[VIDEO] Flying Over Beijing: What Does it Look Like When Most of the Population of a Vast Metropolis Sets Off Fireworks at Once?Posted: February 28, 2015
What does it look like when most of the population of a vast metropolis sets off fireworks at once? YouTube contributor Parelius was flying into Beijing at midnight last week on Chinese New Year and captured this awesome footage of his view through his window on the plane: fireworks, both large and small, going off all over the city. It’s such a dazzling sight, we feel like we should be holding sparklers while watching.
Chinese Tycoon Wang Jianlin Blames ‘Western Schooling’ for Son’s Comments About Wanting a Girlfriend With Big BoobsPosted: February 25, 2015
Wang Jianlin blames Western education for his son’s controversial remark that potential girlfriends needed to be “buxom”
Wang, one of the richest men in China, used an interview on state television on Tuesday evening to publicly defend his son, whose remark caused a furore on social media and led to condemnation by a state news agency. He also said he preferred to stay away from politics and said businessmen should “refrain from bribes”.
Wang said his son, Wang Sicong , had spent years studying overseas and had got into the habit of speaking whatever was on his mind.
The younger Wang was lambasted after making the remark on Valentine’s Day, with the state-run news agency Xinhua publishing a 1,287-word commentary condemning his remarks.
His father, who runs a property and cinema empire, said he was always ready to “take a hint” from others and not “speak carelessly”, but his son was more direct and had not learnt Chinese subtlety.
“He is smart. He went overseas to study at grade one and he has a Western-style of thinking,” said Wang.
“Maybe after spending five or eight years in China, he will truly become Chinese.”
Wang Sicong, a board member of his father’s Wanda Group and the chairman of the private investment firm Prometheus Capital, is well-known for his outspoken comments on social media.
He made his latest eyebrow-raising remark after helping to raise more than 500,000 yuan (HK$630,000) for charity by auctioning the chance for a member of the public to watch a film with him.
The senior Wang said he wanted his son to succeed in his own right in business, but would give him only two opportunities. “The third time he fails, he comes to work at Wanda,” he said.
The tycoon’s comments appeared to question Western customs and values, echoing remarks by government officials in recent months.
Originally posted on RocketNews24:
Take a look at this picture. At first glance, it looks like a miniature diorama of a city street, with little cars, little street lights, little people… But it’s all so beautifully detailed, it can’t be just a replica right? What sorcery is this?!
Join us after the jump to see more of this amazing photography magic and cute miniature cityscapes by French artist Harold de Puymorin.
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Driven by the Spring Festival period, one of the golden times for Chinese productions, China’s domestic movies are gaining more momentum
The Chinese New Year is approaching an end, but the country’s movie industry boom seems to have just begun, thanks to record high box-office sales during the New Year holiday.
Statistics show that across the country there were over nine million Chinese going to the movies during that period. On the first day of the Spring Festival, there was a record high intake of 356 million yuan or about $57 million at the box office. That’s about 44 percent up on the same day last year.
Even on New Year’s Eve, a time traditionally devoted to family reunions, home banquets and the grand CCTV gala, Chinese moviegoers still spent 21 million yuan ($3.5 mln) in the country’s cinemas.
By Sunday, box offices for the Spring Festival holiday reached 924 million yuan ($154 mln), a 42.15% increase from last year. Industry experts say that China’s movie market is expected to gross nearly 2 billion yuan ($300 mln) during the period.
There were 7 new movies released on the first day of the Chinese New Year, which could be one reason for the high sales.
The costume action movie “Dragon Blade” starring Chinese Kungfu star Jackie Chan leads the box office charts, creating about one third of the total income. It’s followed by Chow Yun-Fat’s family comedy “The Man from Macao II” and fantasy adventure “Zhongkui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal”.
Rao Shuguang, the secretary-general of the China Film Association, says the recorded growth is also partly to do with the increased number of screens across the country, now at over 24,900.
Driven by the Spring Festival period, one of the golden times for Chinese productions, China’s domestic movies are gaining more momentum. Last year, Chinese domestic box-office revenue hit $4.7 billion, ranking the second largest in the world. Made-in-China movies accounted for 55 percent of the total. Read the rest of this entry »
Hong Kong in many ways continues to act as a fine example for other countries who aspire to be economically free, its foothold on the No. 1 spot is slipping…
Ed Feulner writes: It’s good to be No. 1. But as any former champ will tell you, you have to avoid becoming complacent if you want to stay ahead of the pack. First-place finishes aren’t guaranteed, just ask Hong Kong.
Every year since 1995, the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal have measured the state of economic freedom in the world. We go country by country, poring over the details of who’s up, who’s down, and who’s treading water. Through all the changes we’ve charted, one thing hasn’t changed: Hong Kong takes the top slot.
“To see what Hong Kong does right, consider business licenses. Obtaining one there requires filling out a single form, and the process can be completed in a few hours. In many other countries, it’s more complicated and can take much longer. Bureaucracy, inefficiency and even corruption abound.”
“As the economic and financial gateway to China, and with an efficient regulatory framework, low and simple taxation, and sophisticated capital markets, the territory continues to offer the most convenient platform for international companies doing business on the mainland,” write the editors of the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom.
To see what Hong Kong does right, consider business licenses. Obtaining one there requires filling out a single form, and the process can be completed in a few hours. In many other countries, it’s more complicated and can take much longer. Bureaucracy, inefficiency and even corruption abound.
“As the economic and financial gateway to China, and with an efficient regulatory framework, low and simple taxation, and sophisticated capital markets, the territory continues to offer the most convenient platform for international companies doing business on the mainland.”
But while Hong Kong in many ways continues to act as a fine example for other countries who aspire to be economically free, its foothold on the No. 1 spot is slipping. Singapore, the perennial No. 2 finisher, has seen the gap between it and Hong Kong steadily narrow in recent years. Only two-tenths of a point (on a scale of 1-100) separate its Index score from Hong Kong’s.
In short, they’re virtually tied. And it’s worth noting that Singapore’s Index score is unchanged this year, which means Hong Kong has only itself to blame for coming within a hair’s breadth of losing the top slot. The question is, why? Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on RocketNews24:
Apple Stores are always painstakingly designed, but the Cupertino company’s latest efforts in China take it to a whole new level. Cult Of Mac has published photos of Apple’s latest store, located in Hangzhou. Its defined by its huge glass facade, and minimalist staircases.
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Originally posted on RocketNews24:
Imagine this. You’re at a fireworks festival with almost one million people in attendance. Everyone is scrambling for a place to sit and stampeding for the exit when it’s over. In between standing in line for a tasty treat and being dazzled by the fireworks spectacle, you realize something terrible. You’ve lost your wallet. Now what?
In Japan, you just go to the nearest police box, or koban! In 2014 alone, a stunning amount of cash and lost possessions was turned into police stations around Tokyo. In cash alone, over 3.3 billion yen was turned in. That’s a whopping US$27.8 million picked up and taken to the authorities. Could that happen anywhere else in the world?
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The spat began earlier this month, when director Feng Xiaogang lambasted the popularity of a spate of recent Chinese movies based on popular reality television shows
Lilian Lin reports: An unusual public spat between a famous director and the Communist party’s main propaganda arm is shining a light on the state of pop culture in China.
The spat began earlier this month, when director Feng Xiaogang lambasted the popularity of a spate of recent Chinese movies based on popular reality television shows. Such movies, he said on a local television program, are “shot in five or six days” yet make quick money. That hurts genuine filmmaking, he argued, because it draws investor money away from more serious movies.
The apparent target of his criticism was a new film called “Running Man,” which is based on a popular reality show of the same name. The TV show, which is based on a South Korean program and is similar to “The Amazing Race” series in the U.S., pits celebrities against each other in random tasks. (The losers face indignities such as being flung into a swimming pool.) The movie, which has a similar plot, has taken in over 400 million yuan ($64 million) in ticket sales after only two weeks, according to the local film research company EntGroup.
“Is film censorship really based on rule of law and letting the market call the shots? Of course not.”
– Zou Xiaowu, marketing director of theater chain Dadi Cinema
Another movie based on a hit Chinese reality show, “Dad, Where Are We Going?,” took in nearly 700 million yuan and was the country’s third highest-grossing domestic film last year.
Mr. Feng himself made his name initially with light-hearted comedic films that became major box office successes. But in recent years he has turned to more serious films, including 2010’s “Aftershock,” about a deadly 1976 earthquake, and “Back to 1942,” a 2012 film about a famine that killed up to three million people.
“The films that really should be criticized are those films that put people to sleep. At least ‘Running Man’ is logical.”
– Wang Zhengyu, a producer of “Running Man”
His critique of the new reality TV movies is a familiar one, and not just inside China. (A spokesman said Mr. Feng didn’t have more to add.) But the counterargument came from a surprising source: The People’s Daily newspaper.
In an editorial last week, the Communist party’s main newspaper said the films are “the choice of audiences and the market.” The challenge for filmmakers like Mr. Feng, it said, is to “complain less but make more good films.”
A separate, later editorial on the paper’s Weibo social-media account suggested such criticism is hypocritical. “Directors of commercial films looking down upon variety show film is kind of like a crow accusing a pig of being black,” it said. Read the rest of this entry »
Sales Increase for Pricey Undergarments as Government Discourages Conspicuous Consumption
Laurie Burkitt and Alyssa Abkowitz report: Call it inconspicuous consumption. Lingerie stores in China are seeing strong sales of $300 bras and other pricey skivvies, defying a broad drop in luxury sales in the vast Chinese market. Italian lingerie maker La Perla—which once struggled to sell $2,000 strapless bustiers and other high-end undergarments in the region—saw sales at its 14 stores in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan jump 42% last year. Last month, La Perla opened a Shanghai men’s boutique, selling $200 silk boxers and $3,000 silk robes.
“I don’t want to overdress. But I don’t mind spending more than 1,000 yuan for a bra.”
– Ms. Zu, who works in pharmaceutical sourcing
Agent Provocateur, a London high-end lingerie company, said sales at the company’s four China boutiques are at least 25% above expectations. An Agent Provocateur saleswoman in a high-end Beijing mall said best sellers include a sheer bra with white-scallop details priced at 1,475 yuan, or about $240, and a 1,940 yuan lacy black bra.
Consumers like Zu Yujing, a 30-year-old from the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, say spending on luxury clothing for the office or leisure is too ostentatious. But Ms. Zu splurges on custom-made pieces at a Beijing-based lingerie shop called Pillowbook, where she spent about 4,000 yuan on her last shopping spree.
“I don’t want to overdress,” said Ms. Zu, who works in pharmaceutical sourcing. “But I don’t mind spending more than 1,000 yuan for a bra.”
Chinese consumers—famous for their appetite for designer bags and gold-plated iPhone cases—are now shying away from flashy logos and displays of wealth as a government austerity campaign shames officials who buy them. Sales of luxury goods, which include glitzy jewelry and couture, were down 1% last year in China, according to consulting firm Bain & Co.
But many Chinese appear to be flaunting their wealth under their clothes. Read the rest of this entry »
Officials in Hong Kong and Beijing fear that the unfettered freedom to discuss such topics in Hong Kong’s classrooms has helped breed a generation of unruly and unpatriotic youths
HONG KONG—Isabella Steger writes: High-school students in this city’s mandatory liberal studies class tackle issues that are strictly taboo in mainland Chinese schools—press freedom, civil disobedience and the rule of law.
“The biggest impact of liberal studies is that it encourages students to be much more aware of current affairs,” said Lo Yat-ko, a 30-year-old liberal studies teacher.
“In Hong Kong, we teach critical thinking, not like in China where they teach by indoctrination and memorizing”
— Ng Shun-wing, Hong Kong Institute of Education
That has become a big problem for some officials in Hong Kong and Beijing, who fear that the unfettered freedom to discuss such topics in Hong Kong’s classrooms has helped breed a generation of unruly and unpatriotic youths, and helped inspire the so-called Occupy pro-democracy protests that shook this semiautonomous Chinese city for 10 weeks late last year.
Excerpt: Lessons in Liberal Studies
In the aftermath of those student-led protests, an education debate is once again brewing in Hong Kong. In November, the city’s Education Bureau launched a three-month review of the city’s school curriculum, the results of which will be announced in July.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in his annual policy address last month that the government would change the current high-school curriculum, with an aim to “reinforce students’ interest in and understanding of Chinese history and culture.” Mr. Leung said the government will also subsidize students to participate in exchange programs with schools on the mainland.
His comments come two years after the Hong Kong government, at Beijing’s behest, attempted to introduce mandatory patriotic education in the city’s schools, drawing accusations of indoctrination and sparking widespread demonstrations that forced the government to back down.
The latest curriculum review risks reigniting a new round of protests, but the government’s resolve for an overhaul appears to have deepened. Hong Kong and Beijing officials have grown more outspoken over school subjects, such as liberal studies, that address controversial topics and emphasize critical analysis.
Excerpt 2: Lessons in Liberal Studies
Such topics and teaching methods are off-limits in mainland Chinese schools, which place a more traditional emphasis on rote learning and shun current events that are sensitive to the Communist Party.
Chen Zuoer, former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said last month that Hong Kong youth needed to have their thinking “repaired” as they have been “brainwashed.”
The problems in Hong Kong’s education system “have now become the seeds of bitter melons and poisonous beans,” said Mr. Chen at a seminar held by a think tank in Beijing, adding that some protesters who were “babies during the handover were…waving the British flag.”
Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and has since operated under a separate political system that grants residents far greater freedoms than their mainland counterparts. But some people in the city worry that those freedoms are eroding. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Like a beam of incorruptible sunlight, touching our hearts’
Josh Chin and Chun Han Wong report: When China is truly proud of something, it writes a song. During the Cultural Revolution, the oil workers who helped turn China into a crude exporter got their own song. More recently, China’s aircraft carrier and the relationship between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife have been lauded with jingles.
This week, China’s Internet censors got their own musical tribute — or, rather, they wrote one for themselves.
According to a report posted Thursday to the website of the state-run China Youth Daily, the Cyberspace Administration of China choral group this week unveiled a new song, “Cyberspace Spirit,” glorifying the cleanliness and clarity of China’s uniquely managed Internet.
The song, an orchestral march built around a chorus that proclaims China’s ambition to become an “Internet power,” opens with lyrics describing celestial bodies keeping careful watch over the sky. From there, the lyrics conjure more vivid imagery, comparing the Internet to “a beam of incorruptible sunlight” that unites “the powers of life from all creation.”
The Cyberspace Administration of China is the government agency in charge of managing the country’s Internet, including the complex filtering system known as the Great Firewall.
Recently, the government has grown bolder in advocating China’s brand of Internet management. In November, it hosted a World Internet Conference in the eastern canal town of Wuzhen, where Lu Wei, the minister in charge of CAC, promoted the need for rules on the Internet. A few months later, another official surprised some by openly praising China’s censorship system for helping foster Chinese tech companies….(read more)
Below is China Real Time’s rough translation of the lyrics:
在这片天空日月忠诚的守望 Keeping faithful watch under this sky, the Sun and the Moon
为日出东方使命担当 Undertaking this mission for the break of dawn [in the East]
创新每个日子拥抱着清朗 Creating, embracing everyday clarity and brightness
像一束廉洁阳光感动在心上 Like a beam of incorruptible sunlight, touching our hearts
团结万物生长的力量 Uniting the powers of life from all creation
奉献地球村成为最美的风光 Offerings to the global village become the most beautiful of scenery
网络强国 网在哪光荣梦想在哪 Internet Power! The Web is where glorious dreams are
网络强国 从遥远的宇宙到思念的家 Internet Power! From the distant cosmos to the home we long for
网络强国 告诉世界中国梦在崛起大中华 Internet Power! Tell the world that the China Dream is lifting Greater China to prominence
网络强国 一个我在世界代表着国家 Internet Power! One self represents the nation to the world
在这个世界百川忠诚寻归海洋 In this world, all rivers loyally seek to return to the sea
担当中华文明的丈量 Bearing the measure of Chinese civilization
五千年沉淀点亮创新思想 5,000 years settle and give light to creative new thinking
廉洁就是一个民族清澈荡漾 Incorruptibility is the clear rippling of a nation
我们团结在天地中央 We unite at the center of Heaven and Earth Read the rest of this entry »
Cho’s behavior, dubbed ‘nut rage’, caused an uproar in South Korea. The incident touched a nerve in a country where the economy is dominated by family-run conglomerates known as chaebol that often act above the law.
(SEOUL) — A Seoul court on Thursday sentenced a former Korean Air executive to a year in prison for aviation law violations that stemmed from her inflight tantrum over how she was served macadamia nuts.
“I know my faults and I’m very sorry.”
– Cho said in her letter
The court said Cho Hyun-ah was guilty of forcing a flight to change its route and two other charges.
Cho, the daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, achieved worldwide notoriety after she ordered the chief flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight, forcing it to return to the gate at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
She was angered she had been offered macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a dish and had a heated confrontation with members of the cabin crew.
The court also found Cho guilty of obstructing the flight’s captain in the performance of his duties and forcing a crew member off a plane. It found her not guilty of interfering with a transport ministry investigation into the incident. Read the rest of this entry »
Smile and give them a pen
kamenoblog shares this language insight:
Last night my Cantonese professor taught my class how to politely refuse someone.
Instead of directly saying no, Cantonese speakers can give a subtle hint by giving an unwanted suitor a pen.
The words for “pen” and “no” sound similar in Cantonese. However, both words use different traditional Chinese characters:
筆 means “pen”
不是 (“bat si”/”m hai”) means “no”
Source: Milk Tea & Pudding
Originally posted on Quartz:
Tesla isn’t faring so well in China. Today, its vice president of communications in China, June Jin, left the company after less than a year. Jin’s departure comes after the president of Tesla’s China operation, Venus Wu, quit abruptly in December.
The company has run into a range of problems in China, from concerns over the number of charging stations available to government efforts to bolster home-grown car companies. Tesla has exported only 3,500 cars to China, below its goal of 5,000, and the company said it saw “unexpectedly weak” sales in the country in the fourth quarter.
The departure of Tesla’s top communications executive in China might have something to do with the company’s difficulties in marketing itself to China’s wealthy families. Tesla is seen as the toy of choice for wealthy, technology-obsessed drivers, but lacks the flashy prestige that comes with a Mercedes, BMW, or Audi, let alone a Ferrari or Lamborghini.
Tesla owner Chen Zhong, a marketing officer at an online media…
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Originally posted on TIME:
When Magnum photographer Martin Parr went to lecture at China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2007, he met one part of the photographic duo WassinkLundgren – Dutch photographer Ruben Lundgren, who was then a graduate student at the university. The two ended up strolling through the streets of Panjiayuan, the famous 12-acre antique market in Beijing, where they found a few books with propaganda images published by the new Communist China in 1950s.
From that walk, a relationship around Chinese photobooks was born. At the time, Parr, a collector and co-author of The Photobook: A history, Vol. I, II and III, had only a few Chinese books shortlisted in his survey of the phenomenal rise of photobook publishing. With Lundgren’s help, Parr was able to expand his collection. “You know, when you have something nice in your hand, you buy it,” Lundgren tells TIME.
Years of efforts have…
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Police Raid Cartoonist’s Office
“They’re trying to keep me quiet. If I was here at the time, I’m sure they would have arrested me, too.”
– Cartoonist Zulkiflee ‘Zunar‘ Anwar Ulhaque
KUALA LUMPUR — James Hookway reports: Malaysian cartoonist Zunar’s doodlings aren’t much of a joke for the country’s rulers.
For years, he has poked fun at figures of authority, including Prime Minister Najib Razak and former premier Mahathir Mohamad, becoming part of the cultural landscape in the process. His cartoons have been collected in a series of books and are featured on the country’s most popular Internet news sites. The latest collection focuses on the long-running sodomy trials involving opposition champion Anwar Ibrahim, for which the final verdict is due Feb. 10.
“I started out with too many words. There was too much going on. Now, I try and just use a drawing, and the simpler the better. If people get the message, then they like it, like they are in on a secret.”
Last week, though, with tension in the country mounting ahead of the decision, police raided the cartoonist’s office in a nondescript business park in Kuala Lumpur’s suburbs and seized 149 of his books to assess whether Mr. Zunar should be added to the list of Malaysians to be prosecuted for sedition. Broadly defined, sedition criminalizes speech that could incite contempt toward the government or inflame hostility between the various ethnic groups in the country.
“They’re trying to keep me quiet,” said the grizzled, 51-year-old Mr. Zunar, whose full name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque. “If I was here at the time, I’m sure they would have arrested me, too.” He was in England when the raid occurred, but is now back at home.
Police officials declined to comment on the investigation.
“The Malaysian government condemned the attack on Charlie Hebdo. But what are they doing here? They are trying to shut me down.”
Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, is Malaysia’s leading political cartoonist. He takes The Wall Street Journal through the evolution of his craft.
That Malaysian authorities are investigating Mr. Zunar at all speaks volumes about how tensions are running high in the run-up to the Anwar verdict.
His newest book, “The Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar,” spans the entire sodomy saga. It starts in 1998, when the goateed, bespectacled Mr. Anwar, now 67, was fired as deputy prime minister after challenging Dr. Mahathir’s leadership. Mr. Zunar sketches his way through the opposition leader’s first sodomy trial and the six years he spent in prison until his conviction was overturned in 2004, before turning his pen to the current case, which began in 2008.
Now, as before, Mr. Anwar denies allegations, which were made by a male former aide. The government denies Mr. Anwar’s claim that the charges were orchestrated against him. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on TIME:
When Islamist fanatics threatened to murder two Japanese hostages in Syria last month, a rescue mission was one option that Tokyo did not have.
Under the country’s war-renouncing constitution, Japanese troops are not permitted to use force overseas. But if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has his way, that could change soon. And with it, Japan’s 70-year commitment to strict pacifism.
Abe said last week that he plans to introduce legislation to end restrictions limiting Japanese troops to overseas missions that don’t require the use of weapons (such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and limited types of peacekeeping).
Those restrictions effectively took away the option of using elite military forces to try to free the two captives – troubled adventurer Haruna Yukawa and experienced freelance journalist Kenji Goto. Videotapes purporting to show the men’s beheaded bodies were released by ISIS after attempts to negotiate their release failed.
The apparent killings…
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