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iChina Eyeing China with My Angle

TIBET: True or False?-- Voice of a French Columnist Published by iChina Media Group & KF Publishing Company Group, U.S.A

International Youth Step Up to Success in America The 5th China International Photo Contest Yunnan: Beautiful Clouds in the South A Luxury Hot Spring Experience The Voice of a Tibetan Chinese Loong: Chinese Dragon Dancing with China

April & May 2009 www.ichinamag.com


A P R I L & M AY

2009

INDEX

FOCUS 02. TIBET: True or False?-- Voice of a French Columnist 06. The Voice of a Tibetan Chinese

ECONOMY 11. Global Recession Not Affecting Expat Jobs in China 12. When “Hai Gui” (Sea Turtle) becomes “Hai Dai” (Seaweed) 13. Managing Chinese Returnees

CULTURE 16. Loong: Chinese Dragon The Benevolent, Powerful, Worshipful and Lucky Symbol of C hina 18. International Youth Step Up to Success in America

PEOPLE 21. Dancing with China Interview with Aly Rose,an American choreographer and dancer who lived in China for 11 years

ARTS 26. Maleonn (Ma, Liang)

TRAVEL 30. Yunnan: Beautiful Clouds in the South (2) 33. A Luxury Hot Spring Experience: One day in Gentle Hot Spring Resort

FOOD 38. Roll It Up 41. Into the Wild Green

LEISURE 44. The 5th China International Photo Contest 48. Hot Social Nnetwork Sites in China Note: If you believe that your work has been reprinted in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please contact iChina’s Copyright Agent: copyright@ichinamag.com for more information.

Cover: Photograph by Tao Wei


A Letter From the Editor

A

s global trade patterns shift eastward, the world is taking a closer look at As i a w i t h n e w i nte re s t. China is definitely a country in the spotlight. With its rapid economical development, C h i n a’s p o s i t i o n o n t h e international stage is becoming more and more prominent. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso stated that “China’s contribution to world economic activity is crucial. We on the European side are eager to strengthen our cooperation with China in order to meet challenges of tomorrow.” China’s global influence is indeed growing. Meanwhile, the country is undergoing a phase of social transformation and is moving toward a more open, modern, and harmonious society. As Aly Rose, an American choreographer and dancer who lived in China for eleven years, mentioned during our interview, “China has awakened. The country is well on its way towards not only self-expression, but self-realization. America can only benefit from understanding China’s recent struggles, trials, and aspirations. And as this generation embraces world citizenship with all of its challenges, appreciating China will be crucial for progress and unity.” iChina Magazine aims to present a vivid picture of the diverse and dynamic society of China, and offer you an opportunity to move beyond any simplistic views of China that downplay the diversity of the country and the complex nature of the social and cultural shifts its people are experiencing. I believe that our work will help expose Western audiences to both traditional and modern faces of China, and thus bring China and the rest of the world closer together. In the last year we have witnessed a financial crisis on a scale not seen for many decades. Due to the worldwide decline in the economy, the job market is also suffering. Though workers around the world fear for their jobs, China still seems to be able to keep its economy growing, and has maintained a relatively stable job market. In this issue’s section on economy and technology, you will find insights into how to find a job

in China, as told from the perspectives of professional recruiters and “Sea Turtles,” a pun referring to overseas Chinese returning to China. Moreover, one year ago, the 2008 Tibetan unrest grabbed headlines and garnered an extraordinary amount of attention from the Western media. In this issue, readers who want a deeper understanding of Tibet-related issues can turn to the Focus section and read about alternative viewpoints from a French columnist and a Tibetan. This month, in the People section, we meet Aly Rose, the American dancer mentioned above, and explore her fascinating journey through China. In the Art section, we take a look at the amazing artwork of Maliang, a Chinese artist who believes that “love and freedom only exist in a glimpse.” In the section on culture, we introduce the Loong (the Chinese Dragon), a Chinese symbol of benevolence, power, and luck that is widely worshipped throughout China, as well as stories from a group of Chinese teenagers who set up their own business overseas. In the Travel section, we are excited to share a hiking experience down to the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province, and a hot springs adventure in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, through wonderful stories and photos. In addition, you will learn how to make delicious Chinese-style burritos and fajitas and explore the world of wild greens in the Food section. Finally, in the Leisure section, you may enjoy some award-winning photographs from the 5th China International Photo Contest, and plus discover some popular Chinese social network sites. After this issue, we will take a short break and begin publishing monthly with our June issue. Our website, ichinamag.com, will continue to offer you upto-date information about China. You will also find interesting stories, beautiful paintings, and plenty of humor in exciting new blogs written by some of our top columnists. Happy reading, and let us know what you are thinking! You can email us at ichina@ichinamag.com. Executive Editor, Huijie Feng April, 2009

iChina is published monthly by iChina Media Group and KF Publishing Company Group. Editor in Chief: April Zhang Executive Editor: Huijie Feng

Managing Editor: May Ouyang

Art Director: Jiangling Wu

Associate Editor: Mingwu Gao, Zhao Zhao, Yu Chen, Zhe Zhao, Angie Zhong, Sharon Wilson, Elizabeth Steiner Assistant Editor: Stacy Liu, Qinqin Schoser, Michael Smith Copy Editor: Rebecca Stout

For advertisement or subscription information, contact: Phone: 312-233-2087 Email: marketing@ichinamag.com


TIBET: True or False? -- Voice of a French Columnist ARTICLES by MICHEL COLLON Translated from the French by John Catalinotto

T

he goal of this media test is neither to shock nor to create a scandal. All beliefs deserve respect. The goal is to allow each of us to determine for ourselves the answer to a decisive question: is what I believe based on reliable information? Or did someone try to manipulate public opinion on these big questions?

What makes a good judge? The answer is someone who listens attentively to the contending parties, leaves her prejudices outside, makes up her own mind, and checks the reliability of each document, of each witness. Wouldn’t a media reader or viewer find it helpful to follow this same method?

1. “BEFORE THE CHINESE INVASION, THE TIBETAN PEOPLE LIVED IN HARMONY WITH THEIR NOBILITY IN A SOCIAL ORDER INSPIRED BY RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS.” FALSE. Religious doctrines imposed the superior position of the rich nobles and the inferior position of the impoverished peasants, restrained the low-ranking monks, and made slaves of all women, presenting this ranking as the inevitable outcome of karmic virtues and the vices of successive former lives. Th i s re l i gi o u s i d e o l o g y j u s t i f i e d a feudal class order: serfs worked without pay for life on the grounds of the lord or at the monastery, unable to move without permission. All life events--marriage, death, birth, a religious festival, owning an animal, planting a tree, dancing, or entering or leaving prison--were all pretexts for heavy taxes. Debts passed from father to son and then to grandson. Those who failed to pay were reduced to slavery. Fugitives and thieves were tracked by a small professional army. Favorite punishments included tearing out the tongue or the eye, slicing the tendon at the knee, etc. There tortures were not ended until 1959, at the time of the democratic reforms enacted in Beijing. 2. “IN 1951, CHINA INVADED TIBET.” FALSE. The term “invasion” assumes the existence of two separate countries. However, in the 13th century the Mongols annexed Tibet to China. As of the 17th century, it was established as one of the eighteen provinces of the Chinese Empire. Consequently, each new Dalai Lama received his “seal” of office from the Chinese Emperor. At the end of the 19th century, the British Empire invaded Tibet and installed its trade representatives there. The thirteenth Dalai Lama took advantage of this event to assert Tibet's independence. No Chinese party or any country in the world took this request seriously. As of 1949, the US State Department still considered both Tibet and Taiwan integral parts of China. This all changed when, led by Mao Zedong, China became socialist. The same US State Department then wrote: “Tibet has become strategically and ideologically important. Since the independence of Tibet can aid the fight against Communism, it is of our interest to recognize it as independent rather than regarding it as belonging to China.” But, it added: “The situation would change if a government in exile is created. In this case, it is in our interest to support it without recognizing Tibet’s independence. To recognize the independence of Tibet, yes or no, is not the true question. It is about our attitude towards China.”

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FOCUS 3. “AS SOON AS SOCIALIST CHINA TOOK OVER DIRECTION IN 1951, THE DALAI-LAMA AND THE TIBETAN NOBILITY LOST ALL THEIR POLITICAL POWER IN TIBET.” FALSE. In 1951, Beijing and the local government of Tibet signed an accord on the peaceful liberation of Tibet. The Dalai Lama wrote a poem about the glory of President Mao Zedong and telegraphed him: “The local government, the lamas and the lay population of Tibet unanimously support the accord of 17 articles.” It is within this framework that the Peoples Liberation Army entered Tibet. The agreement foresaw the continuation of serfdom in Tibet under the authority of the Dalai Lama. The monasteries, the Dalai Lama and the officials would all keep their possessions: 70 percent of the land. Beijing would control military questions and international relations. The local Tibetan government, composed of lamas and lords, negotiated and accepted the agreement. The Dalai Lama took the post of Vice President of the Parliament of all China, which he accepted without problems. 4. “IN 1959, 83,000 DIED IN THE BATTLE OF LHASA.” FALSE. To understand the sequence of events, one must understand that in Tibet, eastern feudalism continued. In the neighboring provinces where minority Tibetans coexist with the Han, Hui, Yi, Naxi, Qiang, andMongols…land reform got underway in the beginning of the 1950s. The lands of the great landowners were confiscated and redistributed to the poor peasants. There were few conflicts, since the socialist State pays an income to the ex-owners. Resistance came from the Tibetan lamas and the nobility in these areas. They refused to give up their privileges. In 1956, they launched an armed rebellion, originating in the monastery of Litang in the Sichuan province. After skirmishes with the Red Army, a part of the Tibetan elite of Sichuan fled to Tibet and spread rumors of a “red terror.” From the beginning, the CIA financed and supported the uprising. Armed militia were trained in Colorado, parachuted into Tibet, and supplied with weapons by air. The bloody events of this period were indeed a struggle of the privileged classes, organized by the CIA. In 1959, the rumor that “the Chinese will kidnap the Dalai Lama,” sparked a large demonstration in Lhasa. In reality, the CIA had already organized the Dalai Lama’s flight to India. The demonstrations ending in the lynching of some Tibetan officials, and the Red Army finally quashed the riot. How many deaths resulted in Lhasa? Three thousand, according to testimony collected by the political economist Henry Bradsher (of a pro-independence stance). Sixty-five thousand, claimed the Dalai Lama in 1959. Eventually, the claim became more than eighty-seven thousand. However, at that time, Lhasa only had a maximum of forty thousand inhabitants. It is true that after the riot, ten thousand Tibetans were sent to spend eight months of forced labor building the first hydro-electric power station in Ngchen. But the unsubstantiated figures continue to circulate. In 1984, the Tibetan government in exile claimed that “432,000 Tibetains [died] during the battles with the Red Army between 1949 and 1979!” 5. “INDIA INITIALLY REFUSED TO GRANT THE DALAI-LAMA POLITICAL ASYLUM." TRUE. Starting in 1949, the United States tried to convince the Dalai Lama to go into exile, with the assistance of his two brothers (recruited by the CIA in 1951) and a German adviser Heinrich Harrer (former SS). It would take ten years before he agreed to take refuge in India, along with a layer of privileged dignitaries who make up the exiled Tibetan community. But neighboring India hardly wanted to grant him asylum. President Eisenhower offered to introduce 400 Indian engineers to US nuclear technology. The Indian leader Nehru accepted this deal. In 1974, the first Indian A-bomb was given the cynical nickname of “smiling Buddha.” http://www.ichinamag.com

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6. “ THE CHINESE OCCUPATION CAUSED THE VIOLENT DEATHS OF 1.2 MILLION TIBETANS.”

FALSE. Two major facts contradict this figure, which the Western world has accepted without proof for thirty years. 1) The Tibetan population pyramid in 1953 was estimated at a maximum 2.5 million inhabitants in Tibet and its neighboring provinces. If 1.2 million Tibetans had been killed between 1951 and the beginning of the 1970s, most of Tibet would have been depopulated. Also, there would be a great imbalance between men and women. But demographers note no such anomaly, and the population has doubled to almost six million Tibetans in China today. 2) The only person who had access to the files of the Tibetan government in exile was Patrick French, when he directed Free Tibet in London. Documents in hand, the French concluded that the evidence of the “Tibetan genocide” had been falsified. The battles of 1959 were analyzed several times and the figures of the deaths added in the margins afterwards. He denounced this falsification, but the figures continued to circulate in the world at large. 7. “RELIGIOUS PRACTICE WAS PROHIBITED DURING THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION.” TRUE. Between 1966 and 1976, all religious practices were prohibited not only in Tibet, but in all of China. The monasteries were closed and the monks had to return to their families of origin and devote themselves to productive work, primarily farming. It is not true that all the temples and monasteries were “razed to the ground.” But the Red Guards, young Tibetan intellectuals who followed the general movement in China, destroyed many objects of worship. When that turned chaotic, the army stepped in and restored social and economic order. The Chinese government publicly admitted the errors of this period and financed the restoration of all of Tibet’s religious patrimony. The monasteries were repopulated. Two thousand lamaseries were restored and are currently functioning in China. 8. “THE DALAI-LAMA IS A SORT OF POPE OF WORLD BUDDHISM.” FALSE. The Dalai Lama represents neither Zen Buddhism (in Japan), Southeast Asian Buddhism, nor Chinese Buddhism. In fact, Tibetan Buddhism 4

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009

represents less than 2 percent of the world’s Buddhists. In Tibet itself, there are four separate Buddhist sects, the Dalai Lama belonging to one, the gelugpa (or yellow turbans). When he visited London in 1992, the largest British Buddhist organization accused him of being a “pitiless dictator” and an “oppressor of religious freedom.” This “Pope” seems to have few religious disciples, but many political followers.

9. “ THE DALAI LAMA CLAIMS A QUARTER OF CHINA'S TERRITORY.” TRUE. Although he had recently said he would be satisfied with a kind of autonomy, in his books he claims a “Grand Tibet,” double the size of that where the Dalai Lama had exerted his local political power in the past. This proposed territory would incorporate the whole province of Qinghai and parts of the provinces Gansu, Yunnan and Sichuan, within which one can find a Tibetan minority among the various other nationalities. By what methods would this territory be achieved? By driving out the non-Tibetan populations? By practicing ethnic cleansing? Yes. The Dalai Lama declared textually to the US Congress in 1987: “7.5 million settlers must leave.” It is not a question of settlers, because the populations of these areas have been mixed for centuries. In any case, this expansionist project would carry out what all the other colonial powers have sought to do for 150 years: to dismember China. 1 0 . “ D O N AT I O N S F R O M C H A R I TA B L E A N D HUMANITARIAN NGO ’S FINANCE THE TIBE TAN MOVEMENT.” FALSE. The Tibetan movement indeed receives such gifts, but its principal financier is the government of the United States. Between 1959 and 1972, the CIA poured $1.7 million into the “Tibetan government in exile,” and gave $180,000 dollars per annum to the Dalai Lama. This he denied for a long time, but ended up acknowledging it. From then on and still today, the payments continue but are more discreet, offered through cover organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, the Tibet Fund, the State Department’s Democracy Bureau… Another important sponsor


FOCUS is George Soros, acting through the Albert Einstein Institute, directed until recently by ex-colonel Robert Helvey of the US Secret Service. 11. “THE DALAI LAMA PUBLICLY DEFENDED THE FORMER FASCIST DIC TATOR OF CHILE AUGUSTO PINOCHET.” TRUE. British police arrested Pinochet in England, based on an international warrant for crimes against humanity issued by Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón. On this occasion, the Dalai Lama actively recommended the British government release him and stop him from being tried. Pinochet also was a long-term employee of the CIA. The Dalai Lama is indeed a pawn of the United States. I n 2007, George Bush presented the Dalai Lama with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by the US Congress. His holiness praised Bush for his efforts in the whole world on behalf of freedom, democracy and human rights. He called the United States “a champion of democracy and freedom.” 12. “REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS GIVES DISINTERESED SUPPORT TO THE DALAI LAMA." FALSE. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) presents itself as a defender of freedom for journalists, and many of its smaller contributors believe they are supporting an independent and objective organization. But the funds intended for helping oppressed journalists amount to only 7 percent of the total budget. The remainder goes to political campaigns. Behind these campaigns is dirty money. Actually, the boss at RSF, Robert Ménard, uses a double standard when he defends human rights. He criticizes Venezuela and Cuba by distorting facts. Why? He received financing from the Cuban counter-revolutionaries in Miami. He criticizes China for its policy in Tibet. Why? He received $100,000 dollars from the anti-communists in Taiwan. On the other hand, he is more than timid towards the United States, who killed the greatest number of journalists these last few years. Why? He is financed by the CIA through the the NED, as was mentioned above. Similarly, Ménard forced RSF to cease criticizing the French media. Why? He is supported financially by the largest French media corporation, and some large multinationals. Moreover, the NMPP (owned partially by Lagardere) distributes his albums for free. You don’t

bite the hand that feeds you. Ménard had to admit in 2001: “How, for example, could we organize a debate on the concentration of the press and then ask Havas or Hachette to sponsor it?” Despite all of these suspect financial arrangements, the majority of the mass media continue actively to relay Ménard's words. On the other hand, UNESCO ceased to support him, explaining that, “RSF had shown on several occasions an absence of ethics by treating certain countries with very little objectivity.” 13. “CHINA IS COMMITTING CULTURAL GENOCIDE IN TIBET.” FALSE. Actually, Tibet for a long time has been an autonomous area. Since the 1980s, the culture and the religion of Tibet are practiced freely, children are bilingual, institutes studying Tibet have been opened, lamas, including young children, fill the monasteries. In the streets, believers happily spin their prayer wheels. The Tibetan language is spoken and written by many more people than before the revolution. There are a hundred literary magazines in Tibet. Even Foreign Office magazine, close to the US State Department, acknowledged that 60 to 70 percent of the civil servants are from the Tibetan ethnic group, and that bilingualism is common. In addition, Tibetan culture also experienced new growth in the remainder of China, especially in the fields of language, literature, studies of everyday life, and traditional architecture. China published major collections of books, newspapers and magazines in the Tibetan language. Many publishing houses exist not only in Tibet but also in Beijing. “Cultural genocide” is a political propaganda myth.

14. “THE CONFRONTATIONS OF MARCH 14, 2008 IN LHASA OCCURRED BECAUSE THE POLICE FORCE AND THE CHINESE ARMY VIOLENTLY REPRESSED A PEACEFUL DEMOSTRATION." FALSE. All the Western witnesses present on http://www.ichinamag.com

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the spot, including journalist James Miles (of The Economist) and many tourists attest to it: the violence was star ted by young Tibetans who the lamas encouraged to commit destructive acts. These were criminal acts programmed in a racist manner. Several groups, all armed in the same manner (Molotov cocktails, stones, steel bars, and butcher's knives), all operating in the same way, were spread around Lhasa, and created panic by attacking the Han (Chinese) and the Hui (Moslems). Civilians were burned alive, and others beaten to death or cut up. Nineteen died and more than three hundred were wounded. Schools, hospitals and hotels were attacked. Many older Tibetans aided the victims and saved many lives. When this racist violence was exposed, the partisans of the Dalai Lama claimed that it was all the work of

Chinese soldiers disguised as monks, circulating an alleged “satellite” photograph that was supposed to prove it. We showed that this photograph was a coarse forgery. The police force and the Chinese army initially remained extremely passive before intervening with force to put an end to the riots. How many became victims there at this time? The Western media spread the figure of “hundreds,” which was advanced by the partisans of the Dalai Lama. Some of the Tibetan government officials in exile declared “dead” are quite alive today in Tibet. Others are called “Dupont, Charleroi” without anything more precise. Other names raised do not exist. The argument goes on.

The Voice of a Tibetan Chinese

I

am from Aba County in the Sichuan Province of China, and in my home county, most inhabitants are ethnically Tibetan, Qiang, or Han. I am Tibetan. Should you have any doubt about my identity, please feel free to look me up by my identification: 5 1 3 2 2 2 1 9 * * * * * 0 4 7 3 . ( Tr a n s l a t o r ’s n o t e : T h a t identification is similar to a social security number. For security reasons the author did not publish the complete identification number in this public forum.) I would love to see some of my Tibetan kinfolk repent their actions when they read this article. How alluring is the concept of freedom! It is surely glorious and right to seek one’s freedom. However, I do not understand why we feel we have to seek this freedom when we already have it. The actions of some of my Tibetan kinfolk bring shame to our brother ethnicities, as well as our government. Yes, it is right for us to value our own history and our own beliefs, in order to continue in the majestic spirit of King Gesar. (*Editor’s Note: King Gesar is the main character in a heroic epic collectively created by Tibetans.) When I was at the S eda Buddhist College, I learned the full epic of King Gesar from the scriptures, and King Gesar brought pride to all of us. He is a hero and has brought good lives to all of us. Is the Dalai Lama capable of such? I would like to compare the accomplishments of our hero and the Chinese authority. I would not like to talk about the Dalai, because he shames me too much 6

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009

to make such comparisons on his behalf. 1. To the Separatists: Senor, Zhuoda, and Dunzhu (*Translator’s Note: These are the names of the author’s relatives to whom this article is addressed.): you often come to this forum, and it appears from your speeches that you have already forgotten the teachings of your parents. When you receive, you give back. Do you still remember the stories the Dedideng Grandpa* told us? (*Translator’s note: The author refers the Grandpa as A-Mi, in his mother dialect.) In case you forgot, I shall remind you: he tells us that we Tibetans are grateful. Grandpa said that when the Chinese took over Tibet, we Tibetans were truly librated. We were no longer suppressed by those aristocratic slave owners, and we were no longer their slaves or servants. The government gave us livestock and farms, and they even let us share the aristocrats’ mansions!


FOCUS Then the authority sent their troops to build us the road to Lhasa. They really did it, and Grandpa clearly recalled the horrendous hardships endured while building that road! They had to make their own gun powder to bomb the boulders, and on one day 17 people were buried by falling rocks, sacrificed for us. The authority transported salt and tea for us, and they did not ask anything in return. They said that it was given by the government. The villagers carried their own barley feed to the trucks and said: “It is tough for the trucks to carry so much to us!” Then the central government left two of those trucks for the village, and asked nothing in return. After the road was built, we could really go to Lhasa in automobiles! Later on, we had a drought that strained the grass fields, so the livestock did not gain enough weight. In the same year, the winter was exceptionally harsh, and countless livestock froze to death. We were hopeless, but right at that time, the authority informed us that the central government was sending us resources. We could not believe it initially, but in two days, the trucks truly brought us food, duvets, and all else that we needed. Our fathers performed the long prostration on the grass fields out of appreciation; they were not thanking the heavens or the Dalai Lama. Instead, they were grateful for the aid from the government, and the support from the rest of China. In speaking of the time of our generations, we have experienced real progress brought by the central government. Senor, could you please tell me who installed electric lights in your home, and who implemented your satellite TV receiver for you? Could you also tell me who built the hospital for our village, and where the doctors came from? On whose budget do we have a freeway, and who built the telephone system for our village? Who pays the tuition for our younger siblings, and who takes care of us during natural disasters? Do you recall the year of the landslide? Your uncle’s house was destroyed, a n d w h o built him a new house? Th at i s r i g ht ; you are now distinguished because you study abroad, but do you recall Dr. Zhang from Sichuan University? He supports your studies, but what are you doing while you are abroad? What have you done to our country? Do you care about what your family and Dr. Zhang, your benefactor, thinks of you?

N ow t h a t we also have the r a i l w ay, d o we still live under p o v e r t y ? Yo u know we are not impoverished, but the Dalai Lama still leeches from us. His adherents sit in the temple, and are inaugurated as Living Buddhas at his will. Yet all they do is to touch the foreheads of villagers, and our village folk are obliged to send piles and piles of hard-earned money to their temple. The central government has helped us Tibetans so much, yet they do not even take a tax from us. They consider our situation difficult, so they cancelled our taxation. We give our money to the temple, and then we go to the government for financial aid. Does the government say anything? No, all they say is: “We respect the religious feelings of every ethnicity.” Those who want to separate Tibet from the rest of China: are you really suppressed? Who is slaughtering you? Nobody does that. Making up such stories will make you despicable to all of humanity. 3. To International Friends: I know you are friends with my brothers, and they suggest that you to come to this forum, so I would like to offer a few words to you in the following passage. In China, we Tibetans enjoy equal rights, as does every other ethnicity, and in addition we enjoy minority welfare. I am sure you have heard rumors, such as that the Tibetans are being ethnically cleansed by the Chinese, or that the Chinese government brutally suppresses the Tibetans’ protests. You may have also heard that all Tibetans protest for their independence, or that the Chinese government does not support actual construction for Tibetans, and all they do is support colonization. My friends, those rumors are simply what they are: rumors! Let me tell you what is happening in my homeland. I believe I have more authority to talk about my home than anyone else. The central government has been supporting Tibet ever since it implemented its “Open Door Policy,” and the following are what I find to be some of the government’s most substantial aid: 1. Tibet is one of the first minority regions where the central government has cancelled taxation. 2. It is not true that Tibet lacks freedom. Tibet is one of the autonomous regions in China, and we Tibetans have been ruling Tibet with our own hands. http://www.ichinamag.com

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FOCUS 3. We also enjoy various forms of aid from the central government. The central government gives national funding to encourage college graduates to come to Tibet to help the construction and implementation of education, manufacturing, etc. 4. The central government has built a railway for Tibet in order to help Tibet’s economic growth. Meanwhile, during natural disasters, the central government has always aided the Tibetan people with all of its power. I also want to make a few other points: 1. We Tibetans are not discriminated against. The other ethnicities treat us as brothers, and we enjoy all the rights and welfare benefits applicable to other Chinese citizens. 2. We Tibetans are truly grateful to the rest of China. It is not true that all Tibetans protest for independence. In my hometown, the population is 70% Tibetan, but there are only a few who carry ambitious schemes. They are only one out of four thousand, and those people are scorned as trash in my hometown. My friends, you are educated, and freedom-embracing individuals, so please do not be fooled by those who are despised, even by their own people. 3. We Tibetans are not impoverished. Tibet has a higher mean household income level than most of China. In my hometown, on average, each household has 40 cattle and 100 goats. The average household’s profit from cattle, wool, and medicine trade is approximately 100,000 RMB ($14,635 USD), while an average person in China has an annual income of 20,000 RMB ($2,927 USD). 4. The Tibetans were not suppressed during the recent riot. The illegal protesters were constrained by the different levels of police according to an international charter, and only violent protesters who attacked the police officers were forcefully arrested. I wonder if the situation would be treated any differently in your country. I believe my brothers will not deny the above statements, so please ask them for further clarification.

(The original Chinese version of this article comes from www.tiexue.net, and the translated article comes from www.anti-cnn.com.)

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iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


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ECONOMY

D

ue to the world wide sinking economy, the job market is also going through a very hard time. A recent report from the Labor Dept. in the US showed that the States’ unemployment rate had reached 8.1% by March of 2009. Concerning the recession level, China seems to be the one country still able to keep its economy increasing, and has maintained a relatively stable job market. Is it a time to consider working or even living in China, especially for overseas Chinese? How does one find a job in China? Here we present several articles written either by professional recruiters or “Sea Turtles,” a pun meaning returning overseas Chinese. Below we explore how they feel about working in China, and what their suggestions for the job hunt are.

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iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


Global Recession Not Affecting Expat Jobs in China From JobsInChina.com, By Stephen Cronin

The author, Stephen Cronin, is an Australian who has lived in China, the UK, and the US. He is a software engineer in the fields of blogging, WordPress and web development. During his several years as an ICT teacher in China, he established a comprehensive view of living and working there. As a result, he founded a professional website www.jobsinchina.com, which is a very good manual for both working and living in China. The following article debates whether China’s expat job market has been influenced by the global recession. You will find out soon whether there is still a good chance for an expat to find a job in China, and what the hottest jobs for an expat are.

W

Expats Better Off Looking For A Job In China One message that comes through in the article is that expatriates are probably better off in China than they would be if they returned home. Jill Malila, Asia Market Development Leader at Merce China said: “Job opportunities on this side of the world are greater than in North America or Europe, so expatriates will have greater opportunities here than in their home country.” I’d add that you’ll also have less competition. At home, you’ll find a shrinking job market with an

increasing pool of competitors (as people get laid off ). I’d also add that the cost of living in China is very favorable. If you’re having trouble finding a job, your savings will go further if you’re living in China than they would if you went home (at least in most cases).

Adjusting Remuneration Expectations Although there are jobs for people with specialist expertise, remuneration may not be as good as it has been in the past. This seems to contradict the ‘they can write their own check’ statement, but it makes sense, remembering that Gui remuneration was extremely lucrative in the past. Kelly Qian of The Jace-Kelly Corporation says that many expats are accepting a more localized compensation scheme: “They are being put on a local plus package. If you are a local plus, the company will probably help you bear some of your tax, or consider giving you some housing allowance.”

“Whereas for real expatriate hiring, they normally help you equalize tax to your hometown, give you housing and take care of your kids’ education, and most of the time the whole family will be entitled to international benefits.” Olly Riches, China Manager at Michael Page adds: “People are being less demanding about fringe benefits and salary, within reason,” he says. “Because expats know about localization and what’s going on elsewhere in the world, they are being more flexible.” http://www.ichinamag.com

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ith global markets in recession, jobs are disappearing in most countries. This is also true in China, where factories have been closed and workers laid off - but it does not appear to be affecting expats, who can still find a job in China. The China Daily recently reported that China is still a land of opportunity for expats, saying: While many firms around the world are laying off s t a f f, o r a b o u t to, recruitment experts say Chinese firms are actually hiring more expats. The China Daily article singles out the pharmaceutical, hightech and research and development industries as those where expats “can write their own check.” If you have specialist expertise, you’ll be in demand. The exception appears to be the property and real estate industries. While companies are tightening up and dropping “dead weight,” they are still hiring specialists.


My reading of the situation is that true experts are likely to still get a great deal, but ‘tier 2’ expatriates will have to make do with less than they might have been able to get in the past.

√ √ √ √

First 10 days of November,2008: 19 jobs First 10 days of December,2008: 36 jobs Week starting Monday, 20 October,2008: 12 jobs Week starting Monday, 8 December,2008: 21 jobs

The TEFL Sector From what I can tell, the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) market has not been significantly affected. The college I used to work for is currently searching for five to six teachers and, if anything, there seems to be an increase in TEFL jobs advertised on the Internet. For example, over on Dave's ESL Cafe, there’s a definite increase in the number of jobs advertised on the China job board:

Final Thoughts While China isn’t immune to the effects of the global recession, if you’re an expat currently living in China, you’re probably best off staying put. In fact, if you’re not already living in China but you have specialist skills or knowledge, then it may be worth considering a job in China.

When “Hai Gui” (Sea Turtle) becomes “Hai Dai” (Seaweed) ECONOMY

By Li-Mei Chee Mei Chee relocated from the US to Singapore. In her article you will learn where the words “Hai Gui” and “Hai Dai” come from. You will also get advice regarding working in Asia, especially in those cities or countries where a large amount of Chinese live, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Once I stopped traveling on projects, I finally began to look for a new job in Singapore. I was warned that the process could be mind-numbingly slow here (3 to 6 months) given the time of year, the small market, the niche that Singapore occupies vis-à-vis the rest of Asia, my decision to switch out of a consulting/ finance career, and the lower compensation that comes along with it. All of the above did come to light, but what I didn't expect and didn't fully appreciate were the occasionally unreasonable biases that overseas returnees like myself would face after spending years abroad. Many Asian cities have seen a “reverse brain drain” in recent years. In the past, overseas students like my hubby, siblings and I could find a job and settle abroad to pursue greener pastures. Many still do, but a growing number don't - trading on their foreign education and experience for unique opportunities at home. This wave of returnees is dubbed “Hai Gui,” a pun on the sea turtles that swim to home shores to lay their eggs. When the returnees failed to find good work abroad, they returned home and became “Hai Dai,” or floating seaweed. It's a shame to see this negative phenomenon in cities like Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong, where a coming together of supply and demand is not only needed, but would be beneficial for both sides. Overseas returnees are perceived as arrogant, unrealistic in their expectations, and unfamiliar with the 12

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Asian market. Furthermore, locally-based companies claim to be more pragmatic than foreign companies, in that they demand "value for their money." Hence, every new hire must have what it takes to do the job from the get-go. A few local managers and headhunters have also admitted that it’s hard for overseas returnees to fit in given their brash manners, awkward accents and foreign outlooks. There might be a sliver of truth to these arguments, BUT: 1. Arrogance goes both ways. Some locals might feel envious of/intimidated by overseas returnees, or have a misplaced superiority complex given Asia's rapid growth. This is particularly true for those who lack exposure to the global economy, or racial, political and cultural diversity. 2. Manage risk; don’t avoid it. The world's best companies don't use pragmatism as an excuse for being risk adverse. Instead, they compete by reinventing themselves, attracting and recruiting diverse talent with both potential and experience. 3. Protectionism and colonialism alienate the wrong people. Not only do overseas returnees deserve the same respect and acceptance accorded to both locally born-and-bred folks and foreigners, but they possess the understanding and ability to bridge these "we know best" and "white is right" camps.

At the end of the day, those who succeed are the ones who adapt. When in Rome, let's do as the Romans did in successfully assimilating the best in culture, art, science, philosophy and people from its territories worldwide. All Asians should take note. As for her overseas returnees: Be patient and persevere


Managing Chinese Returnees* From Mobility Magazine, By Ames Gross and Andrew Connor

Introduction

Section I (a) Managing Expectations Eve n t h o u g h re t u r n e e s’ e x p e c t at i o n s h ave moderated somewhat over the years, some returnees still return with high expectations about pay (and other incentives such as rank/title). Indeed, some foreign CEOs or General Managers have noted that returnees’ expectations sometimes exceed their actual abilities and skills. Other HR specialists in foreign companies have obser ved that returnees often return with the perception that that an overseas degree will put them in a superior position as compared to locally trained graduates. One HR specialist noted that returnees have invested much time and money, and they “expect to receive high remuneration and fast promotion for their

ECONOMY

Every year, over 100,000 Chinese students leave China to study overseas. But unlike their earlier counterparts, many recent overseas-educated Chinese graduates have returned. Indeed, the number of returnees has increased drastically over the past few years. From only around 6,000 per year in 1995, the number soared to over 40,000 by 2006. Many returnees are attracted by China’s abundant economic and business opportunities. But a host of other inter-related factors are also at play. These include family ties, increased political stability, improved housing and rising salaries. They also include favorable government policies and incentives, and even competition for their services from the Chinese private sector and foreign corporations. Returnees are known in Chinese as “Hai Gui,” which literally means “sea turtles.” The pronunciation also suggests the Chinese phrase for sea turtles returning to shore again after leaving to grow up in the sea. Human resource specialists predict that within the next few years, about a quarter of the managers working for multinationals in China will be Chinese returnees. These returnees will be armed with experience in Western and other developed overseas markets. Even though these returnees have valuable contributions to make, managing them often requires a different set of approaches and outlooks. The first section of this article will examine the main issues affecting returnees, and what HR specialists in foreign companies can do to address them. The second section will examine some of the difficulties returnees face when they return to China.

investments.” In managing returnees’ expectations, there are actually few further steps for HR managers in foreign companies to take. The greater availability of returnees means that employers have an increasingly larger pool of prospective employees to choose from. Moreover, market principles will dictate pay and other monetary incentives.

In fact, Chinese websites (such as www.haiguinet. com and www.haiguiclub.com.cn) are awash with information about how returnees must adjust their expectations. The information comes not just from HR specialists in China, but also from returnees themselves. Indeed, some returnees are able to size up the market quickly and moderate their expectations accordingly. They are becoming increasingly aware that employee compensation is based on their value and what they can bring to the job, rather than on the background of the incumbent. Returnees with limited overseas experience also quickly understand that the jobs for which they are qualified are normally priced at local market rates. Just a few years ago, some foreign companies were offering Chinese returnees higher compensation packages than locals, and some continue to do so. But there have been many cases in which higher returnee packages did not lead to commensurate results or performance. Hence, companies now realize the need to pay for true competency rather than merely an overseas education. *Reprinted with permission of Worldwide ERC® from Mobility Magazine.

http://www.ichinamag.com

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(b) Wage Differentials with Locals I n m o s t c a s e s, r e t u r n e e s c o m m a n d h i g h e r compensation packages, as compared to their local counterparts. This is mainly due to the skills, overseas experience and language advantage of the returnees. The pay gap between returnees and locals can be a cause of resentment for locals with similar qualifications but no overseas experience. This is especially so for Chinese managers who have successfully made their way to management positions without venturing overseas. In extreme cases of envy, these local managers might even try to make things difficult for returnees in the workplace. To tackle the problem of resentment, it is important for HR managers to set clear career paths for everyone within the organization. It is also essential for HR managers to emphasize the contributions made by each individual in the company. In addition, the contributions made by returnees must appear to be tangible and constructive. According to some HR managers in China, sometimes it is wise to initially put returnees in positions where their contributions might be most evident. These include positions where strong language, cross-cultural, strategic planning, managerial and problems-solving skills are required.

(c) Adjustments at Work and Relations with Co-Workers A common challenge for returnees in the workplace is overcoming a sense of superiority due to perceptions about their overseas background and experience. Some HR managers said that a sense of superiority might sometimes adversely impact the returnees’ ability to get along and cooperate with co-workers. At times, it might even lead to resentment and tension i n t h e workplace. Another challenge lies in the different mindsets a n d approaches to work adopted by returnees. These different approaches might again be sources of friction with co-workers. According to one returnee, he found it difficult to deal with co-workers who were generally happy with a lower standard of work. He also found it frustrating when told by colleagues that this or that international 14

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norm need not be applied, as “this is China.” Another returnee noted that insisting on higher standards is a constant struggle. Yet another challenge cited by HR managers is the s t ra i g ht fo r wa rd style preferred by returnees. Several returnees admitted that they sometimes get impatient with fellow coworkers who speak or write in a roundabout way. As one returnee pointed out, he prefers people who say what they mean, rather than begin a conversation with preambles such as “I may not understand the issue very well, but I will humbly try to give you my perspective.” Many local Chinese prefer the roundabout way, as it avoids confrontation, particularly if negative comments are involved. Chinese returnees often find such talk needless and frustrating. While returnees are usually motivated and keen to contribute to the firms they work for, some may not be used to the heavy emphasis on group culture found in many Chinese workplaces. One returnee said he was accustomed to the clear delineation between work and leisure he experienced when he was working in the United States. But when he returned to China, he discovered that the delineation was not as clear-cut, especially when it comes to working overtime and on the weekends. Furthermore, returnees are also concerned as to how their colleagues and co-workers perceive them. According to one survey, respect and responsibility were said to be the two main concerns of returnees. Returnees are also generally keen to be seen as pur veyors of advanced techniques, managerial skills, ethical business practices, and an understanding of international norms. From the perspective of HR managers, most companies, whether local or foreign, are generally not interested in having one or two high-fliers, but rather a core of strong team players. As a result, managers have to walk a delicate line between allowing returnees the scope to do what they have been hired for, while ensuring a relatively resentment-free and tension-free workplace. While HR managers should do their best to reconcile employee expectations, it is natural for them to harbor second thoughts if there are concerns about the attitude of certain returnees. On the other hand, with more returnees coming back to China to seek employment, many are also increasingly prepared to adjust their mindsets. Foreign companies should also be prepared for the


possibility that some returnees may not be able to produce results immediately. This is especially so for returnees lacking the necessary knowledge and local network support, after being away from the country for several years.

(d) Retaining Returnees Retaining returnees is not fundamentally different from retaining local Chinese employees. Key tools include a good compensation package, a clear path for career advancement, opportunities for ongoing education and training, and creating a good boss/ employee relationship. In the case of returnees, it is particularly helpful to provide creative challenges, and to give them the sense t h a t t h e y a re p a r t o f a n important project.

Section II

After several years away from their native country, many returnees are initially happy to be home. However, for some of them, a reverse cultural shock begins to set in after the honeymoon period is exhausted. Many said they needed time to adjust to living back in China. Adjustments range from coming to terms with the smaller living spaces and the pollution, to dealing with the noise and traffic jams found in most large Chinese cities. One returnee noted that, given the massive traffic jams, riding a bicycle is sometimes quicker than taking a taxi. Another returnee said that she missed the clear blue skies overseas, while her returnee husband said he missed the thrill of driving at 100 miles per hour in Germany. One returnee said he never realized how comfortable he was overseas until he narrowly missed being run down by a bicycle cart piled high with sacks of rice on the streets of Beijing. Other returnees said they missed the wide-open lawns and greenery that they had become accustomed to overseas. Generally, the area cited by returnees as taking the longest time to readjust to is the difference in value systems between China and the Western countries. This includes humanistic values and a respect for the law. The bureaucratic nature of getting things done in China is also typically difficult to adjust to. But after the initial months of adjustment, returnees usually have little difficulty settling down in China. After all, most are returning to large cities like Beijing and Shanghai, positions which are no longer seen as hardship postings. Moreover, with the increase in creature comforts in these large Chinese cities, some returnees can afford to live in both style and comfort.

In terms of language, there is usually no problem for returnees. But this may not be the case for their school-going children. Since children pick up different languages fairly quickly, it hardly emerges as a problem in the long run. An obvious issue would be whether returnees decide to send their children to public or private schools, or even prestigious international schools. The latter is only possible if the returnees are back in China enjoying a high and generous compensation package. Some returnees said they still need time to get used to the generally subtle language differences used by fellow Chinese in everyday social settings. A returnee recounted how he once complimented a girl for wearing a flattering red sweater. The girl replied by saying that she did not really like the quality of the sweater and found the color a little too dull. Surprised, he responded: “if you disliked it so much, then why did you buy the sweater?” The returnee’s comment led to an awkward silence. Later, the returnee realized that this was the modest Chinese way of accepting compliments. Having been overseas for several years, he was more accustomed to people saying “thank you” when compliments were offered. A peculiar problem faced by single female returnees is in the difficulty in finding dates and marriageable partners. This is partly because by the time many female returnees return to China, they are viewed as “old” by Chinese standards. In China, most women marry in their early to mid-20s, or at the latest, in their late 20s. But the greatest stumbling block for female returnees finding partners is their outstanding educational and professional qualifications. Many Chinese men prefer to marry women who have lower qualifications than themselves. Oftentimes, the strong credentials of the female returnees are seen as obstacles and deterrents, socially.

Conclusion Foreign companies certainly need to study a wide spectrum of issues closely when hiring Chinese returnees. However, returnees too have come to the realization that they have to be realistic about their expectations when they return to work in China. Indeed, many have chosen to moderate their expectations by being flexible and by keeping open minds. http://www.ichinamag.com

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Lifestyle and Other Readjustments

Cultural, Language and Societal Readjustments


Loong: Chinese Dragon

The benevolent, powerful, worshipful and lucky symbol of China

M

ost people in the West are familiar with the classic Western concept of the dragon, but few possess significant insight into the Chinese dragon, or the loong [lu:ŋ], which is probably one of the most recognized dragons in the world. Nowadays, many researchers believe that it is wrong to translate the Chinese dragon as a ‘dragon’ in English, and in fact should be kept as the word ‘loong,’ which was created on the basis of the pronunciation of its counterpart character in Chinese at least 60 years ago. In fact, loong is so different in nature from the Western dragon that perhaps it is more reasonable to consider a loong and a dragon to be dissimilar creatures, rather than as the same creature interpreted differently.

CULTURE

Western Dragon

According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, a dragon is defined as a mythical beast usually represented as a huge, winged, fire-breathing reptile. For centuries the Western dragon has been prominent in many legends, and thus its physical characteristics vary greatly and include combinations of numerous animals. The typical Western dragon is a large, scaly creature resembling a dinosaur or a large lizard. It usually has wings and can fly, and often it will breathe fire. An alternative name for a Western dragon is a ‘wyrm,’ a word clearly related to ‘worm.’ This name is more commonly used for a serpentine, water dwelling dragon, but it can be used for any type of dragon. Wyrms are especially common in Britain. In Western culture, the dragon has often been associated with evil. It has the ability to wreak havoc upon a land, and therefore must be propitiated by a human sacrifice or killed. The highest achievement of a hero in medieval legend is the slaying of a dragon, as in the story of St. George. King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon (or dragon’s head), also killed a dragon. The giant red dragon of the Apocalypse gave rise to the use of the beast as symbolic of Satan in Christian art and literature. In some European-influenced cultures, dragons aren’t necessarily evil - but they often are. At the very least they tend to be solitary and bad-tempered. Outside of Britain, most Western dragons live in caves or mountains, or are hidden away in the forest. They often guard a stash of gold and are frequently are used to symbolize greed. Although most Western dragons are brutal, ignorant creatures that kill and eat humans, some are ancient, wise creatures more akin to those found in the East. They vary as much as people do. In a word, the Western dragon usually carries with it aggressive, warlike connotations that are totally different from the meaning of the Chinese dragon.

Chinese Dragon - Loong

The Chinese dragon, or loong, is a mythical creature in East Asian cultures with a Chinese origin. In contrast to the Western dragon, which stands on four legs and is usually portrayed as evil, the loong has long been a potent symbol of auspicious power in Chinese folklore and art. In ancient China, loongs were associated with fertility and prosperity. Nowadays, the loong 16

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stands for luck, happiness and power to most ordinary Chinese people. As shown in many pictures, the Chinese dragon has a flaming pearl under its chin. The pearl is associated with wealth, good luck, and prosperity. From its origins as a totem or a stylized depiction of natural creatures, the loong has evolved to become a mythical animal. The Han Dynasty scholar Wang Fu recorded Chinese myths where loongs had nine anatomical resemblances - the head of a camel or horse or snake, the eyes of a rabbit, the ears of a cow, the horns of a deer, the neck and body of a snake, the belly of a kind of huge clam, claws like that of an eagle, the soles of it’s feet are those of a tiger, and the 117 scales that cover it’s body are like that of a

Cultural References

The Ancient Chinese Dragon occupies a very important position in Chinese mythology. The origin of Chinese dragons is unknown, but they certainly pre-date written history. Throughout Chinese history the loong has been equated with the weather. It was a divine bringer of rain, necessary for the good of the http://www.ichinamag.com

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carp. Loongs were considered to be physically concise. Of the 117 scales, 81 are of the yang (positive) essence while 36 are of the yin (negative) essence. In Singapore and many other Asian countries, folktales speak of the loong having all of the attributes of the other 11 creatures of the zodiac; this includes the whiskers of a rat, the face and horns of an ox, the claws and teeth of a tiger, the belly of a rabbit, the body of a snake, the legs of a horse, the beard of a goat, the wit (or brain) of a monkey, the crest of a rooster, ears of a dog, and the snout of a pig. Loongs are occasionally depicted with bat-like wings growing out of their front limbs, but most do not have wings, as their ability to fly (and control rain/water, etc.) is mystical and not seen as a result of physical attributes. This description accords with the artistic depictions of the long, down to the present day. The loong has also acquired an almost unlimited range of supernatural powers. It is said to be able to disguise itself as a silkworm, or become as large as our entire universe. It can fly among the clouds or hide in water. It can form clouds, turn into water or fire, and become invisible or glow in the dark.

people. Initially, the loong was benevolent, but the Buddhists introduced the concept of a malevolent influence among some dragons. Just as water destroys, they said, so can some dragons destroy via floods, tidal waves and storms. They suggested that some of the worst flooding was caused when a mortal upset a loong. In China, the loong was also a symbol of the emperor, whose wisdom and divine power assured the well-being of his subjects. Many Chinese legends draw connections between the loong and the emperor. In the mythologies of various oriental countries, notably in both Japan and China, the loong is the supreme spiritual power, the most ancient emblem in oriental mythology and the most ubiquitous motif in oriental art. The loong represents celestial and terrestrial power, wisdom, and strength. They reside in water and bring wealth and good luck and, in the Chinese belief, rainfall for the crops. The three-clawed loong is the Japanese dragon, the four-clawed is the most common loong, and the five-clawed loong has become the Chinese Imperial emblem. The Chinese dragon plays an important part in Chinese festivals. The Dragon Boat Festival is almost purely a dragon-related festival, which has become an internationally popular event. At special festivals, especially the Duan Wu festival, dragon boat races play an important part. Typically, these are boats are rowed by a team of up to 12 rowers, with a carved dragon as the head of the boat. Besides the Dragon Boat, the Dragon Dance has a long history, which was already a popular event during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). The loong in traditional Chinese New Year’s Day parades is believed to repel any evil spirits that would spoil the new year. On other auspicious occasions, such as the opening of shops and residences, festivities such as dancing with dragon puppets are also often performed. These are “life sized” cloth-and-wood puppets manipulated by a team of people, supporting the dragon with poles. They perform choreographed moves to the accompaniment of drums and music.


International Youth Step Up to Success in America By Angie Zhong

I

n March 2007, a group of young people got together and decided to create a website different from other social networking sites in Australia. They called it Eiuoo. The word ‘eiuoo’ is pronounced [ai-yo-]. It means ‘oops’ in Chinese. In October 2007, they established a US affiliate in Boston. As of today, the site has its new name: ‘Aviro.’

Who They Are Fangbeibei Lin - An Ordinary International Student Lives an Outstanding Life in Boston

CULTURE

In Boston, there are many Asians who look similar to Fangbeibei Lin. At first glance, there is nothing special about this Chinese girl. She sports her hair in a bob, and wears a casual cotton t-shirt and old jeans. She is not really a striking beauty. However, it’s not an exaggeration to say that you can easily tell from the look in her eye that she is very, very clever. Lin, a 19-year-old international student, is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Science at Boston University. Many of Lin’s peers, including some Americans, admire the fact that Lin runs her own business. She manages a website based out of Boston that she created with some other students in October of 2007, only one month after she arrived in America for the first time. “ The business is a little similar to Facebook,” said Lin. “I’m not the founder, but as soon as I discussed the details with the founder, Gary Liu, last semester, I’m [knew I was] in without any hesitat[ion].” Lin described the business, Eiuoo, as an online social interactive networking site. The word ‘eiuoo’ is pronounced [ai-yo-]. It means ‘oops’ in Chinese, a word easily remembered by the young, target users. Lin told us that their mission is to create an environment where users can share special moments and memories through uploaded videos and photos, and where the site can give its users an opportunity to make friends, old and new, and then meet up offline for an event or party organized by them or the website. The website aims at changing and adapting to what the users want, and providing the best online community platform for their global-wide users. The founder of the business is Gary Liu. Lin said that one of the most important reasons she wanted to be part of this business was because she thought Gary Liu was technologically brilliant. As for the reason Gary Liu asked her to join in, he said: “I need[ed] someone who has a talent in business, public relations, and design,” he said. Lin admitted that she has a talent for business, mainly attributed to the environment in which she grew up. Lin was born in Wen Zhou, 18

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graphic design from the College of Fine Arts at BU. She has begun preparations already - not only by achieving a high class rank last semester, but also by practicing alone. One of Lin’s latest works is an oil painting of a landscape in spring. The flowers are vivid and the painting displays a kaleidoscope of gorgeous colors. It’s hard to believe that it was her first attempt - she never formally learned how to paint. Asked whether she felt proud of being outstanding, especially as a minority in America, in terms of both of her class work and in other aspects such as the business, she showed off another painting she did by herself. It was the charcoal drawing of a young girl who looked quite ordinary, but very clever and snappy. “It is me,” Lin smiled. “I’ll just try my best to make the business successful in the future. I also have many other dreams, like being an artist. I believe they’ll all come true through effort.” Want to know more about Lin and check out her art designs online? Please check our website at: www. ichinamag.com

Gary Liu - “Gary is a smart guy; he is just awesome!” said Fangbeibei Lin. The founder of the business, Gary Liu, is a first year undergraduate majoring in computer science at Boston University. He already had some business experience from when he studied in Australia, in high school. He used his relationship with a famous investment bank in Japan to obtain the venture capital necessary to start a business in Australia. His special talent and personal efforts finally bore fruit, and permission was granted in Boston for the establishment of the company. Liu introduced the public to the idea that if people are searching for friendship, relationships, or just old friends, their website was the right place to start. People could also share their special moments and memories by uploading videos and photos to their site. Want to know more about Gary Liu’s story and check out his video? Please check our website at: www. ichinamag.com

What Are Their Products? The foundation of their business philosophy is based on the concept that any commodity which is tradable in human society can be deconstructed into three basic constituents: the first is the original http://www.ichinamag.com

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a small town in China, which has produced many outstanding business people. Lin’s grandfather owns a large company with several corporate chains in Wen Zhou, and her parents work in the head office. Lin said that she has been affected by her family, and has acquired a sense of how to operate a company thoroughly from them. Within half a year, Gary Liu put together his team, including Lin, and set up the main office, located near the Prudential Center in Boston. The office is modest, not quite big but enough to accommodate the ten people working for the website, and looks quite organized and professional to a casual bystander. The site has contracts with several professors from Harvard University, and employees from bigger websites in Boston; all have promised to cooperate with them in the future and act as regular consultants. “We still have a lot of work to do to make the company get into its stride,” said Lin. “I’m currently trying to establish the paid announcement in the electronic media, designed to attract public attention or patronage.” From the announcements that Lin has designed, it’s easy to see the artistic tendencies she possesses. She said that working in the company was time consuming, but it didn’t adversely affect her schoolwork. She took more classes than was required in her first semester at BU, including psychology, philosophy, financial management and music. She said she tried such diverse and unrelated courses because she wanted to find her real interest. As expected, she did not choose “business” as her future major. “I know I may do business well, but I really have a bent for art,” said Lin. Although Lin still has a year left before she must declare her major, she has already decided to choose


CULTURE

creation of nature; the second is the aggregate of working time invested by human beings; and the third is the knowledge, wealth, and creative thoughts accumulated by human beings.Therefore, his business was committed to creating a virtual social network in an economic environment that adopted Messenger as its neural system, with an aim toward connecting

together users and the 2D, multimedia-based & 3D-based homepages created by them, in order to form the virtual world of the website. The free business platform establishes value in the time, knowledge, and intelligence of the individual residents, and enables easy business transactions at the same time. In the virtual world, the site established a virtual money-based financial and commercial system that allows each and every resident to be both a merchant and a customer in

FREE

the virtual world, at his or her own discretion. The site’s income is not be generated by directly creating products and services and selling them to users of their social network. Instead, they benefit from the commercial activities of users and the trading of virtual money, by means of managing the financial and

commercial systems. In essence, the business plan of the site incorporates the various functions of instant messaging, social networking, private space and a 3D-virtual society. Want to know more about this story and check out the video? Please check out our website at: www. ichinamag.com.

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iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


PEOPLE

Dancing with China

-Interview with Aly Rose, an American choreographer and dancer who lived in China for 11 years By Janet Chen

think it was a wonderful experience. 氣(2008), Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

A

ly Rose, or 罗红玫(Luo Hongmei, which means Red Rose in Chinese) began her journey through China with a trip to the Hubei countryside in 1994. She moved back to China in 1997, to study Chinese language and dance. In 2002, she received her MFA in choreography, becoming the first and only Westerner in the history of China to graduate from the Beijing Dance Academy. After graduating, she served as an educator and choreographer at the Beijing Dance Academy. In 2003, she was the head choreographer for Lady in the Dark, the first American Broadway musical to be seen on a Chinese stage. In 2005, she starred as the principal dancer in Nanjing 1937 with the Communist Party’s China National Song and Dance Operatic Troupe. In addition, she worked with Warner Brothers to create, in China, the world premiere of John Clifford’s Casablanca, the Dance. She also pioneered the building and creation of the independent art space “Sanctuary” located in Beijing’s 798 Art District which culminated in the production of her own dance drama, Phoenix, in 2006. After living in China for more than 11 years, she is fluent in both spoken and written Chinese and now teaches Chinese Contemporary Dance and the History of Stage Performance, after the Founding of the PRC at Tisch School of the Arts in New York University. In February of 2009, I interviewed Rose about her fascinating journey through China. Janet Chen: How did you first make your way to China in 1994? Aly Rose: I was invited by a close friend, Nader, whose Chinese friend invited us to spend part of the summer in the countryside north of Anlu, with his family. We traveled by train and bus, then bounced for hours in a hollowed mini-bus packed with people and animals. We then walked all the afternoon and finally reached the village by nightfall. It was the middle of the summer and the heat was sweltering. No phones, no TV, no radio, no internet, and no clean running water. But I

C h e n : Yo u d i d n’t k n ow a wo rd o f C h i n e s e, and without an English interpreter, how did you communicate? And how did you like it? Rose: The family and the villagers seemed so pure, untainted, and unexposed to the rest of the world; they lived in a very natural way. I enjoyed the daily life - we cooked together, farmed together, and I played with the children. At night we sang songs and played “mahjong” (Editor’s Note: Mahjong is a game of four players originated in China.). We slept on hard beds with nets, and lit formaldehyde burning coils to keep the mosquitoes away. We bathed in lakes with the water oxen, and ate the vegetables we picked. But I felt more like a witness than a participant. After that summer experience, I knew if I was to return again I would have to better understand what it meant live life from a Chinese perspective, and inevitably I would need to learn Mandarin.

Floating (2007), choreographed by Hou Ying of Shen Wei Dance Arts duet performed at Mark Morris Dance Studio and Fredrick Loewe Theater in NY /photo by Aeric Meredith-Goujon

Chen: In 1997, you moved to China and began a new life studying Chinese at Guiyang University in the remote province of Guizhou. There is a Chinese saying “ru xiang sui su” which means “when you come to an http://www.ichinamag.com

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PEOPLE area, you should adjust yourself to the local customs.” But there’s always the reality of “culture shock”. How did you acclimate? Rose: I am a Baha’I (Editor’s note: The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in nineteenth-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind.) My faith teaches me that all the people in the world are one human race, one family. I came to China with that approach; I felt excited to learn, to grow, to change and understand what was important to the people around me. Chen: Struggles? Rose: Welcomed challenges. Hot and spicy food morning, noon, and night. Human feces used as fertilizer, caged animals, and dogs as food. Steady falling light rain, mold everywhere, and very little sunlight. Hand washing our clothes in cold water. A dorm schedule proclaimed running water from 6 am to 9 am and from 8 pm to 10 pm. But most days the electricity and water was turned off in order to conserve. I grew accustomed to life with candles and an invasive chill from the dampness. I bought buckets and learned to save enough water to last throughout the day. But then I discovered the power of guanxi. Chen: Explain, please. Rose: If I buy some cigarettes as a present for a worker at the building complex, he will fix the door for me; he might even build a new door for me. No contracts and no cash are exchanged. If I treat several guards to dinner, they might arrange for someone to plaster the molding wall. If I help their wives and children, teach them English for free, they might build a boiler for me in my bathroom so I can save and heat water. And that is exactly what happened. These relationships altered my perspective and allowed me to maneuver more freely in China. Chen: At that time, in 1997 in Guizhou, foreigners like you were rare. How did others perceive you? Rose: The students at the University had hoped I would to serve as an English-bringer and assist them with practicing their oral English, but I insisted on speaking only Chinese. Many of the students would not spend time with me unless I spoke English, so I ended up meeting lots of the local folks. That is why back then I spoke Mandarin with a thick southern Guizhou accent. It wasn’t until I moved to Beijing that I was conscious of it. I spent many years correcting it. Chen: Who did you spend time with back then in Huaxi? Rose: I preferred the sincere conversation of bus drivers, farmers, even Karaoke misses who worked in the 24-hour night clubs. They fascinated me. Smart women, but opportunities and paths are different in a more traditional and isolated society in the southwest of China. I was interested in how people survived and 22

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009

what specifically motivated them to achieve or not. Chen: Besides the students and misses, what about others? Rose: I became very close to the entire Liu family in Huaxi and their son is still my godson. But at the time, their neighbors and many others in the community felt apprehension about who I really was, always asking questions. If I was not a journalist, a missionary, a business person, a teacher, what was I doing there? Why would a student spend so much time with the Liu's? This opened my eyes to the other faces of China. And I witnessed how that suspicion and fear affected the Liu's ability to do their own business. Chen: Guiyang University is actually located in the countryside, not far from the Miao villages. Did you visit them? Rose: I did. I traveled and spent time in Kaili, Langde, Sansui, and also the border towns north of Tongzi. We sometimes drove, but the Miao would walk for literally days to attend the Lusheng festival in particular. Dancing, eating, bull-fighting, handicrafts, embroidery, knitting, hundreds of baby boys, singing, reed pipes, silver, smoking, cheering, and there I was soaking it all in! I became enchanted with the Miao, their dance, culture and history.

Lusheng Festival in Guizhou, China 1999

Chen: Besides attending the festivals, what else did you do? Rose: I had a lot of quiet time for myself. It was the first time I’ve ever had to spend hours alone contemplating, reflecting, reading, and discovering life without television, commercials, or sound bits surrounding and infiltrating my reality. Recommended by Guizhou Television, Rose competed in the Foreigners Singing Chinese Songs Competition in 1999. This is a national competition hosted annually by Beijing Television, in which each province sends one foreigner to represent them.


PEOPLE Chen: It must have been challenging to sing a traditional song in front of millions in China. How did you manage? Rose: I accepted Guizhou Television’s invitation. In a very short period of time, word had spread that I would indeed compete. Several things happened. I was assigned a teacher from the Guizhou Arts Academy who was responsible for teaching me how to sing Zhou Xuan’s “The Song of Four Seasons”; I was told to lose weight; a well-known tailor fitted me for a performance qi pao (Editor’s note: a qípáo is a body-hugging Chinese dress for women. It is known in English as a mandarin gown or cheongsam.); and a drama student was assigned to coach me in stage presentation. This entire team was responsible for me winning on behalf of the province. (Rose won “Best Performance Award”, but only a bronze for her singing.)

ordered by the Foreign Affairs Office not to go out or stand in clear view by the windows. We were to await instructions as to if and when the exam would be given the following day. That evening the streets roared with thousands marching in the streets. They chanted and rows and rows of banners passed by below. I stood in the darkness and wept. Posters of Clinton’s face, but with Hitler’s mustache remain etched in my memory. I lay on the bed and realized that this day could change my fate. Chen: So what happened? Rose: Some guards began knocking on our doors at 6am and shuffling us into lines. We then were escorted to the test site, which was in a building about 500 meters away. My test section was on the 4th floor. We began the exam promptly at 8am, but about 30 minutes into the listening portion of the test a brick hit the window and shattered the glass. The facilitator did not stop the tape and many began to complain.

Chen: Did you treat the competition as seriously as the others? Rose: I am not a singer, but Chen: When you look it was a brave attempt and a lot back, how do you feel about of fun. The competition inspired that day? me. I was overwhelmed by how Rose: I appreciate the specialized some of the others 独角戏 (2008), performed for the Chinese Ambassador at experience and did want to competitors were. Foreigners the Harmon Arts Center, Washington, DC. / photo by Enoch judge it. I wanted to truly who studied Tuva, Chinese opera, Chan comprehend China and this martial arts, and then there was was part of it. CCTV (Editor’s Da Shan. He spoke beautiful Chinese with a Beijing note: CCTV stands for Chinese Central Television, accent. And it was at that performance I met a dancer/ the mainstream broadcasting channel in China.) has soldier from the Wu Jin Wen Gen Tuan who introduced incredible power. They steer and shift society’s focus, me to professors and choreographers at the Beijing maybe even consciousness. I observed it for over a Dance Academy later that year. decade. Chen: So you applied and were accepted? Despite the exam, Rose got accepted into the Rose: Not exactly. Had to first take the HSK (Editor’s Beijing Dance Academy and moved to the north that note: HSK or Chinese Proficiency Test is the standardized summer. test of Chinese language proficiency for speakers Chen: Can you summarize your first year in Beijing? whose first language is not Chinese (Mandarin).) which R o s e : D i s c i p l i n e , o b e d i e n c e , e xc e l l e n c e … was being offered in Kunming, Yunnan. We arrived in transformation. Kunming on May 8, 1999, which I was later to discover Chen: Sounds like the army. was not a good day in history. Rose: Up until my acceptance, I understood dance to be an exploratory art form, a way of discovering Chen: That day the American military dropped a movement which might then move others. But to my bomb in Belgrade that hit the Chinese Embassy, killing professors and peers at the academy, dance was more three people. formulaic, set forms and patterns, our bodies the tool Rose: Hundreds of us had arrived for the exam. for the manifestation of the dance’s perfection. We Australians, Japanese, Germans, English, Koreans and were apprentices and lucky to be among the masters some Americans, but we were all placed on something of ballet, Chinese classical dance, folk dance, and some similar to house arrest in the dormitories. We were of the pioneers of dance study and administration in http://www.ichinamag.com

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PEOPLE China. Chen: But you took the majority of classes in choreography? Rose: No, just a quarter. So for the other classes, I felt my stay was conditioned on my ability to conform to each class. Uniform in our appearance, I went from 130 to 105 lbs. I grew my hair long and wore it as my classmates did. I ate, showered, and studied with everyone else. We began at 6:30 am and were occupied in practice, dance, and formal study until 9:00 pm. At 11:00 pm, lights out. I had only two hours to complete my homework, shower, wash my clothes, and learn the new dances for the next day. We had Sundays off, but I could not keep up. I just was not able to learn all the combinations immediately as the others did. Chen: What did you do? Rose: I began teaching tap during lunch time to make extra money. Remember that my tuition is four times that of the Chinese students and I was completely independent from my family financially. From working, I saved some money and purchased a video camcorder. After befriending 1-2 students in each class, I would film them doing the combination after class was dismissed. After everyone went to bed, I practiced over and over again. I could then keep up the following day. I had to find a way to fit in. All I wanted to do was be like everyone else, except with my choreography class homework. At least with that, I could be unique.

breath, seamless in connection, and meticulous in presentation. Yet as dancers we are taught to cover the vastness of the stage with speed, stand in front of an audience rooted and still. Knowing that and being that are two different things. I worked on being. Chen: How has working in China influenced your choreography? Rose: It’s very Chinese to make see movement as emotive. Phoenix (2006) was about illusion, but it was emotional. Chen: In 2005 you danced the main part in China’s political dance drama Nanjing 1937 which was written and directed for the “Sixty Years Commemorating Victory over Japanese Occupation.” So do you think art and politics mix well? Rose: For me the question is how have they have mixed and why. For decades in China politics and art have been intertwined in some way or another. And although art is no longer pure propaganda, it is still produced and sold in a society that is largely shaped by its country's party lines. What is the origin of this practice? In my classes at NYU we explore how and why these works were selected to promulgate the People’s Republic of China’s mission. A nation's consciousness was altered and it assumed a new identity through the unifying force of chosen art forms and their content. For anyone interested in appreciating art or dance in China, it is critical to not neglect the overwhelming influence politics has had in shaping those forms.

Chen: Do you feel like you were very different from Chen: After studying and the Chinese dance students? working in China for eleven Rose: Of course. I was years, you returned to the one of the older students US, first as a Visiting Scholar in the school and had from China, to teach several been formally schooled in courses at NYU. One of the what the Chinese called classes was “The Transformative normal or formal classes. Power of Political Art: the Eight Yes, I had studied ballet, Model Works of the Cultural tap, acrobatics and jazz, Revolution (1966-1976)”. Why but only twice a week and Nanjing 1937, Poly Plaza Theater, Beijing, China October 2005 did you have an interest in this? after school as a child. They Rose: While the Yangbanxi h a d s t u d i e d d a n ce a n d (Editor ’s note: Yangbanxi is only dance since the age of 10 or 11. They had amazing form of Chinese entertainment that flourished during stamina, incredible kinesthetic memory, and were the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).) were originally excellent at moving in groups. They had been exposed designed as propaganda, and only later restructured to, if not already graduated from ballet, folk and classical under the leadership and heavy hand of Jiang Qing, Chinese dance departments in their middle schools, ironically they exhibit innovation, creativity, and a before even entering the academy. They also were the completely modern approach to opera. In a way, they best dancers in China, handpicked from around the opened the door for thousands in China who were country. inspired by those characters to formally study music, dance and drama. If you go to the countryside, you can Chen: How would you describe the Chinese still see people performing sections of them. aesthetic? Rose: The traditional aesthetic is a distinct one. Chen: So if politics affects the ability of art to be seen Appears long and flowing, with attention to detail and in China, what about America? 24

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


PEOPLE R o s e : M o n e y. I n A m e r i c a money influences the ability of art to be seen. There are also unions, guidelines, and laws to protect the dancers, technicians, and crew. It is expensive to make and run productions here. In the Chinese system, you have politics, an interplay of guanxi and power, but there’s still a lot of freedom; you can make beautiful art and at very low cost. You can work with the most talented dancers and for 12 hours a day, choreograph in the largest studios, and perform in fantastic venues seating over 10,000 people. I think it’s a good deal. Chen: Why not stay? R ose: The trade off is that

we cannot control how that art will later be used, distributed, or manipulated by others. At all. Chen: Why is it important to share Chinese art and dance with Americans? Rose: I realize that through teaching, I can expose young Amer ican people to a for mer and modern China. China has awakened. The country is well on its way towards not only selfexpression, but self-realization. America can only benefit from understanding China's recent struggles, trials, and aspirations. And as this generation embraces world citizenship with all of its challenges, appreciating China will

be crucial, for progress and unity. R o s e ’s m o s t r e c e n t w o r k , One, will make its official debut in October 2009, as part of the N e w Yo r k Q u a d r i c e n t e n n i a l celebrations. The twelve minute per formance consists of 80 aerialists morphing massive shapes in mid-air, suspended underneath the Walkway Over the Hudson, 200 feet over water, and running for 3 weeks. Rose told us One is one of her most difficult creations, but she’s looking forward to it.

ONE rehearsals (2009), set to perform Oct. 2009 for NY Quadricentennial Celebrations /photo by Aeric Meredith-Goujon

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ARTS

Maleonn (Ma, Liang)

1972 Born in Shanghai 1984-1995 Shanghai Huashan Art School Attached: High School of Fine Arts, College of Shanghai University Graduated from Fine Arts College of Shanghai University, Major in Graphic Design 1995-2003 Engaged in Commercial Film as Art director and Director 2004Engaged in Independent Creation of Art Lives and Works in Shanghai, China Engaged in commercial film as Art director and Director 2004Engaged in independent Creation of Art Lives and works in Shanghai, China

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iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


ARTS Wizard of Niceness

Series: Shanghai Boys By Maleonn

I

always imagine that my parents are people with childlike innocence. They actually gave their son such a special name – Ma Liang, exactly the same name as the “Magic Brush Ma Liang.” (Ma Liang and the Magic Paintbrush is an ancient Chinese folktale in which a poor boy is given a magic paintbrush. Everything he paints with the brush comes to life. He uses the brush to create things that his friends and neighbors need.) My childhood was a time when all words and characters meant interclass struggles. My name was simply regarded as a crazy person’s name; just like naming your child ‘Harry Porter’ or ‘Superman’ today. These do not seem serious names at all. My name was just a big joke, which made me extremely embarrassed. I knew I did not have a magic brush which could magically turn rot into beauty, but I still had to answer to the name ‘Ma Liang,’ which made me ashamed. To compensate for my sense of shame, I volunteered to finish all of my friends’ art class homework during my six years of elementary school. To be frank, this ‘self-help’ process was extremely tough and I even had to paint more than ten pictures at a time. Further, in order to hide the fact from the teacher, I had to diversify the themes and styles of the pictures. While making progress in painting, I also had to pay a painful price. My grades in other subjects were so low that I almost did not make it to the next grade. Fortunately, the name Ma Liang brought me not only difficulties in my childhood, but also some miraculous turning points in my life. One sunny afternoon, right before I graduated from primary school, I delivered teaching aids to the teacher’s office. Because I was holding things in my hands, I clumsily entered the room by pushing the door open with my shoulder. The sudden current of air blew pieces of paper that were on the desk, everywhere. I remember that scene like a slow-motion scene in a movie. Those pieces of white paper flew slowly onto the ground in the afternoon sunlight. I was shocked then because of fear, and because of the beauty of the moment. Just when I was on the floor picking up the pieces of paper, I heard the Dean asked me: “Are you Ma Liang?” I almost ran away. To my surprise, he kindly patted me on my shoulder and said, as if to his disciple: “You can pick up one of the forms there and go to that place.” My face must have been as white as a sheet, since I thought my destination would be http://www.ichinamag.com

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ARTS Series: Time Travel and Love Letter Once we dreamt that we were strangers. We wake up to find that we were dear to each other. ---Rabindranath Tagore

Series: Portrait of Mephisto Mephisto said: you can only shape yourself by your own action. You must keep on creating. Only during the creation, the model of the mysterious beauty would recur. Everything has to start from nothing, from listening to the rhythmical sound in the darkness… You won’t be able to be God of endless spiritual experience. The attracting mind, the saddest appreciation, the obsessed abhorrence, the pleasant disgust, all won’t be able to change you. You'll finally find out: what you are will eventually be what you are...

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iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


ARTS some reformatory school. In my panic I managed see the red headline on the form: Recommendation Form for Recruitment to Huashan Art School. That is one of the best art schools in Shanghai. I was ecstatic and immediately I understood why the Dean smiled at me. Later, I enrolled in art classes at Huashan Art School as a junior high student, and I became one of the children who began to specialize in art from this time in junior high. Of course, my name Ma Liang was still a subject of much talking. I worked extremely hard on my painting in order to live up to my name. Since then, I have spent the eleven years from my junior high school to my time at university taking art courses. Ever y time I recall that scene in which the recommendation form flew down slowly in the sunshine, I wonder if it was a scripted scene in a movie. But it was real, and I did not make it up. The child named Ma Liang who made a mistake that day was destined to never stay away from art from then on. A couple of days ago when I talked with my assistant, we discussed whether my upcoming exhibition should be a pure photography exhibition or an artistic one. I wanted the latter, and without much hesitation. In other words, I thought it should be presented as an art exhibition. What a nice word ‘art’ is! It is a graceful word that implies a technology that creates beauty. There are too many ugly things in this world. Once I could grasp this technology, I would decorate freely the world, using my work as a medium, an idea that is such a hopeful and romantic thing. The word ‘nice’ may be misunderstood in this article, but I still can’t help but choose it. From my perspective, nice wishes should be a person’s primary focus, especially if one is a sensitive, creative being. In an unavoidable reality filled with blood and tears, suspicion and fear are usually immesurably magnified. If a creative being doesn’t believe in nice things, his works must be cold and cruel, which only brings more coldness to this world. The society in which we are living is full of nakedness. For instance, people can freely browse other’s sex diaries on the internet, see a person die by decapitation on video, obser ve lines of beautiful women who open their fair legs, and check out celebrities’ shiny and colorful underwear.

Disappointment and desperation exist everywhere. It’s destiny that our spiritual world must be covered with wounds. I can’t find any reason to re-create such an ugly and cruel world by reinforcing such scenes that we find in this ridiculous era in which we live. Since reality isn’t reliable any more, why don’t we believe in our hearts, even though there seems to be an immeasurable distance between reality and what we wish for? Why do we have to see anything through? Why do we have to explain everything clearly? Is it better to leave some space for our spirit to wander? This slight distance from reality is the only fig leaf we have. Someone says that a name is a curse which can control a person’s entire life. Therefore, my dream-like name will be my inevitable destiny. The magician in ancient tales possessed a magical brush which could turn imagination into reality. But what I, as another Ma Liang, want to do is to grind reality into light dusts that will spread with the wind to cloud your sight. Therefore, the works I present to you do not manifest reality, but rather only unlimited imagination. I hope you will enjoy them with pleasure, as you have when you enjoy flowers through a fog, and take them as soft labyrinths where you can walk through the walls at any time, or take them as puzzles which you can explain in your own way. All the works coming out of the heart are like letters to a lover whom I have never meet, letters which express my feelings in the same way that great happiness and sighs emanate from love. Sometimes I am really like the stubborn and classic painter who devoted his whole life to painting the woods and paths in his hometown, with love and tenderness. The only difference is that what I paint is the views I see in my heart, like a private garden belonging only to myself, with the sounds of delight echoing without bounds. Let ’s forget the sophisticated history of art, so-called schools and styles and those profound things. Everyone can become a nice wizard if only he believes in the institution of his heart and those simple but nice wishes.

Series: POSTMAN

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Yunnan: Beautiful Clouds in the South (2)

Article and Photograph by Carrie Fang

TRAVEL

A Hike for Mind and Spirit - A hike down to the Tiger Leaping Gorge

L

ocated in southwestern China, 37 miles north of Lijiang city and 65 miles south of Zhongdian County (now renamed the city of Shangari-La), Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) sits at the upper bond of the Yangtze River (locally called Jinsha River or Golden Sands River). It is 11 miles long with a drop of 699 feet, and is believed to be one of the deepest gorges in the world. It was also selected and ranked No. 2 in the Most Beautiful Canyons in China by the Chinese National Geographic Magazine in 2005. In recent years, its spectacular views have attracted numerous travelers, and it has become one of the most 30

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009

popular hiking destinations for outdoor adventurers in China and from overseas. The gorge is divided into three sections – the upper, middle and lower sections. The upper Tiger Leaping Gorge is the narrowest section. In the center of the river there is a huge rock called Tiger Leaping Rock, which, according to legend, helped a mythical tiger to jump across the river. It is also the most popular place for scenic views of the gorge, since tourist facilities there are the best constructed as compared to those in the other two sections. Most tour buses stop at the upper section. However, the middle and lower parts have become increasingly popular among


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TRAVEL

hikers and outdoor enthusiasts because they are more challenging, interesting and fulfilling. The advantage of having a local guide was that he knew where the trails started and how trail conditions were under the frequently changing weather of the southwest. Our guide took us to hike the trail to the middle Tiger Leaping Gorge, which goes down more than 656 feet in elevation to the Yangtz River. The trail was built and maintained by local residents. An RMB 10 Yuan fee (US$1.50) was charged at the trailhead, which went to the fund for continuing maintenance of the facilities. Having lived in the southwest of the United Stated for several years, I’ve hiked many trails in the Grand Canyon states. The trail we were about to experience could not compare to the fully equipped hiking trails in the US national or state parks. It more resembles the most primitive and authentic tracks of the Native Americans. The high humidity and unforeseen changes in the weather conditions only made the hiking more challenging. The trail consists of a10-feet long, almost-90-degree-vertical ladder down the hill. (If hikers start from the other end of the trail, they have to climb the ladder to get up to the hill top.) It is called the “Sky Ladder,” and there is no other way around. There are several gigantic mountain rocks cutting the trail apart. Local people from long ago excavated the narrow trails (about one meter wide) out of the rocks, and they became an important part of the ancient “tea-horse trade route” in the southwest. We reached the bottom point of the middle Tiger Leaping Gorge, only a few feet from the running Yangtze River. As we stood on the big rock in the middle of the river, it started to rain. At that moment I became very emotional, and a kind of heroic feeling started to grow in me. There were a couple of cabins at the bottom of the valley, where local people supplied water and snacks to the travelers. On the front wall of one cabin, which had the beautiful name “Ting Tao Du” (which means a place to listen to the sound of the waves), previous travelers


TRAVEL

had left numerous post-it stickers with their resolutions or feelings written all over them. I left mine too. As the rain started to pour, we decided to head up the hill. The elevation now started to play its role together with the rising humidity, and I started to feel the weight of my backpack as well. I couldn’t tell what was on my head and arms, rain or my sweat. As we reached the top of the hill where our tour bus was waiting, our guide concluded the trip by saying that local people usually called the hike down to the gorge “a hike for the mind and spirit.” I couldn’t agree more, because I never imagined a hiking experience being so physically challenging but so emotionally fulfilling.

I believe that our hike down to the Tiger Leaping Gorge is “a hike for the mind and spirit”.

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Gentle Hot Spring Resort

Article and Photograph by Kano

M

y mother is a hot spring enthusiast. When I was a little girl, we used to travel a lot together. It seemed that her way to choose a destination was first to check on whether or not there was a hot spring. At that time, I could not really understand her and would rather go to the swimming pool. However, as time goes by, I find myself addicted to hot springs as well. I believe that hot springs are one of the best things that Mother Nature has given us. While living in Arizona, Roper Lake State Park was one of my favorite campgrounds. The tiny hot tub there could really make me relax. I also once traveled through Colorado and stopped by Glenwood Springs, just to wash away my weariness in the hot springs. My visit was on an afternoon in April, and the beautiful Rocky Mountains were still covered with white snow. It was a wonderful experience to enjoy the sunshine and hot springs, especially while the air was still chilly. Only one step away, the hot springs brought me back from the winter surroundings, right into springtime.

Glenwood Hot Springs in winter

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TRAVEL

A Luxury Hot Spring Experience:


When I visited my parents in China last winter, I found that my mom had stopped seeking new hot springs. A hot spring had been discovered near my hometown of Nanning, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. A resort park called Gentle Hot Spring was built inside the Hot Spring Valley. It is about 30 miles from the Nanning International Airport, and is connected to the 18-hole international tournamentlevel Gentle Uptown Hot Spring golf course.

The outsight of the cottage

We decided to take a family trip there to enjoy the hot springs. We booked a cottage at the resort. There was a private hot tub in the backyard of the cottage. I left my parents and enjoyed the quiet, private hot spring there.

The backyard of the cottage

TRAVEL

Afterwards, I went to the park to have a hot springs adventure in the early morning, while there were only a few people around. I began at the Active Spa and Massage Center. The Active Spa and Massage Center are the landmark buildings for the entire Hot Springs Valley, with over 10 hot springs aquatic treatment facilities inside.

↑ The lower part of these marble

boards is dip with hot spring water, making it a perfect place for hot stone massage.

34

The aquatic massage really warmed me up and relaxed me. I felt likt I could stay there for the whole day, but I was too curious about the other parts of the re s o r t . M y n e x t s t e p was to try the exotic hot spring. There were six exotic gardens offering six feature bathing styles inside the resort: Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Thai, Jordanian, and Finlandian. The Chinese bathing experience offered the most unique garden and the greatest examples ofwith the most cultural heritage at the resort, with a distinctive architectural style and a hot

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009

↑ 5 pics in the middle: Active Spa and Massage Center ←↓

Chinese feature Bathing Garden


springs cultural theme that fully exhibited the appeal of the Chinese hot spring tradition, and in particular the glamour of the Tang Dynasty. The Japanese garden provided a great opportunity to experience a classic Japanese bathing. It seems that Japanese bathing always involves liquor. Since I am not good at drinking, it was a better idea to soak myself in the hot spring water that had red/white wine and sake added.

The Japanese landscape as well as the smell of teriyaki fish and the sushi bar next to me, made me began to wonder where I really was.

My favorite part was- the kiss fishes. The kiss fish, also called the doctor fish, hot spring fish or spa fish, is a kind of little fish with a length less than an inch, that lives in the hot spring water, even though the temperature reaches 1 1 0 ° F. I d i p p e d myself into the hot spring pool. After a while, hundreds of kiss fishes gathered around me and began to “kiss� my skin. Their kisses were so gentle and soft that they tickled. At the beginning, I had to bring my feet out of the water to avoid the ticklinge. I got used to the kisses, by and by, and felt instead that the fishes were giving me a little massage and scrubbing away any dead skin. It was such a funny experience to have all these lovely, tiny little things with me in the hot spring. When I left the kiss fish pool with refreshed skin (and a little unwanted smell of fish), what I really needed was an herbal bath to get rid of theat smell. There were lots of choices: ginger, honeysuckle, Chinese Angelica, ginseng, rose, rosemary, lavender, etc. I finally decided on a ginseng bath. After already having tried so many deferent hot spring bathes, I felt tired and thought a ginseng bath would boost my energy. http://www.ichinamag.com

35

TRAVEL

The most typical and famous bathing styles of the mysterious and beautiful country of Jordan include the floating bath and the salt bath. I heard that the salt bath had long been credited with positive effects on medical treatment and healthcare, but it was too cold to stay inside the salt water in wintertime. I had to skip this part, and the other two exotic gardens. I told myself that it was impossible to try every bath in one day.


My last stop, the Mayan fun park, was also unique. It is an active environment and also an amusement park. There you can experience the unprecedented thrill, and fully allow the inspiration to flow through your body. After finishing my adventure of the resort park, I returned to the cottage. My parents had dressed up and ordered some tropical fruits for me. I was beginning to understand why they wouldn’t vacation anywhere else, and why this resort was their favorite. There are lots of resorts like the Gentle Hot Spring Resort in China. The best thing about the hot springs

↑←Mayan Fun Park

TRAVEL

resorts in China isn’t that they’re so much cheaper than in the United States. Rather, the difference is in the variety of bath styles, the unique quality of the massages, and the stunning natural settings that are always good enough to please even the most discriminating hot springs enthusiasts. These hot springs offer excellent escapes for people who want a relaxing weekend in an accessible location, and who need to feel remote from urban centers. Most visitors will be able to find at least one tub that suits their needs inside such a vast resort. I’m sure that visitors could find the spa services they desire near the hot springs in the United States, but it is rare to find the hundreds of different bathing styles and massage services, from all over the world, in just one place such as this.

The landscape of the whole resort is a traditional Chinese style.

36

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


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37


FOOD

Roll It Up

By Tina Ye Photogragh by Kano and Elaine

J

ust like the popular breakfast burritos you see in the U.S., Chinese-style burritos and fajitas are at the top of the breakfast list for many Chinese families, though they may come in different

shapes and flavors across the country. We like to call them “rolls,” because all the ingredients are rolled into shells 38

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009

per se, no matter what the ingredients are or how the shells are made. Remember the Peking Duck we talked about in the December issue of iChina magazine? Did you see the resemblance between burritos and Peking Duck rolls? Well, with a little creativity, you can make your own rolls with the same Chinese pancakes. (Personally, I don’t think they should be called pancakes, but the name itself is not that important.) Put your favorite vegetables, meat and sauce together, and roll it up in your own way! Or if you aren’t a DIY person, try KFC in China. They serve Chinese burritos - Peking-style chicken rolls. I am not kidding! Besides roll-your-own burritos, there are other Chinese-style rolls for breakfast, such as Jian Bing Guo Zi, Chun Juan, Fu Pi Juan, and Chang Fen, all of which also follow the core concept of rolling. Jian Bing Guo Zi is a characteristic street snack in Tianjin, as well as some other cities in North China. Don’t be misled by its name – Guo Zi - which literally means fruits. Even if we welcome innovation here, we wouldn’t encourage you to go that far! Jian Bing Guo Zi


FOOD is an egg crepe rolled with You Tiao – a fried dough stick (which was introduced in the February issue of iChina magazine) inside. Here Guo Zi refers to the fried dough stick. The crepe is very thin and soft, with minced green onion and sesame seeds blended in; the fried dough stick inside, on the contrary, is very crisp. Together with the lightly beaten egg and unique sauce, the whole roll has a mixed, refreshing taste. To me, no other wake-up call works better than a hot, freshly-made Jian Bing Guo Zi does, especially in the chilly winter. Chun Juan (spring rolls) are not uncommon in the States, and they taste almost the same at all of the Chinese restaurants here: fried crisp on the outside, with flavorless veggies or meat on the inside. This is a very classic Taiwanese style. In some other areas of China, however, Chun Juan is made and served in different ways. Take Chengdu and Nanning for example. Spring rolls are never fried, but rolled and served fresh instead. The skin is very thin, made from millet flour; the stuffing inside is primarily precooked rice noodles and shredded vegetables (e.g., carrots and cucumbers). The spring rolls themselves are not flavored, and what completes these rolls is the dipping sauce. Since both Chengdu and Nanning are well known for their spicy food, the dipping sauces used there are hot sauces, usually mixed with soy sauce, vinegar, minced green onions, sesame seeds, peanuts, and sometimes wasabi. Sounds pretty challenging for a non-spicy fan, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. You can choose to buy the fresh spring rolls without sauce, and take them home and enjoy then with your favorite sauces – BBQ, honey mustard, or ranch.

← ↓Chun Juan

← ↓Fu Pi Juan

Fu Pi Juan (beancurd roll) is very similar to Chun Juan, except for the skin used to make the rolls. Fu Pi Juan is rolled with precooked Fu Pi (beancurd sheets) rather than millet-flour skins. In Guangzhou and some other cities, seasoned shrimp is commonly rolled in uncooked Fu Pi Juan, and then fried or steamed and served. Because of the frying or steaming procedure, the flavor and juice of the stuffing blends with the aroma of the beancurd sheet, so the Cantonese Fu Pi Juan turns out juicy and flavorful. If you have tried these when having dim sum, you know what I am talking about.

http://www.ichinamag.com

39


FOOD Speaking of dim sum, I think Chang Fen (steamed vermicelli rolls) may be counted in here as well. Chang Fen is different from all of the aforementioned rolls, as the skin is made from rice, and it is thicker and more tender. There are a wide variety of stuffings used, such as shrimp, beef, pork, and vegetables. Like Cantonese Fu Pi Juan, Chang Fen gains its rich flavor during the cooking process, so simply putting drops of light soy sauce on it are enough to complete it.

DIY Jian Bing Guo Zi (egg crepe rolled with fried dough stick) Recipe from food.chineserecipes.org.cn Photograph from www.sznews.com

Ingredients 3-4 sections You Tiao (8-inches long) 50g All-purpose flour 10 g Semolina 100-120g Water 2 Eggs, lightly beaten 1 tbsp Chilli sauce 1/2 tbsp Seafood sauce 2 tbsp Chopped scallions 1 tsp Sesame seeds 2 tsp Vegetable oil

Method 1. Mix together flour, half the egg, and the water, until you have a well- combined and lump-free mixture. Heat up a skillet, and brush it with a bit of oil. Scoop 3-4 tablespoons of batter over the pan. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. 2. Pour some egg over the panckae, sprinkle chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Cook the pancake for 1-2 minutes. Turn and cook the pancake until golden brown. Place it on a serving plate and brush it with the sauces. Center the You Tiao and wrap it up.

40

iChina Magzine â&#x20AC;˘ APRIL & MAY 2009


FOOD

Into

The

Wild

Green

Article by Tianya Zhou Photograph by Kano Wu and Xiaoping Ou

This is the time of year to eat wild greens.” That’s what my mom would say in spring, when I was a kid. Back then, I used to spend the Clear and Bright Festival (a traditional Chinese festival to remember and honor one’s ancestors at grave sites, usually occurring around April 4th or 5th) with my whole family at my grandma’s house in the countryside. In the early spring, together with the pretty yellow rape[don’t know this word for flowers, but rape means forced sex] flowers dancing in the sunshine, happily grew plenty of edible

wild greens, especially in unused or unattended corners of the farmland. During the sunny afternoons, my counsins and I, following our parents, usually took a stroll down the ridges, picking all kinds of wild greens along the way, then heading home to fix a big, healthy dinner for us all. I have never had a chance to step back into that same field again since my grandma passed away, and her house was sold a few years ago, but I try to recall the sweet momery by eating wild greens during the breezy springtime. Today, you may find wild greens on sale at the market, but I still prefer digging in the soil and pulling the stems out by myself – it is only this way that I think they are truly wild and organic. If you are not experienced at identifying edible greens from non-edible weeds, however, you’re better off purchasing the ready-to-cook ones, as some weeds can be dangerous. A lot of wild greens are natural medicines that can prevent diabetes, hyper tension, cancer, and so forth. I think it’s because they grow in such a tough http://www.ichinamag.com

41


FOOD environment, that they have to fight against all odds and heal from all pain. Probably for the same reason, wild greens always taste different to me from the regularly cultivated veggies. Not everyone enjoys wild greens, or any greens, for that matter. I was’t an exception, until I had my first bite of fried Qinghao (Artemisinin) cake made by my grandma. Then I realized that probably anything could turn into something yummy, as long as there was a good cook to work with it – not someone with a nice chef’s hat and golden plate name badge at a 5-star hotel, but someone who would really know her stuff – in this case, wild greens. Nowadays, to cater to diners who are into wild greens, some organically-themed restaurants are springing up, serving only locally grown wild greens. The majority of these restaurants are set up in the Yu Xing Cao countryside, and provide one-stop service where you can enjoy a “wild” day, far away from the city. Start with an appetizer. Yu Xing Cao (Houttuynia ) is a kind of herb with a special taste, which some describe as fishy, so it is not as widely enjoyed as basil, mint, or other more commonly used herbs. In my hometown, Sichuan Province, Yu Xing Cao is fixed in a different way from the norm. The leaves are made into a salad, mixed with soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, and other condiments. The stems are slowcooked with chicken soup, giving a special herbal twist to the soup. Yu Xing Cao is cold in nature, and can clear away heat, detoxicate, and dissolve boils, and it works great as an appetizer. Another green usually served as an appetizer is Luo Bo Miao (radish sprouts). They look quite

Salad made with Luo Bo Miao (Radish Sprout)

Xian Cai

42

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009

similar to green bean sprouts – skinny stems with green beans on top, but taste different. As indicated in the name, Luo Bo Miao have a strong taste of radish - sweet, spicy, and crunchy. Mix a bunch of Luo Bo Miao with salt, white vinegar, sesame oil, and walnuts, and you will have a tasty treat, as well as a great deal of vitamins and minerals that will help to prevent cancer. Xian Cai (amaranth) is a very good source of vitamins and dietary minerals, including calcium, iron, and others. Simply stir-frying it with chopped garlic is sufficient preparation. When well cooked, it looks in


FOOD purple color, and tastes juicy, yet chewy. I like dipping it in a sour and spricy sauce made of vinegar and chilli powder. If you are craving meat, try meatballs with Ji Cai (shepherd's purse). Shepherd's Purse got its name from the resemblance of the flat seed-pouches of the plant to an oldfashioned common leather purse. It has an aromatic taste that blends well with meat. The meatballs can be used for soups, stews, wantons, and dumplings, or whatever other creative ways you desire. For egg fans, I would recommend Xiang

Stir-fired Xian Cai

Chun (Chinese toon tree sprouts). Xiang refers to aroma in Chinese, and Xiang Chun definitely deserves its name. The sprouts are tender and aromatic, and chopped Xiang Chun and scrambled eggs make a perfect match in spring. No dinner will be complete without dessert. Well, here is my favorite - fried Qinghao cake. Qinghao (Artemisinin) can clear heat Ji Cai

Scrambled eggs with Xiang Chun

from deficiency[?], and tastes a bit bitter. When a cake with minced qinghao is well done, you can’t taste the bitter flavor, but rather a light, refreshing aroma instead. My grandma used to spinkle sugar over the cake…yum…it was out of this world! Just by looking at the strange names of the aforementioned Xiang Chun wild greens, it might be kind of hard to picture how a wild greens-based dinner would look and taste. All I can say is, well, forget about the weired names. Let your tongue guide you through this wild green world, and enjoy a healthy, flavorful meal! http://www.ichinamag.com

43


The 5th China International Photo Contest From China Daily

T

LEISURE

he 5th China International Photo Contest (CHIPP), recently held in Shanghai, announced the winning photographs in eight different categories, in addition to picture of the year. CHIPP, an annual photography contest organized by the China Photo Journalism Society, has become one of the world’s most influential press photography contests.

↑ Picture of the Year

- by Zou Sen. Rescuers dig out a mother holding her son tight in her arms after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake rocked Panzhihua, Sichuan province, on August 30, 2008. The quake killed 36 people and left nearly 700 injured.

←Bronze prize in the Portraits & People category - "Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao" by Yao Dawei.

44

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


→ Bronze prize in Nature & Environment News Singles "Dance" by Lu Xubo.

→ Silver prize in the Portraits & People in the News Singles - "Rescued Miner" by Zhu Xiang.

http://www.ichinamag.com

45

LEISURE

←Gold prize in Daily Life Stories - "Teacher in Mountain Village" by Chen Qinggang.


LEISURE

←Gold prize in Portraits & People Category - The photo series "Migrant Workers" by Li Qizheng

←Gold prize in Sports Singles "Judo Competition in Olympics" by Wu Xiaoling.

→ Gold prize in Nature & Environment News Singles - "Ore Picker i n Yu n n a n” by Huang Xingneng. 46

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


→Excellence prize in Sports Stories - The photo series "Girls: Fish and bird" taken by Vyatkin Vladimir information agency ria novosti

↓Award of excellence in the Arts, Culture & Entertainment News Singles – “Silhouette of Fishermen" by Victor Fraile.

LEISURE ←Gold prize in Economic, S c i e n ce & Technology News Singles - "Tired Creditor" by Fu Yongjun.

http://www.ichinamag.com

47


LEISURE

By Sarah Lee

W

ith the dramatic increase of the number of Internet users in China, some Chinese software developers have cloned Western-originated social network sites (e.g., Facebook), but added fancy features to satisfy different groups of users. New SNS (Social Network Sites) come and go, but two have survived and are still growing at a fairly fast pace. One is Xiaonei (www.xiaonei.com), which targets college students. And the other is Kaixin (www.kaixin001.com), which targets white-collar workers. Similar to Facebook, these sites allow you to network with your friends, classmates, co-workers, or even strangers. Since I am not a student anymore, I registered with Kaixin. It looked quite similar to Facebook in terms of the layout and the applications, except that, of course, everything is in Chinese. Some of the interesting applications include: • Parking Wars: you can buy all kinds of vehicles – from low-profile autos to a luxury BMW Gena - and you have to fight for parking sites to earn money. When you make enough money, you can always trade in your old cars for new ones. • House Purchases: you always start with a tiny studio, and you can receive rent by inviting your friends to live in your place. When you get money, you can buy

furniture, and can eventually trade in what you have for better houses that are larger and in better locations. • Planting: given six pieces of land in the beginning, you can buy seeds and plant in your yard as well as your friends’, and you can sell what you harvest after a certain period of time. With the growth of your planting experience, you gain more land and grow plants that can be sold at better prices. Personally, I think Kaixin does a great job in their market research to attract their target users, including me. As in real life, a lot of Chinese white-collar workers spend almost all their working hours on a computer. They dream of having their own car and house, and work hard in pursuit of that dream. On the other hand, living with this daily stress and pressure, they often wish they could live a simple life like that of farming. The above three applications fit in as just what the doctor ordered. Kaixin and other social networking sites are new and interesting places to play. Since I registered a few months ago, I have reconnected with a lot of my old friends, including the ones I made back in primary school. If you can read Chinese, you should try them out. Have fun!

HOT SOCIAL NETWORK SITES IN CHINA 48

iChina Magzine • APRIL & MAY 2009


iChina Magazine: Call for Articles iChina Magazine is a monthly English-language magazine published by iChina Media Group and sponsored by KF Publishing Company Group, with a mission of promoting Chinese culture and building a two-way bridge between the Chinese and Western people. It presents a dynamic and diverse China in every story from various angles, from the political to the economic and technological, from the people to the culture, from art to travel, and from entertainment to food. Our readers are people in North America and worldwide with family, business, personal, and cultural ties with China. The print edition of the magazine is currently distributed in the US and Canada and the electronic and web editions are available on our regularly updated website, ichinamag.com. Now, iChina Magazine is announcing a call for articles. Contributions across a broad range of topics which have a strong Chinese theme or connection are desired, including but not limited to the following categories: Focus: this section focuses on the politics and current affairs of China. We value various perspectives from people of various backgrounds. Inspirational ideas are more than welcome. We expect your unique and insightful ideas to shape people’s views about China. Economy & Technology: This section mainly focuses on news reports and analysis in every aspect of the Chinese economy and its interaction with the global economy. The articles will feature an intensive and comprehensive perspective while avoiding academic and overly complicated analysis. We select articles which are intuitively understandable to non-experts. If you have any views about the Chinese market, industries, human resources, investments and people’s living situations, you are welcome to submit your articles. People: In each issue, the People section introduces one individual with an outstanding career or special experiences related to China. By presenting our interviewee’s professional and life experiences, we wish to provide our readers with vivid images of China. Culture: In this section, we share Chinese history, present Chinese traditions (including myths, legends, festivals, customs, etc.) and observe modern Chinese society, Chinese people’s lifestyles, and their viewpoints about the world. Anything related to Chinese history, tradition, and society is acceptable. Personal experiences are highly encouraged. Arts: This section focuses on art produced in China, and in other countries as they relate to Chinese art, from ancient times to our present day. This includes stories of drawing, painting, printmaking, calligraphy, photography, sculpture, architecture, decoration, handicraft, music and dance, opera and so

on, from the perspectives of people today. Travel: In this section, we introduce attractive destinations in China, share travel experiences in China, and provide useful information to those who are interested in traveling in China. Our readers will experience your adventures through your wonderful stories and photos. Personal memories, emotions, and epiphanies which emerged during or after your trip are appreciated. Leisure: Aimed at sharing fun experiences relating to China, this section covers a wide variety of topics such as event highlights, Chinese comic strips, funny pictures, clubs, spa spots, and Chinese language lessons. We hope our readers will relax and have fun by reading this section. Food: This section is entirely devoted to Chinese cuisine, so all relevant topics are welcome, such as restaurant reviews, food recipes, culinary techniques, kitchenware, and so forth. Adding a personal touch is highly encouraged. We also welcome news reports and press releases about overseas Chinese communities. We’re seeking submissions ranging from short vignettes to extensively-developed articles. We welcome articles written in a reader-friendly, popularmagazine style, rather than in an academic style. Compelling pictures that illustrate your subject are highly encouraged, but be advised that you are responsible for the copyright issues of those pictures. We also appreciate an author photo to accompany your short (about 50 words) author biography. Articles should be 300 to 2500 words in length (Although we occasionally use longer pieces, we may also consider serializing them) and pictures should have a resolution of at least 800 x 600 pixels. Articles will be accepted on the basis of their content suitability for our readers, writing style, sentence structuring, grammar, the quality of the pictures, etc. We reserve the right to edit, shorten, or revise your article. If you can contribute regularly, we welcome aspiring columnists and in certain cases, might publish your articles frequently in our print magazine and on our web site. Writing for iChina would be an excellent opportunity for you to boost your writing skills, get your name in print, and reach a wide audience. Publishing in our magazine will also ensure that you continue to build your personal brand and market your expertise online. Please send your inquires or submit your articles to submissions@ichinamag.com. For more information, please visit www.ichinamag.com. iChina Editorial Team ww.chinamag.com http://www.ichinamag.com

49


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