.

When I first came to China, I believed that people everywhere are more or less the same. But in my first months or year in Beijing, so many of the things I saw challenged the notion.

So I've revised the thought.

Yes, we are all the same - we just have different ways of showing it.

Contact the writer at lydon@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-08 07:54:24
<![CDATA[Glorious porridge]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027456.htm Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

My father's family comes from Shunde, Guangdong province. It is a land of milk and honey, full of pleasures and treasures from mountain and sea.

If the best chefs from China come from Guangdong, then the finest chefs from Guangdong are from Shunde. Food is everything to the Shunde native, and the appreciation of good food is deeply ingrained in genetic memory.

At the heart of this culinary heritage is just one word - fresh.

 

Rice porridge can be served at breakfast or dinner, depending on how luxurious they are. Provided to China Daily

Ingredients, from meat to vegetables, must be absolutely fresh. That often means food must still be alive minutes before it is tossed into the frying pan.

All five meals are important, but breakfast is especially significant, with a wide assortment of noodles, rice rolls, dumplings ... and rice congee.

Shunde porridge must be carefully and slowly brewed from specially prepared rice. It is a smooth and silky congee, boiled down so every grain blooms and melts and fuses into one hot, steaming bowl.

The culture of the rice gruel is almost a separate cuisine by itself, and it features a range from the very simple to the absolutely decadent. The most basic is a plain rice porridge, seasoned with a drop of oil and a pinch of salt and served at breakfast to wake the palate and prepare it for more complicated flavors later in the day.

Its accompaniment may be a simple stick of youtiao, the deep-fried dough fritter, or more often than not, a combination of dough fritter wrapped in a rice roll, known as zhaliang. The crisp fritter, the silky rice roll and the velvety porridge make for the perfect combination to start the day.

Another popular breakfast variation was black pudding porridge, with pig's blood added to the white congee.

Porridge is served not just at breakfast. It is eaten just as often for lunch, dinner or supper.

On the other end of the spectrum are the luxurious seafood porridges flavored with lobster, sea cucumber and precious abalone. These would be seasoned with dried sea whelks and dried scallops, with the porridge forming a crucial backdrop.

In old Guangzhou, there was an area known as Lychee Bay that was famous for its sampan porridge, tingzhaizhou. It started out as poor man's fare, and was cobbled together from what couldn't be sold from the catch of the day.

The enterprising fisher wife marinated fish slices, little squids and baby prawns and tossed them into rice porridge, garnishing the bowl with fried peanuts and crispy, deep-fried vermicelli crackers.

They would row their little boats, or sampans, close to shore and sell their porridge to late-shift workers or revelers from the nearby red light district. This simple bowl of porridge was so popular that it became associated with the area, and now Lychee Bay sampan porridge is well-known in Chinese communities worldwide.

Another Cantonese classic is pork porridge, a hearty bowl featuring almost every part of the pig but the oink.

Pork bones are simmered to get a rich stock in which to cook the porridge. The meat is minced with pickled vegetables to form tiny meatballs that are cooked almost instantaneously when added to the hot gruel. Carefully cleansed and marinated slivers of kidney and liver, big and small intestines, thinly sliced fillets and sometimes even chunks of brain are all added.

Every bowl of porridge is individually cooked. The various bits and bobs are placed at the bottom of the bowl, and the scaldingly hot rice porridge is poured onto them.

Mothers would feed their children this before an important test or examination, because it was known as the "scholar's porridge".

According to culinary legend, the famous Cantonese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) scholar and wit Lun Wenxu ate this regularly before he sat for his imperial examinations, and when he topped the list, this porridge became even more popular.

Maybe it was the chunks of brain in the porridge that did the trick.

These day, the pork porridge is served with less exotic additions, with only meatballs, sliced pork, kidney, liver and small intestines. It is still a savory treat, especially with a raw egg broken into the bowl.

The other ingredient very often used in Cantonese porridge is fish. Shunde is known for its fish ponds lined with mulberry trees, and the crucian carps raised in these waters are sweet and crisp.

The fish is filleted and sliced paper-thin. The skin is attached for better texture, and scalding hot porridge is poured into the bowl to cook the fish. Fried pickled vegetables, youtiao croutons and shredded fresh lettuce are added as garnishes.

In addition, pieces of the gelatinous fish head are sometimes cooked in the porridge for yet another satisfying dish.

Shunde chefs are always innovative, and in recent year, they have added yet another new way to eat porridge - as the base of a seafood hotpot. Everything from lobsters, abalone, sea cucumber, salmon, oysters and clams is placed in there to cook, and after the delicacies are done with, the porridge is portioned out and enjoyed for its essence of seafood.

Rice porridge - will you ever look at it the same way again?

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipe

Scholar's porridge

(Serves four)

2 cups rice

8 cups pork stock

1 kg pork bones

2 slices ginger

200 g fatty pork mince

1 tablespoon Tianjin pickled vegetables, dongcai

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Salt and pepper

200 g pork liver

1 set of kidneys

200 g pork loin, thinly sliced

Cornstarch, salt, ginger juice, Chinese wine

First, soak the rice in plenty of water, with a tablespoon of oil added. Leave for at least six hours, or overnight.

Prepare the stock by first blanching the bones. Rinse them clean of scum and place in a large pot with the ginger slices and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for an hour.

Clean the kidneys, removing any white membranes and lighter-colored sections. Scour the surface in a diamond pattern and cut into slices.

Remove any veins from the liver and cut in diagonal slices. Marinate with cornstarch, salt and pepper and a little Chinese wine and ginger juice.

Slice the pork into thin slices and marinate with cornstarch, salt and pepper.

Make the meatballs by mixing the minced meat with the chopped pickled vegetables and season with salt and pepper and a little cornstarch. Mix well in one direction and set aside.

Wash the rice, rubbing the grains gently between your palms. Rinse and drain.

Bring the 8 cups of pork stock to a boil and add the rice grains. Bring it back to a boil again, then cook on medium heat till the grains blossom. Turn down the heat to a hard simmer and cook till the porridge thickens and is smooth. Ideally, you should not see any rice grains at all.

Shape little meatballs by the spoonful and drop into the porridge. You can add the sliced pork fillets now as well.

Just before serving, bring the whole pot to a bubbling boil. Tip the kidney and liver slices in, count to three and switch off the heat.

Serve immediately. Season individually with more salt and pepper and sesame oil. You may want to cut up some youtiao as croutons to serve with the porridge.

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2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[Man of many words]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027455.htm Like the willow seed he read of when he was young, Zhang Mingzhou is leaving his mark on the world

For a man who grew up in a remote border village in Heilongjiang province, Zhang Mingzhou's career has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Starting out as a junior diplomatic staff member, he later became a cultural exchange agent before becoming a publishing copyright manager. Yet the pinnacle of his career came recently when he was elected president of an international organization for children's books - the first Chinese person to do so in its 65-year history.

"I would not have dared to have dreamed about this life without the aspirations I developed when I was growing up reading books," Zhang said in his acceptance speech.

 

The pinnacle of Zhang Mingzhou's career came recently when he was elected president of the International Board on Books for Young People, the first Chinese person to do so in its 65-year history. Photos Provided to China Daily

When it was announced that Zhang had been appointed to be the president of the International Board on Books for Young People on Sept 1 in Athens during the IBBY's 36th biennial congress, which saw 600 delegates from 79 countries gather together, he said he felt "the kind of peace you get watching the still surface of a lake" rather than excitement, he told China Daily later.

"I feel grateful for literature and the unique power it has to bring about happiness and offer hope to children by developing their imagination and changing their lives for the better," he says.

"I heard only one voice deep down, saying I should live up to my fellow friends' trust, and strive to fulfill my mission and responsibilities," Zhang says.

Zhang says he found encouragement from a rival candidate who finally decided not to run but instead chose to support his bid.

Brazilian illustrator Roger Mello says he is also happy about Zhang's election. He calls him "our hero". Australian Trish Amichi says the job has been handed to the best possible candidate, and believes that "the IBBY will do even more amazing things with Zhang at the helm".

An international nongovernmental and nonprofit organization established in 1953 with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, the IBBY gathers together editors, writers, illustrators, librarians, professors, publishers and members of the media to promote the writing and reading of children's books, aiming to enhance communications and world peace.

The biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award, the world's top honor for children's content creators, was set up by the IBBY in 1956. Cao Wenxuan was the first Chinese writer to win the award in 2016.

Zhang's first contact with the organization was in 2002. Since then, in the big international family as he calls it, he has been serving as one of the 10 members of the board's executive committee, before being nominated as vice-president in 2016.

It was then that the international literary community began to become more familiar with the reading habits of Chinese children and to recognize how Chinese writers and illustrators liked to mingle tradition with a contemporary outlook in publications aimed at children.

Before Cao, Chinese writers tended only to make the long list for the Andersen award and never advanced any further. In 2015, Wu Qing, a professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, was elected to judge the award. Subsequently, Xiong Liang made it to the illustrators' short list for the award in 2018.

Veteran publisher Li Xueqian says the presidency is not only a recognition of Zhang's previous efforts but also a product of China's reform and openingup. The country's international standing and publishing industry have grown alongside the country's economic development.

People often cite Zhang as a perfect example of the "Chinese story", as his success has both mirrored and contributed to the progress the country has made.

Every step he has taken and the choices he has made seem to reflect this.

It all started when Zhang, who was born into a teaching family in 1968, bought a picture book at the age of 9 with the money he earned by collecting and selling recyclable waste.

The book was The Travel of A Tiny Willow Seed, which tells the story of how a seemingly insignificant seed manages to float around the world.

"It opened up the world to me. It made me want to visit every corner of the world," he says. And that is exactly what he did.

Thanks to his hard work, he moved from Heilongjiang to study at Shanghai International Studies University, before joining the Chinese Foreign Ministry after he graduated.

"This experience helped me in my job in an international organization," he says.

He later started up a company organizing international cultural exchanges before he became manager of the international copyright section of the China Children's Press and Publication Group.

"I fell in love immediately with the IBBY when I attended its Basel Congress in 2002, especially after learning that its mission was to promote international understanding through children's books," Zhang says.

"I was really thrilled by the idea that a book can offer a life-changing opportunity to financially restricted children like myself," he adds.

Zhang became an active and creative force on the world stage that the IBBY provided.

In 2006 the organization's congress met in Macao. As one of the organizers, Zhang invited children from different countries to visit and talk at the conferences and forums aimed at adults.

While serving on the IBBY executive committee for four terms from 2008, his foreign colleagues constantly encouraged him to run for president.

He quit his publishing job earlier this year and decided to give it a shot.

"Believing in the same ideals, I wanted to help the IBBY to take it to develop further," he says.

He has already helped forge an agreement between the IBBY and the International Publishers Association and helped set up a national section for Sri Lanka.

"I hope more countries will join the IBBY," he says. "There are so many touching stories from the reading promoters, I want them to be known by more people."

One of the major plans for his term is to raise the organization's public profile around the world.

Zhang says he will encourage more young people to work in the organization and continue to develop projects like Children in Crisis and Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities.

His first job as president was to launch the IBBYiRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award.

The China-based iRead Foundation will award two reading promoters from impoverished areas around the world with a prize of 200,000 yuan ($29,000; 25,000 euros; £22,500).

Vassiliki Nika, president of IBBY Greece, says: "Today, the IBBY's mission - which is more urgent than ever before - is becoming a vehicle for studying the way stories and fairy tales mix, mingle and interact through different peoples' visions. Understanding and goodwill among people, as well as equal opportunities for every child in the world can only be attained when books offer a bridge between different peoples and civilizations."

Zhang supports this aim and believes that China has never been closer to the center of the global stage in terms of children's publishing thanks to the reform and opening-up process that has helped so much to boost its international standing in the publishing sector.

"I hope my presidency will help enhance China's dialogue and cooperation with its world partners," Zhang says, adding that the organization is not just about China.

"I support the creation and production of high-quality books for children worldwide. I want children everywhere to be given access to books on equal merit. Through our work, I hope to see children grow up with healthy personalities and the ability for independent thought, and a sense of inclusiveness toward other cultures," he says.

"Above all, I hope they will have an awareness of the mission of building the world as community with a shared future," he says.

meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[When the page of literature turned]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027454.htm In 1978, when China's reform and opening-up was about to be launched, Ruan Chen, a 9-year-old book lover in Shanghai, was looking for more reading material.

It was not long after the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), a time when a limited number of literary and art books from overseas were published in the country.

Later that year, Ruan heard from her parents that some Western classics - such as Spartacus by Raffaello Giovagnoli, and The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, both published by the Shanghai Translation Publishing House - were available in bookstores, but people had to line up to buy them with special coupons.

 

A selection of covers from popular books published since 1979. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

"After the 'cultural revolution', there was a book famine in China," said Ruan, now director of the editor's office at the publishing house.

In an article about the first issue of Foreign Literature and Art, a bimonthly magazine published by the publishing house, Chen Sihe, a professor of Chinese language at Fudan University in Shanghai, wrote: "On May 1, 1978, people crowded into Xinhua Bookstores in cities across China to buy carefully chosen literary classics of new editions such as Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Honore de Balzac's Pere Goriot."

All these classics were new editions of those published before the "cultural revolution", Ruan said. At the time, the Shanghai Translation Publishing House and the editor's office of foreign literature at the People's Literature Publishing House, the two major publishers of foreign literature, had just been set up.

Ruan's mother was able to buy a copy of the first edition of Spartaco available in vertical typesetting, and the first edition of The Red and the Black by Stendhal (pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle), which featured a grid-patterned cover and was part of the Grid Classics Series.

"We bought versions of The Red and the Black in both vertical and horizontal typesetting," she said as she sat behind the reception counter at an exhibition to mark the Shanghai Translation Publishing House's 40th anniversary.

The copy of Spartaco she owns was showcased on the second floor at the exhibition, together with a first edition of The Decameron. There were also first issues of the bimonthy Shijie Zhi Chuang (Window on the World) in 1978, the bimonthly Foreign Literature and Art in 1979, and the Chinese version of the French fashion magazine Elle in 1988.

Chen wrote of Foreign Literature and Art: "The magazine was founded in late 1978, when China's literary and art circles had just woken up from the 'cultural revolution' and were cautiously opening the doors and windows to foreign culture and art."

The foreign literature available at that time comprised basically classics.

Chen wrote: "Modern Western literature, however, was still regarded as a cultural black hole that we needed to treat cautiously, due to ignorance. ... At such a time (the late 1970s and '80s), young intellectuals needed to borrow universal experience from other countries to understand their situations and how they should feel about these situations. After reading those classics, young people like me simply wanted to read - and not just beautiful ancient works."

In Foreign Literature and Art, Chen found contemporary works, including Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata's short stories such as The Izu Dancer, four works by Italian poet Eugenio Montale, Jean-Paul Sartre's play Dirty Hands and a translation of part of Joseph Heller's novel Catch 22.

"Reading the bimonthly allowed me to blend into the modern world," Chen wrote, "I found that my mind should have belonged to a new world: a mental situation in a modern social environment," Chen wrote.

Since those days, the barren landscape for books has been transformed. Last year alone, China acquired the rights to publish more than 17,400 titles from overseas.

The year 1988 was a significant one for China's publishing industry, when some of the country's biggest houses, such as Yilin Press and China Citic Press, were founded.

The growth of major publishers such as the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, Yilin Press, the People's Literature Publishing House and China Citic Press highlights the different demands of Chinese readers over time, especially for foreign books.

In 2000 the People's Literature Publishing House published the Chinese version of British author J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The Harry Potter books have influenced a generation of Chinese children, especially those in one-child families, who have grown up with the characters in the books.

Beijing Horizon, founded in 2002, published The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini in 2006, which has been on the annual best-seller lists for years.

China Citic Press, known for its books on economics and management, has published best-sellers over the past two decades.

These include Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson in 2001, Greed, Fraud & Ignorance: A Subprime Insider's Look at the Mortgage Collapse by Richard Bitner in 2008, The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen in 2010, Steve Jobs: A Biography by Walter Isaacson in 2011, On China by Henry Kissinger in 2012, The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in 2014, and Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters in 2015.

Gu Aibin, editor-in-chief of Yilin Press, said that in the past 30 years, books published by the company have ranged from foreign literature to liberal arts and, more recently, popular science works, clearly mirroring the changing demands of Chinese readers.

"Thirty years ago, readers devoured anything available due to the shortage of books. Now, they choose books very carefully for an enjoyable reading experience, which is the result of 40 years of reform and opening-up. People's material lives have been greatly improved, and so have their spiritual lives."

Graduating from Nanjing University in Jiangsu province in 1986, Gu joined Yilin when it was founded in 1988 to introduce foreign literature to China, and to translate it. Apart from the best-selling Yilin Classics Series, the company led the way in introducing contemporary works of literature.

"From these works, Chinese readers learned about the latest developments in other societies and avant-garde ideas in literary creativity, which influenced many contemporary Chinese writers," Gu said.

At the three-floor exhibition marking the Shanghai Translation Publishing House's 40th anniversary, white Chinese characters hung above the entrance, proclaiming Shijie Youwo Gengda (A sail at the force, a world bigger than before).

On one wall were covers from the Translation Classics Series published in the late 1970s and '80s, including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maughan, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Lord of the Flies by William Golding and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Elsewhere, visitors could find works by writers such as W. H. Auden, Susan Sontag, Haruki Murakami, Jorge Luis Borges, Milan Kundera, Vladimir Nabokov and Philip Roth. Murakami and Kundera are extremely popular in China.

Poetry, essays, literary criticism and dictionaries were on display.

Since the Chinese edition of Country Driving, by Peter Hessler, a journalist and writer from the United States, was published in 2011, Zhang Jiren, director of the editor's office for social sciences at the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, said 30 nonfiction works had been published by the company, and many had been well received by readers.

Country Driving and River Town, also by Hessler, have each sold more than 300,000 copies in China. Shark Fins and Sichuan Pepper, a book on Chinese food by British writer and cook Fuchsia Dunlop, which was published in July, has been reprinted four times.

"Writers like Hessler, Dunlop and Michael Meyer, who wrote The Last Days of Old Beijing, observe Chinese society, people, cities and culture through foreign eyes, providing very different but interesting perspectives for us to understand China in a broader sense," Zhang said.

When Zhang, a philosophy graduate, joined Shanghai Translation Publishing House in 2003, he started editing books on 20th century Western philosophy for the Black Cover Series.

In 2006, the company changed its strategy and decided to target a wider market.

Zhang had always been interested in Hessler's writing in The New Yorker magazine, and when the author finally decided to publish his books in Chinese, Zhang approached him. The books have sold well.

"I love River Town the most because it is well written. Its style is unique. Through the descriptions of details in Chinese people's daily lives, you can see the changes that have taken place in China in the past three decades, which I think is also why Chinese people like him."

In the company's nonfiction series, Zhang and his colleagues later published more books, not only about China but also on topics such as public health systems, loneliness in modern society and aging problems, "in which we can learn from Japan", Zhang said.

Unlike Zhang, 30-year-old Gu Zhen is a newcomer to Shanghai Translation Publishing House, working in the literature office. Gu joined the company in 2013, and apart from editing books, he writes a column for the Shanghai Book Review and also translates books.

"If you look at the contributors to STPH's Classic Translations Series, many of them are also translators," Gu said. "It's a company tradition. Editors can do things they like - more than just editing books - such as writing or translating."

In March the company published The Dyer's Hand and Other Essays by W. H. Auden, which was well received by literary critics. The work is a collection of the author's essays, including his lectures as professor of poetry at Oxford University in which he gives his opinions on poetry, art and life.

Gu Zhen said: "It's always fun to see how these literary masters talk about literature and art. Because they hate mediocrity ... especially in opinion, language and expression, they give very interesting interpretations."

Books that feature well-known writers discussing literature and art are becoming more popular, with Nabokov's Lectures on Literature, Lectures on Russian Literature and Lectures on Don Quixote, published by the Shanghai Translation Publishing House, selling well.

"Before, we relied on Lolita to sell Nobokov's other works ... but only Lolita sold well. But this year these lectures on literature have sold well on their own without the influence of Lolita," Gu Zhen said.

He has been attempting to tread his own path as an editor, striving to find a balance between his own tastes and those of the public.

"One of the projects that I am working on concerns the five books by Edward Aubyn that feature Patrick Melrose, which were adapted for a TV series in Britain, Gu said.

"I put forward the proposal before the series was broadcast. Aubyn writes so well that I wanted to bring the books to China.

"I found five people to translate them. Their ages vary, enabling us to experience Melrose at different ages."

yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[Remnants of a superpower]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027453.htm From millennia-old remains and ancient ruins to the birthplace of soccer, Linzi offers a journey into China's rich cultural history

I walk through an underground tunnel and stare at the 2,600-year-old funerary horses and chariots. There is a seeming confluence of millennia as I hear the hustle and bustle from the highway above my head.

Adding to this sense of timelessness, the buried chariots face the same direction as the traffic above.

Linzi - a district of Zibo, Shandong province, today - is not an unfamiliar name for anyone with a basic knowledge of ancient Chinese history: It is one of the oldest Chinese cities that is still inhabited today.

 

 

Top and above: Figurines in the Football Museum in Linzi depict the ancient game of cuju, which was first played as public entertainment in Linzi; staff members at Qi Heritage Museum play Qi musical instruments. Photos by Wang Kaihao / China Daily

Despite that, however, it is the highly developed chemical and mining industries for which Linzi is probably most famous. Even many of the locals say their hometown is hardly ever associated with tourism.

However, during construction of the aforementioned highway in 1990, the discovery of the funerary pits unveiled the city's past glory and made people realize that their history is the most precious resource they have.

Because this area is also a hotbed for Houli Neolithic Cultural Heritage - which dates back about 8,000 years - archaeologists conducted field research before the thoroughfare's construction to ensure that no important relics would be missed or damaged during the work.

Accidentally, they unearthed two intact funerary pits from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). As well as many exquisite ornaments, the find included 10 chariots and 32 horse skeletons in the larger pit, and three chariots and six horse skeletons in the smaller one.

Although the canopies of the chariots have rotted and disappeared over the centuries, it is still easy to imagine the high status of the tomb's occupant through the remnants.

Upon its discovery in 1990, the site was named among the entries in the first edition of China's top 10 new archaeological findings, an annual list that is often dubbed "the Oscars of Chinese archaeology".

No grave has yet been found to identify the aristocrat to whom all of this finery once belonged, but it is enough to reveal the prosperity of the Qi state, of which Linzi was the capital.

Qi first rose as a vassal state of the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century to 771 BC) and gradually grew into a superpower in its own right, before surrendering to the first emperor of China, Qinshihuang, as part of his unification of the country.

On the basis of the chariots discovered in the two pits, the China Ancient Car Museum was established to offer a comprehensive view of how the chariots, as well as other types of ancient Chinese vehicles, have developed over time. It remains the only museum in China to focus on the subject.

The exhibits range from models of early chariots from the Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), to those reflecting various kinds of siege equipment from different historical periods, which are all based on archaeological discoveries made nationwide. Other carts and methods of transportation are also on display, showing facets of people's daily lives.

Standing in the exhibition hall, it's easy to envisage busy caravans trundling along the ancient Silk Road.

While the Qi state may have missed the cultural opportunities offered by the famous Eurasian trade route by decades, one of its creations is, to this day, used as an important platform to connect people around the world - soccer.

Cuju, literally translated as "kick ball," is an ancient iteration of the world's favorite sport and, according to multiple historical records, it was first played as public entertainment in Linzi, before later being used for military fitness training. The ball was made of four pieces of animal hide, stitched together and filled with fur.

In 2004, Linzi was designated by FIFA as the wellspring of soccer and the true home of "the beautiful game".

Consequently, it seems somewhat fitting that a Football Museum has been established as a way to connect the area's rich cultural past with today.

About 30,000 artifacts have been collected by the museum to offer a clear introduction to how cuju evolved and became popular in ancient China.

The development of the ball from a four-piece object to a more complicated 12-piece design is also shown. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the ball was no longer filled with fur, and inflated pig bladders were introduced to give the ball more resilience and buoyancy, enabling them to fly through the air rather than simply roll along the ground.

The Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) ushered in a national cuju championship, which was held on the top of a mountain.

During President Xi Jinping's visit to the United Kingdom in 2015, he presented a copper statue of a cuju player to then British prime minister David Cameron, a replica of which is displayed in the museum.

After President Xi's state visit in 2015, an annual soccer symposium was launched, alternately hosted in Linzi and Manchester, to explore cooperation of the two countries' soccer industries, also strengthening the emotional bond between the birthplaces of ancient and modern soccer.

The museum, though, is not only about the ancient version of the game. Every season, before all tiers of the Chinese professional soccer leagues kick off, ball-picking ceremonies are held in the museum to pay homage to this birthplace of the sport.

The lingering hills on the backdrop of the city's skyline are the mausoleums of Qi kings and aristocrats. Archaeologists have decided to keep these rulers resting in peace without disturbing the huge earthen pyramids. Consequently, tourists can only learn more about the magnificence of that vassal state by visiting the Qi Heritage Museum.

Opened in 2016, it traces the nearly one-millennium history of Qi through the 3,000 cultural relics on display.

From the exquisite bronze wares and figurines to weapons and musical instruments, it is worth spending at least an hour and a half there to gain a comprehensive understanding of this land and its people leaving on it.

One of the most highlighted exhibits is Xizun, a bronze wine vessel in the shape of a rhino, which dates back to the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). It is decorated with gold and silver wire, as well as turquoise, and represents the state-of-the-art techniques of that period.

With plenty information and accompanying displays, the museum is also a good place to learn about iconic local figures such as Duke Huan of Qi, who created the first superpower in the Spring and Autumn Period, and Guan Zhong, a renowned reformer and chancellor of the state.

"Sages of Qi state advocate practice, reform, creativity and open mind," says Ma Guoqing, director of the museum. "These ideas of governance still resonate today in our finest traditional culture."

wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[The birth of gourmet culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027452.htm So you want to start a restaurant in China - circa the 10th century.

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An 11th-century dynasty gave the world the modern restaurant - complete with menus, waiters and the feudal version of Michelin stars

So you want to start a restaurant in China - circa the 10th century.

This isn't a bad idea. The timing is perfect: In 965 Emperor Taizong of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) (宋太宗, sòng tài zōng) lifted 宵禁(xiāo jìn, the curfew laws that had suppressed nightlife across Chinese capitals during predecessor dynasties). Suddenly, in the Song capital of Bianliang (present-day Kaifeng, Henan province), "night markets stayed open until midnight and resumed at dawn, and there was mischief all night long", wrote 12th-century gourmand Meng Yuanlao (孟元老) in Reminiscences of the Eastern Capital (《东京梦华录》, dōng jīng mèng huá lù).

 

Location is everything. According to Meng's contemporary the historian Cai Tao (蔡绦), Bianliang had a dedicated street "teeming with night markets and restaurants... carriages and crowds, and lanterns that lit up the sky", even keeping away mosquitoes and flies.

By the 12th century, the new Song capital, Lin'an (present-day Hangzhou, Zhejiang province), had replaced Bianliang as the world's largest city, with about 1 million inhabitants. The party didn't end, though: "On the main street of Lin'an, there was commerce day and night," Lin'an native Wu Zimu (吴自牧) recalled in his memoirs, listing roughly 600 dishes found in the capital's hundreds of teahouses, bars, high-end restaurants and noodle shops.

Song restaurants even had their own star rating system - as Lu Zhishen (鲁智深), a maverick monk from the 14th-century novel Water Margin (《水浒传》, shuǐ hǔ zhuàn), finds out the hard way. Leaving his monastery for a drink one evening, Lu is rejected at every watering hole in town, his alcohol-starved brain taunted by rows of "tavern flags jutting from the eaves". Eventually he finds a dive "deep among the apricot blossoms at the edge of town", hung with only a grass curtain, and willing to serve meat and alcohol to the Buddhist monk.

Adapted from military flags, the tavern flag (酒旗, jiǔ qí) - also known as 酒望 (jiǔ wàng, tavern streamer), 酒幌 (jiǔ huǎng, tavern drape), or锦旆 (jǐn pèi, brocade flag) - had become common business advertising by the eighth century. An eatery dishing up one or two specialties might put up just one 酒旗 inscribed with its name or main product, but a sit-down restaurant with a menu had to have at least a second flag.

Three flags were never used - three drapes being a homonym for dishonesty - but four indicated that the chef had mastered a regional culinary style. At a five-flag restaurant, banqueting officials, reveling merchants and even ordinary diners could command dishes from anywhere in China to their table.

In fact, according to economist Nicholas Kiefer, Song innovations like menus and table service were the prototype of the modern restaurant. Kiefer stipulated in a 2011 Cornell University quarterly that public dining usually only took place at inns, where traveling strangers gathered at set mealtimes and ate whatever was served. In China, the earliest recorded inns were actually state-operated roadhouses (驿站, yì zhàn) that housed and fed officials on work-related journeys before the 11th century BC.

Privately run visiting houses appeared in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), catering to lower-class itinerants; "craftsmen, doctors, fortunetellers, healers, peddlers and businessmen all plied their trade in the visiting houses," stated the Book of the Han (《汉书》, hàn shū). However, urbanization and the rise of commerce in the Song Dynasty changed the image of public eateries: State-run and privately owned 酒楼 (jiǔ lóu, wine mansions), usually the only multistory buildings in the neighborhood, were patronized by literati, who ate upstairs in one of dozens of private dining rooms and were given ink and brushes should the spirit (or spirits) move them to compose poetry as they supped.

With the location picked and flags unfurled, it was time to hire staff. Waiters - known as "shop's No 2" (店小二, diàn xiǎo èr) - were the linchpins for the fast-paced 酒楼. "The men of Kaifeng were extravagant and indulgent. They would shout their orders by the hundreds: Some wanted items cooked and some chilled, some heated and some prepared, and some iced or delicate or fat. ... The waiter ... carried (the orders) in his head, and sang them when he got into the kitchen," Meng wrote. "In an instant, the waiter would be back, carrying three dishes forked in his left hand, while on his right arm from hand to shoulder he carried about 20 bowls doubled up, and he distributed them precisely as everyone had ordered without an omission or mistake."

Private rooms in Hangzhou's 酒楼 were served by wine courtesans "all dressed colorfully, each competing to smile more brightly than the other", as described in The Affairs of Wulin, a 13th-century memoir. There were also "young girls whom nobody ordered" running into the rooms to sing or loudly recite poetry for attention, as well as musicians, acrobats and even connoisseur courtesans who helped the guests pick out their wine.

Despite these opulent dressings, 酒楼 and mischief went hand-in-glove in the public's imagination: In Water Margin, heroes Song Jiang (宋江) and Chai Jin (柴进) are eating in a private 酒楼 room when they hear a disturbance next door. Rushing in, they find Shi Jin (史进), a tattooed fellow outlaw, soused and swearing - the start of a chain reaction that culminates in an all-out brawl in the capital.

Song era 酒楼 "went in and out of fashion regularly", according to Meng, but conquest from the northern tribes finally brought down the curtain on debauchery in Bianliang in the 12th century, then Lin'an a century later. Gourmet culture, though, persisted: Marco Polo referred to full-service restaurants during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and missionary John Henry Gray wrote of 19th-century businesses similar to the Song's 酒楼: a set of private apartments over a public dining room above a ground-floor kitchen, displaying the chef's skill and fresh ingredients "to persons in all classes of society ... rich and poor".

Courtesy of The World of Chinese; www.theworldofchinese.com.cn

The World of Chinese

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2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[ANYONE FOR A WHITE RABBIT? CHINA'S MASSIVE SNACKS INDUSTRY GOES BALLISTIC]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/06/content_37025581.htm Increasing affluence of people has seen nation's diet change radically, with implications for long-term health

"Snacks? I don't think we had the concept in my childhood," recalls Gao Cuiling, now 54 years old, and reminiscing about being a girl back in the 1960s.

That may well be, but nowadays she's busy taking care of her one-year-old granddaughter and fretting about how to prevent the baby from gobbling snacks that might taste good but aren't suitable for her.

Gao's early memories are shared by many of her generation. During the 1960s, China's total grain output had increased, but by today's standards it was meager. And the production record set in the 1960s was still only 210 million tons, equivalent to 280 kilos per person for the whole year. That's enough to fill peoples' bellies, but not enough to support any vibrant national snacks-producing industry.

The snacks made at the time were more like luxuries, too, beyond the reach of ordinary folk. Back in 1959, ABC Mickey Mouse Sweets - which later morphed to become the famous White Rabbit Creamy Candy and whose history can be traced back to Shanghai in the 1940s - accounted for so high percent of the monthly salary of an average worker during that period that it was considered luxurious.

Things fared a little better in the late 1970s. "During festivals we got some additional food such as sweet rice dumplings for the Lantern Festival, or rice cakes for the Dragon Boat Festival," Gao said.

"They're probably the earliest snacks in my memory, if you insist on calling them that," she adds.

It was after the Reform and Opening-up in 1978 that China's economy really took off, which in turn caused a food boom. In the 1980s, China's food production kept growing and finally reached 400 million tons in 1989, double the record set in the 1960s.

That also marked the start of the massive consumption of snacks in the country.

The 1980s: Time for a snack

According to the theory of human needs propounded by eminent US psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1940s - a list of 'must haves' depicted in a pyramid with the most basic needs like safety at the bottom, ranging to self-actualization at the top - food is a dominant, core imperative. A look at history also shows that when a nation steps out of poverty, the first thing people do is to move their palates and stomachs onto the finer stuff.

Back in the 1980s, Chinese people, who were just getting a taste for the good life, were very creative in sniffing out the snacks they liked, which in turn created enormous business opportunities.

The above-mentioned ABC Mickey Mouse Sweets, which had already changed its name to White Rabbit Creamy Candy, seized the opportunity and forged its prime place in the pantheon of the national snacks industry.

A previous luxury, it repositioned itself successfully, leaving consumers nationwide with the idea "You can now enjoy luxury, too", winning it the warm affection with consumers it enjoys to this day.

In the hall of fame for drinks, the most successful brand has to be Jianlibao. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games China's women volleyball team scored gold, overnight inspiring and fueling both sports mania and national pride.

Jianlibao capitalized on that, popularizing the concept of "sport drinks" with China's consumers, with such success that at one point it had an extraordinary market share as high as 70 percent of the country's soda drinks sector.

For some born in the 1980s, Jianlibao was pretty much the only soft drink they would think of drinking during the summer.

There are a raft of other examples from the period. Fudges in orange, apple, pineapple and other flavors gained popularity, too, while canned fruits, mostly brewed in sweet drinkable water, became the preferred gift for those visiting patients in hospitals.

Nowadays nostalgic Chinese, whose childhood was in the 1980s, are very fond of recapturing the sweet moments of the time. Just do an online search on "snacks in the 1980s" and you get 930,000 results on search engine baidu.com. On micro blog Weibo Sina - China's equivalent to Twitter - there is the longstanding topic #Snacks in the 1980s#, which has recorded more than 100 million hits.

Even today, people surfing e-commerce platforms can easily buy snacks with packages and flavors exactly the same as those of the 1980s. "I buy this only to wake up the taste inside my heart," is a typical comment about one of the products.

Yet the snacks industry in this period was not without its problems. A lack of proper laws and regulation saw a fairly high percentage of snacks produced in illegal underground workshops. Some of the backshop boys even produced pirate products carrying fake trademarks of famous brands, or registered trademarks designed to be easily confused with the leading ones.

For example, when White Rabbit Creamy Candy really took off, some businesses registered Grey Rabbit or Small White Rabbit for their rival milk candy products. White Rabbit bared its teeth in response, registering some similar trademarks first to avoid them being registered by others, among them Black Rabbit candy. That trademark has been held by White Rabbit ever since, just to head off imitators.

The 1990s: Rise of brands

After a decade of development and competition, China's snack market had two major characteristics in the 1990s: Stricter regulation and internationalization.

In 1995, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the nation's top legislature, passed China's Food Hygenie Law, which clearly required law enforcers at all levels to strike down the underground illegal workshops that produced low-quality foods or foods under false brands. Until then, quite a high percentage of these kinds of foods were actually sold in school tuckshops and targeted at pupils.

These illegal products finally disappeared from the market through stricter enforcement. They might still exist here and there, far from the main urban areas, but the total amount has decreased hugely.

Global brands also jumped on the bandwagon, rushing into China. Spanish brand Cola Gao made its first appearance in 1990 and ruled the roost for quite a few years. A nutritious product made of cocoa powder, it gives out smell of chocolate when brewed in hot milk, making it a popular drink with kids.

Yao Wenjun, born in 1991 and now working in Shenzhen in southern Guangdong province, witnessed the changes as a girl. "During my six years at primary school, the number of foreign snacks brands near my school grew from none to three, or one every two years", she said with a smile. "Every snack shop gave us a feeling of happiness."

US food giants KFC and McDonald's were among the international brands that moved into China during the period, along with rivals such as Subway and PizzaHut. Interestingly, the difference in the meaning of the word "lunch" for Chinese people and Westerners made their roles different in China, too. For many in the West, lunch is often a sandwich or roll, ordered to go and eaten on the run within half an hour.

In China, however, lunch is a substantial meal - no less important than breakfast or supper. As a result, the fried chicken and sandwiches sold by KFC and McDonald's were seen more as leisure snacks when they first came out in China and their bestsellers were fried chips.

New century: Health worries

An inevitable result of people eating more and more fried chips and other high-caloried snacks, both domestic and global brands, is obesity. According to the international Danone Institute, which specializes in nutritional research, the obesity rate for Chinese 7-18 years old had risen eight times in 2000 compared with 1985; for the subgroup aged 17-18 years, the rate was up 21.5 times.

That's why, since the beginning of the new century, "control" has become a key word in the lexicon of parents, reflecting their new attitude towards snacks for their family. Some parents have cut back on their kids' weekly allowance or pocket money, while others have imposed strict discipline at home and set limits on the amount of snacks their children can consume.

Yuan Jinghao and Zhu Xinyu, two cousins born in 2008 and 2009, have experienced both measures. Yuan is allowed to spend only 20 yuan a week on snacks, while Zhu is allowed to have only one small bag of snacks each day, with a weight not exceeding 150 grams.

Back at the Gao residence, baby granddaughter Zhang Junyao might still be wearing diapers, but she's already following rules, because of her obvious taste for snacks.

For her health, she is only allowed to take fruits, a small cup of yogurt, and two kinds of children's biscuit besides her meals.

"It seems a natural desire for children to want snacks", Goa said.

"But the health for my granddaughter is the most important thing and I must be strict in implementing the rules."

zhangzhouxiang@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Yuan Jinghao and Zhu Xinyu, two cousins born in 2008 and 2009, proudly pose together with their snacks. However, the daily amount of snacks they are allowed to take is limited.Provided To China Daily

 

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2018-10-06 07:03:18
<![CDATA[Snacks, the easy route to happiness]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/06/content_37025580.htm

Refined and delicious food can bring gourmands a profound sense of joy and contentment - but for others the humble snack is a popular habit that can bring them easy and instant gratification.

"Having meals gives me life, but eating snacks brings me joy," said Xu Shuyang, a graduate student at Tianjin University.

For Xu, snacks are an irresistible pleasure. "I'm afraid of putting on weight, but I can't give them up, so I prefer snacks with lower calories and I usually increase my exercise routine after eating them," Xu adds.

For some foodies, varying their snacks with different flavors is all the rage. "It's impossible for me to give up snacks, although I know many are junk food, because they taste so good," said Zhou Jinmei, 23, a graduate from Sichuan.

She said she would like to tuck into some snacks after a good meal, but sometimes skips meals when she has been filled up with snacks.

According to Zhou, meals are too formal, while the snack is a kind of instant food that she can reach out for whenever she is hungry, having as much as she likes and storing the rest.

Besides, she adds, compared with the standard menus in formal restaurants and canteens, new kinds of attractive snacks are being produced all the time.

At the grocery store or in supermarkets - where all kinds of snacks with various flavors are displayed - Zhou enjoys multiple choices according to her mood, including the option of trying out new products.

Zhou's friend, Long Lefan from Hunan, added that eating snacks is a kind of "bonus happiness" that became a habit in childhood.

"We had snacks on the way home after school as a bonus, which gave me the energy to do my homework after," Long adds.

For Long, satisfying her appetite with snacks is a simple way to get and to give others satisfaction, that is usually ignored by adults. She said she was once moved by her niece who told her that she was happy for a whole day because of the ice cream Long had bought her.

Instead of eating snacks, storing snacks brings happiness to Zhao Chen, from Jiangxi.

"Buying a lot of snacks makes me happy, which gives me satisfaction in abundance," Zhao said.

"I can control myself, so that I only eat a few snacks at a time, but I can't stop buying them."

When asked why she doesn't stock supplies only for regular meals, she demurs.

"Snacks are my instant satisfaction. For meals, whatever I cook, I have to wait."

Contact the writer at panyixuan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-06 07:03:18
<![CDATA[Fall for the season's sweet soups]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/06/content_37025585.htm As summer winds down, the humidity drops and the skies assume a sparkling blue. Brisk breezes fan across the sun-baked earth. This is the best weather to enjoy the great outdoors.

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The evenings are drawing in and the temperature is dropping so it must be time to break out the bowls and serve up some hearty autumn fare.

As summer winds down, the humidity drops and the skies assume a sparkling blue. Brisk breezes fan across the sun-baked earth. This is the best weather to enjoy the great outdoors.

Indoors though, cooks and chefs are already preparing the autumn menu. Food must be rich, and moist, to help the body fatten up for the coming winter months, and to keep everyone well-hydrated.

Hotpots, hearty meat stews, barbecued lamb, beef and chicken are coming back into favor, and hot, sweet soups to nourish the body become the desserts of choice.

In the northern cities, pear jam syrup, or qiuligao, is a fruity autumn tonic. Large juicy snow pears are grated down and slowly brewed with rock sugar, Chinese jujubes and sometimes luohanguo or arhat fruit, a natural sweetener.

The thick syrup is drunk regularly throughout the season to help soothe sore or delicate throats and stave off coughs or sniffles. This is one of the more pleasant autumn rituals.

In the south, the autumns are milder, but health-conscious cooks will be stocking up their pantry with quite a few dried ingredients for some beneficial brews.

White fungus, lotus nuts, Chinese jujubes, hawthorn flakes, dried longan pulp, candied winter melon strips, aged citrus peel, fat goji berry raisins, arhat fruit (luohanguo), dried osmanthus flowers, sterculia seeds, foxnuts and dried agar seaweed form just part of a comprehensive autumn inventory.

In recent years, plant-collagen-rich peach gum and soap nuts (often called snow lotus) have swelled the ranks.

Every ingredient has its specific function, and by mixing and matching the ingredients, the enterprising dessert cook can ladle out a spectrum of interesting flavors and textures.

But there must be method to the madness.

The concoction must always be sweet, but sugar may not necessarily be the sweetener. Two major ingredients are the luohanguo and the winter melon strips.

The luohanguo, a member of the cucumber and gourd family, is a hard fruit with papery flakes inside. When ripe, they are full of a natural, low-calorie sweetener that's 300 times sweeter than sugar. Their slight licorice flavor also cools the throat, and they are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and sweet soup recipes.

The best are found in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and are planted as an annual crop.

Winter melons are also used to make sweet soups, in two forms. The most common is candied melon strips that will slowly disintegrate and sweeten and scent the pot.

The other is winter melon sugar - a hard, dark block of brown sugar made by grating the melon flesh down and cooking it into a thick, thick jam that will crystallize and harden. It has a very special fragrance that is unmistakable. Cooked with just water, it becomes winter melon tea.

Dried longan pulp is another sweetening agent, and as the dried fruit releases its concentrated sugar it plumps up to its original size, adding texture and flavor.

Then, there are the collagen additions like agar-agar strips which are softened, snipped into shorter lengths and cooked. These add crystal-like strips floating in the soup and provide a pleasant crunch.

Peach gum, taojiao, is the resin secreted by peach trees when their bark is damaged. In recent years, these soft, gummy resin pieces which are basically tasteless, have been added to desserts for their gelatinous texture.

Also, ladies swear by their cosmetic effect, and they are believed to soften skin and increase elasticity.

Soap nuts, the seeds of the honey locust trees that grow in the Southwestern Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou, are small, slippery kernels that look like lotus seeds, until you soak them in water.

Then they swell and become soft and smooth, but they are also very chewy and so beloved that their prices have soared so much they are nicknamed "snow lotus seeds."

The common lotus nut is also used in the desserts, but they have a very different texture and they add a slightly medicinal scent to the soup.

Wild white jelly fungus, which is sold dried, has been a sweet soup favorite for as long as most folks can remember.

The round, cloudlike clumps are rehydrated and then snipped into smaller pieces.

Their texture changes with the length of time in the pot. Some chefs like blanching them lightly so they retain a crunch. Some chefs prefer to cook the jelly fungus until it melts into a gelatinous mess, which they then compare to "vegetarian bird's nest."

Another favorite addition is the pangdahai, the amazing sterculia seeds that fluff up into a jellied mess on contact with water. They are sold as seeds, and look like very wrinkled and hard dried olives. Their transformation begins when they are soaked in water.

When their papery skin and fibers are removed, what remains is a soft jelly like flesh that will float in the dessert.

The aromatics are very important, as is color.

That's the reason the jujubes from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are treasured. Their sweet scented, starchy flesh, and the hint of red they add, is treasured by autumn cooks.

The dried aged citrus peel from Xinhui in Guangdong province is another valued ingredient. Adding a tangy twist to the sweet soups, they are excellent for soothing sore throats and are a tried and tested ingredient for cough cures.

Goji berries, dried into bright red raisins, are added to the soup at the last minute, both for their color and their medicinal benefits.

A final flourish with a scattering of dried osmanthus buds will add an elusive but distinctive fragrance.

Are you ready for the season's sweet soups?

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-06 07:04:50
<![CDATA[Have yourself a ball]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/06/content_37025584.htm It's a dish found in cuisines the world over, but in China, the meatball is an opportunity for the chef to stretch his imagination.

Meatballs are family favorites all over the world, but only the Chinese are so obsessed that they make "meatballs" with anything they can lay their hands on - beef, pork, fish, prawn, squid, mushroom and even tofu.

In a cuisine that boasts 5,000 years of history, the evolution of the Chinese meatball has been inevitable. What surprises food historians is that, compared with the Western version, which has stayed true to the original recipe throughout the centuries, the Chinese meatball comes in all sizes, flavors and textures.

Texture is especially important. The bounce is the thing, and a good fish meatball or a beef ball must have a springy bite and the potential to bounce off the wall.

Most meatballs are produced as a result of the inherent frugality of the Chinese cook. In coastal villages where fishing is the main livelihood, the remnants of the catch left unsold are often brought home by the fishermen.

Here, the fish are scaled, skinned and every bit of meat is scraped off with the back of a knife or spoon. The meat is then finely minced and beaten in one direction until the natural collagens combine and stick. Heavily saturated saltwater is sprinkled on the meat as it is vigorously worked, a technique that both tightens the texture and flavors the meat. The resulting paste is then squeezed between thumb and index finger into smooth balls that are dropped into cold water, or cooked in boiling water.

Fish balls are sold either raw, soaked in light brine or cooked. They are popular when served with noodles or deep-fried as snacks. In Hong Kong, the popular noodle carts serve up fish balls in curry sauce.

Prawns, squid and crab meat are also pounded into similar meatballs. Sometimes flying fish roe is added to the paste for an effect that's very much like popping candy. However, they come, the fishy dish has become popular all over the country, especially as part of platters assembled for steamboats or hotpots.

Moving from surf, to turf, in Chaoshan, there is the signature beef ball that squirts juice at the unsuspecting. It is a bouncy meatball that is literally hammered into a paste.

A huge slab of lean beef is carefully trimmed to an even thickness, with all visible tendons and fibers painstakingly removed. With the prepared beef laid flat on an immense chopping board, the chef gets comfortable - adopting an almost martial art-like stance - and starts hitting the meat with a long, thick rolling pin in each hand.

The rhythmic pounding will go on for an hour or so, and the meat turns to paste under the bludgeoning force of the rolling pins. Occasionally, the chef will stop his assault to add a sprinkle of brine and a dusting of sweet potato starch.

These are the plain beef balls. Pure beef. There are other variations, like tendon meatballs made with the trimmed-off sections, and a filled meatball with finely pulverized meat mixed with melted beef fat.

The beef balls are extremely juicy, and the filled version will splatter the careless diner with a burst of beef fat and juice upon first bite.

In contrast, meatballs made with pork emphasize the natural flavor and texture of the meat. From the tiny meatballs blanched in Cantonese porridge to the delicately hand-cut lion's head meatball from Nanjing, pork meatballs are never overprocessed.

Instead, the chef chooses a cut that has equal amounts of fat and muscle, even a bit of gelatinous skin, preferring to let the meat speak for itself.

Cantonese meatballs mostly use a ratio of 70 to 30 minced lean meat to fat for the best mouth feel. Chefs may also add finely diced pickled vegetables for a bit of crunch. They are mostly cooked in soup or blanched in piping hot, silky smooth rice congee.

Shizitou - The Nanjing lion's head meatball - on the other hand, uses only the best strips of pork belly. These are hand-cut into slices and are then julienned before being diced. The reason for this fastidious process is to ensure that every morsel of pork has the proper proportion of fat to meat.

The cut meat is then stirred in one direction until it clumps. The chef will then shape each huge meatball into a perfect sphere and steam it gently in a rich broth. The meatball is then served on a bed of Shanghai cabbage and thickened stock is drizzled over it.

A well-made lion's head will hold its shape until the first chopsticks touch it, upon which it will fall apart, exposing its tender heart.

In the northern provinces, meatballs are a festive dish. Sixiwanzi, four balls of happiness, are served at birthdays, weddings and the reunion meal on the eve of Spring Festival. It is made like the lion's head, but with a minced mixture.

The meatballs are formed, and then deep-fried for color. They are then steamed until they are completely cooked. A rich brown gravy, flavored with star anise and cinnamon, completes the dish, a testimony to the stronger flavors preferred by northern palates.

Whatever the size or ingredient, the meatball is an easy staple for the home dining table. It may be pure meat, or it may have fillers such as mushrooms, tofu or a mirepoix. The only limit is the chef's imagination.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-06 07:04:50
<![CDATA[DOGS AND CATS HAVE A 'PET ECONOMY'OF THEIR OWN]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/06/content_37025583.htm People's increasing consumption capacity will create lucrative segment markets in the pet industry, writes Wang Yiqing

Raising pets, especially dogs or cats, has been part of modern life. But in recent years, raising pets has become a stylish and cash-burning lifestyle in urban areas, which has given rise to what the media call a "pet economy".

People have been raising animals for centuries for food, and as house guards or hunting guides. But today, animals, especially pets, also serve people's emotional needs.

In a way, the establishment of China Small Animal Protection Association in 1992 signaled the evolution of animals as human companions. Today, many people are willing to spend a small fortune to raise a pet, which they treat more like a family member.

Since 2000 the number of pets has rapidly increased in China so much so that it is almost impossible to ascertain the exact number of pets in the country. Take the example of common pets, such as dogs and cats. According to the China Pet Industry 2018 White Paper, a non-official document jointly issued by the online pet community Goumin.com and Pet Fair Asia recently, more than 91.49 million dogs and cats are being raised as pets in China's urban areas. To prepare the "white paper", the two organizations conducted a survey which covered more than 52,870 people in 34 provincial administrative regions.

Pet owners comprise 9% of urban population

The "white paper" says an estimated 73.55 million people in urban areas have pets, meaning about 9 percent of China's overall urban population of 813.47 million in 2017 had pets.

The high degree of urbanization and people's rising incomes are the main reasons why pet raising has become so popular. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chengdu are the top cities where pet raising is most popular. The fact that the residents of these first-and second-tier cities have comparatively high dispensable incomes has played a critical role in popularizing pets.

The increasing popularity of pets in urban areas has given rise to a whole industrial chain, which in turn has helped build a "pet economy", comprising pet consumption including food, medical treatment and even funeral and interment expenses.

In fact, the scale of this "pet economy" is far bigger than we can imagine.

National Bureau of Statistics data show the compound growth rate of China's pet industry was 49.1 percent from 2010 to 2016, the highest among all industries. According to the pet industry's white paper, the "pet economy" is worth 170.8 billion yuan ($24.87 billion), and has been growing at the brisk rate of 27 percent year-on-year. The white paper also said on average a pet owner in 2017 spent 5,016 yuan a year on one cat or one dog, 15 percent more than the previous year.

Food and other daily requirements of pets and their medical treatment are the three major parts of the pet consumption market. Food and other daily necessities account for a majority of pet owners' expenditure, which has been upgrading with the passage of time. The sales of high-quality and expensive pet products have grown rapidly as people are willing to spend more money on pets, and more and more segment markets for pet products are emerging to meet the increasing demands of pet owners.

For the pet owners, medical care is an unavoidable expense for pets. The "white paper" estimates that pet service accounts for about 30 percent of a dog's "consumption" and 20 percent of a cat's "consumption", with the biggest pet service demand being medical care. On average a dog owner spends 1,557 yuan a year on the dog's medical care, and a cat owner 1,446 yuan.

But almost half of the pet owners are unsatisfied with the existing medical care system for pets, due to such factors as "unqualified" veterinarians and "unreasonable" charges for medical treatment.

A catalyst for other businesses

The rising popularity of pet raising has also promoted other forms of businesses. For years, pets, especially dogs and cats, have been used as IP characters in many countries, fuelling the growth of a new kind of "new media economy" in China in recent years.

A study on "cat economy" by Tencent Research Institute shows the image of a "cute" cat draws increasingly high online attention and helps cultivate new commercial models. Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, has become an important platform of "cloud cat-raising", which refers to the phenomenon of netizens watching photographs or videos of cats for entertainment.

According to the study, till January this year about 5.5 million Weibo account users had used the tag "cat" to identify themselves. In 2017, more than 330,000 cat-related articles went "viral" on WeChat public accounts. And the market value of a famous pet Weibo account "Huiyi Zhuanyong Xiaomajia" is estimated at 235 million yuan.

Also, in recent years, the number of pet owners has grown. According to the "white paper", more than 85 percent of the dog and cat owners are women, and half of them have a bachelor's or higher degree. And the majority of the pet owners belong to the post-1980 or post-1990 generations, which shows their strong consumption capacity.

Thanks to people's increasing consumption capacity, more segment markets of the pet industry, especially the pet-related service sector including pet training and pet shipping, are expected to grow at a faster pace, further expanding the "pet economy".

Contact the writer at wangyiqing@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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2018-10-06 07:04:07
<![CDATA[Popular science has a bright future]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/04/content_37020992.htm The popularity of science-popping or popular science groups suggests Chinese people are becoming more science-literate, writes Zhang Zhouxiang and Wang Xiaoying

Evolution does not necessarily lead to stronger or smarter species. Some species survive the competition for life because they have a unique advantage: Low consumption of energy.

A kind of green alga perfectly fits this logic. Its organic structure is so simple that it has to rely on another kind of bacterium for circulation. The latter takes care of its consumption of energy, disposal of waste, as well as supports its basic life.

Does that relationship sound familiar?

If a father takes care of everything, his offspring will remain simple - and foolish.

The above remarks are part of the Father's Day special report of Jubuqihou, or Local Climate, a domestic popular science (or science-popping) group that designs long pictures containing information on science and publishes them via WeChat public account and micro blog. The number of its followers on WeChat alone is over 700,000.

Local Climate is one of the hundreds of groups of its kind. According to gasdata.cn, a website specializing in new media data collection and analysis, the number of popular science WeChat public accounts reached 783 in 2017, with more on micro blog and other new media platforms such as smartphone applications. However, the majority of the accounts are inactive and lack influence. "Only about 9 percent update their contents regularly, of which only 3 percent articles register more than 10,000 hits," said the Gasdata report.

And the majority of the influential teams are quite big organizations such as guokr.com or China Science Communication. Starting as a four-member team in August 2016, Local Climate is a rare one among them. Having freshly earned their bachelors' degrees from Tsinghua University, Zhu Jian, Mao Tianhua and Sun Qiming decided in August 2016 to do something "more meaningful and more interesting" than ordinary designing and painting jobs.

"We searched the then existing media outlets and found knowledge-sharing might be an emerging market", said Zhu Jian. "Some of the social media outlets provide materials for reading every day but when you read them, you hardly get anything that truly enriches your knowledge. So we thought, maybe we could share knowledge with our readers?"

The first field the three friends selected was biology, because one of the co-founders, Zhao Zhe, was a doctoral candidate in life science. "People are always interested in the things related to life," Zhu said. "What are the animals like in the deep sea? How many hairs does an average person have?"

The first picture they posted on their Local Climate account was titled "10,000 Meters Deep into the Sea". It introduced what kinds of animals and plants exist at different levels of the sea. "We followed a strict scale in drawing the picture", said Sun. The picture "was exactly 1 meter in length". They spent two weeks doing the text and the design to make sure it contains ample, accurate information for readers.

They have already published about 110 original "products" via their WeChat public account. On micro blog, they have got more than 170,000 followers. And the number of their team members has now grown to 22.

In comparison, guokr.com is much bigger in size. Founded in November 2010 as a website, the popular science group derived its name from Stephen Hawking's famous book The Universe in a Nutshell, with "guokr" meaning "nutshell" in Chinese.

"Our founders, including me, are mainly natural science graduates who hope to do something more than our own majors", said Xie Mochao, guokr.com chief content officer, with a smile, "that's why we at first jokingly called ourselves 'deviationists from natural science'. There were two basic requirements to join our founding team: Professional natural science knowledge, and the passion to share knowledge with others."

Actually, quite a number of senior editors at guokr.com have very influential personal accounts on micro blog and WeChat, too, said Sun Huimi, new media director of guokr.com. One of them, with the ID "Ent" on micro blog, has more than 3.3 million followers and he often discusses with the main micro blog account of guokr.com about science of ancient life, in which he is a doctoral candidate in California University, Berkeley.

Guokr.com grew more quickly than anticipated. In July 2011, guokr.com got its first round of investment. Then the popular science group grew into a full business group. It started the first domestic Massive Open Online Course program in 2013, and held the first domestic Spring Festival gala on science in 2016 and one science-popping activity after another in colleges nationwide.

Local Climate also received commercial advertisements as its influences grew. Yet it insisted on an 80-20 principle - keeping 80 percent of the whole story for popular science and the rest for advertisements. "We would like to make our profession sustainable, but money should not be made at the cost of quality," said Zhu, adding that sometimes they have rejected advertisement orders because they cannot find any creative "products" that the advertisements can match.

With the passage of time, natural science has been joined by other subjects on the science-popping platforms. An increasing number of groups have joined the sector by sharing knowledge about history, literature, linguistics, even philosophy. As Xie said, "Now, it is more proper to call the sector knowledge-sharing sector because it covers more than popular science."

Zhihu.com is one of the most famous among them. Founded in March 2011, it provides a platform for users to share their experiences with others. Yet, because of the lack of identity check, the website quickly became a platform for people to share their fabricated stories, not true experiences.

Then came Daxianggonghui, or Elephantia, a group that shares knowledge mainly about history and literature. It is famous for being very good at combining its articles with the topical issues of public interest.

Its founder, Huang Zhangjin, used to be a journalist. "We have clear standards for our own products: They must contain ample knowledge for the reader, who can either choose to broaden his own insights or enrich his spiritual life", he said. "And the products must have good quality because the most creative persons with the richest imagination are competing for people's attention."

For example, on Sept 10, Teachers' Day in China, Elephantia published an article "Did teachers get enough respect in ancient China?" via their WeChat public account, which got over 80,000 clicks and more than 900"likes" within hours.

Both Xie and Sun are quite confident about the future of knowledge sharing in China, especially about popular science groups. "Knowledge is always a precious resource," Xie said. "The more we share, the more we get."

Contact the writers at zhangzhouxiang@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-04 07:37:35
<![CDATA[Where is the future of science-popping in China?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/04/content_37020991.htm Q: On Sept 6, China Association of Science and Technology released a report that says 8.47 percent of all Chinese citizens surveyed have reached the "science literacy standard". What is your view on the data?

Xie: According to my analysis, the percentage has two meanings: First, it is of course not high compared with those of developed countries. As early as 2000, that data had reached 17 percent in the US.

Second, it is 2.3 percentage points higher than that of 2015, which means progress. Actually, every person who has enough knowledge about science can influence several people near him or her. They could start from their family members. And I think it is the role of science-poppers to help these people. We need to support them with our knowledge, so that they will influence the people near them, not vice versa. And that's why we insist on writing our stories in a reader-friendly way. We hope to let more non-professionals read our content and obtain the science knowledge they lack, so as to promote the science literacy rate of the whole society.

Q: Do you think there is a gap between those with science literacy and those without?

Xie: I don't think it is proper to label people in this way. Actually, at guokr.com we refrain from dividing our staff members into natural science graduates and social science graduates because for us they are the same, only with different knowledge structures.

Actually, even the dividing line between natural and social sciences is diminishing. As you can see from our contents, we have been popping knowledge on astronomy, life science, natural science, human bodies, as well as psychology and other subjects. And we are not the only team making efforts in this direction. We hope more teams would join the knowledge-sharing job.

Q: Misunderstandings about technology still exist in society. How to dispel them?

Sun: Technology has its appeals. Many may not know how artificial intelligence (AI) works, but they still like the conveniences AI brings. For example, about two months ago, a smartphone application that uses AI to guess very simple drawings of a player, became so popular that everyone started playing the game. It is the job of science-poppers to introduce the benefits of technologies to more people and expand their influences.

Q: In 2015 and 2016, two Chinese science fiction writers received the Hugo Award. Do you think the development of science fiction can help promote science literacy?

Xie: In essence, science fiction and science-popping are two different types of intelligent products: The first is based on imagination plus scientific knowledge while the second is based on scientific knowledge but is expressed in fun ways.

Yet the two have something in common - the spirit of science - so the popularity of science fiction could help spread knowledge about science.

However, it is too early to describe domestic science fiction as being a "rage". Liu Cixin has won worldwide fame with his The Three-body Problem, but he is the only Chinese science-fiction writer to obtain such glory. Will there be more science fiction giants like him? That question is still awaiting an answer.

Q: So what is the prospect of science-popping in the age of new media?

Sun: As you know, it will take a long time to improve people's science literacy, but with the help of new media, that process will hopefully accelerate because knowledge can be better combined with fun. The more people play the game about guessing a drawing, the more they will get to know the benefits AI brings and hold a more accepting attitude toward it. Therefore, we are quite confident about the future of science-popping.

zhangzhouxiang@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-04 07:37:35
<![CDATA[Rocks sing at Beigang art zone]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/04/content_37020990.htm

The scenery of Beigang village in Fujian province.Zhang Guojun / Xinhua

Artists from Taiwan travel to mainland to promote cultural, tourism exchanges

When tourists approach the Rocks Can Sing art zone in Beigang village, Fujian province, they can enjoy the sights of artists using rocks to make music and people sipping coffee at a cafe in rock houses.

Rocks Can Sing is an art project that covers accommodation, live music, a restaurant, a cafe and a souvenir store. Currently, a total of 10 young people from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, including Taiwan resident Lin I-chen and her boyfriend Liao Che-wei, work at the art project.

The art zone promotes cultural and tourism exchanges across the Taiwan Straits in Pingtan county, which lies 126 kilometers west of Taiwan.

Pingtan is an island county in eastern Fujian, consisting of more than 100 islets.

In June 2015, Lin, her brother and her sister-in-law traveled to Pingtan to sell tea leaves and handicrafts from Taiwan.

Impressed by the local rock houses, they decided to rent the rock houses to start homestays and other businesses in Beigang village.

Their Rocks Can Sing art project quickly became a success.

Some artists from Taiwan have traveled to the village to seek inspiration.

-Wang Qian

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2018-10-04 07:37:09
<![CDATA[Deer in the limelight]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/04/content_37019914.htm

Guo Geng, the curator of the Nanhaizi Milu Park Museum, who has worked as a protector of the milu for 20 years, says he is happy to be called a spokesman for the animal.Photos Provided To China Daily And By Guo Geng / For China Daily

The Nanhaizi area of suburban Beijing enjoys an unparalleled position in the history of the milu, a native species of deer that all but faced extinction, and a huge significance in the promotion of milu culture, says Guo Geng, the curator of the Nanhaizi Milu Park Museum.

"As a place dedicated to the conservation of a species, Nanhaizi has been a cultural heritage site over the centuries, where the long and amazing story of the milu has played out," Guo says.

Nanhaizi, a former royal hunting ground during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (1271-1911) on the outskirts of Beijing, was the habitat and location where the last remaining members of the species were found in China before they became extinct in the wild. A century later, it became the first successful site for the reintroduction of the milu into China.

In 1985, Nanhaizi was chosen as the location for this because of its long history with the species and the suitability of its environment. It has been playing a key role in the revival of China's milu population and the research and promotion of the center's work ever since.

Nanhaizi Milu Park was built where a large area of wetland remains true to the original landscape. There, the Beijing Milu Ecological Research Center carries out joint research projects on the milu with many institutes including the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

By building canals, the center recovered an area of wetland covering 33 hectares to facilitate the breeding of the milu, and now the semiaquatic deer lives happily on the wetlands, in harmony with other wildlife such as wild geese.

Guo says he is disappointed that many people still think of Nanhaizi as just another deer farm.

Carrying her telescope, Guo's colleague Wang Libin makes between one and four circuits of the park, each around 2.5 kilometers. It is the job of Wang and two others to "guard" the milu and closely observe the health conditions of the wildlife in the park, especially the deer.

"We take care of them just like caring for our own children. We are often concerned about their diet and nutrition," Wang explains.

By counting and recording the animals every day, Wang maintains a clear picture about all the migratory birds and animals that are residing in the park at any given time.

According to Wang, a healthy wetland ecosystem needs biodiversity, and the milu serves as a flagship species for the area's ecosystem.

"It is unusual to have such a large section of wetland in a Beijing suburb, a city with a population of more than 20 million, dedicated to the protection of wildlife, especially the milu," Guo says.

According to Guo, the local district government in Daxing has gone to great efforts to enhance the environment in the reserve to make it a suitable habitat for the milu. Pollution in the surrounding areas, which was a serious problem threatening the milu in the early years, has been successfully tackled.

Guo, who started working at the Nanhaizi Milu Park in 1998, says he immediately fell in love with the milu and was touched by its unusual story.

Guo's daily routine includes managing the museum and passing on the knowledge he has built up about the milu to visitors. More than 400,000 people visit the park and the museum annually.

"My friends often call me a spokesman for the milu, and I'm happy to take on that role," explains Guo, 57.

"As someone who is involved in popularizing science, I feel so lucky to be able to learn about the milu and work to raise awareness about them."

According to Guo, the general public still has a limited knowledge of both the milu and Naihaizi.

In Guo's opinion, the fate of the milu is one that is closely related to the ups and downs of the nation.

Forced to live far away from home for a century due to the chaos on its native soil, the milu have now witnessed a revival thanks to huge protection efforts at a time marked by stability and fast growth, Guo says.

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2018-10-04 07:36:36
<![CDATA[Call of the wild]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/04/content_37019915.htm

Once extinct on its Chinese native soil, and with only 18 individuals remaining in the world, the milu, also known as Pere David's deer, has witnessed a remarkable revival after efforts to reintroduce the species began a few decades ago. Photo By Guo Geng / For China Daily

Once extinct on its native soil, the milu deer has witnessed a remarkable revival, Liu Xiangrui reports.

With its miraculous twists and turns, the fate of the China's milu deer has long been an intriguing prospect for researchers and animal lovers alike.

Once extinct on its native soil and with only 18 individuals remaining in the world, the milu - which is also known as Pere David's deer in the West - has witnessed a remarkable revival after efforts to reintroduce the species began a few decades ago.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature believes the reintroduction program of the milu is one of the 15 most successful programs out of 138 similar projects carried out worldwide.

A Chinese totem

The milu, which is often referred to in China by its ancient name, the "four dislikes", because of its body features which resemble a combination of four other animals (the cow, deer, camel and horse), is a species of deer that's recognizable by its unique, rear-facing antlers.

The species is often depicted as a mount in mythology and was believed to be a sign of auspiciousness and symbol for imperial power in ancient China.

"The milu has a long history and has always played an important role in traditional Chinese culture," says Guo Geng, curator of the Nanhaizi Milu Park Museum in Beijing.

The milu was mentioned in early inscriptions on ancient oracle bones, and records about their habitat, distribution, behavior, hunting and uses have appeared in more than 100 historical works since the Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220), according to Guo.

While more than a million milu roamed China's wetlands 3,000 years ago, their numbers fell dramatically due to overhunting and the shrinking of nature habitats as the human population grew, especially after the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

A herd of about 200 milu - believed to be the last one in the world at that time - was kept at the Nanhaizi Imperial Hunting Lodge near Beijing in the 19th century.

Surviving in foreign lands

In 1865, the French missionary and naturalist Father Armand David found the captive animals at the lodge and managed to take some specimens to Europe to exhibit. They were identified as a new species and named after David.

When a flood damaged the wall of the hunting lodge toward the end of the 19th century, 120 of the milu escaped, most were hunted down by famished locals, leaving less than 30 at the lodge.

After the Nanhaizi hunting lodge was looted during the Eight-power Allied Forces invasion of 1900, the deer were never seen again in China.

However, many of the milu that were shipped to Europe and kept in city zoos continued to thrive.

Those who imported the deer for their own amusement had little inkling that they would become something of a Noah's Ark for the species.

In 1898, England's 11th Duke of Bedford who was fond of deer, started rounding up the rest of the world's milu population - some 18 in total - and bred them at his property, Woburn Abbey.

The group became the ancestors of all the milu in the world today.

The number of milu in the abbey had reached 255 when World War II broke out.

Before the war, the owner of abbey was proud to have "the only milu herd in the world" and refused to give away individual animals.

However, the son of the 11th Duke of Bedford feared that this remaining group of deer would once again be destroyed by war, and finally decided to transfer them to major zoos, both in England and abroad.

Returning home

In 1985, 22 deer were sent from Britain as an international goodwill gesture to Beijing's Nanhaizi Milu Park.

"Nanhaizi was the place where milu were discovered and scientifically identified, and where they last lived in China 100 years ago," says Guo.

"It has been a very accurate reintroduction site, and the project also brings a happy ending to the species' intriguing story."

According to Guo, there are several advantages about making Nanhaizi as the site of reintroduction for the milu.

It has a relatively large area and is a suitable environment in a big city like Beijing, where top-level researchers are available from a range of organizations, Guo says.

Both Beijing and Daxing district governments have attached great importance to the protection of the deer since then. Milu Park and Beijing Milu Ecological Research Center were also founded in the Nanhaizi area.

A total of 160 million yuan has been invested in relevant conservation work, mainly including recovering wetland systems in Milu Park, boosting research and technology, and establishing ex-situ conservation programs with the Beijing Academy of Science and Technology, which operates the research center.

Over the years, the park has successfully overcome challenges in breeding conservation, feeding management and disease control, and the deer population has grown steadily.

The number of milu living in the park sits at around 170, which suits its environmental capacity. But more than 500 milu have been exported, which has helped to establish 38 remote conservation bases - accounting for over 70 percent of all the milu protection sites in China, according to Guo.

Back to the wild

In 1998, some of the deer escaped from the Shishou Milu Nature Reserve in Hubei province during a flood. They spread along the Yangtze River and eventually formed purely natural populations in areas including eastern Dongting Lake, where about 150 individual wild milu live.

"Since then, wild populations of milu have reappeared in China after many centuries," says Bai Jiade, director of the Beijing Milu Ecological Research Center.

According to Bai, the entire milu population in China has grown to more than 6,000, and the species has basically been saved from extinction.

His center has worked with many other milu bases over the years on projects aimed at introducing more milu into wild environments.

For example, nearly 50 milu were released into the wetland area surrounding Poyang Lake in Jiangxi province in 2017. It was the first time that milu have been released into the wild at the largest freshwater lake in China.

Before the release, researchers conducted a five-year experiment on the suitability of the area as habitat, and conducted scientific investigations to confirm whether the wetland ecological environment was suitable for the breeding and growth of the milu population.

Each animal is implanted with an identification chip, several of which are attached to a GPS collar that relays location data in order to facilitate the monitoring of its survival.

According to the Wildlife Protection Administration of Jiangxi province, they plan to release more milu annually in the Poyang Lake area over the next five to 10 years, in order to gradually establish a wild population and enrich the biodiversity of the lake.

In Jiangsu's Dafeng Milu Nature Reserve, which is home to the world's largest single milu population, efforts to reintroduce the species into the wild have spanned the past two decades.

Genetic concern

According to Bai, with bigger conservation efforts, overhunting is no longer a threat, but other factors have become the focus for the protection of the milu as a critically endangered species.

Inbreeding has led to a number of reproductive problems, including low birthrates, which have led to frequent abnormal and difficult births, diseases, and an imbalanced sex ratio.

"It happens to many endangered species. It will take a long time for the milu to regain its genetic diversity," Bai says.

Since 2017, Bai's center has started a research program to collect data on the health conditions of both the milu and their habitat.

During the initial stages of their research, the center collected relevant data from six milu bases around China. Information on the deer population, inheritance, faeces, hormones and parasites were closely monitored using a painless sampling technique developed for wild animals.

"The goal is to establish a health database for the milu and a system to evaluate their habitat, so we have standard reference points if any abnormality occurs in the future."

Bai says cases in which a large number of milu deaths are reported due to disease outbreaks in recent years have proven that this kind of monitoring is meaningful for the milu, as a reintroduced species developed from a small founding population.

"By strengthening our monitoring processes, we will not only learn about the situation of their genetic diversity, emerging trends and evolutionary potential, but also formulate counter measures for major threats to reduce the risks of extinction, and lay a foundation for the long-term survival of the species," Bai says.

Cross-breeding projects are also carried out internationally.

In 2017, the World Wide Fund for Nature signed a memorandum of understanding with the Forestry Bureau of Hunan province to promote a program of crossbreeding for the milu jointly between Europe and China.

Under the plan revealed by the WWF, milu from Woburn Abbey Deer Park in Britain will travel to China to help breed younger generations by avoiding the degeneration of the gene pool.

The Beijing Nanhaizi Milu Culture Conference was recently held to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the return of milu to China as a biological group.

The event was jointly organized by the Administration Department of Wildlife Protection and the Natural Reserve under the State Administration of Forestry and Grassland, Beijing's Daxing district government and the Beijing Academy of Science and Technology - in conjunction with two other organizations - at Nanhaizi Milu Park.

During the conference, both the local government and scientists eagerly expressed their hope of making milu one of the mascots for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and listing it as a World Natural Heritage to further promote the endangered species.

According to Dominique Bauquis, a special representative who spoke at the conference on behalf of the Woburn Abbey Deer Park, these efforts to underline the importance of the milu can only help to raise the profile of this extraordinary species.

"Should the milu become one of the 24th Winter Olympics' mascots, it would place natural conservation at the forefront of the Games and give China a positive image in this field, as the tale of the milu epitomizes the outstanding human achievements in biodiversity conservation, and shows what international collaboration can achieve," Bauquis says.

"It has never been more relevant as a positive and incredible success story at a time when biodiversity is under threat worldwide."

Contact the writer at liuxiangrui@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-04 07:36:36
<![CDATA[UNDERWATER WORLD]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/02/content_37016088.htm In Fuling, in Southwest China's Chongqing, Baiheliang Underwater Museum, the first of its kind in the world, shows how the Chinese made use of water resources.

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The White Crane Ridge in the Yangtze River, believed to be the world's most ancient hydrographic survey station, is now a unique subaquatic museum, Tan Yingzi reports.

In Fuling, in Southwest China's Chongqing, Baiheliang Underwater Museum, the first of its kind in the world, shows how the Chinese made use of water resources.

About 1,300 years ago, the ancient Chinese would gather at Baiheliang, or the White Crane Ridge, in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River when it protruded from the water during the dry season, usually from December until March.

Then they picnicked, flew kites and played games on this 1,600-meter-long natural ridge which averages 15 meters in width.

This place got its name because white cranes would flock to the place. But local people also believed that a Taoist, who meditated on the ridge and finally became immortal, transformed into a crane and flew away.

The regular exposure of the stone ridge also provided the ancient people with the chance to observe and record water levels.

So, on the huge rock there are 18 sculptures of fish that serve as water-level markers and record 1,200 years of changes in the Yangtze's water levels.

There are also more than 30,000 Chinese characters carved into the rock there, and the area is listed as one of four State-level national treasures in the Yangtze River's Three Gorges area.

The ridge is believed to be the world's most ancient hydrographic survey station.

Due to the Three Gorges Dam project, the huge rock was submerged in 2001. So, a special museum was built to preserve its history.

Valuable relics

There is a long history of human hydrographic observation dating back to ancient times. And the records are found in the Nile River basin, the Euphrates River valley and China's Yellow River basin.

Yet the stone fish water gauge on White Crane Ridge is a key development in the world's ancient hydrographic observation. It shows the low-water mark as a fish's eye, and equates to a zero-water level in the river's upper reaches.

There is a local saying that if the stone fish can be seen in winter, the coming year will provide an abundant harvest.

The fish carving is more than 1,100 years older than the Jianghanguang gauge created in 1856 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

There are a total of 165 inscriptions, 108 of which record the water levels in 72 low-water years from 763 AD in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) up to 1963.

The inscriptions show the hydrographic variations in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River during the years of drought.

"These records are the most authentic and reliable ancient hydrographic data," says Huang Dejian, the deputy director of the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum.

The data provides scientifically valuable information about water transportation in the Yangtze River and water conservancy projects, especially for the Gezhouba Dam, the first one on the river built in 1971 and the later Three Gorges Dam, he adds.

In addition to its scientific value, the ridge inscriptions showcase a collection of works by generations of exceptional calligraphers and authors.

When the ridge was exposed in the past, many would write or inscribe poems on the rocks.

About 700 visitors have left their names and more than 300 literati etched over 30,000 characters in eight calligraphic forms there. The most celebrated work was carved by Song Dynasty (960-1279) scholar Huang Tingjian.

Innovative preservation

In August 1988, the White Crane Ridge Inscriptions were made a key national cultural relic. But soon its existence faced a critical challenge.

In 1992, the country decided to build the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, the world's largest hydropower project. And according to the plan, normal water levels would be raised to 175 meters above sea level, which meant that the White Crane Ridge would be submerged under more than 30 meters of water.

China then immediately launched a massive operation to save the area's cultural relics before they were lost due to the rising waters.

The measures for the protection of the White Crane Ridge were both unique and technically demanding.

"We spent 10 years finding out the best way to preserve this rock." says Huang.

"And we are still working on new technology to protect the relics."

Chinese experts proposed seven protection schemes before the "Pressure-free Container" plan devised by Ge Xiurun was adopted in February 2001.

Ge, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a professor at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, worked out a plan for a museum based on the pressure-free container principle.

Under his plan, the stone ridge is enclosed in an arch-shaped glass covering, filled with purified water.

This ensures that the pressure on both sides of the arch is the same.

Meanwhile, two underwater corridors with long escalators from the riverbank allow visitors to descend and view the stone carvings and inscriptions through glass windows.

"There is no precedent for this," says Ge.

"We had to rely on ourselves to find the solutions."

The arch is made of special kind of steel which offers protection from ships weighing up to 4,000 tons.

In order to protect the inscriptions from erosion, experts from the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences used resilient ethyl silicate to reinforce the carved stone.

It took seven years - from 2003 to 2009 - to build the underwater museum at a total cost of 210 million yuan ($30.88 million).

There are a total of 3,800 tons of water in the container. And the museum has 23 viewing windows allowing around 40 visitors to view the ridge at the same time. It also has 28 underwater cameras, enabling visitors to zoom in and out using touch-screens.

Visitors are also allowed to dive into the container to explore the works up close.

Over the past decade, the museum has worked with Chinese universities and tech companies to develop new technologies to protect the cultural relics.

"Our water recycling system and deep-water lighting system have greatly improved the preservation of the relics," Huang said.

In the early days, the museum had to shut down periodically due to the deteriorating water quality in the container and a massive growth of algae on the rock. But now the water recycling system can balance the pressure in the container and purify the water.

Also, the system collects data about the river water level and flow speed in order to reduce the impact of the water pressure on the ridge.

"We inject 20 tons of purified water into the container every hour," says Huang. "It is a huge amount of work."

In addition, divers go into the container to clean the rock every month.

The container is equipped with a deep-water lighting system which improves the presentation of the inscriptions and reduces the power consumption.

"Most importantly, it reduces the light intensity and prevents the growth of algae on the rock," he adds.

Also, to offer visitors a clear view of the ridge, the museum recently changed the type of glass used in the windows, replacing them with materials developed for the aviation industry.

Heritage list application

In 2006 and 2012, the White Crane Ridge inscriptions were added to the provisional list of World Cultural Heritage sites that China submitted to the UNESCO.

And in recent years, Chongqing has begun to enhance its efforts to get the site formally recognized by UNESCO.

To this end, the local government has invested nearly 80 million yuan to upgrade the museum's exhibition hall, surrounding areas and its facilities.

If its UNESCO bid is successful, the museum will become Chongqing's second World Cultural Heritage site, after the Dazu Grottoes that were listed in 1999.

"We need to do more research on the project and increase our communication with the international community to ensure more people are aware of the significance of these inscriptions," Huang said.

Since its opening in 2009, the museum has received about 1.5 million visitors from home and abroad.

The museum has held two international symposiums since 2009 and collaborated with the School of Archaeology and Museology of Peking University to conduct the research on the White Crane Ridge inscriptions.

Speaking about the site, Yu Xintao, a visitor from Chongqing, says: "This museum is a hidden gem of Chongqing, or even for China.

"I spent hours there, amazed by the wisdom of our ancestors and the brilliant design of the museum."

 

From left: Divers conduct protection work at Baiheliang stone ridge in Chongqing's Baiheliang Underwater Museum; tourists look at stone inscriptions through a window at the museum; and high-relief stone fish carvings dating back to 1813 are displayed at the museum. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-10-02 08:36:26
<![CDATA[New HPV vaccine proves popular despite shortages]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/02/content_37016087.htm Chang Yan has always been afraid of needles. Yet the 22-year-old college student has now joined the masses of young Chinese women getting injected with a new vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, one of the most common types among females in China.

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Expert says US drug developer is struggling to keep up with China, world demand

Chang Yan has always been afraid of needles. Yet the 22-year-old college student has now joined the masses of young Chinese women getting injected with a new vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, one of the most common types among females in China.

"I decided to get vaccinated after my mother repeatedly urged me too," Chang said.

"She said I needed it, but I think cancer is still a distant threat for me."

The vaccine that Chang received, Gardasil 9, was developed by US pharmaceutical company MSD to work against up to nine types of HPV. It was approved by China's top drug regulator in April. Previously, women on the Chinese mainland had to go overseas to receive the so-called nine-way vaccine.

A complete three-dose treatment with Gardasil 9 will cost Chang 5,660 yuan ($823) at American-Sino OB/GYN/Pediatrics Services, a private hospital in Beijing. She received her first two doses in July and September.

"My parents think the price is acceptable," she said. "After all, we can get the vaccine nearer to home now, rather than having to go abroad or to Hong Kong to get the vaccination."

Chang is one of the lucky ones, however. A shortage of the vaccine in China has meant that many women have been left waiting.

Han Zhengzheng, director of Beijing Desheng Community Health Center in Beijing's Xicheng district, said that they had yet to receive a supply of the vaccine, months after it was approved for use on the Chinese mainland.

"Hopefully we will be able to purchase it within half a month," she said. "Many people have been inquiring about it but we have not started taking appointments yet, due to its unavailability."

Han predicted the vaccine will prove very popular once the health center does have it in stock. Other types, such as a four-way vaccine that protects against up to four types of HPV, might also be purchased in future, she said.

"The nine-way vaccine will be most popular, as it is more effective," she said, before adding that some people may opt for four-or two-way vaccines because they are cheaper.

In Anzhen Community Health Center, Beijing's Chaoyang district, a staff member said that their stocks of all HPV vaccines, including the nine-way vaccine, were depleted and that they did not know when new stocks would arrive.

HPV, or human papillomavirus, infections often go away by themselves within two years, according to medical experts, but sometimes infections last longer and can cause certain cancers and other diseases.

Nearly all cervical cancer, the second-most common cancer among Chinese women ages 15 to 44, is caused by HPV, yet vaccines for it were not available on the Chinese mainland until last year.

Cervarix, a two-way vaccine developed by British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, entered the mainland market in July 2017 after being approved by China's top drug regulator in 2016, becoming the first HPV vaccine to be available on the Chinese mainland.

It was followed in November by four-way Gardasil, developed by US company MSD. The two vaccines have been used in the United States since 2006.

Many experts had called for the introduction of HPV vaccines earlier, including Qiao Youlin, a leading cancer epidemiologist at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

"They have been used in the United States since 2006, and are already available in more than 130 countries," he said. "We have waited more than 10 years before allowing their use in China."

Cervical cancer is the only form of the disease that is preventable through vaccination, Qiao said, adding that every year about 100,000 women in China are diagnosed with it and it is responsible for 30,000 deaths annually.

In the past, many medicines that were popular elsewhere were not available on the Chinese mainland, meaning patients had to go overseas or risk buying them online.

This was due to previous regulations that stated drugs developed outside of the mainland had to be subjected to lengthy clinical trials and approval procedures before they could be made available in the domestic market, despite being certified and widely available outside the country.

In October last year, the State Council, China's Cabinet, released a guideline that said China will accept data from clinical trials conducted outside the mainland when assessing applications to register drugs and medical equipment. This cuts back on unnecessary trails and reduces the amount of time needed for drugs to be approved, speeding up domestic patients' access to imported drugs.

The reform has resulted in a number of new drugs being made available on the Chinese mainland, including Gardasil 9, which entered the US market in 2014.

The vaccine was approved by the China Drug Administration - part of the State Market Regulatory Administration - in April, eight days after the application for its use among women in China ages 16 to 26 was received from developer MSD.

The administration prioritized the application, accepted data from clinical trials conducted overseas and approved the drug's importation within the shortest time period possible, it said.

Qiao, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said with rising health awareness and affluence among Chinese women, HPV vaccines will become increasingly popular.

Cao Yue, a 25-year-old Beijing resident, said she decided to get vaccinated right after the four-way vaccine became available in November, but was not able to find a hospital that had the drug in stock until the end of February.

"I had heard a lot about HPV vaccines, and some of my relatives and friends abroad had been vaccinated," she said. "I think nowadays young women are very concerned about their health, and try their best to reduce health risks."

But a shortage of the vaccine meant Cao and her peers struggled to receive a full three-dose treatment.

"Some of my friends had to go to another hospital to get the second shot due to a lack of vaccines in the hospital where they had received the first shot," she said.

Cao only received her third and final dose of the four-way HPV vaccine in September, after shortages began to ease in the capital.

Qiao, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said MSD currently has a monopoly over the production of four-way and nine-way HPV vaccines, which has caused the wide gap between supply and demand.

"It is very difficult for the company to produce enough vaccines to meet the need of hundreds of millions of people around the world," he said.

In an earlier statement, MSD said it was working with its partners to increase its capacity for supplying the nine-way vaccine, while ensuring drug safety and quality.

Qiao said some Chinese companies are also researching and developing HPV vaccines, which are expected to ease supply shortages once they enter the market.

Innovax, a pharmaceutical company based in Xiamen, Fujian province, has completed six years of clinical trials on its two-way HPV vaccine, which may become the first domestically developed HPV vaccine to enter the mainland market, he said.

A nine-way HPV vaccine, developed by Walvax Biotech, based in Kunming, Yunnan province, won approval from China's top drug regulator for clinical trials in January, according to the company.

Yet unvaccinated women and those who do contract HPV need not worry too much, according to Qiao.

"Infection with HPV is quite different from getting cervical cancer," he said. "Only a sustained infection over a long period of time could result in cervical cancer, and it may take more than 10 years."

However, Tan Xianjie, a gynecologist at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, cautioned that although nine-way HPV vaccines can prevent cervical cancer in most cases, women who are vaccinated should still be screened regularly, as no available vaccine can currently protect against all types of HPV.

Women register to accept a free breast and cervical cancer screening at Shiliu community center in Donghai county, Jiangsu province, on July 21, 2017. Zhang Kaihu / For China Daily 

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2018-10-02 08:35:49
<![CDATA[City district holds lottery for anti-cancer drug]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/02/content_37016086.htm

Residents of a district in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, have been told they must enter a lottery if they want to receive a popular vaccine that can prevent cervical cancer, due to high demand.

Xiaoshan district's center for disease control and prevention said women must register online using their real names if they want to enter the lottery for vaccination with Gardasil 9, a nine-way HPV vaccine that was approved for use on the mainland by China's top regulator in April.

At the first draw, held in the district's public health center on Sept 17, 186 of the 885 women who applied were selected to receive vaccinations. The lottery was conducted under notarial supervision, according to Xiaoshan CDC.

Those who were chosen had five days to go to the community health center where they were registered, with their ID cards, if they still wanted to be vaccinated, the center said.

Any women who missed out the first time can wait for the next draw, which will continue until supply problems ease, or opt to receive a two-way or four-way HPV vaccine, which are still in stock.

Health authorities in Xiaoshan resorted to a lottery system to ensure fairness due to a shortage of Gardasil 9, which US-based pharmaceutical company MSD holds a monopoly over.

The nine-way HPV vaccine is in short supply in many areas of China, according to a report by Beijing-based newspaper the Beijing News.

Some hospitals and clinics in the capital started taking appointments for vaccinations in early September, but later began imposing restrictions due to the large number of applicants, the report said.

The cost of receiving the vaccine varies from place to place, according to the newspaper, although a patient can expect to pay about 4,000 yuan ($582) for the full, three-dose treatment.

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2018-10-02 08:35:49
<![CDATA[Giant basket of flowers brings blessings for National Day]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/02/content_37016085.htm For an eighth successive year, the main decoration in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square for National Day celebrations is a basket-shaped flower arrangement.

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Thematic continuity designed to save energy and protect environment

For an eighth successive year, the main decoration in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square for National Day celebrations is a basket-shaped flower arrangement.

Chief designer Lan Hailang, who has worked on the displays for more than 20 years, said the thematic continuity is designed to save energy and protect the environment.

Lan, a senior engineer at the Beijing Institute of Landscape and Traditional Architectural Design and Research, said the design is similar to ensure the steel framework used last year will not go to waste. However, the detailed design of the flowers in the huge basket changes every year.

This year, the main flowers in the basket are anthuriums, surrounded by sunflowers and carnations, which Lan said signified all Chinese people united as one.

"Another important reason for this arrangement is that we have 10 additional flower terraces with new designs to express different good wishes to be displayed along Chang'an Avenue, and we hope they can attract visitors from the square to the avenue," Lan said.

A large number of visitors flock to the square every October to celebrate the weeklong National Day holiday and view the flowers, putting pressure on transport infrastructure and prompting security concerns. It is hoped the 10 terraces along the avenue will lure some of the crowd away from the square this year.

Lan, in his mid-40s, has helped design the capital's floral decorations for National Day since 1997.

"I feel very lucky to be part of this project, so that we can send the best wishes to our country through flowers," he said. "I've never felt bored with designing, even though I have been doing this for more than 20 years.

"It seems that my whole life will be connected with trees and flowers."

Lan said he started growing flowers when he was 6 and has loved doing so ever since. He went to Beijing Forestry University, majoring in garden design, and studied city planning as a postgraduate, saying it helped him design flower arrangements that suited a city.

"It's all about the teamwork for huge flower arrangement projects for big days," he said. "It cannot be completed by one person."

Design work for this year's flower arrangement, which started in March, was completed by a team of 60 people, with 10 core members. During the process, the team sought thematic suggestions from experts at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Flower experts also gave them suggestions about the types of flowers that could be used for certain effects.

"It's like magic when those flower terraces appear at several locations in the city overnight," Lan said. "It's just like a present for all the citizens from us, bringing surprise and joy to the people. It's also a gift to our city."

The huge basket-shaped flower arrangement in Tian'anmen Square, themed "blessings to China", and the 10 terraces along Chang'an Avenue feature a total of about 2 million flowers, according to Jie Jun, director of the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau's afforestation division, which was responsible for turning the design into flower beds. The main colors are yellow and red, the colors of China's national flag.

The main flower arrangement in the center of the square is 17 meters high, with the basket 15.3 meters high and 50 meters in diameter at the base.

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2018-10-02 08:35:14
<![CDATA[Technology contributes to blooming spectacle]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/02/content_37016084.htm

The Chinese capital has come up with its most elaborate floral display yet to celebrate this year's 69th birthday of the People's Republic of China with up-to-date technologies.

The Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau unveiled the decoration plan on Sept 14, saying that high-technology applications such as 3D modeling were adopted in the making of the flower beds.

The huge flower basket that is the centerpiece in Tian'anmen Square features a more three-dimensional, complex and elaborate display nowadays thanks to advances in gardening technology and the country's development, said Jie Jun, director of the bureau's afforestation division.

Such modern technologies now make it possible to realize designs that were just wishful thinking in the past, he said, while the addition of music and lighting effects has turned them into bewitching entertainments of color and sound.

"No matter what the blueprint, we can bring it to life," Jie said, adding that the basket is also fire and water resistant.

The basket and the flower beds along Chang'an Avenue contain more than 200 species of flowers including anthuriums, sunflowers, carnations, peonies, lilies, peach blossom and Chinese wisteria. Some of the species on display were sourced as seeds overseas, from countries such as the United States, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan, and then cultivated in China.

As breeding technologies have matured, the flowers in the display are among the best in the world for their uniform shapes and rich colors, according to Beijing Florascape, the company that provides the flowers for the display.

It has been cultivating and researching flowers and other plants since 1956 and has been providing flowers for the floral display in Tian'anmen Square since 1986.

Modern irrigation devices have ensured the flowers look their best for the display as they help flowering plants to remain in bloom for longer. The company has also adopted drip irrigation for all flowers used in Tian'anmen Square this year to save water. The company said all the potted flowers are fitted with a needle that delivers water to the roots, which helps them stay fresh for as long as half a year.

But that doesn't mean designing the floral displays for the National Day celebrations has become any easier, it said, because the public now expects each design to be better than the one before.

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2018-10-02 08:35:14
<![CDATA[Tourists flock to floral display]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/02/content_37016083.htm The huge basket-shaped flower arrangement in Tian'anmen Square is a mustsee for tourists visiting Beijing during the National Day holiday.

It has been on display in the square since Sept 23, and Bai Fan, 24, admired it with his girlfriend during the Mid-Autumn Festival last month. They traveled to Beijing during the three-day holiday from Changsha, Hunan province, because they were told there would be too many tourists in Beijing during the National Day holiday.

In a patriotic mood, they put Chinese flag stickers on their cheeks and busily snapped photos in front of the massive flower display.

Many other tourists were taking selfies with the basket. Strolling vendors hawking selfie sticks vied with photographers in gray vests who offered to take souvenir instant-print digital photos of visitors.

"This is my first time visiting Beijing near the National Day holiday, and I'm very impressed," said Bai, who works for a financial company in Changsha. "The flower display is quite beautiful and complements Tian'anmen Square well since they are similar in color.

"One cannot help but feel the love for the country and the pride to be Chinese."

Zhuang Chen, 25, who has visited Tian'anmen Square many times, was another early viewer of this year's massive flower display.

Last year, he got up at 4 am on Oct 1 to see the flag-raising ceremony in the square on National Day.

The flower display is a colorful backdrop to the celebrations in Tian'anmen Gate Tower and helps create a joyous atmosphere every year, Zhuang said.

"Seeing the national flag guards march in tight order from Tian'anmen Gate Tower, singing the national anthem with tens of thousands of people around you, and watching the national flag flutter in the wind, the sense of patriotism overwhelmed me," he said.

Every year, Beijing sees an influx of visitors during the National Day holiday, along with a surge in tourist revenue.

Domestic tourists made more than 12 million trips in Beijing over the eight-day holiday last year, up 5 percent year-on-year, spending 9.536 billion yuan ($1.39 billion), an increase of 11 percent, according to the Beijing government.

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2018-10-02 08:35:14
<![CDATA[A tradition that has changed over time]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/02/content_37016082.htm Beijing started decorating Tian'anmen Square with large flower arrangements for National Day in 1984.

They have since become a tradition in the capital for the National Day holiday each October, and their design has developed over the years.

From 1986 to 1999, the display in the square featured blanket-shaped flower beds with a fountain in the center.

Then, from 2000 to 2010, the arrangement was like a picture scroll made of various types of flowers, with one scroll on the eastern side of the square and another on the western side.

Since 2011, the design has been a huge, basket-shaped flower arrangement, which has proved popular with the public.

Before 1990, it was not possible to use a large range of colors in the flower arrangements because the design was limited by the types of flowers available. But as the economy has grown and technology has improved, a bigger range of flowers - both domestically developed and imported - can be used.

Since 2014, 3D modeling and scanning technology have been used in the construction of the flower arrangement.

In recent years, lighting has been introduced for nighttime viewing, and the development of drip irrigation technology has made maintenance more efficient.

 

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2018-10-02 08:35:14
<![CDATA[MAJOR SHANDONG MEETING REAPS WHIRLWIND OF DEALS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013900.htm Shandong province reaped a whirlwind of business deals at the Conference of Great Business Partners last week, securing 130 deals worth 536.62 billion yuan ($78 billion) in total, according to the organizers.

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Organizers say event secured widespread interest in province's investment potential

Shandong province reaped a whirlwind of business deals at the Conference of Great Business Partners last week, securing 130 deals worth 536.62 billion yuan ($78 billion) in total, according to the organizers.

The contracts covered a variety of sectors, each of them expected to begin being honored within one year after the conference, officials from the provincial government said.

The host province showcased its industrial strengths, rich resources and business-friendly environment during the event, which ran from Friday to Sunday in its capital, Jinan.

The Shandong Development and Reform Commission presented 600 selected investment projects from across the province at the conference, seeking investors from China and abroad.

They showed off the enormous opportunities for fostering emerging industries and upgrading traditional sectors in the province, local officials said.

The majority of the projects were from 10 key fields that receive priority support from local authorities.

Among the industries are new-generation information technology, advanced machinery, new energy and materials, intelligent maritime engineering, healthcare and eco-friendly chemicals.

Culture and creativity, tourism, finance and modern agriculture were also on the list.

As a traditional manufacturing hub in China, Shandong boasts well-established industrial foundations and a skilled labor force, which have also helped to power its high-tech sectors into an economic boom.

The advanced manufacturing industry has grown into a major engine, driving the growth of the local economy.

Last year saw the annual output of industrial robots in the province jump 60.7 percent from a year earlier.

In 2017, the province's yearly output of urban rail vehicles surged by 80.2 percent year-on-year and that of new energy vehicles increased by three times.

Behind the boom in the advanced manufacturing industry are a group of local companies, each capable of generating more than 10 billion yuan in annual business revenue.

They include automobile and equipment manufacturer Weichai Group, high-tech company Inspur, China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, high-speed train manufacturer CRRC Qingdao Sifang and carmaker SGMDongyue - a joint venture of leading industrial players in the sector SAIC-GM, SAIC Motor and GM China.

Shandong's goal is to build itself into a leading production and innovation hub in the country, with the advanced manufacturing industry's value added projected to reach 530 billion yuan in 2022, an estimated 5.3 percent of the province's GDP then.

In the information technology industry, Shandong ranked third nationwide in terms of the information technology industrial output last year, after Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces, local media reported.

In Shandong, businesses related to cloud computing, big data and the internet of things have registered an average annual compound growth rate of 20 percent over the past five years, data from the provincial government showed.

Also, the coastal province is at the forefront of the country in terms of maritime business, including fishing, sea salt output, maritime engineering equipment and construction, and the production of marine petroleum and oceanic medicines.

The province's maritime businesses generated 1.48 trillion yuan in yearly production value in 2017, an increase of 8 percent on 2016.

As a powerhouse of agroproducts, last year Shandong ranked top of the country by the yields of vegetables, fruits, and meat and aquatic products.

Agricultural exports from the province exceeded $17 billion last year, an increase of 7.2 percent from 2016, contributing one-quarter of China's total agricultural exports and ranking it top of the country for the 19th consecutive year.

Shandong is rich in natural resources and generations of efforts have paved the way for another success story, Liu Jiayi, Party chief of the province, said at a government working meeting in July.

The province needs to make full use of its traditional advantages in terms of its geographic location, industries, marine business, education and culture sectors, and turn them into modern strengths to give itself a new lease on life, Liu noted.

 

From left: China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, also known as SinoTruk, which is headquartered in Jinan, capital of Shandong province, displays its product lineup at an exhibition in Russia. A group of investment project agreements are signed at the 2018 Yantai Investment Promotion and Talent Attraction Forum, part of the Conference of Great Business Partners last week.Photos provided to China Daily

(China Daily 10/01/2018 page12)

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2018-10-01 08:23:52
<![CDATA[Key exhibition draws attention]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013899.htm

A Shandong-themed exhibition at the Conference of Great Business Partners caught the attention of visitors last week.

The exhibition consisted of three sections, focusing on the province's achievements, transformation and tradition, respectively.

The section on achievements showcased the progress the province has made in its industrial upgrading, enhanced reforms and opening-up, innovation and entrepreneurship, cultural life and improvement to local residents' well-being over the past few years.

The section of transformation focused on pillar sectors and the top 10 industries that receive priority support from local authorities, as well as the province's overall development plan for its industrial transformation towards eco-friendly and sustainable growth.

The section about tradition featured 11 time-honored brands and intangible cultural heritage items. The display and interaction enabled visitors to learn more about Shandong's folk customs, culinary delights and preserved craftsmanship, organizers said.

In addition, a stage drama combining Peking Opera and acrobatic stunts helped visitors have a better understanding of the host province's tradition and hospitality.

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2018-10-01 08:23:52
<![CDATA[What they say]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013898.htm Shandong is the largest tire producing province in China, accounting for more than 50 percent of the nation's tyre output. Rubber is the primary material for tire production, while Thailand is the largest country of origin for rubber in the world. Therefore, rubber accounts for a large proportion of the international trade between Shandong and Thailand. With Shandong's promotional events being staged in Thailand, the country is paying more and more attention to Shandong. Shandong is a province renowned for its economy and culture and has made great efforts in economic transformation.

Feng Wenliang, president of the Shandong General Chamber of Commerce in Thailand

Shandong has many effective policies in eldercare, but there is also a lot of room for improvement. I am engaged in promotional work for Internet Plus intelligent-driven eldercare and for healthy nursing of the elderly. I want to make my contribution to Shandong, my hometown, with this project, which is based on the internet of things and blockchain technology to provide more healthy, safe and comfortable nursing experiences for the elderly.

Wang Chun, vice-chairwoman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom

The conference can serve as a platform to attract business partners from all over the world, where businesspeople can make proposals for Shandong's development. It also provides a platform for cooperation and helps Shandong attract more investment and big companies.

Zhan Dong, vice-chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Kenya

I have conducted exchanges and visits to many universities in Shandong, and I'm proud of my contribution to the establishment of the Sino-German Institute of Science and Technology and the Sino-German Dual Engineering College, under the cooperation between Qingdao University of Science and Technology and University Paderborn, combining the advantages of German universities in different disciplines, and selectively introducing German high-quality education resources.

Zhong Junwei, managing director of the International Foundation College of University Paderborn in Germany

Shandong is a province renowned for its culture. The Conference of Great Business Partners held in Shandong is an embodiment of the integration of culture and the economy. I hope more global events will be held in Shandong, to further expand its influence among foreign countries.

Qu Yan,

president of the Shandong Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates ]]>
2018-10-01 08:23:52
<![CDATA[Guests stream in from near and far]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013897.htm

The Conference of Great Business Partners, held in Shandong from Friday to Sunday, attracted about 1,200 "distinguished guests" from China and abroad.

They were all influential figures from the business, technology, education, culture, healthcare and finance communities - as well as from overseas groups and young entrepreneurs - with nearly 70 percent of them from outside Shandong, according to Ren Airong, vice-governor of the province.

A group of Global Fortune 500 companies, large State-owned enterprises and top 500 Chinese businesses participated in the event, seeking business opportunities in the province.

Those in attendance also included Nobel laureates, nearly 30 Chinese and foreign academicians and winners of Changjiang Scholar awards - a program issued by the Ministry of Education to award individuals with extraordinary academic contributions - as well as more than 80 leaders of overseas groups from five continents and representatives of overseas Chinese.

The business and academic heavyweights also shared their insights into industrial trends with another 4,500 attendees, including local entrepreneurs, members of think tanks and representatives of trade associations, at 12 forums held during the conference.

The forums focused on new-generation information technology, advanced manufacturing, new energy and materials, maritime business, healthcare, modern agriculture, culture and creativity, tourism, finance and economic reforms.

During the conference, a website named "Select Shandong" officially went online.

The online platform publicizes information on investment projects, employment opportunities and capital flows, involving more than 180 industrial parks in 17 cities across the province.

Using cloud computing and big data technologies, the portal - which also has access to WeChat and mobile terminals such as cellphones and tablets - can provide select information in both Chinese and English, according to visitors' personal preferences, profession, investment intentions and employment needs.

The conference's organizers have established a database of high-level human resources and key positions.

The database offers information on more than 2,200 high-level professionals in higher learning schools, research institutes and companies across Shandong. It also publicized over 1,500 openings in the province, which need some 3,200 professionals, Ren said.

Li Boping, an official at the Human Resources and Social Security Department of Shandong, said the guests invited to the Conference of Great Business Partners had also been added to the province's talent pool.

The authorities will make regular contact with the top experts, who have developed core technologies and own intellectual property, and encourage cooperation with the local business community in commercializing and industrializing their research achievements, Li said.

Famed as the home of the philosopher Confucius, Shandong has a tradition of valuing education and respecting professionals.

The province is home to nearly 150 colleges and universities, which accommodate a total of 2 million students, as well as 166 technical high schools and 77 vocational schools.

Among them are Shandong University in Jinan, with a history going back more than a century, and Ocean University of China in Qingdao. Both have made the list of the World University Rankings released annually by the Times in the United Kingdom.

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2018-10-01 08:23:52
<![CDATA[DRAWN BY A FAMOUS TALE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013893.htm Every Chinese child knows about the Monkey King and its hometown - the Huaguo Mountain. The mountain, whose name means "flowers and fruits", attracts millions of tourists every year thanks to its mythical status and beautiful scenery.

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Huaguo Mountain - seen as the birthplace of the Monkey King, or Sun Wukong, the hero of Journey to the West - is big draw for visitors, Cang Wei reports from Nanjing.

Every Chinese child knows about the Monkey King and its hometown - the Huaguo Mountain. The mountain, whose name means "flowers and fruits", attracts millions of tourists every year thanks to its mythical status and beautiful scenery.

The mountain, seen as the birthplace of the Monkey King, or Sun Wukong, the hero of one of the most famous Chinese novels, Journey to the West, covers an area of 84.3 square kilometers.

The novel written by Wu Cheng'en (1501-82) has been adapted into cartoons, TV dramas and films in China and is immensely popular, especially among Chinese children.

Huaguo Mountain, also called "the No 1 fairyland in East China Sea", features grotesque rocks, endless white clouds shrouding its valleys and little monkeys in the trees.

The mountain also has many scenic spots for fans of the Monkey King, including Water Curtain Cave, the Sanqing Palace and the 72 Caves site.

Meanwhile, the nearby seaside city of Lianyungang also has many scenic attractions, such as Liandao Island and Yuwan Bay.

The international port city, located near the Yellow Sea, is the eastern terminus of the New Eurasian Land Bridge and the proposed Northern East-West Freight Corridor.

Lianyungang was also one of the first 14 Chinese coastal cities to open up to the world, making it a center for industry, foreign trade and tourism in East China.

Lianyungang is also known as "the city of crystal" as Donghai County in Lianyungang contains 70 percent of the country's reserves of natural crystal and manufactures 80 percent of China's crystal products.

With the development of tourism in Lianyungang, Li Daoyong, who was a tour guide 20 years ago, now runs a travel agency.

"I felt it was the right time to start my business in 2003 when the city was listed as one of China's top tourism cities," says Li.

"When my agency started operations, we had just two workers. But my agency handled 50,000 visitors in 2017 after Huaguo Mountain was listed as a National 5A scenic spot (the highest rating for a Chinese tourist attraction) in 2016."

Speaking about his early days, he says he remembers that in 1998, the agency he worked for received only 700 visitors. Back in the 1970s, the city had only one hotel that received foreign visitors. But now it has 23 starred hotels with 2,529 rooms, including two five-star hotels.

In 2017, Lianyungang and the surrounding area attracted more than 33 million tourists, up 12.5 percent from the previous year.

In recent years, the city has invested heavily to restore its ancient scenic spots and develop new places of interests. In 2017 alone, it invested more than 37 billion yuan ($5.4 billion) to develop 59 scenic spots, including many countryside tourist attractions.

Local farmers working at the attractions, such as in seafood-picking and silk-making, have benefited from tourism and live a better life.

In Lizhuang village in the city's Ganyu district, more than 400,000 tourists visited its 400-hectare cherry-planting site.

Separately, the city has also built villas, landing sites and bridges on Liandao Island.

The island, covering an area of 7.6 square kilometers, is the largest in Jiangsu province.

Another attraction is Yuwan Bay, about 20 km from downtown. And it attracts not only tourists but also the locals who go there to see its waterfalls and cliffs.

For those who love nature there's Yuntai Mountain located in the northeast part of the city, which is rich in wild plants, and boasts various kinds of giant ancient trees.

If you want to get there, take a flight to the city's Baitabu Airport located 25 km from downtown, or get off the highspeed bullet train at Xuzhou station and then take a bus to neighboring Lianyungang city.

Liu Maomao contributed to this story.

 

Huaguo Mountain attracts millions of tourists every year, owing to the popularity of the novel Journey to the West, in which it is the birthplace of the legendary Monkey King. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-10-01 08:23:02
<![CDATA[Story of a small green worm which is worth a fortune]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013892.htm A small green worm is fostering an industry worth 1 billion yuan ($146 million) in Guanyun, a country in the seaside city of Lianyungang, in East China's Jiangsu province.

Be cautious in Lianyungang when a dish that looks like stir-boiled egg white is served because you may not have the courage to eat it when you know its ingredients.

The dish is made of green silkworm-like insects. They are about 5 centimeters long and are usually seen on soybean leaves. While people in other places use pesticide to kill the worms, people in Lianyungang grow soybeans to farm the worms.

The dish, called doudan by the locals, not only puts off many travelers, but also some locals who refuse to eat the worms because of their appearance.

"My mum freaked me out when she ordered the soup made from the worms," says Ji Kun, a grade-nine student living in the city's Lianyun district.

"But I started to like its flavor after the very first spoon. It tastes like the combination of oyster, crab meat and soybean."

"The dish hurts the eyes but pleases the tongue," he says. "I'll eat the worms but avoid looking at them before they are cooked."

According to Li Aimei, a restaurant owner in Haizhou district, the worms feed on soybean leaves and dew. They have high protein and low fat, and can cure some stomach ailments.

"You think about Peking duck when you are in Beijing; you want to try hotpot when you are in Chongqing. Doudan is the specialty that you should not miss when you're in Lianyungang."

She says that to make the dish, the chef first boils the worms in water, and then uses a rolling pin to press out the white meat and throw away the green skin. The meat is often cooked with cabbage, garlic and chili. And sometimes it is simply fried to make it crispy.

Every year in August, a doudan festival is held in Lianyungang's Guanyun county.

The dish is not cheap. A bowl of doudan often sells for more than 1,000 yuan.

According to Ma Shisheng, the director of the county's green food office, about 3,000 farmers work in the doudan industry now. And they farm the worms in 10.7 million square meters of soybean fields in the county.

"The output of the doudan industry exceeds 1 billion yuan a year," he says.

"Many local farmers live a better life because of the worms."

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2018-10-01 08:23:02
<![CDATA[Glittering history of the county of crystal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013891.htm Donghai county in Lianyungang, in East China's Jiangsu province, is widely recognized as "China's county of crystal". It is where you can get high-quality natural crystal products.

Rich in mineral resources, the county has about 37 kinds of minerals, including rock crystal, quartz and rutile. It has a total of 300 million metric tons of quartz and a reserve of 300,000 metric tons of crystal. Its crystal reserve accounts for half of the country's total.

"Not only do we have the largest quantity of crystal but also the best quality," says Chen Lin, the president of the Donghai Crystal Research Association.

"The crystal in Donghai has the highest purity. More than 99.99 percent of its content is silicon."

"The output and sales value of the crystal sector there constitutes half of that of the whole country, which makes the county the largest crystal market in China."

The crystal from Donghai is famous in China, and has been praised by many men of letters.

Su Dongpo, a poet in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), mentions the county nine times and its crystal four times in his work.

The crystal coffin of the late chairman Mao Zedong was made of 32.2 tons of crystal from the county.

In recent years, the county's crystal industry has developed rapidly. And it aims to be the world's top crystal center in the years to come.

The crystal from Donghai has both industrial and civil uses, including jewelry and artifacts, according to Chen.

In 1991, the first Donghai Crystal Festival was held in the county. And since then, the 10-day festival, has been celebrated around October every other year.

In 2013, the county produced more than 250 million pieces of crystal jewelry and crystal artifacts, with a value of around 7 billion yuan ($1.02 billion).

As of 2018, the county has more than 3,000 crystal processing factories, producing about 30 million pieces of crystal jewelry and more than 5 million crystal artifacts.

The Chinese Crystal Arts and Crafts Mall, located in the county, now also sells to overseas markets. It imports more than 1,000 metric tons of raw crystal from Brazil, South Africa, Madagascar and Russia, every year and exports the processed products to more than 30 countries and regions.

The annual value of the mall's output is now around 100 million yuan ($14.6 million), making the crystal industry one of the most important sectors in Donghai.

Liu Maomao contributed to this story.

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2018-10-01 08:23:02
<![CDATA[BIGGER IS BETTER, CAR BUYERS SAY]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013890.htm "Bigger is better," said Xu Junyang, a securities analyst in Beijing, when asked what kind of vehicle he was looking for at a dealership.

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SUVs, MPVs are popular as drivers seek more space, better driving experience

"Bigger is better," said Xu Junyang, a securities analyst in Beijing, when asked what kind of vehicle he was looking for at a dealership.

As his wife will soon give birth to their second child, the 39-year-old has decided to replace his four-year old five-seat Buick Lacrosse with a larger vehicle.

"Cars with plenty of room are the priority, those that can carry at least three adults, two safety chairs, two baby carriages and a lot more," Xu said.

He is not alone. China's introduction of the second-child policy at the beginning of 2016 has spurred a huge demand for bigger vehicles among young couples.

There were more than 17 million newborn babies last year, of which more than half were second children, soaring by 11 percent compared with the previous year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

"Even if we don't have a second child now, buying a big SUV is the long-term plan," said Lin Li, a 26-year-old college graduate in Beijing.

Lin bought a Toyota Highlander this year as her budget excluded the possibility of buying a second car in the coming four or five years.

"Why not consider bigger ones at the outset?" Lin said, adding that she might have two children in the future.

Lin said a bigger car had always been her first choice as her family will have at least seven members, including her parents and parents-in-law.

"For younger buyers, bigger cars have also become a popular choice because they look more cool and driving them brings a feeling of adventure," she said.

Some people who have two children and old parents are shifting toward MPVs, with Volkswagen's Sharan and Honda's Odyssey being popular choices.

Cao Jian, an IT specialist in Beijing, traded up his Volkswagen Sagitar sedan for a seven-seat Odyssey in June.

"I wanted a big SUV, but the comfort and roominess of MPVs finally gained the upper hand," said Cao, whose parents are over 70 years old.

He said MPV bodies are lower and thus more suitable for older passengers and their seats are more comfortable than those of SUVs.

"What impressed my wife and me is that the Odyssey's seats in the second row can be laid flat and you can sleep on them, which is great for both kids and parents," Cao said.

He said the decision came after he test-drove big SUVs including the Toyota Highlander and Peugeot 5008, but their seats were not comfortable enough, and the Volkswagen Teramont was too big for him.

"We don't need great performance or clearance ability; what we need is space and comfort," he added.

However, for those who enjoy self-driving tours, big SUVs such as the Teramont or Toyota Prado are popular.

Wang Lina, a 35-year old businesswoman who is planning a trip to the Tibet autonomous region during the National Day holiday, said big SUVs are a "natural choice" for her.

"You are not worried even if some road sections are poorly surfaced, because SUVs can handle such conditions," said Wang, who often takes her family to suburban areas for fun.

"Besides, there is more legroom in SUVs, so you are less tired than in a sedan if you travel long distances. And I'm told bigger cars are safer if there is an accident," she said.

Statistics from the China Tourism Academy showed that Chinese people made 223 million self-driving trips in the first half of 2017, with the average distance standing at 142.8 kilometers. Of the drivers, more than 80 percent were aged between 31 and 35.

The academy said these people are mainly middle and high-income earners and they are more interested in the travel experience than their destinations.

These trends have driven up sales of SUVs in the past few years. Last year, more than 10 million SUVs were sold, up 13.32 percent year-on-year, according to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

In the first half of this year, the SUV sector was also the fastest growing in the Chinese auto market, with sales soaring nearly 6.3 percent year-on-year to 4.69 million vehicles.

Even though the growth rate has slowed in the past few months, major carmakers are still ramping up efforts to develop SUV models, sensing demand from people who need to drive on various road conditions across the country.

Beijing Automotive Group Co Ltd, one of China's top five automakers by sales revenue, for example, said it is investing more resources to develop its SUV business.

"The SUV market is growing at a fast pace and people have big aspirations for that. This is an area in which we want to be uniquely positioned," said Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC Group.

"We will focus on improving off-road vehicle offerings because consumers today have higher demands for their SUVs' functionality," Xu said.

Wang Zilin is one of them. Wang and his wife work in Qingdao in East China's Shandong province, but they travel to their hometown in the rural area of Linyi in the same province two times a month.

Wang said there are rugged road sections during the three-hour drive.

"It is more comfortable to drive a big SUV as it can handle those uneven roads better," he said, adding that the seats on SUVs are higher, allowing drivers to see the road more clearly, which guarantees better views and travel safety.

 

An SUV takes part in an international racing event in Zhangye, Northwest China's Gansu province, on July 21. Pei Qiang / For China Daily

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2018-10-01 08:22:35
<![CDATA[Full-sized vehicle segment is on the rise]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013889.htm Large SUVs and MPVs, despite their small volume in China, are gradually gaining popularity in the country, attracting foreign and domestic carmakers to enrich their lineups with such models.

The full-sized SUV segment is on the rise, as the vehicles serve the needs of Chinese customers who want more room and a commanding seating position, said Volkswagen China Passenger Cars Brand.

One example is Volkswagen's Teramont, a full-sized SUV made by the German carmaker's joint venture SAIC Volkswagen. More than 60,000 were delivered in the first eight months of 2018, one of the biggest success stories for the Volkswagen brand in China.

Confident in the Chinese market, Volkswagen is expanding its SUV portfolio to more than 10 models by 2020.

"We will expand in all SUV types, including the full-sized models. On top of that, we may also have an idea or two for more MPV-like body styles," said the company in an e-mail to China Daily.

Volkswagen is also observing a fast rise in its MPV sales in the country. Its Touran sales grew more than 30 percent from January to August, totaling 27,000 units. Its Sharan, which is available as a six and seven seater, now sees China as a main market globally.

"There is a substantial customer group for MPVs. These customers are even more orientated toward practicality. For that reason the MPV also has more commercial users," the company said.

Other foreign carmakers including GM and Honda have also been successful in the high-end MPV market.

Sales of the Buick GL8 from January to August went up 7.5 percent year-on-year to 98,875 units, and Honda's Odyssey saw its sales up 26.3 percent year-on-year to 28,690 units for the same period, according to statistics from the China Passenger Car Association.

With its Buick GL8 being one of the most popular business choices, GM is offering the smaller GL6 that is designed to meet family use.

Bao Ye, a Buick sales chief, said 40 percent of Chinese grandparents take care of their grandchildren, but more often than not they will be absent from family trips because of limited seat space.

"Our six-seat Buick GL6 is targeted at such families, enabling them to travel together," said Bao when the MPV was unveiled last year.

Chinese carmakers are revving up their efforts as well. BYD's Song Max, which was launched in late 2017, has proved successful, seizing a top three spot on the list of MPV sales in August. Geely is expected to introduce its first MPV in the fourth quarter this year.

The China Passenger Car Association expects MPV sales to reach 3.5 million units by 2020 from 2.4 million units in 2016.

 

Models stand next to a Volkswagen Teramont, a full-sized SUV made by the German carmaker's joint venture SAIC Volkswagen, at an auto fair in Qingdao, Shandong province, on Sept 12. Provided to China Daily

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2018-10-01 08:22:35
<![CDATA[Beijing to add 1,628 more auto charging piles]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/01/content_37013888.htm Beijing will add 1,628 more public charging piles for the new energy vehicles, according to a recent report by Beijing Youth Daily.

The new charging facilities will be placed in crowded areas near shopping malls, hospitals, hotels and parks in more than 10 districts around the city, the newspaper said, quoting sources with the municipal development and reform commission.

So far, the city has a total of 132,000 charging piles for new energy vehicles.

New energy vehicle sales went up 49.5 percent year-on-year to 101,000 vehicles last month, while production rose 39 percent to 99,000 vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sales of pure electric vehicles rose 31.7 percent year-on-year in August to 73,000 vehicles while sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles soared more than 130 percent to 28,000 vehicles, CAAM said.

In recent years, China has intensified efforts to encourage the use of new energy vehicles to ease pressure on the environment by offering tax exemptions and discounts for their purchases.

China has remained the world's largest new energy vehicle market for three consecutive years, with some 777,000 vehicles sold last year.

A total of 607,000 new energy vehicles were manufactured in China through August this year, while 601,000 were sold in the nation during the same period, increases of 75.4 percent and 88 percent year-on-year, respectively.

CAAM estimated that over 1 million new energy vehicles will be sold this year, while the Ministry of Finance provided a bolder prediction of 1.5 million vehicles, said Shi Jianhua, vice-chairman of CAAM.

In contrast, the output and sales of the whole auto industry continued to decline in August, with slumps of 4.4 and 3.8 percent to 2 million and 2.1 million vehicles during the same month.

The country produced and sold 18.13 million and 18 million automobiles in the first eight months of the year, a mild increase of 2.8 and 3.5 percent.

Xinhua - China Daily

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2018-10-01 08:22:35
<![CDATA[Cakes with character]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/30/content_37008830.htm Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

Savory cakes can be made from rice dough with tempting fillings full of chives, peanuts, yams, bamboo shoots, turnips, bean curd. They are shaped by hand or by elaborate hand-carved wooden molds, then steamed in huge vats.

The pretty cakes are made for celebrations, temple offerings or any holiday occasion, and people can gather to feast and relax.

 

These cakes, or guo, are a Chaozhou specialty, made from rice dough with tempting fillings. Provided to China Daily

They are a Chaozhou specialty from the Chaoshan region, where the people are technically Cantonese because of the provincial boundaries but they speak a dialect that the rest of the province finds hard to understand.

But everyone understands the language of food, and the delicate cakes and pastries so lovingly handcrafted by mothers and sisters have traveled far in their popularity.

These delicate cakes do not use fancy ingredients and it is a worthy testimonial to the Chaozhou home chefs that they manage to create such a diversity of pastries that are, in fact, mostly vegetarian.

The most famous guo or cake is a chewy pink confection stuffed with fluffy glutinous rice and peanuts. It's shaped as a single petal, but the rice dough is placed into a wooden mold with intricate peach motifs, and so it's named red peach cake, or hongtaoguo.

Virtually every family prepares these as an ancestral offering on all the major festivals such as Spring Festival, winter solstice or Mid-Autumn Festival. They also cook it for birthdays and weddings.

The cakes are steamed long and slow, so they can keep better, but they are often reheated by shallow frying so the cakes develop a crispy golden crust.

The wooden molds are also used to make a white-skinned version, baitaoguo, that utilizes shredded taro for a sweet filling or a savory mung bean paste.

Sunguo are little half-moons filled with shredded bamboo shoots, dried shrimp and hard bean curd. The outer wrapper is rice dough mixed with either sweet potato or corn starch to give it a stretchy, chewy texture.

These cakes are hand-molded and then steamed. The hot cakes are eaten with a sweet sticky black soy sauce and a tart chili sauce.

Because bamboo shoots can be expensive out of season, these "bamboo shoot pastries" are sometimes made from the cheaper yam bean or jicama instead.

These, like many Chaozhou pastries, were made as offerings to the gods initially but became so popular that they were soon sold as everyday food.

The next snack is full of folk history. This is the shuquguo, named for a wild herb gathered from the mountain. Just after the winter solstice, people would trek up in search of this very interesting herb. It's low-growing with tiny yellow flower heads and is valued in traditional medicine as a cough cure and for its ability to lower hypertension. But for people in Chaoshan, it's both a flavoring and coloring agent for cakes.

After gathering the herb, it is dried in the sun and then pulverized to a powder. This is then added to the rice dough and kneaded in. The resulting gray dough is then shaped around a sweet taro filling.

When cooked, these rice cakes acquire an attractive speckled appearance.

It's getting harder and harder to find Gnaphalium affine in the wild. Consequently, a Chaozhou friend of mine has told me, many families now use black sesame instead.

These cakes are eaten on the last day of the year, on lunar New Year's Eve.

Another festive cake is made from chives. Considered an everyday snack, this is a simple dough wrapped around chopped chives that had been seasoned and stir-fried. But what makes this attractive is the translucent sheen of dark green that shows through the thin dough skin.

Not all Chaoshan pastries are made from rice dough. There are some that are made from sweet potato flour or potato flour. There are also cakes made from a natural fermentation of wheat flour and steamed over high heat like sponges.

During festive occasions especially, fagao must be made because the name is homophonic with "rising prosperity". They are basically simple flour and sugar batters, set aside to let natural fermentation take place. The impatient may help the process with a little yeast.

Another type of cake that is common in Chaoshan households consists of savory slabs made with plenty of taro or pumpkin.

Yutougao is made of yam, often cubed and steamed before being added to a cooked rice batter flavored with chopped, dried shrimp and fried onions. The thick batter is then leveled out in a pan and steamed for a couple of hours.

The slabs are then cut up and refried for a satisfying meal. Pumpkin is used in a similar way.

But the most famous steamed cake is the radish cake, caitouguo. Lots of grated radish is mixed into a thick rice batter and cooked until the radish literally melts. Only its natural sweetness remains.

The steamed cake is cut into smaller pieces and pan-fried with egg and more radishes - the pickled sweet savory chopped radish - and seasoned with thick sweet soy sauce.

Fried radish cake is popular as a street food not just in Chaoshan but all over Southeast Asia.

Another street food that started out in Chaoshan is the "water cake" or shuiguo, which is a ladle of smooth rice batter steamed in a tiny earthenware saucer. When cooked, the rice cake develops a dimple in its center, where the hot steam condenses and turns into a tiny puddle of water.

The water is tossed out, and a rich bubbling brew of pickled radish, sweet fried onions and sesame seeds goes into the dimple. It is a popular breakfast food.

Placed together, this wonderful selection of cakes and pastries is a colorful sample of the ingenuity of the Chaoshan cook. The main ingredients are just a handful of the most ordinary found in the average kitchen.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipe

Golden pumpkin cake

180 g rice flour

50 g sweet potato starch, or corn starch

2 cups water

400 g pumpkin, peeled

2-3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked

100 g dried shrimps, soaked

100 g pickled sweet radishes

1 Chinese sausage, finely diced

Spring onions, chili, fried peanuts for garnish

Save 100 g of the pumpkin and dice into 0.5 cm cubes. Grate the rest of the pumpkin.

Dice the Chinese mushrooms and chop up the dried shrimp.

Mix the two flours together and gradually add the two cups of water to form a slurry. Set aside.

Heat some oil in a large wok and fry the chopped shrimp, sausage and mushrooms until fragrant. Scoop up and set aside. Pour in the rice flour slurry and add the grated pumpkin.

Cook until the batter starts to thicken, remembering to stir well every now and then. Add the fried ingredients and the diced pumpkin. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Give the mixture a good toss to thoroughly mix. By now, the mixture should be very thick.

Line a square cake pan with a double thickness of parchment paper. Pour the rice flour mixture and level using the back of a wet wooden spoon.

Steam for about an hour over high heat, covered tightly. Poke a chopstick in to check that it's done. If nothing sticks to the chopstick, it's cooked.

Garnish with chopped spring onions, fried peanuts and chili.

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2018-09-30 10:38:16
<![CDATA[Celebrating a legacy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/30/content_37008829.htm The world's oldest classical music label will mark its 120th anniversary this year with a series of high-profile events that will kick off with a concert in Beijing

Deutsche Grammophon, the world's oldest classical music label and one of the most renowned, will celebrate its 120th anniversary this year.

Among the international programs to mark the special year, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert at the site of Beijing's historical Imperial Ancestral Temple, which stands just outside the Forbidden City, on Oct 10.

Under the baton of maestro Yu Long, the symphony orchestra will open the concert with a special arrangement of Chinese composer Liu Tianhua's work Enchanted Night.

Then the orchestra will perform German composer Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, British tenor Toby Spence and French baritone Ludovic Tezier, before being joined by French pianist Helene Grimaud for Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major.

 

Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen will then take the solo lead in November from neoclassical composer Max Richter's Memoryhouse, a seminal work of contemporary neoclassical composition in 2002.

It will be the first classical music event to be held at the site since 1998, when Turandot, conducted by Zubin Mehta, was performed there.

"I am thrilled that DG will start its anniversary year with a genuinely historic event in Beijing," says Clemens Trautmann, the president of DG, in Shanghai. "It is sure to inspire millions of young people in China and give momentum to the rise of a vast audience here and across the world."

Trautmann adds that millions will be able to watch the concert on TV and online media.

Speaking about the repertoire for the concert, Trautmann says the program brings together a wide range of music from different eras and from composers in different countries.

Yu, a well-known conductor on the international scene, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra have signed a contract with DG in Berlin, where it is based, to become the first Chinese conductor and orchestra to join the label.

Their first DG recording will be released in 2019 to mark the 140th anniversary of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the oldest symphony orchestra in China.

Speaking about the deal, Yu says: "Even as we are announcing the news of the upcoming Beijing concert, the orchestra is working hard on recording its debut DG album."

One of the pieces in the recording will be Chinese composer Chen Qigang's La Joie de la Souffrance for Violin and Orchestra, featuring Grammy-winning Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov.

The piece was commissioned for the Beijing Music Festival and premiered at last year's closing concert of the event.

Another piece that will be featured on the album is Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dance.

Speaking about the project, Yu says: "The album will establish a dialogue between Chinese and European orchestral music."

The idea of collaborating with Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra took shape when Trautmann met Yu at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland last summer.

Trautmann says, "I believe that it is one of the most advanced and internationalized orchestras in China," adding that DG has been part of China's music scene for over 100 years, and that Shanghai was one of the first Chinese cities that opened up to the Western world.

The history of the symphony orchestra dates back to 1879, when it was known as the Shanghai Public Band.

In 1922, it was renamed the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra. And it was under Italian conductor Mario Paci that the orchestra promoted Western music and trained young Chinese musicians.

Yu, 54, who was born into a musically inclined family in Shanghai, studied at the Shanghai Conservatory, followed by Berlin's Hochschule der Kuenste.

In the early 1990s, Yu returned home and founded the Beijing Music Festival in 1998, followed by the China Philharmonic Orchestra in 2000. He has been the artistic director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra since 2009.

As for DG, its story goes back to the birth of recording.

In June 1898, the company was founded in Hanover along with the first record and gramophone manufacturing works. Its director was Emile Berliner, the Hanover-born American inventor of both the flat disc record and the player.

Now, DG is a part of the Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company.

As for the other events marking the anniversary, Garand Wu, the managing director of Universal Music China, says that besides the concert there will be three performances at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts from Nov 18 to 20 by the Berlin Staatskapelle and the Israeli-Argentinian maestro Daniel Barenboim.

DG will also introduce its Yellow Lounge project to the country with a performance at Beijing's Mao Livehouse featuring British-Irish classical violinist Daniel Hope, Chinese clarinetist Wang Tao and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.

The project, which aims to introduce clubbers to live classical music, was launched in 2001 in Berlin's techno clubs. And since then, Yellow Lounge has organized over 130 club nights, each attracting up to 1,000 guests and a massive traditional and social media following.

"Yellow Lounge takes classical music to the younger generation. After Beijing, we will take it to other Chinese cities," says Wu.

Speaking about the label's future, Trautmann says DG will keep alive the tradition of the label, especially when it comes to building long-term relationships with musicians worldwide and attracting the younger generation of audiences.

"The inventor of the gramophone and the founder of the world's oldest record label, Emile Berliner, brought music into everyday life. And we still use the latest technology to bring music to people," Trautmann says.

 

Maestro Yu Long will take the baton of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra for the concert at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing on Oct 10. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

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2018-09-30 10:38:16
<![CDATA[Telling the story of China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/30/content_37008828.htm A trio of recent book fairs gave literature lovers a chance to hear their favorite writers discuss how China's reform and opening-up helped shape their work

He Jianming, 62, is one of the country's leading writers of nonfiction works, especially in the field of literary reportage.

His writing career took off in 1978, the year that China's reform and opening-up process began, and it has continued to flourish in tandem with the country's development for the past 40 years. Key moments in China's history over the decades have formed the mainstay of his work.

 

Chinese writer Yu Hua (third from the left) in dialogue with 30 Sinologists. Photos Provided to China Daily

Of his 50 books based on real-life events or characters, eight have been turned into films or television series. The three-time Lu Xun Literature Prize winner also penned The Nation, a work based on the real-life evacuation of Chinese citizens from Libya by PLA special forces in 2011. First published in 2012, the work is said to have inspired the blockbuster movie Wolf Warrior.

"I firmly believe in the power of positive thought. I turned myself from an anxious young writer, who continually worried about the problems and dissatisfaction he observed, into an author who tries to set a good example and bring warmth and brightness to his readers," He says, speaking about the transformation in his writing style over the past four decades.

"It's such a vivid, active and colorful country that I'm trying to record. With examples like the growth of the high-speed rail network and the development of the domestically made C919 passenger jet, there are so many stories that relate to our everyday life waiting to be told," he adds.

"Looking back to 40 years ago, I remember how we used to line up for 10 hours to buy a copy of Shakespeare. Now, in an age where we can download 30 books within the space of a minute and a few simple clicks, I don't believe literature is heading in a downward trajectory."

He says he once hoped that his works would sell more than 50,000 copies on their first print run and be reprinted every 10 years. His current sales have seen him not only achieve but surpass this.

This is what he told an audience of loyal readers and the media during a dialogue session at the 2018 Beijing International Book Fair, where the New World Press was launching his 30-volume Collected Works to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up.

In August, book lovers across the country were offered an unprecedented opportunity to witness appearances by Chinese literary masters at book events and conversations with foreign peers and translators across the country - as the Beijing book fair ran in conjunction with the Shanghai Book Fair and the South China Book Festival in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Besides He, writers of such standing as Jia Pingwa, Yu Hua, Liu Zhenyun, Mai Jia, Bi Feiyu, Wang Meng and Liu Cixin took to the stage at these events to share their thoughts.

Like He, Bi Feiyu, author of Three Sisters and Massage, also focused at the Shanghai fair on 40 years of progress and his personal experiences as a writer.

Bi was 14 when the reform and opening-up process began. He recalls the days when he and his young peers discovered the new aesthetic of tight-fitting, flared trousers.

"It was shocking for Chinese people who were used to hiding their figures under oversized clothes. This was my first gift from the reform and opening-up - to learn to be proud of our bodies, and proud of life itself," Bi says.

Seeing the works of more foreign literary masters on the shelves of a local Xinhua Bookstore was the next gift Bi received as the country continued to open up.

"I'd heard of Alexander Pushkin and Victor Hugo from my father, who was a teacher. On the day I got the chance to read them, I quickly realized the importance of spiritual dialogue - even with past masters - and how they could enrich your understanding of the world," he says.

"Writers like us are not only witnesses to the reform process, but are also a result of it," he adds.

At the Beijing fair, Jia Pingwa, a veteran writer, born in 1952, who debuted in 1974, joined a conversation about one of his works with its Spanish editor, Elena Bazan, Italian translator Patrizia Liberati and English translator Christopher Payne.

Jia also attended another event with translators Eric Abrahamsen and Nick Stember, and editor Peter Blackstock - all from the United States, at which he discussed how almost every Chinese writer of the past 40 years has in some way been influenced by Western literature.

"Chinese literature is one facet of world literature and has its own attractions. But the key task for Chinese writing remains to tell stories about the new reality of contemporary China, the complexity of human nature and how Chinese people live and survive," Jia says, adding that he had studied comparative literature in the East and West during the 1980s and '90s.

Jia is well-received in the domestic market, and each of his novels sells at least 300,000 copies. His works have been translated into 30 languages.

One of his key concerns is to what extent the essential "Chinese flavor" - the emotions, atmosphere, accents and the precision of the language - remains after the works are translated.

In fact, the nature of the translation work can sometimes become a heated topic when Chinese writers sit down with Sinologists and foreign translators who speak a variety of languages.

Yu Hua, author of To Live and Brothers, held talks with 30 Sinologists and translators at the event in Beijing, in an atmosphere not unlike a reunion of old friends.

"My way into foreign markets is to establish a good working relationship with a respected publisher or a good translator," he says. "I see all my translated works as perfect ones, because the truth about translations is, when they lose something from the original text, they add something of value in other respects."

Mai Jia, the author of Decoded, agrees. Mai's works have now been sold in more than 100 countries.

But translated works made up just 5 percent of the US book market last year, Mai says.

During a conversation at the Beijing fair with Olivia Milburn, the translator behind Mai's English works, he said, "As a Chinese writer, I feel that China is closer to the world more than ever."

Mai added, "Translators are the ones who are able to help send out the message that Chinese people appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the world."

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2018-09-30 10:38:16
<![CDATA[Shelf lives]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/30/content_37008827.htm A "China shelf" of Chinese titles appeared in a bookstore on Sept 12 in Minsk, Belarus, the fourth specialist section to spring up after Cuban, Thai and South African ones.

The shelf brought 200 copies of 80 titles to Belarusian book lovers, covering titles about contemporary China, traditional culture and Chinese literature. Another similar project, "That's China Bookshelf", organized by China Intercontinental Press, has brought Chinese titles to 15 bookstores or organizations in 13 countries since 2016.

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China is one of the featured books, together with selections from children's writer Cao Wenxuan and classical tales writer Pu Songling (1640-1715).

 

From left: Balan Luminita of Romania, Olivia Milburn of Britain, Jack Hargreaves of Britain and Ana Goguadze of Georgia were among the translators and Sinologists who visited China for various book events and exchanges last month. Photos Provided to China Daily

Sinologists who came to China to attend a slew of book fairs, workshops and exchanges in August would no doubt appreciate these China Shelf presentations of translated Chinese titles in local bookstores.

Their passion for Chinese writing and culture sometimes runs so deep that they often encourage their children to follow in their footsteps.

Romanian Sinologist Balan Luminita was so fascinated by the stories in Journey to the West that it inspired her to start learning Chinese at the age of 8 in 1972.

She graduated from the University of Bucharest and began teaching Chinese there in 1990. She spent 20 years translating the works of Zhuangzi and offered notes for Romanian readers to help them better understand ancient Chinese philosophy.

"With interest in China growing in my country by the day, I think contemporary literature serves as a good way of getting started," Luminita says. To this end, she has translated works by Mo Yan and Yu Hua and is currently translating works by Liu Zhenyun.

When she met Yu Hua in late August, she told him how well-received he was in Romania.

She started several Chinese language classes for children in Romania. During one class, she told her students: "The Chinese language will open doors for you, to a world full of cultural enlightenment that can enrich your spiritual life and help you to grow into a happier person."

"I'm fulfilling my dream of translating Chinese works, but I know I can only achieve this partially during my lifetime," she says. "So I want to train more people."

Her daughter also shares her dream and is now studying Chinese at Shanghai International Studies University.

Ana Goguadze, a Georgian journalist and translator, came to Beijing for the 2018 Sino-Foreign Literature Translation and Publishing Cooperation Workshop in August.

Goguadze, the founder of the Sino-Georgian media platform Sinomedia, has translated Tang Dynasty (618-907) poems and been part of the Chinese-Georgian Dictionary and the Georgian-Chinese Dictionary projects. She has also translated works by Georgian writer Giorgi Kekelidze into Chinese.

"I'm deeply influenced by my mother, who's also a Sinologist," she says. Her mother is Marine Jibladze, a winner of the Special Book Award of China and director of the Confucius Institute at the Free University of Tbilisi.

Other younger generations of translators include Scott Ian Rainen from the United of States, who studied at Sichuan University, got a master of arts degree in religious studies and now runs a translation organization he founded in 2016; and Jack Hargreaves from the United Kingdom, who has translated Buddhism-related books and seeks to improve his mastery of the ancient Chinese language.

Meanwhile, those of the older generation of Sinologists and China experts tend to focus on the country's recent development, as well as the contemporary literature scene.

French writer and Sinologist Marianne Bastid-Bruguiere has been following the history of education in China.

"All my family members study law, so I chose China as my field for its diversity and strong cultural and historical traditions," she says.

"The progress China has made in improving standards of living is important," she adds.

In his book China and Us, Moroccan writer Fathallah Oualalou explains the reasons behind China's development from both a historical and a cultural perspective.

The former mayor of Rabat, the capital of Morocco, attributes China's growth to a carefully designed, top-down revitalization plan.

"China went through the global financial crises and has been investing in the digital and green economies since 2014. The Belt and Road Initiative is bringing about the chance to rebalance the global economy," he says.

British translator Olivia Milburn was born into a family of professors of foreign languages.

When her father once told her that Chinese was the most difficult language on Earth, she decided to tackle it and became a specialist in ancient languages and culture.

Now a professor with the Department of Chinese Literature and Language at Seoul National University, she thought she needed to learn more about contemporary culture and began reading works that have been awarded the Mao Dun Literature Prize. Through this she learned about Mai Jia and was attracted to his novels - which were the kind of stories that could be enjoyed without a stack of notes about Chinese history and culture.

Her translations helped to establish Mai Jia's works in many overseas markets.

"In present-day society, many people hold grudges against and show resentment toward foreigners or people from other ethnic groups. Translated works enable us to understand the history, culture, mindset and dreams of other nations, and allow people with different ethnic backgrounds to be more tolerant and accept each other's cultures and customs," says Milburn.

Iranian author and translator Elham Sadat Mirzania says: "Translators are the ones that help foreigners gain a sense of how Chinese people live and love, and about their history and way of thinking. They are able to touch the souls of the Chinese."

Wei Qun contributed to this story.

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2018-09-30 10:38:16
<![CDATA[Road trips reveal Xinjiang splendor]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/30/content_37008826.htm Detailed routes give access to the region's diverse cultures and scenic attractions

The diverse cultures and breathtaking views found in the vast Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which covers a sixth of China's territory, make it perfect for road trips.

Locals often tell people proudly that, apart from the sea, everything on their travel bucket list can be found in the region: golden deserts; great, red-tinged canyons; turquoise high-plateau lakes; and snowcapped mountains. Xinjiang has been described by CNN Travel as China's best-kept secret.

The region's roads have improved considerably in recent years, luring people back for more road trips.

"Many of my clients have told me that driving around Xinjiang is an addiction," says Zheng Jinbin, who runs a recreational vehicle rental company in the regional capital, Urumqi. "So many of them are frequent customers from other parts of China. They particularly enjoy the transitions in scenery, which can sometimes be so different even when they are driving along one road."

The Tianshan Mountains divide the region into two parts - north and south - with different climates and cultures.

Xinjiang is home to people from 14 ethnic groups. Their cultures have been well preserved, and at the same time have greatly influenced their neighbors. In the region, people driving out of a Mongolian autonomous prefecture can find themselves entering a Kazak autonomous prefecture.

Head south to experience Uygur culture and find traces of the ancient Silk Road. Many roads in southern Xinjiang were built along the ancient trade routes connecting China and Central Asia.

You can feel and taste the Silk Road in Xinjiang today. Kuqa county in Aksu has long been famous for its big naan bread, a legacy of the Silk Road. Travelers passing through Kuqa, a kingdom during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), needed to stock up on food there, since the next place they could replenish their supplies was far away. Instead of carrying many regular-sized naan, they found it more convenient to carry the bigger version.

Kuqa is just one of the counties in southern Xinjiang whose name resonates with Silk Road history. Driving through these counties takes travelers on a journey back in time as they pass the names of ancient kingdoms dotted along the edges of the Taklimakan Desert, the world's second-largest shifting sand desert and the largest desert in China.

In ancient times, the Taklimakan, which means "the place of no return" in the Uygur language, was a place travelers were likely to avoid. But modern-day travelers can drive along roads built in the desert for a unique experience.

The first road across the Taklimakan was opened to traffic in 1995. At 522 kilometers, it is still the world's longest desert highway. The second one, stretching 424 km, was completed in 2007, and a third, covering about 330 km, is expected to open in 2021.

"Driving on the road in the Taklimakan is like driving on another planet," says Wang Yong, 63, who has been driving around Xinjiang in a recreational vehicle with his wife. "You are on your own most of the time, with the company of sand dunes that are like ocean waves. Human beings just seem so insignificant."

The couple had spent more than a month in Xinjiang since leaving their home in Yulin, Shaanxi province.

Head north to roam the grassland with Kazak nomads on horseback. And don't be surprised to see a special lane on the highways dedicated to sheep and herdsmen during seasonal migrations. In fact, the drivers are the trespassers, because the highways were built on the routes used by locals for thousands of years to move livestock in search of pastures among the mountains.

Unlike other places in China, Xinjiang's vast grassland stretches through mountain valleys, meaning travelers can enjoy views of green pastures against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains.

There are shortcuts in Xinjiang, cutting through the Tianshan Mountains, that allow people to travel between the north and the south of the region. The most famous is G217, a highway built for military purposes in the 1970s. The 562.7-km road, which is closed in winter, connects Dushanzi, in the city of Karamay in northern Xinjiang, with Kuqa in the south.

Many have called it the most beautiful road in China, because it takes travelers through the snowcapped Tianshan Mountains, verdant valley grasslands and the Kuqa Grand Canyon.

"As soon as you climb over to the southern side of the Tianshan Mountains, the view changes suddenly," Wang says. "The snow on the mountain vanishes and is replaced by green grassland. You know you've arrived at Kuqa when you are weaving through incredible landforms weathered from red sandstone by wind and rain over centuries. It is just magical."

Long road trips between the scenic spots in the vast region may have put many people off in the past, but more people are now discovering that the road trips might actually be the best part of the journey.

The regional tourism research institute recently released 10 detailed routes in Xinjiang for people to follow while driving around the region at their own pace. Each route takes six to nine days to complete.

 

Travelers visit the Urho ghost city in Karamay, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

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2018-09-30 10:38:16
<![CDATA[Combat sports set to evolve into lucrative business]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/30/content_37008825.htm Advent of boxing clubs highlights profit potential of the emerging niche segment

Hidden in a residential complex off the North Third Ring Road in Beijing is a potentially lucrative cottage industry with an attitude.

Its main wall, decorated with vinyl discs, movie posters and images of rock bands, presents the look of a music and movie bar.

But Li Boxing Club pulsates with a different kind of energy. "Since I was very young, I always wanted a boxing club of my own, a small space that all my friends could come to and have a good time at," says its owner, who is in his early 30s and prefers to be called A-li, as if in tribute to boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

 

A-li (right), owner of Li Boxing Club, watches from the sidelines as two boxers spar at the club in Beijing. Photos Provided to China Daily

A-li hails from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The front wall of the club has a landscape painted on it, a portrayal of the regional capital's landmark Drum Tower. That's the area where A-li's dream started.

"Back then, we had a very small venue, with a small balcony outside. We had a lot of fun there when we finished training. We used to drink, smoke and chat while looking at this beautiful Drum Tower," A-li said.

"Fun" included mischief and some street vandalism, like stealing posters from the light box at the local bus stop. Fun got extended in another form as a career beckoned. He moved to four different locations before finally settling down at the current one.

He invested 300,000 yuan ($43,700; 37,000 euros; £33,000) to buy the small venue, which has now grown into a very busy club. His personal training class, priced at 800 yuan per hour, is always fully booked, he says.

That's because for many club members, who range from city white-collar executives to artists and celebrities, boxing is not just a sport, but a part of their life.

"I'm a man; I'm not a coward or a loser," says Wu Di, the lead singer for Beijing-based rockabilly band Rolling Bowling. "They said boxing is hard. Come on, life is much harder."

He's been practising boxing for a few years, but it was only in 2015 that he started to learn seriously at A-li's club.

"It's like everything else. Hard work will pay off. There is no such thing as genius in this sport," he says. "You need to learn scientifically, learn how to control your muscles, manage your breath and prepare your body for the one accurate and powerful punch.

"You need to stay sharp, focused and brave and always try to push yourself to a higher level. Just like playing music, practice is the core, there is no genius."

After a tour of Guizhou, he and his band were back in Beijing for a short break, before embarking on a fresh tour to Lanzhou for a music festival.

A musician and an amateur boxer, Wu credits boxing, his hobby, for his enriched life. "Before I met my girlfriend, my life was much simpler - training, working on my music, then training again, until I fell asleep."

Boxing, he says, appears a violent combat on the surface, but scratch it, and you will see that it is a rational sport that needs a scientific approach.

"Before I joined the club, I was learning it by myself. Years ago, when I went to a boxing club in Italy, they didn't even bother to take a look at me." Back then, Wu's frame was more music buff than boxer. But music and boxing share a few features, he says.

"Many think singing is dependent only on one's voice or throat. It's not the case at all. It requires your full body's attention and a singer needs to use the power or energy that is at his or her core. Similarly, boxing requires every muscle to get involved.

"Boxing is not as popular as before, because it takes too long to cultivate a champion. Sometimes it takes over 30 years of training. Boxing is a foreign sport. It lacks the tradition in China. So this sport is facing difficulties in its development because it's too hard. Anyone from a wealthy family is not likely to make much effort to learn the art."

He says boxing is like his favorite music genre. "Vintage American-style rock 'n' roll is an awesome style, but people don't recognize it."

Wu says an increasing number of people have turned to boxing. Recreational sports are emerging as a viable, even lucrative, business segment, he adds.

Cai Jialong, founder of Long FC, a game based on mixed martial arts, says: "In China, there are over 80 million boxing fans. With such a large crowd of potential fans, combat sports and even players may fare better in the future.

"The major demographic for this market are those between the ages of 18 and 30 with a relatively strong consumption power and open mind. They tend to accept the culture of combat."

Li Zhipeng, a partner of BW Venture Capital, which used to invest in the country's popular workout app Keep, says more games and commercial competitions can encourage more people to take part in recreational sports with a combat element.

"Combat sports are a nascent business. People in this business are approaching it like parents would view an infant - without undue hurry about growth and future. We don't want to talk about profits right now."

But he predicts that top combat players in China will be able to earn 100 million yuan annually five years from now.

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2018-09-30 10:38:16
<![CDATA[Reviving the old silk road]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/29/content_37001911.htm Dunhuang can help awaken the common memory of countries along the 'Belt and Road'

The Dunhuang murals, colorful sculptures in a 3D virtual environment and the use of digital technology has helped revitalize the ancient Silk Road.

Since the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), Dunhuang has been the "throat" connecting the Central Kingdom with the Western Regions (a Han Dynasty term for the area west of Yumenguan including what is now Xinjiang and parts of Central Asia).

Dunhuang was a famous town on the Silk Road. And in 1987, the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes were listed as a world cultural heritage.

"Dunhuang has rich, colorful historical and cultural relics. And I am here to find Nepalese art elements from my hometown," says Kumar Khadka, an international student from Nepal.

This is the first time he has come to Dunhuang. And he is part of the ancient Silk Road tour, which was initiated by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The event was launched in Beijing on Aug 28. And on Sept 1 and 2, Dunhuang was the third stop of the event. The first two stops were Beijing and Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The event covers nine stations in China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Poland, the Czech Republic, France and the Netherlands.

Speaking about the event, Zhang Xiantang, the deputy director of the Dunhuang Academy China, says: "Dunhuang was born out of a desert, but it is closely related to the ancient Silk Road."

The Mogao Grottoes were built in 366. And although they have been eroded by nature and disfigured by humans over time, there are 492 caves intact with preserved murals and colorful paintings.

The 2,499 painted sculptures and the 45,000 square meters of painted murals are the largest collection of Buddhism art treasures in the world.

Meanwhile, director Wang Chaoge's drama Encore Dunhuang has become a name card for Dunhuang. The show takes you back 2,000 years, and it calls for the protection of Dunhuang's cultural relics.

Although the Mogao Grottoes area is large and the caves numerous, the size of each cave is extremely small. More than 85 percent of the caves are less than 25 square meters. And many of the colored sculptures and murals are made of fragile materials such as dirt, wood and wheat straw. So, if 15 people remain in a cave for more than 10 minutes, the temperature in the cave will increase by 5 C, and the concentration of carbon dioxide increases greatly.

This means that a large number of tourists will inevitably accelerate the aging of the murals and colorful sculptures.

The Mogao Grottoes are the highlight of Dunhuang, but Dunhuang has more to offer.

Five years ago, with the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, Dunhuang once again became the focus of the Silk Road, and more tourists began to visit Dunhuang.

Zhang says that the focus on Dunhuang will help awaken the common memory of the countries along the ancient Belt and Road route.

 

A cultural relics protection personnel of the Dunhuang Academy China repairs the murals in Cave 130 of the Mogao Grottoes. Sun Zhijun / For China Daily

 

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2018-09-29 07:33:42
<![CDATA[FROM SWEATER TOWN TO GLOBAL STYLE HUB]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/28/content_36996108.htm With models, designers, celebrities and entrepreneurs flocking to Puyuan's central business district, the small town of Tongxiang in Zhejiang province once again proved itself as China's "knitwear fashion capital".

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Puyuan Fashion Week set out to ensure that Tongxiang in Zhejiang province, renowned for its knitwear, is placed firmly on the global apparel map, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

With models, designers, celebrities and entrepreneurs flocking to Puyuan's central business district, the small town of Tongxiang in Zhejiang province once again proved itself as China's "knitwear fashion capital".

Organized by the China National Textile and Apparel Council and the Tongxiang government, the 2018 Puyuan Fashion Week was launched to promote Puyuan's fashion industry and enhance its competitiveness in the national apparel supply chain.

Run from Sept 15 to 20, this was the second year that Puyuan hosted its own fashion week, which included 36 events ranging from runway fashion shows to forums, lectures, exhibitions and seminars, welcoming around 500 designers, models, entrepreneurs and industry representatives.

Regarded as China's largest knitwear distribution center, Puyuan was included in the first batch of provincial and national "characteristic" towns in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Since the establishment of the Puyuan Wool Sweater Market in 1988, Puyuan has developed a retail area of over 1.7 square kilometers that's home to 10,000 stores, and a manufacturing base that covers 11 square kilometers, according to Su Weiming, Party Committee Secretary of Puyuan and director of the market's administration committee.

"This year's fashion week aims to further integrate regional resources, incorporate elements of high-end fashion, make innovations in the value chain and build up a fashion industry cluster with a truly international influence," Su says.

The first runway show at the opening ceremony was held by designer Zhang Jicheng, winner of the fourth Jinding Award, China's top fashion award given out by the China Fashion Association.

On the runway, Zhang presented his latest looks and vision for the 2019/20 knitwear season, which embodied the Taoist philosophy of "harmony between man and nature" through his simple and casual designs.

"This collection reflects the concept of living a natural, relaxing and simple life," Zhang explained. "Humans are intrinsically connected with nature. Therefore, all people and things should follow the laws of nature in order to reach a state of harmony."

The predominant colors in Zhang's latest collection included fresh greens and blues, bright pink and pale yellow. "We yearn to return to nature with its blue skies, white clouds, green trees and pink flowers. By integrating these natural colors into my garments, I'm trying to call on everyone to experience and enjoy life."

Attaching great importance to his choice of fabrics, Zhang uses high-end wool and cashmere yarn for his knitwear products to provide his customers with the most comfortable textures. Zhang's high standards for the materials he uses is also the main reason why he chooses to work with Puyuan artisans.

"Puyuan meets my requirements for production and textures. It supports growing businesses, has a well-established industry chain, and has strong backing from the government. I believe Puyuan has a very promising future," Zhang says.

Since 2000, the fashion industry in Puyuan has been expanding beyond knitwear to encompass other forms of fashion. Its knitwear sector has also transformed from a single-season clothing range to providing year-round products.

So far, Puyuan has developed a comprehensive apparel value chain centered around knitwear, which includes weaving, printing, dyeing, manufacturing, transporting and warehousing.

And Puyuan's approach to the industrial upgrade process has proved effective. According to statistics from the China National Textile and Apparel Council, knitwear sales from Puyuan increased by 6 percent over the first five months of this year, while the national average rose by between 1 and 3 percent.

Knitwear sales through e-commerce platforms are even more lucrative, as sales increased by 10 percent over the same period. Puyuan's online knitwear turnover for the first half of this year reached 7 billion yuan ($1,017 million) highlighting the boom in online consumer demand for knitwear.

A major event at the fashion week was the 10th Asian Color Forum, a high-profile industry conference first held in 2004, which explores future color trends for the Asian fashion industry.

On the theme of "Color, Innovation and Integration", the forum invited experts and scholars from both home and abroad, including Italy, Japan and South Korea, to discuss their research findings on the importance and influence that colors play in fashion, as well as the future trends of color in other industries.

Yang Jichao, the vice-president of CNTAC, said: "Over the 40 years of China's reform and opening-up process, the Chinese have developed new requirements for color. Through this year's forum, the China Fashion and Color Association is committed to introducing advanced international concepts and practices to China while promoting China's fashion industry."

Several delegates suggested that Chinese tastes in color are already having an impact on the global fashion industry. Zhou Xin, director of product and color design at DIC (China) Co Ltd, a colorant manufacturer, said that international color trends are increasingly being influenced by Asian culture.

Contact the writer at chengyuezhu@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The first runway show on the opening ceremony of 2018 Puyuan Fashion Week is brought by designer Zhang Jicheng, winner of the fourth Jinding Award.

 

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2018-09-28 07:58:16
<![CDATA[Scholar uses 147 slides to 'preserve' Taipei's buildings]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/28/content_36996107.htm TAIPEI - A single slide might not look like much when fit in a 5x5 cm of cardboard that is slightly bigger than a piece of jigsaw puzzle. Yet a total of 147 such slides piece together memories of architecture in Taipei.

"In the 19th century, a lot of Taiwan's camphor was exported to Europe, not to make mothballs but rather celluloid film," says Li Chienlang, a Taiwan architecture scholar, when describing the history of slides and his personal experiences of using slides to capture some of Taipei's oldest buildings.

A collection of 147 slides, all photographed by Li between 1970 and 2010, is being exhibited until April 2019 at Museum 207 in Dadaocheng, a historic neighborhood in western Taipei.

Slides, known as positive color film, better preserve the vivid colors of the original images compared to the negatives that are more commonly used. Thus, they are considered a better choice for architecture photography.

But Li remembers his early days of taking photos as a costly experience.

"A camera cost me three months' salary, not to mention the film and the cost to develop the photos."

It was also time-consuming.

"Very often I only took two photos of each building. I had to stand there and look long and hard before I pressed the shutter," Li says.

"Pressing the shutter often caused my heart to race because you didn't know if the photo would be a good one."

Old memories

The collection features some famous old buildings in Taipei and important moments in the city's architectural history, such as the old Taipei train station being demolished in 1985.

Li Ling-Ling, who was born and raised in the Dadaocheng district, was one of the earliest visitors to the exhibition. And she found photos of her primary and middle schools.

"This is the Red Building, as we called it, my alma mater. It was taken down years ago," says Li, who is now in her 50s, while pointing to a photo on the wall.

For the 20-and 30-somethings, the slides are not entirely obsolete.

"When I was in school, the teachers used slides in class. But this is seldom done today," says Lin Shih-feng from Taipei.

Lin spent quite some time in the room where the slides were being projected onto a big screen. "It was very touching to see that some buildings still look the same as they did in the old photos. They have been well taken care of," says Lin.

In fact, the venue of the exhibition, Museum 207, was renovated from a pharmacy built in 1962. The district, Dadaocheng, dates back to the 1850s and is full of historic landmarks.

"I don't see nostalgia as a waste of time," says Li, the architectural scholar.

"With these pictures, we try to restore the truth, trace back history and analyze and discuss a story. Stories are necessities. Without stories, human civilization is nothing."

Like vinyl records

Although slides can preserve colors for decades, they need to be kept safe from mildew and in an environment with strictly monitored temperature and humidity control, says Li, who adds that this type of photography will not disappear.

"I recently visited a record shop in the UK that was selling newly-pressed vinyl records because some people think the sound of the CD does not have much depth," he says.

For him, like vinyl, slides have a distinct charm giving the format a good chance of surviving in this new digital era.

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2018-09-28 07:58:16
<![CDATA[Art aims to capture 'Beijing elements']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/28/content_36996106.htm Four installations by artists including Japanese designer, Kenya Hara, are being displayed in different spots around Sanlitun Taikooli, which is known as a fashion landmark in Beijing.

The works are created for this year's Sanlitun Taikooli Design Festival and will be exhibited through Oct 7.

At the launch ceremony, the artists shared their creations with the audience and explained their intention to depict both the historic and the modern sides of Beijing through the language of art.

All the artwork has been inspired by their understanding and interpretation of "Beijing elements". 

Among the exhibits is Explorer, the latest work of Japanese designer Kenya Hara, who is chairman of the Japanese design service company Nippon Design Center, Inc.

Employing the shadows of the surrounding buildings, the floating installation with its electronic screen is meant to demonstrate interactions between the real and virtual worlds. The design is intended to guide the audience into thinking about the actual problems in their urban living environments.

The second piece is the Ten Altar, which borrows elements from the ancient Temple of Heaven in Beijing and uses blurry and gradual refractions of mirrors as a metaphor for the changing world. 

The Virtual Landscape, a piece by Red Dot Award-winning designer, Yang Mingjie, creates a three-dimensional viewing effect of a traditional landscape painting, but it is created using geometric formations of bamboo sticks in a hotel lobby that surround an area used for drinking tea. It is intended to create the illusion of time and space shifting for those sitting within it, according to the designer.

The last piece, called Beijing Garden and created by Qian Qingtong, depicts "a garden that should exist in the city, but doesn't" with images of 10 plants common to a Beijing autumn.

A famous landmark, Sanlitun Taikooli has caught the attention of fashion lovers in Beijing with its many designer brands.

"Sanlitun Taikooli is not only a fashion landmark with standout architecture, but, after years of development, it has become a place with a strong sense of art and design in Beijing," says Yu Guoan, general manager of Sanlitun Taikooli, adding that the company has continued to make investments in art and design since it opened 10 years ago.

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2018-09-28 07:58:16
<![CDATA[Glow of contentment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/28/content_36996105.htm Glow, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Swiss city of Davos had closed its doors for a week while its founder and chef, Armin Amrein, flew half way round the world to cook for foodies in Beijing.

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Armin Amrein brought his tastes of modern Davos all the way to Beijing to offer foodies the chance to sample his unique take on Swiss haute cuisine, Li Yingxue reports.

Glow, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Swiss city of Davos had closed its doors for a week while its founder and chef, Armin Amrein, flew half way round the world to cook for foodies in Beijing.

Staying true to his basic principles of offering superb quality and absolute freshness, Amrein loves to experiment with the diversity of his creations, while his diners are able to savor the individual tastes of each ingredient.

Amrein was the guest chef at the second edition of the Swiss Gastronomic Week at the Hotel Eclat Beijing from Sept 19 to 21, an event initiated by the embassy of Switzerland in China.

With his modern twist on contemporary Swiss cuisine, Amrein takes his diners on a journey of myriad sensations enhanced by seasonal ingredients, unique flavors and creative presentation.

In a culinary career spanning 47 years, Amrein served a three-year apprenticeship at a small hotel in Lausanne before spending 32 years at one of Switzerland's best hotels before opening his own restaurant.

He never goes home the same day he goes to his restaurant.

In Glow, he sometimes even washes the plates himself as he needs everything in his restaurant to be clean. "Diners could literally eat off the floor," says Amrein. "When I leave my restaurant at 2 am each day, it has to be spotless."

"To gain a Michelin star, the key is consistency. So when I'm not in my restaurant, I close it."

Every customer at Glow is personally welcomed and sent off by Amrein, and he even leaves a personal message on each bill. After the diners finish each dish, the plate will be sent back to Amrein - who gains feedback from what's left on the plate, and makes adjustments accordingly.

Amrein believes the passion he has for cooking for others defines him as a chef. "If you want to make money, don't become a chef, because you end up working 18 hours a day," says the 63-year-old.

Having been a TV chef for 20 years, Amrein's specialty is to take the history and environment of each region of Switzerland and update the dishes for contemporary tastes.

"In Switzerland, the four seasons are much clearer than in Beijing, and I always design my menus according to the weather," says Amrein, who brought late summer delicacies from Switzerland to the cool autumn in Beijing.

When he was asked to take over the second Swiss Gastronomic Week in Beijing, Amrien immediately agreed, even though he had never been to the Chinese capital before.

Inspired by the cuisine from the canton of Graubunden where his restaurant is situated, Amrein tailor-made the menu for the gastronomic event. It featured a selection of seasonal produce, many unique to the canton, but updated with his signature virtuosity and modern interpretation.

One signature dish on the menu is the "Trimmiser" capuns. Made from dough with dried pieces of meat, it is then rolled in a chard leaf and boiled in a mixture of bouillon, milk and water and served with grated cheese.

To enhance the freshness of the dish, Amrein adds langustino and seafood foam, a combination rare to find in most capuns offered in restaurants in Switzerland.

"Through the menu, I hope guests will have a culinary experience that does not distract from the taste of the underlying products. I achieve this through gentle preparation, respect for the ingredients, and of course by using the highest quality products," says Amrein, who was only visiting China for the second time since his appearance at the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010.

Swiss ambassador to China Dr Jean-Jacques de Dardel tasted Amrein's skills during the opening ceremony of the Swiss Gastronomic Week.

"Swiss food is not what you think it is. Just like Spanish food is not only about tapas, and Italian food is not only about pizza," says Dardel. "It's very diverse. We have 26 different provinces. Each one has its own specialties, and usually more than one."

Switzerland has the highest numbers of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world per capita. A hundred and eighteen Michelin stars are attributed to Swiss eateries out of a few hundred allocated for the entire world.

"That obviously speaks volumes about our chefs, for what lies behind the chef - the whole team in the kitchen - but also says something about the demands of the public," says the ambassador.

He believes Swiss food is of such high quality because the public is discriminating and there are so many foreign guests, tourists and residents who ask for something different.

"The first edition of the Swiss Gastronomic Week with Hilton Beijing in April was a great success, and we've learned about the 'hunger' from our friends and diners for more Swiss haute cuisine in the city," says Dardel.

After Amrein's visit, the third Swiss Gastronomic Week will be held at TRB Forbidden City in October.

"We would like to put into the minds of food critics and diners alike the profound history of Swiss gastronomic culture, and the creative innovations our celebrated chefs bring to Swiss cuisine," says Dardel.

 

 

Swiss chef Armin Amrein has brought late summer delicacies from Switzerland to the cool autumn in Beijing during the Swiss Gastronomic Week, initiated by the embassy of Switzerland in China. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-09-28 07:58:16
<![CDATA[Festival dinner with a grand cru]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/28/content_36996104.htm In 2010, Xavier Planty started a tradition by celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival at his winery in Bordeaux, France, with 50 dinner guests.

For the eighth year of celebrating the festival, he decided to move the soiree to Beijing, more specifically at Guigongfu, the mansion of a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) empress.

Bordeaux, however, was not forgotten completely. For the moon festival dinner, he brought a 6-liter bottle of Imperial de Chateau Guiraud 1998 from his winery, which is one of the first Classified Grand Cru producers (of 1855) in Sauternes.

"A special wine is for a special moment," extolls Planty of the tipple, which was one of just seven such bottles that remain. "Plus," he adds, "our Chateau Guiraud goes well with the skin of Peking duck."

Born in 1955 in Bordeaux, Planty is now the co-owner of the winery. He obtained his master's degree in psychology and plant genetics and got a national diploma in oenology before becoming the manager of Chateau Guiraud in 1996. He subsequently initiated a revolution in the vineyard's growing culture, which now prohibits the use of all synthetic products.

In 2011, Chateau Guiraud became the first Premier Grand Cru Classe to be awarded the Agriculture Biologique certification in France.

Planty's philosophy at Chateau Guiraud is guided by constant inquisitiveness and a desire to let nature take its course, allowing the vines to achieve their full potential.

"The movement of the moon is very important for us," says Planty. "It's also one of the oldest harvest celebration festivals in the world."

Back in 2010, Planty had noticed an influx of young Chinese women in and around Bordeaux, many having been hired by local wine merchants. Naturally, they grew homesick during the Mid-Autumn Festival, so he decided to organize a dinner, inviting them to celebrate the festival and the moon over good food and wine.

During a dinner celebration, the guests observed the moon through a telescope, and one year, he even held a competition for local French pastry chefs to see who could make the best mooncakes.

Last year, 200 people joined the dinner, and for the first time, he invited Chinese chefs to concoct Chinese dishes to pair with the wine from Chateau Guiraud.

"This year was the perfect time to move the event to Beijing, and to such an historical place," explains Planty. "I was fascinated by the Chinese taste."

The pairing of the wines with Chinese dishes was done by Feng Wei, who does cultural promotion in China and France, and who has previously spent six years living in Bordeaux.

Beijing native Feng co-authored a guidebook to pairing Chinese food with French wines in 2016.

"Pairing food and wine is like marriage," she observes, adding that "the two have to elevate each other".

"To find the perfect match for the food, you can't just look at the label of the wine bottle," Feng says. "Also, the same brand of wine tastes differently with every year's bottling - like a man who is growing."

Feng chose Peking duck as the main dish for the dinner, as she thinks the fat of the duck skin goes well with the wine from Chateau Guiraud. "The smoky flavor of the duck combines with the aromas of the wine, which is rich in your mouth," she explains.

Feng thinks Peking duck is the most popular Chinese dish among French people, as it has a rich flavor and can be eaten in many ways.

"When my French friends visit Beijing, they would order a whole Peking duck each because they love it so much," Feng says.

Feng spent four months preparing the dinner from the design of the menu to the decoration of the dining room. She even arranged a lute performance during the dinner, which included a rendition of A Moonlit Flowery Night on the Spring River to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival.

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2018-09-28 07:58:16
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/28/content_36996103.htm New Diantaixiang outlet opens

 

Diantaixiang's chef and owner Tang Yi took seven years to persuade his hotpot master in Chongqing to take him on as an apprentice, and he learned the craft for three years before opening his own restaurant, Diantaixiang. After Chengdu and Shanghai, Tang has set up his third outlet in Beijing. The condiments used in the hotpot are its key. And Tang's version has different types of chilies, all prepared separately. Tang designed a chili sauce especially for foodies in Beijing.

202, Building 1, China View Plaza, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-5336-7186.

Shrimp Island's special hotpot

 

Shrimp Island's signature dish is its lobster and chicken hotpot, with a dozen ingredients including cordyceps flowers and wolfberry fruit. The soup base of the hotpot is stewed for more than eight hours. Other special soup bases are shrimp and chicken, sea cucumber, abalone and chicken, and crab and shrimp. The all-shrimp sashimi is another highlight with the shrimp coming from the United States, New Zealand and Spain.

2/F, No 15 Xidawanglu, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8778-3702.

Fun for shellfish lovers

 

Everyday at 4 am, the owner of Syukkou Yippyou visits the market to select live shellfish. He also prepares the tanks to feed the shellfish. His outlet uses more than 30 kinds of live shellfish. And from sashimi and toasting to steaming with wine and hotpot, the chefs explore the best ways to make the shellfish shine.

Gate 24, Food Street, No 15 Xiaoyun Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing.

Sample a crepe feast

 

A pioneer in Mille Crepes, Lady M has just launched its first Beijing brunch, bringing its signature Mille crepes - more than 20 types of paper-thin handmade crepes layered with light pastry cream, and gently caramelized on top until golden. Combining French pastry techniques with Japanese precision, Lady M prides itself on creating the freshest and finest cakes and confectionary delights.

2F-17/72, Chaoyang Joy City, 101 Chaoyang Beilu, Chaoyang district, Beijing.

Beer treat on offer

 

Decorated in a Bavarian style, the Paulaner restaurant has a private beer garden. The Paulaner beer festival is running until Oct 7, priced at 1,080 yuan ($158) for a set menu for three to four people, including free-flow Paulaner beer, avocado steak salad, potato cream soup, and a medium butcher's platter - roast crispy pork knuckle, pork sausage, Nuremberg sausage, veal sausage, smoked pork fillets and meat loaf.

1/F, Hotel Maximilian, Beiyuandonglu, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8493-0005.

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2018-09-28 07:58:16
<![CDATA[A LOOK AT CHANGING ERAS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/28/content_36996102.htm When First Intimate Contact was serialized on the internet in 1998, it soon gained popularity among young people. Twenty years later, many still regard it among their "unforgettable memories" of youth. Looking back at the book in 2018, people realize that it marks more than the memory of a generation, but the start of an era - the era of online literature.

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A conference looks back at how online literature became popular in China, Wang Ru reports.

When First Intimate Contact was serialized on the internet in 1998, it soon gained popularity among young people. Twenty years later, many still regard it among their "unforgettable memories" of youth. Looking back at the book in 2018, people realize that it marks more than the memory of a generation, but the start of an era - the era of online literature.

"From my perspective, online literature has moved into a 2.0 era from the original 1.0 over the past 20 years," says Yu Qian, CEO of Alibaba Literature, at the China Online Literature Conference held in Beijing over Sept 14-16.

At the beginning of the first era, people wrote on the internet only to satisfy their own emotional needs. In many cases, they chose to remain anonymous and seldom expected to make money from it. Later, literature websites started to promote a charging mode for reading. Basically, readers paid for reading and writers shared the money with the websites.

The amount of money they got depended on the number of words they wrote.

At that time, there were plenty of writers, work and readers.

Writers tried their best to produce in order to make more money, some even wrote nearly 10,000 words a day. The industry boomed in an unregulated way.

After years of development, people started to realize online literature's value in other fields, including film and television, gaming, and capital flowed in. From then on, the whole industry has stepped into a new era.

In the new era, popular online literary works are widely adapted into animation, games, TV series and films, and so the benefits are reaped from all fields. Companies scramble to buy the works that are well-received online and try to maximize the profits from them.

For example, Nirvana in Fire, originally an online novel written by Hai Yan, has been adapted into an acclaimed TV series, becoming a successful brand. Later, its namesake game and other derivatives were developed, making it a model of franchise development.

Writers can also make more money than before. A successful work can help its writer to make money from online reading, copyright royalty, adaptation of films, TV series, games, animation and so on. As a result, some writers even begin to write especially for future adaptations, leading to some problems in writing.

According to He Hong, a director of China Writers Association: "As online literature in China moves into a new era, we should avoid homogenization and vulgarity."

Homogenization, in his eyes, is an inevitable phenomenon in the development of online literature. Writing in fixed patterns is also about saving time and labor instead of thinking hard to create something new. Many writers, then, choose to write in those patterns so as to produce novels and make money as quickly as possible.

But "since the vitality of literature comes from creativity, writers are expected to remain true to their original love for literature and continue to create quality works", says He.

Speaking about seeking proper novels for adaptation, Gao Mingqian, the general manager of Radiant Pictures, and Bai Yicong, producer of several popular TV series, say content is the most important factor to consider.

"When we look for novels for adaptation, we give priority to content instead of its popularity online," says Gao.

Zhuang Yong, the editor of China Youth Publishing Group, also points out that in the so-called 2.0 era, online writers are hoping to regain their original impulse for storytelling and concentrate on improving their abilities to produce quality stories.

On the other hand, to cope with market needs, many works include vulgar elements that are especially harmful to young people's psychological development.

"In the new era, online literary works not only play a role in providing entertainment, they must reflect mainstream values as well," says He.

In order to regulate the industry, the National Radio and Television Administration and other related departments have carried out special measures to regulate the industry. It means that in the new era, online literature must receive orderly guidance.

Alibaba Literature has full confidence in the prospect of online literature.

"Our original aspiration is to make reading easier, more efficient and happier. We would like to promote this industry to be even larger and stronger," Yu adds.

 

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2018-09-28 07:58:16
<![CDATA[Slew of new productions to be staged at Shanghai festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/28/content_36996101.htm A number of new productions will be premiered at the upcoming China Shanghai International Arts Festival, which runs from Oct 19 to Nov 22.

This year's annual celebration of the performing arts in Shanghai marks the 20th anniversary of the event. 

"The festival has become a major showcase of Shanghai's culture, and we hope to continue to bring out new and high quality cultural products, and play an active part in the city's efforts to becoming Asia's capital of the performing arts," says Wang Jun, president of the CSIAF organizing committee.

This year's program consists of 45 productions, 25 of which are from abroad.

Twenty-three new productions will be premiered at the CSIAF. The opening show will be a symphony concert on China's mythology commissioned by the festival.

The concert, composed by Ye Xiaogang, will be presented by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra under maestro Yu Long, and features vocal artists like Shi Yijie, Liao Changyong and Shen Yang.

This year the festival has commissioned nine productions from Shanghai. Among them is one recommended by Wang - an original opera The Painted Skin, composed by Hao Weiya, and directed by Yi Liming.

The opera is based on a ghost story by Pu Songling written in the 17th century.

"It is a pioneering opera, full of the poetic quality of Chinese culture, and at the same time full of dramatic conflicts and tension," says Wang.

Mao Shanyu, a Huju Opera artist and director of the Shanghai Huju Opera Troupe, will present a play based on the life of Fan Jinshi, who dedicated her life and career to the study and protection of the ancient caves of Dunhuang in Gansu province.

"Huju is the local folk opera of Shanghai," says Mao. "I am honored to present the voice of the city at the festival, and hope to introduce Huju and the story of Fan to the country."

Among the other offerings being premiered is a Chinese opera production Morning Bell by the Shanghai Opera House about the founding of the Communist Party of China.

Shanghai Ballet's new production Bright Red Star, based on a 1974 Chinese film of the same title, will also be launched at the CSIAF, with support from the China National Arts Fund.

Among the other items on offer is a work by Shen Wei, a Chinese-American choreographer based in New York, who will participate in the festival with a visual exhibition.

The Nijinsky Award-winning artist brought his dance productions to CSIAF two years ago, winning critical praise, and this time he wants to present his understanding of art and philosophy through a crossover visual showcase.

Besides the formal theater performances, most of the artists will also do free outdoor performances in public squares, school campuses and local communities, covering all the 16 districts of Shanghai.

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2018-09-28 07:58:16
<![CDATA[DRAMATIC TURNAROUND]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/27/content_36987152.htm As one of the latest Chinese fantasy tales to grab headlines overseas, Martial Universe has aired in 18 countries and regions, and is due to make forays into more foreign markets, according to it's producers.

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Adapted from a hit web novel, the Chinese fantasy drama Martial Universe is proving popular overseas despite meeting with a tepid response back home, Xu Fan reports.

As one of the latest Chinese fantasy tales to grab headlines overseas, Martial Universe has aired in 18 countries and regions, and is due to make forays into more foreign markets, according to it's producers.

Adapted from a popular online novel, the series fictionalizes the coming-of-age story of a reluctant hero, Lin Dong. The mischievous yet talented teenager from a fallen martial arts family, accidentally discovers he has magic powers which draws him into a series of adventures. What unfolds not only changes his destiny, but also rewrites the history of his fictional land.

The novel, Wu Dong Qian Kun (Martial Arts Reshapes the World), was written and published online in 2011 by renowned web novelist, Li Hu, who is better known by his pseudonym Tiancan Tudou, quickly garnering around 32 million views within the space of a just few months.

As a mark of the novel's growing popularity overseas, the drama has been ranked ninth on the most-watched lists, both for this week and this month on wuxiaworld.com, the largest Chinese-to-English translation platform in the world.

Chinese pop idol Yang Yang, who has a following of 41 million fans on Sina Weibo, headlines as the protagonist Lin who ends up as a powerful martial arts hero by the end of the story. The star-studded cast also includes actress Zhang Tian'ai, Wang Likun and Chinese Bruneian singer-actor Wu Chun.

The first season of the drama, which runs for a total of 40 episodes, aired on Shanghai-based Dragon TV and the Youku video-streaming platform between Aug 7 and Sept 19, and will be followed up by a second season of 20 episodes, which will debut on Youku on Oct 11.

Zhang Wei, chief producer of the series and CEO of its production firm, Azure Media Corporation, says the first season of Martial Universe initially opened in 18 countries and regions, including Malaysia, Brunei, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, as well as being available to view on YouTube.

Although the series has received mixed reviews domestically, it seems to have been met with a better reception overseas, with Viki - a US-headquartered site which mainly streams Asian dramas - awarding it 8.7 points out of ten and IMDb - a popular online TV and movie database - giving it 8.3 points.

"China's film and television markets are expanding quickly. Before the screening, some foreign buyers approached us to ask about securing the overseas distribution rights," recalls Zhang, who adds that they plan to launch the series in South Korea and Japan.

Unlike many palace-themed dramas, a popular genre revolving around intrigue and scheming in the royal court, overseas audiences tend to find Chinese fantasy tales easier to identify with.

"They're quite similar to superhero stories like Spider-Man. The protagonists were once ordinary people, but they turn into extraordinary heroes by chance. These kinds of stories don't require audiences to have any specific knowledge about Chinese history," explains Zhang.

The translators who created the English subtitles for the series also worked hard to make sure the concepts behind the martial arts clans less confusing to Western audiences, adds Zhang.

With its big budget, the series involves a variety of special effects sequences and techniques to recreate the spectacles and magical creatures depicted in the novel.

Another highlight of the series is the directorship of Zhang Li, who is known as one of China's top TV drama directors thanks to hits like For the Sake of the Republic of China, and Ming Dynasty in 1566.

Martial Universe marks the 61-year-old director's shift from serious historical-themed dramas to fantasy stories.

Speaking about the decision to leave his comfort zone, Zhang Li says he wanted to convey the message that he's always willing to take on fresh challenges.

"Fantasy dramas require a high degree imaginative thinking, something lacking for most Chinese content makers," he says.

"When we talk about fantasy stories, domestic audiences are quick to compare homegrown titles with slick international productions like Marvel's superhero films," says the director.

"But to be honest, we have yet to develop a mature procedure and the right technology to produce comparable epics - but it's a goal we can certainly strive for," he adds.

 

 

Top left: Pop idol Yang Yang (left) and Chinese Bruneian singeractor Wu Chun (right) star in the Chinese fantasy drama Martial Universe,which has aired in 18 countries and regions. Top right: A poster for the fantasy drama. Above: Actress Zhang Tian’ai’s character has a bittersweet romance with Yang’s protagonist in Martial Universe. Photos provided to China Daily

)

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2018-09-27 07:55:49
<![CDATA[White Snake to slither into cinemas]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/27/content_36987151.htm Co-directed by Huang Jiakang and Zhao Ji, the animated film White Snake - a Sino-US coproduction - is set for release on Dec 21.

White Snake is based on a popular Chinese folk tale, in which a white snake longing for a human existence turns into a woman and marries a scholar named Xu Xian.

According to Zhao, the story in the new animation takes place before the white snake meets Xu at the West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

"We created a love story for the white snake, as we wanted to see what she had to go through when she was young," says Zhao.

"We have never seen an animated version of the tale on the big screen - the fantasy is actually more suited to being an animation," Zhao says.

Huang thinks the story is ideal for young people as it tells a story that discusses love and relationships. "It's a story that approaches the insecurities that many young lovers feel, like 'what if I'm not like who you imagine me to be, will you still love me?' It's very relatable," explains Huang.

Coproduced by Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation and Warner Bros, White Snake is the second coproduction between Warner Bros and a Chinese film production company after The Meg, which reaped $500 million at the box office worldwide, including 1.05 billion yuan ($153 million) in China.

Zhao Fang, president of Warner Bros China, says that the company chose to work with Light Chaser because of their team's spirit of craftsmanship when producing animated films, and since the story of the white snake is well-known in China.

The film has been in production for more than three years, and is undergoing the final stages of postproduction work before its introduction to cinemagoers in December.

Wang Wei, CEO of Light Chaser Animation, says making animations is long and lonely work, and the production team is a young group.

"For the past five years, since Light Chaser was founded, we have created several animations such as Little Door Gods, and, for this one, we are making a three-dimensional animation," says Wang.

Huang says they have created about forty characters for the animation, including four or five different forms of the white snake, from human to python. "We also designed a lovely puppy for the film to attract a teenage audience," says Huang.

 

A still image from the new animated film White Snake, which was adapted from a Chinese folk tale about the love between a fairy snake and a scholar. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-09-27 07:55:49
<![CDATA[Online novelists rewrite the rules of creating content for the screen]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/27/content_36987150.htm Imagine an online novelist's regular life.

Do you think they still sit alone, late at night, in front of their computers with bloodshot eyes, frantically typing away to meet their editors' impending deadlines? That might be a bit outdated.

During the 2nd China Online Literature+ Conference, an annual event to gather online companies and writers, which was held in mid-September in Beijing, some industry insiders reveal that a change is taking shape.

When China's fast expanding film and television industries are throwing their weight behind seeking good stories, most of the top online novelists are now "served" by a team of veterans to help make it easier for their work to be adapted for films, TV dramas or games - before they even put pen to paper.

That's how popular writer Xu Shengzhi's new work Fangwai: Xiaoshide Bamen (An Exclusive World: The Disappearing Eight Clans) was released. The story fictionalizes the legends of martial arts masters to take place in modern cities.

Previously working as a securities analyst, Xu, who's better known by his pseudonym, Xu Gongzi Shengzhi, began to write fantasy tales inspired by Chinese philosophy and myth in 2010, accumulating a huge fan base.

Upon licensing the five-book Fangwai franchise to the literature and comic subsidiary of internet giant Net-Ease, meetings with book editors, veterans of film and television production, as well as the game development sector, were arranged to help Xu to build the fictional world and its major characters.

"Such a model is popular for established online novelists nowadays. To write a novel is completely different from penning a script. Suggestions from these industry veterans can help ensure that the scenes can be visualized," says Gan Yang, general manager of marketing with Net-Ease Literature & Comic.

The creative process will also be documented online, in order to exchange ideas with Xu's fans and to let the creators know what kind of plotlines will be more appealing to the fanbase.

Gan says Chinese online literature has been developing for more than 20 years, generating millions of web writers and a lot of stories suitable for screen adaptation.

At the end of 2017, around a third of nearly 7,000 pieces of popular online literature had been adapted into 1,195 films and 1,232 TV dramas, as well as 712 animated series, according to a report released by the China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association during the conference.

The report also shows that China has 14 million online writers, with 47 percent of them making writing web novels their full-time job.

The report also notes that more than 70 percent of these online writers are younger than 30-years-old, while those who are younger than 20-years-old account for just 10 percent.

"The film and television industries have purchased many online novels, but it has become more difficult to adapt them into successful franchises as the audience's tastes change quickly," explains Gan.

"A few years ago, film and television companies would buy online novels which attracts the most web traffic, but now they care more about whether or not it is an interesting tale," echoes Yuan Ting, IP cooperation director at NetEase Literature & Comic.

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2018-09-27 07:55:49
<![CDATA[MUSIC RUNS IN THEIR VEINS]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/27/content_36987149.htm Eight members of the Zhou Family Band are currently on a one-month tour of the United States. The tour, which features 17 shows, began on Sept 18 at the Global Roots Festival in Minneapolis. American audiences will get a rare chance to hear centuries-old Chinese wind and percussion instruments, which the family has been performing for over seven generations.

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The Zhou Family Band has been performing for the past seven generations and is still going strong, Chen Nan reports.

Eight members of the Zhou Family Band are currently on a one-month tour of the United States. The tour, which features 17 shows, began on Sept 18 at the Global Roots Festival in Minneapolis. American audiences will get a rare chance to hear centuries-old Chinese wind and percussion instruments, which the family has been performing for over seven generations.

At home, the band is part of weddings, births, funerals and rituals involving the worship of ancestors in Lingbi, East China's Anhui province.

The band's performances blend the suona (a double-reed Chinese horn), flutes, the sheng (one of the oldest Chinese wind instruments), mouth organs, drums and cymbals.

The suona, also known as the Bolin laba, was designated as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2014.

The band's US tour includes two shows at the World Music Festival in Chicago, two workshops at the University of Michigan and a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Before the performers began their US tour, the band did two shows at Beijing's 300-year-old Zhengyici Theater.

At the shows, the band opened the night with the Fanzi Tune - Prosper for Ten Thousand Years, which indicates wealth, prosperity and happiness.

The other pieces were all old tunes passed down from earlier generations, including a celebratory tune - New Life, which is performed when there is a birth in a family, and Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix Marriage, which is a standard fixture at weddings.

The oldest among the eight musicians, Zhou Benxiang, 70, imitates human voices using five instruments and embellishes his one-man act with stunts.

"What you see onstage is more than just music. It is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese folk culture," says the band's leader Zhou Benming, who is a fifth-generation musician.

"The music connects people with the gods and nature. It's rare nowadays.

"The musicians in the band are all blood relations.

"We have blood connections, which make the music even more special," says Zhou Benming.

The origins of the band date back to Zhou Jingzhi in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Zhou Benming, who was born in the 1960s, is the third son of Zhou Zhengyu, a fourth-generation musician.

At the age of 4, Zhou Benming began to learn to play the music instruments with his father. At age 8, he was touring with the band to perform at weddings and funerals around Anhui province.

Zhou Benming says there were many bands like his during the 1970s and '80s, which made the market competitive. But thanks to their techniques and reputation, the Zhou outfit has always been busy.

"I remember that a tour could last for over two months because the families needed us to perform at important occasions," he says.

Speaking about his early days, Zhou Benming says his father was very strict with him.

And to hone his son's skills, Zhou Zhengyu would make Zhou Benming practice for hours after school outside the house, either in the chilly wind in winter or under the scorching sun in summer.

Zhou Benming says he did not fully appreciate the art until he was enrolled to study the suona at the Anhui Provincial Art School at age 15.

"My father had high expectations. He told me that 'if you play, the Zhou Family Band's fame spreads'. I felt a deep responsibility to keep the family tradition alive," says Zhou Benming.

With urbanization and the development of rural China, bands like Zhou's are facing a decline.

"In the past, our performances could last three days for a wedding or a funeral. But now we just perform for two hours and some families have even abandoned the tradition, turning to pop music or dance," says Zhou Benming.

From the 1990s to the early 2000s, Zhou Benming founded a culture company and collaborated with TV stations across China. But this didn't take him away from the family business.

Then, 10 years ago, he shut down the company and has devoted himself to reviving the band.

"I want to regain our family's glory and to showcase this ancient tradition, especially for the young," Zhou Benming says.

As of now, there are over 100 members of the family who still play musical instruments.

But they live in different parts of China.

Zhou Benming brought together some of the veteran players to perform as a band.

They not only perform at theaters nationwide but also at top Chinese universities, including Peking University and the Chinese Conservatory of Music.

Last July, six of them toured five European countries doing seven live shows, including one at the World of Music, Arts and Dance festival in the United Kingdom.

The introduction of the band on the festival's website calls it an "irrepressible ensemble playing the music that accompanies births and deaths in central-eastern China.

"There's oodles of energy in their performances, making them kindred spirits with many East European gypsy bands."

A recording of the band's performance at the festival is with the British Library.

During its European tour, the band also performed at the Rudolstadt Festival in Germany, the Sommarscen Malmo in Sweden and the Sfinks Mixed in Belgium.

Hailed for its "tremendous energy" by the BBC, the band is regarded as "avant-garde" by The Guardian, and was selected by SOAS Radio as one of its five favorite acts from the 2017 festival.

Despite all the acclaim the band has received abroad, Zhou Benming says what he wants the most is to promote the music to Chinese audiences.

"In the West, the suona, cymbals and sheng are foreign instruments. When they listen to the music, they are open to the fresh sounds. But the Chinese have their own impressions about the musical instruments, which restrains their imagination," Zhou Benming says.

"My goal is to catch their interest and show them how deep and exciting the tradition is."

 

 

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2018-09-27 07:55:49
<![CDATA[BOARD MEETING]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/26/content_36981833.htm Wang Jiajun, 30, is a rich merchant in the Middle East. Sometimes he's a general, commanding legions of men.

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Greater numbers of young Chinese are putting down their digital devices and finding social escapism in the diverse world of board games, Xu Lin reports.

Wang Jiajun, 30, is a rich merchant in the Middle East. Sometimes he's a general, commanding legions of men.

His adventures differ, depending on the day. These are not roles in a play, but board games - a hobby that he fell in love with five years ago.

"The fun part is that you can experience new worlds alongside different values and rules in varying styles of board games. There are various occupations and lives to choose from," he says.

"Each game is a new world, and you can broaden your horizons, by getting to know the local customs and traditions."

Wang works for a State-owned company in Beijing. And when he's not on business trips, he has free time to do what he likes - so he plays board games twice a week.

Like him, more Chinese are playing a diverse range of board games, which were originally introduced from Europe and the United States.

Actually, mahjong, China's traditional pastime, is also a classic board game.

About a decade ago, Legends of the Three Kingdoms, a Chinese card game became a hit among young Chinese. Based on the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the game's rules are almost identical to the Italian card game Bang!, which was released in 2002.

Then, dedicated board-game bars were springing up due to the popularity of the game until the fad gradually vanished. It's only in recent years that the public's love for board games revived thanks to the sudden popularity of role-playing game Werewolf. While werewolves secretly kill a villager at night, the villagers have to discover and eliminate the werewolves during the day with the help of a seer.

"These are the two main games played by Chinese people. However, most people have no idea that there are many other types of games worth playing," he says.

Wang has spent about 30,000 yuan ($4,376) on board games, and owns over a hundred sets. Sometimes, after playing them for a period, he sells the games to other enthusiasts. Also it's not uncommon for those within the community to exchange games.

"There is such a great variety of board games that you will eventually find the one that suits your character. Whether you like making calculations or have a vivid imagination, there's a suitable game out there for you."

Some board games have complicated rules, and may scare away the uninitiated.

"It's about peer education. Ease gamers into simple games first and build up to the more complex ones, with the guidance of a veteran gamer. You have to play different games seven or eight times until you become a real gamer."

He also says that board games are able to sift out gamers. Those who have the patience to listen to the rules for half an hour, have the potential to become good gamers.

"The biggest challenge is to find time," he says.

Wang jokes that due to the fast pace of life in big cities, those who squeeze in time to dine with each other are called "true friends" - imagine trying to assemble five or six people who are willing to play board games for half a day.

In small cities, however, the problem is that there are fewer people who share the same hobby.

"The key is whether you're willing to spend time on it, and it has nothing to do with your age or occupation. For me, board games are on my priority list. For others, that priority may be to spend that time drinking with friends or going to karaoke," he says.

"To find a good gamer is also important, because - even by playing the same game over and over again - the experience differs when you play with different people."

He says it's a bit like finding a soul mate, when you make friends with others through a hobby that is popular only among a small group of people.

He also has board-game apps on his mobile phone, so that he can play at any time, but he says the main disadvantage is the lack of face-to-face communication and the tactility of touching of the game pieces.

Wang Han, a board-game bar owner from Beijing, couldn't agree more.

"People need to put down their mobile phones and socialize with one another. It's a way of relaxation; relieving themselves from the hustle and bustle of the city," he says.

He opened the bar two years ago out of his love for board games. His customers are between the age of 25 and 35. They are able to play games with concentration and like to share the games that they love.

The business is not particularly profitable, due to the high prices of the official editions of the games which average between 300 and 800 yuan. Some are more expensive, such as those with elaborate accessories.

Thanks to the sudden popularity of Werewolf, board-game bars are seeing more visitors who want to have a party venue.

"In Werewolf, gamers interact with one another and judge the opponents' roles by their logic and facial expressions," he says.

There are a variety of games to choose from other than Werewolf, according to Wang Han, and he recommends board games in accordance with interests and levels of his guests.

"I like to read them the game rules. I try to introduce board games to more people because I like to share my happiness with others."

Wang Han feels a sense of achievement by playing business simulation games - to manage a company, hire employers and rake in money.

"Such games are based on economic models. Once you take a wrong step, your company will close. They're good tools for corporations to train their staff and raise their awareness," he says.

According to him, some board-game bar owners will also buy new games from global crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and translate them into Chinese.

Meanwhile, domestic game publishers in China are striving to import more games, as well as create their own.

According to a 2017 survey conducted by dicehobby.com, a Chinese website for board game enthusiasts, among the 669 respondents, half admitted to spending between 1,000 to 5,000 yuan on board games, while 83 percent had donated to a crowdfunding program for a board game.

Many said they bought a game due to its background, mechanism and aesthetic design. Compared with overseas board games, they believed that domestic ones need to improve their mechanics, design and marketing strategy.

"Some Chinese publishers maintain good contact with those in Europe and the US. They're able to choose good games and bring them to China," says Reiner Knizia, a veteran board game designer from Germany.

"When an increasing number of Chinese become interested in the imported games, more local companies start planning to produce their own games."

He believes it's possible to reach more growth in the Chinese market due to the country's vast population.

"Local publishers can do better than their global counterparts in building brands and awareness, because they are more familiar with the local market and have access to it," says Knizia.

"As the market shares are distributed, this is a great opportunity for the Chinese publishers, who can seek cooperation with others as well. It's a step-by-step progress."

 

 

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2018-09-26 07:55:19
<![CDATA[The name of the game]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/26/content_36981832.htm More than 70 exhibitors from both home and abroad recently joined the fourth annual Dice Con Board Game Convention in Beijing. There, visitors were able to try out a range of board games at tables before deciding whether to buy them. Other activities included the launch of new games.

According to industry analyst Research and Markets, the global board games market is expected to reach values of over $12 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate of about 9 percent between 2017 and 2023.

The New York-based Pakistani game designer, Nashra Balagamwala, talked about Arranged!, a board game she created, inspired by her own experiences of avoiding an arranged marriage.

In the game, a matchmaker tries to marry off three teenage girls to every young man they meet, while the girls elude her attempts by pursuing their education or careers. The game ends when all the players are married off, either by their own volition or through the designs of the matchmaker.

"The general public may be tired of reading or hearing about social issues, but they are still open to playing games. Sometimes, a game can be the most powerful method of communication," says the 25-year-old, who graduated from a university in the United States.

"It's interesting to combine serious social issues with board games. You have to find a balance and still make it a fun experience so that people are willing to play it."

Balagamwala says Pakistani women usually start to get married at age 18, and arranged marriages are not uncommon. The idea of the game was born when her parents introduced her to potential suitors. Once a matchmaker approached her and said she was surprised to find that she was still unmarried at age 22.

After the game was released last year, women in Pakistan and India in particular have contacted her online to thank her and discuss their own, similar stories. Many played the game with their parents and used it as an opportunity to discuss the issue.

She says when men play the game, they get to feel what is like to be a girl in an arranged marriage and learn about what their daughters or sisters have gone through.

Only available through Balagamwala's website and published in English, the game has already sold over 3,000 sets. She is also considering releasing the game as an app to increase its appeal.

German board game designer Reiner Knizia also shared his thoughts during the convention.

"In Germany, there is a tradition for family members to play board games together. In some countries, however, there is little recognition of the cultural value of board games," he says. His company Knizia Games has published more than 600 different games in 2,000 versions.

He believes the most important aspect to developing a board game is to introduce it to the public gradually. This means that publishers tend to promote board games through conventions and other events to test them out.

"Game design is an art, not a science. You need to spend time developing your ideas and then find your own way," he says.

Knizia says it's important for young designers to have a love for board games and play as many games as possible.

"You first need to come up with a good idea for a game, and then ... get it published," Knizia says. "My advice (for game designers) would be to approach small publishers who will talk with you on an equal level, and then you learn from each other."

"If it isn't working out, don't force it. There are other ways to use your love of board games, like being a publisher. You will be guided more by your interest than by your success."

While electronic games account for about 80 percent of the global market, there is no real competition between them and board games.

"Both have widened the games market. They're actually competing against other ways of recreation such as holidays, movies and sports," he says.

"The development of electronic games makes the market for players bigger. Once you play a game through a certain medium, you are more likely to play games in other ways as well."

Knizia also believes it works both ways - a classic board game may become a mobile game and a successful mobile game can be turned into a board game.

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2018-09-26 07:55:19
<![CDATA[FERTILE GROUND]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/26/content_36981831.htm Three years ago, 30-year-old American Sylvia Kang noticed her female friends were worried by the question of when to have a child.

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Women entrepreneurs reveal the opportunity for financiers willing to bridge the investment gap between female-led startups and their male-run counterparts, Li Yingxue reports.

Three years ago, 30-year-old American Sylvia Kang noticed her female friends were worried by the question of when to have a child.

"They always say you need to have a baby before a certain age, but I started to wonder whether it's true or not," says Kang.

Now, as the co-founder and CEO of Mira, Kang is launching her team's first product to the world - Mira Fertility, an at-home fluorescent immunoassay test for women, detecting the luteinizing hormone peak, which indicates the beginning of ovulation.

On Sept 15, Mira just achieved second place at the She Loves Tech 2018 Global Startup Competition in Beijing - the world's largest competition focused on women and technology which is held in 16 international locations including Berlin, Cape Town, Paris, Singapore and Beijing.

The competition is not just limited to female entrepreneurs, but also at startups with products designed specifically with female users in mind or those that address a problem which disproportionately affects women.

According to She Loves Tech's Co-Founder & CEO, Virginia Tan, the competition is looking for novel technologies in all areas, not just digital and wireless apps - they encourage entrepreneurs in areas as diverse as agriculture, artificial intelligence, finance and education, among a myriad others, to join the competition.

Canadian biotechnology venture, FREDsense Technologies, won the global final, receiving a custom Startup Booster Pack consisting of exclusive mentorships from leading investors and industry experts as well as consulting services, including China intellectual property protection guidance, financial advice, legal representation and human resources assistance.

Both the overall global winner and the winners of the China event also won a trip to Singapore to participate in the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology's Women in Tech Conference which ran from Sept 17 to 20.

She Loves Tech is a global initiative, showcasing the convergence of the latest trends in technology, entrepreneurship, innovation and the opportunities it creates for women.

According to Tan, their goal is to provide a platform for international and Chinese tech companies, investors, entrepreneurs, startups and consumers to come together to promote technology for women - and, perhaps most importantly, women in technology.

The She Loves Tech International Conference was held on the same day, focusing on AI and emerging technologies.

"In 2017, female-led startups raised about $1.5 billion, while male-led around $58.2 billion - nearly 40 times that of the females' funding," Tan told the conference. "However," she notes, "for the investment needs of the market's current female-led startups, there remains a funding gap of around $300 billion."

Therefore, Tan announced that she is to establish the first Asian venture-capital fund for women, aiming to help female entrepreneurs deal with the difficulties of securing financing.

"That's my step forward in 2018. We need to dream first before we can make our dreams come true," says Tan.

Lesly Goh, CTO of the World Bank, also gave an impassioned speech at the conference, sharing her own experiences and struggles.

"I was born a girl and was abandoned by my mom. Life was not easy for a girl like me," says Goh. "The only way to get myself out of my difficulties was education."

Goh moved to the United States with only 25 cents in her pocket and she earned a scholarship in computer science, which brought her to the world of technology.

Besides leading the World Bank's digitalization drive and ensuring that the best technologies are on hand to solve the world's biggest development challenges, Goh has a personal mission, "to leverage technology to empower women and girls in the developing world".

Joining the world of science also changed Kang's life. She studied piano at an affiliated middle school of Sichuan Conservatory of Music, and taught herself mathematics and science courses, because she enjoyed the subjects so much.

When she applied for college in the US, she applied for both piano and engineering, and she got an offer to study the latter at the University of Pittsburgh. She then studied for her master's degree in bioengineering at Columbia University and her MBA at Cornell.

She co-founded Mira in 2015, and the company now has offices in both Hangzhou of Zhejiang province and the San Francisco Bay Area. The company is made up of a team of 36, which boasts PhDs in physics, biomedicine, immunology and medicine.

Currently all hormone-based fertility trackers on the market estimate ovulation based on a hard hormone threshold, a population average. According to Kang, Mira is the only personalized ovulation monitoring system that measures the actual hormone concentration of each woman, just like in a hospital lab.

"I want a product that can be held in one hand," says Kang.

Their first product is now available in the US and will be introduced to the Chinese market next year. Mira plans to continue to grow its comprehensive women's health home monitoring platform to also include testing and analysis for ovarian reserves, fetal health, miscarriage risk, the menopause and hormone imbalances.

"We have the power to provide the tools for people to easily understand and take charge of their health, and championing at-home women's health analysis is just the beginning," she explains.

Kang says Mira plans to expand the system's AI-powered analysis and tracking capabilities into chronic disease testing and general wellness monitoring.

In September, Mira also competed in TechCrunch's Startup Battlefield, the world's pre-eminent startup competition in the US, and managed to finish in the top 20.

"It's said that 92 percent of the investment at Silicon Valley is given to men, but women entrepreneurs are way more than 8 percent of the market," observes Kang.

"Most women may not be as confident as men when pitching their projects, but if we don't step up to fight for more chances, we may lose our opportunities."

 

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2018-09-26 07:55:19
<![CDATA[US teen establishes STEM club for girls]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/26/content_36981830.htm The hollow thud of heavy wooden doors echoed throughout the lecture hall as dozens of eyes turned to meet Alice Hou's. She wondered if she'd walked into the wrong room.

Hou was not afraid to be the center of attention - she had performed traditional Chinese dance on stage and won the 2017 title of Miss Arlington's Outstanding Teen. But the 16-year-old remembers how alienated she felt when she walked into her first computer science lecture earlier this year, one of only 11 women in a class of 100.

It was a familiar feeling for Alice, a high school senior at the Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science at the University of North Texas.

When she was in ninth grade at Jasper High School, Alice was one of only seven girls out of 40 competitors from Plano Independent School District to go to the state science fair.

"It was exciting, and I learned a lot of new things from seeing all the other projects around me, but I felt like it was missing something," she said. "I felt as if it would be more engaging if I was surrounded by more female peers to share this experience with."

That year, Alice decided to do her part to close the gender gap in STEM - science, technology, engineering and math.

She formed Girls in STEM, a club that focuses on learning, serving and teaching.

Since its formation, Girls in STEM has spread to Clark High School, Frisco's Centennial High School, Plano West Senior High and UNT. Leaders have set a goal to have a presence at 10 schools and register as a nonprofit in the coming years.

Alice will graduate next year and wants to bring Girls in STEM with her to college, where she plans to pursue a career in engineering or business.

With women occupying fewer than 30 percent of STEM professions in the US, Alice and her mother, Sara He, who is the group's parent sponsor, know there is room for improvement, but also reason to be optimistic.

"I think the resources are there, the (foundation) is there, and perceptions are changing," He said. "It's going to take some time, but I definitely feel now is the time that they will have all the opportunities. The sky's the limit if they want to do it."

Alice hopes Girls in STEM will help young women unabashedly follow their dreams.

Her advice to them: "These fields of STEM need you, and you do have a place in whatever you're interested in. (Don't) be afraid when you step into a room and no one in that room looks like you, because that is your power. You do belong there and you do have new questions to bring to the table and new ideas."

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2018-09-26 07:55:19
<![CDATA[Milestone for millennials]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/26/content_36981829.htm QINGDAO - Stuffed toys, guitars, zithers, swimming goggles, hometown delicacies and books - with these items packed in their luggage, China's "millennial babies" yearn for a colorful college life.

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Babies born in the Year of the Dragon are now freshmen at universities and colleges

QINGDAO - Stuffed toys, guitars, zithers, swimming goggles, hometown delicacies and books - with these items packed in their luggage, China's "millennial babies" yearn for a colorful college life.

The number of "millennial babies" born in 2000 was 17.71 million, the highest annual birth rate from 2000 to 2015, before China began to allow couples to have two children in 2016.

The year 2000 was not only the turn of the millennium but also the Year of the Dragon for Chinese people. It is believed that babies born in that year have good fortune.

Eighteen years later, "millennial babies" have become freshmen at universities and colleges.

At the Ocean University of China, in East China's Shandong province, about 72 percent of the freshmen were born after 2000.

Zhang Yueru, one of the "millennial babies" from northwest China's Qinghai province, traveled about 2,500 kilometers to attend university.

"It is my first time being so far from home, and there are a few things that make me uncomfortable.

"The library is so big," she says.

"It is easy to get lost as there are so many roads on the campus."

She will major in photoelectric information science and engineering, and also plans to join clubs on Chinese traditional culture.

"I like ancient poetry, especially song lyrics," she says.

"Many post-00s like traditional Chinese culture, such as wearing traditional clothes, reciting ancient poems, singing traditional tunes and taking photos dressed in an ancient Chinese style.

"I am sure that I can find quite a few friends who share my interests."

Liang Yixin, who plans to pursue a biotechnology major at Qingdao Agricultural University, is looking for a dancing club.

"I had to give up dancing in high school as the burden of studying was quite heavy. Now I want to pick up dancing again," she says.

As living conditions improved over the years, many post-00s' parents, a lot of whom were born in the 1970s and received a good education, sent their children to classes relating to the arts from early childhood.

And Zhao Fengjiao, a teacher at Ocean University of China, says: "Whether it's piano, dancing, violin, chess, electronic sports or ancient culture, the post-00s really know much more than us, post-80s."

But compared to the time spent on their hobbies and interests, "millennial babies" still pay more attention to their studies.

Sun Beibei, a counselor at Qingdao Agricultural University, receives many calls from freshmen who want to know what they need to prepare for before the semester begins.

"Whether they need to take painting classes or buy painting material are the most commonly asked questions if their major requires painting skills. They really care about their studies," says Sun.

Also, most of the post-00s interviewees say they will work toward a postgraduate degree.

Wang Leshan, a freshman at Ocean University of China, who is interested in science and technology, wants to major in photoelectric information science and engineering.

"After smartphones, what will be the next big thing? I think it will be VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality)," says Wang.

"Undergraduate courses are not enough for me to develop new VR and AR equipment, so I want to work hard and pursue a postgraduate degree."

According to a survey by Chinese internet giant Tencent in May, 89.4 percent of post-00s think that success depends on hard work.

Yang Jingpei, a freshman at Qingdao Agricultural University who comes from a family of farmers, aims to help his parents through his study of agricultural mechanization and automation.

"We, the post-00s, have had access to the internet at an early age, and are full of imagination. I believe I can make farmers' jobs easier," says Yang.

Despite the view that post-00s are irresponsible and selfish as most of them are the only child, Li Haoyu, a freshman at Qingdao Agricultural University, is proving to be an exception.

Li, who is one of the 300 government-supported students majoring in agricultural sciences in Shandong province, receives free tuition, accommodation and a subsidy of 4,000 yuan ($584) per year. And after graduation, he will serve in a county or village station applying agricultural techniques for at least five years.

"I want to go back and serve my hometown. In this way, I can ease my parents' financial burden and look after my mother as she is in poor health," he says.

Wang Leshan plans to teach in poverty-stricken areas in Northwest China's Gansu province.

"It sounds cool!" says Wang.

"Our senior schoolmates have been doing this for more than 10 years, and we, post-00s, should carry this on."

 

 

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2018-09-26 07:55:19
<![CDATA[Egypt lauds contribution of Confucius Institute]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/26/content_36981828.htm ISMAILIA, Egypt - Hassan Ragab, the director of the Confucius Institute at the Suez Canal University in Egypt, has hailed the Chinese language institute for enhancing mutual understanding and cooperation between Chinese and Egyptian people.

Egyptian students are eager to learn about the Chinese language and culture as they see China as the model for developing countries, says Ragab.

Ragab, who received a PhD in Chinese literature in China in 1995, has just returned from a two-week summer camp in China, in which 20 Egyptian students learned about Chinese cooking, writing and literature, in addition to taking part in sightseeing tours.

More than 1,500 Egyptian students are now studying in Chinese universities, while some 600 others joined the Confucius Institute in 2017, he says.

In 2018, more than 300 students applied to join the Chinese Department in the Language Faculty of the Suez Canal University, which originally planned to enroll just 30 students, says Ragab.

There are two Confucius Institutes in Egypt, one at the Suez Canal University and the other at Cairo University, with branches in other provinces.

The Confucius Institute at the Suez Canal University also holds classes at the China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Corporation Zone, the British University and the Helwan University, with more classes to be opened soon in three other universities.

The institute in the Suez Canal University attracts not only students who want to learn Chinese, but also students from science and other fields. Over the past three years, the institute started to receive students from faculties such as engineering, medicine, science, antiquities and law, says Ragab.

The Chinese government offers scholarships to help Egyptian students, he says, noting that Egypt ranks third in the number of scholarships offered by China.

The Confucius Institute is not only about language. Many Chinese companies in Egypt turn to it for hiring Chinese-speaking employees, according to the director.

In 2017, the Confucius Institute held a Chinese Companies Recruitment Day to help its students find jobs. And, as a result, almost 200 Egyptian students were hired.

There are around 20 Chinese companies functioning in the Suez Canal Economics Zone in the Ain Sokhna district in Ismailia province, where TEDA is located.

These companies have created many opportunities for the local people, and those who speak Chinese have an obvious advantage over the others in securing a job.

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2018-09-26 07:55:19
<![CDATA[Mongolia gets aid to boost education]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/26/content_36981827.htm ULAN BATOR - China's aid is boosting the development of Mongolia's education system, says Mongolia's Education Minister Tsedenbal Tsogzolmaa.

Bilateral cooperation in the education sector has increased in recent years, and "China has significantly contributed to our country's efforts to end the system of three shifts in schools by giving aid for new schools and kindergartens," says Tsogzolmaa.

According to the minister, a total of 21 schools and kindergartens will be built in Mongolia with aid from China by 2020.

Currently, seven schools and one kindergarten are under construction in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator.

The Mongolian government plans to end the system of three shifts in schools by 2020 in a bid to improve access and the quality of general education, says the minister, adding that to this end, Mongolia will have to build at least 50 new schools.

In addition, she says that China is helping Mongolia to develop a skilled workforce.

"China is the most popular overseas study destination for Mongolian students," she says.

"The number of Mongolian students choosing to study in China is growing. And the number of Mongolian students who receive Chinese scholarships has continued to grow year by year," she adds.

Data shows that since 2012, more than 2,500 Mongolian students have received Chinese government scholarships, and the number has risen to 358 this year.

The number of students from China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region who study in Mongolia has also increased, says Tsogzolmaa. Also, students from both sides serve as a bridge to promote friendship between the two peoples and two countries, she adds.

The minister says Mongolia is keen on enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation with China in education, science, culture and sports under the Belt and Road Initiative.

The initiative proposed by China in 2013 offers a huge opportunity for Mongolia and other participating countries to expand relations and cooperation with China in various fields, Tsogzolmaa says, citing infrastructure, economy, education and culture.

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and China, Tsogzolmaa says, expressing the hope that the neighboring countries will take this opportunity to strengthen ties and cooperation in all areas.

"We are planning to organize a series of events," she says.

"For instance, Mongolian Culture Days will be organized in Beijing and in Hohhot, the capital of North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region. And Chinese Culture Days will be held in Mongolia next year."

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2018-09-26 07:55:19
<![CDATA[Two new vegetable fatty acids found]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/26/content_36981826.htm

WASHINGTON - American and Chinese scientists have discovered two new fatty acids in vegetable oils, potentially to be developed as high-quality lubricants.

The study published last month in the journal Nature Plants revealed that two acids, Nebraskanic acid and Wuhanic acid, made up nearly half of the seed oil found in Chinese violet cress, and named them after their discoverers, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Huazhong Agricultural University in China.

"People thought maybe they'd found everything there was to find," said Nebraska's Ed Cahoon, a George Holmes University Professor of biochemistry who co-authored the paper. "It's been at least several decades since somebody has discovered a new component of vegetable oil like this."

Fatty acids represent the primary components of vegetable oils, which are best known for their role in the kitchen, but have also found use in biodiesel fuels, lubricants and other industrial applications.

Most off-the-shelf vegetable oils, such as canola or soybean oil, contain the same five fatty acids. Those conventional fatty acids all contain either 16 or 18 carbon atoms and feature similar molecular structures, according to the researchers.

By contrast, Nebraskanic and Wuhanic rank among a class of "unusual" fatty acids that contain fewer or more carbon atoms and uncommon molecular branches that stem from those carbons. They both have 24 atoms.

All known fatty acids generally add two carbon atoms at the end of a four-step biochemical cycle, then continue doing so until assembly is complete.

But the Nebraskanic and Wuhanic acids seem to go in a way rarely if ever seen outside of certain bacteria. Both acids appear to follow the traditional script until adding their 10th pair of carbon atoms, says Cahoon.

After reaching that milestone, though, the acids appear to skip the last two steps of the four-step cycle, twice cutting short the routine to accelerate the addition of the 11th and 12th carbon pairs.

The process also leaves behind an oxygen-hydrogen branch, or hydroxyl group, in the fatty acid chain, according to the study.

"We believe that the fatty acids are linked to one another through the hydroxyl groups to form a complex matrix of fatty acids, which is quite different from how fatty acids are arranged in a typical vegetable oil," says Cahoon.

That unique assembly and structure could account for the corresponding oil's superior performance as a lubricant, which was tested at the University of North Texas.

Compared with castor oil, the violet cress oil reduced friction between steel surfaces by 20 percent at 25 C and by about 300 percent at 100 C.

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2018-09-26 07:55:19
<![CDATA[BRONZE SAGE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/25/content_36974918.htm While a single tragedy in the first century BC may seem trivial in the context of human's long maritime history, a stroke-of-luck discovery two millennia later brought the event to renewed prominence.

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Ancient relics recovered from a ship that sank in the Aegean Sea more than two millennia ago are on show in Beijing, Wang Kaihao reports.

While a single tragedy in the first century BC may seem trivial in the context of human's long maritime history, a stroke-of-luck discovery two millennia later brought the event to renewed prominence.

It started when a Greek ship was swallowed up by the waves of the Aegean Sea after setting off from today's Anatolia in Turkey to Italy, not far from the Greek island of Antikythera, near which the accident happened.

In 1900, as another storm forced a boat of sponge divers to haul anchor off the coast of Antikythera, the captain returned from one dive not with a sponge in hand, but a bronze statue.

Large-scale underwater excavations soon followed and through these an amazing hoard of Hellenic relics were uncovered 50 meters below the sea's surface.

And now, the unfinished voyage of that ship has finally been completed - and even extended beyond its original destination - thanks to The Antikythera Shipwreck exhibition that opened at the Palace Museum in Beijing on Sept 14.

The skeletons of a man, a young woman, and a teenager whose gender remains unidentified, were retrieved from the ship, which is estimated to be 30 meters long and 10 meters wide, making the ship the world's earliest known shipwreck containing human remains, according to Maria Lagogianni-Georgakarakos, the director of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Greece, and curator of the Beijing exhibition.

An abundance of "funerary objects" - from articles of everyday use such as pottery, glass vases and coins, to luxurious artworks like marble statues, bronze figures and jewels - retrieved from the site of the shipwreck are all included in the exhibition.

It's a story about how conquerors venerated the rich culture of the regions they ruled.

"Although archaeological research has not yet reached definite conclusions about the provenance of the workshops behind the sculptures nor the manner of their acquisition," the curator says, "it's certain that their final destination involved established art markets in Roman Italy.

"The people there had a thirst for high quality Greek art and technology," she adds.

The fragments from the bronze statue are one of the highlights of the 343 artifacts on display at the ongoing exhibition.

Although only the head, arms, feet and some pieces of clothing survive, the enticing glamour of its original form is easy to imagine, particularly through its vividly-portrayed face and deep eyes.

This statue of an elderly sage is estimated to have been forged around 230 BC, more than a century before the ship capsized, and is believed to have once been displayed in a public area.

"The unkempt appearance recalls images of a Cynic philosopher," the curator says. "The work has recognizable elements of the early baroque."

But the exact identity of the man remains somewhat controversial to this day. Consequently, the statue is currently referred to as the "Antikythera philosopher".

Archaeologists also discovered components from at least three daybeds, some of which have made their way to Beijing for the exhibition. Similar items frequently appear in marble reliefs from ancient Roman times, but tangible physical evidence of their existence like these are rare discoveries.

"This daybed was surely a part of the most valuable cargo on the ship," the curator says. "Greek works of art played a significant role in the luxurious adornment of Roman architecture."

Perhaps, the situation is just like the preface of this exhibition has it: "A shipwreck means misery in terms of the cost of lives, but it also creates a time capsule that seals history."

After lying soaked in salty waters for 2,000 years, many of the exhibits were heavily eroded and had been torn apart. But Bo Haikun, the Chinese exhibition designer for the project, doesn't consider this as an obstacle to giving visitors an insight into classic Hellenic aesthetics.

"You don't just gain a sense of beauty from well-preserved and exquisite articles," he says. "These exhibits may be broken, but we can still feel the charm of their fine art from the details."

For example, a fragment of a boxers' left arm from a bronze statue is vivid enough to reveal a fierce fighting scene from an arena, especially through the thongs worn on his hands. And for an eroded set of marble statues depicting the Homeric heroes, Odysseus' and Achilles' mottled faces don't fail to reflect their spirit and legend.

Bo chose blue as the theme color for the exhibition hall, while exhibits were placed on white platforms to represent the sand at the bottom of sea. To create a sense of vicissitude and indicate the difficulty of the voyage, he assembled marble fragments from the art pieces and the sailors' everyday articles to create a montage.

"An amazing amount of knowledge is hidden in these artifacts. The exhibition will help to explain their stories to visitors," Bo adds.

The Antikythera mechanism, a set of 82 components from a bronze analog computer, was found in the shipwreck. Lagogianni-Georgakarakos says it represents a major scientific achievement for the ancient Greeks.

The complex assembly of gear wheels created an output in three main dials, and the mechanical parts were protected by a wooden-framed case.

"The similar technology only reappeared in Europe during the 14th century," she says.

However, archaeologists finally decided not to allow this precious artifact to be removed from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens for the Beijing exhibition because of its fragile condition.

Despite this, the exhibits in Beijing include several replicas of the computer, based on academic research over the last century and detailed illustrations of its historical background.

It was also a pity that a bronze statue known as the "youth of Antikythera", probably the most complete artifact from the wreck, could not be given approval to be flown to Beijing following an X-ray check.

"So, I welcome Chinese visitors to join our exhibition in Athens to see them," the Greek curator says.

To bring The Antikythera Shipwreck to the Palace Museum, 10 Greek archaeologists, two sculptors, one architect, and 16 conservators spent eight months preparing.

And this project is just one example of the collaboration between the Palace Museum and its Greek counterpart.

Also on Sept 14, an exhibition of items from the Palace Museum opened at the Acropolis Museum in Athens as part of the growing cultural exchanges between the two countries.

A Sino-Greek laser technology laboratory opened in 2016 at the Palace Museum focusing on the conservation of stone cultural relics.

Contact the writer at wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

The Antikythera Shipwreck

Through Dec 16 (closed on Mondays)

Open hours: 8:30 am to 5 pm (no entry after 4:10 pm) Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwumen) Gallery, the Palace Museum, 4 Jingshan Qianjie, Dongcheng district, Beijing

 

The "Antikythera philosopher", among a set of bronze statues, is the most highlighted exhibit at an ongoing exhibition of the Palace Museum, displaying 300-odd relics retrieved from an ancient Greek shipwreck. Photos by Jiang Dong / China Daily

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2018-09-25 07:45:13
<![CDATA[Exhibition reveals Picasso's early genius]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/25/content_36974917.htm Early works of one of the 20th century's most influential artists, Pablo Picasso, are currently on display at YUELY Art Museum in Jiashan county, Zhejiang province, as part of an exhibition which runs through Nov 30.

Picasso - The Formation of a Genius, gathers together 121 pieces produced by the Spanish master as well as five of his mentors, many of which are being exhibited in China for the first time and some that are making their worldwide debut.

Visitors can enjoy Picasso's early work as a student, those created in his Spanish hometown and the iconic Guernica - the piece that propelled him to fame.

Thirty-four Picasso originals are on display, including an album of more than 100 of his sketches and drawings.

"Unlike most exhibitions presenting Picasso's famous paintings in the middle and late phases of his career, this art show focuses on his early work, which was produced when Picasso was learning at an art school and influenced by the people around him," curator of the exhibition, Xu Fenlan, says.

"Some of these pieces haven't even been displayed in Picasso's hometown (Malaga in the Andalusian region of Spain), as his early works are largely owned by private collectors."

"Art buffs will be able to understand the source of his inspiration, as the exhibition provides as an in-depth look at the start of his painting career," says Xu.

Picasso showed a passion and talent for drawing from an early age, receiving artistic training from his father, a traditional academic artist and instructor, in figure drawing and oil painting from age 7.

The family moved to La Coruna, Galicia, Spain, in 1891 and stayed almost four years, where his father became a professor at the School of Fine Arts, where Picasso received a formal art education.

The exhibition recreates the environment where the budding artist spent his adolescent years, according to Wu Yanfen, manager of business division at CFLD International, the organizer of the exhibition.

"For example, interspersed with the artwork, visitors will see a representation of the bustling streets that inspired him to become an artist and the school where he acquired his painting skills and knowledge, in the first section of the show," said Wu.

"We have also brought genuine pieces from the painter's former residence in Spain to the museum, including drawings and paintings created by Picasso between the ages of eight and 11 and replicas of some Picasso's hand-drawn sketches are shown - the original pieces are kept at Picasso Museum in Barcelona."

The inspiration for the painting Guernica is revealed in the second section of the exhibition, where a print, named the Slaughter of Innocents is presented.

"The exhibition is probably to be the first to reveal the inspiration behind Picasso's classic Guernica," says Wang Mingyu, a docent at the exhibition.

"Picasso saw the print from outside a window of his childhood friend's house. He 'stole' and 'revised' the idea of it and created the oil painting Guernica years later," says Wang.

"A special section of the exhibition displays to the public the remarkably similar elements of the two paintings, and visitors will be surprised by Picasso's remarkable memory and creativity," she adds.

The artist's many styles - as well as his proficiency with naturalism, he was a co-founder of the cubist movement, co-inventor of collage as a modern art form and a pioneer of constructed sculpture - from different periods of his creative life, are also represented during the exhibition.

"It is sure to be a diverse cultural and artistic experience, and an opportunity for visitors in China to gain a greater awareness of this great artist and his work," says Maria del Carmen Jimenez, curator of Picasso Museum in La Coruna.

If you go

9 am to 9 pm, Sept 8 to Nov 30

Building 1, Xin Xitang Yuely, 99 Wushui Road, Jiashan county, Jiaxing city, Zhejiang province, China

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2018-09-25 07:45:13
<![CDATA[A PLACE WORTH PAINTING]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/25/content_36974916.htm Li Dawei is putting the final touches on his 10-meter-long painting - an artistic representation of an old cobbled street in Guyan Huaxiang.

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Guyan Huaxiang's reputation as a picture-perfect destination has made it a hub for painters, who come from near and far to capture its beauty with brushstrokes, Xing Yi explores the town.

Li Dawei is putting the final touches on his 10-meter-long painting - an artistic representation of an old cobbled street in Guyan Huaxiang.

The artwork portrays the guesthouses and coffee shops that line the town's main street. It also depicts a cat perched on a large elm and fish swimming in a river.

"I love the big elm standing at the entrance to the street," Li says.

"It's like an old grandma watching the people and things happening in this lively township. This is my first visit here. It was love at first sight."

Guyan Huaxiang's name translates as "painting and dam town". And artists agree that the picturesque settlement in Zhejiang province's Lishui city lives up to its name.

Creative types like Li have been drawn to the scenery along the Oujiang River, the 800-year-old Song Dynasty (960-1279) Tongjiyan dam and the pristine peaks that fringe the town since the 1980s.

The town staged an arts festival between Aug 13 and 19 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the local Barbizon Painting School.

The original Barbizon School was established by a group of French artists, including Theodore Rousseau and Jean-Francois Millet, who abandoned formalism. They drew inspiration directly from nature in the 19th century. Its leaders took the name from the village of Barbizon in France.

Fast forward to 1987. Chinese painters who had visited France brought the artistic approach to Guyan Huaxiang, which shares some similarities with Barbizon. They started to paint it in tribute to those French artists.

"Lishui's artists have inherited the Barbizon School's essence. So, they take their primary inspiration from nature," says Zhejiang Painting Academy's honorary dean, Pan Honghai.

"They're Guyan Huaxiang's artistic soul."

Guyan Huaxiang and Barbizon became sister cities in 2015.

Over 300 painters, including a growing number of art students, regularly visit the town to capture its beauty every year, Pan says.

Organizers of the recent festival invited a dozen emerging young artists with different specializations to host seminars and create new works.

International award-winning children's book illustrator Fu Wenzheng was among the group.

"I found the sky is bluer and the river is clearer here," she says.

"And time passes more slowly."

Fu stayed in a guesthouse with artists specializing in clay sculpting, computer animation and doll-making. The guesthouse, which was opened by a local batik craftsman, is named Wu Ju Wu Shu, or, "No restraints. No restrictions".

"We learn from one another. We play and create together. We become good friends here," she says, while sketching a stranger's portrait in the guesthouse.

Fu has hosted a class for kids and their parents about her new book, Ash Dresses Her Friends, during the festival. It's a story of love and sharing.

"I hope they remember attending a drawing class in Guyan Huaxiang when they grow up," Fu says.

"If my story touches their hearts - well, that's what illustrating means to me."

Two exhibitions in the town's galleries showcased the best works that local painters have created over the past 30 years.

Thirty paintings and 30 photos capturing the people and the town were then transported to Paris' Center for Chinese Culture for an exhibition from Sept 4 to 20.

The art festival in the village culminated with a concert performed by folk musicians, including the band Landlord's Cat and singer Zhou Yunpeng.

Organizers say the influx of tourists has grown by 70 percent compared with last year.

About 280 small pictures drawn by visitors and artists were hung together to form a large landscape painting in the town's central plaza.

Li finished his paintings, too.

"I've portrayed all my feelings about the town and interactions with the tourists and locals," he says.

Collectors from home and abroad bought all the works he created in the settlement.

"Guyan Huaxiang's beauty has been shared through my paintings," Li says, smiling.

 

 

Clockwise from top: Painters and art students set up palettes on the bank of the Oujiang River; children add colors to the initials of the village's name; old-style farmhouses line the streets of Guyan Huaxiang.

 

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2018-09-25 07:45:13
<![CDATA[A cutting-edge sword-making legacy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/25/content_36974915.htm Longquan is said to be where China's first iron sword was crafted - and this historical designation sharpens its allure today.

The Yue Jue Shu, a chronicle of the Yangtze River Delta's ancient civilization, says the king of Chu summoned swordsmith Ou Yezi to make exceptional weapons some 2,600 years ago, during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC).

The craftsman traveled the country, searching for a place with abundant iron ore, cold springs for quenching the forge and suitable stones for grinding blades.

His quest led him to the foot of Longquan's Qingxi Mountain. He spent three years there forging three legendarily sharp swords - Longyuan, Tai'e and Gongbu.

Longyuan is the ancient name of Longquan, which is now a county-level city in Zhejiang province's Lishui city. It's still the home of China's sword making.

"Sword making is far more difficult than it seems," says 50-year-old Zhang Yesheng, who owns the Longquan Sword Factory.

"The art requires a combination of strength and dexterity."

He recalls watching residents forging swords in workshops as a child, like most local kids.

Zhang became an apprentice at the Longquan Sword Factory at age 17.

He mastered the 72 steps of sword making and opened his own workshop in 1988. He innovated to improve the quality by using rust-resistant chromium steel a decade later.

Zhang purchased ownership of the State-owned Longquan Sword Factory for 2 million yuan ($292,000) and registered the trademark in 2003.

"Some low-quality swords previously used Longquan in their names, staining its reputation," he recalls.

He pored over texts and visited museums to study ancient designs.

A high-end handmade replica of an ancient sword can sell for as much as 100,000 yuan.

Zhang forged two special swords that appeared in martial-arts novelist Jin Yong's (Louis Cha) book as a birthday gift for the author when he visited Longquan for a forum in 2004.

Zhang also gave Jin Yong a tour of the factory.

"He said he was amazed by the craft of sword making," he recalls.

"He told me that it dawned on him that it's so much more work to make swords than to write about them."

Zhang also made three prop swords for the television series Bi Xue Jian, or Sword Stained with Royal Blood, which was adapted from Jin Yong's novel.

Zhejiang province nominated Zhang as a master of arts and crafts in 2006. And Longquan's sword making was listed as a national-level intangible cultural heritage that year.

Zhang's swords have been gifted to politicians, including former Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan and Macao's chief executive, Fernando Chui.

Longquan today hosts about 100 workshops and factories that produce tens of thousands of swords annually. They're sold throughout the country and the world.

The city will open a sword museum by the end of the year.

But Zhang still worries about the future of the craft.

"Fewer young people want to do the job now," Zhang says.

"It's a tough work with low pay."

The furnaces run at over 800 C. Workers must hammer each sword hundreds of times next to the forge.

Zhang's factory has trained 50 apprentices in recent years, but only one stayed.

"All of our 25 swordsmiths are growing old," Zhang says.

"It's a time-honored trade that needs new blood."

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2018-09-25 07:45:13
<![CDATA[CELEBRATING A LEGACY]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/25/content_36974914.htm Deutsche Grammophon, the world's oldest and one of the most renowned classical music labels, will celebrate its 120th anniversary this year.

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The world's oldest classical music label will mark its 120th anniversary this year with a series of high-profile events, Chen Nan reports.

Deutsche Grammophon, the world's oldest and one of the most renowned classical music labels, will celebrate its 120th anniversary this year.

Among the international programs to mark the special year, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert at the site of Beijing's historical Imperial Ancestral Temple, which stands just outside the Forbidden City, on Oct 10.

Under the baton of maestro Yu Long, SSO will open the concert with a special arrangement of Chinese composer Liu Tianhua's work, Enchanted Night.

Then the orchestra will perform German composer Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, British tenor Toby Spence and French baritone Ludovic Tezier, before being joined by French pianist Helene Grimaud for Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major.

Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen will then take the solo lead in November from neo-classical composer Max Richter's Memoryhouse, a seminal work of contemporary neoclassical composition in 2002.

It will be the first classical music event to be held at the site since 1998, when it held a performance of Turandot, conducted by Zubin Mehta.

"I am thrilled that DG will start its anniversary year with a genuinely historic event in Beijing. It is sure to inspire millions of young people in China and give momentum to the rise of a vast audience here and across the world," says Clemens Trautmann, the president of DG, in Shanghai, adding that millions will be able to watch the concert on TV and digital media online.

Speaking about the repertoire for the concert, Trautmann says the program brings together a wide range of music from different eras and from composers in different countries.

He says the lyrics of Carmina Burana are from a 13th-century manuscript discovered in a Bavarian monastery and are thus from an era when the Forbidden City was built.

Yu, China's well-known conductor on the international scene, and SSO have signed a contract with DG in Berlin, where it is headquartered, to become the first Chinese conductor and orchestra to join the label.

Their first DG recording will be released in 2019 to mark the 140th anniversary of SSO, the oldest symphony orchestra in China.

Speaking about the deal, Yu says: "Even as we are announcing the news of the upcoming Beijing concert, the orchestra is working hard on recording its debut DG album."

One of the pieces in the recording will be Chinese composer Chen Qigang's La Joie de la souffrance for Violin and Orchestra, featuring Grammy-winning Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov.

The piece was commissioned for the Beijing Music Festival and premiered at last year's closing concert of the event.

Another piece that will feature in the album is Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dance.

Speaking about the project, Yu says: "The album will establish a dialogue between Chinese and European orchestral music."

The idea of collaborating with Yu and SSO took shape when Trautmann met Yu at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland last summer.

Trautmann says: "I believe that it is one of the most advanced and internationalized orchestras in China," adding that DG has been part of China's music scene for over 100 years, and that Shanghai was one of the first Chinese cities that opened up to the Western world.

The history of the SSO dates back to 1879 when it was known as the Shanghai Public Band.

In 1922, it was renamed the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra. And it was under Italian conductor Mario Paci that the orchestra promoted Western music and trained young Chinese musicians.

Yu, 54, who was born into a musically-inclined family in Shanghai, studied at the Shanghai Conservatory followed by Berlin's Hochschule de Kunste.

In early 1990s, Yu returned home and founded the Beijing Music Festival in 1998 followed by the China Philharmonic Orchestra in 2000. And he has been the artistic director of SSO since 2009.

As for DG, its story goes back to the birth of recording.

In June 1898, the company was founded in Hanover along with the first record and gramophone manufacturing works. And its director was Emile Berliner, the Hanover-born American inventor of both the disc and the player.

Now, DG is a part of the Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company.

As for the other events marking the anniversary, Garand Wu, the managing director of Universal Music China, says that besides the concert there will be three performances at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts over Nov 18-20 by the Berlin Staatskapelle and the Israeli-Argentinian maestro Daniel Barenboim.

DG will also introduce its project, Yellow Lounge, to the country with a performance at Beijing's Mao Livehouse featuring British-Irish classical violinist Daniel Hope, Chinese clarinetist Wang Tao and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.

DG's Yellow Lounge project, which aims to introduce clubbers to live classical music, was born in 2001 in Berlin's techno clubs. And since then, Yellow Lounge has organized over 130 club nights, each attracting up to 1,000 guests and a massive traditional and social media following.

"Yellow Lounge takes classical music to the younger generation. After Beijing we will take it to other Chinese cities," says Wu.

Speaking about DG's future, Trautmann says it will keep alive the tradition of the label, especially when it comes to building long-term relationships with musicians worldwide and attracting younger audiences.

"The inventor of the gramophone and the founder of the world's oldest record label, Emil Berliner, brought music into everyday life. And we still use the latest technology to bring music to people."

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2018-09-25 07:45:13
<![CDATA[New play brings Shi Tiesheng novella to life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/25/content_36974913.htm A drunken man talking to a mouse about his childhood, parents, ex-wife and his life's struggles opens the five-hour play, entitled Mo Fei.

Directed by Polish theater director, Krystian Lupa, 74, the play premiered in Tianjin in June and will make its debut in Beijing on Oct 17 at Tianqiao Performing Arts Center.

Based on a novella written by the late Chinese writer, Shi Tiesheng (1951-2010), titled A Stage Idea with Film as Backdrop, the play has Chinese actor Wang Xuebing in the lead role of Mo Fei.

"We had three months, on and off, working together in the rehearsal room in Tianjin, which was an exhausting and thrilling process," recalls Wang, 47, in Beijing.

It was the first collaboration between Lupa and Wang, which, as Wang describes, made him "feel like a new actor".

"None of us in the production team are alcoholics, so playing a drunkard is about imagination. Improvisation was a major part of the rehearsal. The director was very patient and he asked me to slow down, to truly represent a drunken man's behavior," adds Wang.

It was also the first time for Lupa, who is known for his productions based on Austrian writers Robert Musil and Thomas Bernhard, to adapt a Chinese writer's work into a Chinese play.

Before Mo Fei, Lupa's stage productions - Persona, Marilyn, Heroes' Square and Woodcutters - were staged in China.

According to Wang, the director works over 10 hours a day on conducting rehearsals and writing the script. To better understand Shi, Lupa read the writer's works, including one of his famous essays, I and the Temple of Earth, which was published in 1991 and is about the writer visiting the Temple of Earth in a wheelchair. The Polish director also visited the site, a park in downtown Beijing several times, which, as Lupa says, is "an important place for Shi". He rode bicycles there, walked around in the park and looked at the trees and flowers.

"By reading Shi's works, I recalled my own life, especially my relationship with my mother," Lupa said in a recent interview with China Daily, conducted while he was rehearsing the play in Tianjin. "Like Shi, I had my own Temple of Earth when I was young. It's a place where I could hide from the outside world."

The director also shot lots of videos in Beijing and Tianjin, which are broadcast on the stage's backdrop.

Shi was born and grew up in Beijing near the Temple of Earth. In 1969, he was sent to rural Shaanxi province during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76). He was paralyzed because of an illness at age 21. Shi was then sent back to Beijing and worked in a factory. His kidneys failed in 1998, and he had to undergo dialysis three times a week. Shi began to publish his work in 1979 and won many literary prizes, including the Lu Xun Literature Prize, the Lao She Essay Prize and the National Excellent Short Story Prize. He is best known for his short stories, including My Faraway Clear Peace River and Strings of Life.

One of his novellas, Like a Banjo String, which was published in 1985, was adapted into the film Life on a String by Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige. The film was nominated for an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991.

The same year, a collection of Shi's short stories was translated into English and published as Strings of Life. Shi died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Beijing in 2010.

If you go

7:30 pm, Tianqiao Performing Arts Center. 9 Tianqiao Nandajie, Xicheng district, Beijing. 400-635-3355.

 

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2018-09-25 07:45:13
<![CDATA[Full moon tourism takes off]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/24/content_36969344.htm Bookings for flights departing on the evening of Mid-Autumn Festival have surged 270 percent compared with last year, according to Ctrip, as some tourists can enjoy the longest combined break in past few years

Taking a flight to see beautiful views of the full moon has become a new fashion for Chinese people on the night of Mid-Autumn Festival, a day that is usually celebrated with traditions such as family reunions, eating mooncakes and looking at the moon.

As of Sept 10, the number of bookings for domestic and international flights departing on the evening of Mid-Autumn Festival, between 6pm and midnight on Sept 24, surged 270 percent compared with last year, according to Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency.

Despite their popularity, prices of those flights basically stay the same as usual, and there are many cheap tickets with special discounts to choose from.

In particular, the number of international flights departing on the evening of Sept 24 has jumped 191 percent year-on-year, and the prices of flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore and Toronto are much lower than during China's National Day holiday break.

"Passengers will be able to see the moon at a closer distance on airplanes, and different seat choices will have an impact on their view of the moon. Passengers should avoid seats that are close to the wings, as the wings can block the view," said Shao Jihong, senior director of flight tickets business at Ctrip.

"If the airplane is flying from east to west, it would be better to sit on the left side of the cabin, and if it is flying from west to east, sitting on the right side would be a smart choice," she said.

This year, Mid-Autumn Festival, or the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, falls close to the Oct 1-7 National Day holiday. Many office workers have chosen to take the last week of September off work, and combine the two holidays to make a 16-day-long break, the longest combined break recorded in the past few years, Ctrip said.

In fact, the number of people who chose to take off the last week of September jumped more than 30 percent over last year, according to Ctrip.

This year's National Day holiday, when Chinese tourists' domestic and outbound travels peak, prices of domestic travel packages are slightly cheaper than last year. For the first time, more than 300 major tourism attractions nationwide will lower their admission prices, and nearly 90 percent of the spots are rated as the best and most popular destinations.

"Now, it is only half a month away from the National Day holiday, and the number of travelers registering for tour packages during the break surged 60 percent compared with last week. Spaces on some popular tours and routes have been filled," said Tang Chen, store manager of a Ctrip store in the Shuangjing area of Beijing

Meanwhile, Ctrip found that the peak flight prices during the National Day holiday occur between Sept 29 and Oct 2. It would be 30 to 40 percent cheaper to fly before Sept 29 or after Oct 2, it said.

"Prices of travel packages during the Mid-Autumn Festival are much cheaper than the golden week break in October. Travelers would save a considerable amount of money, avoid the crowds and have better experiences, if they avoided the peak days," said Li Fan, general manager of domestic trips department of Ctrip.

Besides, the majority of Chinese tourists who travel abroad choose to stay at high-end hotels, with more than 60 percent of travelers booking four-star and five-star hotels. For families traveling with children, nearly 90 percent booked luxury hotels, according to data from the Ctrip Hotel College Data Research Center.

Japan remains the most popular overseas destination for Chinese tourists during the National Day holiday, given its proximity and rich tourism resources, despite the recent powerful Typhoon Jebi that hit the Kansai region and a strong earthquake that rocked Hokkaido.

Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto were listed among the top 10 overseas cities with the largest number of hotel bookings over the National Day holiday. Hotel prices in Osaka on average fell nearly 10 percent, and the prices in Tokyo and Kyoto have remained flat compared with last year, making Japan the most cost-efficient overseas destination for the break, Ctrip found.

Bali saw the prices of its hotels edge down nearly 10 percent year-on-year as well, as an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude on the Richter scale struck the Indonesian island Lombok, near Bali, in August.

Cities and islands in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Phuket, Bangkok, Bali, Chiang Mai and Kuala Lumpur, have been included on the list of destinations with the largest number of hotel bookings, along with London, Ctrip said.

In late August, the peak for overseas hotel reservations for the National Day holiday occurred. Early bookings and greater demand have lifted average prices of overseas hotels, which are higher than the same period last year, Ctrip found.

Chiang Mai, in Thailand, saw average hotel prices during the National Day holiday jump 20 percent year-on-year. Singapore, London and Bangkok saw their prices climb about 10 percent, Ctrip said.

"Chinese consumers are increasingly pursuing travel experiences that are comfortable, unique and specially tailored, especially young consumers born in the 1980s and 1990s, following the ongoing consumption upgrade trend in the country," said Neil Wang, president of consulting company Frost & Sullivan China.

 

 

 

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2018-09-24 08:09:31
<![CDATA[High-end fashion outlets prove a draw for bargain hunters]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/24/content_36969343.htm With a growing number of Chinese consumers pursuing luxury lifestyles and looking for reasonably priced high-end international brands, outlets are excelling amid fierce competition in the retail industry.

Outlets selling brand-name products combined with frequent discounts are meeting demand of Chinese consumers from different age groups. Besides, catering and entertainment options, such as child-friendly activities, are helping to extend the amount of time consumers spend in stores.

Similar to Western countries, most outlets in China are located in the suburbs, usually an hour from the downtown areas, and many are close to tourist attractions.

Compared with traditional department stores and malls, outlets boast certain advantages, according to industry analysts. Many Chinese consumers are willing to take their children to the suburbs to shop on weekends to get away from the crowds.

"Outlets have created a consumption model that combines mid-level prices and high-end brands, and this has satisfied the demand of a large number of consumers who want brand-name, high-quality products at lower prices," said Neil Wang, president of consulting company Frost & Sullivan China.

"In recent years, China's clothing inventory has increased significantly, due to the lack of supply chain information exchange and an extensive production mode. Inventory overstock in the apparel industry is a driving factor for the growth of the outlet business model in China," he said.

So far, outlets have opened in major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, Wuhan in Hubei province and Chongqing, and 40 percent of second-tier cities now have outlets as well. New outlets are expanding their presence in sub-core urban clusters, according to data from Winshang, China's top portal in commercial real estate business.

Last year, 46 new outlets opened nationwide, including six in Southwest China. Outlets appeared in some lower-tier cities such as Guiyang in Guizhou province, Lanzhou in Gansu province, Hohhot in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, and Zhoushan in Zhejiang, for the first time last year, according to Winshang.

Nonetheless, as a business model that originated in the West, some outlet groups have not been able to acclimatize to China, due to insufficient product resources and operational experience.

Capital Outlets is one player that stands out from the competition, based on the strength of its innovative business model, which has shifted it from a shopping center to a lifestyle center.

Beijing Capital Grand Ltd, the parent of Capital Outlets and China's only listed company with outlets as its core business, has introduced an extreme trampoline stadium in the Capital Outlets complex, as well as simulated surfing and water park programs.

Besides, Capital Outlets has launched some top-rated popular restaurants, and held ice and snow carnivals in winter. The interactive programs have helped to raise the stickiness of consumers by improving their interest and experience, the company said.

In the first half of this year, the seven outlets in operation under Beijing Capital Grand achieved sales revenue of 2.37 billion yuan ($346 million), surging 43 percent year-on-year. During the period, 10.23 million people visited the out-lets, up 23 percent over the previous period, according to the company's latest earnings report.

Wang added that because of import taxes, discounted luxury brands sold at outlets in China would not have a big price advantage over products sold abroad. Besides, the emergence of more cross-border e-commerce shopping platforms has enabled Chinese consumers to shop online directly, and some others prefer to buy brand-name goods when they travel abroad.

"In addition, the lack of awareness of some international brands is also a reason that has limited the development of outlets in China. It's also difficult for some outlets to attract investment from top brands," he said.

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2018-09-24 08:09:31
<![CDATA[Celebrating the Mid-Autumn moon]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/23/content_36966674.htm Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

In a few days, Chinese communities everywhere will be celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival. It is one of the three major festivals of the Chinese almanac when families will try their best to get home for a reunion, the other two being Winter Solstice and Spring Festival.

On this day, the family will have dinner together, then set up a table in the garden or on the balcony, where they can enjoy the brightest, roundest moon of the year.

 

Pomelos are a must on the Mid-Autumn Festival. Photos Provided To China Daily

On the table will be mooncakes stuffed with lotus or red bean paste, always with a whole salted egg yolk in them to remind folks of the moon. Sometimes there will be melon seeds or olive kernels studded around the yolk like stars.

Little purple taros or yams will be piled on a plate, waiting to be peeled and dipped into a saucer of sparkling granulated sugar.

Another seasonal delicacy will be water caltrops, the strange aquatic fruit of a pretty pond plant. They have fearsome-looking black horns and resemble a miniature buffalo's head, but their snowy white insides are nutty and delicious.

But the centerpiece on our family table has always been a huge pomelo, gleaming golden like the moon and faintly scented with a sweet, citrusy tang.

A week or so before, my grandfather would have sent word to his favorite fruit stall. They were to find the largest, sweetest pomelo for him. The best were always from Shatian in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and the fruit would be imported by the basket, then displayed in little mountains that dominated the storefronts.

A very Asian fruit - many Westerners might not have seen one before, let alone eaten one - the pomelo is like a giant grapefruit, with thick, fleshy rinds that are peeled back to expose tightly packed segments of pale, creamy yellow or pink flesh.

Unlike most other citrus fruits, the flesh of the pomelo is very sweet when ripe, and the huge segments are packed full of sacs that explode with juices.

Even the cutting of the fruit is almost ritualistic.

The slightly protruding top is sliced off and four deep cuts are made to separate the rind. When peeled open, the fleshy fruit is exposed but still covered with thick, fluffy white membranes that must be patiently peeled off.

A thick, tough skin covers each segment, and once this is removed, the fruit sacs are ready to be popped into the mouth.

The peel is not discarded. It is carefully dried and preserved for another meal. The bitter, oily zest is carefully sliced off, and the spongy rind will be cut up and braised with roast pork pieces for a citrusy stew. Nothing is wasted.

The pomelo zest can also be thinly sliced and cooked down with honey to make a thick infusion. This is dissolved in warm water and drunk as a refreshing drink that is also very good for the throat and lungs.

The grated zest is sometimes mixed with sea salt, and then it becomes an excellent dry rub for meats, especially for chicken.

The pomelo soaks up the sun all summer and ripens in autumn, so it is sweetest and at its best when the moon hangs high and bright during Mid-Autumn Festival.

It is best enjoyed fresh, of course, but also does very well in salads and desserts.

Our neighbors in Thailand do a very good job of using the pomelo in salads, and it has become one of their most refreshing signatures.

We do a lot better in using the pomelo sacs in several desserts, including the fittingly named Ambrosia of the Gods, yangzhiganlu.

This fruit is full of vitamins, like its other citrus cousins, and once you get past its thick skin, it is very easy to eat. Citrus fruits have become increasingly popular in China as eating habits become more globalized.

It won't be long before the pomelo finds its rightful place in Chinese cuisine, so let's take a look at some interesting ways to eat a pomelo.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipes

Pomelo tea infusion

One pomelo peel

500 ml honey

1-2 sprigs rosemary

100g goji berries

Carefully cut off the zest from the pomelo rind. Reserve the rind for another recipe.

Slice the pomelo zest as finely as you can manage.

Heat up a pot of water and blanch the sliced zest. Drain well.

Wash and dry the rosemary sprigs and goji berries.

Heat up the honey and add the pomelo zest. Do not bring to a boil, but simmer until the zest turns color and becomes soft.

Place the rosemary and goji into a large jar and add honey zest mixture.

Store in the fridge for a week or so to allow the marmalade to mature. Then it is ready for use. Place a large spoonful into a mug and add hot water.

Pomelo and chicken salad

300g pomelo fruit flesh, sacs separated

1 large chicken breast

Topping:

100g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons toasted sesame

1 teaspoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon sugar

Dressing:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Wash and rinse the chicken breast and drop into boiling water to cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep in the water for 15 minutes. Cool.

Remove the skin and slice finely. Shred the chicken.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing together, then mix together with shredded chicken and the sliced skin.

Place the chicken mixture in the center of a plate and surround with the pomelo sacs. Finally, mix the ingredients of the topping together and spread evenly over the chicken.

Mix everything together and enjoy a salad full of flavor and crunch.

Healthy pomelo ambrosia

1 liter of mango juice

1 large mango

300g pomelo fruit sacs

100g sago

Skin and remove as much flesh from the mango as possible. Dice the meat.

Go through the pomelo and separate the sacs so there are no large clumps.

Cook the sago in hot water and switch off the heat just as it turns transparent. Let it cook through in the residual heat, drain and rinse the sago pearls in cold water.

Heat up the mango juice and add the diced mango, sago pearls and pomelo sacs. Remove from heat, chill well and serve.

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2018-09-23 10:51:37
<![CDATA[Sharing the treasures]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/23/content_36966673.htm A group of about 150 people are providing guide services in six languages to tourists who visit the famed Mogao Grottoes

Bian Lei, who is 31, has visited the Mogao Grottoes, a 1,600-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site in Dunhuang, Gansu province, thousands of times over the past decade.

As a professional guide at the site, he leads tourists around the many Buddhist sculptures and frescoes there every day.

 

Bian Lei, a professional guide at the Mogao Grottoes, leads a tour group around the site, which he says offers peace and inspiration to people who are anxious about modern life. Photos Provided To China Daily

In his career as a guide, there have been moments when he has had to hold down drunken men while talking about the relics, and when devout Buddhists would go down on their knees and offer flowers and oil at the site, which is discouraged by management rules.

He has also had to describe the shape and color of the statues to the blind, and a college professor once told him, "I am jealous of you because you have the chance to spend so much time with those 1,000-year-old relics every day."

In peak season, from July to September, he serves about 100 people a day, from 8 am to 6 pm.

His monthly salary is about 3,000 yuan ($437; 374 euros; £333), lower than the average wage in Gansu. But Bian says, "I don't think I can find any job better than this one.

"I feel proud of my job. It's meaningful," he adds.

The Mogao Grottoes feature a huge collection of Buddhist art, including more than 2,400 sculptures and 45,000 square meters of frescoes in 735 caves dating back to between 40 and 14 BC.

There are frescoes depicting music bands and dancers performing at a royal court, and flying creatures playing three-stringed lutes known as pipa, among other scenes.

Many of the relics are vivid, with well-preserved color due to the dry weather and low rainfall in Gansu.

In 1987, the Mogao Grottoes were one of the first Chinese sites to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To explain the Mogao Grottoes to tourists, Bian and his colleagues have to read and memorize a wide range of material.

"Tourists come here with many unanswered questions. And our task is to transform the question marks into exclamation marks," he says.

"For instance, some ask why the area is called the Mogao Grottoes. Mogao has several connotations in Chinese - the highland of the desert or the highest place ever."

Last year, the Mogao Grottoes welcomed 1.73 million visitors, with about 5 to 10 percent being foreigners. The average daily number of visitors is about 6,000, says Bian.

Speaking about how he relaxes after work, he says, "After returning home, I don't want to talk anymore."

In 1979, when the Mogao Grottoes were first opened to the public, "Dunhuangology" experts acted as guides. But there are now 150 people providing guide services in six languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Korean.

Li Yaping, a female guide, is one of those who has been at the site for the past 10 years.

After graduating from college, Li received 50 days of training before being employed as a guide.

Each day, Li walks on the same roads, into the same caves and speaks the same words, but says she does not feel bored.

Bian agrees with her description of the job and says: "The Mogao Grottoes is more a spring than a pond. It offers peace and inspiration to people who are anxious about life in these modern times."

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2018-09-23 10:51:37
<![CDATA[Scientists in Shenzhen look at benefits of hibernation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/23/content_36966672.htm SHENZHEN - In the Hollywood blockbuster Interstellar, the astronauts hibernate for years during long-distance space travel.

Low-temperature dormancy is a feature in many sci-fi novels and movies. Can humans get into a low-energy consumption state like hibernating animals by reserving energy and reducing body temperature and metabolism?

An answer could be forthcoming, since Chinese scientists are looking for the key to regulating body temperature.

Scientists have found that the hypothalamus, an area in the central lower part of the brain, is responsible for regulating body temperature. But traditional methods cannot determine exactly which neurons play the key role.

Wang Hong, a brain scientist at the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, led her team to mark the neurons responsible for setting and regulating body temperature in mice by means of a cutting-edge genetic biology technique.

In the in-vitro experiment, they found that 20 percent of the neurons in the hypothalamus of mice reacted to heat. Those neurons had a common feature: They all expressed a gene called TRPM2.

In further experiments, scientists injected the drug clozapine N-oxide into mice to activate the neurons expressing TRPM2. The body temperatures of the mice dropped from 37 C to 27 C in two hours. With the metabolizing of the drug, their body temperatures returned to normal after about 10 hours.

The team found that the change in body temperature caused no harm to the health of the mice. Their study was published in the academic journal Science in September 2016.

Chinese scientists are not alone in such research. NASA is reported to have funded a study by the aerospace engineering company SpaceWorks Enterprises of hibernation systems that could be used in human missions to Mars.

Wang's team is focusing more on medical applications.

Studies have found that if the brain can be cooled soon after a patient has a stroke, it can help protect the nervous system. Mild hypothermia therapy was introduced into the clinical treatment of strokes in the 1990s.

However, the therapy requires sophisticated instruments and is hard to apply in emergency treatment.

"We hope to find the target area in the brain and develop a drug that can drop the body temperature of the patient immediately after a stroke to protect the nervous system," Wang says.

"We are still not quite clear about why low temperatures help protect the nervous system. It's commonly believed that reducing the metabolic rate of cells depresses the production of free radicals."

Next, Wang's team plans to conduct experiments on primates to find out whether the neurons expressing TRPM2 can play the same role in regulating body temperature.

"The discrepancy between different species is the most difficult problem. We don't know if we can develop a drug that can regulate human body temperature. We still need a lot of study," Wang says.

Even if the researchers master the technique to regulate human body temperature, can hibernation be realized in space travel?

"It still seems like a distant dream," Wang says. "Just solving the problem of regulating body temperature cannot realize hibernation, since many other factors such as circadian rhythms and nutrition must be taken into consideration. How to wake the dormant astronaut is another complication."

Some scientists worry about the social and ethical issues of artificial hibernation.

"Luckily, we still have a lot of time to discuss artificial hibernation before it is realized," says Wang. "Nevertheless, regulating body temperature according to our needs will be the first step."

Xinhua

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2018-09-23 10:51:37
<![CDATA[British diners refine appetites for Chinese cuisine]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/23/content_36966671.htm Dishes have long been available, but local tastes are evolving

William Poon opened his first Poon's Restaurant in 1973, in an 8-square-meter space on Lisle Street in Central London. The space, formerly occupied by an electrical supplies shop, was only big enough for four tables.

But Poon's Cantonese food became so popular that he opened six more restaurants. One that he opened in 1976 was awarded a Michelin star in 1980 and named the best Chinese restaurant in London. He sold his business in 2003 and retired.

Poon, an immigrant from Hong Kong who arrived in the United Kingdom in 1967, says the secret to his success was stubbornness. He never gave up the traditional cooking methods.

"I am a very stubborn and conservative person," he says. "I always try my best to keep the original taste as much as possible."

Looking back on his time at the forefront of Chinese cuisine in the British capital, he remembers with pride that he was the first in London to serve stir-fried beef with a "stinky" shrimp paste. Despite its popularity in Hong Kong, his peers in Chinatown thought he was crazy, because they assumed the dish would not suit the palates of Western diners.

But Poon's bold move was successful, and his dishes were well received by diners - locals as well as those with roots in China. His barbecue pork, or charsiu, roasted chicken livers and pig intestines were among the most popular items on the menu.

As the reputation of his first restaurant grew, and people had to wait in a pub next door for tables to become available, it became clear the location was too small to accommodate the growing crowd of fans. One of Poon's solutions was to create set menus, which he believes were the first of their kind in the UK.

"At that time, all the restaurants had very long menus, and it was easy for customers to get lost," Poon says. "Because my restaurant was so small, I could not afford them to take a long time to read the menu, so I designed different set menus labeled A, B, C and D. ... That became a trend, and other restaurants started to follow."

At the time, Cantonese cuisine was prospering in London, driven by a sharp increase in the number of immigrants arriving from Hong Kong.

However, the earliest Chinese restaurants in London predate Poon's by a century, according to the British Chinese Heritage Centre. They date to the 1880s, when stalls sprang up around London's dock areas, where Chinese sailors had settled.

The Limehouse area of East London housed the first Chinatown in the British capital, but it was the International Health Exhibition in the West London district of South Kensington in 1884 that introduced Chinese food to the British public in a big way. This was followed in 1908 by the first recorded opening of a formal Chinese restaurant, on Glasshouse Street near Piccadilly Circus, which was appropriately named The Chinese Restaurant.

Similar things were happening in other cities. In Liverpool in the 1930s, former Chinese sailors were serving dishes from Ningbo, Zhejiang province; Fuzhou, Fujian province; Shantou, Guangdong province; Hainan province; and Shanghai. These included chop suey (a mix of meat and vegetables cooked together), fishcakes and black jam cakes. In 1938, chop suey, chow mein and fried rice were popular among students at a restaurant in Cambridge, in eastern England, because they were cheap.

In 1939, Chinese recipes were first broadcast on the BBC, and Chinese cooking ingredients became available at the Shanghai Emporium on Greek Street in London's Soho district.

In the late 1950s, Chinese restaurants started serving meals in three courses to cater to British diners. By the 1970s, the phrase "Hong Kong style" had emerged to describe a fusion of Cantonese and Western cuisine.

London's Chinatown moved to its current location in Soho in the 1970s, when rent was relatively cheap and the district was known for crime and prostitution. For nearly 50 years, it has been the heartland of the UK's Cantonese community and, during this time, many Britons have come to regard Cantonese cuisine as the only type of Chinese food.

But celebrity TV chef Ken Hom, author of My Stir-Fried Life, says the attitude toward Chinese food has changed enormously in recent years, as people have come to realize that Cantonese food is just one of the many Chinese cuisines available.

"Chinese food at the beginning of the 1980s was sweet and sour pork, mainly," he says. "Most Brits had a very stereotypical view of Chinese food. Now you are seeing more regional Chinese food, and it is no longer just Cantonese food."

Restaurants are serving a wide range of authentic cuisines from the Chinese mainland, including dishes from Sichuan province in Southwest China, Hunan province in Central China, and food from the northern part of the country.

"British people have become more knowledgeable about Chinese food," says Hom, adding that modern Chinese restaurants in London are much more authentic, reflecting the sophistication of British diners, including those who have traveled to China.

With an increasing number of Chinese living in the UK, upscale Chinese restaurants are making inroads into the British restaurant scene.

Hakkasan Hanway Place in Central London, founded in 2001, is a high-end Chinese restaurant owned by the Hakkasan Group. It won its first Michelin star within a year of its launch, which it still holds.

Tong Chee Hwee, executive head chef at Hakkasan, says the restaurant did nothing in particular to earn the Michelin star apart from trying to maintain the consistency of its high-quality food and service.

"The general Chinese food landscape at the time (in 2001) was more traditional Cantonese cuisine," Tong says.

"The philosophy behind Hakkasan was to combine traditional Cantonese food with a new interpretation. Unlike the traditional fine-dining concept, Hakkasan offers customers an experience through sight, sound, smell, touch and taste."

Tong says that people today also care more about their health and eating habits.

"They care more about their diet and well-being and are more educated about nutrition," he says.

"We wanted to create something that was authentic and true to our roots but, at the same time, contemporary and interesting."

Five Chinese restaurants in London have been awarded a Michelin star. There are 72 Michelin star establishments in the city, three owned by the Hakkasan Group. About 40 percent of Hakkasan's customers are of Asian descent.

Gordon Cheung, an associate professor of China's international relations at Durham University in the UK, has conducted research into Chinese food.

The recent upscaling phenomenon is partly due to Chinese influence and, especially, more Chinese mainlanders coming to the UK as students or tourists, he says.

"They bring with them their own Chinese food and eating experience...so they somehow demand a more authentic food experience," he says.

Cheung says entrepreneurs are happy to meet this demand, and that as a result, more opportunities have emerged and more authentic Chinese restaurants have opened.

Authentic Chinese cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and the dishes that are offered have progressed significantly in the past decade. But Poon believes Cantonese cuisine will always have a special place in British diners' hearts.

"Sichuan and Hunan cuisines are good, but people are unlikely to eat hot and spicy food every day, so I don't think Cantonese food will disappear," he says. "It is impossible to replace the originality of Cantonese cuisine."

 

Chinese restaurants in UK are serving a wide range of authentic cuisines from the Chinese mainland. Photos Provided To China Daily

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2018-09-23 10:51:37
<![CDATA[Fine art of raw beauty]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/23/content_36966670.htm Celebrated photographer Kim Weston is eager to turn his lens on Chinese women, Chang Jun reports in San Francisco.

Some might speculate that being the grandson of a famous American photographer is Kim Weston's claim to fame. However, the lensman, who has specialized in nude photography for four decades, has made his own name in the industry.

Weston and his wife, Gina, live in a villa on Wildcat Hill in Carmel Highlands, California, the former home of his grandfather, Edward Weston.

They use the property to operate a gallery and photography studio, to conduct nude photo workshops and exhibitions, and to host visitors and amateur photographers from around the world.

In August, Kim Weston, 65, spent a week with two visitors from afar - China's renowned documentary photographer Huang Yiming and Finnish computer engineer and photographer Kirmo Wilen - showcasing the life and work of the Weston family. They exchanged expertise and concerns, and Weston accompanied his guests to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a nearby city full of museums and galleries.

"It's an eye-opener to be immersed in the works of my Western counterparts," Huang says. "To my dismay, I did not spot any Chinese photographer's work on display (in that city)."

Cross-border exchanges of this kind have been taking place more frequently in recent years, Weston says .

He says that about three years ago, "we had four Chinese visitors coming up to our driveway. They've seen my show and were very interested knowing our family history", adding that the group was invited inside for a brief tour.

Huang, who has won major domestic and international photography competitions, says: "Kim Weston is a familiar name among Chinese photographers. Artworks of his family have been introduced to China through various channels, including exhibitions and photography periodicals."

Family legacy

Weston honed his craft in early childhood, assisting his father Cole in the darkroom making gallery prints from his grandfather's original negatives.

For many years, he assisted his uncle, Brett, in developing and advancing bold and abstract photographs that earned his uncle the nickname "child genius of American photography".

"I grew up in a family of photographers - my grandfather, my father, my uncle - so it was very natural for me to start photography, and I have been doing it ever since," says Weston. "I was very lucky at a very young age that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, photographing and teaching."

Edward Weston, born near Chicago in 1886, was the patriarch of the family legacy. Over 40 years, he photographed various subjects, including still lifes, nudes, portraits and landscapes.

At 21, he moved to California, where he started using his camera to capture the coarseness of people and places in the rugged American West. Many of his most famous images, more than 1,000 negatives taken by his 8x10 view cameras, applied lines, shades and texture comparison to depict trees and rocks on the wild plains.

One of his most well-known photos, Pepper No 30, which was shot in 1930, shows a green pepper in dense black-and-white tones, with strong illumination from above generating a 3D effect.

Edward Weston's creativity and his unremitting enthusiasm for artistic quality placed him among the most innovative and influential American photographers of the 20th century.

Although he died at his Wildcat Hill home in 1958 with $300 in the bank and his prints selling for $25 each, his Nude from 1925 set a Sotheby's auction record in 2008, going for more than $1.6 million.

"My father, Cole Weston (1919-2003), was the fourth and youngest son of my grandfather," says Kim Weston, explaining how the color film that Eastman Kodak had sent to Edward Weston enabled young Cole to eventually become a "master of fine art color photography", besides carrying on his own portrait business.

Cole Weston held his first solo exhibition in San Francisco in 1971, and his work has been featured in 60 exhibitions worldwide and collected by museums and galleries in the United States and Europe.

At age 6, Kim Weston took a group picture of his dad and two brothers, and with it embarked on a lifelong journey in photography.

"Dad gave me the rolling film. And I still shoot in film," he says.

As the only one of his parents' four children who decided to pursue a career in photography, Kim Weston says his choice was natural.

"It's also about the relationship between a dad and his son - just like my dad and uncle helping their dad in the darkroom. It was something we did for generations. Now it's my son, Zach," says Kim Weston.

Zach Weston, 28, has been involved in photography for seven years.

"It's quite rare to have four generations pursuing the same art, photography," Kim Weston says.

China exhibition

A Chinese curator who runs two galleries, in Shanghai and Beijing, approached Kim to persuade him to join a large-scale joint exhibition at the National Art Museum of China in 2014.

The show, titled Journey of the Heart: Exhibition of Straight Photography Original Prints 1839-2014, featured more than 200 original photographs by 53 photographers from around the world.

Kim Weston was impressed, describing his first experience in China as "amazing".

According to the museum's catalog, the exhibition had three sections: Equivalence and Reproduction (1839-1917), Thing-in-Itself and Aura (1917-1977) and Integration and Change (1977-2014).

"The show presented the relational context of international photographers, including William Henry Fox Talbot, Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna and Kim Weston, exploring the origin, change and development of photography genres that take pure art as a goal," it says.

On the same trip, Timeless Gallery in Beijing held a Kim Weston exhibition to educate the public on how good photography requires skill.

"Patrons flooded the show, and they literally photographed every image of mine with their smartphones," Weston says.

He visited colleges and museums in Beijing to talk about nude photography.

"I was very concerned about how the topic would be accepted," he says, because he learned from a previous trip to Japan that it was a taboo topic in many places in the East.

"Would it be offensive? My curator friend assured me that won't be a problem. Indeed, this was not the case throughout my trip in China," he says, adding that China's reform and opening-up gave people the ability to view specific topics from different perspectives.

Like many foreigners visiting China for the first time, Weston experienced culture shock through eating - hotpot, roast duck and street food - but it was all delightful to him later.

He is eager for more trips, hoping his photographs will gain exposure among Chinese collectors.

He says that through his photography, he wants to "explore the sensuality" of Chinese women.

Although technology has transformed many aspects of current society, photography as an art remains consistent, he says.

"Tools definitely changed, especially with the digital age. But to me, it's just basic tools. Things do get advanced, they get more complex. I would stay with film because I know it, I understand it."

Weston first used a Rolleiflex twin lens reflex camera to take photos, later transitioning to a 4x5 Linhof, then an 8x10 Calumet, followed by an 8x10 Arca-Swiss. He now uses a Mamiya inherited from his father.

Digital doesn't necessarily change the vision, he adds.

"I always use the camera as a way to express my feelings. I photograph much differently than a lot of people. My photographs tell stories, and I don't care (about others') views of my works."

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2018-09-23 10:51:37
<![CDATA[Healthy returns]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/23/content_36966669.htm A recent expo in Beijing drew foreign travel companies eager to tap China's health tourism market, providing a boost to the industry

Mahender Thakur enjoyed his time on an automatic massage bed at the second Beijing International Health Tourism Expo, which ran from Sept 7 to 9 in Beijing.

"The rolling and pushing motion really relaxes my back," said Thakur, deputy general manager at Cox & Kings, an India-based provider of luxury holidays and tailor-made tours.

After the massage session, Thakur moved on to the other booths at the expo.

The booths showcased a variety of health tourism products and resources from more than 20 provinces and regions of China.

"I want to have a look around and then make some purchases," Thakur said.

His company brings around 5,000 Indian health tour visitors to China each year, and was looking to identify more health tourism resources at the expo and show them to potential customers in his home country.

Thakur was one of many foreign travel specialists who were looking to develop their Chinese health tourism resources through the Beijing expo.

Wu Dan, a manager at Sunny International Communications, the expo organizer, says 70 international buyers from 17 countries, including the United States, Britain, France and Spain, attended the expo.

"Compared with other countries, China has a special advantage in health tourism, since it's rich in traditional Chinese medicine resources," Wu says.

Exhibitors at the expo ranged from government-accredited health tourism demonstration facilities to tourism management organizations and medical institutes.

"A considerable number of them have already developed mature health tourism products and are ready to take in foreign guests," Wu adds.

Increasing public health awareness at home and favorable government guidelines have given a boost to development of the domestic health tourism industry.

In 2016, five national government bodies, including the National Tourism Administration (now part of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism), the National Health Commission and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine issued guidelines on how health tourism should be promoted.

These guidelines call for health tourism facilities with distinctive elements to be developed by 2020. The government has pledged to support medical, health management and leisure facilities in the development of health products. Policies have been put in place to boost investment in infrastructure, promote marketing and create insurance products to develop China's health tourism industry.

The Sanya TCM Retreat Center, for example, has been drawing an increasing number of foreign customers over the years. The center offers various TCM and related skin-care experiences and has received around 60 tourists from abroad on a daily basis.

"Our guests come from various parts of the world, including Russia and Kazakhstan," says Tang Yi, a senior therapist at the center, which is at the foot of a mountain.

"They've come to enjoy the beach, sea and sunshine, while having their health problems treated," says Tang. Acupuncture, TCM massage and fire therapies have become a hit with them, Tang adds.

A customer usually receives a whole body checkup upon arrival at the center, which will then come up with a pertinent health tour package plan.

TCM diets, tai chi and hot spring experiences, as well as visits to neighboring scenic spots, are arranged for clients.

"For example, if we find problems with their spine, we would recommend our bone-setting and massage products," Tang says.

At the moment, a five-day TCM treatment at the center costs 1,180 yuan ($172; 147 euros; £131), while some immersion therapy packages can cost more than 15,000 yuan per person.

Another TCM destination is the Yiling Health Center in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, which is growing increasingly popular with travelers from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Switzerland.

"We usually take in three to four groups of foreign visitors each month," says Zhang Qiaopan, an employee at the center.

The facility is able to receive more than 1,000 foreign guests a year.

"We teach them basic TCM philosophy, therapeutic cuisine, acupuncture and massage, so they can continue practicing TCM after they leave," Zhang adds.

Packages lasting from several days to up to a month are available for guests, and English, Russian and Arabic language services are provided to meet different customers' needs.

To date, 13 health tourism demonstration facilities are operating nationwide, including those in Beidaihe, Hebei province; Jiuhuashan, Anhui province; Sanya, Hainan province; and Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

By 2020, China's tourism industry is forecast to be worth 7 trillion yuan a year, and health services worth 8 trillion yuan, according to tourism authorities.

Lars Roman Engel, who is from Copenhagen, Denmark, established contact with several tea-producing regions at the expo.

"I tried some of the tea at a few booths, and they were quite nice," he says. "I heard that some of them can help your digestive system."

Engel and his team from a travel agency in Copenhagen joined the expo to "find inspiration and get to know what's happening in China's health tourism industry".

He believes that the health products displayed at the expo could be a good fit for travelers from his country.

"In Europe, we are very busy and we need various treatments that can help us calm down and feel like ourselves again," he says.

"So I think these kinds of tea could just hit the spot."

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2018-09-23 10:51:37
<![CDATA[Man of many words]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/22/content_36964137.htm

The pinnacle of Zhang Mingzhou's career came recently when he was elected president of the International Board on Books for Young People-the first Chinese person to do so in its 65-year history.[Photo provided to China Daily]

When Zhang Mingzhou was elected head of an international organization for children's books, his peers knew they had found the right candidate for the job, Mei Jia reports.

For a man who grew up in a remote border village in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, Zhang Mingzhou's career has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Starting out as a junior diplomatic staff member, he later became a cultural exchange agent before becoming a publishing copyright manager. Yet the pinnacle of his career came recently when he was elected president of an international organization for children's books - the first Chinese person to do so in its 65-year history.

"I would not have dared to have dreamed about this life without the aspirations I developed when I was growing up reading books," Zhang says in his acceptance speech.

When it was announced that Zhang had been awarded the presidency of the International Board on Books for Young People on Sep 1 in Athens during the IBBY's 36th biennial congress, which saw 600 delegates from 79 countries gather together, he said he felt "the kind of peace you get watching the still surface of a lake" rather than excitement, he later tells China Daily.

"I feel grateful for literature and the unique power it has to bring about happiness and offer hope to children by developing their imagination and changing their lives for the better," he says.

"I heard only one voice deep down, saying I should live up to my fellow friends' trust, and strive to fulfill my mission and responsibilities," Zhang says.

Zhang says he found encouragement from a rival candidate who finally decided not to run but instead chose to support his bid.

Brazilian illustrator Roger Mello says he is also happy about Zhang's election, who he refers to as "our hero". Australian Trish Amichi says the job has been handed to the best possible candidate, and believes that "the IBBY will do even more amazing things with Zhang at the helm".

An international nongovernmental and nonprofit organization established in 1953 with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, the IBBY gathers together editors, writers, illustrators, librarians, professors, publishers and members of the media together to promote the writing and reading of children's books, with an aim to enhance communications and world peace.

The biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award, the world's top honor for children's content creators, was set up by the IBBY in 1956. Cao Wenxuan was the first Chinese writer to win the award in 2016.

Zhang's first contact with the organization began in 2002. Since then, in the big international family as he calls it, he has been serving as one of the ten members of the board's executive committee, before being nominated as its vice-president in 2016.

It was at this time that the international literary community began to become more familiar with the reading habits of Chinese children and recognize how Chinese writers and illustrators liked to mingle tradition with a contemporary outlook in their publications aimed at children.

Before Cao, Chinese writers tended only to make the long list for the Andersen award, and never advanced any further. In 2015, Wu Qing, professor of Beijing Foreign Studies University, was elected as the judge of the award. Subsequently, Xiong Liang made it to the illustrators' short list for the award in 2018.

Veteran publisher Li Xueqian says the presidency is not only a recognition of Zhang's previous efforts, but also a product of China's reform and opening-up process. The country's international standing and publishing industry have grown alongside the country's economic development.

People often cite Zhang as a perfect example of the "Chinese story", as his success has both mirrored and contributed to the progress the country has made.

Every step he has taken and the choices he has made seem to reflect this.

It all started when Zhang, who was born into a teaching family in 1968, bought a picture book at the age of 9 with the money he earned by collecting and selling recyclable waste.

The book was The Travel of A Tiny Willow Seed, which tells the story of how a seemingly insignificant seed manages to float around the world.

"It opened up the world to me. It made me want to visit every corner of the world," he says. And that's exactly what he did.

Thanks to his hard work, he moved from remote Heilongjiang to study at Shanghai International Studies University, before later enrolling at the Chinese Foreign Ministry after his graduation.

"This experience helped me in my job in an international organization," he says.

He later started up a company organizing international cultural exchanges before he became manager of the international copyright section of the China Children's Press and Publication Group.

"I fell in love immediately with the IBBY when I attended its Basel Congress in 2002, especially after learning that its mission was to promote international understanding through children's books," Zhang says.

"I was really thrilled by the idea that a book can offer a life-changing opportunity to financially restricted children like myself," he adds.

Zhang became an active and creative force on the world stage that the IBBY provided.

In 2006, the organization's congress met in Macao. As one of the organizers, Zhang invited children from different countries to visit and talk at the conferences and forums aimed at adults.

While serving on the IBBY executive committee for four terms from 2008, his foreign colleagues constantly encouraged him to run for president.

He quit his publishing job earlier this year and decided to give a shot.

"Believing in the same ideals, I wanted to help the IBBY to take it to develop further," he says.

He has already helped forge an agreement between the IBBY and the International Publishers Association and helped set up the national section of Sri Lanka.

"I hope more countries will join the IBBY," he says. "There are so many touching stories from the reading promoters, I want them to be known by more people."

One of the major plans for his term is to raise the organization's public profile around the world.

Zhang says he will encourage more young people to work tin the organization and continue to develop projects like Children in Crisis and Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities.

His first job as president was to launch the IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award.

The China-based iRead Foundation will award two reading promoters from impoverished areas around the world with a prize of 200,000 yuan ($29,000).

Vassiliki Nika, president of IBBY Greece, says: "Today, the IBBY's mission - which is more urgent than ever before - is becoming a vehicle for studying the way stories and fairy tales mix, mingle and interact through different peoples' visions. Understanding and goodwill among people, as well as equal opportunities for every child in the world can only be attained when books offer a bridge between different peoples and civilizations."

Zhang supports this aim and believes that China has never been more close to the center of the global stage in terms of children's publishing thanks to the reform and opening-up process that has helped so much to boost its international standing in the publishing sector.

"I hope my presidency will help further enhance China's dialogue and cooperation with its world partners," Zhang says, adding that the organization is not just about China.

"I support the creation and production of high-quality books for children worldwide. I want children everywhere to be given access to books on equal merit. Through our work, I hope to see children grow up with healthy personalities and the ability for independent thought, and a sense of inclusiveness toward other cultures," he says.

"Above all, I hope they will have an awareness of the mission of building the world as community with a shared future," he says.

Contact the writer at meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-09-22 07:02:54
<![CDATA[A Senegalese businessman's road to success from Yiwu]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/22/content_36964136.htm

HANGZHOU - Sourakhata Tirera's office in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, stands right beside the well-known international trade city, the world's biggest hub for small commodities.

Inside the office of the 43-year-old Senegalese, a traditional Chinese landscape painting hangs on the wall and a set of teaware sits on the side table. He enjoys drinking oolong tea.

Located in the center of Zhejiang, about 300 kilometers from Shanghai, Yiwu calls itself a "sea of consumer goods, paradise for shoppers "according to its official website. Over 400,000 foreign buyers come to the city every year.

A total of 15,000 foreign business people from more than 100 countries and regions live near Yiwu's vibrant wholesale markets. Tirera is one of them.

He can still recall his excitement when he first arrived in Yiwu. "There were a great variety of beautiful things, and their prices were even more attractive," he says.

As one of the first foreigners to visit Yiwu, Tirera finds it a gold mine. He says even his clients thought he set the prices too low when he brought gadgets back to sell in Senegal.

At that time, Tirera often traveled between Dakar and Yiwu. After visiting Yiwu for 10 to 20 days, he usually returned home with two to three containers of goods.

Yiwu has gradually become his "second hometown". In 2007, Tirera set up an office in the city and thought about settling down.

Over the years, the one-room office has grown into a company with over 40 staff that ships more than 3,000 containers of goods to countries and regions around the globe every year.

"Yiwu's business environment has become more and more favorable due to even better products and more efficient service," he says in fluent Chinese, with a local accent.

Tirera's success in business has made him well-known in Senegal. He has a copy of a Senegalese newspaper featuring a story titled "Sourakhata Tirera, a Senegalese businessman made in China".

"Yiwu is a world-class city. He loves China and Yiwu. All the achievements he has made were here. He can't be separated from Yiwu," he translated the newspaper story into Chinese.

Tirera was an invited guest at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation this September, and addressed the first China-Africa Private Sector Cooperation Summit held in Hangzhou last week.

He says that he looks forward to a better future for China-African cooperation.

"Yiwu is also taking an active part in the construction of Belt and Road Initiative, making it a more influential service platform for international trade," Tirera says.

Xinhua

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2018-09-22 07:02:54
<![CDATA[Turn-up for the books]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/22/content_36964131.htm A trio of recent book fairs gave literature lovers the chance to hear their favorite writers discuss how China's reform and opening-up helped shape their work

He Jianming, 62, is one of the country's leading writers of nonfictional works, especially in the field of literary reportage.

His writing career took off in 1978, the year that China's reform and opening-up process began, and it has continued to flourish in tandem with the country's development for the past 40 years. Key moments in China's history over the decades have formed the mainstay of his work.

Of his 50 books based on real-life events or characters, eight have been turned into films or television series. The three-time Lu Xun Literature Prize winner also penned The Nation, a work based on the real-life evacuation of Chinese citizens from Libya by PLA special forces in 2011. First published in 2012, the work is said to have inspired the blockbuster movie Wolf Warrior.

 

Left: Chinese writer Yu Hua (second from right) in dialogue with 30 Sinologists. Right: Renowned writer He Jianming (top) and Jia Pingwa at the 2018 Beijing International Book Fair. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

"I firmly believe in the power of positive thought. I turned myself from an anxious young writer, who continually worried about the problems and dissatisfaction he observed, into an author who tries to set a good example and bring warmth and brightness to his readers," He said, speaking about the transformation in his writing style over the past four decades.

"It's such a vivid, active and colorful country that I'm trying to record. With examples like the growth of the high-speed rail network and the development of the homemade C919 passenger jet, there are so many stories that relate to our everyday life waiting to be told," he added.

"Looking back to 40 years ago, I remember how we used to queue up for 10 hours to buy a copy of Shakespeare. Now, in an age where we can download 30 books within the space of a minute and a few simple clicks, I don't believe literature is heading in a downward trajectory."

He says that he once hoped that his works would sell over 50,000 copies on their first print run and be reprinted every 10 years. His current sales have seen him both achieve and surpass this.

This is what he told an audience of loyal readers and the media during a dialogue session at the 2018 Beijing International Book Fair, where the New World Press were launching his 30-volume Collected Works to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up.

Last month book lovers across the country were offered an unprecedented opportunity to witness appearances by Chinese literary masters at book events and conversations with foreign peers and translators across the country - as the Beijing book fair ran in conjunction with the Shanghai Book Fair and the South China Book Festival in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Besides He, writers of such standing as Jia Pingwa, Yu Hua, Liu Zhenyun, Mai Jia, Bi Feiyu, Wang Meng and Liu Cixin took to the stage at these events to share their thoughts.

Like He, Bi Feiyu, author of Three Sisters and Massage, also focused on 40 years of progress and his personal experiences as a writer at the Shanghai fair.

Bi was 14 when the reform and opening-up process began. He recalls the days when he and his young peers discovered the new aesthetics of tight-fitting flared trousers.

"It was shocking for Chinese people who were used to hiding their figures under oversized clothes. This was my first gift from the reform and opening-up - to learn to be proud of our bodies, and proud of life itself," Bi says.

Seeing the works of more foreign literary masters on the shelves of his local Xinhua Bookstore was the next gift Bi received as the country continued to open up.

"I'd heard of Alexander Pushkin and Victor Hugo from my father, who was a teacher. On the day I got the chance to read them, I quickly realized the importance of spiritual dialogue - even with past masters - and how they could enrich your understanding of the world," he says.

"Writers like us are not only witnesses to the reform process, but are also a result of it," he adds.

At the Beijing fair, Jia Pingwa, a veteran writer born in 1952 and who debuted in 1974, joined in on a conversation about one of his works with its Spanish editor Elena Bazan, Italian translator Patrizia Liberati and English translator Christopher Payne.

Jia also attended another event with translators Eric Abrahamsen and Nick Stember, and editor Peter Blackstock, who all hail from the United States, where he discusses how almost every Chinese writer of the past 40 years has been in some way influenced by Western literature.

"Chinese literature is one facet of the world literature, and has its own attractions. But the key task for Chinese writing remains to tell stories about the new reality of contemporary China, the complexity of human nature and how Chinese people live and survive," Jia says, adding that he has actively studied comparative literature in the East and West during the 1980s-1990s.

Jia is well received in the domestic market and each of his novels sells at least 300,000 copies. More than this, his works have been translated into 30 languages.

One of his key concerns is to what extent the essential "Chinese flavor" - the emotions, atmosphere, accents and the precision of the language - remains after the works are translated.

In fact, the nature of the translation work can sometimes become a heated topic when Chinese writers sit down with Sinologists and foreign translators who speak a variety of languages.

Yu Hua, author of To Live and Brothers, held talks with 30 Sinologists and translators at the event in Beijing, in an atmosphere not unlike a reunion of old friends. Yu remembers almost every version of his works for different book markets, and he tells the story of the first Sinologist he met.

Debuted in 1984 and in 1988, Yu met Danish translator Anne Wedell-Wedellsborg in Beijing.

"She wanted to get to know some young Chinese writers then. I was introduced to her and I gave her one of my collections where I had marked four stories for stories for her to read. She later told me she read the first four - and soon after finished all the rest," Yu says.

In 2006 when Yu visited Wedell-Wedellsborg at her office in Denmark, he found her shelves were stacked full of files labeled "Yu Hua".

Yu speaks about his current writing plans, his sources of inspiration and his growth from concentrating on writing short stories to producing longer novels - a topic his translators seem interested in.

"My way into foreign markets is to establish a good working relationship with a respected publisher or a good translator," he says. "I see all my translated works as perfect ones, because the truth about translations is, when they lose something from the original text, they add something of value in other respects."

Author of Decoded Mai Jia agrees. Once a beneficiary from having widely read Western literature as he freely admits, Mai's works have now been sold in more than 100 countries.

By contrast, translated works made up just 5 percent of the US book market last year, Mai says.

During a conversation at the Beijing fair with Olivia Milburn, the translator behind Mai's English works, he says: "As a Chinese writer, I feel that China is closer to the world more than ever."

"Translators are the ones that are able to help send out the message that Chinese people appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the world," he says.

meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-09-22 07:02:10
<![CDATA[Shelf lives]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/22/content_36964130.htm The slew of Sinologists who flew to China last month to attend book fairs and workshops all have a unique story to tell about the motivations behind their metiers, Mei Jia reports.

A "China Shelf" of Chinese titles appeared in a bookstore on Sep 12 in Minsk, Belarus, the fourth specialist section to spring up after the Cuban, Thai and South African ones.

The shelf brought 200 copies of 80 titles to Belarusian book lovers, covering titles about contemporary China, traditional culture and Chinese literature. Another similar project, "That's China Bookshelf", organized by China Intercontinental Press, has brought Chinese titles to 15 bookstores or organizations in 13 countries since 2016.

 

In the middle, a "China Shelf" with 80 Chinese titles is seen in a bookstore in Minsk, Belarus on Sep 12. From left: British Olivia Milburn, Romanian Balan Luminita, British Jack Hargreaves and Georgian translator Ana Goguadze are among the translators and Sinologists that visited China for various book events and exchanges last month. Photos Provided to China Daily

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, is one of the featured books, together with that by children's writer Cao Wenxuan as well as classical tales from Pu Songling (1640-1715).

Sinologists who came to China to attend a slew of book fairs, workshops and exchanges last month would no doubt appreciate these China Shelf presentations of Chinese titles in local bookstores, after being rendered into their native languages.

Their passion for Chinese writing and culture sometimes runs so deep that they often encourage their children to follow in their footsteps.

Romanian Sinologist Balan Luminita was so fascinated by the stories in Journey to the West that it inspired her to start learning Chinese at age of 8 in 1972.

She graduated from University of Bucharest and began teaching Chinese there in 1990. She spent 20 years translating the works of Zhuangzi and offered notes for Romanian readers to better understand ancient Chinese philosophy.

"With interest in China growing in my country by the day, I think contemporary literature serves as a good way of getting started," Luminita says. To this end, she has translated works by Mo Yan and Yu Hua, and is currently translating works by Liu Zhenyun.

When she met Yu Hua in late August, she told him about how well-received he was in Romania.

She started several Chinese language classes for children in Romania. During one class, she told her students: "The Chinese language will open doors for you, to a world full of cultural enlightenment that can enrich your spiritual life and help you to grow into a happier person."

"I'm fulfilling my dream of translating Chinese works, but I know I can only achieve this partially during my lifetime," she says. "So I want to train more people."

Her daughter also shares her dream, and is now studying Chinese at Shanghai International Studies University.

Ana Goguadze, a Georgian journalist and translator, came to Beijing for the 2018 Sino-Foreign Literature Translation and Publishing Cooperation Workshop last month.

The founder of the Sino-Georgian media platform Sinomedia, Goguadze has translated Tang Dynasty (618-907) poems, and been part of both the Chinese-Georgian Dictionary and the Georgian-Chinese Dictionary projects. She has also translated works by Georgian writer Giorgi Kekelidze into Chinese.

"I'm deeply influenced by my mother, who's also a Sinologist," she says. Her mother is Marine Jibladze, a Special Book Award of China winner and the director of Confucius Institute at the Free University of Tbilisi.

Other younger generations of translators include Scott Ian Rainen from the United of States, who studied at Sichuan University and attained an MA degree in Religious Studies, and runs a translation organization he founded in 2016; and Jack Hargreaves from the United Kingdom, who has translated Buddhism-related books and is looking improve his mastery of the ancient Chinese language.

Meanwhile, the older generation of Sinologists and China experts tend to focus on the country's recent development, as well as the contemporary literature scene.

French writer and Sinologist Marianne Bastid-Bruguiere has been following the history of education in China.

"All my family members study law, so I chose China as my field for its diversity and strong cultural and historical traditions," she says.

"The progress China has made in improving for standards of living is important," she added.

In his book China and Us, Moroccan writer Fathallah Oualalou explains the reasons behind China's development from both a historical and cultural perspective.

The former mayor of Rabat, capital of Morocco, attributes China's growth to a carefully-designed, top-down revitalization plan.

"China went through the global financial crises, and has been investing in the digital and green economies since 2014.The Belt and Road Initiative is bringing about the chance to rebalance the global economy," he says.

British translator Olivia Milburn was born into a family of professors of foreign languages.

When her father once told her that Chinese was the most difficult language on Earth, she decided to tackle it, and became a specialist in ancient languages and culture.

Now a professor with the Department of Chinese Literature and Language at Seoul National University, she thought she needed to learn more about contemporary culture and she began reading works that have been awarded the Mao Dun Literature Prize. Through this she learned about Mai Jia, and was attracted to his novels - which were the kind of stories that could be enjoyed without a stack of notes about Chinese history and culture.

Her translations helped to establish Mai Jia's work in many overseas markets.

"In present-day society, many people hold grudges against and show resentment toward foreigners or people from other ethnic groups. Translated works enable us to understand the history, culture, mindset and dreams of other nations, and allow people with different ethnic backgrounds to be more tolerant and accept each other's cultures and customs," Milburn.

Iranian author and translator Elham Sadat Mirzania Chinese novels on history, urban life, and Chinese science fiction appeal to foreign readers. She also mentions the popularity of online Chinese novels.

"Translators are the ones that help foreigners gain a sense of how Chinese people live and love, and about their history and way of thinking," she says. "They are able to touch the souls of the Chinese."

Wei Qun contributed to the story.

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2018-09-22 07:02:10
<![CDATA[PARTY HAS JUST BEGUN]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/21/content_36957307.htm Manhattan's Central Park became the stage for a star-studded gala on Sept 7 as iconic American fashion designer Ralph Lauren celebrated his company's 50th anniversary.

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Ralph Lauren celebrates 50 years of his business with a retrospective of his iconic collections, Wang Linyan reports in New York.

Manhattan's Central Park became the stage for a star-studded gala on Sept 7 as iconic American fashion designer Ralph Lauren celebrated his company's 50th anniversary.

For the first time Lauren shared a complete panorama of his collections at one event - his women's collections, men's Double RL range and his Polo Ralph Lauren collections - to celebrate the character and beauty of the themes that inspired him over the last half a century.

While the Ralph Lauren Collection and Double RL presented day and evening wear in bohemian and eclectic styles, the women's collection highlighted modern suits, velvet gowns and knits infused with artisanal patchworks and beading.

A mix of utilitarian work-wear and traditional tailoring, the Double RL menswear range featured well-worn denim, British tweeds, sweaters and leathers that evoked a feeling of both being lived-in and well-traveled.

The Polo collection is infused with Lauren's signature preppy look, combining Ivy League classics and English haberdashery with downtown styles and all-American sporty cool.

As earth tones prevailed on the runway, a glamorous audience of around 200 celebrity guests, including Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Steven Spielberg, Robert De Niro were joined by Lauren's fellow designers Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. After the parade, the guests were treated to steaks from Lauren's ranch in Colorado.

"For my 50th anniversary, I wanted to create and share a runway experience that was deeply personal and a summation of the style I've always believed in: personal, authentic, and forever, in a place so quintessentially New York and special to me - Central Park," says Lauren, who hails from the Bronx.

Downtown yet sophisticated, the gala showcased a variety of ways to wear clothes.

"The message is to show you a little of the sensibility of what made Ralph Lauren strong," he says in an interview with China Daily at his office before the show.

The designer who has defined American style for so many years said he enjoys designing for women "who have good taste".

"I'm showing them how to mix it up, and how to be current even with clothes that don't necessarily have to be this year's," he adds.

Lauren built his business up from a single tie design. In 1967, Lauren, then 28, persuaded the president of tie manufacturer Beau Brummell to let him start his own line. He started by only making neckties, which he packed and sold himself.

The next year, Lauren, who is interested in sports, named his first full line of menswear Polo. He worked out of a single drawer in a showroom in the Empire State Building and made deliveries to stores by himself.

By 1969, Bloomingdale's exclusively sold Lauren's men's line, the first time the Manhattan department store had given a designer his own in-store shop. In 1971, Lauren introduced the Polo player emblem on a line of tailored shirts for women and opened the first solo store for an American designer in Beverly Hills, California.

In 1974, Lauren outfitted the male actors in the movie The Great Gatsby in clothes from his Polo line, a 1920s-inspired range of men's suits and sweaters. He made a pink suit for Robert Redford's Jay Gatsby. It was perhaps the first movie where a fashion line was used to reflect the character of the lead character.

His signature cotton Polo shirt was introduced in 1977, featuring the polo player logo on the chest.

Through the Polo brand, Lauren created a sensibility for his menswear lines. Each brand was created with a point of view: The purple label is more sophisticated and of better quality; the double RL is young and ritualistic.

"I see them as movies. They all have stories," says the designer.

But the process of brand-building isn't just plucked out of thin air, he adds.

"It comes from passion, from understanding and believing in who you are, and staying consistent in your voice. I like having the ability to do different things, but I stay consistent as to who I am, so that when you see the clothes, you say, 'Ah, that must be Ralph Lauren'."

Lauren says while consumer tastes may have changed, he is confident that he understands his customer base.

"Every woman has a different style and a different taste. But I think I've consistently had a point of view, and have continued to attract customers both young and old."

He thinks men are more conservative and enjoy consistency, while women prefer change.

"In many ways, men's styles don't change much, but women's tastes always alter dramatically," he says, adding that he has had lots of opportunities to learn and experiment.

Lauren says staying current while maintaining an identity is a difficult process: "I think you still have to view every year as a new year and every season as a new season."

He says the Ralph Lauren Corp has managed to stay current by building new brands that continue to evolve, but he wants his brands to stay timeless.

"When we talk about classic, that sounds boring. Timeless is how to stay exciting and interesting, because it's ... about moving forward and changing. The constant changes over the years have helped the company move forward."

Lauren says it's nice to be labeled an American icon, but as the company's founder, he works hard to build concepts and develop teams.

"The next 50 years should be very exciting".

 

From left: Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Kevin Baker, Donna Karan, Michael Kors and Lance LePere, celebrities attending a party for the 50th anniversary of Ralph Lauren's business on Sept 7. Photos provided to China Daily

 

 

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2018-09-21 07:39:37
<![CDATA[More Chinese presence at New York Fashion Week]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/21/content_36957306.htm Earlier this month, designers, models, photographers and fashion bloggers from different countries shuttled between venues in the Big Apple for New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019.

The biannual event, which recently lowered its curtain, showcased upcoming as well as established designers from the world of fashion.

On the week-long event's schedule, there were 33 Chinese designers and brands, a full quarter of the total.

Last year there were only 16.

The names included well-established brands such as Bosideng, JNBY and Semir, as well as designer brands such as Jason Wu, Taoray Wang and Vivienne Hu.

Design guru Simon Collins says though more Chinese brands and designers are participating in the premier fashion event in the world, " I don't think they are all showing to their best advantage".

Collins, who worked as dean of the school of fashion at Parsons for seven years, after a career as a fashion designer and creative director for some of the world's leading brands, including Nike, Polo and Zegna, says what seems to happen is that Chinese brands and designers "do multiple shows and sometimes they work with people who aren't perhaps experts at creating a show. The audiences are mostly Chinese".

"So I don't think they are really getting the return that they should," he adds.

Collins thinks Chinese designers should stop worrying about proving to people that they are Chinese.

"The rest of the world doesn't want to look Chinese any more than many Chinese people wearing traditional Chinese clothing," he says.

"This desire to use Chinese motifs to demonstrate the designer is Chinese, I think it's misplaced."

Collins says Western designers don't feel the urge to use their countries' flags.

"Think internationally," he says.

Taoray Wang is a great example of a Chinese brand that thinks internationally, he says.

"You look at her collection, there are no hints that you would know she is Chinese, they don't shout 'China'!

"Of course China is wonderful, they just don't have to push it down people's throats," he adds.

Taoray Wang, the namesake brand founded by Wang Tao, was launched at the NYFW in September 2014, and since then it has been prominently featured in five collections at the event.

Wang agrees with Collins about thinking internationally.

"For a brand targeting the global market, customers should not be defined by race or nationality," she says.

"My customers have an international background, they embrace diversity and are open-minded to try different things," says Wang.

"They are well-educated and well-traveled. They are multicultural. I always put their pursuit as the priority of my designs."

Her newest collection breaks through the traditional colors of suits - black, white and grey - by adding more lively colors like blue and pink.

"Some of my customers, when they talk to me, including Tiffany Trump (an American socialite and model), ask if I can put more beautiful colors in my designs," says Wang.

"That inspired me to think that the new generation of women leaders, they have a very serious side in work, but they are also very feminine," she adds.

For Wang, talking and listening are key.

"When communication is smooth, the globe is flat," she says.

This year, Taoray Wang will start selling from its store in Manhattan's SoHo, along with stores in exclusive malls in Shanghai and Beijing, as part of what she calls a global customer-centric offering.

As for Western brands in China, Harlan Bratcher, the head of global fashion business development at JD, one of China's largest online retailers, where he is responsible for introducing Western brands to China through the platform, says: "Walking down the streets of Beijing, Shanghai or Hangzhou, you see many people wearing Western luxury brands, Valentino, Balenciaga, YSL."

"I believe more than 60 percent of luxury spenders in China are between ages of 18 and 30," he says at a panel discussion on Chinese fashion hosted by the China Institute, where he is joined by Collins and Wang.

As for the future of fashion in China, Bratcher, a retail veteran and entrepreneur who was previously CEO of Reed Krakoff and CEO of an Armani Exchange company for 14 years, says: "There are about 500 million millennials in China and half of them have at minimum a bachelor's degree. This is why I'm so excited about working in China - because these millennials are really becoming middle class. So the power of China, you have no idea how it's going to rock the world."

He also asks why China doesn't have more brands that are internationally well-known "other than Tsingtao beer".

Wang says: "I think brands take time.

"For China, the economy only started to take off 10 to 15 years ago.

"I do believe that after a few years we can change our focus from buying others' brands to innovating and delivering our own brands.

"It's not only about design; it takes time for people to get to know you, to understand you, to accept you, to trust you."

Bratcher agrees, but adds: "It's not going to take that long."

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2018-09-21 07:39:37
<![CDATA[KU, KING IN THE KITCHEN]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/21/content_36957305.htm Hong Kong chef Ku Chi-fai always makes mooncakes at Mid-Autumn Festival, but this year he is creating a special set of bicolored floral-patterned mooncakes using a ceramic mold from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), which come in six floral flavors including rose, jasmine and peony.

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After a culinary career spanning 40 years, Ku Chi-fai's Cantonese restaurant in Beijing is causing something of a stir with its authentic tastes of the south. Li Yingxue reports.

Hong Kong chef Ku Chi-fai always makes mooncakes at Mid-Autumn Festival, but this year he is creating a special set of bicolored floral-patterned mooncakes using a ceramic mold from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), which come in six floral flavors including rose, jasmine and peony.

"People in Hong Kong love to eat mooncakes, but they take hours to make," says Ku, who is now the manager of the Beijing Kitchen after a culinary career spanning 40 years.

Located on the sixth floor of the capital's SKP shopping mall, the eatery's name may seem slightly misleading for fans of Ku's cooking, as he's a chef who specializes in Cantonese cuisine. Ku explains that he wanted his diners to feel more relaxed about eating at his restaurant, and "the word 'kitchen' sounded more amiable than 'restaurant'".

From chef to a restaurant manager, Ku took the long way to Beijing from Hong Kong via Osaka.

Born in 1963, Ku began working in kitchens at the age of just 15, starting out as an apprentice under a Hong Kong dim sum chef.

"In Hong Kong, people under the age of 18 are not allowed to be hired, so for the first three years in the kitchen, I didn't have a chef's uniform and I sometimes had to hide," Ku recalls, adding that learning new skills was the most important thing for him at the time.

In 1992, Ku started work at Lei Garden, a restaurant run by Chan Shu-kit, who is famous for being strict with his chefs.

Chan insisted on tasting each chef's dish every day and his exacting standards intimidated many chefs into quitting over the years - but not Ku, who ended up working there for 14 years.

"I didn't take his criticisms as an added pressure, because I always learned from his comments," says Ku. "He is an expert in cooking in his own right, yet he continues to learn from other chefs."

Instead, Ku regarded Chan's criticisms as a form of encouragement, understanding that if the boss didn't tell him what was wrong with his cooking, then he would never be able to improve.

"It's just like if your clients never complained about a dish they weren't happy with, then they would never come back," says Ku.

Ku was happy to accept Chan's daily challenges and he believes he would not be in the position he is in today without his guidance - and he remembers everything Chan taught him to this day.

"He used to be a teacher, so he knows how to inspire chefs. He would always tell us we had to be good men before becoming good chefs. He needed chefs with a good character," Ku recalls.

Ku not only learned Chan's rigorous approach to cooking, but also showed respect in everything he did - respect for the kitchen, for his peers, the ingredients, and above all the diners.

In 2005, Ku had the opportunity to work for a Chinese restaurant in the Osaka Ritz-Carlton in Japan. As part of his test, he prepared two dishes - crab meat with shark fin and fried lobster balls - which ended up winning him the job over several other respected Cantonese chefs from Hong Kong and Singapore.

When Ku asked Chan's permission to leave the Lei Garden, Chan offered him his best wishes and told him he was welcome back any time.

Taking up his new position in Japan, Ku had to face up to a host of fresh challenges, from new ingredients and condiments to learning a new language.

"Seasoning was the most challenging part, as Cantonese cuisine needs many authentic condiments which I couldn't find in Japan," says Ku, adding that he tried his best to use local seasonings to replicate the flavors of Cantonese cooking.

Ku's culinary skills were soon appreciated by his Japanese customers. Each day, when diners arrived at the restaurant, they would first ask if Ku was in the kitchen that day, as they trusted his cooking more than the reputation of the restaurant itself.

Japanese diners love to talk with their chefs, a tradition which Ku was only too happy to uphold. The same is true of his current eatery in Beijing, where Ku can always be found talking with his clients. He even designed his kitchen to have a glass wall to allow diners watch his chefs at work.

In 2009, Ku was invited to join Yu restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Beijing to revive its business during the economic slump that followed in the wake of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Over the next seven years, Ku made drastic reforms in the kitchen - from recruiting new staff to resetting the standards for purchasing ingredients - which propelled Yu to become one of the most popular Cantonese cuisine restaurants in Beijing.

When Ku first took over the kitchen at Yu, the restaurant turned over around 400,000 yuan ($58,217) a month. After his reforms, it made more than 3 million yuan a month during its peak.

Ku's skill was appreciated by many world leaders, famous actors and singers. Former British prime minister Tony Blair was so taken by Ku's fried lobster balls that he asked to meet the chef.

After having revived the fortunes of Yu - which won both him and the restaurant a string of culinary awards in the process - Ku thought it was time to find a new challenge.

By the end of 2016, Ku had co-founded the Beijing Kitchen - this time adding the title of "entrepreneur" to his business card besides "chef".

Running a restaurant is even busier than being a chef, yet Ku enjoys the hard work. "From the service, to the menu, to the dishes themselves, I have to take care of everything in the restaurant now," says Ku, who enjoys observing how other restaurants work when he goes on vacation.

For Beijing Kitchen, Ku specializes in creating delicate Cantonese cuisine by combining traditional dishes with some new creations of his own. Ku thinks flavors are key to the restaurant's success, and he endeavors to maintain a very high standard of dishes for his diners.

"To cook Cantonese cuisine well, you need to master the precision of each dish, using the exact amount of ingredients, seasoning and cooking time. For example, one good way to measure this is after a dish has been done, there should be no extra oil left on the plate," says Ku.

From dim sum and soup to fried dishes and dessert, a Cantonese cuisine chef has to master them all. Ku brings all his skills to the table, and he also enjoys keeping up the tradition of tasting his chefs' dishes each day, just as his mentor Chan did.

Ku insists on cooking with seasonal ingredients, and tries not to use off-season items. He has created a special autumn and winter menu that features crab and other timely ingredients.

Ku says one month after he left the restaurant in Osaka, it was awarded a Michelin star - an honor many people believed was down to his efforts.

"The star is just the icing on the cake. For me, I just want to do my job well each day," says Ku.

 

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2018-09-21 07:39:37
<![CDATA[Word on the grapevine is Italy wants to grow wine awareness]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/21/content_36957304.htm The ITA-ICE Italian Trade Agency's "I Love Italian Wines" event returned to Beijing on Sept 6.

More than 200 Italian wineries and 23 distributors attended the event, which attracted 600 guests and 20 million online viewers.

The event has visited 12 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Qingdao in the past two years, training more than 450 Italian wine ambassadors in China.

Michele Scannavini, president of ITA-ICE, sent a video message from Italy, extolling the country's winemaking virtues. "We are the largest producer in the world, and the second largest exporter," says Scannavini. "In China, however, Italian wine knowledge, penetration and its market share is still far from the position of our competitors."

According to Scannavini, they are strongly encouraged by the latest figures for Italian wine exports to China, which posted a growth of 21 percent in 2017 and 63 percent in the first six months of 2018.

A new two-year program to boost awareness of Italian wines in China under the banner, "taste the passion", was launched at the event by Amedeo Scarpa, director of the Italy Trade Agency in Beijing.

He says the campaign aims to present the excellence of Italian wine through showing its quality, tradition, culture, innovation and sustainability.

The plan will have a total investment of 2 million euros ($2.32 million), and aims to amass 230 million engagements across Chinese social media platforms by 2020.

"We hope this campaign will help Italian wine to become more well known and better understood by Chinese customers," says Scarpa.

According to Scarpa, China will be the second largest wine importer in the world by 2021, and in the first six months of 2018, Italy's market share of China's imported wines increased from 4 percent to 7 percent.

A new promotional film about Italian wines, which will be shown across multiple media platforms in China over the next two years, was also premiered at the event.

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2018-09-21 07:39:37
<![CDATA[Eat beat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/21/content_36957303.htm Shanghai flavors on offer

 

Shanghai chef Zhu Haifeng is bringing two traditional Shanghai flavored mooncakes to foodies in the capitalfresh pork mooncake and pickle mooncake. The crispy skin of the mooncake needs an exact portion of flour, water and lard, and after baking, the skin gets crisp on the outside and soft and moist inside thanks to the meat filling. The mooncake has to be preordered two days in advance.

1/F, Pacific Century Place, 2A Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6539-8660.

Celebrate the organic way

Tribe's mooncakes are vegan-friendly and handmade using only organic ingredients with no additives. It has a short shelf life of 8 hours with low sugar and fat. This year it is offering four flavors - lucky as a pumpkin; chocolate rabbit; full moon purple potato and coconut milk, and beautiful dream red bean and cranberry.

1/F, Building 3, China View Plaza, Workers' Stadium East Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8587-1899.

Special treats from Rosewood

Rosewood Beijing is providing two special sets of mooncakes until Sept 24 - sunlit sky and crimson moon. Each individual box of sunlit sky comes with a different phase of the moon with a contemporary blue palette and holographic accents. It holds three flavors - egg custard black sesame; egg custard passion fruit and egg custard rose.

Jing Guang Centre, Hujialou, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6536-0056.

Get a taste of Suzhou

Din Tai Fung has traditional Suzhou-style mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival with six flavors - red bean paste, jujube paste, black sesame, sugar alcohol rose, sugar alcohol jasmine and salty rose hum. The mooncakes should be eaten hot. Heat the mooncakes in a pan or in the oven to get the skin to turn crispy.

LG2 Parkview Green, No 9 Dongdaqiao Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-8562-6583

Cakes with chocolate coating

The chocolate brand C8, which is short form for C8H11NO2, or dopamine, has launched an art mooncake set called "eat a moon". The skin of the mooncake is made of 72 percent cocoa butter. Its flavors include pistachio nuts and oat, French style caramel with five kernels, and passion fruits and chocolate cookies.

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2018-09-21 07:39:37
<![CDATA[JOURNEY TO THE WEST]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/21/content_36957302.htm PK Mahanandia, the subject of the book The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love, has been called a "Silk Road hero" for his feat, which spanned 3,600 kilometers over more than four months in 1977. But few know that his epic journey to the West was, in part, inspired by the legendary Chinese monks Faxian (337-422) and Xuan Zang (602-664).

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An Indian man cycles from his country to Europe in the pursuit of love, Jocelyn Eikenburg reports.

PK Mahanandia, the subject of the book The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love, has been called a "Silk Road hero" for his feat, which spanned 3,600 kilometers over more than four months in 1977. But few know that his epic journey to the West was, in part, inspired by the legendary Chinese monks Faxian (337-422) and Xuan Zang (602-664).

"I said, 'If Faxian and Xuan Zang can walk from China to India, why couldn't I go by bicycle?'" recalls Mahanandia. "There was no doubt. I will do it or I will die."

But unlike the monks, who sought Buddhist texts, Mahanandia sought love - specifically from Charlotte Von Schedvin, the Swedish woman who was destined to be his wife, according to a prophecy.

"My mother said, 'We are not going to arrange a marriage for you. Your wife will find you - her sign (zodiac) is Taurus, she plays the flute and she owns jungles.'"

He and Von Schedvin met in New Delhi in 1975, at a time when Mahanandia was an impoverished art student from the "untouchable" caste who drew portraits in the popular shopping district of Connaught Place.

"When I started doing her portrait, I felt a strange feeling in my body. I was breathless."

She returned, and after asking her questions, he learned she was a flute player born in May, whose family owned forests.

"Then I knew that we are destined to meet. I said, 'You will be my wife, it is decided in the heavens.'"

While very surprised, Von Schedvin ultimately opened her heart to Mahanandia and followed him to his village in Orissa state.

"We were together for three weeks. We got married in a tribal way, so we had no papers."

But Von Schedvin had to return to Sweden, and over the following year, the distance and longing weighed upon Mahanandia.

"We wrote each other letters, and then I started thinking - where the sun is setting in the west, I could bicycle that way."

So he purchased a Raleigh bicycle, pulled together some travel necessities and sewed $80 into his belt. And in 1977, he began cycling to Sweden, following an ancient route known at the time as the Hippie Trail, crossing Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey on the way to Europe.

"I was never alone - I met wonderful people along the way. When my bicycle had some problems in the Afghan desert, a Belgian hippie started helping me. Truck drivers would give me a lift in Iran."

He painted portraits along the way, which helped him survive. "People gave me food very often in Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey - I had one piece of bread I could eat for three whole days. People in Europe often gave me money."

While often exhausted from the difficult journey, he gained encouragement through letters from Von Schedvin, sent to him poste restante at post offices along the route. Mahanandia finally reunited with her in in Sweden in 1977, where the two would ultimately raise two children together and enjoy fulfilling careers in teaching.

But marriage between an "untouchable" Indian man and a woman of Swedish nobility defied tradition, so "people started writing articles since I landed in Sweden".

That eventually drew the interest of Per J. Andersson, the Swedish journalist and co-founder of the travel magazine Vagabond, who wrote about him for the publication.

After the success of My Grandfather Was a Tribal Chief, the 2004 documentary about Mahanandia, the journalist told him the film was so popular that many people would think there was a book already. This conversation paved the way for The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love.

First published in Sweden in 2014, the book, like its subject, would end up voyaging to untold countries.

It came out in many languages, including Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, English, German, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean and, most recently, Chinese.

Mahanandia appeared with his wife on Aug 17 at a Shanghai bookstore to promote the book, published by the People's Literature Publishing House under the Chinese title Cong Xindeli Dao Buluosi.

"China is rising and taking the leadership, and I am very glad for that. Things are very prosperous here. People seem very happy and proud of their citizenship."

He also sees parallels between his own journey of love and togetherness across the ancient Silk Road and today's Belt and Road Initiative.

"We cannot do anything alone. But together, we can accomplish many things."

 

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2018-09-21 07:39:37
<![CDATA[Wuhan in spotlight at US exhibition]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/21/content_36957301.htm

SAN FRANCISCO - The success story of Wuhan city, better known in the West as China's Chicago, in Central China's Hubei province, will become more familiar to Americans thanks to a photo exhibition being held in San Francisco over the next four months.

The exhibition brought into spotlight the achievements made by Wuhan city over the past 40 years. This is the end result of China introducing a reform and opening-up that transformed the outlook of the country.

Nine photographers from Silicon Valley visited Wuhan in May and captured the daily life of locals and the city's new landscape.

The American photographers told their countrymen their own "China story" through their camera lenses and presented to the world the new look of Wuhan city.

China's consul general in San Francisco Wang Donghua says that the exhibition features more than 100 photos and pictures shot by the nine Silicon Valley engineers-turned photographers, and captured touching moments of the diverse and dynamic city.

The photos are the heart-felt expression of the American photographers about what is taking place in Wuhan, says Wang.

Tom Fortin, the chief librarian at the Main Library of the San Francisco Public Library, says he is happy to see the photo exhibition being held in the Civic Center facility in downtown San Francisco.

The exhibit is part of the fifth Across the Pacific: China Arts Festival, which began earlier this month, and Fortin says he feels honored to attend the arts event for the third year.

Florence Fong, a prominent leader of the Chinese community in northern California, says that the cooperation between China and the United States will not only promote their development, but also benefit the world.

"Photos can tell a lot of stories and this exhibition will further deepen the understanding between the two countries," she says.

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2018-09-21 07:39:37
<![CDATA[Health holidays, 4-day week key to attaining work-life balance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/20/content_36950029.htm With the burn of summer finally behind us, my thoughts have been turning to holidays in more temperate climes, and the chance to finally break out of the office.

With a landmark birthday recently under my belt - and a paunch over it - I've noticed lately how little exercise I've been getting. No doubt I have only myself to blame for this, but I still man-age to find excuses for it, and most of them tend revolve around one thing: work.

As I ponder the nature of maintaining a positive worklife balance, it seems everyone else is, too, and a slew of media reports from the British press these past few weeks have focused on the relationship between work and wellbeing - with all seemingly coming to same conclusion, that the two are inextricably linked.

A few weeks back, a report in The Guardian about the results of a landmark trial of a four-day workweek by a company in New Zealand piqued my interest, principally because it declared the experiment an outright success.

In the trial, which was conducted in the spring, the trustee firm Perpetual Guardian allowed its employees to work four eight-hour days, but paid them for five.

The satisfaction produced by the trial, which ran for just a few weeks, left 78 percent of employees feeling they had a new lease on life and were able to better balance their work with other aspects of life. The figure was estimated at 54 percent in November.

What's more, as staff stress levels dropped and the employees' sense of commitment increased, the company noticed a surge in productivity and positivity.

Perhaps the most striking upshot of the trial was that many employees brought a similar level of focus to planning activities around their extra day off as they did to ensuring their workweek was productive.

Many returned to work energized after spending more time with their kids - the benefit cited most often - or went on long weekend holidays. Others prepared for marathons or simply took care of practical matters like shopping for elderly parents or visiting the dentist.

The main message was that free time is time well spent and should not - or does not necessarily have to - impact upon one's working life.

This message was echoed in a report in The Telegraph that cited new findings from a 40-year Finnish research study. It recommended that doctors prescribe holidays to help middle-aged workers who are at risk of heart disease live longer.

The research found that workers in this age group, people who took less than three weeks off annually, were 37 percent more likely to die prematurely in the next 30 years.

A third report I noticed this week, also in the The Telegraph, cited the head of Britain's Trades Union Congress, Frances O'Grady, who welcomed the idea of a four-day week but with one important caviat.

She suggested that a four-day week should be a possibility before "the end of the century," arguing that advances in technology should already be cutting the time people spend in the office.

Yet the TUC report said that employees, who postwar economists once believed would be working a 15-hour week by now, are instead being threatened by new technology rather than assisted by it, as employers are "packaging work into ever-smaller pieces of time ...and creating a culture where workers are required to be constantly available."

So office life may have its pitfalls, but for many people around the world who own small businesses, work in retail, are on short-term contracts or work freelance, the reality of waking up to a fiveday week may still be a distant dream.

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2018-09-20 07:41:28
<![CDATA[TAKING CENTER STAGE]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/20/content_36950018.htm As the eastern starting point of the ancient Silk Road, Xi'an has once again become a hub for countries looking to exchange cultural ideas and expand cooperation with China.

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A Belt and Road media community forum was recently held in Xi'an, cementing its status as an important cultural and trade hub at the heart of China's plans to boost international cooperation, Xu Fan reports.

As the eastern starting point of the ancient Silk Road, Xi'an has once again become a hub for countries looking to exchange cultural ideas and expand cooperation with China.

The 2018 Belt and Road Media Community Summit Forum was held in Xi'an - the capital of imperial China for at least 12 dynasties - from Sept 10 to 13, attracting 110 media organizations from 50 countries.

As an annual event to join hands with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, the forum that was launched in 2016 witnessed its community expand from the first batch of 41 media outlets from 29 countries to 103 organizations from 50 nations this month.

For most television audiences, documentaries are regarded as a shortcut to quickly get a glimpse of the local lifestyle and foreign culture.

Five short documentaries, shortlisted from more than 30 entries from 14 countries, took home a Golden Ribbon award, set out by the forum organizers to reflect the diversity of civilizations.

The winners include two Chinese titles: Be with Each Other Though Far Apart from China, about a Chinese security guard facing off copper cable thieves and wildlife poachers in Kenya, and The Mongolian Horse, which recounts the story of a horse that trekked for 50 kilometers in extreme weather conditions to rescue its herder.

The other award-winning short documentaries were Kites Flying High, a tale centering on the efforts by a Vietnamese folklorist to preserve the ancient craft of making kites; The Flying Top, which follows a group of gasing (spinning top) players in Malaysia; and The Treasure, a film depicting the life of a master carpenter in Thailand.

Three of the five latest coproductions unveiled during the forum were also documentaries.

Jointly produced by China and Italy, the 100-episode documentary series From Chang'an to Rome will explore the connection between the two cities, which were linked by the ancient Silk Road for centuries.

Chang'an, the former name of Xi'an meaning "eternal peace", was adopted by rulers of several dynasties including the Tang Dynasty (618-907), one of the most prosperous periods in Chinese history.

"Our photographers will scour the two cities to capture stories on a variety of subjects, including architecture, food, art and military affairs," explains producer Zhao Dongwei.

"Each episode lasts five minutes. The length is suitable for a quick bite which might take the fancy of youngsters and netizens," says Zhao, adding they have also invited some top scholars to seek answers to some of the historical mysteries related to the two nations.

The documentary is currently being shot in Rome, and the crew will travel to Xi'an to make the Chinese episodes in a month's time.

Another two highlighted documentaries include the Sino-Canadian production Silk Road to Northern Lights, and Sino-French production Approaching China: Jean-Pierre Raffarin Witnesses 40 Years of Change.

Former French prime minister Raffarin is a regular visitor to China and has maintained close ties with China in the past 40 years, according to Jiang Heping, director of the foreign language channel of China Global Television Network. Raffarin launched the coproduction on Sept 11.

Other than real-life stories, the futuristic world has also become an inspiration for domestic and foreign documentary producers.

Origin, a 10-episode science fiction series set in the near future, is a production created by the China International Television Corp, Britain's Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television International Production.

The drama will debut on YouTube in November in multiple languages, including English, Japanese, French and German.

Directed by English filmmaker Paul William Scott Anderson, known for the zombie-themed franchise Resident Evil, Origin is something of a horror thriller, says Wayne Garvie, president of international productions at Sony Pictures Television.

The story follows a group of people from different countries on board a spaceship traveling to colonize a new planet, but something goes wrong that wakens the passengers.

"Then we trace the stories of the individuals. It's a bit like the American series Lost," says Garvie, who also attended the forum.

Speaking about why Sony Pictures selected this kind of story to be their first coproduction with the Chinese partner, Garvie explains that science fiction is an interesting format for international collaborations.

"In science fiction you can easily show people from different countries coming together. It makes sense to mix different cultures, which would be difficult to do in a contemporary story," he adds.

Although Origin doesn't have a specific Chinese character, the script has some storylines tailored for Chinese audiences that they will be able to relate to, says Garvie.

In recent years, China's film and television industries have expanded rapidly, also an ongoing trend that's raising interest from the rest of the world.

J.P. Bommel, CEO & president of NAPTE, says he is impressed by the creativity of Chinese productions and the rise in investment by Chinese companies in American and European programs.

When asked about Chinese producers' long-held concerns that American audiences may be unwilling to watch foreign content with subtitles, Bommel says, "The situation has changed a lot and the barrier has been lifted".

With the popularity of some Chinese dramas on major streaming sites such as You-Tube, Americans - especially those growing up in the internet era - have grown accustomed to watching tales with subtitles.

Michael Tear, CEO of the New Zealand production company Wildbear Entertainment, which coproduced the epic documentary The Long March with the China International Television Corp, believes more Western viewers are now interested to learn about China.

As a milestone military retreat that was key to the triumph of the Communist Party and the founding of New China, The Long March is about that Red Army forces traversing more than 9,000 kilometers in around 370 days to avoid encirclement by the Kuomintang from 1934 to 1935.

Tear says the epic tale of the founding of China and its related national pride will be relevant to the Western audience.

 

 

Top, middle and above left: Kites Flying High from Vietnam, The Mongolian Horse from China, and The Treasure from Thailand are three of the five winners of the Golden Ribbon awards at the annual Belt and Road Media Community Summit Forum. Above right: Crew of From Chang'an to Rome, a 100-episode documentary series, work in Rome. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-09-20 07:41:00
<![CDATA[Film showcases the end of a nomadic way of life]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/20/content_36950017.htm The owners of herds of sheep, cattle, horses and camels are on their way to another pasture. The trip is filled with cold, hunger, tiredness and danger. And ignorance may lead to loss of property and even life.

This is how the Kazak people migrated in the old days. It was done according to the growth circle of the grass, and to ensure that their livestock had plenty to eat all the year round.

But now, with rising living standards, there are villages for nomadic herders, enabling them to settle down.

Fade Away Pastoral, a feature film focusing on changes in Kazak life - from arduous migration to settlement, premiered in Beijing recently.

"It is a visual feast and reflects the progress on the grassland," says Gao Huanggang, chief producer of the film.

It uses a conflict between the Humar and Hadysha families, as a result of a fatal accident, to showcase the Kazak experience and journey over the past 40 years in China.

Visitors may marvel at the natural beauty of the grasslands where the Kazak live. But for Zhou Jun, the director of the film, "it is the only compensation for the herders' hard lives".

The film, generally speaking, shows both picturesque views and the Kazak herders' lives.

As the saying goes, "The Kazak walk the most in the world, and they migrate the most."

Migration, which was necessary for the Kazak, was a painstaking task as herders had to face bad weather, rough roads and other difficulties on their long journeys, which would often be several hundred kilometers.

From Zhou's perspective, the Kazak are stoic, introverted and profound. "Toughness and fortitude can be found in everyone."

Nowadays, migration in search of pasture only exists in some parts of the Xinjiang autonomous region, and the numbers are decreasing.

Many people choose to migrate by trains or cars, but many decide to settle down.

The ancient way of nomadic migration may disappear in coming times.

"In future, people will know about nomadic migration only from books or videos. So, in a way the film is like an effort to preserve history," says Zhou.

In the past, people on the grasslands said a man lived a good life if he owned a shotgun, a falcon, a horse, a hound and had a woman who loved him.

In the film, a member of the Humar family has already lost his wife. And then as time passes by, he loses his shotgun, horse, hound and falcon.

The losses imply his final farewell to his beloved grassland. And the film also shows herders welcoming a better life while giving up some of their earlier pleasures.

The film reflects indecision where people often hesitate when they are about to stride forward, since they can only gain a better future at the cost of things they once treasured.

Describing the various strands that run through the film, Zhou says: "We want to show how social development happens. But we just present, instead of trying to resolve conflicts, as we want the audience to come to their own conclusions."

The cast members spent three years making the film. And they labored in the vast area in the north and east of Xinjiang, trying their best to capture the scenery and story.

Speaking about the team who made the film, Gao says: "Every time I saw the cast members I was moved by their dedication. It is definitely a work made with great sincerity."

 

Left: A poster for Fade Away Pastoral, a film focusing on the changing life of Kazak people in the Xinjiang autonomous region. Right: A scene from the film that shows a key character and his falcon. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-09-20 07:41:00
<![CDATA[PREMIERE PLAYER]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/20/content_36950016.htm Co-financing deals for blockbusters such as Zhang Yimou's latest film Shadow and the new Terminator outing, have quickly propelled Tencent Pictures - a newcomer that made its first foray in China's film industry in 2015 - into the upper rankings of global movie backers.

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China's Tencent Pictures is aiming to hit the big time as an investor in the global movie market, Xu Fan reports.

Co-financing deals for blockbusters such as Zhang Yimou's latest film Shadow and the new Terminator outing, have quickly propelled Tencent Pictures - a newcomer that made its first foray in China's film industry in 2015 - into the upper rankings of global movie backers.

In the new 33-title lineup unveiled on Monday by Tencent Pictures, the film and television arm of Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, two big-budget Hollywood players revealed that the Chinese media company is now on board as one of their financiers.

These include the new James Cameron production of the Terminator franchise, referred to as Terminator 6, and is due to be released in the United States on Nov 22, 2019. As well as being a co-investor, Tencent Pictures will handle the movie's distribution in China.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is back to play his iconic role with a slightly different twist and Linda Hamilton is returning to the franchise for the first time since Terminator 2: Judgment Day. We have great new characters to introduce, which will take the franchise to a new level," says director Tim Miller in a video statement, who is currently shooting the movie in Budapest, Hungary.

Another Hollywood film backed by Tencent Pictures is Venom, Sony Pictures' upcoming film about the titular Marvel Comics character, starring English actor Tom Hardy. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the movie is set to premiere in North America on Oct 5, with a release date for the Chinese mainland to be confirmed at a later date.

Cheng Wu, vice-president of Tencent and CEO of Tencent Pictures, says Venom marks the company's first collaboration with Sony that he hopes will allow them to explore more projects across multiple fields such as film, television, music and games.

As the third installment of Xue Xiaolu's directorial franchise examining the struggles and ambitions of overseas Chinese, The Whistleblower is highlighted alongside the Jackie Chan action flick Project X as an example of Tencent Pictures' ambitions to create influential blockbusters. Both the movies have had a portion of their budgets supplied by the tech giant-backed newcomer.

At the recent global debut of Shadow at the Venice International Film Festival, Zhang showed up at Monday's event in Beijing with actor Hu Jun, who plays a general.

"I've shot films for many years and always strive to create great stories," says Zhang, adding that he enjoyed cooperating with co-financers like Tencent Pictures, Le Vision Pictures and Perfect Village on his latest venture.

Interestingly, in a recent statement released by Le Vision Pictures, Zhang revealed that he regretted to having taken the role as director on the Sino-US coproduction, The Great Wall.

With a budget of around $150 million and starring Matt Damon, the film bombed at the box office and was regarded by some as a taint on Zhang's career, the first Chinese mainland director to win a Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear for his 1988 drama Red Sorghum.

"I underestimated Hollywood's strict system of curbing (directors), which I completely dislike. It's quite different from the freedom that a Chinese director would be allowed to enjoy in China," said Zhang.

He says he was persuaded to take up the project as his agent believed The Great Wall would open in around 150 countries, affording him unprecedented global coverage, but the "catch" was that he had no right to revise even one line of the script.

Except for Shadow, a fictional story set in the Three Kingdom period (220-280), the series Qing Yu Nian (Celebrating an Affluent Year) is another key production rooted in Chinese history.

Adapted from the popular online novel of the same title, Qing Yu Nian is a thriller that follows the story of a young man, whose unraveling of a fatal poisoning case leads to the discovery of his true identity.

In an exciting moment for costume drama fans, the main cast of Story of Yanxi Palace appeared at the event to promote their new ancient China-themed drama The Legend of Hao Lan.

As the most popular drama this summer, Story of Yanxi Palace has racked up nearly 18 billion "clicks" online, propelling actor Nie Yuan and actress Wu Jinyan to become one of China's most popular on-screen couples.

With the two stars again teaming up in the new tale, The Legend of Hao Lan reimagines the myth surrounding the birth of Qin Shihuang, China's first emperor who lived from 259 to 210 BC.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in 2021, Tencent Pictures announced its association with the Shanghai-based studio Passion China to coproduce a series about the civil war in which the Communist Party-led forces defeated the Kuomintang.

"The war is one of the most significant conflicts ever to have taken place in China, which has rewritten the fate of millions of people," says Wang Shuzeng, who penned the book People's Liberation War, which the drama was adapted from. "I hope audiences will see how New China was shaped and will become more confident about our life and future by watching this drama."

Other productions that reflect China's wartime history or modern reforms also include director Guan Hu's World War II epic 800, a biopic of the hero Xie Jinyuan during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), and Face to Sea, a TV drama series on Shenzhen's rise, thanks to China's reform and opening-up.

 

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2018-09-20 07:41:00
<![CDATA[Emmys drop down in TV ratings]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/20/content_36950015.htm LOS ANGELES - The Emmy Awards, American television's biggest night, provided plenty of surprises - from an onstage marriage proposal to trophies for several fan favorites - but viewers simply did not tune in, with the three-hour show plummeting to all-time low ratings.

An average of 10.2 million viewers watched the Emmys Monday night on NBC, down roughly 11 percent from the 11.4 million who watched the gala last year, according to Nielsen figures released on Tuesday.

NBC tried to put a brave face on the data, noting that audiences for this year's Oscars and Grammys were down by wider margins.

But it was difficult to spin the figures - ESPN's Monday Night Football broadcast earned higher ratings in metered markets.

The Emmys has been bleeding viewers for years, with TV fans increasingly turning to social media to learn about the winners and watch the key moments at their leisure.

Also, the new host combo of Saturday Night Live stars Colin Jost and Michael Che did not seem to win over new fans.

Entertainment industry go-to outlet Variety called the show "lackluster," with the hosts "failing to raise the energy of the room or even to claim the room as their own".

Hollywood Reporter critic Daniel Fienberg called it a "bloated Saturday Night Live episode" and slammed Jost and Che for a "flat monologue," calling them "ill-matched to the event".

It does seem that NBC did the right thing to move the Emmys to Monday, sparing its flagship Sunday Night Football game, which was seen by 20.7 million viewers.

The big winners at the Emmys were HBO's fantasy epic Game of Thrones, which was named best drama series, and Amazon's breakout comedy The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, which won eight awards overall.

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2018-09-20 07:41:00
<![CDATA[Beijing Design Week pays 'homage to life']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/20/content_36950014.htm The 2018 Beijing Design Week gets underway on Saturday, with its opening ceremony set to take place at the China Millennium Monument.

Hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Beijing municipal government, and organized by Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group in conjunction with the Beijing Industrial Design Center, the design week will run through Oct 7.

Themed "homage to life," this year's event pays special attention to the role of design in meeting the requirements of contemporary people for a better life.

According to Dong Dianyi, executive deputy director of the organizing committee, there are three key areas of focus: The construction of Beijing as a national cultural hub and the removal of non-capital functions, the construction of the city's sub-centers and the integrated development of traditional cultural inheritance and modern design.

This year, the thematic exhibition, 40 Years - Design in China after 1978, will be presented at the China Millennium Monument throughout the design week, looking back at the 40 years of design development since China's reform and opening-up.

Copenhagen, the guest city of this year's Beijing Design Week, will bring a series of events that will run from Sept 26 to Oct 5, on the theme of "living is giving," including exhibitions and forums introducing Danish lifestyle, culture, values and sustainable development programs.

According to Dong, Beijing will take the opportunity of the design week to further expand cooperation with Denmark and carry out a Sino-Danish renovation project in Qinglong Hutong. The project aims to utilize advanced urban design concepts and sustainable environmental protection technologies from Denmark to reform and rejuvenate the antiquated areas of Beijing.

One of the highlights of this year's design week is the Beijing Design Expo from Friday to Tuesday. Themed "design beyond," the expo will center on aspects of people's daily lives and explore how to utilize design to satisfy daily needs and improve living conditions.

"Beijing Design Week is known to be held in the city across 40 venues. However, it is difficult for travelers to visit in a day or two," says Wang Yudong, deputy general manager of Gehua group. "With the design expo, we will concentrate the major projects for display at the National Agriculture Exhibition Center."

The expo consists of six major exhibitions, ranging from traditional Chinese crafts and intellectual property to home furnishings, fashion and interactive technology.

Expanding over the Mid-Autumn Festival public holiday, Beijing design expo is intended to be family-friendly, Wang adds.

"With catering service and rest areas provided in all the exhibition halls, families can enjoy a whole day at the expo."

A new component of this year's design week is intangible cultural heritage re-design, intending to promote the creative development of traditional crafts, extract the traditional Chinese aesthetics through design and integrate the intangible cultural heritage into our modern lifestyle.

"We often view intangible cultural heritage as something from the past when, in fact, much of it was the innovation of its time. Intangible cultural heritage is the collective display of the most advanced technology, materials and lifestyles of ancient times. That's why we want to use the power of design to instill new life into heritage," says Li Danyang, general manager of Gehua group.

Featuring a design exhibition focusing on the revitalization of traditional crafts, this part of the design week will showcase the latest achievements of craft culture, as well as a series of panels between inheritors of the intangible cultural heritage and modern designers.

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2018-09-20 07:41:00
<![CDATA[SAY IT WITH A SMILEY]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943725.htm In 2015, the word of the year selected by the Oxford Dictionaries is not a word by the strictest definition - but a yellow face emoji.

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Emojis, stickers, whatever you call them, the colorful little pictograms that fill our phones' and tablets' keyboards are now an intrinsic part of the way we communicate in the modern world, Xu Haoyu reports.

In 2015, the word of the year selected by the Oxford Dictionaries is not a word by the strictest definition - but a yellow face emoji.

Oxford Dictionaries defines a "word" as a "single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing" or "conceptual unit of language", which allowed the "smiley face" to be inducted and also affirmed its unique ability for communication and expression.

During the process of appraisal and selection, some social events, such as Hillary Clinton soliciting feedback in emojis and debates about the skin tone of emoji faces, were cited as evidence that proved "emojis have come to embody a core aspect of living in a digital world that is visually driven, emotionally expressive, and obsessively immediate" by the judges who selected the emoji as word of the year.

With the evaluation standard of capturing "the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year", the result of the selection represented a significant breakthrough for the emoji, which was invented back in the 1990s by using punctuation marks on the keyboard to create "smileys".

With the official definition of that yellow-faced sticker as "face with tears of joy", the honored emoji was found to be the most widely used of its type in the world in 2015.

It beat thousands of other popular words used in common parlance to grab the crown thanks to a fourfold boost of its usage rate between 2014 to 2015. According to the research completed by Oxford University Press, together with Swiftkey, a mobile technology company, it made up 20 percent of all the emojis used in the United Kingdom.

Fast forward to today's China. Now, using emojis, stickers and memes is as normal as using text for communication among screen-obsessed youngsters. Many users have downloaded and saved a treasure trove of memes and stickers in preparation to respond to all manner of situations online and status updates on social media networks.

 

For example, Gao Yingying from Wuhan, Hubei province, has published eight sticker collections of animated characters she created based on chinchillas and raccoons. One of the collections has accumulated an astonishing 4.2 billion reposts, while another two sets combined have 70 million downloads.

Expressions of emotions

There is an age-old phrase in Chinese, established in the days when people used to write letters on paper to one another - jianzi rumian (meaning "seeing my handwriting is like seeing me in person").

However, as computers and the internet have developed, they have gradually replaced ink, pen and paper.

Unlike handwriting, which could not help revealing one's personality through stroke and style - and even the conveyance of emotion through the strokes of the pen - the expressive force of standardized characters aligned on the display screen is much more limited.

Chen Ruo, 21, from Jilin province, thinks emoji characters complement the writing language. He uses them to inject life into the detached digital words.

He is used to typing quickly and speaking in short sentences, and the habit can cause his tone and manner to be misinterpreted by the recipient of his message, especially his girlfriend.

Chen claims that she used to complain a lot about his emotionless responses while chatting through phone messaging apps.

"My code of language somehow annoys her. She doesn't accept 'OK' as a response; she says it means I want her to leave me alone. So she would ignore me for an hour because she thought that's what I needed," he explains, "so I would use the word 'okay' or 'okie', which does not sit comfortably within my style of writing."

He considers emojis and stickers to be the solution.

"To her, the cute or funny stickers or emojis I choose to insert in the conversation reflect how much attention I pay to her. I know the idea is kind of childish, but emojis do make the conversation more relaxing and interesting, both for her and for me."

To some extent, Xu Bin, 53, from Zhejiang province, who also often uses emojis on social media, agrees with Chen.

"Words are not always capable of expressing something subtle, such as one's emotions or deep thoughts," Xu says.

"Social networking is getting closer to face-to-face communication with the support of developing technology."

He adds that emojis and stickers help to project one another's facial expressions.

More meanings implied

As the director of the photography center at Zhejiang Daily, a local newspaper, Xu doesn't share memes, emojis or stickers, himself. He delivers instructions with brevity and accuracy to his team at work. He says: "A sentence formed with only words seems very serious and formal; that's me indicating that the conversation is purely work related."

However, there are over 20 sets of stickers that he frequently uses in his leisure time.

He swipes through his collection and picks out his favorite - a set of stickers of a black-and-white monk. In the ones he uses most commonly, one portrays the character hugging the world with open arms with wishes of love and peace written above his head, the other has him standing on a wooden boat with a relaxed body, looking straight ahead with the phrase "let it be" in the background.

He believes that just like the little monk, a large number of stickers carry independent meanings, sometimes supported with explaining text.

Since last year, an emoji derived from the famous "doge" meme has garnered favor as a new way of expressing sarcasm or irony on microblogging platform, Sina Weibo.

Users flatter someone they actually don't like or agree with using words, and follow up with the doge emoji to indicate that they mean the opposite.

Such a phenomenon is known as "doge saves life". A female, who uses the screen name Shuanglisushu, claims that doge has been used as a shield to protect oneself being attacked by people who have different opinions, and also as a clue for people who know the trick to understand the real thought behind the words.

Zhang Shiheng, 21, from Zhejiang province, sometimes uses a friendly, but empty smiley face emoji as a polite way to end a conversation.

"QQ shows whether the user is online, invisible or offline, but WeChat doesn't. It's rude if I suddenly quit responding, but it's also a bit weird to say 'goodbye' formally, or show that I have no interest to dive deeper into the current topic," says Zhang.

The emoji culture has become so popular that individuals have developed their own styles of using them. So, perhaps, like handwriting used to lay the writer's personality bare on the page, a person's online persona can be derived from their use of emojis and stickers. What does yours say about you?

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[Collecting and the age of memeing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943724.htm "Collect gold in the troubled times; collect antiques in the flourishing age."

This old Chinese saying has been disseminated through society as a weather vane for good investment for generations.

When people struggled for basic staples such as food and clothing, wealthy landowners started to collect gold as a kind of financial guarantee that's relatively stable around the world.

As time went on, and amid rising prices for the precious metal, people's passion toward gold gradually cooled. Instead, they turned to the antique market, which has attracted large flows of capital for a number of reasons, such as rising incomes, the development of people's spiritual pursuits, a growing sense of aesthetic and cultural tastes and the consciousness of protecting non-renewable or scarce resources.

But how about young people? They don't have much money to spare, so what do they collect nowadays?

Well, with the growth of internet and social media culture, the younger generation has cast their eyes on collecting digital memorabilia.

The collecting of emojis, GIFs and memes has become more and more popular among many youngsters - the older, the better.

Bright, colorful high-definition ones are not popular among the major collectors. No, they want digital "antiques", older images from the early days of meme culture. The more rudimentary and blurry the memes, the better.

One user on Stage1st, a posting bar for Animation, Comic, Game and Novel themes - or ACGN - defines the pixelation and the faded color of these memes as a "digital patina". It is now a widely accepted term among like-minded collectors, including one who posted that the definition sounds very "cyberpunk".

According to a report from Gamersky, an online platform for people to share information about games, films, television shows and animation, the digital patina of the memes comes from the compression during propagation. Different platforms employ different levels of compression, gradually reducing the image quality the more it is shared. For instance, local social media outlet, QQ, compresses images during both the uploading and downloading process, while message board, Baidu Tieba, gradually turns the images green.

Ding Xinyi, 21, from Shanghai, has become an "antique" meme collector in the last year. Her collection occupies 80 percent of her meme library.

"The more fuzzy the pixel is, the better the memes are," Ding says. "People who use high-definition memes must be newcomers to meme collection."

She frequently searches for antique memes with the phrase "highly blurred memes" on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

"We can always create new memes with Photoshop, but that somehow feels empty. I prefer the old, blurred ones with the sense of history," says Ding.

Chen Mei, 25, from Jiangsu province, trawls Taobao, an online shopping site, for antique memes.

She explains that the selling price of memes is really cheap, less than 4 yuan ($0.6) for over 500 images, or around 9 yuan for 4 gigabytes of memes.

Chen notes, however, that nobody sells antique memes separately.

They come mixed with new, high-definition ones - the ones that she finds valuable may only make up around 15 percent of the whole batch and Chen has to sort through the whole lot, one by one, to find them.

"It's like opening a pack of cards and playing the game Duel Monsters or Hearth Stone: Heroes of Warcraft - we never know whether there will be a rare meme in these gigabyte-sized packages," Chen says.

Just like navigating a traditional antique market, which requires a certain level of specialized knowledge to avoid being scammed by fake objects, there are also artificially "aged" memes that are designed to fool the uninitiated.

Electronic fading has gradually begun to rise in recent years and there are online tutorials available that instruct viewers how to create the sought-after "digital patina". People use Photoshop, screenshots, image compression techniques and other methods to make a newly-minted meme appear old or "antique".

Zhang Jiaqi, 21, currently studying in Tokyo, adds this aged charm to new memes in the most basic way - simply by taking repetitive screenshots of them to reduce the integrity of their resolution.

Zhang claims: "The image quality of the memes gets worse and worse the more they are shared and passed around online, but it reflects how popular the memes are."

Ding doesn't care if the digital patina of memes is naturally developed or purposefully manipulated by collectors like Zhang. She thinks there should not be a boundary to define whether the memes are real or fake.

On the other hand, Chen proposes an easy way to recognize the best antique memes. She considers the emergence and overlap of multiple watermarks on memes as the most solid evidence - a recorded history of the memes' recurring appearance on websites and micro blogs.

"The watermarks are just like medals endowed by critics, and they identify memes that are the best of the best," claims Chen.

"The digital patina proves the development of cyberculture, and to us young people, the antique memes are a very interesting kind of heirloom."

 

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[OLD ART IN A DIGITAL ERA]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943723.htm At a recent exhibition held by the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University, Haiyantang, the largest European-style garden in Yuanmingyuan - or the Old Summer Palace - came alive with water pouring out from the mouths of the 12 zodiac sculptures in front of it - virtually, of course.

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Some of China's most precious cultural treasures are getting a new lease of life thanks to incredibly sophisticated electronic wizardry, Xing Wen reports.

At a recent exhibition held by the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University, Haiyantang, the largest European-style garden in Yuanmingyuan - or the Old Summer Palace - came alive with water pouring out from the mouths of the 12 zodiac sculptures in front of it - virtually, of course.

The process of how 2,106 stone blocks in the remains of the building were returned to their previous locations before the garden's destruction in the mid-19th century was projected onto a curved wall, allowing viewers to experience the magnificence of the historic architectural masterpiece.

"How do we present the fruits of the research we've conducted on Yuanmingyuan for many years? We used the digital approach to make Yuanmingyuan known to the masses," says Guo Daiheng, professor from Tsinghua's School of Architecture.

Lu Xiaobo, the dean of Tsinghua's Academy of Arts and Design adds that doing a digital re-creation of cultural relics for audiences is safer than to repair the treasures.

The digital restoration of the Yuanmingyuan complex that Guo initiated is just one of the cultural heritage protection projects supported by teachers and students at the university.

The exhibition, called Renascence of Traditional Culture, showcases some of the projects that Tsinghua has been undertaking all across China, including an interactive version of the artwork Night Revels of Han Xizai, by ancient painter Gu Hongzhong of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960), cultural and creative products featuring inscriptions on oracle bones and a virtual-reality museum of the grottoes in Dunhuang, Gansu province.

"The show unveils only a small fraction of the research by the university," says Wang Zhigang, curator of the exhibition.

"However, I want to present these high-quality works systematically, covering both royal arts and traditional folk crafts."

Wang, also an associate professor at the Information Art and Design Department, says that, instead of giving visitors static exhibits in museums, he would like to share the background stories of the cultural heritage using interactive installations.

When it comes to Dunhuang, it took Ma Lijun, a doctoral candidate at the academy, and his team, several years to build a database of the grottoes and frescoes through 3D scanning at the site.

"Though these frescoes have become oxidized and lost their original colors and shapes, we can demonstrate how they have changed over the long course of history in a VR museum," says the 33-year-old.

He says it's easier for students with a background in art and design to understand the essence of cultural heritage and then create a cultural product that meets the public's needs, so the university encouraged students to contribute ideas and get actively involved in the projects.

In Ma's project, visitors wearing VR helmets find themselves in a dark cave-like museum, where figures of Buddha sit inside grottoes. There, they can use the controller to get pop-up introductions of the statues.

So far, the VR museum has been taken to Austria and Germany, among others.

Ma says: "I'm proud that we could use the VR project to show the world the Dunhuang grottoes and spark foreign interest in China's cultural heritage."

Kong Cuiting, 26, also finds it fun to design interactive media that can impart knowledge to children.

"The challenge is how to add both depth and color to the installations," says Kong, whose work is to create digital exhibits for the Confucius Museum in Qufu, Shandong province.

To complete the task, Kong says that they first checked historical records and discussed issues with experts in archaeology, before figuring out a way to put the background knowledge into installations, such as a scroll painting of the ancient sage.

Zhang Lie, Kong's mentor and the director of Tsinghua's Interaction Media Institute, says he is expanding his team by recruiting students who studied history, cultural heritage and archaeology.

"Before we seek to work with other institutions and universities, we should first build up our own team," says Zhang.

"Then we can work together on the varied possibilities of each project."

The exhibition also displayed the works of students which, in Wang Zhigang's words, "were experimental" and could provide new perspectives of how digital protection of cultural heritage is viewed by the younger generation.

"I hope the exhibition changes people's ideas about China's cultural treasures, and these innovative installation techniques are more widely applied," says Wang.

 

 

 

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[Lending a helping hand]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943722.htm Kumar Khadka is the center of attention on a tour of some of the ancient Silk Road sites in late August.

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Many Nepalese students take the effort in learning Mandarin, and have benefited from the increasingly frequent exchanges between China and Nepal, Yang Feiyue reports.

Kumar Khadka is the center of attention on a tour of some of the ancient Silk Road sites in late August.

His thick curly hair and beard set the 28-year-old from Nepal apart from his peers from countries like Kazakhstan, Laos and Vietnam, as well as members of a think tank from Peking University.

All of them joined the trip, a part of the ancient Silk Road tour initiated by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, which aims to promote trade and cultural exchanges.

The tour kicked off in Beijing in late August and will end on Sept 29, after covering significant sites in seven countries - China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Poland, the Czech Republic, France and the Netherlands.

"People tease me and say that I look a lot like Karl Marx," says Khadka, who enjoyed the distinctive elements of Chinese culture during the six-day road trip from Beijing to Dunhuang, in the northwestern Gansu province.

He enjoyed listening to the horse-head fiddle, and admired the hide carvings and ethnic dancing during his stay in Ordos, Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

"I'd heard of Inner Mongolia before, but it's amazing to experience the culture there," he says.

"The hide carving was exquisite and dancing with local Mongolians was great fun," says Khadka, who is currently studying Chinese philosophy in Beijing.

The Mogao Grottoes in Gansu province, the art performance and the lecture on the ancient history of Dunhuang also impressed him.

"The tour helped me discover more about China," says Khadka.

"Earlier, I thought Inner Mongolia was all desert and yurts, but there are so many green spaces and modern buildings there."

Curiosity about China planted the desire in him to learn Mandarin back in 2010.

"Many Nepalese didn't know China so well back then, and I was intrigued by this big neighbor when I saw it on the map," says Khadka.

He developed a working knowledge of Chinese after spending three years studying it at the Tribhuvan University in Kirtipur, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. And then, an opportunity to study Mandarin in China came his way.

He applied for a two-year master's program of teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages at the Beijing Language and Culture University via the Confucius Institute, and was accepted in 2013 with a full scholarship.

"This was the only way for me to fully learn Chinese history and culture," he says.

"Then I can maybe go back and teach what I've learned to people at home."

The language program helped him master Chinese after he completed it in June 2015.

Khadka, who has passed the HSK 6 - the highest level Chinese language test designed for non-native speakers - now speaks Mandarin fluently.

After finishing the master's program, he decided to take a break and use his language skills to experience Chinese culture.

So, Khadka chose to spend some time in the Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture of southwestern Yunnan province.

There, he stayed with tea-growing farmers and experienced every part of tea production, from picking and processing, to storage, all of which were interesting in Khadka's eyes.

The traditional tea drinking ritual also impressed him.

"To me, drinking tea is a way of enjoying life," he says.

Later, to better understand Chinese thinking and culture, he applied to study Chinese philosophy at Beijing Normal University in September 2016.

"I believe philosophy can give me an insight into Chinese thinking and how China became what it is today," Khadka says.

Khadka is one of the many Nepalese students who have benefited from the increasingly frequent exchanges between China and Nepal.

More than 6,400 Nepalese students have studied in China as of 2017. And Khadka alone knows 60 to 70 of his compatriots learning Mandarin in China at the moment.

"There are even more of us doing medicine and engineering in Beijing," he says.

Khadka, the vice-chairman of the Beijing-based Nepal Chinese Language Teachers Association, which aims to boost bilateral exchanges, says the association has arranged for Nepalese students to study in China and for Chinese learning institutes to host academic events in Nepal.

Separately, the association will host an Asian natural philosophy meeting in Lunbini, Nepal, in November, in conjunction with a university in Lunbini and Beijing Normal University.

 Nepalese student Kumar Khadka learns an Inner Mongolian dance together with local students in Ordos of North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

 

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[New US 'musical diplomat' wows crowds in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943721.htm BEIJING - Slater Rhea has become a musical phenomenon in China with his fluent command of Mandarin and Chinese folk and pop songs.

"I sang solos in my children's choir way back when I was 6. But it wasn't until I started learning Chinese in college and searched for Chinese music online that I found Chinese songs and had the idea that I could really do this," Rhea says in a recent email interview after a whirlwind summer performing on Chinese TV.

Back then, he was attracted to various facets of Chinese culture and recognized the importance of learning Chinese since the country was fast becoming a key global player.

Rhea, who hails from Louisiana, attended the University of Oklahoma, where he studied Chinese language and literature and Asian studies. He started out by performing at Chinese-related events on campus, and then at events held by the Chinese consulate in Houston.

Once he started singing and received lots of encouragement from his audiences, he began to tell himself that he could really make a career out of this.

Rather creatively, he used music as a method to study the Chinese language.

"It was my love of music in general that led me to seek out Chinese music as a study tool in learning the language. So I went online to find Chinese songs, and I was just blown away by what I found. The tunes were enchanting and the vocalizations were like I'd never heard before," he says.

When he couldn't make the sounds he heard being sung, it prompted him to try to sing the songs over and over again, "in the shower sometimes, until I found that I could do it".

Today, Rhea, a young American with silver hair and hazel eyes, makes time for his music career while working as an assistant professor of International Studies and English at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Known as Shuaide in China, he is recording an album of songs he has written.

"I think the Chinese are extremely welcoming and accommodating to foreigners, and that has definitely been the case when it comes to those I interact with," he says.

Rhea is a regular on TV host Negmat Rahman's CCTV 3 show, Super Star Ding Dong, and on another host Ren Luyu's show, Global Chinese Music, on CCTV 15.

Referring to Ren, Rhea says: "He's the one who first called me a 'musical diplomat', and that has become my calling card. Those guys are just like big brothers to me."

Rhea says the greatest influences on his music are American singer Paul Simon, with whom he shares the same vocal range, and Chinese pop artists Han Hong, Li Jian, Yang Zongwei, Liu Huan and Wang Hongwei.

"Of course I can't talk about my music background without mentioning jazz," Rhea says. "I'm from Louisiana, the birthplace of jazz, and I love everything from Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane to Tony Bennett, so I do try to infuse my music with a jazz sensibility."

He says that while young Chinese artists are interested in Western music and bringing elements of them into their acts, he is interested in the opposite. In other words, sharing Chinese music and culture with the world is the singer's "Chinese dream". During past performances in the United States, Americans have responded positively to his rendition of Chinese songs.

"I want to share Chinese music and culture with the world. To me, Chinese genres and musical elements are really special and deserve to be celebrated, and I think that has been one of the reasons for my success. I did several concerts in the States where I sang traditional Chinese songs and the audiences were ... touched," he says.

Chinese audiences, too, go wild for his music.

"The most rewarding thing for me is when I'm out and about, particularly when I travel outside of Beijing and I get recognized. People come up to me and tell me how impressed ... they are by my singing. That's when I know I've made a difference and a connection," he says.

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[Chinese designer brings color to NY Fashion Week]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943720.htm NEW YORK - When Chinese designer Wang Tao - known by her professional name Taoray Wang - debuted her new collection on Sept 8 at New York Fashion Week, front-row celebrities applauded the designs showcasing her signature style of sophisticated minimalism.

Tiffany Trump, the younger daughter of US President Donald Trump, was among those watching the show.

The way Wang incorporates sophistication and a feminine edge into her clothes "is absolutely amazing", said the 24-year-old first daughter, who was wearing one of the designer's pieces - a baby-blue dress with ruffles at the waist.

"I have realized that this new generation of female leaders is not afraid to stand out from the crowd," Wang told Xinhua on the sidelines of the Taoray Wang runway show.

"They can mix femininity with their serious career-oriented lifestyle."

 

In her fall collection, titled Bloom, Wang, known for her flair for using basic monochromes such as gray, white and black to create elegant and confident looks for career women, changed tack, using a bold palette of pinks and blues, reportedly after being asked by her clients to design more colorful clothes.

She also took inspiration from the BBC mystery drama Picnic at Hanging Rock.

The Victorian style and the delicate details in the clothes in the remake of the iconic Australian novel are a feast for the eyes, she said.

Amy Zhang, senior vice-president of Fred Alger Management, a private investment company, called the combinations of pink with navy and black both powerful and elegant.

"I feel like every piece can be worn to the office," she said.

Zhang, a long-time client of Wang, was wearing a suit from the designer's previous collection.

Zhang said she especially loved the detailing in the sleeves, where a touch of red Chinese silk had been added to create fluidity.

"She's truly an artist who bridges the gap between East and West," Zhang said.

Wang, a graduate of East China Normal University in Shanghai, has grown from an aspiring designer to one of Asia's most successful female entrepreneurs.

Since her brand made its debut in the fall of 2014, she has become a regular at New York Fashion Week.

Held in February and September, the biannual event is one of the world's major fashion events, collectively known as the "Big Four", alongside the Paris, London and Milan fashion weeks.

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[Growing opportunities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943719.htm Vocational education when properly given can work as an effective tool to help young people from poorer families achieve better personal development, according to experts in the field.

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Annual philanthropy event discusses strengthening vocational education during its Shanghai forum, Zhou Wenting reports.

Vocational education when properly given can work as an effective tool to help young people from poorer families achieve better personal development, according to experts in the field.

At the third World Philanthropy Forum held in Shanghai on Sept 5, attendees discussed ways to make such education relevant to real job settings.

In many countries, young learners find the vocational courses they receive lead to nowhere, Anthony Mann, head of vocational education at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said at the forum.

"Which means that they don't have pathways up to higher education levels and thus their career development is hindered," he added.

The forum's theme centered on building a community for sustainable development. The annual event was hosted by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Tsinghua University, the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Ngai Sek-yum, dean of social work studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said more students from low-income families tend to receive vocational education than those from families with better income because of the resources available to the latter group for children's general education.

But he said society must cast aside any "bias" against young people who receive vocational education and stop viewing them as losers in the fierce competition of exams.

"I have seen young people treating their work very seriously," he said. "I have seen them being diligent and positive in their personal development."

Mann said it is important for policymakers in different countries to try to make vocational education as attractive as general education instead of it looking like a second option.

"Those policymakers need to think that they are designing policies for all children, including their own children, rather than other people's children," he said.

Alexander Birle, chief representative of the Beijing office of Hanns Seidel Foundation, said the German public organization has realized the opportunities provided by vocational education to socially disadvantaged young people, and that it has been working to assist some people in western China.

The foundation initiated a project 18 years ago of financially supporting students, especially women and those from ethnic groups such as Uygurs who drop out of schools because of economic issues, to continue studying through vocational training. Each year, four students are selected for sponsorship to two vocational schools in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Each scholarship, worth 4,800 yuan ($699) a year, is capable of meeting a student's six-month costs at school, and is provided to a beneficiary after he or she completes the first year of learning, "as a reward for their dedication and a motivation for further learning for the following two years", Birle said.

The three years of vocational training meet requirements of the job market in areas such as mechanics, electronics and automotive, he added.

"Most graduates have good career prospects in their respective industries ... and some also have the possibility of self-employment in the future," he said, adding that such opportunities improve self-esteem among disadvantaged youth.

Ngai said young people from such backgrounds need to feel that working is not only something they must do for a living but also something through which they can make a difference in society.

This approach follows the idea that vocational education today is not only about providing students basic job skills but rather marketable skills, he said.

He also pointed out the important role of teachers at vocational schools.

"Many children from low-income families don't have a good role model. If the teachers can win the trust of such students, they can undoubtedly help with their future development," Ngai said.

Since it was launched in 2016, the annual forum has been covering topics such as sustainable development through education, global health partnerships and female leadership.

 

 

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[BJUT renews ties with e-learning German faculty]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943718.htm On Sept 11, the Beijing University of Technology renewed a memorandum of understanding with the Hasso Plattner Institute, an information technology faculty at the University of Potsdam in Germany, continuing their cooperation and exchanges in the field of digital engineering, mass data analytics and internet security.

The Sino-Germany cooperation agreement can be traced back to Oct 29, 2002, when Christoph Meinel, the director of the HPI, delivered a speech in the German city of Trier addressing problems of internet and intranet security, while a group of Chinese students followed the lecture over the internet at BJUT.

The university is one of the pioneers of distance learning in China, receiving online courses from foreign institutes via the internet, according to Meinel, who now flies to Beijing every April to offer oral exams to participants on HPI's e-learning courses.

He says his annual visits to the university over the past 16 years have allowed him to witness the increasing open-mindedness of BJUT students, the upgrading of the facilities on campus and the rapid development of Beijing.

This exceptional form of partnership, named the China-Germany Internet Bridge, was initiated after the Beijing-based university found that the project-oriented structure of the curricula and teaching methods from the HPI would suit their students, and help then improve their practical ability.

"Germany's world-class engineering education could afford us useful lessons in reforming our traditional talent cultivation models," says Liu Gonghui, the president of BJUT. "The internet bridge has enriched our educational resources and helped us develop our international outlook, and that's why we want to renew the memorandum of understanding for a third time and facilitate further cooperation with the German institute."

Meinel says, "To record and transmit lectures is just the first step in global e-learning." He adds that he wants to build up a more social and interactive platform to spark people's interest in lifelong learning.

About 500 students at BJUT have attended professor Meinel's online courses and some of them have also applied for postgraduate or doctoral programs at the HPI.

Che Xiaoyin, 31, a BJUT alumnus, is hoping to obtain his doctorate from the University of Potsdam next spring with the help from his mentor Meinel.

He met Meinel at a symposium held at BJUT, where he served as a volunteer and gained the professor's appreciation, before traveling to Germany for further studies in 2012.

Che says many of his counterparts in Germany are free to run their own startups as the length of courses at German universities are relatively flexible.

"The German institute collaborates closely with enterprises to conduct scientific and technological projects while the domestic universities lean more toward imparting theoretical knowledge," says Che. "It's easier for me to fit in the needs of my career after I have established a theoretical base and grasped the practical techniques."

Che accompanied the German delegation - which included Dietmar Woidke, Minister-President of the Germany city of Brandenburg and Clemens von Goetze, the German Ambassador to China - on this trip to NJUT, and showed them around the hightech laboratories at his alma mater.

Woidke briefly introduced Brandenburg's academic strengths and expressed his eagerness to establish more international connections between the German state and the capital of China.

 

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[African youth love China's technology, culture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/19/content_36943717.htm BEIJING - NourEldin Mohamed Abdelaal, from Egypt, declined offers from a number of elite universities in the West and joined the Beijing Institute of Technology to study computer sciences in September.

The 20-year-old had received multiple offers from universities in countries including the United States and Britain. The University of Cambridge also reserved a spot for him for his post-graduate studies.

However, he said he was attracted by China's booming computer industry and decided to come to China for his bachelor's degree.

NourEldin won the honor of "Best Arab Young Innovator in the World" in 2016 for his creation of a parallel network which exceeds the current internet speed by 32 times.

"China's computer industry is developing rapidly. I want to study here and find entrepreneurship opportunities," NourEldin says.

NourEldin's decision to study in China is supported by his father, who worked for a Chinese automobile company in Egypt for many years. His father has made more than 20 business trips to China and says the country is a "unique" place.

NourEldin came to Beijing in August 2017 to take a Chinese language course, but besides the language, he is also learning about traditional Chinese culture.

He is now a big fan of Chinese tea and enjoys watching Peking Opera.

After class on his first day at BIT, he went to Lao She Teahouse and watched a Peking Opera show with his dad.

He likes the costumes and the singing.

"The high-pitched tunes are like a nightingale singing," he says.

After living in China for a year, NourEldin has fallen in love with Chinese cuisine.

He can now cook Chinese braised eggplant, and he loves Chinese noodles, with his favorite dishes being braised beef noodles and Lanzhou ramen.

"Chinese culture made my life in Beijing more colorful and helped me to see the world from a different perspective," says NourEldin.

His interest in Chinese culture is shared by his classmates.

Kembabazi Barbara, a 21-year-old half-Chinese half-Ugandan, says the Spring Festival celebration is her favorite time of the year when all her family members sit around the table to eat.

Her Ugandan father met her mother when they were studying at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in central China's Hubei province.

"I feel close to China because of my half-Chinese identity," she says.

Every two or three years, her mother used to travel with Kembabazi to her hometown in Hubei province, visiting places like the Shennongjia Natural Reserve and the Three Gorges Dam.

The Ugandan is a tai chi fan. She learned the art from her grandfather and won the first prize for her part in a tai chi group at the Xuzhou China International Wushu Competition in May.

At the start of BIT's new semester, she was happy to pick up a weekly tai chi course.

"Chinese tai chi is famous in Uganda. It can help people maintain balance and remain tranquil in difficult situations," she says.

Kembabazi enjoys the convenience of Beijing's modern lifestyle, riding shared bikes around the campus, shopping using mobile payment apps and exploring places in the city with her smartphone.

"I want to take technology from China to Uganda and make life in Uganda more convenient," she says.

According to the Ministry of Education, 61,594 African students were on campus in Chinese universities, research institutions and other educational institutions in 2016, up 23.7 percent year on year, and representing 13.91 percent of total international students in China.

The ministry's statistics show that China now offers 43,000 training programs, over 20,000 governmental scholarships and more than 1,300 degree programs to students from African countries.

Sovi-guidi W. Lionnel Pyrrhus, 23, from the Republic of Benin, is pursuing his master's degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language at Beijing Language and Culture University.

Lionnel Pyrrhus started learning Chinese at the Confucius Institute at the University of Abomey-Calavi in 2014. Last year, he took part in the 16th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition where he bagged the second prize for the Africa region.

His motivation to learn Chinese came from his fascination with kung fu.

When he was young he used to watch a lot of movies and TV series featuring the Chinese martial art, and was especially impressed by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

"I have been fascinated with kung fu ever since I was little, and my father told me that if I wanted to know a country, I needed to learn its language first," he says.

He dreams of becoming a Chinese teacher in Benin.

"I want to take Chinese language and culture to Benin," Lionnel says.

 

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2018-09-19 08:15:37
<![CDATA[CIRCLE OF FOUR]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/18/content_36936185.htm It may seem like a coincidence, but Chinese painting circles during the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) were dominated by four artists sharing the same surname.

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An exhibition is showing important works of some Qing Dynasty artists who shared the same surname and aesthetic style, Wang Kaihao reports.

It may seem like a coincidence, but Chinese painting circles during the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) were dominated by four artists sharing the same surname.

Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, Wang Hui and Wang Yuanqi, who are colloquially referred to by Chinese historians as the "Four Wangs", shared similar artistic styles and enjoyed status in the art world at that time.

They also were associated with each other through educational or familial connections.

An exhibition started last week at the Hall of Literary Glory in the Palace Museum in Beijing looking back at their achievements by displaying around 110 pieces of their highlighted works.

The Four Wangs' Paintings of the Early Qing Period Collected by the Palace Museum runs through Oct 30.

As the former imperial palace, the Forbidden City is famed for its grandiose and ostentatious aura, but the red columns in the Hall of Literary Glory were painted a lighter color more conducive to a gallery setting, while a pavilion was also set up in the exhibition hall to recreate the simple yet elegant atmosphere preferred by the literati.

"Sitting there and watching the Four Wangs' paintings, it feels like being in a water town in southern China (where the artists came from)," Tian Yimin, curator of the exhibition, says.

"They venerated the literati styles of southern China and stressed the imitation of ancient and classical styles and techniques," she says.

Many paintings by earlier artistic icons are also included in the exhibition, including works by Huang Gongwang and Ni Zan from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) as well as Dong Qichang from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) - which served as inspiration for the later four artists. Several works by their predecessors are juxtaposed by works by the Four Wangs for comparison.

This said each of the four artists has their own standout characteristics.

Wang Shimin (1592-1680) is known for his own rigorous technique and elegant style. The exhibit, Autumn Mountains and White Clouds, is his best-known work. Wang Jian (1609-1677) traced certain artistic styles back to the 10th century and excelled in both monochrome and polychrome ink works as well as color paintings.

Wang Hui (1632-1717) combined elements from works by masters from both southern and northern China and infused his paintings with detailed observations of nature, as exemplified in his work, Shadows of Paulownia Trees in the Autumn Evening.

And Wang Yuanqi (1642-1715), who was also the grandson of Wang Shimin, was a master of textural shading and famed for his vigorous brushwork and ruminant compositions, which is probably best highlighted in his painting, Robust and Vigorous Landscape.

Unlike many literati painters in ancient China, who lived their lives as virtual hermits and shunned politics, the Four Wangs' destiny was quite different.

The curator explains that one of the reasons why they were so revered in the Qing Dynasty was because of the huge sway they held in the imperial palace. For instance, Wang Hui's painting Southern Inspection Tour (Nanxun Tu) featured a grand procession of Kangxi emperor.

Some of their students were later hired as court painters, and were favored by the emperors, who labeled their works as "orthodox".

Nevertheless, this connection with the imperial court once made some critics doubt the real artistic value of work of the Four Wangs. In the late Qing Dynasty, prices of their works rocketed in antique markets, which were ridiculed by people at that time.

"All these rights and wrongs have passed," Tian says. "What's important for us is to take aesthetic enjoyment from their individual legacies."

The Palace Museum now houses over 800 works by these artists, the largest number of any museum in the world.

Nearly 700 of such works were included in a 10-volume panoramic album of works by the artists, which was published on Tuesday to offer a more detailed reference work for scholars. Some 277 pieces - including Southern Inspection Tour - have never been publicly published before.

"An exhibition is also an opportunity to promote related academic research," Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, says. "It can also raise public awareness about traditional fine art."

 

 

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2018-09-18 07:57:55
<![CDATA[Chinese artist's view of African art theme of Beijing display]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/18/content_36936184.htm Two years ago when Musquiqui Chihying went to Togo he was surprised to find that the first museum of African art he visited in the country was established by a Chinese collector, which evoked the visual artist's interest in Sino-African history.

The Taiwan native, who's family name is Peng but doesn't use it in public, gives himself the name Musquiqui Chihying. Living both in Taipei and Berlin, he is presenting his take on the subject with an exhibition in Beijing.

The ongoing show that began on Aug 25, displays videos, photos and installations.

From Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) explorer Zheng He's voyage to what now is Kenya to China's late premier Zhou Enlai's diplomatic visits to 10 African states in the 1960s and a Chinese collector's donation of African sculptures to the National Museum of China in the 2000s, Chihying has also tried to show Sino-African exchanges through short videos made with documentary techniques.

"Some stories in my works are not real but imagined, based on facts," Chihying, 35, says.

In his 15-minute video, The Guestbook, the artist films his Togolese friend visiting three locations in Berlin with past associations - one of which is a massage parlor, which used to be the site of an early Chinese restaurant near which Zhou had stayed during a visit to the German city in 1923. Chihying "made up" a story about Zhou often eating at the restaurant for the video.

In his installation, Culture Center, he has reimagined a set of coins that celebrates Sino-African ties, which was inspired by his visit to some museums and theaters built by Chinese companies.

"Chinese companies not only help build roads in Africa, they also help build cultural institutions," he says.

Chihying has made an artwork inspired by five buildings related to culture that were built in Africa by Chinese companies, including theaters and museums, he says. On a side of this artwork he has drawn five animals considered auspicious in Chinese mythology, such as the turtle and the carp.

His other two artworks, The Mask and The Sculpture, draw inspiration from Chinese collector Xie Yanshen's private museum in Togo's capital Lome that shows African art collected from across the continent. From 2007 to 2011, Xie donated about 5,000 pieces of African wooden sculptures to the National Museum of China.

The donation is now part of permanent exhibitions at the national museum for Chinese to learn about African art. While Xie collected sculptures and donated them to his motherland, the European museums are planning to return African sculptures looted during the colonial era. Some British museums have "loaned" artifacts to museums in Nigeria instead of returning them.

"African sculptures can offer another perspective in understanding world history as well as art history," says Chihying, adding that it's the African sculptures that inspired Western masters such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

Chiyhing went to Berlin University of the Arts in 2010 for his master's degree in fine arts. He says as a member of a generation that grew up in the era of globalization, like some of his peers in China, he often focuses on issues facing the world in his works.

"Art has no nationality," he says.

For the past few years, Chiyhing's works have mainly focused on Africa. Earlier this year, he was invited to take part in a film festival in Nigeria with his video works.

Chihying says Western artists and scholars have done research on their own art, as well as African and Asian art, but these two branches are still marginalized compared with Western art.

He hopes to bring an Asian perspective to African Art, he says.

If you go

10 am-7 pm, through Oct 28. Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, 4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-57800200.

 

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2018-09-18 07:57:55
<![CDATA[Celebration of creativity picks up in Chinese cities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/17/content_36928645.htm The Simple Life Festival will be staged in more places this year, in an indication of how the organizers have perfected its blend of music and culture, Chen Nan reports.

Established in Taipei 12 years ago, the Simple Life Festival, a cultural event that blends music with creative lifestyle products, will expand to more locations across the Chinese mainland this year.

The festival at each of the four new cities will feature different themes - Simple Heaven (Chengdu, Sept 15 to 16), Simple Dreams and Days (Shanghai, Oct 1 to 7), Simple Fire (Wuhan, Oct 20 to 21) and Simple Island (Xiamen, Nov 3 to 4).

The music lineup for Chengdu and Shanghai has already been unveiled and the headline acts include Beijing-based singer-songwriter Pu Shu, Taiwan pop singer Hebe Tien Fu-chen and Hong Kong singer Sammi Cheng Sau-man.

Other than the exciting lineup, audience members can also wander through an area filled with stalls selling creative handmade and environment-friendly products from local brands.

"The key to the Simple Life Festival's success lies in the collaboration of different creative industries, all working together to create magic," says Jeff Chia Minshu, co-founder of the festival.

He adds that the festival is not about putting on a show that features some of China's best-selling singers, but rather a festival that celebrates all types of lifestyle and pools together skill sets so that a community can grow together.

Based in Beijing, the 53-year-old veteran music producer is known for working on iconic albums such as those of Taiwan's rock band May Day, Hong Kong singers Karen Mok Man-wai and Sandy Lam Yiklin. He was also the person who brought Beijing-based rock singer-songwriters and bands, including Dou Wei, He Yong and Zhang Chu, to Hong Kong in 1994.

The Simple Life Festival started at a time when the music industry was severely affected by the dawn of the internet era. The market for physical music records was shrinking as digital streaming grew in popularity. Record companies struggled to survive, but young singer-songwriters still needed platforms to showcase themselves.

It was then that Chia, along with his colleagues Landy Chang and Jonathan Lee from Rock Records, one of the biggest and oldest record companies in Taiwan, decided to gather these young musicians together and play their original materials. Along the way, the trio were drawn to young people who had a passion for creativity, and their initial project soon turned into the Simple Life Festival.

"People come to the Simple Life Festival to share their lives. They are young, energetic, creative and enthusiastic about their lives," says Chia.

The Simple Life Festival first came to Shanghai in 2014. That year, over 50,000 students and white-collar workers, most of whom were under 35 years old, attended the event.

One of the most memorable moments of that year's festival was the performance by its co-founder Lee, who sang every song from his first album, The Spirit of Life. Released in 1986, the album conveys a message urging young people to chase their dreams and passions.

"I have been writing songs my whole life because that's what I love to do. I hope that the Simple Life Festival is a place for you to encounter beautiful things, become inspired and be creative," says Lee.

For the three new cities the Simple Life Festival is heading to this year, Chia has a clear idea about each location's creative industry. For example, he notes that Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province, has a strong base for indie music and people are educated about underground music. Meanwhile, Xiamen, a costal city in Fujian province, has a large number of bars and cafes and a relaxing atmosphere that is conducive for cultivating local talent.

"I travel a lot and with each city I visit, I go to the most popular live music venues and places that gather local creative products, because they show the vibrancy of the local young people and their tastes," Chia says.

"We combine local bands with creative brands in the Simple Life Festival. People expect to see how the vibrant local art scene blends together with the lovely spaces we choose for the festival."

Music fan Ma Le, who first attended the Simple Life Festival in Shanghai in 2017, is already looking forward to this year's event.

"I am looking forward to the festival in Shanghai, which runs for seven days and has a variety of events. I also want to see how it presents the theme of 'simple fire' in Wuhan, a new city it will visit this year," says the 29-year-old who works in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

"There were both new musicians and established stars, and there is a variety of styles of music. I was also surprised to run into some old friends there."

Huang Jiashi, 37, has been attending the Simple Life Festival in Shanghai since 2015. She was first drawn to the musicians featured, especially singer-songwriter Ding Wei, who had withdrawn from the limelight for years before returning to the stage to perform at the festival in Shanghai in 2017.

"When I actually arrived at the festival, I found out that it was more than just music. I was surprised to see some original and creative products. I made some new friends there," Huang says.

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2018-09-17 07:40:48
<![CDATA[Beijing dance troupe stages ballet in Athens]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/17/content_36928644.htm ATHENS - Artists from Beijing Dance Theater gave a performance in Athens on Sept 9, introducing Chinese contemporary ballet to an audience of Greek and Chinese expatriates who share a love of art.

The troupe was welcomed onto the stage of the PK Theater as it presented, for first time in Greece, original dance work inspired by poems and novels of renowned Chinese writers.

Founded in 2008 and led by artistic director and choreographer Wang Yuanyuan, BDT is the first contemporary ballet troupe in China and its artists have performed across the globe.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary this month, BDT organized a Chinese Literature and Contemporary Ballet Tour to Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Greece.

A lecture on Chinese literature and contemporary ballet at PK Theater included performances of pieces such as Beyond the Smoke, Walking Alone, December and Farewell Shadow.

Wang Yinan, BDT's associate director, talked about the theater's vision and approach to contemporary ballet, the mingling of classical ballet, traditional repertoire and modern dance, answering many questions about the contemporary dance scene in China before giving the floor to the six dancers and their performance.

With their fluidity of movement, they demonstrated their ability to tell a story just by using their bodies.

Afterward, Wang expressed the troupe's eagerness to return to Greece to present more of their work and collaborate with local artists.

"We actually hope to have more communication with local artists and have another opportunity to work with them," he said.

"This is a good way to show the Greek people a few pieces of the (BDT's) work, but next time we hope to bring a whole production to our Greek friends. Our embassy will do its best to continue introducing Chinese arts and culture to the local people," Wang Qiang, political counselor at the Chinese embassy in Greece, said.

Lefteris Alexandris was one of the Greek audience members who enjoyed the performance and is looking forward to the troupe's next visit.

"Honestly, I was quite amazed, because it was the first time I've watched contemporary ballet. It was weird at first, as I am not very familiar with this type of dancing, but now I think I am able to get the whole picture," he said.

"We are waiting for the Beijing Dance Theater to come back so that we can see the complete performance. It was very, very interesting," he added.

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2018-09-17 07:40:48
<![CDATA[Soprano pays tribute to Verdi with album]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/17/content_36928643.htm Chinese soprano Zhang Liping has released a new album Sempre Libera, in which she performs nine arias by Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), including E strano! Sempre libera from La Traviata, Caro nom from Rigoletto and Come d'aurato from Il Trovatore.

The 53-year-old, who has achieved international acclaim by performing with many of the world's leading opera houses, including the Royal Opera Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Metropolitan Opera, says she has dedicated the album to her beloved Italian composer.

Zhang started preparing for this album five years ago, working with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and under the baton of Graeme Jenkins, hoping to get it ready for Verdi's 200th birth anniversary. But the project took longer than she expected.

"And when I finally finished recording this album, I realized that it's more than a tribute to Verdi - this is a review of my career as a soprano," says Zhang.

The soprano says she had to employ various vocal techniques to meet the challenges in Verdi's arias.

"It takes time and patience to immerse yourself in the music and atmosphere created by Verdi. The process of recording this album was honest and personal to me," she says.

Jenkins has lauded the effort, saying: "Of all the Italian composers of opera, in my opinion, Giuseppe Verdi was simply the greatest.

"Taking the rhythmic vitality of Rossini, the bel canto line of Bellini and the dramatic pulse of Donizetti, he used all these melodies to create his uniqueness.

"The nine arias on this album span the whole of his composing lifetime, from the early success of Ernani (1844) to the maturity of Otello (1887). In these notes, I want to tell you what was in my mind as we recorded each aria, always asking 'why' he had chosen those notes, those instruments and those dynamics to create the atmosphere at the heart of the drama."

Zhang, who was born in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province, received vocal training at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music and graduated from the opera department of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 1989.

As a young student, she was chosen to perform with Placido Domingo, a famous Spanish tenor and conductor and this inspired her to pursue opera under Canadian soprano Phyllis Mailing at the Vancouver Academy of Music.

In 1997, she moved to London.

Besides her signature role as Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly, Zhang has won acclaim for her roles as Mimi in La Boheme and Gilda in Rigoletto at major opera houses.

Before Sempre Libera, Zhang released three albums under the Universal Music Group, including Schubert: Night and Dreams, in which she sings 18 romantic songs by Austrian composer Franz Schubert.

Now, as the head of the opera department of the Central Conservatory of Music, she believes that China offers many opportunities for opera singers.

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2018-09-17 07:40:48
<![CDATA[Hands-on Xinjiang feast]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/16/content_36923434.htm Editor's Note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

Is your image of Chinese food limited to thoughts of sweet and sour pork, squirrel fish, Kung Pao chicken and wanton or dumplings? Think again. China is home to 56 ethnic groups, and every one of them has a distinctive cuisine.

Let's visit Xinjiang, where the Uygurs celebrate life with great music and good food. Some of China's best-known folk songs were composed in Xinjiang, or inspired by its music, but the region's culinary secrets have been relatively undiscovered.

Lamb is a popular meat here and the food is halal. Oven-baked breads such as nang are stacked high on market stalls.

There are significant residual influences from the old Silk Road, and the most famous banquets here are based on a meat and rice dish reminiscent of the pilaf, pilau and biriyani of other Muslim communities.

This is shouzhuafan, or "rice eaten with the hands". Richly flavored spicy meats such as chicken or lamb are cooked with saffron-scented rice studded with onions and carrots. More fried onions, fresh coriander and raisins made from the famous Xinjiang grapes are added as garnishes.

On feast days and celebrations, this dish becomes the centerpiece for friends and family. A huge platter is placed in the middle of the picnic, and guests help themselves, sharing the dish.

The lamb, tender and fragrant, helps this dish stand out, but it is the carrots that make it truly special. Xinjiang carrots come in many vibrant colors, from deep, almost red, orange to a bright sunshine yellow. They are incredibly sweet, and a Xinjiang pilaf must have plenty of carrots mixed into the rice.

Another dish that is a unique signature to this region is the dapanji, a tomato-based spicy chicken stew cooked with lots of onions, bell peppers and potatoes. This is often served with nang, the round flatbreads the size of a large pizza.

Another highlight would be whole roasted lamb, simply marinated with salt and crushed spices and slowly cooked on a spit over an open fire.

Salads of freshly cut herbs, onions and tomatoes are served on the side, but in Xinjiang the table is always blessed with spectacular fruits.

Huge red jujubes the size of a baby's fist, honey-sweet white apricots that are bite-sized but full of flavor, soccer ball-sized juicy pomegranates that easily break open to expose their jewel-like seeds, and the grapes ...

Xinjiang grapes are legendary. There are the light green manai putao, so long and juicy that they are named after the horse's udder. There are golden sultanas, deep purple raisins and a lovely red grape that smells just like roses.

Eating out in Xinjiang would appeal to the adventurous.

Street-side snacks are sold in the bazaars, and their fragrance stops tourists in their tracks.

There are stuffed nang, or baozi, with the dough formed around spicy mutton and onions, and then baked. These savory buns full of meat and juices offer the hungry traveler instant gratification.

Xinjiang chuan'er, lamb skewers, are a standard feature in any bazaar. The aroma of cumin and fennel over the flames will set the gastric juices flowing. Stop for sticks of lamb belly, whole kidneys, intestines and tripe. They are all delicious.

Xinjiang cuisine deserves more recognition, and it is a cooking style that you will find hard to forget.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipe

Xinjiang lamb pilaf (shouzhuafan)

(Serves 4-6)

10-12 lamb chops

1 small tub unflavored yogurt

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, roasted

1-2 sticks cinnamon

20g saffron strands, soaked in 1 cup warm water

3 cups rice, soaked overnight

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 large carrots, sliced into batons

1 cup raisins

Chopped fresh coriander leaves

Salt

Marinate the meat: Place the lamb chops in a large ziplock bag and add the yogurt, curry powder and garam masala. Marinate for at least two hours, or overnight to tenderize the meat.

Heat up oil or butter in a large frying pan, add the cumin and cinnamon and the sliced onions. Cook the onions till some are caramelized but some are still translucent,

Add the carrots, followed by the drained rice. Stir-fry to mix the ingredients well.

Slowly add the saffron water and let the rice absorb it fully. Season the rice with salt.

Next, transfer the rice to a large pot to complete the cooking. Spread out the rice and carrots evenly, then place the lamb chops in one layer over the top. Sprinkle half the raisins over.

Cover tightly and cook for 45 minutes, occasionally sprinkling a little water over the rice to keep it from scorching. Not too much, just enough to dampen.

When the lamb chops are cooked, dish up on a large platter, arrange them on top and garnish with the rest of the raisins and chopped coriander. Some grated carrots over the dish will freshen it up.

Tomato and onion salad

6 tomatoes, about 500g

1 large onion

Fresh coriander

Slice the onion thickly and separate into rings, sprinkle salt over and set aside. Wash off the salt and drain well after 10 minutes.

Slice each tomato into six wedges. Plate the tomatoes and scatter the onion rings over. Sprinkle some sea salt over the salad and drizzle a little grape seed or olive oil.

Top with fresh chopped coriander leaves.

Big plate chicken stew (dapanji)

One chicken, about 1.5 kg

4-5 tomatoes

2 green bell peppers

2 red or yellow bell peppers

1 large onion, sliced into large wedges

2-3 large potatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon chili flakes

1 tablespoon cumin and fennel seeds

1 stick cinnamon

Salt and pepper

Sugar

Soy sauce

Wash the chicken well, removing all clots and entrails from its cavity. Trim off all visible fat and keep aside. Cut into half, then quarters. Then cut each quarter into two more pieces so you get generous chunks of chicken,

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside.

Prepare the vegetables. Cut the tomatoes and bell peppers into large wedges. Parboil and skin the potatoes, then cut them into wedges.

Heat up a large frying pan with oil and add the chicken fat. Allow it to render, then add the cinnamon stick, fennel and cumin seeds and roast until they start popping.

Add the onions and fry till fragrant.

Next, add the chicken pieces and fry over high heat to sear the meat and keep the juices in. Add tomato paste, chili flakes, soy sauce and enough water to cover the chicken pieces. Add the potato chunks. Allow to simmer and reduce as the chicken cooks.

Taste, and add a little sugar if the sauce is too tart. Add the bell peppers, stir-fry and mix them into the stew. Adding them last will preserve their color and crunch.

Serve on a large platter with a side salad and lots of flatbread to soak up the juices.

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2018-09-16 14:21:19
<![CDATA[Samplings from the fair]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/16/content_36923433.htm Books provide international readers with a variety of insights into Chinese policies, life thought and tradition

Some of the works in foreign languages unveiled at the Beijing International Book Fair include:

Fighting Corruption: How the Communist Party of China Works

Cengage and New World Press

 

Fighting Corruption: How the Communist Party of China Works by Cengage and New World Press. Provided to China Daily

The book follows the success of Why and How the CPC Works in China and Governing China: How the CPC Works in English markets, also by Xie Chuntao, professor of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, co-published by China New World Press and Cengage.

The book tells about the Party's endeavors to "combat corruption and build a clean government" in recent years after the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, covering topics such as anti-corruption views and planning, progress, penalties, supervision on the use of power and disciplinary inspections.

Last year, New World Press became one of the first Chinese publishers to set up overseas editorial offices with foreign publishers. It now has 10 offices in eight countries and regions.

China and the Global Governance series

China Intercontinental Press and Gale

Global peace, global energy security, foreign aid and the promotion of world human rights are among the 10 topics covered in the English version.

The books are written by a team consisting of distinguished diplomats, professors, researchers and corporate executives.

Gale's Paul Gazzolo says China is aware of the importance of talking about its experience with economic growth, of expressing its views on handling some of the world's pressing problems and of playing its role in achieving peace and bringing sustainable development to the world.

Chen Lujun, the president of Intercontinental, says China's efforts will include offering its wisdom and fostering a global governance system that is fair, reasonable and focused on benefits for everyone.

The press's publications are circulated in nearly 200 countries and regions. Over the past decade, it has been involved in selling about 700 Chinese copyrights overseas.

It set up an international publishers union of children's books during the book fair to promote more Chinese children's readers abroad.

Contemporary China series

Yilin Press and Arab Scientific Publishers

The two publishers are producing three titles in Arabic as a series: China Shield, The Modernization of the Chinese Economy, and Encyclopedia of the Peoples of China, presenting the vivid life scenes of China's different ethnic groups, as well as the latest achievements in economic growth and scientific progress.

Arab Scientific Publishers is based in Lebanon's capital, Beirut. Its president, Bassam Chebaro, says Lebanon is trying to revive its economy and is eager to learn from China.

Those reading the books will realize that China is achieving all-around development, he says.

"For the Arabic readers, these are unfamiliar but meaningful knowledge which will show that China is achieving all-around development," he says.

Studies on Contemporary Chinese Philosophy (1949-2009)

Brill and China Social Sciences Press

Brill was established in the Netherlands in 1683. Jasmin Lange of Brill says it has a long history of publishing Western scholars' works on China.

"But we think that the picture on China would not have been complete without Chinese scholars' work on China," she says.

The English version, written by Guo Qiyong, summarizes the development of philosophy studies and how traditional thoughts are adhered to and carried on.

The Basic Spirits of Chinese Culture

Zhonghua Book Co

Lou Yulie, author of The Chinese Character, presents 60 years of thought on the origins of Chinese culture in this book, a national book award winner last year. Rights to Arabic, Polish, Turkish and Vietnamese versions were sold during the book fair.

Classics in Rhythm and Rhyme: The Beauty of Chinese Poetry

People's Literature Publishing House

The book contains 30 of the most-loved ancient poems in China with explanations, and 10 more for extended reading. The book is audible by scanning the QR code and also has virtual reality video clips. It will be published in seven languages, including Korean, Polish and Russian.

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2018-09-16 14:21:19
<![CDATA[In 10 volumes, 5,000 years of pure silk]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/16/content_36923432.htm Silk is the most important creation from ancient China, one that has been passed down over 5,000 years, says Zhao Feng, a silk expert and director of the National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

"To protect and preserve relics, we can try to be comprehensive with new ways of sourcing and reutilizing techniques for modern-day use."

Zhao has studied silk for almost 40 years, so any new discoveries, no matter how trivial, are sure to delight him.

 

Ornamental patterns from ancient Chinese textiles. Photos Provided to China Daily

In 2013, Zhao set out with a team of scholars from more than 10 universities on a national project to collect silk patterns, and these are brought together in the 10-volume Ornamental Patterns From Ancient Chinese Textiles, published by Zhejiang University Press, which was unveiled at the Beijing International Book Fair recently.

"To choose the patterns that are highly representative, we went to the actual historical pieces, and they are scattered in different places, which made things more difficult," Zhao says.

The series is authoritative and replete with explanations about the origin of silk pieces, as well as anecdotes.

The editors write: "It shows the beauty of ancient silk design, based on restoration through modern technologies and the professional interpretation of first-class experts, and presents traditional Chinese crafts such as weaving, printing, dyeing and embroidery."

The 10 volumes also deal with silk from dynasties stretching from the Western Han (206 BC-AD 24) to the Yuan (1271-1368), embroidered accessories, mounting silk (as in mounting a picture, framing something, or binding a book), ethnic clothing, monochrome woven silks, polychrome silks, velvets and carpets, and painted images.

Yang Zhishui, a culture expert, says the series provides a grand database from various perspectives and offers not only a history of silk and of art, but also information about ancient Chinese society and literature.

The books recount how the Qin and Han dynasties valued Taoism - so many cloud and cloudlike animals are featured in patterns - and how Western images such as peacocks, elephants and camels began to appear on Chinese silk between the fifth and ninth centuries.

"Patterns travel," says Lu Jiande, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"Patterns show the interaction of different civilizations and their fluidity, and some very foreign designs we found from ancient times were actually very native ones."

That probably explains why Russian, French and Arabic publishers are keen to publish translations of the series.

The sericulture and silk artisanship of China are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and President Xi Jinping is quoted as saying in May last year: "The ancient silk routes, spanning thousands of kilometers and years, embody the spirit of peace and collaboration, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. The Silk Road spirit has become a great heritage of human civilization."

The seriousness with which Zhao and his team went about their task is evident throughout the 10 volumes.

"The pictures are all scanned and restored as vector graphics, which means they will be easy for any designers to pick up and redesign," Zhao says.

"These standard Chinese patterns from our ancestors will increase our cultural creativity. At least we won't be looking at the wrong patterns for reference."

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2018-09-16 14:21:19
<![CDATA[Stronger legal measures urged to combat sexual harassment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/16/content_36923431.htm Online discussions about sexual misconduct have increased in China, with allegations surfacing against prominent men in media, academic, charity, religious and corporate circles over the past few weeks.

At least one case is now part of a broader Chinese police investigation.

The government has included a provision on sexual harassment in the workplace in a civil code draft that was presented to the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Aug 27, according to Xinhua News Agency. The draft guideline asks employers to take steps to prevent harassment and heed complaints.

China Daily's recent interviews with 12 people - six female university students, three male university students, a teacher, a social worker and a lawyer, who live in Beijing, elsewhere on the Chinese mainland and in the United States - indicate a rising awareness in China of sexual harassment, abuse and assault, aided by an engaged social media.

All six female students interviewed said they had faced some form of sexual harassment. One alleged she had been assaulted by an older male relative.

The social worker and lawyer called for stronger legal measures to combat sexual harassment.

While rape cases are prosecuted under the Criminal Law, harassment is often viewed through the prism of administrative regulations, mainly related to labor disputes.

The three male students interviewed said young men in China seem to have a better grasp of gender equality than men from earlier generations.

The interviewees were unanimous that sexual misconduct is ultimately about power structures - whether on university campuses or in the workplace.

In July, Beijing Qianqian Law Firm witnessed an increase in the number of women seeking advice on sexual harassment. Set up in 1995, it has handled an average of 10 sexual assault and harassment cases a year, with most related to rape.

Lyu Xiaoquan, its executive director, says female university students and women from research institutions have visited the company recently, saying they have faced harassment.

He says the company, which also provides a pro bono service, counsels victims step-by-step on how to proceed with harassment cases.

But the task has not been easy because, unlike rape - which falls under the Criminal Law and has prison sentences ranging from three to 10 years and sometimes beyond, depending on the severity of the crime - sexual harassment is not governed by a stand-alone law.

Lyu points to the special administrative regulations for the protection of female workers and the Women's Rights Protection Act as two documents that refer to harassment.

The special regulations, which took effect in 2012 and were formulated by the State Council, China's Cabinet, stipulate that organizations "shall prevent sexual harassment of female workers", and the Women's Act of 2005 states that women can report harassment to "relevant institutions".

"Apart from labor arbitration, 'loss of dignity' is the other ground for filing cases related to sexual harassment," Lyu says.

"We want a separate law for sexual harassment, but before that we need to settle questions such as 'what is the definition of sexual harassment?' and 'what purpose would such a law serve?'" he adds.

Li Dan, a women's rights campaigner and director of a nongovernmental organization in Beijing, favors more legal clarity on the subject of sexual harassment and publicity surrounding it.

Citing the example of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which took effect in 2015, he says many survivors and some police stations still do not know about it.

"Even if the victims want help, few know what to do," Li says.

Apart from students, female factory workers are very vulnerable to sexual harassment, according to earlier surveys by labor organizations in Guangdong province.

After allegations of sexual misconduct were made in the past three months or so against relatively high-profile individuals - who have denied any wrongdoing - online discussions on the topic have escalated. Even so, such discussions are largely confined to the media, students and activists, Li says.

According to Sina Weibo user "Bu Lang Fen Zi", sexual harassment ought to be included in a legal framework, and the opportunity provided by the discussions should be used to promote legislative enforcement. Otherwise, the bravery of those who experience it will not bear fruit.

Chang Jiang, an associate professor at Tsinghua University, created the #I'llBeYourVoice hashtag on Sina Weibo in late July, and was soon flooded by responses.

Chang says more than 600 people, the vast majority of them women, shared stories of sexual misconduct through private messages to him that week.

He redacted the Sina Weibo "handles" of those whose messages he reposted on his public page. All such posts were either from victims or those who knew victims. His page was viewed a million times on Aug 1 alone.

Sexual misconduct is a universal problem and no country can claim to be free of it, with variations only in degree.

In the Chinese context, social media have been at the forefront of the battle against it.

Chang says that, among the messages he received on Sina Weibo in late July, the main groups were female college students or young graduates who had experienced sexual harassment, women who were born or grew up in rural areas and alleged that they had suffered sexual abuse or assault, and "real-name whistleblowers" who accused specific people of misconduct.

"It was heartbreaking, especially when I read the stories from the girls in the countryside," says Chang, 36, who teaches journalism and communication at the university in Beijing. "This is something so dark that I never imagined (existed) before."

In a culturally conservative society such as China's, such campaigns can help eliminate "a sense of shame" that victims of assault, abuse and harassment might feel, he adds.

The six female university students interviewed say the online discussions empower women as well as men to break the invisible code of silence.

The majority wanted to remain anonymous when talking to China Daily about their ordeals, but most described the women who identified themselves on social media while sharing similar stories as "brave". One interviewee said it was easier for influential women to come forward than for other women.

It took years for some Hollywood actresses to go public with accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

"It is a kind of reform to promote gender equality and awareness," says a 22-year-old female student from Beijing Foreign Studies University, of the wider online engagement over the subject in China.

"My friends and I have experienced different kinds of sexual harassment in public. And such things have cast a shadow in our hearts," says the student of Chinese, adding that gender discrimination is a root cause.

Shi Hanjin, a Chinese student who attends college in Los Angeles, says she has yet to encounter any woman who has not felt sexually harassed, but that through sharing stories women find out that they are not alone.

"I have met male strangers who have stared at me or tried to grope me in public, both in Guangzhou (the capital of Guangdong province) and here in LA," Shi says.

Three other f