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[ By | 29 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Where’s the toboggan?

Many great questions have been pondered throughout Chinese history. On a hot June day in 2009, four brave women dared to ask: “Where is the toboggan?” Their quest was part of this year’s Reporting China assault on the Great Wall of China and a special mission to search out a toboggan ride discovered by the 2008 Reporting China team that provides travelers the option of a little mechanical help in getting up to and down from the battlements, with a few thrills and chills thrown in for good measure. Join them now to see how they fared.

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[ By | 26 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
A private school in Shanghai: New forms of education for a new China

“The needs of the public have diversified,” said principal Yang Yishang of the New Century Private School in Shanghai. “Private schools offer better education for parents who can afford it.”

New Century, founded in 1992, is the city’s first private school, offering instruction in grades one to five. As tuition goes, New Century is relatively pricey. Public schools are free to Chinese citizens, but New Century charges 11,000 RMB (1609.60 USD) per year, not including textbooks and extracurricular expenses.

“The quality of service we provide is worth the cost,” Yang said.

Classes are more comprehensive than at public schools. For English education public schools only use one textbook, while New Century includes supplemental audio and conversational materials, said Yu Chunyan, the school’s curriculum administrator.

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[ By | 22 Jun 2009 | 2 Comments ]
Chinese speak brashly and boldly – through their T-shirts

In central Beijing, I walked past a guy sporting a T-shirt that said, “If hope is fire, and future is smoke, life is a cycle of smoke following fires; light seven fires and see smoke erupt from eight places.”

I asked the man if his shirt held some philosophical interpretation, but he said: “[It's] just for fun.”

When I asked for his name, he wrote “Fearless” in my notebook. I thought he was kidding, so he gave me his business card. A blogger and freelance T-shirt designer, he actually goes by the nickname Fearless. . . .

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[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]
Beijing gets its groove on

Zhong Guan Cun Square is the place where Beijingers come to dance, roller-blade, or just people-watch, all to vibrant new urban rhythms. Whether people are working to perfect their moves or simply being adventurous and taking a tumble in stride, they suggest exuberant new lifestyles that were absence in China not all that many years ago. And whether line dancing or boldly ballroom, the citizens of Beijing now makes their picks strictly according to personal preference – and to help reduce the stresses and strains of big city life.

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[ By | 5 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Support your local developer… lose your business

When Luo Lei and his wife signed a five-year lease last year on a small storefront in Beijing’s historic East Town District, they thought they had found the ideal place to fulfill their dream of launching their own line of stuffed animals. They had planned to open branch stores by 2010, followed by a themed restaurant. Now the couple’s big plans have slammed into an immovable object — a new city subway station.
In April, Luo and his fellow business owners discovered that they would be forced to relocate within two months when the local authorities would begin demolishing their neighborhood to accommodate the new facility. The shopkeepers will have to start over in a new area, losing the time and money invested in their local clientele. None of them received individual notices – the news was announced through flyers posted in the neighborhood. . . .