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Chinese rocket debris crashes into Indian Ocean - state media

Most of the Chinese Long March-5b rocket reportedly disintegrated as it re-entered the atmosphere.

Source: BBC News - China | 9 May 2021 | 9:44 pm(NZT)

Sinopharm: Chinese Covid vaccine gets WHO emergency approval

It says the Sinopharm vaccine, which has been given to millions of people, is safe and effective.

Source: BBC News - China | 8 May 2021 | 7:46 am(NZT)

China's exports soar as US recovers and India stalls

Export growth soared 32% in April as demand jumped for goods from the world's second largest economy.

Source: BBC News - China | 7 May 2021 | 6:32 pm(NZT)

Report: China emissions exceed all developed nations combined

The country is responsible for 27% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report.

Source: BBC News - China | 7 May 2021 | 4:52 pm(NZT)

Celebrating China’s wonders over May Day

MORE than 230 million tourist trips were made in China during the Labor Day holiday, an increase of 120 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism estimates. The number of tourist trips also exceeded that of the same period before the epidemic. About 12,000 A-class tourist attractions opened to tourists — roughly 90 percent of all A-class attractions in the country. Domestic tourism revenue during the holiday is estimated at 113.23 billion yuan (US$17.48 billion) — an increase of 138 percent year-on-year, recovering to 77 percent of the same period before the epidemic. Tourists from Chengdu spent 2,600 yuan per capita, the most of any city.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:43 am(NZT)

Over 1m in Hong Kong have been vaccinated

More than 1 million people have taken at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in Hong Kong since the rollout started more than two months ago, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said on Wednesday.The figure accounts for around 15 percent of the population aged 16 or above and eligible to get vaccinated in the financial hub, the government said.So far, over 1.59 million vaccine doses have been administered in Hong Kong since the inoculation program began on February 26, with about 588,100 people fully vaccinated.A government spokesman called on those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so as early as possible.“A high vaccination rate can lead us to resume economic and livelihood activities as soon as possible. In view of the threat posed by mutant strains, it is imperative for us to get vaccinated to protect ourselves and others,” the spokesman said.92 cases in 14 daysHong Kong’s Center for Health Protection reported two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday, all of which were imported, taking the total to 11,798.The new infections were reported in two persons aged 42 and 32 who arrived from the Philippines and Indonesia. Both of them are asymptomatic, according to the CHP.A total of 92 cases have been recorded in the past 14 days, including 18 local ones. Of the 18 local cases, four had unknown infection sources, the CHP said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

HKSAR streamlines family dispute law

Teresa Cheng, secretary for justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, said yesterday the HKSAR Legislative Council earlier passed the Mainland Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases (Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement) Ordinance, which is in the interest of parties to cross-boundary marriages and their families.Cheng said that the provisions of the ordinance can be divided into three parts, which are recognition and enforcement of mainland judgments, recognition of mainland divorce certificates, and facilitation of recognition and enforcement in the mainland of Hong Kong judgments.Cheng said that with the passage of the ordinance, parties to cross-boundary marriages and their children will be benefitted.By providing a more expeditious and cost effective mechanism for parties to apply to the Hong Kong courts for the recognition and enforcement of judgments given by the mainland courts in matrimonial and family cases, this will reduce the need for divorce and related proceedings to be brought in both Hong Kong and the mainland as well as mitigate the impact of a divorce on the parties to the marriage and their children, she said.This is a crucial step towards implementing the “Arrangement on Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Civil Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases by the Courts of the Mainland and of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” signed between Hong Kong and the mainland, she said.The successful implementation of the arrangement once again demonstrates that Hong Kong and mainland strive to foster mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters in accordance with the “one country, two systems” principle on the basis of mutual understanding and respect, so as to complement the needs that arise from social developments in both societies.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

TV show’s milk promo backfires

A short video documenting countless bottles of milk wasted to support the idols of a variety show — “Youth with You” Season 3 — has triggered massive criticism online, China Central Television said.Fans were allegedly encouraged to show their support for the show’s idols by scanning the QR code inside bottle caps after purchasing the sponsor’s milk. The more they scanned, the higher rate their idol received.Fans poured milk into sewers, because they bought more than they could consume before the expiration dates.The show, where young trainees can become idols trough competitions, debuted in 2019 and is produced by the Chinese online video platform iQIYI.The Beijing Radio and Television Bureau announced the show’s suspension on Tuesday for the controversy it had caused.The show said on Wednesday through Weibo that it accepted the decision and will rectify the situation.Professor Liu Junhai, director of the Institute of Commercial Law at Renmin University of China, said as the law against food waste was launched on April 29, the milk-wasting behavior is illegal.CCTV said on Weibo that the video platform and sponsor should be held responsible for the voting method they advocated, which misled young people’s behavior and values.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Rare fossil of young dinosaur

A team of Chinese paleontologists discovered an early-Jurassic fossil of a young dinosaur in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.The specimen was about 1.7 meters long, and the shape of its teeth suggest the dinosaur was herbivorous, according to the study published in the journal Acta Geologica Sinica.Bone histological studies showed that the dinosaur was about three years old, said Bi Shundong with Yunnan University, an author of the research.The bones of juvenile dinosaurs are slender and not easily preserved in the stratum, so researchers knew little about their morphological characteristics, Bi said.The team inferred the dinosaur may have drowned in flooding, allowing most of its bones to be preserved.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

It’s a war of ice creams among tourist hot spots

Heated competition among Chinese tourist sites amid the post-pandemic May Day holiday has left a cool taste in tourists’ mouths.Although summer is still a month away, travelers at tourist hot spots are snatching up ice pops shaped like local landmarks or iconic treasures as a novel way to mark their visits.The sweet-tooth trend was ignited when some tourists flocked to social media to post pictures of ice cream bars in the shape of two millennia-old bronze masks unearthed from the legendary Sanxingdui Ruins on Saturday, the first day of the May Day holiday.The ice cream, rolled out by the Sanxingdui Museum in southwestern Sichuan Province, boasts two flavors — “bronze” and “excavation” — matcha and chocolate.Other tourist destinations soon joined the social media carnival with their own offerings, from Wuhan’s Yellow Crane Tower to the catholic church in Qingdao, attracting tourists to take pictures of the ice pops in front of their prototypes.“I would visit these scenic sites just for these ice cream bars,” a netizen remarked on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, under a flurry of photos of multitudinous ice creams.Yueyang Tower, a tourist magnet perching along the Dongting Lake in Hunan Province, said it sold more than 22,000 ice pops, priced at 18 yuan (US$2.8), in the shape of the ancient building during the five-day holiday.“We hope the ice cream can give visitors a better taste of the ancient wisdom and life philosophy the building has stood for,” said Li Caixia, a director of the tourist site’s management.Chinese tourist sites and cultural institutes have invested heavily into the development of creative cultural products, which is believed to contribute to the boom in cultural tourism in recent years.“The trendy, unique and creative cultural products like the ice cream have won over many younger-generation consumers,” said Zhou Yunqing, a sociology professor at Wuhan University. “It is also a manifestation of China’s growing cultural confidence.”China’s tourism market has seen a strong comeback during the May Day holiday thanks to the effective control of COVID-19. Total passenger trips during China’s May Day holiday are expected to reach 267 million, representing a significant increase compared with the same period last year.Nearly 18.83 million railway passenger trips were made on Saturday, the first day of the holiday, up 9.2 percent from 2019 and a new high.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

HK activist in jail gets additional 10 months

JAILED Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to 10 additional months in jail yesterday for taking part in an unauthorized assembly. Police had banned a vigil on June 4 last year citing coronavirus restrictions on group gatherings, but thousands defied authorities and proceeded to Victoria Park. The protesters were warned they were breaking the law. Wong and three district councilors had pleaded guilty to knowingly taking part in an unauthorized assembly, and could have faced a maximum of five years in prison. Wong, 24, is already in jail after being convicted of illegal assembly in other protests and was sentenced to an additional 10 months in the district court yesterday. Judge Stanley Chan also sentenced councilors Lester Shum, Jannelle Leung and Tiffany Yuen to terms of between four and six months. “Freedom of assembly is not unlimited,” Chan said. “The sentence should deter people from offending and reoffending in the future.” Twenty other people face charges over the vigil but have not entered pleas. They are to appear in court on June 11. Wong received a 13-1/2 month sentence in December over an anti-government rally on June 21, 2019 and a further four months over an unauthorized protest in October 2019 while also breaking a government law against wearing masks. While in prison, Wong was arrested in January on suspicion of breaking the new security law by taking part in an unofficial vote to pick opposition candidates for a since-postponed election.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

G7 slammed for ‘groundless accusations’

CHINA yesterday condemned a joint statement by G7 foreign ministers, saying it was a gross interference in its internal affairs. G7 foreign ministers said in a communique after a London summit that China was guilty of “human rights abuses” and of using “coercive economic policies,” which the G7 would use collective efforts to stop. In an unusual step, the G7 also said they supported Taiwan’s participation in World Health Organization forums and the World Health Assembly, and expressed concern about “any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions” in the Taiwan Strait. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin condemned the statement saying it made “groundless accusations” that were a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. “This is the wanton destruction of the norms of international relations,” he said. “Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, including the activities of the World Health Organization, which is composed of sovereign states, must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle,” Wang said. The G7 as a group should take concrete action to boost the global economic recovery instead of disrupting it, he added. Wang also attacked G7 countries for hoarding COVID-19 vaccines and having a “wishy-washy” stance toward helping other countries.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Hainan’s consumer goods expo largest in Asia Pacific

THE first China International Consumer Products Expo kicked off yesterday in Haikou, the capital of south China’s Hainan Province. Slated for May 7-10, the event has attracted 648 overseas companies and 1,365 brands from 69 countries and regions, as well as 857 enterprises and 1,263 brands from China. Covering 80,000 square meters, the expo will be the largest consumer goods expo in the Asia-Pacific region, the organizers said. The 60,000-square-meter international exhibition space features products including jewelry, food and health products from leading brands. A forum on global consumption innovation will be held during the expo, and a series of new products will debut, organizers said. Co-hosted by China’s commerce ministry and the Hainan provincial government, the expo is expected to attract more than 30,000 buyers and 200,000 visitors. To cater to the demand for high-end leisure products among the country’s new rich, the city of Haikou will hold a yacht show during the event, which will feature 107 yachts of 58 brands from 12 countries and regions. Switzerland, as the guest of honor for the expo, has planned to launch 81 activities of consumer product debuts releasing new products. Swiss Ambassador to China Bernardino Regazzoni said that the expo will be a new opportunity for Switzerland to attract more Chinese consumers purchasing quality luxury products without going abroad. “We made efforts to bring all these goods to the Hainan expo, as the broadest possible example of all what Switzerland produces in quality luxury goods,” Regazzoni said. The event will be the first international expo to be held in Hainan since China released a master plan in June 2020 to build the island province into a globally influential and high-level free trade port by the middle of the century. It is also the first-ever expo focused on consumer products organized by the world’s second-largest economy. It is expected to showcase the country’s consumption power, facilitate the construction of the free trade port, and contribute to the new development paradigm of dual circulation. Han Shengjian, director of the Hainan International Economic Development Bureau, said the expo serves as a platform for displaying and trading fine consumer products.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

China 'indefinitely' suspends key economic dialogue with Australia

The announcement is the latest in a growing diplomatic rift between both countries.

Source: BBC News - China | 6 May 2021 | 6:15 pm(NZT)

Hong Kong: Joshua Wong jailed over banned Tiananmen vigil

The Tiananmen vigil commemorated the deaths of up to thousands of pro-democracy protesters in China.

Source: BBC News - China | 6 May 2021 | 3:56 pm(NZT)

4 jailed over HK rallies

The Hong Kong District Court of the Special Administrative Region yesterday sentenced four people — three men and one woman — to prison for taking part in unlawful violent rallies in 2019. The convicts, charged with crimes including arson, will serve 51 to 56 months of jail time.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Beams blamed for pileup

Universal beams that were not tied to the truck carrying them were the cause of a deadly pileup of six vehicles on Monday night in east China’s Zhejiang Province, the Traffic Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security said on Tuesday. The pileup involving three cars and three trucks occurred around 9:11pm on Monday on an expressway, killing six people and injuring three. Investigation showed that a truck was carrying 15 universal beams, each 12.1 meters long and weighing 2.2 tons, when it rear-ended a car, causing the pileup. The beams tore through the cab of the truck due to inertia and hit two cars in front, killing the truck driver and five others in the two cars. Three persons were injured.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Ruili free of COVID-19 risks

Ruili, a border city in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, now has no medium or high-risk areas for the novel coronavirus, the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control headquarters said on Tuesday. COVID-19 risk levels in two areas of the city were downgraded from medium to low from 8pm on Tuesday, marking the clearance of all areas with medium or high infection risks. Dozens of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases were reported in Ruili since March 30. Local authorities launched several testing campaigns to curb the spread of the virus.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Holiday box office revenue hits 1.6b yuan

The box office revenue on the Chinese mainland during the May Day holiday, from May 1 to 5, had reached 1.6 billion yuan (US$247.2 million) as of 5pm yesterday, the country’s film regulator said.Romantic drama “My Love” and spy thriller “Cliff Walkers” were the top earners, pocketing 490 million yuan and 474 million yuan, respectively, according to data by the China Film Administration.A total of 12 films, the largest number ever, were released in hopes of benefiting from the lucrative five-day national holiday. The holiday has seen steady growth in recent years and has become one of the busiest times for movie screenings after the seven-day Spring Festival holiday and the National Day holiday.Despite the post-pandemic shadow, the total earnings surpassed 450 million yuan on May 1, the second highest daily box office takings in May Day holiday history. And the first two days of the holiday together saw 79 million yuan in box office revenue, making up 70 percent of the week’s earnings, according to the box office tracker Maoyan.“My Love,” starring actor Greg Hsu and actress Zhang Ruonan, dominated Maoyan’s weekly chart, with 424 million yuan in three days. Adapted from the 2018 South Korean movie “On Your Wedding Day,” the film tells a love story between a couple that lasts for 15 years since high school.This was followed by award-winning director Zhang Yimou’s spy thriller “Cliff Walkers” at 253 million yuan. Boasting veteran actors Zhang Yi, Yu Hewei, Qin Hailu and Zhu Yawen, the film depicts four special agents of the Communist Party of China carrying out a secret operation against enemy’s suppression in the snow city of Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.Among the 12 newly released films, 11 were domestic productions, with “Cliff Walkers” enjoying the highest rating of 7.7 out of 10 on film-reviewing platform Douban. Little wonder that it caught up with “My Love” in daily box office earnings four days since its release on April 30, but still needs some time to surpass the latter in total earnings.The suspense thriller “Home Sweet Home,” directed by Hong Kong’s Leste Chen, came in third. Focusing on the lives of a family of four after the intrusion of a mysterious visitor, the film brings together veteran actors Aaron Kwok and Duan Yihong and post-2000s talents Zhang Zifeng and Rong Zishan.Zhang gained much acclaim recently for her role in the hit film “Sister” released during the Qingming Festival holiday this April and Rong won praise for his role in last year’s blockbuster web series “The Bad Kids,” raising filmgoers’ expectations for their performances.Crime films “Once Upon a Time in Hong Kong” and “Break through the Darkness” came in fourth and fifth, respectively. The former, starring Hong Kong A-listers Louis Koo Tin-lok and Tony Leung Ka-fai, portrays prosecutors’ investigation of a corrupt top police officer, while the latter is the first domestic film themed on the operation by the national office against organized crime.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Single people fuel new consumption

Walking into a roadside diner and enjoying hotpot alone is no longer awkward for Li Fan, a young man in his 20s.As a habitue to the “one man’s restaurant” in Jinan, capital of east China’s Shandong Province, he takes a seat, orders food and makes his sauce. Waiters “hide” behind the bamboo shades and will not show up unless summoned.The rising number of single people in China is becoming a new consumption power. Data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National Bureau of Statistics show that the number of single adults in China reached 240 million in 2018, with more than 77 million living alone. The number of single adults living alone in China is expected to reach 100 million by the end of 2021.Set meals, Internet cafes and karaoke booths for one person are no longer a novel idea, while food companies are rolling out products in small packets to cater to the demands of singletons.Song Xintong is an advocate of the new trend. She lives by herself and often finds rice and flour — mostly weighing 5 kilograms per bag — too large for her to consume before the expiration date. “Now I can simply choose small packages that are often less than 1kg,” she said. “Though the price may be higher, I still prefer small packages as they’re easy to store.”Now Song’s choices reach far beyond food. She found a small electric cooker, half the size of a regular one, at just over 100 yuan (US$15.4), an egg-boiler that cooks two eggs at a time at about 40 yuan and a 12-liter mini oven priced at just 100 yuan. Sales of these products can hit thousands of pieces a month, indicating their undoubted popularity.In first-tier cities like Beijing, apartments specially designed for single people are becoming a hit. Each apartment, with an area of 30-plus square meters, is well-furnished. What makes them more popular is that the apartments reserve a large public area for renters to chat freely.“The singles economy has not only spurred a unique consumption pattern and culture, but also enriched the consumer market and accelerated its upgrading,” said Wang Zhongwu, professor with the School of Philosophy and Social Development under Shandong University.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Boy damages movie screen

Police have located the parents of a boy who hit and kicked a screen in a movie theater in Dongguan in southern Guangdong Province, on May 1.Police are mediating between the movie theater and the parents in order to reach a compensation deal, Dongguan police said in an online statement on May 3.In a video circulated online, the boy is seen hitting and kicking the screen at least five times after a movie ended, leaving cracks on the screen.An employee of the movie theater said the boy damaged its largest and most expensive screen in a movie hall installed with the Dolby Atoms sound platform, and the entire screen needs to be replaced, Southern Metropolis Daily reported.The employee declined to disclose the actual price of the screen.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

China assistance to India

CHINA has provided most oxygen concentrators to India, and keeps producing oxygen concentrators and other medical equipment for India, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said in a tweet on Tuesday. Since April, China has supplied more than 5,000 ventilators, 21,569 oxygen generators, over 21.48 million masks and around 3,800 tons of medicines to India, according to statistics of the General Administration of Customs of China, Sun said. Chinese companies have been accelerating production of at least 40,000 oxygen generators for India, and are working at a fast pace to deliver as soon as possible, the Chinese ambassador said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Nearly 22m take train in Delta region for holiday

A RETURN travel rush by rail was witnessed in the Yangtze River Delta region yesterday, the last day of the five-day Labor Day holiday. Some 3.27 million railway passengers were recorded by railway stations in the region, soaring 145.5 percent from the same day last year, China Railway Shanghai Group said. Between April 29 and yesterday, more than 21.96 million passengers took trains in the region, up 145 percent compared with the same period last year. A travel boom coupled with people returning to their hometowns contributed to the growing number of passengers, the group said. Railway stations in cities with “red” tourist sites, such as Shanghai, Jiaxing, Nanjing and Xuzhou, witnessed a strong increase in passengers during the holiday. The routes with the largest number of passengers in the region were Beijing-Shanghai, Shanghai-Nanjing, Shanghai-Hangzhou, Nanjing-Hangzhou, Ningbo-Taizhou-Wenzhou, Hefei-Fuzhou, Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong, Hangzhou-Huangshan and Xuzhou-Lianyungang. Nationwide, China saw a total of 230 million domestic tourist trips during the holiday, up 119.7 percent from last year, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Tourism revenue reached 113.23 billion yuan (US$17.5 billion), up 138.1 percent from last year, the ministry said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Remembering Rewi Alley, the New Zealander who made a lasting, massive impact in China

ON April 21, 1927, a young New Zealander named Rewi Alley first stepped foot on China’s mainland, right here in Shanghai at Dock 16. He didn’t know it then, but he would go on to make a huge impact in China, and would remain here until his death 60 years later. It’s hard to sum up briefly what Alley did in China in those six decades, because he did so much. Some of his achievements include fighting to give child factory workers in Shanghai safer conditions and better treatment, helping set up the hugely influential Gung Ho cooperative movement to support Chinese industry under Japanese occupation, setting up and running schools for disadvantaged youth, fighting for world peace on behalf of China on the international stage, and fostering relationships and understanding between China and the rest of the world. Alley’s cousin, award-winning novelist Elspeth Sandys, explains who he was in simple terms. He was “a great humanitarian, I would say — a man with almost no personal needs or feelings that he was owed anything.” His Shanghai chapter After he arrived in Shanghai, Alley secured a job as a sub-officer at what is now Hongkou Fire Station. Soon he was promoted to the role of chief factory inspector, charged with ensuring the city’s factories were up to standard. It was in that role he began to see suffering daily. “He witnessed and saw a lot of atrocious working conditions,” Dave Bromwich, president of the New Zealand-China Friendship Society, explains. “Children locked in factories working 12 hours a day, appalling conditions, no escape if there was a fire.” Alley was able to secure some changes, including better quality food for child workers, improved safety conditions and access to medicine. When Alley first arrived in Shanghai, he wasn’t very interested in politics. But Shanghai’s White Terror, a period when suspected Communists were captured and executed by the Kuomintang, helped him decide where his allegiance lay. During his later years in Shanghai in the late 1930s, Alley met some important internationalists who pulled him deeper into the politics of the time, ultimately leading to him protecting numerous underground revolutionaries in his home, as well as setting up a radio on his roof to communicate with the Red Army outside the city. “He didn’t really become political until he had to,” Sandys explains. “Until he really had to make a choice between the Nationalists and the Communists.” By 1938, Japan occupied most of Shanghai, except for the International Settlement. Alley decided it was time to leave to set up his Gung Ho industrial cooperatives around the country, away from Japanese controlled areas. That brought his decade in Shanghai to an end, but opened what was arguably the fulfilling 10 years of his life. Alley was a key figure in the setting up of the so-called Bailie Schools, named after Joseph Bailie, an educator who he met back in Shanghai and came up with the idea of creating schools to help lift China from poverty. With Japan occupying much of the country, the schools had been forced inland, but the Kuomintang kept catching up and trying to interfere. That’s why Alley set off on a huge trek through China’s northwestern Gansu Province in search of the perfect place to move the students of the school, at that time operating in Shaanxi Province. He came across the town of Shandan, which he described as “the poorest place I had come across in my China travels” but “with a special air.” Houses could be rented easily for the school, and there was ample coal and grain. But best of all, Shandan was so secluded he was sure the Kuomintang wouldn’t find it. Shandan, the happiest years By early 1945 the move was complete and Alley would end up spending nine years here; the happiest of his life. More than 70 years later and I, too, found myself in the remote village of Shandan. There are statues of Alley everywhere, the main street is named after him, and a huge museum celebrating his life towers over one part of town. As a fellow New Zealander, it’s almost difficult to believe. “He often talked of Shandan as his home and as his time there as the happiest of his life,” Sandys told me, all the way from New Zealand. “He took pride and pleasure in seeing the students develop and overseeing the growth of the school, which eventually became self-sufficient.” The newly built Shandan Bailie School of Gansu Province, with over 2,000 students, is just hundreds of meters from Alley’s museum. I visited to chat with Liu Guozhong, a teacher at the school and an Alley scholar. “His nine years in Shandan was his happiest and most fulfilling time in his life,” Liu said. He’s left a lasting legacy, he told me, which has no sign of disappearing. That includes “create and analyze,” the motto of the Bailie schools which focuses on students using their hands and their brains to become more rounded members of society. Soon after liberation, in 1953, the new government requested Alley move to Beijing to help with world peace and international relations. He remained there until his death in 1987, but Shandan never left his thoughts. “He was homesick for the place for the rest of his life,” Sandys said. “Being a teacher came naturally to him. His father was a teacher, it was in the blood.” Shanghai also played a pivotal role in his life, Sandys said. “Shanghai was where he became the Rewi Alley we know now, Shanghai made him into that person.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

Tourism industry enjoys robust resurgence

AS COVID-19 has been successfully brought under control in China and the vaccination rate is rising steadily, the five-day May Day holiday has witnessed strong domestic demand for tourism. Public anxiety over COVID-19 has been eased thanks to the clearance of at-risk areas across the country and the popularization of vaccines, and more Chinese tourists have chosen to go further beyond their cities and provinces. A tourist from Shanghai surnamed Hu traveled to central China’s Changsha to attend a friend’s wedding, planning to explore the city afterward. “Changsha has been so popular among tourists these years, and I’ve always wanted to have a look,” Hu said. Per data provided by multiple online travel platforms, inter-provincial tours have become popular. Inter-provincial orders accounted for 77 percent of the total, according to Chinese homestay booking platform Nearly 90 percent of car rental bookings for May Day travel have been for inter-provincial use, with Sanya, Chengdu and Haikou being the three most popular destinations, while Xinjiang and Tibet are seeing skyrocketing orders, according to Chinese travel services provider Passenger traffic in and out of Beijing hit a new record on May 1. On the national scale, the number of civil aviation passengers on April 30 significantly exceeded the number seen during the same period in 2019, with domestic routes increasing by more than 20 percent over the same period in 2019. Industry analysts said that the domestic air transport volume during the holiday has exceeded the pre-epidemic level and is likely to register a record high. The Wanshou Palace cultural block in Nanchang, capital of east China’s Jiangxi Province, has issued multiple warnings to limit numbers of tourists as the scenic spot saw an average daily inflow of 100,000 tourists from May 1 to May 3. “Visitors entering the block are required to wear masks and go through temperature checks. When the instantaneous flow of people reaches 10,000, flow restriction measures will be taken,” said Huang Zhigang, director of the block’s management company. The Beijing Badaling Great Wall has strictly implemented its online real-name booking system and restricted the number of tourists during the holiday. The number of tourists at the Badaling Great Wall scenic area is capped at 48,750 per day. A yellow alert will be issued when the daily booking volume reaches 29,000. An orange alert will be triggered if the booking volume reaches 39,000. The booking system will be halted when 48,700 tickets are booked. Revolutionary sites popular Shanghai received over 10.3 million tourists in the first three days of the May Day holiday. Compared with the same period in 2020, cultural and tourism consumption has increased significantly and even exceeded the May Day holiday in 2019 in some areas, according to the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism. As the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary this year, revolutionary sites across the country have been popular during the May Day holiday. In Shaoshan, Hunan Province, 85,000 people visited the former residence of the late Chairman Mao Zedong on May 2. It was the third most popular tourist site in the province on that day. Tonggu County of Jiangxi, which has many red tourism sites, reported its first tourist flow peak of the year over the holiday. The audience looked back on war-torn historical scenes in Jieyuan Village of Ruijin, a city of significance during the CPC revolution. At a performance venue transformed from an abandoned mine, lights dazzled and guns rumbled. As night fell, over 200 locals put on a show using cutting-edge stage technologies. From May 1 to May 3, red tourism sites in Jiangxi’s Ganzhou City received 1.59 million tourists, generating a total income of 1 billion yuan (US$154 million), per a count from the city’s cultural and tourism bureau.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

When they needed bricks to build a school they made their own kiln

AT the end of 1944, the Bailie Technical School moved west from Fengxian County’s Shuangshipu in Baoji, a city in Shaanxi Province, to Zhangye’s Shandan County in Gansu Province. Students were organized to construct the school buildings. In order to solve the problem of a lack of bricks, Rewi Alley and other school managers decided to build their own kiln, inviting rural experts to help. When the first brick was fired, both teachers and students were inspired and their passion ignited. The adobe they made was used for the walls, while the green bricks produced in the kiln paved the floor. Some workshops were built on stone foundations and paved with green bricks that were two feet thick. Several relatively senior students, one of whom was Fan Wenhai, were in charge of the kiln. Fan was about 20 years old at the time. The quality of bricks they produced was no less than those fired in the local bowl kiln. The green bricks we found at the Bailie Technical School farm were fired in the school kiln around 1947. More than 70 years later, their texture is still very hard, not rotted into dust. History has assessed its quality. Shandan pottery has a long history. When teachers and students at the school were digging canals, a large number of painted pottery and sand pottery from the “Siba culture” period were unearthed. They date back around 3,900 to 4,000 years. It is said that the firing of porcelain began in the Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and in Wanyaogou, southwest of Shandan, hence the name. With the help of the abundant clay resources near Wanyaogou, a ceramic group was organized, and a ceramic product room built, which solved the problem of school bowls, kitchen utensils and large jars for pickled winter vegetables. In order to improve the quality of ceramic products, Alley invited technicians from Jiangxi Province to lead the students in experiments and finally made coarse white porcelain products which were much more advanced than the black ones. While Alley was still not satisfied, he encouraged technicians to further improve the ceramic craft. In 1948 alone, the school ceramics group produced 3,500 teapots, 6,000 tea bowls and 4,000 rice bowls. It is reported that at that time, there were more than 600 teachers and students at the school, divided into 26 production practice groups. The ceramics group was just one of them. Later, Alley invited Japanese ceramic expert Noguchi to build a ceramics factory, producing better fine porcelain products, fire-resistant tiles, insulating porcelain splints and insulating porcelain bottles. In addition to being used by schools, they were also sold in the Hexi Corridor, known as the northwest granary, in the northwest of Gansu Province. At the end of 1953, the school moved to Lanzhou, the provincial capital. At that time, the production practice groups, farms, pastures and coal mines were transferred to the local government or relevant ministries and commissions. The ceramics group was handed over to Shandan County, which laid the foundation for Shandan to establish a ceramics factory. (The author is a researcher at the Shandan Alley Memorial Hall. The story is translated by Holin Wang)

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 May 2021 | 4:05 am(NZT)

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