Monday, 29 June 2015

More than 100 Belgian Students to Visit China in Mid July

Students and teachers who will attend the 'Chinese Bridge' summer camp take a photo on June 27, 2015, in Brussels, Belgium. [Photo: CRI Online]

Ahead of this year's China-EU Leaders' Meeting in Brussels, a group of Belgian middle-school students are preparing for a trip this coming month to China to learn more about the country.

Around 100 young students from Belgium are preparing to head to China as part of a summer camp program.

Half of them will head to Chongqing, while the other half will spend their time in the province of Shandong.

Eline Alifiens is one of the students preparing to make her way to China.

She says she's been studying Mandarin for the last 3-years.

"I started to get interested in Chinese because of the economy and also I found the Chinese language very interesting and it sounds very fine to speak Chinese. I think its a good opportunity to go with this summer camp. So we could know more about the culture and language and other people there."

The tour is part of the "Chinese Bridge Project" organized by the Confucius Institute.

The program is meant to try to give overseas students a better understanding of both the Chinese language and culture.

Claeys Lieselot, who is an English teacher in Belgium, took part in the program in 2013.

She says her time in Sichuan's capital, Chengdu, opened her eyes to what China has to offer.

"In the province of Sichuan, and there we see some school where we have some of the language lessons in Chinese but also some cultural lessons, paper cutting for instance and tea ceremony. We did Tai Chi and a little bit of Kungfu as well. Some use traditional music that they play some other performances. So it is really really nice to do all of these things."

Tao Hongjian, in charge of the education program at the Chinese embassy in Belgium, says the program has done a lot to create a better understanding of China in Belgium.

"The 'Chinese Bridge' summer camp program has been developing well in recent years. Many young people have fallen in love with China through their short stays in China. Many of those who have gone on the trip have ended up choosing to study in Chinese universities or take part in university exchange programs. Many of them eventually end up finding a job in China or work back here in Belgium in areas connected to China-Belgium communications."

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is in Brussels to attend this year's China-EU Leaders' Meetings.

He's also due to meet with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as part of his time there, with cross-cultural exchanges expected to be one of the highlights of his agenda.

Source - CRI, I'm Zhao Jianfu.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Explore China - Jinli Ancient Street, One of The Oldest Streets in SW China

Jinli Ancient Street is one of the oldest and busiest streets in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province. This street, which is only 350 meters long, was one of the busiest commercial areas during the Shu Kingdom (221-263). Hence, it is known as the 'First Street of the Shu Kingdom'. 

Visitors from all over China and abroad gather here to relax, admire the traditional-style buildings, and taste some local snacks. (Photos by Huang Jin/People's Daily Online)

Growing Number of US Universities Establish Branches in China

Over the last three years, the number of Chinese students applying to universities in the U.S. has increased by 75 percent to 275,000, according to the Yale University publication, “China Hands”. Although the number is impressive, high-cost American tuition has shut the door for families that cannot afford the expense. Now Chinese students have another way to enjoy the benefits of a foreign education, at less cost. CCTV’s Lin Yijing reported this story.

More details:
  • Joint universities organized by Chinese and American educators are becoming increasingly popular.
  • NYU Shanghai has now enrolled 570 undergraduate students, half from China and half from other countries. Admission policies are a mix of Chinese and U.S. procedures.
  • Duke University has also opened a joint college in Jiangsu, working with Wuhan University. While the joint universities are popular, experts say they are supplements within China’s education market, and will not affect the increasing number of Chinese students going to the United States.

Corresponding colors denote partnerships. Source: CCTV America.

See more global universities partnerships - Global Higher Education - Branch Campus Listing

Related Articles -

Picturesque Night View of Fenghuang Ancient Town in China's Hunan

Fenghuang (凤凰), praised as "the Most Beautiful Town of China" by famous New Zealand writer Rewi Alley, is a small county renowned for its natural beauty, rich history and culture as well as colorful ethnic customs, located at south Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture of Hunan province, China. 

Fenghuang means Phoenix in Chinese. Phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird in Chinese mythology representing good omen and longevity. Fenghuang town is given the name after Fenghuang Mountain which resembles Phoenix situated 50 miles away from it.

Below photos taken on June 17, 2015 shows the night view of the ancient town of Fenghuang, central China's Hunan Province. (Xinhua/Long Hongtao)

Explore China - Ruoergai is China's Most Beautiful Wetland

Ruoergai wetland (若尔盖湿地), located in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Sichuan Province, is regarded as the country's most beautiful wetland. The wetland is a national level reserve known for its high altitude. As one of China's largest wetlands, the area provides habitat for many rare bird species including the black-necked crane and is home to numerous wild animals.

It is home to many Tibetan nomads who live in tent encampments and herd yaks.

Below are photos of beautiful scenery of Ruoergai wetland in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Sichuan Province. (CNS/An Yuan)

Explore China - Enjoy The Stunning Views of Wuling Mountains

The Wuling Mountains ( 武陵山脉) is a mountain range located in Central China, running from Chongqing Municipality and East Guizhou to West Hunan. They are home to many ethnic groups, including as the Tujia, Han, Miao, Dong, and Bai.

The Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Wuling Mountain Range noted for its more than 3,000 quartzite sandstone pillars and peaks across most of the site, along with many ravines and gorges between them with streams, pools and waterfalls.

Located in Miyun County some 150 kilometers east of Beijing, Wuling Mountain is a national-level forest reserve. What distinguishes the reserve from other similar mountain resorts in suburban Beijing is its many creeks, waterfalls and moisture-rich air. 

Regards as a famous mountain from of old, The Wuling mountain was originally known as the Fuling mountain. A patriarch of a Buddhist sect in the Ming Dynasty, chose this mountain as a place to search for "enlightenment", and it is cloudy and foggy all the year round, the mountain then began to be called the Wuling Mountain.

In 1645, the Qing government made this place a forbidden area. More than 200 years later, it becomes a beautiful natural scenery with numerous trees, springs and animals. Here keeps a complete forest ecological system of temperate zone, earning the reputation of "Gene Bank of Species in North China".

Covering an area of 140 square kilometers, The Wuling Mountain have many scenic attractions. The southern slope is called Wanhuatai, and the northern slope, Qingliangjie. The four scenic areas include Waitao Peak(Main peak), Xianren Pagoda, Dragon's Pool and Qingliangjie; the seven scenes include Wuling Sea of Clouds, Sunrise at Wuling, Snow-covered Wuling, Wuling Buddha Radiance, and Wuling Forest, Sunset at Wuling, and Wuling in autumn. There are more than 100 scenic spots such as Xianren Pagoda, Waterfall at the Dragon’s Pool, Qibufen Peak, etc.

Below are photos of the stunning views of Wuling Mountains.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Double-track Railway Between China ,Thailand to Break Ground

The foundation stone for the double-track railway between China and Thailand will be laid at the end of this year, the website of China News Service (CNS) reports on June 11.

Ambassador of Thailand to China Wiboon Khusakul disclosed this to CNS after attending a meeting on Thailand's investment in Harbin, capital city of northeast China's Heilongjiang province on the day.

The railway will provide a new link for the bilateral trade between China and Thailand as well as a golden travel route linking Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan province, Laos and Thailand. The railway signifies that the standard of China’s railway export has become the "model" for the world.

Related posts:

3. China May Build Railway to Nepal, with Tunnel Through Mount Everest

Monday, 22 June 2015

Explore China Culture - 7 Things You May Not Know About Summer Solstice

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Summer Solstice, (Chinese: 夏至), the 10th solar term of the year, begins on June 22 this year and ends on July 6.

At this time, much of the northern hemisphere receives the most hours of daylight, but it does not bring the hottest temperatures which will come only 20 to 30 days later.

In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. But the solar term culture is still useful today to guide people's lives through eating special foods, performing cultural ceremonies and even healthy living tips that correspond with each solar term.

The following are 7 things you might not know about Summer Solstice.

Summer Solstice is the best season for viewing the aurora. [File Photo]

The longest day of the year

On the Summer Solstice itself, daylight lasts the longest for the whole year in the northern hemisphere. After this day, daylight hours get shorter and shorter and temperatures become higher in the northern hemisphere.

How long is the longest day in China? According to the expert Yan Jiarong, the entire day in Mohe in Helongjiang province, located in the northernmost tip of China, lasts nearly 17 hours when you include dawn, twilight and its afterglow. Summer Solstice is the best season for viewing the aurora in Mohe, "the sleepless town of China".

Fan painting by Yao Yuehua, Flowers in the Vase, Song Dynasty (960-1279). [File photo]

A public holiday in ancient times

Summer Solstice was an important festival in ancient China. As early as the Han Dynasty (260BC-220), when the Mid-autumn Festival and the Double Ninth Festival were not as important as they are today, the Summer Solstice was already celebrated.

Before the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), people even had a one-day holiday on Summer Solstice. According to Song Dynasty (960-1279) records, officials could have three days off during the Summer Solstice.

To celebrate Summer Solstice, women gave colored fans and sachets to each other. Fans could help them cool down and the sachets could drive away mosquitoes and make them smell sweet.

Hani people stage a ceremony on the day of the Summer Solstice.[Photo/]

Seeing the sun turn around

Hani autonomous county of Mojiang, southwest China's Yunnan province is located on the northern tropic. Every year on the Summer Solstice, the sun sits directly over the Tropic of Cancer and returns from north to south. Then, the amazing phenomenon known as "upright pole with no shadows" occurs.

The Hani people revere the sun and have always had a close bond with it. They welcome the turn-around of the sun and offer sacrifices to it.

Eating dog meat and lychees

In the southern part of China, during the Summer Solstice, eating dog meat and lychees is an ancient tradition. People in Guangdong, Guangxi, Qinzhou, Yulin and and other regions love eating dog meat and lychee during the summer. It is said that in summer solstice, eating the dog meat and lychee together will cause less "internal heat" (上火) in the body.

In the south China, the habit of eating dog meat and lychees during summer solstice survives to the present day. Yet the dog meat-eating festival in Yulin has stirred far more intense public debate. The controversy over the festival reveals the friction between traditional customs and the modern idea of animal [protection.

Traditional Beijing Noodles with Soy Bean Paste.[Photo provided to]

Eating noodles

There is a saying in Shandong province which goes, "eat dumplings on the Winter Solstice and eat noodles on Summer Solstice." People in different areas of Shandong province eat chilled noodles on this day. Other people around China, including those in Beijing, also have a tradition of eating noodles.

Dragon boat racing. [File photo]

Dragon boat racing in Zhejiang

Due to the local climate, Dragon boat races have been held on the Summer Solstice day in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province rather than on Dragon Boat Festival since the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. This tradition is still in practice today, with all the attendant excitement.

[File photo]

Summer Solstice idiom

In Chinese, an idiom "杯弓蛇影" is related to Summer Solstice.

According to the records of Fengsutong (a book about Chinese customs), written by Ying Shao from the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD25-220), a man named Du Xuan attended a banquet on Summer Solstice, where he mistook the shadow of a bow in his cup for a snake and he had to drink it out of fear.

After the banquet, he felt chest pains and a bellyache and couldn't recover even after seeing many doctors. Finally, he found he had mistaken the shadow of a red crossbow on the wall for a snake in his cup and recovered. Later, people used this idiom to refer to people who are suspicious and frighten themselves.

The 24 solar terms are determined by changes in the sun's position in the zodiac during the year. They were first used in China and now are followed in many other parts of the world. In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. They also reflect China’s rich history through the seasonal festivals, special foods, cultural ceremonies, family gatherings and even healthy living tips that correspond with each solar term.

Here is a peek into the 24 terms in 2015.

Solar Terms
Feb. 4
Spring begins.
Rain Water(雨水)
It begins to rain.
Mar. 6
Hibernating animals awaken.
Day and night are equally long.
Apr. 5
It is warm and bright.
Grain Rain(谷雨)
Apr. 20
Rainfall increases for grain to grow.
May 6
Summer begins.
Grain Buds(小满)
May 21
Seeds of summer crops begin to plump.
Jun. 6
Wheat grows ripe.
Jun. 22
The longest daylight hours and the shortest night of the year.
Minor Heat(小暑)
Jul. 7
Heat sets in.
Major Heat(大暑)
Jul. 23
The hottest time of the of year begins.
Aug 8
Autumn begins.
End of Heat(处暑)
Aug 23
Heat recedes.
White Dew(白露)
Sep. 8
Dew forms.
Sep. 23
The middle of autumn comes.
Cold Dew(寒露)
Oct. 8
Dew is very cold.
Oct. 24
Frost descends.
Nov. 8
Winter begins.
Minor Snow(小雪)
Nov. 22
It begins to snow.
Major Snow(大雪)
Dec. 7
It snows heavily.
Dec. 22
It has the shortest day light hours and the longest night of a year.
Minor Cold(小寒)
Jan 6
It is rather cold.
Major Cold(大寒)
Jan 20
The coldest time of the year begins.

Source - china daily