Lu Xun (simplified Chinese: 鲁迅; traditional Chinese: 魯迅; pinyin: Lǔ Xùn) or Lu Hsün (Wade-Giles), was the pen name of Zhou Shuren (simplified Chinese: 周树人; traditional Chinese: 周樹人; pinyin: Zhōu Shùrén; Wade–Giles: Chou Shu-jen) (September 25, 1881 – October 19, 1936), one of the major Chinese writers of the 20th century. Considered by many to be the leading figure of modern Chinese literature, he wrote in baihua (白話) (the vernacular) as well as classical Chinese. Lu Xun was a short story writer, editor, translator, critic, essayist and poet. In the 1930s he became the titular head of the Chinese League of the Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai.
Lu Xun's works exerted a very substantial influence after the May Fourth Movement to such a point that he was highly acclaimed by the Communist regime after 1949. Mao Zedong himself was a lifelong admirer of Lu Xun's works. Though sympathetic to the ideals of the Left, Lu Xun never actually joined the Chinese Communist Party. Like many leaders of the May Fourth Movement, he was primarily a liberal.
Lu Xun's works became known to English readers through numerous translations, beginning in 1960 with Selected Stories of Lu Hsun translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang. More recently, in 2009, Penguin Classics published a complete anthology of his fiction titled The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun which the scholar Jeffrey Wasserstrom said "could be considered the most significant Penguin Classic ever published."[3Wikipedia
Du Fu, a very famous poet, lived in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Just as its name implies, the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu was his home more than a thousand years ago.
Du Fu was born in Gongyi City, Henan Province in 712. In 746, he took the official examination in Chang'an (now known as Xian) and continued to live there for more than ten years after the failure. But, in order to get away from the An-Shi Rebellion breaking out in 758, Du Fu fled to Chengdu in 759. With the help of friends, the thatched cottage was built in 760 beside the Flower Bathing Brook on the western outskirts of Chengdu. During his four years there, Du Fu composed more than 240 poems that are considered to be precious national treasures.
After Du Fu's departure from Chengdu, the cottage was abandoned for a long time and became dilapidated. Hundreds of years later in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) a new temple was built on the original site of the thatched cottage to commemorate this outstanding person in Chinese literature. From then on, it was renovated and enlarged repeatedly. There were two very important reconstructions in 1500 and 1811 respectively, both of which set the scale and structure of the present thatched cottage. Today, it is a shrine to Chinese literature and a commemorative museum in the form of a traditional garden.
If you love horses or just enjoy great art, then Xu Beihong foots the bill. Again, I came across this postcard set at a small shop in 2006. Could not pass them by, don't know when they were published.
Xu Beihong (simplified Chinese: 徐悲鸿; traditional Chinese: 徐悲鴻; pinyin: Xú Bēihóng) was born in Yixing, China. He was primarily known for his shuimohua (Chinese ink paintings) of horses and birds and one of the first Chinese artists to articulate the need for artistic expressions that reflected a new modern China at the beginning of the 20th century. He was also regarded as one of the first to create monumental oil paintings with epic Chinese themes - a show of his high proficiency in an essential Western art technique.
Xu began studying classic Chinese works and calligraphy with his father Xu Dazhang when he was six, and Chinese painting when he was nine. In 1915, he moved to Shanghai, where he made a living off commercial and private work. He traveled to Tokyo in 1917 to study arts. When he returned to China, he began to teach at Peking University's Arts school at the invitation of Cai Yuanpei. Beginning in 1919, Xu studied overseas in Paris at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where he studied oil painting and drawing. His travels around Western Europe allowed him to observe and imitate Western art techniques. He came back to China in 1927 and, from 1927 to 1929, gained a number of posts at institutions in China, including teaching at National Central University (now Nanjing University) in the former capital city Nanjing.
In 1933, Xu organized an exhibition of modern Chinese painting that traveled to France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and the Soviet Union. During World War II, Xu traveled to Southeast Asia, holding exhibitions in Singapore and India. All the proceeds from these exhibitions went to Chinese people who were suffering as a result of the war.
More at WIKIPEDIA
Méi was born in Taizhou, Jiangsu in 1894 into a family of Peking opera and Kunqu performers. He made his stage debut at the Guanghe Theatre in 1904 when he was 10 years old. In his 50-year stage career, he maintained strong continuity while always working on new techniques. His most famous roles were those of female characters; skillful portrayal of women won him international acclaim, and his smooth, perfectly timed, poised style has come to be known in opera circles as the “Méi School.” He also played an important part in continuing the performance tradition of Kūnqǔ, noted particularly for his interpretations of Dù Lìniáng (杜丽娘; in The Peony Pavilion) and Bái Sùzhēn (白素贞; in Leifeng Pagoda) and Beauty Yu (in Farewell My Concubine). Mei's famous portrayal of Beauty Yu was so historically moving that Wenting Song say he is one of the greatest vocal artists in modern China.
Méi was the first artist to spread Beijing Opera to foreign countries, participating in cultural exchanges with Japan, the United States, and other regions. He toured the world, forming friendships with the western contemporaries of his day, including Charlie Chaplin. In 1930 he toured North America, visiting Hollywood, where he welcomed by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. In 1935, Mei toured Europe, playing to appreciative audiences in Berlin and Moscow. Seeing Mei perform especially impressed the German playwright Bertold Brecht and influenced his concept of the alienation effect.
In July 1937, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurred. The Imperial Japanese Army soon occupied Beijing. The commander of the Japanese Army ordered Mei to perform for them and appointed Mei to a high rank official position. But Mei refused to sing throughout the duration of the war and endured an impoverished lifestyle until the war ended in 1945.
After 1949 he served as director of China Beijing Opera Theater, director of the Chinese Opera Research Institute, and vice-chairman of China Federation of Literary and Art Circles. Besides his autobiography, Forty Years of Life on the Stage, several of his articles and essays have been published in The Collected Works of Mei Lanfang. Recordings of his best-known performances have been published in A Selection of Beijing Operas Performed by Mei Lanfang. In 2000, the story of his life was filmed in a documentary entitled The Worlds of Mei Lanfang. Acclaimed director Chen Kaige directed Forever Enthralled, a film biography of Mei's life, released in December 2008
Chinese Postcards of Mei LanFang
I found these cards in a bazaar in 2008.
It is impossible for me to to tell you how beautiful these photos are. Simply, my vocabulary is not sufficient enough to to describe the stunning beauty of the reproductions shown here. Cards were produced in 1994. I paid approximately 20 yuan for them.
"Yangshuo is a quiet and beautiful county where I live with my Chinese wife. I feel I should do my part in making it a better place for foreign visitors," Axel said.
Axel and another 15 foreigners are members of the Yangshuo Policing International Volunteers Group, which was set up in February 2011 in south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Yangshuo, located in northeast Guangxi, is known for its breathtaking scenery and diverse cultural appeal, as it is home to 10 different ethnic minorities. The area's numerous ethnic festivals often bring an influx of visitors, many of whom are from other countries.
However, with language barriers and a lack of knowledge regarding Chinese rules and regulations, some foreigners encounter difficulties when visiting the county, some of which result in disputes.
In November 2010, a young man from Australia rode a motorcycle through the streets of Yangshuo without a Chinese driver's license. When traffic police stopped him, both sides ended up in a stalemate for half an hour until the police solicited the help of a British man to help explain local traffic regulations to the Australian.
Incidents like this led county police to form the volunteer group to help them handle incidents involving foreign visitors.
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VietNamNet Bridge – To realize its ambition of controlling the entire East Sea, Chinese newspapers have published articles to excite public opinion, slander countries in the region, especially Vietnam.
Dr. Tran Cong Truc, former head of the Government Border Committee, analyzed China’s plot to monopolize the East Sea in his newly-published book entitled “Vietnam’s Imprints in the East Sea.” Below is an extract from the book.
To implement its marine strategy and its ambition to totally control the East Sea, China has applied many domestic and foreign measures, on negotiation table and on the field, to confirm its sovereignty in the East Sea.
China officially raised its U-shaped line claim in May 2009, by attaching a map with this line to a diplomatic note to the United Nations in protesting Vietnam’s report and the joint report of Vietnam and Malaysia on the boundary of the continental shelf. Accordingly, China claimed sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagos and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of the two archipelagos.
China used the regulations on island nation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) to outline the baseline for Paracel Islands. It stated to draw the baseline for the Spratly Islands, to claim EEZs and continental shelves for the two archipelagoes.
However, China’s claim is contrary to the UNCLOS; so in general, other countries did not agree with the claim
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An April report by China’s national broadcaster CCTV detailed the manufacturing process followed by 16 companies that sell preserved fruit. It made the meat-packing methods described by Upton Sinclair in “The Jungle” a century ago seem pale by comparison.
Shoppers look at packs of fresh milk at a supermarket in Shanghai in April 2011
Rotten peaches pickled in outdoor pools surrounded by garbage are spiked with sodium metabisulfite to keep the fruit looking fresh and with bleaching agents and additives harmful to the human liver and kidneys. The peaches are packed in uncleaned bags that previously held animal feed and then shipped off to big-brands stores.
read more The New York Times
A lot of ink has been spilled of late discussing the global impact of China’s slowing economic growth. But there has been little discussion however about how African economies will be affected.
Now, ratings agency Standard and Poor’s has stepped into the gap with a report published this week. It says, in short, that the China slow down may be bad for metal exporters, but opportunities should present themselves for African manufacturers.
The export of metals, agricultural commodities and petro-chemicals has been the backbone of most of sub-Saharan Africa’s more successful economies over the past decade, and China has been a key customer.
The IMF estimates that it was responsible for almost all of the world’s consumption increases for copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc between 1995 and 2011. In 2010, it consumed 40 per cent of the world’s base metals. On the back of Chinese demand – which rebounded spectacularly following the 2008 crash – African commodity exporter nations have enjoyed strong growth even as developed markets have remained in a slump.
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The British-based medical journal Lancet said Friday in a report on global smoking rates that around 300 million people, about 28 percent of the population, use tobacco products in China, despite new restrictions on public smoking.
The study's lead author, Dr. Gary Giovino, says China's government-owned cigarette companies, an important source of revenue, are even encouraging the deadly habit with advertisements in elementary schools.
“The China National Tobacco Company has supported elementary schools in China, dozens and dozens of them. And they use their support to promote propaganda about tobacco use, and they are basically telling students that genius comes from hard work and tobacco helps them to be successful. That to me is mind boggling, that a government would tell its children to use tobacco to be successful when tobacco will addict them and shorten their lives.
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The chain of uninhabited islands at the center of a territorial dispute between China and Japan sits on top of what are thought to be vast oil deposits, and are surrounded by rich fishing grounds.
But the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, have a long history of straining relations and inspiring nationalist resentment between the two Asian neighbors, long before the issue of oil resources in the area came up.
China says the islands have been considered part of its territory since the 14th century, when it says they first appeared on Chinese maps during the Ming Dynasty. Beijing says Chinese fishermen have used the islands since ancient times.
But Japan disputes that claim, saying it discovered the islands in 1884. After determining the islands were uninhabited, Japan annexed them in 1895 after winning the First Sino-Japanese War. China objects, saying it was forced to sign the post-war treaty that effectively handed the islands over to Japan.
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Police carry away the body of Zhou Kehua, the fugitive serial killer and armed robber, from the spot he was shot dead, in Chongqing Municipality, August 14, 2012.
Before Zhou Kehua became one of China‘s most wanted fugitives, he enjoyed reading and collecting detective novels. When he was short of cash as a teenager, he would sometimes sit on the roadside and rent his novels out, an acquaintance told the Chongqing Morning Post. But as an adult Zhou took a more direct and violent route to raising funds: robbing people at gunpoint, then shooting them and leaving them for dead. Police say he is suspected of killing 10 people in a crime spree that spanned eight years and three major Chinese cities. It came to a bloody end Tuesday when Zhou, 42, was gunned down by two plainclothes officers in Chongqing, his hometown in southwestern China.
Zhou’s death brought an end to a four-day manhunt that saw thousands of police, military police and troops scouring hillsides in Chongqing’s rural districts. The search was triggered by a shooting outside of a Bank of China branch in the city’s Shapingba district that left a woman dead and two others injured. The assailant, who police identified as Zhou, made off with $11,000, according to state media reports. The authorities feared that he would disappear into the rural districts near where he grew up, but instead he was found early Tuesday on a street in one of Chongqing’s urban districts, possibly preparing for another heist.
Private firearm ownership is illegal in China and gun crimes are rare. The shooting of three civilians in Chongqing on Friday stirred public concern and revived memories of 2009, when a handful of shootings helped spur a massive crackdown on crime. That campaign helped raise the national stature of Chongqing’s then-leader, Bo Xilai, who has since had a spectacular fall from grace. His wife, Gu Kailai, went on trial last week for the poisoning of a British businessman, and Bo, who was removed from office in March, is under investigation by the Communist Party’s internal discipline system.
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Recent US statements criticizing China for militarizing the South China Sea area have been bitterly rejected by Chinese authorities, who view Washington as doing the militarizing and trying to provoke China.
Tensions between various Asian countries have been on the rise over territorial disputes and Washington keeps sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong in an attempt to undercut its global competitor, China.
“Judging from the outrage coming from China at being singled out, after Vietnam and the Philippines had taken steps, without being criticized, to secure resources in the contested sea before China’s own actions, the US statement seems to be backfiring,” Douglas H. Paal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
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Unlike their predecessors Mao Tse-tung and Zhou Enlai, China's present leaders remain behind closed doors during their annual summer retreat to Beidaihe.
A short stretch of the beach at Beidaihe, the enclave to which the Chinese leadership decamps during the summer, is open to the public. The area is also popular with foreign visitors. (Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times / August 14, 2012)By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
August 16, 2012, 6:05 p.m.
"In the old days, people would see Mao Tse-tung or Zhou Enlai walking around, shopping, eating in a restaurant, talking to ordinary people," said Yu Heping, 62, a lifelong resident who used to farm corn and sorghum and now works in the tourism industry.
Nowadays, the presence of the Chinese leadership is viewed primarily in fleeting shadows through tinted glass, as their black Audis glide past stifling security roadblocks. The leaders remain secluded in their enclave, with their own beaches, their own restaurants and their own gardeners and cleaners who come from Beijing. Locals are rarely hired or admitted into the compound.
"We never see them nowadays — only see their motorcades," said Yu.
It is just another sign of the isolated and secretive nature of the Chinese leadership, ever opaque in its policymaking, even as it has sought to convey a more open and welcoming appearance.
The Chinese hierarchy is well aware that Beidaihe can convey an impression of elitism. In 2003, President Hu Jintao canceled the retreat, in part a public relations ploy to show that the leadership was giving up its perks and in part to minimize the meddling of his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, who thrived in Beidaihe's smoky, backroom ambience. Later, the tradition resumed; the party elders simply feeling a need to decamp somewhere away from the prying eyes of Beijing.
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