The colors of China: 30 years of China's history in pictures

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The colors of China: 30 years of China's history in pictures
The colors of China: 30 years of China's history in pictures

The images of Weng Naiqiang, veteran photographer, tell marginal but significant episodes of Chinese daily life that intertwine with the great historical moments and the hardships that the country was experiencing.

This group of pictures is produced by Tencent pictures and China National Geographic Publishing House.

Dazhai commune
In 1960, a brigade of Dazhai commune in Shanxi City, after the implementation of the agricultural co-operation, started the construction of terraced fields improving the production of the village grain of seven times. In 1963, Mao invited the people to follow the spirit of the model commune of Dazhai. The photo shows people who came from all over to visit and study Dazhai.
1966. Students teaching the thought of Mao to peasants.
1966. Students teaching the thought of Mao to peasants.
1968. Guangdong Zhujiang factory sending young workers to join the army.
1968. Guangdong Zhujiang factory sending young workers to join the army.
1968. Between the 50s and 70s, tens of thousands of young intellectuals, answering the call of the party, came in the northern province of Heilongjiang, to defend and strengthen the borders, reclaiming the land. In 1968, Weng Naiqiang began to visit frequently this area.
1968. Between the 50s and 70s, tens of thousands of young intellectuals, answering the call of the party, came in the northern province of Heilongjiang, to defend and strengthen the borders, reclaiming the land. In 1968, Weng Naiqiang began to visit frequently this area.
1970. Young students working with farmers of the ethnic Yi minority, in Yunnan.
1970. Young students working with farmers of the ethnic Yi minority, in Yunnan.
1971. Harvesting the fields. A propaganda performance for the workers.
1971. Harvesting the fields. A propaganda performance for the workers.
1971. Shandong fishermen reading the little red book of Mao.
1971. Shandong fishermen reading the little red book of Mao.
1971. On the island of Weichangshan, in front of Dalian, in 1958, a group of women, breaking the Chinese traditions, decided to go fishing, with excellent results. In 1962, the "March 8" was the first vessel to sail driven by a woman captain, Wen Shuzen. In 1971, the March 8 captured a record amount of shrimps. The export of shrimps at that time represented an important economic resource for China.
1971. On the island of Weichangshan, in front of Dalian, in 1958, a group of women, breaking the Chinese traditions, decided to go fishing, with excellent results. In 1962, the "March 8" was the first vessel to sail driven by a woman captain, Wen Shuzen. In 1971, the March 8 captured a record amount of shrimps. The export of shrimps at that time represented an important economic resource for China.
1970s. Chenjiagou, the Chen Family Village, Jiaozuo, in Henan. Here, the inhabitants of the village traditionally practiced a particular form of martial arts, called Chenjiagou Taijiquan.
1970s. Chenjiagou, the Chen Family Village, Jiaozuo, in Henan. Here, the inhabitants of the village traditionally practiced a particular form of martial arts, called Chenjiagou Taijiquan.
1970s. Xitang, Zhejiang, is one of the birthplaces of Wu-Yue culture and is a Chinese historical city, characterized by an architecture crossed by a network of canals and bridges. Boats are an important means of transportation for residents.
1970s. Xitang, Zhejiang, is one of the birthplaces of Wu-Yue culture and is a Chinese historical city, characterized by an architecture crossed by a network of canals and bridges. Boats are an important means of transportation for residents.
1970s. Zhejiang. Women busy in embroidery.
1970s. Zhejiang. Women busy in embroidery.
1970s. Towards the end of the decade, Guangzhou is at the forefront with regard to the process of reform and opening. With the economic recovery, businesses are beginning to emerge. In the picture, one of the first shops in the city.
1970s. Towards the end of the decade, Guangzhou is at the forefront with regard to the process of reform and opening. With the economic recovery, businesses are beginning to emerge. In the picture, one of the first shops in the city.
1970s. At work. The traffic on the Haizhu bridge in Guangzhou.
1970s. At work. The traffic on the Haizhu bridge in Guangzhou.
1980s. In the early 80s, the first televisions begin to enter Chinese homes. The image shows a TV color set just bought while being transported in some way at home.
1980s. In the early 80s, the first televisions begin to enter Chinese homes. The image shows a TV color set just bought while being transported in some way at home.
1970s. Shanghai. The Bund. Morning exercises.
1970s. Shanghai. The Bund. Morning exercises.
After 10 years of suspension of the cultural life of the country, in 1977 the college entrance examination system was restored, people begin to study. The value of science, knowledge, and culture is recognized again. In the photo, a library in Guangdong.
After 10 years of suspension of the cultural life of the country, in 1977 the college entrance examination system was restored, people begin to study. The value of science, knowledge, and culture is recognized again. In the photo, a library in Guangdong.
1977-78. college students ready to take the entrance exam. A new ruling and intellectual class take shape.
1980. Chinese women's volleyball team won the first world championship. People taking to the streets to celebrate.
1980. Chinese women's volleyball team won the first world championship. People taking to the streets to celebrate.
1980s. During the years of the Cultural Revolution, important archaeological finds in the area of ​​Xi'an were made. A souvenir seller in front of the Mausoleum.
1980s. During the years of the Cultural Revolution, important archaeological finds in the area of ​​Xi'an were made. A souvenir seller in front of the Mausoleum.

"The Color of China: over 30 years of history of images", is a book of photographs of Weng Naijiang available in China, in Chinese. The book consists of a selection of 445 pictures, commented by the author, that tell the rapid social changes in the recent history of China.

Source

The curious Longchang apartments in Shanghai

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longchang apartments

Longchang apartments: a former British police station turned into a residential complex.

The area has been built between the 20s and 30s of last century and is part of Shanghai International Settlement.

The first people who came to live here were the families of security officers and workers. Recently the site has become famous overnight after the movie "Kung Fu Hustle" directed by Stephen Chow (In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious "Axe Gang" while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf, plot from imdb.com).

Images of the Longchang apartments in Shanghai

Longchang apartments in Shanghai

Longchang apartments in Shanghai

Kungfu hustle

Kungfu hustle

Kungfu hustle

Photos: Chinese web, Southern Metropolis Weekly via I cuoriosi appartamenti Longchang a Shanghai

20 glamorous Hong Kong girl images by Celebi

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Fashion photographer Akif Hakan Celebi, American of Turkish origin, currently doing personal project shooting Hong Kong girls in Hong Kong and also in Taiwan with Taiwanese girls.

He composes cinematographic colorful images even in his personal photography works. His female models seem heroines and superheroines materialized straight from the pages of a Japanese manga. The girls located on the street or in a normal everyday background, shine and evoke glamor, sensuality, and beauty. The use of vibrant colors is influenced by many great Far East movies, like Chungking Express. Since he set a specific atmospheric mood, every image is not only a photo but a full 360-degree story, with a lot of details.

Official website and accounts:

https://hakanphotography.com/
https://www.facebook.com/akifhakancelebi/
https://www.instagram.com/akifhakancelebi/
https://twitter.com/akifhakan?lang=en
https://www.flickr.com/photos/akifhakancelebi/
http://hakanphotography.deviantart.com/

Akif-Hakan-Celebi Akif-Hakan-Celebi Akif-Hakan-Celebi

32 precious old photographs reveal the real life of the Chinese people in the 1980s

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Chinese stylish girl
A stylish girl admired by neighbors.

An album of selected images depicts a vision of China in the 1980s, very different from today. China was more ideological, and poor but apparently also more naive and genuine.

In the 80's China was experiencing a period of transition: the tragedies of the Cultural Revolution, the Gang of Four who plagued the country, the death of Mao, the economic and social reforms of Deng Xiaoping.

At the same time, in this decade, Beijing began slowly to open the country. The directors of the fifth generation like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige emerged, but at that time they depicted the recent past rather than the present, which instead will be told later by the Sixth generation directors as Jia Zhangke in Zhantai (Platform). Illegal pop music cassette from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan started to pop up around the country influencing the young generations.

Images of China in the 1980s

Chinese old woman

black and white tv sets in China
At that time, black and white tv sets were rare in China.
Chinese seamstresses
Chinese seamstresses, like many other workers encouraged by Deng Xiaoping, worked the street.
The ice vendor
The ice vendor.
Chinese soldiers
Chinese soldiers writing love letters to their girlfriends or family.
meat every day
At the time, people didn't eat meat every day. Meat was reserved for special occasions.
collective works
At that time, each family was asked to send people for collective works.
The four modernizations of China
The four modernizations of China (agricultural modernization, national defense, science and technology).

going home
Going home ...
Chinese old men chatting
Old men chatting

Chinese kid

Pens in the pocket
Pens in the pocket were taken into great account during the eighties.
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China.
Chinese tourists
One of the first Chinese tourist groups.
Chinese kid
Unlike today, clothes were shared and reused by all the sons.
Chinese policeman
A Chinese policeman.
Chinese bus
Instead of buses and taxis, people often used trucks, loaded to bursting, before departure.
A seller of traditional Chinese medicine
A seller of traditional Chinese medicine
Chinese barber
Chinese barber. At the time, and even now in some remote places, barbers worked on the streets.
Chinese kids reading books
Chinese kids reading books in front of a shop.
Chinese sweater
Sweaters were pretty popular at the time.
revival of qigong
The revival of qigong: in this period thousand of qigong schools and academies begin to proliferate. In the picture, some Chinese old people performing unlikely exercises of qigong in a park.
Chinese stylish girl
A stylish girl admired by neighbors.

via 32 splendide foto che rivelano la vita vera dei cinesi negli anni '80 source tieba.baidu

Escape from fashion

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Dress for Success

New China is every day, from about more than a decade, increasingly capitalist and the new generations of women, as a lot of women around the world, are intoxicated by fashion. Photo project on film, shoot in 2009.

The subject of the shots is the sparkling and colorful women's clothing stores, that every day have new clothing and accessories, trying to attract the attention of potential customers. Free choice of personal look is often apparent, as in the end, many women depersonalize their image and individuality. When women created an image following the tips as the keys to achieving success at the end up, they appear and become just like the mannequins in the photos.

Escape from dress for Success … Don't be intoxicated by fashion don't be a slave ... Choose what you like, choose your style as you wish, be yourself, be free!

All photos were shot with a Lomo LC-A+ on 135mm film, Fuji Superia 200, December 2009, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.

Photo&text: Dominique Musorrafiti

Dress for Success China trends fashion of China Chinese fashion Chinese fashion Chinese fashion China fashion China fashion Dress for Success Dress for Success

Art and Science Collaboration with MAHB.Stanford.edu (The Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere)

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With the help from MAHB.Standford.edu, the traditional Lingnan Style Guo hua, an art form expressing the human appreciation of nature since its creation, is now given an opportunity to grow and develop.

Anita Yan Wong, an Art Professor and a Specialist in Modern and Traditional Chinese art, is a long time pupil of 辛鵬九– a World-renowned Lingnan style master (嶺南畫派) and first pupils of Chao Shao An. Anita is the 4th generations of Lingnan masters, she specializes in both traditional and modern arts. Her goal is to preserve and push the limit of Lingnan Guo hua with her knowledge in Art and Design, her background in both modern and traditional eastern and western Arts and the help of Scientist and Socialist.
With the help from MAHB.Standford.edu, the traditional Lingnan Style Guo hua, an art form expressing the human appreciation of nature since its creation, is now given an opportunity to grow and develop– the traditional art form will once again question the modern minds, it will once again serve as a voice and an instrument for Nature with an updated style, scientific and social meanings.

Collaboration project in progress
Please note: this is an informal documentation of the work in progress for the project

Artist and Professor:  Anita Yan Wong
Hong Kong American Artist archived under AAAC, N.Y.C.
Professorship and Faculty member:
School of Visual Arts, NYC
The Art Institute, Philadelphia
Tyler School of Arts, Temple University
Maryland Institute College of Arts, MD, U.S.A.

Organization: MAHB Stanford.edu

Special thanks
MAHB communication officer: Erika Gavenus

Step one: An understanding of the past and its future...

Anita Yan Wong, an Art Professor and a Specialist in Modern and Traditional Chinese art, is a long time pupil of 辛鵬九– a World-renowned Lingnan style master (嶺南畫派) and first pupils of Chao Shao An. Anita is the 4th generations of Lingnan masters, she specializes in both traditional and modern arts. Her goal is to preserve and push the limit of Lingnan Guo hua with her knowledge in Art and Design, her background in both modern and traditional eastern and western Arts and the help of Scientist and Socialist.
With the help from MAHB.Standford.edu, the traditional Lingnan Style Guo hua, an art form expressing the human appreciation of nature since its creation, is now given an opportunity to grow and develop– the traditional art form will once again question the modern minds, it will once again serve as a voice and an instrument for Nature with an updated style, scientific and social meanings.

“Earth breathes flowers so that it could take our breath away.” – Anita Yan Wong
My current works have been dealing with preservation of Nature and the ancient art form that honors it – “Guo hua”(rice paper painting), specifically the fragile and rare art of traditional Lingnan Guo hua. Lingnan Guo hua, once considered as the most lively and contemporary of all Chinese Guo hua is now a rare art and considered by some critics as a dying art form. With few pupils of practice, the style and message of the art form has not been pushed to its potential. It did not catch up with time as the Art World quickly evolved in the digital art age. Did the the traditional art form of Gou Hua, along with Calligraphy once honored and practiced by almost all households in China, lost its voice as cities raises and as most sees it as a tradition rather than a voice or a messenger from nature in the Modern World? Is the core meaning of the ancient art form that once honored nature being preserved and kept in the fast economy driven digital age? Like another influential 19th century Art movement – Impressionist, the success of Lingnan Guo hua (traditional Guo hua that opened its door to Western and Japanese influence during World War II) in the late 19th and early 20th century played a key role in Modern Chinese painting; its beauty (described by many critic at the time as a competitor with the real beauty in nature) that captivated and inspired many should not be forgotten. Both Nature and the ancient art form that honors it is given light, a second chance and a voice in this project.

•This project is a second stage of another art project "Preserved", solo exhibition to be shown March 2017 at the historical landmark in San Francisco – Canessa Gallery
About "Preserved":
"A broken butterfly wing, a bunch of fallen leaves on the path way, a cicadas shell on a tree, some strangely grown twigs and pressed flower bookmarks from my childhood friend: I find these preserved objects beautiful and precious. I have preserved these strange finds from nature under glass with backgrounds of “Guo hua”, rice paper paintings, one of the oldest art form that honors Nature. They are given a second life and are frozen in time with new meanings under the glass, they tell stories of their existence and lives.
Rice paper painting along with Calligraphy was once a common practice among all Chinese is seen by some as a dying art form. As a Chinese American artist, I want to preserve it, cherish it and bring it to life with new ideas and creative thinkings. The title "Preserved" contains the meaning of preserving Nature as well as the traditional art form of "Guo hua", both fragile but beautiful, both need to be protected and preserved.

Project details:

http://www.behance.net/portfolio/editor?project_id=46380405

The Artist and her teacher – Lingnan Masters

A Timeline of the Impressionist

(image credit: Wikipedia)
Anita Yan Wong, Chinese Impressionist Lingnan style artist, featured among the Impressionist Masters on Widewalls.ch

Step two: An open heart in style and an influence from the Impressionist...

Two art movements blossomed in the 19th century, they are separated by oceans away, one in China, the other in France. They are known by us as Lingnan style Guo hua and the Impressionist.

" I want to have an open heart but not change the style for the wrong reasons, not for some trends. It must flow, it must change with reasons and with its core meanings. I don't know what it would change into, I cannot see its ending but I believe in it and know I am dedicated to this in my life time.

The new Lingnan Guo Hua style I am developing is inspired by Impressionism, a 19th century french art movement characterized by expressive defined brush strokes; effects of light; movement and passage of time, the movement that brought painters outdoor to experience nature, daily and social lives from the limitation of the indoor studios sets. I am very interested in how Impressionist shares a similar brush works as Guo hua – fast and expressive in their brush strokes that captures the moments. Unlike realist painters, impressionist painters and Guo hua painters are using the medium as an expression of their feelings and view points towards the subject matters rather than an imitation of the realities"
Although influenced by the impressionist right now, I don't want to be fixated into a certain style, this project is a working process and the style will change with research, development and time...
– Anita Yan Wong

Step three: Questioning the "relationship"

Does our relationship with nature different than it used to be? If the medium could speak, how would its subject matter change with time? As we look at the traditional Lingnan style Guo hua in the past, it is often close ups of birds, animals, flowers and beauty in nature. It never complains, everything is with harmony and everything is perfect. If nature is crying, the medium that honors nature must be weeping with it. What is our relationship with nature? How does the subject matters change in 2017 and jump out of its box/limitation since its creation. What is the real message it tries to deliver to us?

Step four: A Timeline and a comparison of Old and New Style

Timeline: Year – 2009
Year – 2015 – 2016
Yale University, China Hands Magazine features Artist Anita Yan Wong
"Traditional Art form questioning the Modern Minds"
Year – 2016 Spring, Summer, Fall
Year – 2016 Winter
Year – 2017
features:
Year 2017
The chaos and movement in nature makes the subject matter interesting.
My new paintings are inspired by the chaos, the movements and its voice.
"Swan" by Anita Yan Wong, the body of the swan becomes a form in this semi abstract painting, the subject matter "bird" is no longer as important as its beautiful form, viewers are asked to appreciate the beautiful form of the swan rather than the bird itself.
Inspired by Impressionist, Lingnan Guo hua and the bird master Ching
Brainstorm: questioning the relationship
We used to live among Nature, what is our relationship now with Mother Nature?
"Fallen angels" is a painting opposite to the traditional composition in Chinese landscape painting where small figurative are surrounded by Nature.
Characteristics of mushroom, a metaphor of how we spread as a society.
http://www.livescience.com/41492-mushrooms-make-wind.html
Many once thought that mushrooms spread by passively dropping their spores, after which the reproductive packets would hopefully get picked up by a gust of wind, and carried thither and yon. But new research shows mushrooms take a more active role in spreading their seed: They "make wind" to carry their spores about, said UCLA researcher Marcus Roper.
Mushrooms create air flow by allowing their moisture to evaporate. "A mushroom is essentially doing less than nothing to protect its water from evaporating off," Roper told LiveScience.
"Mother Nature" Lingnan style Chinese Impressionist painting by Artist Anita Yan Wong
A continuation of Nature's poem series
Visual non verbal poems from Nature inspired by Calligraphy and sounds in Nature
"fallen"

One of the three famous Green Men in St. Jerome’s Church, Llangwm, Gwent, South Wales, which first interested Lady Raglan (photo John Harding)

The Celtic nature god Cernunnos from the Gundestrup Cauldron (1st Century BCE, now in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen)
Painting inspired by "Green man", a male counterpart - or son or lover or guardian - to Gaia or the Earth Mother.
Symbol of life and nature:
The Celtic nature god Cernunnos from the Gundestrup Cauldron (1st Century BCE, now in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen)
(Source)
The most common and perhaps obvious interpretation of the Green Man is that of a pagan nature spirit, a symbol of man’s reliance on and union with nature, a symbol of the underlying life-force, and of the renewed cycle of growth each spring. In this respect, it seems likely that he has evolved from older nature deities such as the Celtic Cernunnos and the Greek Pan and Dionysus.
Some have gone so far as to make the argument that the Green Man represents a male counterpart - or son or lover or guardian - to Gaia (or the Earth Mother, or Great Goddess), a figure which has appeared throughout history in almost all cultures. In the 16th Century Cathedral at St-Bertrand de Comminges in southern France, there is even an example of a representation of a winged Earth Mother apparently giving birth to a smiling Green Man.
text and image credit:
"Language of the birds"
The body of the bird becomes a symbol, a character that indicates Calligraphy and language.

12 amazing images of people living with their cats in China

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World cat day in China
Melon, 26 years old, is originally from Yongan, Fujian. She came in Guangzhou in August 2014 to work and immediately had decided to adopt two Siamese cats. She says she grew up with cats and her family has had up to four cats.

World cat day in China: Nowadays in Chinese society, more and more young people are looking for an individual space, a free life without obstacles, but at the same time being able to feel emotionally fulfilled, loved and loving.

Chinese website 163.com has published a series of images of Chinese families, from one or more individuals, with one or more pets. Data show that China currently has 200 million families living with pets, and the annual growth rate is not less than 10%. Since 17th  February is “World cat day” we selected some images of those families with felines. These families, when speaking about their cat, often referred to them with similar words: "It's not that I keep it, it's more like it lives with me!" For some young men and women, who live in cities, their cats are like their children and for this reason, they try to give them the best of the best.

World cat day in China
Melon, 26 years old, is originally from Yongan, Fujian. She came in Guangzhou in August 2014 to work and immediately decided to adopt two Siamese cats. She says she grew up with cats and her family has had up to four cats.
Cats in China
Ke Jiamin, 34 years old, is originally from Putian, Fujian, now he lives in Guangzhou, where he graduated from college. In 2013, in a pet store, he found a cat with a big face with short hair and was immediately love at first sight. Jiamin has brought home the cat and decided to call him "Big Head". Big Head is a very exclusive cat, who doesn't like meeting people and often has a cold and distant look.
Chinese cats
Vicky is 26 years old. She is from Shandong, after graduation, she decided to stay in Guangzhou. She is the wife of a policeman. Since her husband for most of the time is outside training, Vicky feels that a part of the family that enriches her heart are their cats. Vicky, now, is pregnant and for this reason, many people are worried about her and the risks of transmission of Toxoplasma by their cats. Vicky is not worried and said that the cats will stay with them, she has absolutely no intention of abandoning their pets.
World cat day in China
Da Da, a native of Shaoxing, Zhejiang lives in Guangzhou, where he works as a photographer. He lives with a baby, his wife, parents, a black dog, a cat of three colors "Sushi" and a white and yellow cat "Meow". Da Da and his wife love animals very much, in fact, they think that these will help them to learn to love, tolerance and patience. They also think pets are important for child's childhood. They believe that by growing with pets, their baby will be physically and mentally healthy.
World cat day in China
Azusa, born in 1993, is an authentic Guangzhou boy. He and his friends opened a tea shop. Azusa has called a cat Cuckoo and the other Jiji.
World cat day in China
Ma Fang is originally from Ningxia Hui. She working in the media, in Guangzhou, from August 2016. While she was near a bridge she found a stray kitten, which she called "Godfather", since she believes that this little feline will determine its nature: good or bad. Ma Fang believes that the most special and memorable moment is when she's in a bad mood and the cat lies down on her chest close to her heart and falls asleep. She said that that time her heart was in the state of dark and gloomy mood, simply and immediately lit, thanks to this little life that has a sweet and delicate own personal touch.
World cat day in China
Hwang Wengwen, 21 years, after adopting his first kitten, he rented an apartment outside his school in Guangzhou, to create his own studio. His girlfriend, who didn't want to see the kitten grow alone, spent many hours in a pet shop and spent 750RMB to give a feline family to the kitten of her beloved.
World cat day in China
Zhu Wei, 25 years old, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Guangzhou. Two or three years ago, when he was still a student, he found in the Academy warehouse, a kitten. Zhu Wei has decided to call it "Flower." Flower behaves like a dog, she is very sticky, looks for him and wants to remain with him and sleeps in his arms or around him. But after all, being a cat, when it is dark, at night, she loves hanging out and she went to meet her lover. Zhu Wei didn't have the courage to sterilize her, and now he has four kittens. Zhu Wei said that he spends most of his time raising six cats.
Chinese cat
Suki, 27 years old, lives in Guangzhou with three cats and a dog. Last Easter found, near her home, in a box two newborn kittens, a week or so old. One of them didn't survive. Suki has for 15 years a dog named Dolly. She teaches to her dog to be friendly, gets along with the kitten since they are roommates.
World cat day in China
Little Lion, 28 years old, is single and she working on art projects. In June 2016, a small kitten has become a new member of her small house, as well as in July, once again, came another, just a month smaller of the first feline.
World cat day in China
Yunsheng Xiao is a native of Jiangxi, 1989, she is working in Guangzhou for six years. She raised four cats of different colors, named South, North, Tiger and Milk. The four cats sleep with her and cling to his thighs, arms, waist and chest. The girl admitted that before she was the first person to escape from cats. Thanks to friends who love cats, her attitude has changed and now she loves them very much.

Source and Photos:  news.163.com,  Chen Xuzi, Gengxu Na
via La giornata del gatto in Cina raccontata per immagini

Hard to detect, China bird flu virus may be more widespread

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China bird flu virus
A quarantine researcher checks on a chicken at a poultry farm in Xiangyang, Hubei province, China, February 3, 2017. Picture taken February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - Bird flu infection rates on Chinese poultry farms may be far higher than previously thought, because the strain of the deadly virus that has killed more than 100 people this winter is hard to detect in chickens and geese, animal health experts say.

Poultry that have contracted the H7N9 strain of the avian flu virus show little or no sign of symptoms. That means any infection is only likely to be detected if farmers or health authorities carry out random tests on a flock, the experts said.

But in humans, it can be deadly.

That's different to other strains, such as the highly pathogenic H5N6 that struck South Korean farms in December, prompting the government to call in the army to help cull some 26 million birds.

But that strain didn't kill any people.

There have been multiple outbreaks of bird flu around the world in recent months, with at least half a dozen different strains circulating. The scale of the outbreaks and range of viral strains increases the chances of viruses mixing and mutating, with new versions that can spread more easily between people, experts say.

For now, H7N9 is thought to be relatively difficult to spread between people. China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said the vast majority of people infected by H7N9 reported exposure to poultry, especially at live markets.

"There are very few, if any, clinical signs when this (H7N9) virus infects birds, and that's the main reason we're not seeing reporting coming from poultry farms in China," said Matthew Stone, deputy director general for International Standards and Science at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

INTENSIVE OUTBREAK

As many as 79 people died from H7N9 bird flu in China in January alone, up to four times higher than the same month in past years.

While spikes in contamination rates are normal in January - the main influenza season - the high level of human infections has prompted fears the spread of the virus among people could be the highest on record - especially as the number of bird flu cases reported by farmers has been conspicuously low.

The high number of human infections points to a significant outbreak in the poultry population that is not being detected, says Guan Yi, director of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Center of Influenza Research at the University of Hong Kong.

"If we have so many human infections, naturally it reflects activity, an intensive outbreak in chickens. They are highly associated," he said.

China has the world's largest flock of chickens, ducks and geese, and slaughtered more than 11 billion birds for meat in 2014, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The last major bird flu outbreak in China, in 2013, killed 36 people and cost the farming industry around $6.5 billion.

Chickens are seen at a market in Foshan, Guangdong province, China, July 1, 2014. Picture taken July 1, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

CONTROL CHALLENGE

The experts' assessment underscores the challenge for China's government and health ministry in monitoring and controlling the H7N9 outbreak in both people and poultry.

While, with few visible signs of infection in birds, it's easier for farmers to flout the reporting rules and continue selling poultry at market, Stone at the OIE said China has a "very significant" surveillance program at live markets.

The government promised on Thursday to tighten controls on markets and poultry transport to help battle the virus.

The agriculture ministry last month collected more than 102,000 serum samples and 55,000 virological samples from birds in 26 provinces. Of the latter samples, only 26 tested positive for the virus, according to data on the ministry's website.

But the rapid rise in human infections and spread to a wider geographic area is likely to increase pressure on Beijing to do more poultry testing at markets and on farms.

The ministry did not respond to faxed questions on its surveillance efforts.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said on Thursday the spread of H7N9 among people was slowing.

Some Chinese netizens have called for more timely reports on infections, and some experts have said China has been slow to respond to the human outbreak. The authorities have warned the public to stay alert for the virus, cautioning against panic.

Others played down the threat to humans, as long as they stay away from live markets.

"As scientists, we should be watching this outbreak and the effectiveness of any control measures," said Ian Mackay, a virologist and associate professor at the University of Queensland in Australia. "We don't have a vaccine available for H7N9 in humans, but we do have effective antivirals."

"So far, the virus does not spread well between humans," he added. "As members of the public, who do not seek out live poultry from markets in China, we have almost nothing to worry about from H7N9 right now."

By Dominique Patton

(Reporting by Dominique Patton in BEIJING, with additional reporting by Ben Hirschler in LONDON; Editing by Josephine Mason and Ian Geoghegan)

China, India account for half world's pollution deaths in 2015: study

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world's pollution deaths
A man wearing a respiratory protection mask walks toward an office building during the smog after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing's central business district, China, December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China and India accounted for more than half of the total number of global deaths attributable to air pollution in 2015, researchers said in a study published on Tuesday.

The U.S.-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) found that air pollution caused more than 4.2 million early deaths worldwide in 2015, making it the fifth highest cause of death, with about 2.2 million deaths in China and India.

Related: Chinese pollution is son bad that's almost poetic , Top 10 most polluted cities in 2016

The institute's study, the first of its kind, was based on the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project, a database backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that tracks the role that behavioral, dietary and environmental factors play in deaths across 195 countries.

New evidence and methodologies mean that the estimate is significantly higher than the figure published by the World Health Organization last year, which put the number of global air pollution-related deaths in 2012 at 3 million, HEI said.

The institute, which has also launched an online database showing the global impact of pollution on health (https://www.stateofglobalair.org), said 92 percent of the world's population lives in areas with unhealthy air.

Air pollution has been linked to higher rates of cancer, stroke and heart disease, as well as chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma.

China and India, the world's two most populous countries, each accounted for 1.1 million deaths, the findings showed, but China is pushing ahead when it comes to taking action, HEI president Dan Greenbaum told Reuters.

"(India) has got a longer way to go, and they still appear to have some ministers who say there is not a strong connection between air pollution and mortality in spite of quite a lot of evidence," he said.

A spokesman for India's environment ministry could not be reached for comment, but minister Anil Madhav Dave said last week that "there is no conclusive data available" on the link between pollution and mortality, media reported.

China's environment ministry did not respond to a request to comment on whether the estimate of 1.1 million deaths was accurate.

Though China has launched a campaign to improve air quality, authorities have been reluctant to draw direct links between air pollution and mortality, with the health ministry saying it had "no data" linking smog to higher incidences of cancer.

"It is currently too early to draw conclusions about the extent of the impact of smog on health, especially its long-term impact on the body," a ministry spokesman told media during a press briefing in January.

In a long-term national healthcare plan published last October, the government acknowledged the link between health and pollution, and pledged to assess the precise impacts as well as boost environmental monitoring capabilities.

By David Stanway

(Additional reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj in New Delhi; Editing by Richard Pullin, Robert Birsel)

Businessmen jumpy after Chinese tycoon's disappearance from HK

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An entrance to Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong February 1, 2017, where Chinese billionaire Xiao Jianhua was last seen on January 27. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The mysterious disappearance from Hong Kong of Xiao Jianhua, a China-born billionaire, has sent a chill through mainland business circles linked to the city, and some are looking to move their assets, say financiers, lawyers and Chinese businessmen.

Hong Kong, a global financial centre, has served as a major hub for Chinese capital since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, with a raft of Chinese IPOs and a wealth management industry catering to scores of Chinese millionaires.

But reports that Xiao was abducted by Chinese agents from the luxury Four Seasons hotel have helped undermine confidence in the legal autonomy that has underpinned the economy.

Hong Kong police say Xiao crossed the border into China on Jan. 27 through a checkpoint and are still investigating the case.

China's Ministry of State Security, Foreign Ministry and Public Security Bureau have so far not responded to Reuters requests for comment on whether Chinese agents were involved in Xiao's disappearance.

A source close to Xiao, who holds a Canadian passport, said he is now in an unspecified location in China, and that Xiao's wife and brother had "fled" Hong Kong to Canada.

It wasn't possible to contact Xiao's relatives. The Canadian consulate in Hong Kong said they had no further information on the family.

A second source close to Xiao said on Thursday he was still able to get in touch with the tycoon, with "some difficulties".

Shortly after his disappearance a local newspaper ad purporting to be from Xiao himself said he hadn't been abducted but was seeking medical treatment "outside the country".

The uncertainty is unnerving businessmen with links to the city.

"I don't dare go to Hong Kong," said Guo Wengui, a Chinese property and investment tycoon who said he knows Xiao and used to visit Hong Kong regularly.

Now he says he would not consider Hong Kong a safe place for his assets.

Guo has lived in exile for several years, having been investigated by Chinese authorities several times, including in connection with a fraud case. No charges have ever been laid, and Guo said he had done nothing wrong.

Memories are still fresh in Hong Kong of the abduction last year of five men linked to a book publisher that specialised in gossip about China's leaders. Three were detained while in China, but two with foreign passports were taken there against their will from Thailand and Hong Kong.

The financial hub has a lot to lose if investor confidence is shaken by threats to the independence of its legal system.

A report on China's private wealth market, conducted jointly by China Merchants Bank and Bain Company in mid 2015, found 71 percent of about 2,800 Chinese high-net-worth individuals chose Hong Kong as their favourite offshore investment destination.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which oversees the banking sector, and the Financial Secretary's office, did not immediately reply to requests for comment, but have long maintained the financial sector is robust and functions autonomously.

A statement of Chinese billionaire Xiao Jianhua is printed on the front page of local newspaper Ming Pao in Hong Kong, China February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

"FREAKED OUT"

One well-connected mainland Chinese financier in Hong Kong who also knew Xiao said he and others were not feeling reassured.

"I'm very nervous ... My (mainland) friends don't feel it's as safe as before. People are making contingency plans," the source said, adding some were rethinking their exposure and residency in the Asian financial centre.

A senior corporate lawyer with a global law firm said some of his mainland Chinese clients living in Hong Kong had asked him for advice on moving assets out in the two weeks since Xiao's case broke, possibly to Japan, Singapore or South Korea.

"They want to change location. They freaked out," he said.

Xiao, who runs financial group Tomorrow Holdings and has close ties with some of China's top leaders and businessmen, is ranked 32nd on the 2016 Hurun China rich list, China's equivalent of the Forbes list, with a net worth of $6 billion.

Until his disappearance, Xiao had for some years resided at the Four Seasons Place serviced apartments in the heart of the city, a favourite haunt of wealthy mainland Chinese businessmen.

A person with knowledge of the matter at the hotel said there had been a “significant decline” in Chinese occupancy since the news broke.

“Many mainlanders checked out," the person said.

The hotel, including its three Michelin-starred restaurant Lung King Heen, was quieter now, said a Hong Kong regular who often meets mainland Chinese clients there.

The corporate lawyer source, who also frequents the Four Seasons, said several of his mainland Chinese clients had moved out of the property recently, citing concerns from the incident involving Xiao.

The Four Seasons Hotel declined to comment.

(Writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Will Waterman)

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