China is hard for the outsider. The best-laid plans can get lost in deep tangles of bureaucracy and incomprehension in this huge nation. So the sheer courage of a retired Australian primary school teacher who has spent years navigating Chinese bureaucracy to help disabled Chinese children is worth some attention.
From most vantage points, this one-time shoe factory in southern China looks like a one-time shoe factory. Squeezed between other factories in this bleakly industrial zone of Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, it has a flavour of the ordinary.
While nations with sophisticated health networks debate the merits of mandatory quarantine and whether to place a temporary ban on passengers flying in from West Africa, Asian nations are bracing for the worst, with some experts saying an outbreak of Ebola in the region is almost inevitable.
Massive LED screens in Beijing’s famous Tiananmen Square glow red through the haze. Pedestrians, many wearing space-age face masks to filter the toxic air, rarely even glance at the screens’ bold instructions: “Implement the Clean Air Action Plan”, “Improve air quality, start from myself, start with the small things, start now” and “It is everyone’s …read more
A long queue of fidgeting kids stretches back from the school’s door; kids whispering and giggling, intoxicated by the presence of fame. Tennis champion Li Na patiently autographs their tightly-clutched tennis balls, poses for photos and scrawls her name in book after book. Launching the English language version of her ghost-written autobiography ‘My Life’ in …read more
Xia Li doesn’t want to help clear away the dishes. She’s having fun, laughing and chattering, and she’s slow to get up from her chair. But a few quiet words from a retired Australian primary school teacher gets her up and moving. Sitting at the other end of the noisy dinner table, teacher Linda Shum …read more
The 30,000 cornflower-blue porcelain butterflies clustered on Caroline Cheng’s robe symbolise China for the British-born artist. From a distance, all the tiny butterflies look the same: the same blue, the same shape, roughly the same size: a flock of identical ornaments sewn on to the burlap backing. Yet Cheng says a close inspection reveals that …read more
Could it get any more poetic? Sitting on an open verandah, drinking a bottle of Yunnan’s Windflower Sun and Moon lager, gazing across a garden of deepening shadows to the distant Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range: only a Chinese Coleridge could do this scene justice.
It began with a few washes of clear blue water-colour on a white page. Evolving from this first simple splash of art, the design grew and developed. By late last year it was a sophisticated entry for the multi-stage international competition to design a massive municipal museum in northern China. By April the adventurous Australian …read more
When China’s new president Xi Jinping walked down the airplane stairs in the tiny Carribean nation of Trinidad and Tobago in June, it was a shimmering moment in Chinese modern history. Not only was he arm in arm with his elegantly-dressed wife, Peng Liyuan, but he held an umbrella over both their heads. Perhaps most …read more