Global Lens on China
Chinese outrage over 'ugly' restoration of Great Wall
CHINESE social media users were in an uproar Friday over restoration of a 700-year-old section of the Great Wall that has been covered in concrete, turning it into a smooth, flat-topped path.
Known as one of the most beautiful portions of the "wild", unrestored wall, the eight-kilometre (five-mile) Xiaohekou stretch in northeast Liaoning province was built in 1381 during the Ming Dynasty.
Photos posted online showed that its uneven, crumbling steps and plant growth had been replaced as far as the eye could see with a white, concrete-like cap.
"This looks like the work of a group of people who didn't even graduate from elementary school," said one user of China's Twitter-like Weibo platform. "If this is the result, you might as well have just blown it up."
"Such brutal treatment of the monuments left behind by our ancestors! How is it that people with low levels of cultural awareness can take on leadership positions?" asked another. "Why don't we just raze the Forbidden City in Beijing, too?"
Even the deputy director of Liaoning's department of culture Ding Hui admitted: "The repairs really are quite ugly," according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The Great Wall is not a single unbroken structure but stretches for thousands of kilometres in sections from China's east coast to the edge of the Gobi desert.
In places it is so dilapidated that estimates of its total length vary from 9,000 to 21,000 kilometres, depending on whether missing sections are included. Despite its length it is not, as is sometimes claimed, visible from space.
Emergency maintenance was ordered for Xiaohekou in 2012 to "avoid further damage and dissolution" caused by "serious structural problems and issues due to flooding" and was completed in 2014, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage said in a statement on its website in response to public and media outcry.
The government body has begun an investigation into the approval, implementation and outcome of the maintenance work, stating that it would deal with work units and personnel found to be at fault severely, "without justifying their mistakes".
Around 30 percent of China's Ming-era Great Wall has disappeared over time as adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities -- including stealing the bricks to build houses -- erode the UNESCO World Heritage site, state media reports said last summer.
Under Chinese regulations people who take bricks from the Great Wall can be fined up to 5,000 yuan ($750), but plant growth on the wall continues to accelerate decay, and tourism, especially to undeveloped sections, continues to severely damage the world's longest human construction.
September 23, 2016, Friday
IPooch: Son of China's richest man 'buys eight iPhone 7s for his DOG'
COCO the Alaskan Malamute might be the most pampered pooch in the world.
The pet dog has apparently been given eight iPhone 7 handsets by his doted owner, the only son of China's richest man Wang Jianlin, worth £23 billion, according to Chinese media.
Pictures have emerged on China's social media showing the lucky canine posing next to a stack of eight boxes believed to contain a £800 phone in each.
Coco's eccentric owner Wang Sicong, 28, was educated at Winchester College and is already worth £430 million.
These pictures were believed to be uploaded by Wang Sicong to the dog's very own social media account on Weibo, which has nearly 1.9 million followers and is ironically named 'Wang Keke is a bitch'.
The images were posted in the afternoon of September 16, the first day the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 went on sale.
Along with the pictures, a post read: 'Not sure what people are showing off on Moments (a Chinese social media platform)! There is nothing to show off. I was forced to take action.'
Daily Mail |
September 20, 2016, Tuesday
iPhone 7 pricetags may hinder China sales
DESPITE Apple's crystal clear endeavor to amplify its presence in China, the higher Chinese pricetags on the new iPhone 7 may further drag down sales, as Chinese smartphone brands are offering equally powerful gadgets at much lower prices.
Apple is not giving up on China even though iPhone sales in the world's most populous economy have lost steam over the past year: China remains in the first batch of countries to release two iPhone 7 flagships, and has been added to the "iPhone Upgrade Program" along with the US and UK, which aims to encourage consumers to change for a new iPhone handset every year.
But Apple is also lifting its retail prices in China, mainly due to the depreciation of the Chinese currency over the past year, in a bid to protect its profits denominated in the US dollar. According to the Apple's official website for China, retail prices of all sorts of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models have added 300 yuan ($45) in comparison with equivalent iPhone 6S models.
September 9, 2016, Friday
How did China save the giant panda?
THEY'RE cute, they're cuddly and they've just been brought back from the brink of extinction.
We're talking about the giant panda, a global icon that's just been taken off the endangered list, largely due to Chinese conservation efforts. But how exactly did they do it?
It's all about the bamboo.
China has been trying for years to increase the population of the giant panda.
September 5, 2016, Monday
Investing In China: Too Big To Ignore
MANY American investors focus solely on the U.S. economic cycle and ignore the rest of the world. But sophisticated family offices are now paying a lot of attention to China as well. China has become the world’s second largest economy, the primary consumer of many commodities, and a key driver of global growth. According to HSBC, China consumes more than half of all global aluminum and nickel production, and close to half of global copper and zinc production. China is the second-largest importer of crude oil, and is on track to surpass the United States in total demand for oil.
China has also been a key source of opportunity for U.S. multinational companies. For example, China accounts for 25% of Apple’s revenue. Five years ago, China accounted for only 11% of Apple’s revenue. Chinese monetary and fiscal policy also has global consequences. Investors will remember that in August 2015 China surprised investors with a 2% depreciation of the yuan. Global stock markets tumbled on fears that China’s growth would slow, and bond yields crashed as investors worried about the deflationary impact of a larger Chinese currency devaluation.
August 25, 2016, Thursday
Why a celebrity divorce has Chinese social media buzzing
MOVE over Olympics, this celebrity split is now what everyone in China's talking about.
A Chinese actor's divorce from his wife, over her alleged extramarital affair, has social media buzzing, with posts about the subject gaining over five billion views.
Wang Baoqiang announced online on Sunday that he was divorcing his wife, Ma Rong, and sacking his agent, Song Zhe.
He alleged that his marriage broke down after his wife had an affair with his agent, and that she had also transferred the couple's joint assets.
Ma has hit back at Wang, accusing him of abandoning their family.
The topic has sparked a debate about relationships and divorce, and it seems Wang's predicament has struck a chord with many - which could explain the number of views, which are high even by Chinese standards.
August 16, 2016, Tuesday
"This is Fu Yuanhui's Olympics," say foreign media
FU Yuanhui, a Chinese swimmer at the Rio Olympics, is becoming a new social media star not only within China, but around the world, thanks to her adorable and outspoken interview saying she was "really pleased" with her performance.
In just two days, the video clips and photos showing her utter disbelief at finding out her time of 58.95 seconds in the women's 100m backstroke semi-finals is "already the stuff of legend," said an online report from BBC on Tuesday.
The news broadcasting company listed Fu as one of the "priceless faces lighting up the Olympics," along with U.S. swimming megastar Michael Phelps.
The U.S.-based Huffington Post called Fu the "most lovable athlete at the Rio Olympics" in a Tuesday report, praising her as "the best Olympian" this time, although she hasn't even won a gold medal.
The online media even concluded that "This is Fu Yuanhui's Olympics."
The Sun from Britain also said that Fu's "adorable" interview has won hearts around the globe, adding that she will "live long in the memory," and Australia's news site news.com.au directly called Fu "Rio's new sweetheart."
Netizens were immediately impressed by Fu's genuine excitement. One user commented on the Dailymail's online report by saying "Lovely to see someone so genuinely delighted."
Another British user commented on the online report from The Guardian, saying that Fu "gives a good message to us all: Live for today."
Xinhua News Agency |
August 10, 2016, Wednesday
These viral selfie apps with 1 billion downloads are shaping China’s start-up culture
THE selfie, we all know, is an art form. That cast of light. That tilt of the chin. Not that you’re trying.
But at the southern Chinese headquarters of Meitu, the maker of some of the world’s most popular beauty apps, the selfie is also science.
Here in the company’s sparse, oh-so-start-up offices, tables of 20-somethings are using facial recognition and 3-D modeling to build a suite of apps that, quite literally, transform.
Their eye-widening, skin-lightening, chin-narrowing photo apps and “beautifying” video platform are ubiquitous in China, downloaded a billion times in total, according to the company. They are known by fans as “zipai shenqi,” or “godly tools for selfies.”
The company has hundreds of millions of monthly users, a valuation in the billions of dollars, according to estimates, and plans for global expansion. If you haven’t heard of Meitu, chances are, you will. If you’re reading this on your phone, watch this space.
The extraordinary popularity of Meitu says much about today’s China.
Washington Post |
August 3, 2016, Wednesday
China cracks down on Great Wall brick thieves
THE Great Wall is disappearing, brick by brick, and Chinese authorities have had enough.
A new campaign has been launched to protect the ancient fortification that snakes for 13,000 miles (21,000 kilometers) across northern China from criminal damage.
Built in different stages from the third century B.C. to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the wall was built to defend an empire but parts of it are now crumbling.
Bricks have been stolen to build houses, for agriculture or to sell as souvenirs to tourists -- exacerbating the natural erosion wrought by wind, rain and sandstorms.
July 29, 2016, Friday
Apple’s China Problem Is That Local Phones are Good -- and Cheap
FOR Beijing resident Nie Miao, spending 5,000 yuan ($749) on a new iPhone 6S from Apple Inc. “just isn’t an option.”
That’s because the lion’s share of his 7,000 yuan monthly pay goes toward the mortgage on the downtown apartment he bought last year. And he’s perfectly happy with the 2,000 yuan handset he got from Huawei Technologies Co.
The 29-year-old embodies the challenges in China for Apple, which has lost ground to local competitors. It’s been almost two years since the Cupertino, California-based company revamped the iPhone for the sixth generation. In the meantime, rivals like Huawei and Xiaomi Corp. have developed their own cheaper products with similar specifications, while the relative success of the iPhone 6 has made it harder for Apple to sustain its growth rates.
July 24, 2016, Sunday