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Tag: China

Lebanese crafts struggle to survive against cheaper Chinese imports

Lebanon has a reputation for cultivating local crafts, from metalwork to woodwork and many are still making a living from their traditional skills. But faced with cheaper imports from China and India it is getting tougher to survive. This has prompted some to try to raise the profile of local craftsmen.

Watch the 4 minute video below on this subject by BBC:

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Beijing toilet-themed restaurant

In Beijing, China, nothing quite says fine dining… like a toilet-themed restaurant. At this establishment in Beijing, it’s no use complaining to the waiter that the food looks a bit like ****.

Watch the video below for more information:

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China unveils world’s fastest train

China has just launched the fastest express train in the world on the longest track on earth. At a speed of around 400 km/h, this locomotive is so smooth that even a standing cigarette won’t be toppled. It ran from the central city of Wuhan down to the south coast in a record of less than 3 hours, compared to the 10 and a half hours that it normally used to take.

This is not something new for the Chinese, and if you’ve been to Shanghai then you know what I mean. They have the Maglev train that takes you from Shanghai airport to downtown at a speed topping 432 km/h.

Check out the express train in the video below:

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Scientists ’cause’ Beijing’s first snow of 2009-2010 season

Chinese meteorologists say they brought about Beijing’s earliest snowfall in a decade, after seeding rain clouds with silver iodide to ease a drought.

The Weather Modification Office sprayed clouds with 186 doses of the chemical to bring rain for the wheat crop, the Beijing Evening News said. But the arrival of a cold front caused heavy snow to fall, disrupting road, rail and air travel. Cloud seeding is often used in China in an attempt to bring on rain. The country’s north is prone to droughts, while the south is often flooded.

Check it out in the video below:

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Sand painting to celebrate China’s 60 years of communism

Even though Ferenc Cakó is an avant-garde in sand animation, this is quite different. To celebrate 60 years of communism in China in the beginning of this month, two artists have created a picturesque sand painting. Yang Qi and Li Yin have spent two weeks grinding and dying the sand red to recreate key moments from the past 60 years.

Check it out in the video below:

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Hong Kong apartment sold for a record 57 million dollars

A Hong Kong property developer claims to have set a world record last week for the sale of a five bedroom luxury apartment, at $57m. The five-bedroom home is believed to be Asia’s most expensive property - with each sq foot costing $9,200.

The unidentified new owner from mainland China bought the property in 39 Conduit Road, one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive addresses. The apartment, about 6,000 sq feet (557 sq metres), is on the 68th floor of the building and has views over the harbour. The owner has access to facilities including an aroma spa centre, a fitness room and an outdoor yoga gym.

Property prices in Hong Kong have benefited from mainland China’s booming market, however it has one of the world’s most expensive property markets - with many locals finding it difficult to buy.

Watch the video below by BBC News:

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The anti spitting law in China

While I was browsing through my folders, I bumped into a picture I took during my stay in Shanghai in 2006 that made me rethink of the cultural differences between East and West. The picture, shown below, shows a sign of ‘No Spitting’, which prohibits people to spit.

Eventhough spitting for the Chinese goes back five millenia, it is now regarded by the government as an obnoxious habit, and needs to be eradicated. Despite continuous advise from medical staff, the fact that spitting in public was a health hazard really hit home when the SARS virus wreaked havoc in the country in 2003. Guangdong province then introduced campaigns on making public spitting illegal. Fines are now imposed in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. The anti-spitting drive also intensified before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when the capital city devised a ‘No Spitting Day’ to eradicate a top etiquette no-no. But even with all that, the number of spitters remains very large.

No Spitting sign in Shanghai

No Spitting sign in Shanghai

Watch this 30 seconds rare footage of a Chinese anti-spitting campaign that dates back from the 1950s:

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Bian Lian: the mask changing art of China’s Sichuan Opera

Since many people used to ask me about the colored masks hung up in my apartment, I decided to give a quick explanation of their meaning. Bian Lian, in simplified Chinese 变脸, literally means Face Changing. It is an ancient Chinese art specific to the Sichuan Opera, in which performers wear bright colored costumes and masks, and quickly change their masks in a fraction of a second. It is incredibly fast to the extent that viewers cannot see how they do it. Some performers rapidly change their costumes as well. Surprisingly enough it’s not a one time act, but performers do it again and again and again.

According to Wikipedia, Bian Lian began 300 years ago, during the reign of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795). The masks colors reflect a character’s mood such as red representing anger and black extreme fury. Bian Lian was first used in a story about a hero who stole from the rich to help the poor. When he was caught by feudal officials, he changed his face to puzzle them and escaped as a result. Only a select number of masters know how to perform this art, and the secret is only passed down through families and from master to apprentice. Since its inception, the art was forbidden to women, but recently women had been allowed to learn the technique and perform them publicly.

The video below shows a performer frequently changing his mask:

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