Read China | January 1-31, 2015






Read China | January 1-31, 2015



China sets up first high security bio lab

China completed its first high level biosafety laboratory on Jan. 31 after more than a decade of construction. Its completion was hailed by the country’s top science think tank as crucial in the fight against epidemics such as Ebola. The lab is important for China’s public health defense system.





China’s first all-Tibetan language film released

China’s first film with dialogue purely in Tibetan opened in cinemas across Tibet on Jan. 31. The two-hour “Tibet Sky” was filmed on the Tibetan plateau with an all-Tibetan cast. It narrates the life of Tenzin, child of a serf-owner, and Phurbu, serf of Tenzin, from the liberation of Tibet in the 1950s until the 1980s.





China e-commerce targeting rural, foreign markets

As the world’s biggest e-commerce market, China has attracted global attention for an online shopping spree that has revolutionized the nation’s shopping habits. Hoping to tap the new territory, China’s e-commerce giants have stepped up expansion of online retail business in rural areas and abroad.





Malaysian gov’t declares MH370 accident, all those aboard presumed dead

Director General of Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said on Jan. 29 that the Malaysian government officially declared MH370 an accident, and all 239 people on board the plane were presumed dead. Chinese premier calls on Malaysia to continue to exert all efforts to find MH370.





Tmall stores protest against regulator’s quality report

Three vendors on Alibaba’s platform voiced strong protest against an official quality inspection report on January 29 after a dispute between the e-commerce website and the regulator. “This was like giving us the death penalty without undergoing any trials,” read an joint letter posted on their Sina Weibo accounts.





Market reforms reshape China’s economic landscape

China’s market-oriented reforms have reshaped the economic landscape, allowing private companies to compete with state-owned enterprises. The latest release by WPP and Millward Brown offers a glimpse of the shift, showing the rise of “market-driven” brands and a slowdown among state-owned enterprises.





Poetic dreams of a disabled peasant woman

Living with cerebral palsy, Yu Xiuhua, 39, may struggle to walk, but in the world she creates through her poetry she could “Cross half of China to accost you”. This line, taken from the a piece with the same name, is one of the most acclaimed poems by the peasant woman from central China’s Hubei Province.




Book gives China’s rural photographers their due

Without Wang Yong’s efforts, these photographers in rural central China may fade away quietly. Over the last half century, rural photographers have been taking pictures of peasants and people in rural Chinese towns and villages. In 2014, Wang brings them out in his new published book “Photographer Coming to Village”.





Digital Images on Sutra Paper

Jin Ping, a photographer living in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, has developed a distinctive representation method, a hybrid process using modern inkjet technology and 1,300-year-old Tibetan paper, thus making the image appear a music-like charm, mix of originality and modernity.





Over 53,000 officials investigated in first 11 months of 2014

China’s prosecuting authorities probed 53,043 officials for suspected corruption in the first 11 months of 2014, with 24 at or above ministerial levels, including Zhou Yongkang. They arrested or persuaded 664 duty-crime suspects that fled the country to return, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.





“Silver bullet” in absence, “China prescription” to global challenges under limelight in Davos

Davos used to be a destination attracting lung disease patients for its pleasant microclimate. But it gradually lost charm after the invention of penicillin. Now, a new “penicillin” is needed to address such global challenges as laggard economic recovery, regional conflicts and terrorism, Chinese Premier said.





Xi stresses grassroots consolidation in building stronger army

President Xi Jinping stressed strengthening grassroots units to build a stronger army, while he was addressing troops based in Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Xi visited the 14th army group, and commended its achievements in recent years, adding that soldiers should fear neither hardship nor death.





Video: 3D printer used to create 6-story home in east China

A 3D printer that was used to print 10 houses in a single day last year has been used to print a massive six-story villa. Shanghai-based private company Winsun New Materials used its patented 3D printer to print a six-story building in the city of Suzhou in east China’s Jiangsu Province.





China to instill national characteristics in think tanks

A new type of think tanks with Chinese characteristics would support development and strengthen soft power, according to a guideline issued on Jan. 20. The guideline said that by 2020, think tanks must clearly define their positions and specialties, with the aim of several think tanks wielding major global influence.





Premier Li arrives in Switzerland for Davos forum, working visit

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Zurich on Jan. 20 to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos and pay a working visit to Switzerland. Li is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the WEF annual meeting and hold talks with Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.





Crashed AirAsia flight climbs too fast before disappearing from radar: Indonesia

Indonesia said on Jan. 20 that the crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501 climbed at an abnormally high rate and plunged suddenly before disappearing from radar. Addressing the Parliament, Indonesian transport minister said that it is not normal to climb like that, adding that it can only be done by a fighter jet.





Mainland investment in Taiwan drops slightly in 2014

A total of 136 investment projects from mainland businesses were given the green light in Taiwan in 2014, a decrease of 1.45 pct year on year, the island’s authority said on Jan.20. Statistics show that investment in Taiwan from the mainland reached 334.63 million U.S. dollars last year, down 4.25 pct. from 2013.





HK people fear to live less comfortable in retirement

Nearly a quarter of people expect their standard of living after retirement will be lower than the standard they have now, with working age people feeling particularly gloomy in the developed economies of France (54 percent), the UK (40 percent) and Hong Kong (40 percent), a global study has found.





Chinese soccer club faces sudden death after promotion to Super League

Chinese soccer club Chongqing Lifan faces possible dismissal after its successful promotion to the Chinese Super League. Chongqing Lifan has been earlier this month sold to a new buyer, the Huaxia Guorui Soccer Club Corp. Ltd., but the takeover was not recognized by the Chinese Football Association.





Tibet’s mineral water to be new regional growth pillar

Tibet Autonomous Region has identified its fresh water resources as a new sustainable economic growth pillar. Leading bottled water producers, including Nongfu Spring and Bright Food Group, have signed 16 cooperative agreements with the regional government on mineral water development.





South China’s Guangdong curbs surrogacy

Authorities in south China’s Guangdong Province announced a crackdown on surrogacy on Jan. 19. Any instance of surrogacy would be severely punished with medical professionals involved in illegal surrogacy suspended from practice or struck off. Websites of surrogacy and egg trading would be closed.





New IPO system aims to create healthy capital market

China’s top securities regulator has reiterated its determination to further reshape the capital market in 2015, highlighting adjustments to stock issuance procedures to better supervise the sector. The new system will allow the market to play a deciding role and establish a boundary for regulatory power.





Stocks plunge most in six years on margin trading crackdown

Chinese shares dived on Monday of Jan. 19, with the key Shanghai index taking its biggest tumble in more than six years, as investors reacted to measures announced to clean up margin trading businesses. More than 1,900 stocks on the two bourses fell, with over 160 slumping by the daily limit of 10 percent.





Chinese tennis queen Li Na expecting a baby

Retired Chinese tennis queen Li Na will soon play a new role in her life. The two-time Grand Slam winner announced on Jan.19 that she is expecting her first child. The announcement was met with thunderous cheers and applause from spectators in Rod Laver Arena where Li lifted the Australian Open title in 2014.





Eric Chu takes office as KMT chairman

Taiwan’s New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu took office as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) on Jan. 19, underscoring cross-Strait peace in his inaugural speech. Former mayors Hau Lung-bin and Huang Min-hui were named KMT’s vice chairpersons. Lee Shih-chuan will become the party’s secretary-general.





China rejects cyber-espionage allegations

China on Jan. 19 described allegations that its spies stole key information on the F-35 Lightening II fighter jet as “groundless and unproven.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks in response to a report in German magazine Der Spiegel, which cited documents disclosed by Edward Snowden.





China to balance growth and structural reforms: Premier

Premier Li Keqiang said on Jan. 19 that China would balance efforts to stabilize economic growth and boost structural reforms in 2015, as downward pressure on growth still remains. The premier stressed the Q1 performance is crucial to the whole year’s results, and the government shall work on making a good start.





China home prices fall as trends diverge among cities

China’s real estate market has extended its slump with new home prices in December registering month-on-month declines in a majority of surveyed cities. Of 70 large and medium-sized cities surveyed, 66 saw new home prices drop in December from the previous month, according to NBS data released on Jan.18.





China down DPR Korea 2-1 to cruise to last eight with 9 points

Midfielder Sun Ke scored twice to help China beat DPR Korea 2-1 and advance to the knockout stage with a best-ever three stragight wins as Group B leaders at the AFC Asian Cup before tens of thousands of Chinese fans in Canberra on Jan. 18. Chinese coach Perrin brought on his major lineup for the game.





Pension reform paves way for social equality

China’s plan to unify its two-tiered pension system is expected to improve social equality by eliminating a major disparity between public and private employee benefits. A “career bonus scheme” will be established for staff as a supplementary measure to ensure their pension benefits not to be severely downgraded.





HK chief executive urges realistic talks on constitutional development

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying urged the public to be realistic when it comes to discussing constitutional development during a radio program on Jan.18. Leung said the government is open to different views. He noted that any reform proposals had to be approved by the central government.





Human tests start on collagen complex to repair spinal cord injury

Chinese scientists and doctors began a landmark clinical trial in which they use a collagen complex and stem cells to repair damaged human spinal cord. Six patients have signed up for the trial and the first surgery was completed on Jan. 16, said a statement from the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Jan. 17.





Chinese army to look into corruption in staff housing projects

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will start a two-year operation against malpractice and corruption in staff housing projects. Several high-profile officers in PLA logistics departments, which take charge of housing projects, have been sacked in the country’s fierce anti-corruption operation.





Eric Chu elected KMT chairman

Taiwan’s New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu was elected chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in an uncontested election on January 17. About 56 percent of eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots and Chu won 196,065 valid votes, or 99.61 percent of the votes, according to the KMT Central Committee.





KMT starts party chief election

Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) started electing a new chairperson on Saturday morning of January 17. A total of 485 polling-booths are set up across the island. The former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou will vote in Taipei City while the chairmanship candidate Eric Chu casting his vote in New Taipei City.





Chinese pop singer Yao Beina loses battle with cancer

Chinese pop singer Yao Beina, known for singing the theme tune of TV drama “The Legend of Zhen Huan”, died from breast cancer on Jan. 16 at the age of 33. Celebrities, netizens and fans expressed their condolences online. The webpage of search engine Baidu turns black and white if Yao’s name is searched.





Avian flu H5N3 strain confirmed in Taiwan

A strain of bird flu identified as H5N3 was detected at two goose farms in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung and Kaohsiung counties. Official statistics show that 39 of the farms had the H5N2 virus, while 23 were hit by the H5N8 virus, with the remaining 39 affected by the H5 strain of the bird flu virus.





China to streamline administration of scientific programs

New reforms on managing China’s science and technology programs have been outlined by the central government. The outline involves reform in more than 90 science and technology plans and programs covering funds of 80-to-90 billion yuan, with 47 programs listed as the first group to be streamlined.





Over 800,000 One-way Permit holders come to HK since 1997

Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam said on Jan. 15 that more than 800,000 One- way Permit (OWP) holders have come from the mainland to Hong Kong since 1997. It is said that 98 percent of the OWP holders are coming to join their parents, or they are actually the spouse of Hong Kong residents.





Apple gears up for bumper China harvest

Apple Inc. is greatly speeding up market expansion in China by opening five new stores in roughly five weeks before the Chinese New Year. Four of the stores are in brand new cities. The new stores will bring the number in China to 20, a great leap since its first store opened in Beijing on July 19, 2008.





China unveils unified pension system

Measures on old-age insurance for workers in government agencies and public institutions were unveiled on Jan. 14. Insurance will now be paid by both workers and organizations. Workers will pay 8 percent of their monthly salary into the scheme, while the organization will pay 20 percent of the salary.





Mainland hopes smooth cross-Strait ties after electing new KMT chairman

The mainland hopes peaceful cross-Strait ties continue after the island’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party elects a new chairman, a spokesman said on January 14. KMT will elect a new chairperson on January 17, following the party’s defeat in the island’s biggest-ever local elections last November.





Mexico reopens bidding for high-speed train project

Mexico relaunched bidding for its first high-speed railway project on January 14, setting fresh preliminary terms after the Latin American country abruptly annulled a win by a Chinese-led consortium two months ago. New bidding for the high-speed rail project will be opening for 180 days.





President Xi: China understands value of 2022 Winter Olympics

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Sheik Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, president of the ANOC and chief of the Olympic Council of Asia, in Beijing, on January 14. Xi told Sheik Ahmad that the Chinese government attached “great importance” to Beijing and Zhangjiakou’s joint bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.





China to push for “comprehensive” real identities on the Internet

Chinese people’s activities online will be subject to reinforced scrutiny as authorities expand the real-name registration system across more social networks and websites. Real names will only be seen by backend administrators and users may still choose a screen name.





Xi calls for more anti-corruption efforts despite achievements

Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 13 warned the war on corruption was far from over, despite the country’s many achievements. Xi evaluated the countercorruption drive in 2014 as “effective”, saying the work was as a matter of life-or-death for the Party and the nation.





China not sheepish about reforms in the Year of the Sheep

Pain was part of 2014 for the Chinese economy, with growth likely to post at the lowest rate in over a decade. But this will not force China to backtrack on its reform promises, as pain paves the way for future gains. Although a rapid recovery is unlikely, 2015 will not be another year of pain for the Chinese economy.





Mobile Internet shakes up taxi industry and more

Taxi-hailing apps such as Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, rolled out by Alibaba and Tencent respectively, are gaining popularity among users. By connecting passengers with drivers, the two firms account for almost 99 percent of the market with 154 million registered users in more than 300 Chinese cities.





Cancellation not ultimate answer for safety in large gatherings

As China recovers from the shadow of Shanghai’s deadly New Year Eve stampede, a series of large-scale events have been canceled recently. Although avoidance may help prevent such incidents from happening in the short run, it by no means is the ultimate cure for a safety crisis.





Famous wholesale market relocates to “slim” Beijing

Tianhaocheng Market in downtown Beijing has closed and is expected to relocate to neighboring Hebei Province in a move to reduce traffic congestion and population density in the capital. The market became the first of the 12 markets in the famous clothing wholesale zone near Beijing Zoo to shut its doors.





Han cadres required to learn Tibetan language

Mastery of the Tibetan language will become a requirement for non-native cadres in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. All seven prefecture-level cities in Tibet started organizing Tibetan language training for non-native cadres,with a total of 40,000 books on basic Tibetan language for daily conversation handed out.





Xi stresses role of county Party chiefs

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Jan. 12 lauded the role of county level governments, however, he underscored the integral role officials played in ensuring efficiency. A total of 200 county-level Party chiefs were present at the three hour long seminar and some representatives delivered speeches.





Beijing pilots street lamp chargers for electric cars

Beijing has launched a pilot project to transform street lamps to serve as charging poles for electric cars. Eighty-eight high-pressure sodium lamps on a road in Beijing’s Changping District have been converted into energy-saving LED lamps. Eight charging poles have been installed and put into trial operation.





Beijing stresses water conservation

Amid the pressures of sustained drought and climbing water prices, the mindset of think before people flush is sweeping across Beijing. Eight months after a major price hike in May, household water consumption has declined by 0.17 cubic meters daily, an average drop of 2 liters per person.





Businessman returns to China to seek raspberry fortune

After years in Canada, nobody expected businessman Huang Yuanchao to return to Tianmen City in central China’s Hubei Province to start a raspberry empire. He grew raspberry plants for fun in their house’s backyard in Canada, but never imagined he would become a raspberry farm owner in China.





Chinese military offers aids to Malaysia

Two IL-76 air transport aircraft loaded with relief goods set out for Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning of Jan.12. The People’s Liberation Army immediately prepared relief goods including tents, generators, sewage pumps and water purifying equipment after the Malaysian defense ministry sent its request.





Service module of China’s lunar orbiter enters moon’s orbit

The service module of China’s unmanned test lunar orbiter on January 11 successfully decelerated, allowing it to enter an 8-hour orbit with a perilune of about 200 km and an apolune of about 5,300 km. The spacecraft has sustained balanced energy and is in a sound condition.





Girl infected with HIV from heart operation: official

It has been confirmed that a five-year-old girl contracted HIV due to a blood transfusion during an operation four years ago, said the health authority in Fujian Province, southeast China. The girl underwent heart surgery for congenital heart disease in May 2010 and was tested positive for the virus in Sept.2014.





Chinese research vessel on new “seamount” expedition

China’s most sophisticated research vessel — named Kexue, or Science — left from the eastern city of Xiamen on January 10 on a new expedition to a west Pacific seamount. The second expedition to the Yap Seamount sea area will focus on deep-sea environment and ecology.





China’s first female pilot trainee of manned sub dives with Jiaolong

China’s first female pilot trainee dived on Jan. 10 as copilot with deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong in the southwest Indian Ocean. Zhang Yi, 27, was in charge of communicating with the sub’s support ship, operating the camera and observing obstacles through the left window during the dive.





Chinese bid farewell to late IOC member He Zhenliang

Chinese athletes, sports officials as well as ordinary people gathered on Jan. 10 to bid farewell to He Zhenliang, a former IOC member and vice president who was instrumental in Beijing winning the 2008 Summer Olympics. The memorial meeting was held at the Babaoshan funeral service center in west Beijing.





Policy design to propel China’s SOE reforms

The restructuring of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will proceed rapidly in 2015 as the government is set to unveil 10 policies for SOE reform, which include a guideline for reform, a general plan for state asset management, plans for mixed ownership and improvements to the evaluation system.





Strikes and apps bring congestion on taxi market

A strike by cab drivers in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing stretched into a second day on January 9, bringing the taxi management system into the spotlight again. Five days before, a cab strike in the northeastern city of Shenyang brought services to a standstill in many areas.





Jackie Chan’s son stands trial for drug charge

Jaycee Chan, son of Chinese Kungfu star Jackie Chan, was sentenced to six months in prison on Jan.9 for drug offenses in Beijing. “I broke the law. I deserve to be punished,” said Jaycee at court. He said he would not become a recidivist after release, and appealed to the public to forgive him.





Li Ka-shing’s two major companies announce restructure plan

Hong Kong’s leading multinational corporations Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa on January 9 announced a merge and reorganization plan to restructure their operations into two new companies respectively specializing in real estate business and all other non-real estate businesses.





First China-CELAC Forum ministerial meeting concludes in Beijing

The first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) concluded in Beijing on January 9 with the announcement that the forum’s next meeting will be held in Chile in 2018. The two-day meeting passed three major documents.





Premier Li calls for upgraded China-Latin American cooperation

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on January 9 called for upgraded cooperation between China and Latin American countries, and a fair competition environment for Chinese goods entering local markets, during his meeting with delegates to the first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC forum.





China recognizes prominent scientists

Chinese nuclear physicist Yu Min who was behind the country’s first successful hydrogen bomb test won China’s top science and technology accolade on Jan.9. President Xi presented the award to Yu at an annual ceremony held to honor the most distinguished scientists and research achievements.





China escalates war on “foxes”

While swatting “flies” and caging “tigers” at home, China has also gone all out to hunt the “foxes.” Operation “Fox Hunt 2014” resulted in the trapping of 680 foxes — corruptive officials and economic crime suspects who have fled the country. Over 70 police teams had been sent overseas on the hunt.





Travelling hopefully, with a dog, a wheelchair and a lot of love

It is easy to draw a heart in the sand and say “I love you”, but few have the heart of Ding Yizhou, 28, who is drawing a heart across China with the tracks of his girlfriend’s wheelchair. Their journey started from Liuzhou City in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Saturday of January 3.





Chinese premier meets Bahamas counterpart

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with his Bahamian counterpart Perry Christie in Beijing on Thursday of January 28. Li called on the two countries to strengthen cooperation in such areas as ocean, fisheries and tourism, and take infrastructure construction as a cooperation priority.





China, CELAC to map out five-year cooperation plan, define key areas

China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will put into writing a five-year cooperation plan. The plan, together with the Beijing Declaration, and the Regulations on China-CELAC forum, will be the major outcome of the first China-CELAC forum ministerial meeting.





Former residences of sixth Dalai Lama discovered in Tibet

Two former residences of the sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso have been discovered in Tibet. The buildings are in Shannan Prefecture which borders India and Bhutan. The legendary monk Tsangyang Gyatso, born in 1683, lived in the city of Tsona Dzong before moving to the Potala Palace in 1697.





China to publish encyclopedic dictionary of Tibetan language

China plans to publish its first encyclopedic dictionary of the Tibetan language beginning in late 2015.The dictionary includes 13 volumes, covering technology, medicine, phonology, Buddhism, Nyaya philosophy, rhetoric, phraseology, prosody, drama, astrology, Tibetan literature, Bon belief and Tibetan culture.





RMB unlikely to depreciate drastically in 2015

Expectation of a lukewarm domestic economy and a continuously rising U.S. dollar so far this year have created concern that the renminbi (RMB/yuan) is set to depreciate sharply this year since the central parity rate of the renminbi has been declining for four days in a row since the new year’s trading started.





Chinese Academy of Sciences excludes officials as academician candidates

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has excluded officials as candidates from the latest round of academician elections in a bid to reduce interference. The CAS has made it clear that civil servants and Party officials are disqualified as candidates.





China pushes for SIM card registration in crime crackdown

China will intensify efforts to crackdown on crimes committed with unregistered SIM cards.There are more than 130 million “black cards” in circulation at present, which refer to unregistered phone cards which are used in cell phones or provide wireless Internet services.





China’s own Steve Jobs set to lead voice technology sector

When he enrolled at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 1990, Liu Qingfeng’s only expectation was to learn how to repair TVs. He certainly did not expect to become a billionaire executive of a listed company: China’s very own Steve Jobs.





Tears as Shanghai laments stampede victims

The city of Shanghai was steeped in sorrow on Tuesday of January 6 as citizens and victims’ families visited the site of the New Year’s Eve stampede to mark the seventh-day commemoration of the tragedy. Many held portraits showing the young faces of the deceased.





Premier’s southern trip to push China’s reform drive

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China should count on reform, opening up and structural adjustment to improve economy during a three-day tour of south China’s Guangdong Province. The Premier kicked off his tour on Jan. 4, the first working day of 2015, visiting Shenzhen and provincial capital Guangzhou.





China, Costa Rica announce strategic partnership

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Costa Rica counterpart Luis Guillermo Solis in Beijing on January 6 on a strategic partnership. Xi said that China stands ready to boost tourism cooperation with Costa Rica, calling on the Costa Rica side to facilitate entry procedures for Chinese travellers.





Beijing submits 2022 Winter Olympic bidding report

Beijing on January 6 submitted its 2022 Winter Olympic Games official bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Beijing’s submission came one day earlier before the deadline for candidate cities to present their candidature files to the IOC.





Chinese specialists to help search black box of AirAsia jet arrive in Indonesia

Three experts from Civil Aviation Administration of China arrived in Jakarta early on Tuesday morning of January 6 to join the search operation for the black box of the AirAsia QZ8501 flight, after the ill-fated plane crashed en route from Indonesia’s Surabaya to Singapore late last December.




China gives redundant officials the boot

More than 15,800 civil servants were transferred, given early retirement or were simply fired from overstaffed departments in 2014. Besides, about 40,000 officials at or above deputy county head level were deemed surplus to requirements in 2014 and the remaining 25,000 are still waiting to be “handled”.





More effort needed as China’s government vehicle use reform goes deeper

China’s government vehicle-use reform will now shift to the local government level. Reform at the central government level was successful in 2014. The budget for the purchase and maintenance of government vehicles in 2014 was 4.127 billion yuan, 126 million yuan less than in 2013.





Another panda dies from virus in NW China

Another giant panda died after contracting a measle-like virus, bringing the panda death toll to two in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. Another two pandas are ill, with one in critical condition. Four other pandas showed fever symptoms. More than 30 experts from across China are caring for the pandas.





Former Taiwan leader released on medical parole

Former Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian was released from Taichung Prison on one-month medical furlough after serving more than six years in jail for corruption. Chen was pushed out of prison in a wheelchair by his son around 3:30 p.m. and headed home to the southern city of Kaohsiung.





College uses Shanghai stampede to justify its policies

A college in northwest China has been lambasted for issuing a controversial statement about the fatal New Year’s Eve stampede in Shanghai, which left 36 people dead. The Modern College of Northwest University in Xi’an said on its website that the tragedy proved that its holiday policies were “utterly correct”.





China stocks surge on New Year’s 1st trading day

Chinese shares closed at the highest level in five and a half years on Monday, the first trading day of 2015. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed at 3,350,52 points, up 3.58 percent. The Shenzhen Component Index also marched to a 40-month high by closing at 11,520.59 points, up 4.59 percent.





China wages “people’s war” on terrorism

While China saw several successes in 2014, from the progress in the anti-corruption drive to the successful hosting of APEC, the year was also marred by deadly terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of scores and outraged the country. China has waged a “people’s war” on terrorism.





China lifts price controls on 24 commodities, service

China will lift controls on prices of 24 commodities and services, said the National Development and Reform Commission on Jan. 4. Market will decide the price of tobacco leaves, the last agricultural product to be freed from government price control. The NDRC will keep a close eye on market order after controls are lifted.





China’s multi-billion-dollar “haitao” splurge

China’s total online shopping sales hit 691.41 billion yuan in the third quarter of 2014, according to Internet industry consultancy iResearch. China’s Ministry of Commerce forecasts cross-border trade by e-commerce companies in China will be worth 6.5 trillion yuan in 2016.





China braces for slower but better growth in 2015

As banks and economic think tanks anticipate the publishing of China’s full-year 2014 economic data in late January, many are predicting slow but higher quality growth for China in 2015. A more moderate growth rate with stable growth engines is being hailed as the “new normal” for China’s economy.





Chinese passenger’s first aid to Thai steward wins int’l applause

While scandals involving Chinese air travelers have recently tarnished the country’s airline etiquette reputation, a Chinese passenger won praise after coming to the aid of a sick Thai air steward suffering from severe pains caused by kidney stones on Flight OX619 from Nanning to Bangkok on Christmas Day.





China’s former IOC member He Zhenliang dies

He Zhenliang, a former IOC member and vice president from China, died in Beijing on January 4 at the age of 85. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has asked for the Olympic flag to be flown half-mast for three days in tribute to He.





Mobile app of China’s anti-graft watchdog welcomed by public

The mobile application of China’s disciplinary watchdog, which publishes the latest news on the country’s anti-corruption campaign and details how the CCDI handles reports and publishes pictures of letters submitted from across the country, has been well received by the public after its launch on Jan.1.





China’s manned sub Jiaolong takes hydrothermal fluid in Indian Ocean

China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong took 300 milliliters of hydrothermal fluid in two active hydrothermal vents at the seabed of southwestern Indian Ocean on Jan.2. Jiaolong also gathered 1.8 kg of sulfide, 2.3 kg of basalt, 15 spiral shells, one stalked barnacle and 8 liters of deep-sea water in this dive.





5 firefighters killed in NE China warehouse blaze

The death toll of a fire in northeast China has climbed to five as the bodies of two missing firefighters were found, local authorities said on January 3. In total, five firefighters were killed and another 14 injured in a warehouse blaze in Harbin city, Heilongjiang Province. The age of the deceased ranged between 18 and 22.





China closer to dream of rejuvenation

As the new year begins, Chinese people are more confident of realizing the “Chinese dream” than any other time. Since the transition of the Chinese leadership in late 2012, Xi made more than 20 domestic inspection tours covering more than 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.





China’s deep-sea sub explores Indian Ocean seabed

China’s deep sea manned submersible Jiaolong on Jan. 2 carried out the first dive on a mission to study active hydrothermal vent in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Jiaolong also took pilot trainees in the diving, which was intended to enable the trainees to learn some skills of submersible operation.





China sees 32 panda cubs survive in 2014

China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) announced on January 2 that 32 of its 36 newborn cubs survived in 2014. This brings the total number of captive pandas in China to 394. Among the three pandas previously released into the wild, only one died due to fighting with other males.





Anti-smoking legislation bears fruit, faces challenges

China’s anti-smoking campaign saw significant progress in 2014, thanks to the issuing of legislation at both the national and local levels. Obstacles still block the implementation of the laws and regulations. In January, a circular issued by authorities required officials to take the lead by not smoking in public.





Nobel laureate Mo Yan to write anti-graft novel

Chinese Nobel laureate Mo Yan said on Jan. 1 that he is preparing to write a novel about the ills of corruption. The novel is about people, he said, as “power, money and other temptations are tests to everyone” and “touchstones of every soul.” Mo made the remarks in an interview for the CCDI website of the CPC.





Shanghai New Year stampede causes heavy casualties

At least 36 people died in a fatal stampede during New Year celebrations late on Wednesday of December 31 in Shanghai, according to local authorities as of Thursday night. Seven of the injured have checked out of the hospital. Among the 40 remaining in treatment, 13 are seriously injured.





China strikes chord on instrument production stage

Examining at most entry-level music instruments being used by the western world’s future popstars, one might have good chance to find labels of Made in China.The export value in 2014 for Chinese musical instrument enterprises is expected to reach 10.7 billion yuan based on their sales value of over 30 billion yuan.





Law revision on captured animals

A revised Chinese law on wildlife protection is expected to regulate the domestication of animals, as some practices have been criticized for being abusive. The draft law revision includes a new guideline, which is expected to be reviewed by the NPC Standing Committee before the end of 2015.














Malaysian gov’t declares MH370 accident, all those aboard presumed dead

Director General of Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said on Jan. 29 that the Malaysian government officially declared MH370 an accident, and all 239 people on board the plane were presumed dead. Chinese premier calls on Malaysia to continue to exert all efforts to find MH370.






Tmall stores protest against regulator’s quality report

Three vendors on Alibaba’s platform voiced strong protest against an official quality inspection report on January 29 after a dispute between the e-commerce website and the regulator. “This was like giving us the death penalty without undergoing any trials,” read an joint letter posted on their Sina Weibo accounts.






Market reforms reshape China’s economic landscape

China’s market-oriented reforms have reshaped the economic landscape, allowing private companies to compete with state-owned enterprises. The latest release by WPP and Millward Brown offers a glimpse of the shift, showing the rise of “market-driven” brands and a slowdown among state-owned enterprises.





Digital Images on Sutra Paper







Recreatioon: Youngsters study the sutra woodblock engraving at the Dege Sutra Printing House.





By Wen Chihua  |  CHINA FEATURES



Integrating a talent for aesthetics, the visual arts and printing technology, Jin Ping, a documentary photographer living in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, has developed distinctive representation method, a hybrid process using modern inkjet technology and 1,300-year-old Tibetan paper, thus making the image appear a music-like charm, mix of originality and modernity. It is found that utra paper unexpectedly  gives the digital image an extremely profound, touching and warm expression.



Jin Ping (金平) is not obsessed with technology. He does not cling to innovation, and does not care about being crowned with eternal glory in history of Chinese photography. But his Tibetan paper methods have significance for the Chinese photographic community.

Unlike the legions of documentary photographers in China, who try to parse today’s most urgent questions about truth and reality, Jin has long been charmed with exploring new methods of image presentation.

Integrating a talent for aesthetics, the visual arts, and printing technology, the Chengdu-based documentary photographer Jin Ping has developed a distinctive representation method, a hybrid process using modern inkjet technology and an age-old Tibetan paper, thus making the image appear a music-like charm, mix of originality and modernity.



Recreation:  Twenty-four commemorative stamps marking

the 10th founding anniversary of the New China


Conceptually, one of the most intriguing pieces Jin Ping has created in this medium was a recreation of a plate of 24 commemorative stamps issued in 1959 to mark the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of the People’s Republic of China.

The original monochrome woodcut stamp shows Mao in a dark green uniform, standing on the gate tower of the Tiananmen Square as he proclaimed the founding of the new China. The image frames an important historical moment when Mao held sway over China.

One of the first plates of the stamp was bought by a stamp collector named Yang Shaoming, the son of Yang Shangkun, who then held a senior position in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Shaoming had Mao autograph the plate of the stamps — the three Chinese characters “Mao Ze Dong” were signed vertically across the plate, turning an otherwise ordinary plate of stamps into a piece of conceptual art.

In Jin Ping’s representation, the powerful Mao looks warm and graceful. The fiber of the Tibetan paper underlying the digital image creates a special surface texture with complex characteristics that subdue the sharpness of Mao. The paper’s rough grain makes the simple color relationships look rich without looking exaggerated.

This conceptual work deeply impressed the British stamp community, and they invited Jin Ping to create them two similar pieces. One is a reproduction of a plate of 12 Penny Black stamps, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp used in a public system. The other is a recreation of the Penny Black’s sister stamp, a plate of the 18 Penny Red stamps.

Printed on Tibetan paper, the work lends a Far Eastern flavor to the august Queen Victoria’s relief profile image.

Previous to Jin Ping’s 2006 incorporation in his art, the over 1,300-year-old Tibetan paper of high quality was used solely for the printing of Buddhist classics.

In 2006 Jin Ping went to shoot Dege Sutra Printing House in Ganze Tibetan Nationality Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

In the printing house, one of the things that Jin discovered was that the techniques of writing, carving, and block printing remain the same as they were in the 13th century. And the tradition of Tibetan papermaking has been passed down undisturbed through those centuries. It is a priceless living example of folk craftsmanship.

Jin Ping who has more than 10 years of experience in printing industry is very sensible of paper texture. He recalls, “Tibetan paper makes an image look like it has been mysteriously illuminated. I realized that this age-old medium would be able to create an unexpected visual effect for digital images.”



Recreation: A glimpse of the traditional papermaking process at the Dege Sutra Printing House.


Tibetan paper is made of the root-hair of the Stellera Chamaejasme plant, a medicinal herb locally referred to as “Agyiaorugyiao.” Tibetan paper is noted for being antiseptic, mothproof and moisture-proof, and possessing a long shelf life.

The paper made of the inner layer of the root-hair is the best with color and fine texture, which is for important sutras. Whereas the paper made of the outer layer is thick and coarse, mostly for the printing of prayer flags, and Buddhist pamphlets.

Agyiaorugyiao is used in Tibetan medicinal practice. The plant, which grows in the Henguan Mountains about 3,000 to 4,000 meters above sea level on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is slightly toxic, germicidal, and antiviral. Paper made from its root-hairs is poisonous to rats and bugs. Tibetan Buddhists (Vajrayana Buddhism) use it to print classic sutras, which can stay intact in perfect condition for hundreds of years.

Additionally, Jin Ping noted that Tibetan paper is extremely strong, very soft, and absorbent. The latter makes it particularly useful for printing. “As it’s fully handmade, each sheet is unique, making it an ideal medium for contemporary art creation,” says Jin Ping.

For the past eight yeas, Jin has traveled deep into southwest China, exploring the disappearing craftsmanship of traditional papermaking in remote ethnic areas.

He has tested various kinds of techniques, and adopted Giclee printing, or printing fine art digital prints with inkjet printers, to print his photos on the handmade papers of six ethnic groups, including Tibetan, Dai, Miao, and Bai, mostly from Yunnan Province.

“All of these papers have a wonderful ability to enhance the expression of the artist,” notes Jin Ping. “However, I favor Tibetan paper above the rest. It gives the digital image an extremely profound, touching, and warm expression.”

Filled with inspiration acquired at the Dege Sutra Printing House, Jin reconfigures a traditionalist and mystic medium with the 21st century eyes. He launched a quiet revolution in his studio to connect the sutra paper with modern micro-dispenser technology. It took him more than half a year just to get the inkjet machine to print properly.

Unlike standard industrial print paper, Jin says, each piece of the handmade Tibetan paper has an uneven edge with different characters. “Without the fixed memory, the machine doesn’t know from where to start printing an image.” Jin’s endeavors paid off. His “Dege: Impressions”, a group of pictures documenting how Tibetan paper is made, the sutra woodblock engraving, and the Buddhist classic printing, embodied in Tibetan paper appear simple and unsophisticated with surreal clarity.

In these images, Jin has created visual poetry on Tibetan paper. The “Dege: Impressions” have the resonance of the love songs of the 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso — tranquil, ethereal and melancholy.

These pictures not only capture the external charm of workmen carving and printing sutras, but also the workmen’s secular spirit — optimistic and sacred devout. These two worlds are so finely captured that the photos convey something soul-catching, simple, and dignified.

In his private life, Jin Ping smokes authentic Cuban cigars, enjoys fine tea, and keeps vintage wines in his private cellar. In his work, he is compassionate, humble, and is highly respected by his shooting subjects.

In 2007, he took part in a national project to rescue traditional cultural practices. He led a team to the monastery in Dege county to photograph Thangka: Tibetan silk painting, usually depicting a Buddha, a famous scene, or a mandala, and often done in embroidery.

When he arrived in Tibet, Jin and his team stayed in the village below the mountain for a week, without getting approval to photograph in the monastery. While he was waiting, Jin noticed that the children in the village were poorly dressed.

He spent 60,000 yuan to buy two suits of clothes for each of some 600 students. His behavior moved parents and the lamas of the monastery, who believed Jin is a photographer with a benevolent heart. They granted him permission to shoot inside the monastery.

The Thangkas housed in the monastery are historically significant. They were created during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The Thangkas framed in Jin’s photos have only been seen in public three times.

The first time was for local Buddhist followers when the paintings were completed. The second time was during the Cultural Revolution, when, in order to prevent the Thangkas from being destroyed, the monastery had them numbered, registered, and then stored them in the homes of local Buddhists. The third time was for Jin Ping.

Later, Jin had the Thangka photographs digitized, and printed on Tibetan paper. The visual effect of the process shows the luster of the Thangkas and the delicate nature of their original creation.

Jin Ping keeps an abundance of Tibetan paper in storage. He is concerned that the paper may disappear from the market in future. He is also helping the Dege Sutra Printing House, which is confronted with the challenge of industrial printing papers, and striving to preserve the tradition of the papermaking.

In Dege today, there are only six artisans who have a master of the handicraft. They can make only 600 sheets annually.



Recreation: Image of Living Buddha Qoegi Dembacering.


Recreation: Image of Double-Bodied Buddha.




*   All photos on this webpage provided by Jin Ping










By wereadchina Posted in Feature

AirAsia confirms flight QZ8501 lost contact




JAKARTA | 2014-12-28 13:21:01

AirAsia plane with 155 on board

loses contact in Indonesia


By Wang Bo


An AirAsia jetliner lost contact with ground control on Sunday of December 28 after takeoff from Indonesia on the way to Singapore, and authorities had launched a search and rescue operation.

The QZ8501 flight lost communication 42 minutes after taking off at 5:35 a.m. in Surabaya airport, staff at Indonesia’s National rescue agency told Xinhua in a phone interview. The plane is scheduled to land in Singapore at 8:30 a.m. local time.

A total of 155 people are onboard the plane, including 149 Indonesians,three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one British and one Malaysian, local media quoted Indonesian Transportation Ministry as saying.

However, other media reports put the number of people onboard at 161.

The missing plane was an Airbus A320-200, aviation officials said.

Indonesian military is deploying forces to search for the plane, after alleged report of plane crashing in the sea between Java and Kalimantan, military sources said.

Meanwhile, AirAsia said in a statement that the search and rescue operations were in progress and promised to “keep all parties informed as more information becomes available.”     ( *Source:  Xinhua )







KUALA LUMPUR | 2014-12-28 12:02:12


AirAsia confirms

flight QZ8501 lost contact


By Zhao Bochao


AirAsia said on Sunday of December 28 in a statement that it confirmed flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore had lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 this morning.

It said that there was no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board. The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200 with the registration number PK-AXC, it added.

It said that search and rescue operations were in progress at this time, and the airline was cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service.

AirAsia has established an Emergency Call Center for the family or friends of those who may have been on board the plane. The number is: +622129850801    ( *Source:  Xinhua )





KUALA LUMPUR |  2014-12-28 11:54:11

 AirAsia confirms flight QZ8501 lost contact

By Zhao Bochao

AirAsia said Sunday in a statement that it confirmed flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore had lost contact with air traffic control at 07:24 this morning.     ( *Source:  Xinhua )





Oh, Christmas! Let’s have some fun!





Oh, Christmas!

Let’s have some fun!


By Liu Lu, Wang Jian, Wang Di, Yu Li, Cao Ting and Liu Mingyang


Although a majority of Chinese people do not have a Christmas break, the country’s youth have been increasingly getting into the holiday spirit.

Different from family reunions that often mark the celebration in the west, Chinese observe the day by getting together with friends, shopping, giving gifts and romance.




On Wednesday of December 24, 7-year-old Guo Xunyu’s primary school teacher is throwing a party to celebrate the western holiday. The children will sing songs, eat snacks and play games with her classmates at primary school.

“It is a wonderful time for our kids to sit around, as well as for us parents to communicate,” said Gao Yajie, one of the parents who helped arrange the activity. “After all, the children are too busy with their daily school work.”

In a community in north Beijing, 26 male volunteers will dress up as “Santa Claus” to deliver gifts to about 260 homes.

According to Meng Jin, an organizer of the activity, the 26 Santa Clauses plan to knock at the door to surprise kids with their presents.

“We aim to leave a wonderful childhood memory for children in our community and Christmas eve is just the right time when the festive atmosphere is everywhere,” she said.

“Many families have registered to get a present for their child, we are recruiting more Santa Clauses for the eve,” she added.




In a remote village at an altitude of 3,000 meters on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in northwest China, a Tibetan woman, Tsering Amon, is busy rehearsing a dance performance for a show on Christmas eve.

Knowledge about the western holiday spread to the Tibetan village through children who learnt about it in school and people who work in big cities. Now, more people in the small village enjoy the jubilant atmosphere when the eve falls.

“Since Christmas celebrations began in 2009, people in the neighborhood have enjoyed it very much. This year, the celebration will last about two hours, including singing, dancing and mini-dramas,” said Tsering Amon.

“We have bought costumes, Christmas hats, masks and presents such as apples for the seniors and pencils and erasers for the children,” she said.

On Christmas, people will send blessings via cellphone, wishing friends and family “merry Christmas,” “good luck,” and “wish you health.”

Last month, construction began on a Santa Park in Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Scheduled to open in 2016, it is jointly built by both China and Finland and will become the first authentic Finnish Santa Park in Asia.

The park, covering about 10,000 square meters, will include scores of entertainment events related with Christmas with a total investment of nearly 200 million yuan (32.7 million U.S. dollars).

Paula Parvianien, deputy head of the Embassy of Finland in Beijing, said that the Santa Park will be a platform for Sino-Finnish culture exchange, and help promote the cultural and economic cooperations between the two countries.

Across the Taiwan Strait, various activities will also be held on the island, including live-shows and carnivals, and local churches will be filled with people to sing anthems and exchange presents.




The commercial importance of Christmas in China is obviously increasing.

Walking into a restaurant or shopping mall during the holiday season, Christmas decorations are often be spotted and christmas carols heard. Many businesses have their staff dress up in Santa hats and put on a more chipper attitude.

Near Sanlitun and Worker’s Stadium in Beijing, a nightlife hotspot for both locals and foreigners, restaurants and night clubs host special events on Christmas Eve.

Zhang Hong, a staff in a law firm in Beijing, has scheduled to meet three friends to see a cross talk on Christmas Eve.

“We celebrate Christmas as it is a chance to hang out,” said Zhang. “We make reservations beforehand, as it will be people everywhere when the day comes.”





A French-Chinese or A Chinese French?




Photo taken in 2010 shows Joel Bellasan delivering a speech at the 10th International

Conference on Chinese Language Teaching held in Shenyang, northeast China’s Liaoning




A French-Chinese


A Chinese-French?





Bellassen takes a photo at the west gate of Peking University in 1974.


A pair of worn, black shoes has accompanied Joel Bellassen all over the world.

Sitting at the window in a hostel at Beijing International Studies University, the 64 year-old Frenchman said he doesn’t recognize where he is, although he has been to 24 provinces and autonomous regions during his 200-plus trips to China and speaks Mandarin like a native. “It’s easy to find skyscrapers in almost any large city in this country,” he said. “But it’s hard to distinguish one from another.”

Bellassen is General Inspector of Chinese Language at France’s Ministry of National Education. He traveled to Beijing this time on an academic tour and to give a speech on the theme “Current difficulties of teaching Chinese as a foreign language.”

He always has the Xinhua Dictionary and a Contemporary Chinese Dictionary in his bag. His favorite Chinese story is “Kong Yiji,” written by Lu Xun.

“I love the ending of the story. Kong Yiji may have been dead,” Bellassen said. He is obsessed with this kind of uncertainty.

Bellassen has been fascinated by Chinese for 45 years. In 1969, he chose Chinese as his major at the Universite Paris 8. “I was interested in Chinese ideographs and had a burning curiosity about this remote, mysterious, Eastern country.”

In 1973 the two countries restored cultural exchange programs, which had been halted by China’s Cultural Revolution. This gave him a chance to take his first China journey with 29 other college students.

“It was like going to the moon,” Bellassen recalled. “My grandmother tried to persuade me to stay in Paris because China was comparatively underdeveloped.”

“But I did not change my decision,” he said. “Who would give up an opportunity to go to the moon just because of the harsh conditions?”

Despite restored cultural exchanges, 1973 was still during China’s Cultural Revolution. “I visited all of my classmates after we finished our exchange program in China,” he said. Though many Chinese people at the time thought foreigners were coming to China for political reasons, Bellassen said neither he nor his classmates took part in political movements before, during, or after their China stay.

“We came to China in a politically sensitive period, but we studied here mainly out of curiosity,” he said.

Arriving in China after a 22-hour flight, Bellassen caught his first sight of Beijing. A few people were riding bicycles late at night, he recalled. A portrait of Chairman Mao hung on the airport’s terminal building.


Bellassen lives with local people at a People’s Commune on the outskirts of Beijing

in the 1970s. 


In the 1970s, Chinese people were still curious about foreigners. “One day I went to Wangfujing, Beijing’s commercial district, to buy a pair of shoes,” he said. He attracted hundreds of people’s attention in the street. “But even my close Chinese friends turned away from me, which really made me puzzled,” Bellassen said.

In order to understand China and the Cultural Revolution, Bellassen and his French classmates applied for permission to travel to rural communes and factories and work there, but they could not get permits because they were foreign.

When it came to his second academic year in 1974, he was given a chance to go to Sijiqing People’s commune in Beijing’s western suburbs and live with local farmers and workers.

“At first, I could not bear the breakfast of cornmeal porridge,” he said. “In the first few weeks, I only ate meat three times.” Eventually though, he changed. “The ordinary cornmeal porridge made me forget about baguettes and cheese and I came to know the authentic life in China.”

Even now living in Paris, he still prefers Chinese breakfast.

“My Chinese improved beyond my expectations when I was staying with those local people. After two years of study in China, Bellassen went back to France in 1975. He took part-time jobs teaching Chinese in primary schools, middle schools, and college in Paris.

Since finishing his Ph.D. dissertation on Chinese philosophical life, he has been involved in Chinese education and cultural diffusion.

Bellassen admires current foreign students studying Chinese. He said it is much more convenient for them to learn due to modern multi-media materials.

In spring of 2014, more than 37,000 senior high school students in France chose Chinese as one of their subjects for college entrance exams, he said. “Half of them have been studying Chinese since middle school.”

People from the two countries still have misunderstandings about each other, despite the fact that China and France have had diplomatic ties for 50 years. Many Chinese people cannot tell the different between French cuisine and Italian food. Bellassen said, “There are still a lot of French people who think that Japanese kimonos originate in China.”

“China and Europe may be geographically distant,” he said, “but globalization has shortened and will continue to shorten the distance between China and the Western world in cultural awareness.”

In the Chinese expert’s point of view, China and France share some similarities: centuries-old history, splendid culture, and their people’s yearning for a comfortable lifestyle.

Though he admits that living conditions and availability of foreign products have improved in China, Bellassen is not pleased by China’s fast pace of change.

“The heavier air pollution and newly built, strange buildings mean that my second hometown, Beijing, has lost its unique city character,” he said.

“Besides Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City, Beijing’s soul is the quadrangle of the Siheyuan, the city wall and gates,” he said.

Bellassen knows the government has applied practical measures to protect historical sites to restore their original appearance. “It is a remarkable step,” he said. “But I have no idea whether it’s a little bit late.”

“Foreigners started to learn about China in the days of Marco Polo,” he said, and throughout his career, Bellassen has helped people in France learn about China’s culture and history.



Bellassen takes time to be with a peasant’s child during his stay at a People’s Commune

on the outskirts of Beijing in 1975.



* Source  |