Yangsheng recreation for the old – socialist China meets neoliberal modernity 25-11-2012
tiantan_old_1544Visitors in Chinese parks, early in the morning or late afternoon, encounter a vibrant scene of retired Chinese engaging in all sorts of recreational activities. What lies under this passion and how these activities represent the latest developments in Chinese society?
Vegetarianism in China: an encounter between Buddhism, health and social status 04-11-2012
Is there a true local vegetarian scene in China, who are its major 'players' and what does vegetarianism symbolize for Chinese society?
Xiao San – Empowerment of Chinese women or keeping them 'small'? 06-09-2012
Among several slang terms that mean 'mistress', xiao san (小三, 'little third') has caught most public attention in recent years. While Chinese society regards 'xiao san' as a negative modern development, it also accepts it as a strong motif of modern urban environments. And even if Chinese tradition strongly opposes the permissive practice of 'xiao san', it is Chinese tradition that made 'xiao san' what it is, a distinct form of 'mistress' from the one that exists in Western societies.
Jianbing Ren, 'pancake people' – A Chinese version of a global phenomenon 28-05-2012
Named after the popular street-food, the slang term 'jianbing ren' presents the impulsiveness and shallowness of the modern capitalist minds. While it is definitely not a phenomenon unique for China, it is interesting to see how it is discussed by society and how it intensifies in the contemporary Chinese landscape.
Chinese self-help culture: Reaching out to the Global society while maintaining Discreteness 26-04-2012
Self-help culture is one of the characteristics of the Chinese urban realm in recent years. Rather than simply being a sign of Westernization, some unique local formats, influenced by both one's modern aspirations and traditional norms, design the practice of self-help in the Middle Kingdom.
Foreign brands in China and their twofold approach to Chinese tradition 19-03-2012
Western brands in China often face a dilemma when adapting to the local culture. These brands gain popularity by symbolizing modernity and designing cultural trends, while on the other hand they wish to avoid clashes with traditional customs.
Between heaven and earth - Photography exhibition that demonstrates the aspirations of common Chinese 30-12-2011

What makes one's identity, the daily ground one walks on or the higher air one aspires and desires? This is basically the topic of the interesting photo series- '现实给了梦想多少时间?' 'how much time does reality allow for a dream to exist?', which has been recently exposed in the Chinese media and brough some smiles, some bitter, some hopeful, to the viewing audience.

A holiday invasion – Why are Chinese enthusiastically adopting new festive events? 19-11-2011
A Chinese lunar calendar full of traditional holidays, new special PRC dates with a nationalistic flavor, Western holidays which are becoming attractive, international dates that make China globally aware and now even special new Chinese traditions invented. What makes Chinese people accumulate holidays like they were man tou?
Yueguangzu - The face of a bitter-sweet modern reality 03-11-2011
It's hard to feel sorry for them, as they clearly have money to spend, but the modern consumerism pressures experienced by them shouldn't be easily discounted. Meet the 'yueguangzu', Chinese that cannot keep their income safe in the bank.
The Dilemma of Quality Education in China 10-10-2011
Allowing kids to enjoy liberal values of creativity and self-cultivation or measuring one's abilities through stressful exams? China's education system is choosing to shift towards the first option, but when a child's 'quality' is called in question, aren't exams the only valid testing measurement?
The Chinese Middle Class - Agents of Change or Harmony? 27-09-2011
There are different predictions among scholars concerning where China is heading to politically, though most people agree that the Chinese middle class is a good representative of present and future trends. While some see the growing autonomy of the middle class as an indicator of the limitation of state power and the rise of a civil society, there are scholars who see such class as an agent of political stability and a loyal partner of the Chinese state.
Photographer Adrian Fisk talks about his iSpeak China project, focusing on the thoughts of young Chinese 21-09-2011
In an exclusive Thinking Chinese interview, UK photographer Adrian Fisk talks about iSpeak China: The idea behind it, interesting encounters and its acceptance. The project, considered by Fisk as a promoter of the understanding of China, has also led to intriguing reactions within China, as discussed below.
From Population Quality to Individual Benefit: Two goals that increasingly merge in post-socialist China 05-09-2011
On the changing meaning of the term renkou suzhi 'population quality' in the Chinese market socioeconomy, the relation between personal and social well-being and future trends.
Chinese people, English language - A love-fear relationship 29-07-2011
By many Chinese, English is considered a personal weak spot, a source of frustration or a skill that isn't realized to its great extent. Is it the lack of oral practice, the conservative teaching methods, or a problem that has to do with elements within the Chinese culture and Chinese 'nature'?
Nationalism and Social Mobilization in 21st Century China – Does Capitalism Repress Unity? 07-07-2011
Immense changes have taken place in the Chinese society throughout the Mao and Deng regimes up to present days, though in many domains the State in China is still quite effective in taking hold of the society and initiating behavior changes.
表面上 - The nice surface-face of China 29-06-2011
'On the surface', '表面上' biaomianshang, is a term that in recent years is strongly associated a phenomena that takes place in many domains in China, from government policies, to construction works and fast food dishes. When something has a nice appearance, is intended to be eye catching and give the false illusion that the inside is also valuable, then 表面上 can be used in a negative way.
Rising Divorce rates in China– Is marriage the grave of love? 05-06-2011
Divorce rates in China are on the rise. Although this phenomenon is often associated with modernization and a capitalist lifestyle it could also be suggested that some traditional Chinese conceptions actually promote the deterioration of the marriage institute.
Peixun 培训 - A cutting edge training, modern self-cultivation 12-05-2011

Filling up numerous commercial ads or bulletin boards, the word '培训', (peixun - training, teaching, cultivating) has become more abundant than street snacks, indicating that in contemporary China people continuously assess their own capabilities, getting in shape for present-future career and personal challenges.  

McDonald's China - The McCaffe renovation which expands the network towards middle class comfort 08-05-2011

McDonald's (麦当劳 Maidanglao), has been attracting Chinese middle class members and youngsters who enjoy the scent of American culture. New designs in some of China's McDonald's branches are making the chain a stylish adult location, a step which reinforces the differences in the way this fast-food chain is treated in China and in the west.

Waffle opening in the food market – A new flavor which dazzles students 25-04-2011
A 60 years old lady has recently joined a bustling food alley in one of the cities in Shandong province. Surrounded by bao zi (filled steam bun) stands and restaurants of la mian (spicy noodle soup), yang rou tang (lamb meat soup) and tudou fen (potato noodles soup), she offers a new snack - Sweet waffle. The success of the new taste was completely unprecedented...
Approaching the 'Second Child' – Future plan, motives and public demand 17-04-2011
Speculations are becoming more and more concrete, as the 12th Five Year Plan of the Chinese government indicated that the second child (ertai 二胎) might be allowed in the near future. While government officials to abolish birth control completely, they also know that many families won't necessary rush to have their second child.
NBA in China - From the TV to the Streets, from Sports Fans to Everyday People 27-02-2011
While Yao Ming is on the verge of retirement, no risk lies over the popularity of NBA in China. Besides of clever marketing, the talent of NBA stars inspires Chinese even in places that other American culture icons fail to do so.
Christmas in China – Who, Where and Why? 02-01-2011
Christmas is becoming a major event in China. Considering the small proportions of Christians in the Chinese population, China is perhaps the country were Christmas is most celebrated as a secular holiday. But can the wide acknowledgement of Christmas in China really be considered as a true Christmas celebration?
Lost in Translation? 19-10-2010

English slogans for Chinese products are often directed at Chinese customers, who appreciate western sophistication, even when such titles are actually funny and meaningless English sentences.

The Laowai Effect – A Symbol of Quality in the Chinese Sky 13-10-2010
A Caucasian face among a Chinese crowd is often regarded as a symbol of quality, modernity and internationalism. The illusion that a white face can produce is very valuable in the Chinese economic sky.
Can the Charm of Renqi '人气' Survive Modern Urban Shopping Districts? 31-05-2010
Traditional downtown setting is being transformed throughout China in recent decades. Can the magic of renqi 人气, 'the breathing of people' in bustling street markets be preserved in the modern urban landscape?
Dagongmei – Women migrant laborers – Independence through Capitalism or Capitalism through Independence? 21-05-2010
For dagongmei (打工妹), woman workers who come from the country side to work in one of the factories in eastern China, there are no illusions about the hard nature of their work. Leaving home and becoming urban workers is for them the adaptation of a modern lifestyle as well as a unique root of becoming independent of their parents' moral authority. 
Ermo (二嫫) - Women’s Independence, Men’s Impotence 21-05-2010
The fascinating 1994 movie 'Ermo' 二嫫, discusses the story of a peasant woman, Ermo, in her quest to join the modern capitalist race. Ermo's initiative is induced by her veteran husband's metaphoric and physical impotence.
Guanxi and Guanxixue: The Advantage of Personal Connections in Modern China 21-05-2010
What is the difference between guanxi 关系 and simple personal ties? What is the difference between guanxi and guanxixue and is it a myth that the two carry an essential role in both traditional and present Chinese culture?
Guanxi and Amauru, the Driving Force of Social Interactions in China and Japan? 10-05-2010

There some common features in the Japanese sentiment amae and the Chinese practice of guanxi. However, while guanxi is often linked to a collectivist Chinese society, amae is a more universalistic concept that can perhaps be understood better in the west. Through amae the emotional root of guanxi can perhaps also become more comprehensible.

''Not One Less'' - Zhang Yimou’s happy-ending-film doesn’t survive critics’ cynicism 06-05-2010
"Not One Less" - yí ge dōu bù néng shǎo 一个都不能少 unfortunately isn't considered as one of Zhang Yimou's master worksby most Western critics, perhaps due to the fact that it ends happily.
Superficial Modernization, Deep Assimilation - Does Confucianism exist in modern consumption habits? 02-05-2010

'Self-help' books, now very popular in China, might seem to contradict the roots of Chinese tradition. However, traditional Chinese principles such as Li 礼, the effect of ritual on the inner spirit and the lack of distinction between 'superficial' and 'deep' cultural elements are also present in the manner they are adopted in today's China. 

Confucianism – New Agent of Modernity? 01-04-2010
Confucianism (儒家思想) nowadays isn't being revived only in a nostalgic fashion, but is also being modified into a value system justifying China's unique form of capitalism.


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