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Feb 04

High-Speed Rails in China

Written by: guest | Filed under:Analysis, technology | Tags:, , ,
111 Comments » newest 2010-11-12 00:47:18

High-speed rails (HSR) have been built in China at a fanatic pace. Figure this will be an entry to get the debate started.

The first HSR, the Shanghai Maglev Train, was completed in late 2003. It was a technical trial and showcase. After its completion and initial operation, the Maglev technology was deemed too expensive to build and maintain. China decided to roll out its national HSR system with the wheel-based technology. Here is a map of China’s HSR system in 2020:
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Jan 30

Uln posted a great piece on the Google matter on his blog. Go there to read the whole thing – a selection follows. Continue reading »

Jan 25

Google’s recent drama in China has endeared itself to some human rights activists, democracy advocates, even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Many have applauded Google for taking a “principled stance” against the evil empire of China.  I find such rhetoric comical. Continue reading »

Jan 19

Chinese culture is rich and amazing. Did you know that the main melody at the 2008 Beijing Olympics medal ceremonies were composed using only musical instruments that were made 2,450 years ago? That melody was a version of “茉莉花” or “Jasmine Flower.” It was adapted by famous Chinese composer Tan Dun and Wang Hesheng (of the Chinese Army orchestra) using the ancient instruments for the 2008 Olympics medal ceremonies. According to this China Daily article, “Classical piece will ring in ears of winners“:

“The main melody, which Tan described as “glorious, heartwarming and full of respect”, was recorded using the digital recording of a 2,450-year-old bell set excavated from a site in Hubei.”

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Jan 15

(If this one by General Song Zuying Mr. Sha Baoliang gives you goose bumps, visit here for an earlier version of the same song)

In America, I haven’t seen anybody getting married without an exchange of vows that goes something like this: “I, (Bride / Groom), take you (Groom / Bride), to be my (wife / husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. “

Traditionally Chinese wedding does not have such formal vows.  The newly-weds just have three bows during a wedding, usually announced by a wedding host:  “First, bow to the heaven and earth; second, bow to the parents; third, bow to each other!”  Continue reading »

Jan 13

minipost-Learning about the Chinese Mind through Chinese Food

Written by: berlinf | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, education | 22 Comments » newest 2010-01-31 14:33:10

This may not be a profound truth that I just discovered, but have you noticed that Chinese food and Chinese thinking have a lot to do with each other? Obvious as it may seem, one can become more reflective after encounters with another type of food and thinking behind it. In my case, the comparison is between China and America.

1. In cooking we don’t have “1 cup”, “1/4 cup”, “1 teaspoon” measurement, we say “a little salt”. Exactly how little is little, it’s all a matter of exposure (to other cooks), exchange (of experience) and experience (of your own practice). We don’t have “preheat oven to 425 degrees” either, we say “small fire”, “medium fire”, “”big fire”. Scratch your head and think what these mean. The Chinese mind is similarly conditioned to process such chaotic vagueness with ease and patience.

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Jan 13

Google issued a press release on their blog just a few hours ago pertaining to their operation in China. It is big news and will take some time to digest. I don’t want to comment, just get the story out.  Continue reading »

Jan 07

minipost-Haier does true wireless HDTV

Written by: dewang | Filed under:-mini-posts, economy, technology | 23 Comments » newest 2013-06-27 15:49:52

Haiers true wireless HDTV (gizmodo.com)

Haier's true wireless HDTV (gizmodo.com)


The word “wireless” has really become an oxymoron. For example, are cell phones really wireless? Not really, because without a charging cable, cell phones are useless. At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Haier has demonstrated a true wireless HDTV. No wires. No power cable.
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Jan 07

Asian Music Update

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, media, music, Photos, video | Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,
15 Comments » newest 2016-02-11 08:15:16

TheAnalogGirl_bRather than stick to just one country, I thought I’d highlight underground music from Hong Kong on this post and add a little bit from the rest of Asia on the end. On the left is the Analog Girl, one of the hottest acts on the continent. Hailing from Singapore, the electro-rock chanteuse was named by TIME magazine as one of the 5 Music Acts to Watch in 2008. Since that time she’s toured the world with her unique sound.

I also got interested in the underground music scene in Hong Kong after I discovered “The Underground Channel” on YouTube.  After the jump, we’ll feature videos from Quasar, Tacit Closet, Soler, The Sinister Left, DJ Matthew Veith, Hardpack, Audiotraffic and Poubelle International. We’ll also hear from Jakarta’s Goodnight Electric, Malaysia’s Zee Avi and Beijing’s P.K. 14 along with Japan’s Vamp and YMCK. Finally for some of the older crowd, I want to introduce a couple of Enka style acts from Japan, which is surprisingly similar (at least to me) of some of the classic Chinese singers.

Today’s collection is very eclectic so hopefully there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

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Jan 07

minipost-Public Opinion in Taiwan

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, General, Opinion, politics | Tags:, , ,
46 Comments » newest 2011-02-07 00:45:51

I recently came across an opinion poll from the Global View Survey Research Center concerning present public opinion in Taiwan on a range of subjects. In the past, many of us have commented on the state of affairs in Taiwan, not only in terms of her relationship to China but also involving the political thought within the nation. Rather than draw any conclusions, I thought I’d make this same data available to our blog members and see what you think.

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Jan 02

When I started following the China-ASEAN free trade agreement few years ago, I knew they were on an accelerated pace, and I knew this day would come. This is such an awesome start for 2010! I have no doubt ASEAN+China will eventually extend to ASEAN+China+Japan+Korea. Here is Xinhua’s report, “China-ASEAN free trade area starts operation“:
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Dec 19

Apparently, after much drama, intrigue, and sleepless nights, we have some sort of agreement at Copenhagen. We’ll probably get the text of the Copenhagen Agreement soon. But I think the gist of it is as follows: Continue reading »

Dec 15

minipost-Global Warming or Global Fussing?

Written by: berlinf | Filed under:-mini-posts | 59 Comments » newest 2010-01-22 05:01:18

Chinese philosopher Liezi once described a story about a man from the Kingdom of Chi who was so worried that the sky would fall down that he was losing sleep and appetite and generally the will to live. The phrase “Qi Ren You Tian”(杞人忧天) has then evolved into a generic idiom describing a big fuss over nothing, used typically in negative connotations. After the global warming theory came into fashion, now once again, people are worried about the sky falling over!

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Dec 14

minipost-An 1833km pipeline for regional peace

Written by: dewang | Filed under:-mini-posts, economy, General, News, Opinion | 27 Comments » newest 2010-01-08 19:58:52

A theory often taught in foreign policy courses is that heavily interdependent states tend to want peace and stability between them. I was very encourage to read that a massive gas pipeline, 1,833-kilometers in length, has been constructed, linking Turkmenistan through central Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan, and into China through northwestern Xinjiang province.
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Dec 08

李白 (Li Bai, 701-762AD) is one of the most beloved Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) poets in Chinese history. This is a rendition of his poem, 静夜思 (“Thoughts on a Still Night”) where he reminisces his home. Below are couple of videos presenting this poem in various ways. Many Chinese children, some, perhaps shortly after they start talking, will be taught this poem (see second video below).
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Dec 05

Immaculate Machine’s Tour of China

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, media, music | Tags:, ,
3 Comments » newest 2009-12-08 17:12:50

im003_10x6 (Large)We’ve written about China’s music scene in the past and remarked how few hip bands actually tour the country. Most of what appears are singers and bands that saw their heyday decades ago.

With the help of Louis Yu, Vancouver’s own Immaculate Machine is currently touring China. They are a side project of the New Pornographers, and their newest album, “High on Jackson Hill”, featured appearances by Alex Kaprano of Franz Ferdinand and members of the Cribs. They’ve also worked with such famous performers as Neko Case and AC Newman.

So for all our readers who live in China and wish they could see more quality acts, here’s your chance to catch a hot band that really knows their stuff. Their concert dates are after the jump.

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Nov 30

For the last two centuries, the Chinese psyche has been defined in large part by the humiliations and sufferings brought about by foreigners (see the Opium War, the Second Opium War, and the Nanjing Massacre). After the founding of the current Peoples Republic of China, it was the disastrous policies of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward which furthered that wound. The latter were the Chinese inflicting pain onto themselves.
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Nov 26

Shanghai Style: Pajamas in the Great Outdoors

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, General | Tags:, , , ,
23 Comments » newest 2011-02-05 22:36:15

Shanghai PajamasIt seems the long held social custom of Shanghainese to walk down the street in their pajamas is causing some discomfort to the organizers of the Shanghai World Expo scheduled for next year and a campaign has been started by the municipal government to end the practice.

It’s not that unusual to see middle aged women milling around on the street in their pajamas, or even walking to the subway or local shopping mall. So the slogan “No Pajamas in Public – be Civilized for the Expo” has been coined to end what the government feels is uncivilized behavior in a modern, world class city. As China Daily columnist Raymond Zhou said recently in “In Defense of Pajamas”:

“So, it’s not really about whether we like it, but rather about whether we are liked. Again, it’s the quintessential concept of “face” and “saving face”.

Not many Chinese are shocked to see a street full of pajama-wearing pedestrians, but if international visitors feel squeamish about it we should stop doing it. Or so the implied rationale for the crackdown goes.”

The city’s tactic to stamp out street pajama wearers was to create a team of 500 volunteers to use persuasion at bus stops and other venues to convince pajama wearing Shanghainese residents to change their clothes.

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Nov 26

Officials from both China and the U.S. have lauded Obama’s recent trip to China as a great success.  While some have criticized the trip for producing little in terms of specifics, one should not casually dismiss the achievements actually made (see U.S.-China Joint Statement). In so many ways, the relationship between U.S. and China has never been closer.

Yet despite the goodwill generated by the trip, there is one sharp difference that festers between the two – and that is the value of the Yuan.  Many in America feel that the Yuan is not only undervalued, but has created a huge trade deficit, setting in motion the current global financial crisis and threatening to prolong the current U.S. recession. Continue reading »

Nov 18

Everyone knows China is going through an industrial revolution right now. In developed countries such as the U.S., this took place in the late 19th century. The ratio between the number of rural and urban residents basically swapped because industrialization freed the bulk of the population from having to work in the fields to produce food for all. This phenomenon is occurring in China right now with her massive GDP growth in the last three decades. Despite the hundreds of millions of people having moved to urban areas, the number of Chinese citizens residing in the rural areas is still staggering – 750 million. If the final ratio is similar to other developed countries (which is likely), the scale of this population movement in the coming decades is mind-numbing. Imagine one billion people on the move in only a few decades!
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Nov 17

Both NPR and Xinhua covered the meeting of the U.S. President Obama and Chinese President Hu. I thought the coverage were actually decent in that the issues they list were basically identical. Obviously, NPR did not give equal weight to how the Chinese see the issues. Likewise, Xinhua did not give equal weight to how the U.S. see the issues. Naturally they both are biased. (A disappointment for me obviously is there are enough “free” media preferring to stupefy the “West”, as DJ’s prior article shows, even on an important occasion such as this. “Ah, that tricky Chinese propaganda machine, how devious it is to deceive the foreign media!“)
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