“How is Shah Rukh Khan doing?” asked Paul Zhang. Read more
Last week, China’s official news agency Xinhua released a curious set of 10 photographs of Indian models and gave it a sweeping title. ‘Despite beauty, many Indian women find it difficult to get married’. Read more
In 2009, economist Zhao Jian returned to Beijing from a study tour of the Indian railways, and wrote that China should learn from India’s example and expand freight rail network instead of pouring mega millions in bullet trains. Read more
They train to smile with chopsticks wedged between their teeth and books balanced on their heads. They must be nearly as tall as the Miss China beauty contestants and produce smiles outlasting any beauty contest: 4 hours and 48 minutes aboard the new train from China’s capital to coast. Read more
“China’s national conditions are nothing like India’s. If the government lets this website continue, this country will have a little hope. If it’s shut, then there’s no hope at all’’- comment on Chinese website I Made a Bribe.
A few Chinese netizens in the world’s largest online community have started sitting up and taking notice of the Indian civil society movement against corruption.
A man named Chen was inspired by an Indian anti-corruption website to start a counterpart this month to encourage netizens to post their experiences of paying bribes. It’s one of two anti-corruption websites and seven online forums recently launched in China to report bribes, said Xinhua on Sunday. The Hong Kong media first reported this trend last week.
“I haven’t come across any cases that have been especially impressive. Most of the posts are just used to vent personal anger,” Chen told Xinhua.
The Chinese Internet is usually sprinkled with disparaging notes on Indian poverty and infrastructure. But this online corner seems to be changing its mood on learning lessons from India. A Chinese contact sent me a few translated comments on India this week:
Shanmu: These Indian websites are now famous in China…it’s a beginning to listen to the ordinary peoples’ hearts.
Wei Yingjie: In India, there are more than 10,000 corruption cases on this website in less than a year. But in China, many sensitive blogs are sometimes suspended or delayed. I wonder how long these websites can last.
Sunberry: I believe many years later, whether I can see it or not, democracy will eventually be the mainstream…
1171: In the past, I thought India was poor, but now I think China is poorer. We can’t even get medical care.
The first thing I noticed on the escalator to the third floor of Wanda cinema in Beijing is a wall of half a dozen legendary movie titles above the entrance. Aawara shares space with Gone With The Wind.
I was probably the only Indian watching Kung Fu Panda 2 with a Chinese audience that evening, and the Aawara signboard was a welcome touch making up for the lack of any popcorn except caramel flavour.
I adore pandas but I am not a fan of animation and action movies. I went to watch this sequel out of curiosity to see why it had some Chinese wringing their hands and signing petitions against the ‘cultural invasion’ from America.
The anti-Po brigade includes the dean of the Beijing film academy’s animation school. “It’s like selling Cadillacs and Cherys at the same price. Of course people would rush to get the former,” dean Sun Lijun told the Global Times. “What if our children think pandas and the Monkey King all come from the West?” Sun told the tabloid that American animation films are made with millions of dollars so they should be regarded not as entertainment but a ‘powerful cultural invasion’.
Peking University professor Kong Qingdong said Po’s chatty charm is all-American. “Rushing to see a Hollywood movie with twisted Chinese culture is the behaviour of brainwashed morons whose money is being robbed,’’ Kong ranted to the Global Times. Speaking of money, the sequel made over 15 million dollars in just the first two days in China and continues to smash records unmindful of the anger of artist Zhao Bandi who published newspaper ads telling people not to watch the movie.
The movie surprised me. Its endearing appeal and smart script inspires chuckles even when the bumbling warrior panda is in serious trouble. The noodle and bean bun eating panda wryly comes of age in the superbly designed 92-minute sequel with a better storyline compared to the first movie. Po discovers, much to his shock, that his noodle and tofu restaurant running goose dad is not his dad.
While the real China is busy saving pandas from extinction, this animated panda (less cute than the real ones who spend a lifetime sleeping and eating) has a job to save China. Po and the Furious Five fight an evil white peacock who manufactures weapons of mass destruction from gunpowder, heads an army of mean but stupid wolves, and dresses in exquisite silk robes.
While tumbling off cliffs, agitatedly seeking ‘inner peace,’ and being poked with acupuncture needles, Kung Fu Panda yanks you into a dreamily beautiful mountainous Chinascape. I left the cinema hall wishing I could wander that very evening into the mountainous by-lanes sprinkled with sloping grey eaves. I couldn’t do that in skyscraper city, but at least I had tofu for dinner.
This creative blockbuster is no cultural invasion. It’s an entertaining cultural advertisement of the soft side of a rising power currently fighting the image of an arrogant, muscle-flexing dragon.
The Chinese critics should be grateful that Kung Fu Panda kick-started a new tech age for red movies. In Tianjin city, which is connected to the capital by a 30-minute bullet train, culture minister Cai Wu last month inaugurated a sprawling 690-million-dollar animation centre. The official promised that the animation industry would be developed as part of a five-year plan to promote Chinese culture. For starters, watch the legend of the kung fu rabbit this summer.
A loud bang recently interrupted a blazing summer afternoon at home in my Beijing high-rise – a few years ago it was one of the tallest buildings in the capital at 40 stories above ground. Read more
You rarely notice ‘rising’ China in Beijing’s own official media reports. The world’s second-largest economy with the largest stockpile of dollars likes to modestly repeat in every global negotiation that it is a ‘developing’ country. Read more
If you live in Beijing and Google molihua – jasmine flower – the ‘page cannot be displayed’. Read more