The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com Culture, Language, Travel, and more Fri, 10 Apr 2020 10:08:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.5 The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/of-ice-and-men/ Sat, 11 Apr 2020 01:00:45 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=126141 free性videoxxx欧美Under the purple twilight, a sleigh pulled by a dozen horses soars over untouched snow; running parallel, head fisherman Zhang Wen’s secondhand Subaru forges through the fog. His flashlight dances into the darkness, searching for the red flag marking where his team left their net the previous night.

“So, when will we get to the lake??I ask our driver Mr. Wang, who plants rice from late spring to early autumn, then ferries tourists in winter when his fields are covered in snow.

free性videoxxx欧美“We’ve been on top of the lake for the last five minutes!?announces Wang, his hands nimbly shifting the steering wheel into a sharp turn, still in hot pursuit of the fishermen. In the frozen blanket of white stretching horizon to horizon, there is no telling where the ground ends and the lake begins.

In a motorcade of cars and horses, over 50 fishermen navigate tracks diverging in over a dozen different directions. Making a hairpin turn, one old car sputters out in a snowbank, and everybody is out, pushing and cursing. No good; it’ll need to be towed. The driver hops into a friend’s vehicle. It is minus 27 degrees Celsius; the mucus freezes in our nostrils.

Horses push a turnstile to extend the net under the ice toward the next hole

Equal parts romanticism and reality, Chagan Lake (“White Sacred Lake?in Mongolian) in China’s northeastern Jilin province boasts a prehistoric tradition of ice fishing that tourists can still witness today. We’ve risen before dawn to join a squadron of fishermen as they go about their daily winter routine of pulling a 2,000-meter-long net under the surface of the ice.

free性videoxxx欧美For millennia, this 420-square-kilometer lake in the Qian Gorlos Mongolian Autonomous County, over 200 kilometers from the provincial capital of Changchun, has been venerated for its plenitude and sacredness. In the Liao (907 ?1125) and Jin dynasties (1115 ?1234), emperors used to host banquets of roasted carp on Chagan’s shores to entertain their ministers. Legend has it that Genghis Khan burned incense by the lake  in 1211 after conquering the surrounding territory. In 2018, President Xi Jinping stopped at Chagan during a tour of the northeast, crediting the local government’s stewardship for the lake’s environmental regeneration.

As ecotourism and cultural tourism become vogue industries, Chagan fishermen’s winter catch has been declared one of the “Eight Natural Wonders of Jilin?and an intangible cultural heritage by the provincial government, making it a new attraction on the itineraries of travelers in China. As tourists come, so do the billboards. A red sign looms large over the lake’s edge with the singular endorsement: “General-Secretary Xi visited Chagan Lake.?/p>

free性videoxxx欧美A traditional ice pick is pounded to drill a hole in the ice

free性videoxxx欧美Driving about town, one sees walls and windows plastered with reproductions of Xi’s 2005 slogan, “Green waters and verdant mountains are gold and silver mountains.?Equating ecological health to financial wealth seems to have been a step in the right direction for Chagan Lake, whose recently restored ecological prosperity has brought fresh financing to the ancient fishing communities along its shores.

As the dawn pales into a bottomless blue, a fisherman raises a wooden drill into the air, gripping the handles tightly with both hands, and thrusts it downward with practiced strength.

The ice shatters into slush, and a gaping wound opens into the obscure depths. For a second, I’m afraid the entire sheet beneath will splinter and swallow us whole.

free性videoxxx欧美An elaborate opera of ice, steel, and rope grinds into motion, orchestrated by horses and men. First, the fishermen plant metal turnstiles which, rotated with the strength of two or three horses, extends the vast net underwater toward the next hole. The men then drive their horses in constant circles around the axis, which stands like a winter maypole under the cloudless sky.

Snow is cleared by hand, foregoing modern tools

This choreography goes on for hours: the men shout, the whips sing, the horses pant, and ice cracks as the net slithers, octopus-like, beneath the ice. Zhang Wen, the head fisherman or batou, lumbers across the snow, waving, shouting orders to groups of men, and moving flags to signal the locations and timing of the setting and raising of the net.

“Not everyone can be a batou,?says Zhang. “You need to master technique and management, and be responsible for everyone’s safety. With four nets, we need to get 300,000 jin [150,000 kilograms] of fish up before the Spring Festival for the whole country to eat.?/p>

“The responsibility is great. It’s a hard job, but when the fish come out, it’s a happy thing,?says Zhang. “You don’t feel tired anymore.?/p>

free性videoxxx欧美For over 30 years, Zhang has risen at 5 every morning during the December to early February ice-fishing season. Zhang’s biggest ever catch, which included one net weighing 168,000 kilograms, set a Guinness World Record in 2008.

Folding the 10 square-kilometer net takes over an hour

“People ask us why we use such old technology. Sure, we could use modern tools: electric drills, machines instead of horses,?admits Zhang. “But we are doing it in a traditional way. We could catch way more fish than we do, but we purposely catch much less.?/p>

Chagan’s fishermen are not compensated for their haul so much as their roles. Their fishing grounds are a state-owned enterprise, where independent fishing—that is, fishing without an expensive license—is banned. The region was designated a provincial natural reserve from 1986, and a national natural reserve since 2007.

Today’s fishers receive a state subsidy of 120 RMB a day, 320 RMB for batou. The realization has dawned around town that there is more money to be made in tourism than catching carp.

“If they fished here with modern tools, would anyone come to see it??one visitor points out. A native of Chagan, his family has since moved to an apartment in nearby Songyuan city that is “so modern, it doesn’t even have a kang,?he says, wistfully remembering the traditional hearth at the center of northeastern homes. Once a year, he returns to the ice for a dose of nostalgia.

The fishermen are aware that their work is, in some part, a show. “If you add one more day, we’re out of here,?one worker grumbles to Zhang. The fishing season, which typically ends seven days before the annual Spring Festival holiday, was given a last-minute extension this year to accommodate the shooting of a TV special.

Dozens of men are needed to pull the net, heavy with fish and bycatch

“It’s not up to you,?Zhang grumbles back. Having been named the ?0th-generation inheritor?of the local ice-fishing batoufree性videoxxx欧美 position, Zhang now includes posing for cameras in his job description. Before a swarm of lenses, he dutifully shovels chunks of ice from the edge of a hole onto an adjacent heap, unsure of which are media crews he’s expected to cooperate with, and which are enthusiastic tourists. Someone asks him to move a little so they can get a better shot.

By late morning, their nets lowered without a hitch, Zhang and his team huddle in their workers?cabin, a wooden trailer brought along on wheels, boiling dumplings and instant noodles. Their flanks drenched in sweat, the horses dig their snouts into nosebags of fodder; leaning in close, I find their long eyelashes encrusted with ice.

free性videoxxx欧美In the early afternoon, we join a thickly bundled audience crowding around the two-kilometer-long net slowly churning out of the lake. The anticipation is palpable; we bounce up and down to keep the feeling in our toes. Steam rises from the nets into golden mist, through which gradually emerge mussels, catfish, and all shapes and sizes of carp.

free性videoxxx欧美Visitors can select their own live fish as the net comes up—if they can keep hold of them

Finally, a pangtou (“fat head? carp flops onto the ice—and then another. Visitors yelp and lunge for the carp with their mittened hands. We quickly find that the scrimmage takes some technique—more than once, a flailing fish wriggles free from the grips of one hand and is quickly snatched up by another in the free-for-all. When bags are full, visitors lug their haul to the pay-by-weight station, and hop back into their cars, driving off with their dinner still flopping inside the trunk.

That evening, our homestay host Wang Fengyun holds a pangtou—the head of which alone weighs 5 kilograms—steady by the gills as her brother cleaves it down the middle with a kitchen knife. Soon, the fish is bubbling in a large wok over a wood fire. When it comes out of the kitchen, doused in a thick and hearty brown sauce with sides of spring onion and lettuce, it’s enough to feed an entire family from Songyuan staying in Wang’s home.

In 2008, the lake began to auction-off its largest pangtou carp in the “first catch of the winter?ceremony of the Chagan Lake Ice and Snow Culture Festival, part of a tourism initiative to mark the beginning of the fishing season.

In its first year, the festival’s ceremonial pangtou was auctioned off for 11,099 RMB (1,599 USD) to a food factory. This winter’s first pangtoufree性videoxxx欧美, weighing 17 kilograms, fetched 2.93 million RMB (422,671 USD). In a little over a decade, the ceremonial fish’s value had grown nearly 300-fold.

Sleigh rides are a popular activity for families with kids at the lake

What began as a bid to attract cultural visitors has become increasingly embellished: “The ceremony is based on the Liao dynasty practices such as honoring the lake, honoring the net, and shouting across the ice,?explains Shan Junguo, the Party committee secretary at Chagan Lake. “Then we added Mongolian cultural elements, like song, dance, and drinking ritual alcohol.?Meanwhile, older local fishermen don’t recall any such festivities from their youth.

“Have you ever seen the ceremony??I ask our driver Mr. Wang.

free性videoxxx欧美“Of course not—it’s the busiest time of year for us!?he replies.

Perhaps one reason for Wang’s apathy is that the time-honored routines of Chagan Lake’s fishermen are now more spectacle than necessity. The fish, we learn, are now transplanted from a nearby farm. Every spring and autumn, groundsmen slip a million sprats into Chagan.

While regulations stipulate that these baby fish must be no longer than 8 cun (about 30 centimeters), local skeptics mock these “bathed fish?as merely farmed produce given a short bath in freshwater before being marketed as “lake fish.?/p>

Then again, nobody wants to see the backstage of Disney World, where Mickey Mouse removes his head, either.

free性videoxxx欧美The pageantry may be controversial, but the reality of Chagan’s former decline and recent regeneration seems to be undisputed.

When we arrive at head fisherman Zhang’s home, he greets us at the gate, as two small white dogs circle at his feet. In a simple wool vest, stripped of the severe fur and leather trappings of the batou, Zhang looks almost grandfatherly. He dons reading glasses and gently ushers us over the tiled floors and onto his kang.

Up to 200,000 Chagan fish are shipped across the country each day in winter

Zhang tells us that, when he was a child, Chagan Lake almost disappeared.

In the 1950s, a reservoir was built on the Songhua River upstream of the lake, choking off Chagan’s water source, and causing it to shrink dramatically from 500 square kilometers to just 50. For years, villagers called the remaining pool of water the “Chagan Pond,?or “Drought River.?/p>

“[The 1960s] were difficult,?Shan explained. “Every spring, white sand [storms] would cover the entire area. People drove three-wheeled rickshaws, there was not enough grain; our stomachs were never full. We wanted to get the water back.?/p>

In a masterstroke of engineering, led by an irrigation specialist, the people of Qian Gorlos diverted water from another river to replenish the lake. “The entire county of 800,000 people participated, from students to housewives, to produce a new water channel from 53.85 kilometers away,?recites Shan.

On the ice, we meet Ma Yunjian, a local resident who now offers sleigh rides on the lake to tourists on her colorfully decorated carriage. When Ma’s father fished, he had to walk 7 li (500 meters) just to get to the lake, and dealt with frequent floods—in 1984, the floodwater came up to his family’s door’s edge.

free性videoxxx欧美As a young woman, Ma sewed nets and helped pull them in every winter until she was married. “Back then, women in every family did it. We could make some 20 RMB a day,?she tells us. Ma says the nets used to be drawn in and folded entirely by local women, but now, as the catch is managed by lake officials, the fishing grounds only hire men.

free性videoxxx欧美Local restaurants serve dozens of fish-based dishes, using the 68 kinds of fish in Chagan Lake

The lake’s growing profitability, as well as protectionism, began in 1992, when Chagan officials borrowed 5.3 million RMB (721,292 USD) from the local agricultural bank to buy newly hatched silver carp, and enforced a three-year fishing ban on the lake while the fish matured.

free性videoxxx欧美When the lake reopened to fishing in 1995, Shan recalls, bank representatives would sit at the edge of the lake during fishing season hoping to recollect their debts, while schools allowed pupils to help with the dragnet.

In the years since, the fishing grounds have become an effective monopoly, enforcing both the ecological protection of the lake as well as controlling profits from the lake’s bounty. Wang, our driver, tells us there are currently two people sitting in the local jail for fishing without licenses.

Ma, with her horse carriage, is the last vendor on the ice this year. After the authorities began requiring a 5,000 RMB (721 USD) annual license to operate a small business in the “scenic area?beginning last year, vendors who sold steamed buns, hot potatoes, and freshly barbecued fish to tourists have reconsidered their profit margins and closed up shop.

A few meters away, a 60-year-old local woman surnamed Yu scoops up a few small, scraggly fish with her granddaughter, but when a fishing ground employee tells her she has to pay for them, she dumps them all back onto the snow. “When we were young, we could fish at will, though there was so little water it was difficult to eat our fill,?she grumbles.

“I’ve thought about starting a restaurant, but there’s no room for us,?Yu adds. “The ones that open make a lot of money, but not anybody can open one. You need to know the leaders, have guanxi.?/p>

Nevertheless, the renewed fishing and growing tourism industries brought wealth that has transformed the village entirely. Modern single-family homes have replaced duplexes made from thick mud-brick walls, and fisherman Zhang has built a second house as a homestay. “No fish, no tourists,?he concludes.

The nets of Chagan may still bring giant freshwater fish, but tourists remain the bigger catch. More difficult to lure, these complicated creatures follow the currents of cultural legends and performative reenactments of primeval rituals. But they will always find a hospitable environment, says Ma.

“The only thing is, you can’t build multi-story buildings,?she adds with a chuckle. “We want to be China’s most beautiful fishing village.?/p>

Photography by Tina Xu 


“Of Ice and Men?is a story from our issue, ?a href="http://iraqipro.com/Shop/">Grape Expectations? To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the iTunes Store.

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/high-fliers/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/high-fliers/#respond Fri, 10 Apr 2020 06:02:29 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=126191 free性videoxxx欧美Since their invention in China over 2,000 years ago, kites have gone from essential military equipment to popular pastime of the masses in parks and squares, with kite-making even named an intangible cultural heritage.

The great philosopher Mo Zi (墨子) is the supposed inventor of the kite back in the Warring States period (475 – 221 BCE). His wood-and-cloth proto-kite was known as mu yuan (木鸢), or “wooden eagle.” Mo Zi’s first attempt at kite-making, however, was a failure. According to the philosophic text Han Fei Zi (《韩非子?free性videoxxx欧美, “Mo Zi created the wooden eagle in three years, but it failed its first trial.” Mo Zi amended the design, and later one of his disciples, Gongshu Ban, replaced the heavy wooden frame with bamboo.

Early kites were not designed for entertainment but for use on the battlefield. They were tools for measuring distances and for communicating with other military divisions. Legend states that at the Battle of Gaixia in 202 BCE,  when the warlord Liu Bang’s troops encircled his rival Xiang Yu’s army, Han Xin, one of Liu’s generals, tied a soldier on a huge kite made of cowhide to play the flute and sing Chu ballads (楚歌) from Xiang hometown, which demoralized his homesick soldiers (another version goes that Han simply tied flutes to the kites, and soldiers sang along to the whistling tune they made). Han also used kites to gauge the distance between his army and Weiyang Palace, where the enemy was hiding, in order to dig a tunnel and sneak into the palace to launch a surprise attack.

During the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 – 589), when emperor Wu of the Liang Kingdom was under siege by rebels, he used a kite to send a letter to his son for help. Unluckily for the emperor, the kite was intercepted and the emperor was captured.

Beijing’s 76-year-old kitemaker Li Chunzeng at his workshop in 2019
Cover photo of children flying kites to celebrate “Dragon Head-Raising Day” in Sichuan province, from VCG

When the paper-making industry began to flourish during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), paper kites (zhǐ yuān,free性videoxxx欧美 纸鸢) emerged. This less cumbersome model became popular among commoners, and since then the kite has been used for entertainment. “After school the children come home early, keen to fly kites while the east wind blows” wrote Gao Ding, a 19th century poet, in “Living in the Village.”

In the latter stages of the Tang dynasty, craftsmen began carving small openings on the bamboo framework of the kites. When these kites were flown, the holes would generate musical notes, said to be similar to the sound made by a Chinese zheng (?, a stringed zither. Kites became commonly known as  feng zheng (风筝), or “wind zither,” the name still used today.

In the Song dynasty (960 – 1279), kite-flying became even more popular among the masses, especially during the Qingming Festival period. In Zhang Zeduan’s famous painting of the period, free性videoxxx欧美The Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival (《清明上河图?,” kite-flyers are prominent in his depiction of the then capital, Kaifeng.

Different regions in China have developed distinctive kite designs and production techniques. Four major schools of kite design emerged: in Beijing, Tianjin, Weifang in Shandong province, and Nantong in Jiangsu province. Weifang, considered the birthplace of the first kites, has been named the “kite capital” of the world. Beijing kites are famous for ornately painted designs and exquisite framework, Tianjin’s for a unique wood design, while Nantong huge kites can perhaps cover the greatest distance and are decorated with whistles.

The decoration of kites is even more varied than their structural design. Patterns featuring bats are popular, as the word in Mandarin, 蝙蝠 (biān fú), is very similar to 遍福 (biàn fú), meaning to “enjoy happiness everywhere.” Depictions of phoenixes represent enterprising spirit and the pursuit of happiness, while dragons are popular as a symbol of longevity.

From military hardware to children’s toy, kites have remained a traditional part of Chinese life for two millennia, and continue to hold an important place in Chinese culture.

Cover image from VCG

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/streaming-welfare/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/streaming-welfare/#respond Thu, 09 Apr 2020 04:35:35 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=126065 ?/span>We hope that we can help Hubei restore work and life through this livestreaming show,?/span> Li Jiaqi, an influencer who first made his name selling lipstick, told his online audience on Monday as he prepared to showcase made-in-Hubei products such as “hot dry noodles” (热干? and rice wine.

Part of a special livestreaming event called ?/span>Thanks for buying up Hubei products,?/span> Li’s show was broadcast on Taobao Live in collaboration with Zhu Guangquan, a well-known CCTV News host, with more than 15 million viewers tuning in. The philanthropic endeavor aimed to promote products from Hubei province, the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak and worst-hit area in China, to help the local economy recover after months of preventative lockdown. The two-hour stream raked in over 40 million yuan in sales.

The Covid-19 outbreak has played havoc with vast swaths of the economy, and driven explosive growth for online services, as quarantined, self-isolating, or simply crowd-shy consumers stay indoors. The agricultural industry has taken a big hit, with produce rotting in fields and planting schedules delayed due to transportation shutdowns across the country.

free性videoxxx欧美An official (right) in charge of livestock and aquaculture in Jiangxi province teams up with an online influencer to sell eggs on JD

With hundreds of thousands of farmers struggling, some have turned to livestreaming to sell their products, helped by companies which have launched campaigns to “assist agriculture” by promoting farm goods. 

Online hosts and internet celebrities have offered their services for free to help revive sales of agricultural produce. In her virtual broadcast showroom, Viya Huang, a well-known livestreaming saleswoman, introduced sugar orange from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, with fervid fans snapping up 500,000 kilograms in seconds.

Even government officials have taken up livestreaming to hawk local produce. A number of village heads have made their debuts on e-commerce platforms such as JD, Pinduoduo, and Taobao, as well as short video app Douyin (TikTok), which have opened livestreaming channels specifically for affected products like crayfish in Qianjiang in Hubei province, taro of Lipu in Guangxi, and tea oil of  Lu’an in Anhui.

Officials are also picking up livestreaming a tactic for wider poverty relief campaigns in remote rural areas, which ramped up this year due to the central government’s deadline to totally eradicate poverty in China in 2020. Internet company Bytedance, which owns short video platforms iXigua Video and Douyin, and news app Jinri Toutiao, has launched a campaign in tandem with official poverty alleviation departments named ?/span>working together to help farmers fight against the epidemic (齐心战疫八方助农).?/span> In Guangxi, the vice mayor of Beiliu city joined a livestream to help local farmers sell their fruit, flogging 120,000 kilograms and racking up sales worth 840,000 yuan in just three hours.

However, ensuring the quality of products advertised via livestream match those delivered to customers is not always easy. While key opinion leaders (KOL) like Li and Huang, are usually considered reliable judges of quality and performance for products, guaranteeing freshness and quality of agricultural products is especially tricky. Li himself has told Zaker Media that buying farm products online is a lottery, consumers can only “pray“?that their purchases arrive intact, and are of high quality.

In the rush to help struggling farmers make a living, regulation of livestreaming and selling has been lax. Some vendors and online livestream hosts have used the nation’s goodwill to make profit for themselves, selling products at commission, or putting up low quality goods that they normally would not have taken to market. “Vendors will never make a loss; there’s always a reason why it’s cheap,” a Douban user cynically commented after finding that 80 percent of the persimmons she ordered had rotted on arrival.

Platforms are now expected to do their part to regulate. On February 21, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group proposed new rules calling on sellers to offer high quality products in return for the assistance offered by consumers.  

Amid lackluster sales for products battered by the Covid-19 outbreak, livestreaming has provided a lifeline for some, but still has a way to go before it becomes the norm for farmers. “Official livestreaming has played a significant role in helping farmers deal with the impact of the epidemic, but it should focus more on creating growth for the industry behind the live show,” online celebrity Yang Jianguo wrote on Weibo. “In addition, more e-commerce training is a must for empowering modern rural areas in the long run.?/span>

All images from VCG

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/living-on-lockdown/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/living-on-lockdown/#respond Wed, 08 Apr 2020 07:30:58 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=126083 free性videoxxx欧美Eerie. Desolate. Ghost town. Headlines over the first two months of 2020 painted scenes of suspended animation over Chinese cities under the coronavirus.

Volunteers feed seagulls left hungry by the lack of tourists in Qingdao

Since January 21, when health experts confirmed that the disease known as Covid-19 can be transmitted between humans, China has taken unprecedented action to slow the spread of the infections. Public events have been cancelled, businesses closed, and travel during China’s normally hectic Spring Festival period was slashed by half.

A passenger accepts a mandatory temperature check before exiting the Nanjing Railway Station

Air and ground transportation has been suspended in most of Hubei province, ground zero of the outbreak, and over a billion people came under preventative quarantines imposed by their cities, villages, and residential compounds, only leaving their homes when strictly necessary.

Doctors make an online diagnosis based on CT scans of a patient’s lungs in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region

free性videoxxx欧美Yet the streets are not quite empty: During each day of the outbreak, despite the mounting number of diagnoses, sanitation workers, bus drivers, neighborhood committees, and factory employees have continued reporting quietly to work, providing essential goods and services to ensure that life goes on.

A tractor sprays disinfectant on the streets of a town in Jiangsu province

Teams of doctors and nurses around the country have chartered trains and flights to Hubei to support their colleagues on the front lines, while researchers race against the clock to develop a vaccine.

Military planes carrying 795 medical workers and 58 tons of supplies arrive at Wuhan’s airport

free性videoxxx欧美“If medical workers are the first-responders, then we must be the second-responders,?a food delivery worker in Wuhan mused to Renwu magazine in early February as he and his colleagues continued shuttling around the heavily stricken city, providing hospitals and residential compounds with meals, medicine, and lifelines to the outside world.

free性videoxxx欧美Beijing residents keep a safe distance from their neighbors while queuing up for masks at a local pharmacy

free性videoxxx欧美As the country adjusts to life under siege, accepting temperature checks and protective masks as prerequisites to enjoying public spaces, many are wondering what their “new normal?will be like when the crisis is past. “Who are you looking forward to seeing most when the disease is over??asked a recent thread on question-and-answer app Zhihu. “Myself, under my own routine,?one user answered.

free性videoxxx欧美A resident and dog venture out to fetch a parcel in Hefei, Anhui province

 

free性videoxxx欧美A business area inside Beijing’s second ring road is almost deserted on a sunny weekend afternoon

 

Masked residents in Shenzhen try to get some fresh air and exercise by the sea

Photography by CVS Photo and Hatty Liu


“Living on Lockdown?is a story from our issue, ?a href="http://iraqipro.com/Shop/">Grape Expectations? To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the iTunes Store.

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/new-issue-out/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/new-issue-out/#respond Wed, 08 Apr 2020 06:25:36 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=126082 It’s an achievement that this issue exists at all.

In late January, just around the time our team was ramping up to meet deadlines for the new issue of our magazine, China saw the beginning of what is now the global Covid-19 pandemic. As public gatherings were canceled, office buildings closed, and transportation shut down across the country, we made the unprecedented decision to finish the issue in quarantine, moving almost all of our in-person meetings and interviews to the phone and web (it helped that our writers had planned ahead and already finished much of their field reporting by then).

free性videoxxx欧美The end result is a triumph not only for our team, but for the “China story?itself. While we imbibe soul-searching lessons from the virus, it’s equally important to remember that life can go on. In our “Wine” issue, we follow Chinese vintage in its journey from up-and-coming family vineyards to international trade shows and tables; witness the revival of an ancient ice-fishing tradition in the northeast; join the heated ethical debates on GM foods and assisted reproduction; relax with surfers in Hainan; and showcase how ordinary people coped with Covid-19.

In all, we want to show that China continues to be a place of compelling stories to tell. Pick up a digital copy of the issue today in our App Store and WeChat Store, and get further discounts on past issues of our magazine!

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/viral-week-ep-241/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/viral-week-ep-241/#respond Tue, 07 Apr 2020 08:52:41 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=126049 Viral Week is our weekly round-up of the weekend’s trending memes, humor, rumor, gossip, and everything else Chinese netizens are chatting about.

free性videoxxx欧美This week, a coffee chain cooks the books, a man goes under never-ending quarantine, Covid-19 headlines are copied, and Chinese sweep tombs from home:

Bitter brew-haha

Much-hyped domestic chain Luckin Coffee is under investigation for fabricating trading volumes to the tune of 2.2 billion RMB in its 2019 audit report, causing an 80 percent drop in the company’s share prices on April 2 and panic-buying from consumers, who were concerned that their coffee coupons might expire in the scandal.

Homecoming heartbreak

free性videoxxx欧美Zhang Jingjing,a medical worker from Shandong province, died from cardiac arrest on the last day of her 14-day quarantine after returning from frontline Covid-19 relief work in Wuhan.

Continuous quarantine

free性videoxxx欧美Having completed his 14-day quarantine after returning from the Philippines, an extra-cautious man in Shandong province continued to stay indoors for a total of 42 days after meeting his neighbor, who returned from South Korea, and then his brother, from Singapore, voluntarily restarting his confinement after each encounter.

Ill-gotten grains

free性videoxxx欧美The manager of a grain store in Shandong province has been detained for fabricating rumors in a WeChat group that rice and other grain supplies were running out in his city in order to increase his sales.

Copy-and-paste headlines

A man in Fujian province, who was detained by police in March for fabricating fake news, has confessed to posting interchangeable articles to various WeChat accounts with clickbait headlines that follow the template: “X country under Covid-19” or “X Country has lost control [over Covid-19]: X country’s Chinese merchants in trouble!” Written to attract WeChat followers, the articles are accused of inciting  large numbers of panicked overseas Chinese to return to China and potentially import the disease.

Mountain of tourists

While Huangshan Mountain drew only one visitorfree性videoxxx欧美 on its first day of re-opening after Covid-19 shutdowns, the scenic area stated on Weibo on that it had already hit its 20,000 daily visitor cap by 7:48 a.m. on the second day of last weekend’s Qingming holiday, warning the public not to let down their guard too early.

Rocket racket

A commercial space rocket was sold via Taobao livestream for 40 million RMB (a discount of 5 million RMB) on April 1, which the e-commerce platform confirmed was no April Fool’s joke. The livestream, watched by millions, saw over 800 potential buyers pay a 500,000 RMB deposit, with the rocket eventually sold to Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. Ltd. 

Mourning from home

Nearly 13.4 million people paid respects to their ancestors online on Saturday’s Qingming “Tomb Sweepingfree性videoxxx欧美” Festival, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, writing messages for their deceased family on web platforms instead of traveling physically to the tombs during the pandemic. The Ministry also reported 228,500 physical “tomb-sweeping by proxy” ceremonies held by funeral homes and streamed to mourners.

Qingming by chalk

A primary school art teacher in Shanxi province spent three months making a chalk copy of “The Riverside Scene at Qingming Festivalfree性videoxxx欧美,” a famous 25-meter painting from the Song dynasty, on eight blackboards.

Cash grab

Forest fires in western Sichuan province have claimed the lives of 18 firefighters and one guide to date. A red envelope sent out in a WeChat group, meant to support some of the 3,600 firefighters battling the flames, was “snatched” by two other members who then exited the group. Tracked down by the cyber authorities, the culprits have since returned the money and undergone “criticism and education.”

Snake on windshield

free性videoxxx欧美A driver in Sichuan province was terrified to see a 2-meter long snake suddenly fall onto his windshield while driving.

Cover image from VCG

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/booklist-drunk-in-china/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/booklist-drunk-in-china/#respond Mon, 06 Apr 2020 03:37:20 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=125975 “A journey of a thousand drinks begins with a single sip,” writes Derek Sandhaus in Drunk in China: Baijiu and the World’s Oldest Drinking Culture. For Sandhaus, that first sip of baijiu, China’s notorious tipple, did not go down well at all.

“It smelled as if someone had run a garbage bag of soiled gym shorts into a bucket of fish sauce, stirred in an equal measure of Drano, rotten fruit, and blue cheese, and left to marinate a few days. It was a smell conjured from the pits of hell, the last whiff one senses before waking up in a serial killer’s rumpus room.”

Never let it be denied that Mr. Sandhaus has a particular gift for descriptive metaphor.

Fortunately for us all, Sandhaus did not stop with that first shot of Chengdu hooch. Like the apostle Paul struck blind on the road to Damascus (a possible hazard when lustily researching spirits around China), he proves there is no zealot like the convert. Drunk in China is equal measure riotous epistle to the baijiu non-believer and a drinker’s diary.

We join Sandhaus on his boozy journey of discovery as he travels from rural distilleries to high-end Shanghai cocktail lounges and a Chinese-language Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Sichuan. The book also delves into China’s fermented past and a history of alcohol production in this part of the world that dates back to neolithic times. It would seem that in China, as in other parts of the world, settled agriculture may have resulted as much from humanity’s pursuit of a steady buzz as from the search for the ingredients for a decent bread or Chinese bing.

Sandhaus spends a considerable amount of time correcting a large number of common misconceptions about China’s unofficial national drink. First, baijiu is not a single spirit but an entire category of drinks as different in process and palate as vodka is from tequila. There is also baijiu‘s reputation as a harsh, potentially toxic beverage which, in the wrong hands, might taste like something akin to “Jolly Ranchers melted in paint thinner.” (Sandhaus displaying his gift for metaphor again.)

Cultural context matters, he argues, especially when trying something new. He asks us to imagine the reaction of a first-time whiskey drinker if they were initiated into the world of brown liquors by being forced to drink an entire bottle of peaty Islay scotch in a single sitting. The point is that  baijiu free性videoxxx欧美appreciation in China is a multiverse of flavors and fetishization to rival any of its Western equivalents, from wine snobs to bourbon bros.

The book also suggests that more insidious forces may be at play here. Westerners have a long and unfortunate history of viewing Asia in general, and China in particular, as an exotic and possibly dangerous other. For many centuries, Chinese food has gone through cycles of mistrust (bat meat soup, anyone?) and prejudice abroad.

But if baijiu remains something of a tough sell internationally, it is an integral, if oft-lamented, part of Chinese hospitality and business culture. The fragrant aroma is an almost indispensable part of any good Chinese meal, especially the spicy and sour cuisines of the south, where the best baijiu is made in Sandhaus’ opinion.

“When one consumes boiled beef in a sizzling sea of chili oil with a carafe of Wuliangye, she gets the full flavor complement. Without baijiu, the meal is like listening to your favorite album with the bass muted—a good thing rendered strange by omission.”

It is a cliche, although no less accurate for being so, that sometimes the best way to learn about a place is through the slightly warped view found at the bottom of a glass. Sandhaus’ misadventures in pursuit of his ethanol epiphanies, some previously recorded on his research blog “300 Shots to Greatness,” are classic anecdotes that will be fascinating to readers abroad. Those with more experience in China may nod along while mentally recounting a few hazy baijiu misadventures of their own.

While there’s no reason to doubt Sandhaus’ enthusiasm or his research, it is worth noting that he is also an investor in a baijiufree性videoxxx欧美 distillery in Sichuan. If his aim is to encourage greater consumption of the fiery booze, his enthusiastic writing and raucous tales are likely to do the trick.

The book also comes complete with recipes for baijiu cocktails crafted by intrepid bartenders around the world including former Beijing bar legend Paul Mathew. But of all the sours and swizzles, it is the book’s final recipe, “The shot of baijiu,” that rings truest for the appreciation of Chinese spirits, :

“Traditional recipe: Fill your neighbors’ glass to the brim with baijiu and allow them to return the favor. Serve neat at room temperature in a small cup, preferably alongside food. Consume in one swig following a well-considered toast. Repeat ad nauseam.”

Cover image from VCG

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/life-or-death-decision/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/life-or-death-decision/#respond Sun, 05 Apr 2020 01:00:04 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=125964 free性videoxxx欧美Since founding Beijing Songtang Hospice in 1987, Li Wei has had to change premises seven times, four times due to violent protests from the neighbors. “They would say we were bringing a curse to the community. They called us ‘the last stop before Babaoshan,’?Li tells TWOC, alluding to the famous Beijing cemetery.

Now located off a remote suburban expressway, the mainland’s oldest palliative care facility sees steady demand for its 200 beds, as an aging society prompts the government to encourage the development of nursing homes, as well as hospital departments for palliative care, or linzhong guanhuai (literally, “end-of-life care?. Still, “China has no linzhong guanhuai free性videoxxx欧美culture; 95 percent of elderly in the countryside die at home,?Li estimates.

Even in the cities, according to Li, 60 to 70 percent of elderly pass away in their own or their children’s homes, with at most a nanny to relieve their physical discomforts. Other terminal patients in China are kept alive in intensive care units (ICUs), while public hospitals are often stretched too tight to accommodate most patients beyond 10 days after an operation.

Only a minority of elderly or terminal patients is able to access hospice care, and most have never even heard of it; by contrast, nearly half of all deaths in the US occur within a hospice program, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The notion of palliative care was not even introduced to China until the 1980s, partly because the notion of improving one’s “end of life?quality, instead of focusing on a cure, was culturally anathema. Chinese medicine may be a culture unto itself, but the notion of death remains stubbornly off-limits.

Young volunteers deliver sugar-free moon cakes to the elderly

free性videoxxx欧美Superstitions surround even words that sound like “death,?with phone and apartment numbers that contain the unlucky number four being particularly unpopular. Just to acknowledge one’s own demise, such as by registering as an organ donor, is seen as a form of bad luck that can supposedly affect everyone in the vicinity, as demonstrated by Beijing Songtang’s earlier unpopularity.

Similar anti-hospice protests have occurred in Shanghai and Hangzhou. “No morgue in the community?read a banner lifted by fearful Shanghai protestors in 2014, after rumors emerged that a palliative care institute would be established in the neighborhood. Guo Xu, a 14-year-old volunteer at Beijing Songtang, recalled that her family originally objected to her extracurricular activity. “When I first visited Songtang last October,?she told TWOC, “my parents worried I might be frightened, because patients there could die at any moment.?/p>

free性videoxxx欧美That’s not an entirely irrational concern, Li concedes. Over the last 32 years, Songtang has overseen the deaths of 40,000 patients, or about three a day. Most of the hospice’s residents are over 80. Some have just three to six months left to live, while some others are physically or mentally incapacitated, or have no families to take care of them.

The Confucian virtue of filial piety is another stumbling block. Although the sage himself rarely addressed the afterlife in his writings—except to ask “If you don’t understand what life is, how will you understand death?”—it’s considered every child’s duty to look after their parents, particularly in old age. Choosing palliative care is considered tantamount to abandoning one’s parents, or giving up.

free性videoxxx欧美This attitude can often result in families insisting that doctors pursue aggressive treatments to maintain the lives of terminally ill relatives, rather than focusing on their loved one’s psychological and spiritual needs. Many view resources like Songtang as an alternative only if they cannot afford the cost of an ICU, explains Li.

Doctors pay a home visit to terminally ill patients and their families

Although patients receiving hospice care are generally not expected to live longer than six months, “this standard is hardly practical,?as Tian Zhijun, vice-president of Beijing Longfu Hospital, told China Youth Daily in 2017. Those with non-fatal diseases like Alzheimer’s, or who have suffered a stroke, can often survive for a long time, but may still require the care that only a hospice can properly provide.

free性videoxxx欧美The need for hospices is a growing one. The number of those aged over 60 has risen from 194 million in 2012 to over 231 million, or 16.7 percent of population, in 2016, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Meanwhile, statistics released by the National Cancer Center (NCC) this January showed that close to 60 percent of the 3.93 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2015 proved terminal, mostly in patients in their 60s and 70s; as many as 30 percent could suffer unbearable pain, says the NCC. Over the last decade, China’s overall rates of morbidity and mortality rates have both annually increased by 3.9 and 2.5 percent, respectively.

free性videoxxx欧美This should come as no surprise to most medical practitioners. As early as 2009, the book Research on Urban Hospice Care Services and Policies in China estimated that more than 7.5 million Chinese would requite some form of hospice care. The supply of such services, however, has lagged far behind.

Almost all hospices in China are in first and second-tier cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2015 Quality of Death Index. Out of a total of 80 countries and regions, Chinese mainland was ranked at 71, scoring 23.3 out of 100 for its palliative and healthcare environment, human resources, quality of care, and community engagement; only its affordability compared positively against the global average, with a score of 37.

Shanghai, considered one of the best places for hospice care in China, only offered 234 hospital beds across 84 linzhongfree性videoxxx欧美 wards in 2013, even though the city saw 116,700 deaths, including 367,000 from cancer, that year, the Xinmin Evening News reported.

College students participate in an educational activity about death

However, at the root of this failure is less a taboo about death, according to Li, but rather an enduring issue with China’s current for-profit health system. “The service is not profitable, because it doesn’t offer expensive medicine, examinations, or operations,?Li explains. “That’s why none of the hundreds of medical facilities that have visited our hospital have adopted this service.?/p>

At Shanghai’s Linfen Community Health Center, deputy director Liu Deng told CN-Healthcare in 2017 that its hospice services had operated at a loss for decades, despite government subsidies, and lack of funding remains a major challenge, along with professional indifference.

As palliative care is a comparatively new concept in China, and lacks any independent medical university major or discipline, most of those working within the field are transfers who’ve been trained in traditional theories that emphasize curative treatment over pain mitigation. The industry struggles to recruit, because the salaries and career expectations it offers are not very attractive.

free性videoxxx欧美Ouyang Ziqiang, a live-in caregiver at Songtang, recalls how he began the job with his wife and four other recruits—“but they all left within a few months and even days, because they could not bear the hard work.?He tends to three or four patients around the clock, with duties including washing, feeding, and changing diapers, as well as chatting with his patients and putting on impromptu song-and-dance routines for their mental well-being. No well-educated or city workers would do the job, Ouyang maintains, and most caregivers come from poor mountainous areas such as in Hunan or Sichuan provinces.

free性videoxxx欧美It’s 60 percent psychological support, director Li says of hospice work, and 40 percent medical needs and nursing. There’s a responsibility to relieve the loneliness, anger, and fear of death that many patients suffer, Li adds, that makes the absence of spiritual sustenance for most patients a challenge for the field of psychological service in China.

There are few facilities that provide palliative care to children

After noticing high suicidal tendencies among residents at nursing homes, Fang Shugong, a former aerospace engineer, established the Beijing Shifangyuan Elderly Hospice and Mind Care Center, a non-profit organization that offers psychological support to over 40 million physically and psychologically disabled patients in 2012.

Today, Shifangyuan provides psychological support to inhabitants of two hospitals, and at least ten independent nursing homes and 20 communities, and provides training and technical guidance to other psychological care groups around the country. Volunteers typically spend 40 minutes a day visiting terminally ill and elderly patients at their nursing homes or communities under the slogan “Love and Companionship.?/p>

“Even though death was a taboo topic in traditional Chinese culture, and family members may hide the prognosis from the elderly, the elderly often know; they just don’t say so,?says Fang. “Companionship is important; it helps the elderly overcome their fear of death.?/p>

free性videoxxx欧美Shui Qingzhu (pseudonym), who first joined Shifangyuan as a volunteer in 2016 before becoming a full-time employee this year, is all too familiar with the issue. After discovering her mother was terminally ill in 2003, Shui traversed China in pursuit of folk cures. After her mother died, Shui was hospitalized for renal failure caused by anxiety, then spent three years immersed in grief, filled with regret about her failure to admit the search was doomed from the start.

Since joining the organization, though, Shui says she has come to look at both life and death in a new way. “In 2017, when my father was diagnosed with cancer…I was able to discuss it honestly with him…He said, if he can’t be cured, then he wants to die in a peaceful and dignified way, without being cut up and have tubes stuck all over his body, like a spider.?/p>

“After the second surgery, I asked him if he was afraid of death, and he said he was simply afraid to die alone,?Shui says. After this, she began eating more often with her father, and he eventually passed away in 2019 in the presence of his whole family. “I think this showed our respect for life. We didn’t try to control him just because he was sick.?/p>

free性videoxxx欧美In 2017, the National Health Commission released new guidelines for the standards and administrative procedures of hospice centers, along with plans to pilot palliative care programs in five cities and districts to establish models at the municipal, county, and township levels, with at least 70 more expected to follow. At the opening ceremony of the hospice ward at the Peking University Shougang Hospital in June 2017, Ma Xiaowei, deputy director of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, estimated there were over 2,342 medical facilities offering palliative services at that time.

Whether or not those state-backed guarantees come true, Fang has already pledged to match them. Still, “we can only solve problems for individual elderly, not the root problems,?Fang points out. His organization has been partnering with education firms to bring courses on awareness of death and emotional support for the dying into primary schools.

“This is just the beginning. It needs to be promoted across all society. Our entire society lacks education about life and death, love and companionship,?Fang asserts. “Love and companionship, in essence, is how you overcome death.?/p>


“Life or Death Decision”?/b>is from our issue, ?a href="http://iraqipro.com/Shop/">Tuning Up? To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the iTunes Store.

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/due-to-the-dead/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/due-to-the-dead/#respond Sat, 04 Apr 2020 04:02:24 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=125988 China’s 2,000-year-old Book of Rites: Funerary Rituals《礼记·问丧》states: “In making sacrifices, people bury the corpse, while at the same time recall the soul of the deceased (送形而往,迎精而返?.?Since at least prehistory, Chinese burial customs have been part ancestor worship, part tribute to ghosts and spirits (鬼神).

These days, the Zhongyuan or ?a href="http://iraqipro.com/2019/08/choice-chengyu-phantom-phrases/">Hungry Ghost?Festival on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (usually mid-August in the solar calendar) is dedicated to the latter. The Qingming or Tomb-Sweeping Festival in the third lunar month (April 4 in 2020), however, is a little bit of both.

Ancient Chinese believed that supernatural spirits played huge roles in controlling the fate of the living. The first systematic description of the underworld emerged within Daoism during the Han Dynasty, and the concept of hell (地狱, literally “earth prison”) was later fleshed out when Buddhism came to China around the first century CE.

According to this doctrine, there are 18 Layers of Hell, distinguished by the degree and type of torturefree性videoxxx欧美 they inflict on the spirits of evildoers (the 18th level being the most severe). In these prisons of the afterlife, deceased wrongdoers are brutally punished by Yama (阎王), the king of hell, and his lackeys (小喽?; eventually, they fall into the “animal layer” of the Six Divisions of Karma (六道轮回) and reincarnate as beasts. Belief in ghosts and the afterlife was thus instrumental in advocating for people to practice good deeds in life.

A painting showing Yama delivering his judgment on the souls of the deceased

Ancient legends describe Fengdu (丰都) county, in present-day Chongqing, as a settlement of the spirits of the deceased. This “ghost town” was said to have a “Road to the Underworld?(黄泉? with many palaces and temples, where tens of millions ghosts are questioned about their deeds on earth before they can pass on to the afterlife. Today, a tourist attraction named Fengdu Ghost Town replicates these scenes of the underworld, with temples explaining the culture of ghost worship.

Huangquan (黄泉), literally “yellow springs,” is another Chinese word for the underworld, believed to derive from the fact that water appears yellow when it is deep. The mythical huangquan is so deep, in fact, that it’s usually said to consist of nine wells one after the other, giving rise to yet another term for the underworld, ?em>jiuquan zhixia (九泉之下, under the nine springs).?An idiom for people dying after performing good deeds was “Dying with pleasure (含笑九泉).?/p>

While the dead reside in the ground, “Three feet above the livings?spirit lies sacred deities (三尺之上有神?,?as a Chinese saying goes. Deities may live in the sky as 天神 (heavenly gods) or reside on earth as 地祇 (earth gods). In between the deities and the dead are human spirits (人鬼) who return from the underworld to either bring blessing or wreak havoc among the living—and this is the category all ancestors fall into.

To appease these meddlesome forebears, people had to show reverence to their spirits in the same Confucian spirit of filial piety as when the ancestors were alive. Thus, they worshiped at the tombs of deceased family members during the Qingming Festival: often making reports of their undertakings over the past year, cleaning the tombs, leaving or burning offerings, and requesting the spirits’ blessings.

free性videoxxx欧美Tourists can visit the temples in Fengdu to see exhibits on the afterlife

Both meteorological and cultural factors led this tomb-sweeping ritual to fall during the spring. Du Mu (杜牧), a Tang poet, wrote in “Qingming?or “On the Day of Mourning”: “Drizzling rain falls like tears on the day of mourning (清明时节雨纷?.?Qingming, also the fifth solar term in the lunar calendar, coincides with warming temperatures and increase of rainfall. This leads to balmy weather and blossoming flowers that make people eager to take trips to the countryside, where most tombs are located. Up until the Tang Dynasty, Qingming was the ancient Chinese equivalent of a bank holiday, on which officials can leave their posts for four to seven days of mourning.

Over the centuries, the Qingming Festival has absorbed some traditions from the more obscure Cold Food Festivalfree性videoxxx欧美 (寒食? one day before Qingming) and the Double Third or Shangsi Festival (上巳?, which falls on the third day of the third lunar month and was traditionally celebrated by going on “spring excursions.”

Burning ghost money (冥钱) made of paper or cloth, another major custom in Qingming, has also seen some adaptations over the years: Originally a way of sending ancestors funds for spending in the underworld, or bribing ghost lackeys so they may reincarnate again as humans, the offeringsfree性videoxxx欧美 have recently started to include fashionable items like paper iPhones, computers, and miniature models of luxury cars. Even dying, it seems, can’t cure some people of the need to show off.

Photos from VCG

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The World of Chinese http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/charity-inc/ http://iraqipro.com/2020/04/charity-inc/#respond Fri, 03 Apr 2020 07:20:07 +0000 http://iraqipro.com/?p=125978 Millions of donated medical supplies and investments in Covid-19 research technology are shining a global spotlight on China’s emerging corporate philanthropy culture.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese internet and technology giants including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, and Didi are donating millions to global relief efforts. Since mid-February, Tencent’s Anti-Epidemic Fund has pledged over 200 USD million for medical supplies and technical support.

At the same time, the Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation have donated medical supplies including masks, ventilators, and thermometers to 23 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. They’ve also worked with doctors and university researchers to develop the Handbook of Covid-19 Prevention and Treatment, a guide for hospital treatment and disease containment. 

Donations to Spain from a Chinese company (Weibo)

Baidu, Huawei, Didi, and Alibaba have also ramped up development of digital health technology using cloud computing and AI. Their algorithms can analyze CT scans, assisting with faster diagnosis of the virus, and help researchers understand the genetic makeup of Covid-19 which could lead to the faster development of a vaccine. 

These initiatives have come as something of a surprise given China’s poor track record of philanthropy. In 2016, Chinese citizens gave the equivalent of 0.2 percent of the country’s GDP to charitable causes, whereas US citizens donated 2 percent of their GDP. Just last year, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index ranked China last out of 126 countries for volunteerism, charitable donations, and helping strangers. 

However, private philanthropy culture in the PRC has been developing steadily since the early 2000s. In 2004, the State Council issued the “Regulations on Foundation Administration,” which allowed private individuals to create their own charitable foundations. Private foundations quickly began appearing all over the country.

The enactment of the China Charity Law by the National People’s Congress in 2016 further smoothed the way for private philanthropists by making it easier to register nonprofits and give tax deductible donations. 

Culturally, China had strong philanthropic roots in its history. In the Analects of Confucius, for example, the great philosopher is quoted as saying, “Even if you have fine abilities, if you are arrogant and stingy, the rest is not worth considering.” Daoism and Buddhism similarly encourage their practitioners to engage in philanthropy, and Buddhist monasteries during the Zhou dynasty are known to have aided the poor and the orphans of society.

Workers in Hubei province receive a shipment of donated masks from the Yunnan Baiyao Group (VCG)

However, periods of war and shifting political power in China put a temporary damper on philanthropy culture. During the Maoist era, religious groups that traditionally provided help for the poor were persecuted. The state also monopolized all citizens’ basic needs (at least, that was the theory). It wasn’t until the reform and opening up period was well underway that the nation re-awakened its tradition of charitable giving. 

 Alibaba in particular has been at the forefront of the new corporate philanthropy trend. Since 2011, the e-commerce firm has donated 0.3 percent of its annual revenues to social sustainability projects. The company and its founder, “Jack” Ma Yun (who once complained that it was easier to make money in China than to give it away), have also established several branch foundations, including the Alibaba Foundation, the Ali Poverty Relief Fund, and the Jack Ma Foundation. In an interview with Alizila, the company’s news portal, Alibaba Foundation chairman Sun Lijun said ?/span>free性videoxxx欧美philanthropy is the core of our business model.”?/span>

In 2019, Ma stepped down from his role as CEO of Alibaba to focus on philanthropy, following in the footsteps of American billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Ma’s self-titled foundation has been active in the Covid-19 response, including donating 500,000 test kits and 1 million masks to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. 

However, the response to Chinese aid has been mixed. Apart from accusations from the likes of Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, that the Chinese state might be engaging in the “politics of generosity” in a bid to increase its influence, the quality of aid supplies have also been called into question. The Spanish, Dutch, and Turkish governments have each returned shipments of allegedly faulty medical supplies sent from China.

One Twitter user pointed to the defective surgical masks supplied to the Netherlands as evidence that the Jack Ma Foundation’s masks may be similarly flawed: ?span style="font-weight: 400;">Many countries have received defective medical products from China. Don’t you watch international news??On April 1, however, CGTN reported via Twitter that the Jack Ma Foundation had received no quality complaints and none of their medical supplies have been rejected.

Cover image from VCG

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