Friday, 29 August 2014

A bite of halal foods in China

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29 to 30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.
The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is fardh ("obligatory") for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding.
While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations.
Food and drink is served daily, before dawn and after sunset. Spiritual rewards thawab for fasting are also believed to be multiplied within the month of Ramadan. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers) and recitation of the Quran. 
Below Are Traditional Muslim-style foods. (Photo/Xinhua News Agency)


Related information and story of Muslims in China

1. Islam In China

2. Malaysians celebrate Hari Raya Haji in China mosque

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Explore China's Top Minority Cities

China's Top Minority Cities

China officially has 55 ethnic minorities, and one majority, the Han Chinese. The ethnic peoples are concentrated in the south, west, and remoter northern regions of China.
Cities are more heavily populated by Han Chinese than the surrounding countryside, even in minority autonomous regions, so most minority attractions and the purest ethnic culture is usually found outside the cities. Therefore "cities" here usually refers to the prefecture associated with the city.
Below are China’s top eight minority cities, chosen for their accessibility to tourists, and range of minorities represented.

1. Kaili

Miao Minority
  • Location: Southeast Guizhou Province, South China
  • Minorities: MiaoDong, and others
Kaili is the minority capital of China. It is known as “the city of festivals” because of the more than 100 festivals held each year, mostly by the Miao minority. The most famous is probably the Sisters Meals Festival. Kaili has many Miao villages open to tourists. There is also an Ethnic Minorities Museum.

2. Lhasa

Lhasa is truly a minority city. Capital of the roof of the world and center of Tibetan culture, Lhasa’s Potala Palace, and the Dalai Lama who lived there, once represented the supreme authority for this people group. Now part of China, Tibet exists as an Autonomous Region still governed from Lhasa. The temples and monasteries around Lhasa are the most important for Tibetan Buddhists.

3. Xishuangbanna

Hani Minority
Xishuangbanna is China’s most rainforested prefecture, bordering Myanmar and Laos. Its tropical lush environment supports the Dai and Hani peoples, who make up about 30% and 20% of the local population respectively. There are several Dai minority attractions including Manting Park and theOctagonal Pavilion. The Dai Water Splashing Festival is held April 13–15.

4. Guilin (including Longsheng and Yangshuo)

  • Location: Northeast Guangxi , Southern China
  • Minorities: ZhuangYaoDongMiao
Zhuang minority
The city of Guilin is mostly Han-ized, but Guilin’s famous karst countrysidehas been the traditional home of China’s largest minority, the Zhuang, for centuries. There are several designated Yao minority districts, and Gongcheng is a Yao County, famous for its oil tea and Peach Blossom Festival.
Yangshuo’s countryside, particularly along the popular cycling routes, is populated by Zhuang farmers. The legendary Zhuang “Song Fairy”, Liu’s Third Daughter, is honored to the point of worship by some. Her statue is paraded during the Zhuang Song Festival in April, and her story is told in the on-river show Impression Liu Sanjie, which also features other minority songs.
Then there is Longsheng, known for its Dragon’s Back Rice Terraces, where the long-haired women of the Red Yao live. Their Red Clothes Festival is in April. The Zhuang of nearby ‘Safe and Sound’ Village have kept more of their costume and customs than those of Yangshuo. Further into the Longsheng mountains areDong and Miao villages.

5. Lijiang

Naxi Minority
Lijiang in the tall mountains of the Yangtze Upper Reaches is home to several minorities. Lijiang Ancient TownShuhe Ancient TownBaisha Old Town, and Dongba Village display traditional Naxi architecture and are showcases for the culture of the Naxi people. Discover the Mosuo people ofLugu Lake, and further up into the mountains are Tibetan, Bai, and Yi peoples.

6. Hohhot

Mongol Minority
Hohhot is the capital of Inner Mongolia. While it is not the most ethnic city (only 13% minority people), it is the most accessible city with Mongol culture. The grasslands of Hohhot Prefecture are the place to see the nomadic pastoral lifestyle of the Mongols. Naadam, the Mongolian outdoor sports festival is celebrated in July/August on these grasslands. Mongol food is highly recommended.

7. Kunming

Bai Minority
Kunming is truly a minority city with all of Yunnan’s 25 ethnic minorities represented, although 80% of the city population are Han. To get an impression of the variety of peoples living in Yunnan we recommend you see Yunnan Ethnic Village, a convenient way to experience many Chinese ethnic cultures without having to journey to a remote location.

8. Turpan

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has the greatest number of minorities of any Chinese region. The majority are Turkic/ Central Asian and Muslim in origin, like the UygurKazakhsHui, and Kirghiz. OutsideUrumqi, most Xinjiang cities are predominantly ethnic. Turpan is one of the more accessible of these. VisitGrape Valley to get in amongst Uygur culture, and for Uygur-style architecture see Emin Minaret.

Other Minority Cities

Some minorities have autonomous regions set aside for them, so if you are interested in these minorities, just go to the cities in their region.
  • ZhuangThe Zhuang are concentrated north of Nanning, around Liuzhou, and in Central, North, and West Guangxi and surrounding provinces.
  • HuiNingxia is a small region set aside for the Hui people, but the Hui are China’s most widely spread minority, and can be found in every province and all the large cities. Just look for the mosques.
  • UygursThe Uygurs’ autonomous region is Xinjiang, Northwest China.
  • MongolsChinese Mongols mainly live in Inner Mongolia.
  • TibetansAll cities in Tibet could be called minority cities as Tibetans and their culture predominate wherever you go in Tibet.
We also recommend the following cities for their minority attractions and popularity with tourists: Shigatse,Dingri (Shannan), and Shangri-la (Diqing) for Tibetan culture; Dali for Tibetan and Bai culture; Kashgar andUrumqi, for Uygur and other Muslim peoples; KanasErdos, and Hulunbuir, for Mongol grassland culture;Sanjiang for Dong culture; and Fenghuang for Sanjiang Miao Village.

Engineering in China - You may fly on a Made-in-China aircraft sooner than you think

While the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) has yet to win any big international orders with its C919 passenger airplane, you may be flying on an aircraft manufactured by China's state-owned commercial aerospace company sooner than you think.

John Leahy, chief operating officer of Airbus said he believes Comac will emerge as a serious competitor in the mainstream commercial aviation market over the next 20 years.

"If you [ask], are we worried about competitors in the next 10 years? The answer is no, not really. In 20 years, it's almost a certainty," Leahy told CNBC at the Singapore Airshow.

"Remember, Airbus was started in 1970, it took 20 years before we were just being taken seriously, I think that would be the same with any manufacturer, no matter the country behind that," he added.

So far, Comac has won 400 orders for the C919, the mainland's largest locally produced aircraft intended to compete with the Boeing 737 andAirbus A320.

ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
The 'iron bird' test platform, a plane-like fuselage simulator, for the C919
The majority of customers for the narrow bodied, single-aisle passenger airliner are still domestic carriers such as Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines.

This, however, did not appear to be a concern for Comac. Tian Min, Comac's chief financial officer, said the company's focus for the time being is the domestic market.

(Read more: Private jet makers bet on US, not Asia for big orders)

"We realize the development of an airline takes a long time, so our estimation, even though we don't have a plan yet to compete for the market with Boeing and Airbus, is that may take us dozens of years," Min said at a conference during the Singapore Airshow.

The C919's will undertake its maiden test flight in 2015, one year later than originally planned, with the first delivery scheduled for 2016.

David Stewart, vice president of consultancy ICF International says even if the C919 doesn't gain traction outside of China, the next aircraft they manufacture will be a success.

(Read more: Asia's airplane fleet to triple by 2032: Boeing)

"The Chinese don't really worry about 10, or 20 years. It's where will they be in 50 years' time. They are on a learning curve, and it doesn't really matter to them how long it takes. At some point there will be ABC - Airbus, Boeing, Comac," said Stewart, who expects Comac will begin to present genuine competition to Boeing and Airbus in the next two decades.

"They will break out of China with the C919, because they know they have to develop their customer support infrastructure to be able to support planes outside of China," he added.

It wouldn't be a surprise to see C919's flying in Africa, said Stewart. Beijing may make an investment into an African infrastructure project in exchange for orders of the aircraft for example, he said.

(Read more: China's open skies plan is huge: Honeywell)

"It's all part of a grand experiment to learn how to do this sort of thing, Africa could be a testing ground," Stewart said.

Comac's expansion into the global market, however, won't be without major challenges.

In addition to overcoming negative perceptions over the safety of products produced in the mainland, the company must set up a large amount of infrastructure in order to support its fleet.

"Airlines exist on having a reliable operation. To do that you have to have spares and technical support in the right place, doing that in English, at a distance, they don't have any track record at all on that, so that's their biggest challenge," said Stewart.

—By CNBC's Ansuya Harjani. Follow her on Twitter: @Ansuya_H


Learn more about aeronautical and astronautical degree courses in China:

1. English Medium Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Degrees in China Universities