Monthly Archives: September 2017

Acquiring other tastes

European-style afternoon tea is becoming increasingly popular in China, where people also brew foreign black teas to have a break. In 2011, 24-year-old Yang Yang resigned her well-paid job in Beijing to settle down in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. There she partnered with a friend to plunge into the selling of black tea from India and Sri Lanka.Why?The previous year, when she worked for a Beijing tea trader, her eyes opened to the growing market for such teas in the Chinese capital, and she assumed they would also be wanted in Guangzhou.What happened next confirmed her judgment. In 2012 and 2013, the business revenue increased more than 50 percent annually, she says. Sometimes, the daily sales totaled more than 10,000 yuan ($1,573). More recently, she says, the slowing economy and the anti-graft campaign have had an obvious impact on tea consumption, including imported tea.Young Chinese are increasingly interested in Indian and Lankan black teas, which are a little more exotic than local varieties but are easy to find online as well as in stores, and come at relatively low price, carrying a centuries-old reputation for quality, Yang observes.Cao Zhong, a 29-year-old Beijing resident, recently started drinking black tea from Sri Lanka after a co-worker introduced him to it. Now he enjoys collecting the “Ceylon teas”, which became famous worldwide when the island was a British colony.

Search at New York’s JFK airport finds no signs of gunfire

NEW YORK – A preliminary investigation found no evidence of gunfire in a terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday, despite earlier reports of shots being heard, the airport’s operator said. No gun casings were found after a search of Terminal 8, where reports of gunshots in the departures area prompted an evacuation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said in a message on social network Twitter. “The terminal was evacuated out of an abundance of caution,” the agency said. “Travelers should contact their carriers.” Video and photos posted on social media showed hundreds of people streaming out of Terminal 8, used by Air Berlin, Alaska Airlines, American Eagle, American Airlines, Finnair and other carriers. The security measures stayed in place hours after the scare, with roadways at the airport closed and passengers milling about. Sherwin Bryce-Pease, a correspondent with South African Broadcasting Corp based in New York, was on a Norwegian Airlines flight from Paris that landed shortly before 10 pm (0200 GMT). “They told us nothing from the flight deck,” he said. “Only that the earliest the gate will be available will be in an hour and 15 minutes from when we landed, an announcement greeted by huge sighs.” On Saturday, reports of gunfire sent a crowded mall in Raleigh, North Carolina, into chaos. The Crabtree Valley Mall was placed on lockdown after several shoppers reported hearing gunfire, but a search turned up no suspects or bullet casings.

Famed photographer Berengo Gardin looks back on his changing world

Italy’s most famous photo reporter, Gianni Berengo Gardin, has spent more than half a century documenting a disappearing world. Italy’s most famous photo reporter, Gianni Berengo Gardin, has spent more than half a century documenting a disappearing world and now recognises that even his own profession is fading fast. In a major retrospective of his work at Rome’s Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Berengo Gardin’s black-and-white photographs capture Italy’s shift from a largely rural economy to its rapid industrialisation following World War Two. The most recent reportage, dating from 2013-15, shows huge cruise liners docking in Venice, dwarfing the city’s delicate architecture, unleashing hoardes of tourists on the lagoon city. The pictures stand in stark contrast to Berengo Gardin’s early images of Venice, from the 1950s and 60s, where a lone girl runs through St Mark’s Square and lovers kiss in an otherwise empty, colonnaded street. “You can no longer do photographs like that,” 85-year-old Berengo Gardin told Reuters. “Venice is totally different to what it once was. It is full of tourists. It has all changed.” Born near the city of Genoa in 1930, Berengo Gardin moved to Venice after the war. Photography was just a hobby until an uncle sent him books by the US greats Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, and he realised the camera’s potential. He himself has now published more than 250 books and, despite his age, he still wanders around with a Leica camera hanging from his shoulder, ready to capture a fleeting moment. Although he has travelled widely, his most famous images were taken in Italy – psychiatric patients imprisoned in dilapidated hospitals, youngsters dancing on a beach to music from a wind-up gramophone, workers in an Olivetti factory. “People go round the world to photograph places like Hawaii. Then they realise there is so much more beauty here,” he says. The exhibition, which runs until Aug 28, is called True Photography, with Berengo Gardin arguing that unlike much of today’s digital photography, his work is free of artefact. “There are a mountain of false photographs out there that pretend to be genuine, but that have in fact been manipulated in Photoshop. It is a type of fraud,” he says. “I am an old photographer, born into an age of real photography, and I still want to defend it,” he says. However, in a time when everyone uses their smartphones to capture every aspect of life, and with newspapers struggling to survive, Berengo Gardin fears he is defending a dying art. “You still have fashion photographers, but photo reportage as a career is over. I have friends who used to make a living out of this, people who were famous and successful but are now dying of hunger,” he says.

Beijing approves 72-hour visa waiver for tourists

Foreign tourists from 45 countries will be able to enjoy a 72-hour visa-free stay in Beijing from Jan 1, the city government announced Wednesday morning.The policy is aimed at making Beijing more accessible to the world and is expected to attract more overseas travelers.However, visitors without a visa will not be allowed to travel outside the capital once they arrive. Doing so will be deemed illegal entry, the government said.Related: More flights available to visa-free Saipan

Brazil’s Senate decides not to bar Rousseff from public office

Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff attends the final session of debate and voting on Rousseff’s impeachment trial in Brasilia, Brazil, August 29, 2016. BRASILIA, Aug 31 – Brazil’s Senate decided that former President Dilma Rouseeff, who was removed from office earlier on Wednesday, should not be barred from holding public office.Senators voted 42-36 to allow Rousseff to maintain her political rights, short of the two-thirds needed to bar her. Under Brazilian law, a dismissed president is prevented from holding any government job, even teaching posts at state universities.

China becomes second-largest investor in foreign property

Air conditioners sprout from windows in an office building in New York on July 21, 2016. Chinese investors pumped $17 billion into overseas property investment during the first five months, becoming the world’s second-largest source of outbound property investment.The United States retained its top spot with $19 billion, according to a report released by DTZ/Cushman & Wakefield, a global leader in commercial real estate services.Outbound Investment continued its rapid growth in China, the report said. The total outbound investment from January to May this year has accounted for the 65.6 percent of the total investment of 2015.The US remained the most attractive destination for Chinese investors thanks to strong dollar appreciation, a recovering US economy and relatively low financing costs.More than six out of 10 Chinese investments (62.3 percent) totaling $10.6 billion went to the United States over the first five months of the year, according to the report.Office investments led the way at a 50 percent of all Chinese outbound real estate transactions during the first five months of 2016, up from 40 percent a year earlier.Top destinations for office investments were Hong Kong and the US, accounting for more than 80 percent of transactions by Chinese investors.Hotel investment was a hot asset class, receiving $7.1 billion in cross-border Chinese capital during the first five months of 2016 and accounting for a 42 percent share by type of property investment.

I am from Xinjiang

Kurbanjan Samat, a native of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, works on his project of photographing 120 Xinjiang people who live elsewhere in the country and getting their stories. Xiao Wei / for China DailyOn top of it allAnnual winter fishing tourism festival kicks off in XinjiangAqin Aytis festival kicks off in XinjiangA Uygur photographer wants to tell the stories of the Xinjiang people, who he says simply want to live, survive and hopefully thrive, just like everybody else. Guo Yali reports. Kurbanjan Samat started working on his photography project “I am from Xinjiang”, late last year, documenting the everyday lives of the people from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region who are living elsewhere in the country. He hoped to capture their hopes, dreams and ambitions, proving that this often maligned group are no different from anyone else.But after the terrorist attack at Kunming Railway Station on March 1, in which 29 people were killed and more than 130 were injured, Kurbanjan”s project has taken on a new urgency.There has been a fear and distrust of people from Xinjiang ever since the terrorist attack, which police say was orchestrated by Xinjiang separatists.The community police in Beijingcalled Kurbanjan 12 hours after the attack, asking him when he was leaving.”Why should I leave? This is my home!” he says, still irritated and angry when recounting the incident.His plan is to photograph 120 people from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and get their stories and then publish them in a book and stage an exhibition, as early as in June, if possible.For more China Face stories, click here

New air route links Fuzhou to New York

FUZHOU – A direct flight opened Wednesday between Fuzhou, capital of eastern China’s Fujian Province, and New York. Flight MF849 took off from Fuzhou at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday and will land in New York after A 14.5-hour flight. It will depart from Fuzhou on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The return flight leaves New York at 12:55 p.m. local time. The new route, operated by Xiamen Airlines, makes Fuzhou the fourth city in China after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to have direct flights to New York. A total of 800,000 people with origins in Fuzhou live in the New York area. Xiamen Airlines will also launch a direct flight from Xiamen city to Los Angeles in June, according to Che Shanglun, chairman of the airline.

Li Baolin’s ink works on show in Beijing

A painting by Li Baolin. Li Baolin is holding an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing, with dozens of his landscapes and portraits in ink. Li, who turned 80 in August, joined the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1958 to learn traditional Chinese painting from modern masters such as Li Keran and Ye Qianyu. After graduation he joined the military and was stationed in southern China. During his years in service until 1990, Li produced many portraits of comrades in the armed forces. A selection of such works can also be seen at the Beijing show that runs through Nov 11. Other exhibits include mountain-and-water paintings that Li has explored since the ’80s. A painting by Li Baolin. Related:Tibet mandala: The world in a grain of sandNew apps make art shopping easier for new buyers

A critical decision to make

With the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) having made its decision regarding the reform blueprint for the 2017 election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, clear parameters have finally been established for the introduction of universal suffrage in the special administrative region (SAR).For universal suffrage to be implemented as scheduled, it is imperative for the next stage of consultation to be conducted with in these boundaries. Under the existing constitutional setup, the NPCSC has the ultimate authority to interpret the Basic Law, which constitutes the sole legal basis for any changes to be made to the city’s electoral arrangements.Unfortunately, political radicals in the city have determined not to settle for anything that falls short of their demand for so-called “international standards” of democracy. Immediately after the NPCSC decision, they vowed to make good on their threat to paralyze Hong Kong’s financial heart by summoning thousands of supporters onto the streets in defiance of the law.The radicals are not only challenging the authority of the country’s top legislature but also threatening the SAR’s rule of law-the cornerstone of the city’s long-term stability and prosperity.Hong Kong has managed to survive gloomy predictions about its post-handover demise as well as crises of various kinds over the past 17 years. But it achieved this not because of “international standards”, but because of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy prescribed by the Basic Law. It is to the credit of this innovative political architecture that the city still ranks the third most important financial hub after New York and London, and remains the fourth most competitive economy globally.Without taking the actual local situation into consideration, Western-style democracy hastily and prematurely introduced into many countries has never yielded the intended results.The sensible approach should be to advance democracy in a gradual and orderly manner as advised by the central government. Basic democratic rights, much less universal suffrage, had been glaringly absent in the city’s 150 years of colonial rule. The fact that the pledge of universal suffrage first came from Beijing instead of 10 Downing Street serves as the best testimony to the central government’s sincerity in advancing democracy.Now that Hong Kong’s stability and economic well-being is being threatened by political extremists pursuing so-called “international standards”, the people of Hong Kong have a critical decision to make: to embrace a hitherto unprecedented level of democracy, or the disruptive, reckless political gamble to be staged by the radicals. The people of Hong Kong have the courage and wisdom to make the right choice.

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