The Lion Awakes
Daily News, Culture & Current Affairs about China
Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007
"I highly recommend ChinesePod, I haven't found any Online teaching programmes that come close."
Giant rabbit lanterns with other lantern decorations are seen at Xinlei Park of Puyang City, Central China's Henan province, Feb 4, 2011 during the Chinese Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year began on February 3 and marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit, according to the Chinese zodiac.
Railways carry 77m passengers in 15 days before festival
BEIJING - China's railways transported about 77.34 million passengers during the fifteen days (Jan 19 to Feb 2) before the Spring Festival, the Ministry of Railways said.
Train passengers are seen outside Chengdu Railway Station in Chengdu city, Southwest China's Sichuan province.
CNOOC pays $570m to buy into US oil shale operation
NEW YORK - China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) Ltd, China's largest offshore energy producer, agreed to pay $570 million in cash for a one-third stake in Chesapeake Energy Corp's Niobrara shale project, adding to its US holdings in crude oil production.
China's manufacturing growth slows in January amid tightening measures
Growth in China's manufacturing sector slowed in January amid the government's efforts to cool price pressures, a key index released Tuesday showed.
China's manufacturing sector purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to a five-month low of 52.9 percent in January, compared with 53.9 percent in December, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Tuesday.
The January figure means the benchmark index for economic expansion has remained above the boom-or-bust line of 50 percent for 23 consecutive months.
'Empire' shines for Lunar New Year - VIDEO
The Empire State Building in New York lit up its tower red and gold to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year on Feb 2 and 3.
Since 2001, an annual lighting ceremony of the Empire State Building for the Chinese Lunar New Year has been held as a tradition.
Chinese New Year
The Year of the Rabbit
Famille Rose: something novel, something subtle
When western explorers first made contact with the Chinese, they returned with word of many fascinating art forms, products, and innovations. One of these art forms was Chinese porcelain, which subsequently became known as what else - china. The making of china is an art that goes back centuries in China, and it is one that evolved with the various dynasties that make up Chinese history. Over the years, the type of glazing and enamel applied to China changed as new designs and colors became fashionable.
It also became common for designs originating in China to become widely popular in Europe. In fact, many Chinese porcelain innovations were trend setters for the European markets. One of these innovations was the color "family" known as Famille Verte. But European influences can also be found to have influenced Chinese designs; this is the case with the color family and designs associated with Famille Rose.
Relics of the Tang Dynasty
On the Relics of the Tang Dynasty – the Exhibition of the Hoarded Classic Excavations from Hejiacun village opened at Shannxi Historic Museum, over 300 selected hoarded excavations from Hejiacun village were displayed, including the Gilded Ox Head Agate Cup, the Gold-decorated Handled Silver Pot with the Pattern of Parrots, the Gold-decorated Silver Kettle with the Pattern of a Dancing Horse and the Gold Bowl with the Pattern of Mandarin Ducks and Lotus Petals. For more than half of these items, this show marked their debut.
The Gilded Jade Armlet
Literally meaning "sun and moon in heart" in Tibetan, Shangri-la, an ideal home only found in heaven, is located at the meeting point of Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan.
- The Forbidden City
- Experiencing Japan
- Portraying China
- The seven sages in the bamboo grove
- The Story of Wu
A BRIEF HISTORY
What will Year of the Rabbit bring?
For Chinese people, the New Year doesn't officially start until after the Spring Festival. In two days, the year of the Rabbit will kick off. An event-laden January may cast some predictions for the year ahead.
The frozen rain in the South and drought in the North suggest natural disasters will continue to be the biggest challenge to China. The No. 1 Central document has outlined a timetable for water control. The central government released tighter measures to tame the property market, including levying a property tax in Shanghai and Chongqing.
Tests for the government will also be controlling inflation and reducing Beijing's clogged-up roads.
Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the US in January, signing a joint statement framing the bilateral relationship as a cooperative partnership and reversing the 2010 downward trend in bilateral relations, giving hope for growth this year.
A year ago, China became the world's second largest economy, a title that has not translated into effective comparative might. In coping with challenges from natural disasters to reducing misunderstandings held by the outside world, China appears to be scrambling for solutions.
China is far from an ideal state. We should both avoid overreaching and an inferiority complex. In the year of the Rabbit, domestic and diplomatic conflict will most likely still happen. As long as China's development is not disrupted, we have reasons to believe this year will be a positive one.
There are several major tasks that the government should try to score points on. Securing a good agricultural harvest and ensuring the upgrading of the irrigation system are high on the list. In addition, there should be immediate efforts to control inflation and the property market. With a positive start of the Sino-US relationship, this year should see fewer diplomatic troubles.
In this year, perhaps every one of us should reflect. China is much stronger than before, however, what makes us feel vulnerable so often? We are leading better lives, yet we are seemingly less happy. We hold higher hopes for the country's future, but it should not become an unpractical goal.
China will continue to be scrutinized in this year. It will not be an easy task. If faced with uncertainty, let us face it with hope.
Color revolutions will not bring about real democracy
In a sense, democracy means to convey all grass-roots sentiment to the government level, but many existing governments do not do this. The more extreme elements exist in a society, the harder it is for a government to maintain a reasonable line. The Middle East is the region where beliefs and viewpoints clash most with the Western world view. Hence, Western countries support non-democratic governments who play into their hands.
Most Western democracies matured over a long period. Japan and South Korea, though implanted democracies, have to pay the price of accepting foreign armies on their territory. Some other countries have had an even tougher time in adopting a democratic system.
In general, democracy has a strong appeal because of the successful models in the West. But whether the system is applicable in other countries is in question, as more and more unsuccessful examples arise.
In the West, democracy is not only a political system, but a way of life. Yet some emerging democracies in Asia and Africa are taking hit after hit from street-level clamor.
Democracy is still far away for Tunisia and Egypt. The success of a democracy takes concrete foundations in economy, education and social issues.
As a general concept, democracy has been accepted by most people. But when it comes to political systems, the Western model is only one of a few options. It takes time and effort to apply democracy to different countries, and to do so without the turmoil of revolution.
A 30 Minute Current Affairs Programme on CCTV - 9 (In English) where current issues are discussed by experts from China and Internationally:
See Also - The New York Times 31/1/2011
China Might Force Visits to Mom and Dad
Under a proposal from the Civil Affairs Ministry, adult children would be required by law to regularly visit their elderly parents. If they do not, parents can sue them.
Kaixin OpEd – ‘Once ensconced in intimate neighborhoods of courtyard houses and small lanes and surrounded by relatives and acquaintances, older people in China are increasingly moving into lonely high-rises and feeling forgotten, he said.’
Welcome to the west!
This proposed law is founded in compassion but will be dashed on the rocks of reality.
Xiaosui and our friends in China agree that the elderly are being forgotten, however a law will not address the issue. It will take either a change of attitude or the revival of the old ways where the elderly were treated as respected members of the family, not burdens.
How do you ‘prove’ in a court of law such a proposition? What defences will be allowed?
The first generation of only children are far more mobile, often live in different cities and are facing increasing costs of living. Many have neither the time nor means to visit their parent, even if they wanted to.
Will lack of money be a defence?
The elderly in China, and Asian societies in general, feel an obligation to their children. It is why the suicide rate is climbing. They are lonely and isolated, but do not want to be a burden on their children.
High quality aged care is probably the answer. The west has some good models to work from.
It is not ideal, but perhaps it is better than being alone and isolated in a high rise apartment.
International News Sources
The Wall Street Journal - China RealTime Report
The Wall Street Journal
Pictures of China
Treasury Report Steps Up Criticism on Yuan's Level
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Treasury refrained from labeling China a currency manipulator but took a tougher line than in past years, saying the yuan is "substantially undervalued," warning "progress thus far is insufficient and that more rapid progress is needed.''
The New York Times
China’s Currency Avoids ‘Manipulated’ Ruling Again
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said on Friday that China’s currency remained “substantially undervalued” compared with the dollar but declined once again to cite Beijing for currency manipulation.
China, Twitter and 20-Year-Olds vs. the Pyramids
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Of course, China per se is not fueling the revolt here — but China and the whole Asian-led developing world’s rising consumption of meat, corn, sugar, wheat and oil certainly is. The rise in food and gasoline prices that slammed into this region in the last six months clearly sharpened discontent with the illegitimate regimes — particularly among the young, poor and unemployed.
The Arab world has 100 million young people today between the ages of 15 and 29, many of them males who do not have the education to get a good job, buy an apartment and get married. That is trouble. Add in rising food prices, and the diffusion of Twitter, Facebook and texting, which finally gives them a voice to talk back to their leaders and directly to each other, and you have a very powerful change engine.
Kaixin OpEd - In China Kaixin calls it Tech-Democracy.
In Egypt it is the voice of the people shouting to the small group of people in control that they have had enough.
Is this a call for democracy?
This is where it is important to define just what 'democracy' means.
Define clearly what it means to each person, to each group of people, to each stratum of society ...
Define what each person hopes democracy will achieve for them as individuals.
Define what benefits democracy will bestow on a country and the various social stratum within that country.
You see, Kaixin believes that most people do not have a clear idea what democracy means. Oh yes, they have a hazy notion that it means the right to vote, but it goes little further than that. Such notions as the finer points of democracy do not mean much to the majority people in the west who live very comfortable lives.
It is when you life ceases to be comfortable that you look around for an effective voice.
The Internet and mobile phones have provided an effective platform for everyone to voice their opinion. If that opinion resonates then it spreads quickly and cannot be stopped by governments or rulers in any country.
Kaixin defines democracy as the voice of the people being heard. Kaixin considers that in the west that voice has been smothered for some time, however life is still too comfortable, so the voice of the disaffected does not resonate.
In China Tech-Democracy has given a strong voice to the people, a voice that was lost under Mao but has slowly emerged over the last 30 years. It is interesting, and frustrating to many in the west, that the voice in China does not call for 'democracy'. Tech-Democracy is being used to address specific issues in China, but those issues do not provide a basis for revolution. Life is becoming more and more comfortable in China .... why rock the boat?
Egypt has clearly shown that the voice on the street has not been heard for many years. It is now demanding to be heard and is questioning the legitimacy and effectiveness of the current system of government. A system propped up by the 'west, in particular America, for its own ends. The voice on the street now has Tech-Democracy. The issues in Egypt do go to the heart of people's concerns and do resonate, hence the mass riots.
The small ruling elite in the Arab world are doing a Marie Antoinette, "Let them eat cake", and shovelling money at the voice .... money they don't have it would seem.
It has worked before, will it work this time?
Kaixin has noted for some time the emerging crisis in food supply for the world.
While the world has been distracted with other issues, this issue has been slowly heating like a pot of boiling water. It would appear it is near boiling point.
It this the first signs of the pot boiling over?
The price of food (and water) will come down to simple economics, supply and demand. The price will rise as demand outstrips supply.
Those who can pay, will, those who can't, will go hungry.
No .... of course it is not that simple.
Will a country let its food be exported if it cannot feed its own people?
What if foreign countries or nationals own the land on which the food is produced? Is it not their food?
Will governments see their people go hungry or starve rather than take control of that land?
Will foreign countries with very big armies allow that to happen?
I fear the world is headed for what the Chinese saying warns against: "May you live in interesting times"